Sh*t Christians Say

William Lane Craig Reasonable FaithTom Gilson was provoked to produce his recent book on apologetics because of the 2012 Reason Rally (which I attended). He demands: Why allow the atheists to seize control of the word “reason”?

He said, “The atheists claim to be the party of reason, but they don’t do it that well. Christianity on the other hand has a strong claim to be reasonable and based in reason.”

World famous apologist William Lane Craig agrees:

Christians are genuinely deeper, more thoughtful people than unbelievers are because Christians do wrestle with and think about these very profound, ultimate questions. … We do encourage hard thinking and self-reflection.

Respect for reason

We’re off to a good start. Christians embrace reason, and Christians are eager to wrestle honestly with tough questions their faith raises.

Let’s turn to Craig’s book, Reasonable Faith to see if Craig continues as the strong advocate of reason.

Should a conflict arise between the witness of the Holy Spirit to the fundamental truth of the Christian faith and beliefs based on argument and evidence, then it is the former which must take precedence over the latter. (Reasonable Faith, Third Edition, 48)

Record scratch. The “witness of the Holy Spirit” beats reason? Dr. Craig seems eager to parrot support for reason when pressed, but his true evaluation gives it a secondary role. More from Craig:

It is the self-authenticating witness of the Holy Spirit that gives us the fundamental knowledge of Christianity’s truth. Therefore, the only role left for argument and evidence to play is a subsidiary role. (Reasonable Faith, 47)

Why bother showing the grounding of his belief? That’s hard work, so he just assumes it—he declares it self-authenticating.

We do find some rationalization for this position:

It seems to me inconceivable that God would allow any believer to be in a position where he would be rationally obliged to commit apostasy and renounce Christ. (Source)

Wow—the guy’s got two doctorates and this is what he comes up with? Just assume God and fit the facts to that assumption?

Even [people] who are given no good reason to believe and many persuasive reasons to disbelieve have no excuse, because the ultimate reason they do not believe is that they have deliberately rejected God’s Holy Spirit. (Reasonable Faith, 50)

Did you see that coming? That’s impressive blame shifting—now it’s the atheist’s fault! Craig elaborates with an analysis of their motivations:

When a person refuses to come to Christ, it is never just because of lack of evidence or because of intellectual difficulties: at root, he refuses to come because he willingly ignores and rejects the drawing of God’s Spirit on his heart. No one in the final analysis really fails to become a Christian because of lack of arguments; he fails to become a Christian because he loves darkness rather than light and wants nothing to do with God. (Reasonable Faith, 47)

Aha—so I love darkness. Got it.

More sources of delusion

William Lane Craig has plenty of company in Crazy Town. Are you a Christian who needs a pat on the head and assurance that you’ve backed the right horse? You can check your reason at the door, believe whatever the pastor tells you, and have confidence that you’re right.

  • Martin Luther said: “Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has: it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but—more frequently than not—struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God.”
  • The Bible says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).
  • Apologist Greg Koukl said, “Intuitional truth doesn’t require a defense—a justification of the steps that brought one to this knowledge—because this kind of truth isn’t a result of reasoning by steps to a conclusion. It’s an obvious truth that no rational person who understands the nature of the issue would deny.”
  • Philosopher Alvin Plantinga said, “But lack of evidence, if indeed evidence is lacking, is no grounds for atheism.”
  • The statement of faith of Answers in Genesis begins: “The scientific aspects of creation are important but are secondary in importance to the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ as Sovereign, Creator, Redeemer, and Judge.”
  • Kurt Wise has a PhD in geology from Harvard but is a young-earth Creationist. He has an unusual relationship with evidence: “If all the evidence in the universe turns against creationism, I would be the first to admit it, but I would still be a creationist because that is what the Word of God seems to indicate.”

An appeal for reason

But the Bible makes clear that Jesus intended his miracles to be evidence of his claims. He said, “Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works.” Demanding evidence is actually biblically supported.

To paraphrase physicist Paul Dirac: in science one tries to tell people, in a way understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in religion, one tries to tell people, in a grand and mysterious way, something they have no reason to believe—that an invisible God actually exists, that prayers are really answered, and that there is an afterlife.

Continue with More Sloppy Thinking from William Lane Craig

[The White Queen said:]
“When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day.
Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as
six impossible things before breakfast.”
— Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

Photo credit: joseloya

About Bob Seidensticker
  • RichardSRussell

    Aha—so I love darkness. Got it.

    “Wandering in a vast forest at night, I have only a faint light to guide me. A stranger appears and says to me: ‘My friend, you should blow out your candle in order to find your way more clearly.’ This stranger is a theologian.”

    —Denis Diderot (1713-1784), French encyclopedist and philosopher

    • Ron

      When a person refuses to come to FSM, it is never just because of lack of evidence or because of intellectual difficulties: at root, he refuses to come because he willingly ignores and rejects the drawing of FSM’s Spirit on his heart. No one in the final analysis really fails to become a Pastafarian because of lack of arguments; he fails to become a Pastafarian because he loves blandness rather than flavor and wants nothing to do with FSM. (Reasonable Taste, 47)

      Even those who are given no good reason to believe and many persuasive reasons to disbelieve have no excuse, because the ultimate reason they do not believe is that they have deliberately rejected the touch of His Noodly Appendage. (Reasonable Taste, 50)

      • wtfwjtd

        Ramen, brother!

      • TheNuszAbides

        I’m still more partial to the SubGenius, but the FSM church has done some great work.

  • Greg G.

    Saint Ignatius of Loyola said: “We should always be prepared so as never to err to believe that what I see as white is black, if the hierarchic Church defines it thus.”

  • MNb

    I have a better quote from Plantinga for you. Philipse gives it in his God in the Age of Science.
    “the believer is entirely within his epistemic right in believing that God has created the world, even if he has no argument at all for that conclusion. The believer doesn’t need natural theology in order to achieve rationality or epistemic propriety in believing; his belief in God can be perfectly rational even if he knows of no cogent argument, deductive or inductive, for the existence of God – indeed, even if there isn’t any such argument.”
    Plantinga, “The Reformed Objection to Natural Theology”, 1982.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Excellent, thanks.

    • TheNuszAbides

      i might almost enjoy attending a conference for the negotiation of “epistemic rights”.

    • Miguel de la Pena

      Natural revelation. You’re welcome.

  • Margaret Whitestone

    I didn’t realize WLC was a comedian.

    • Compuholic

      That is ok. He probably doesn’t realize it as well.

  • gusbovona

    To put a fine point on the obvious: has any Christian apologist ever presented any good evidence that no atheist makes a rational conclusion, but is only turing away from the light?

    Furthermore, this apologetic commits a personalization fallacy (a new category of fallacy?). That is, even one personally turns away from the light, one’s arguments can still be analyzed for their logic, validity, etc., as a question separate from the motives of the person making the argument.

    • wtfwjtd

      The “turning away from the light” is a self-delusion the Christian uses to reassure him/herself. I like how Richard Carrier puts it: “(The atheist) cannot be an honest, well-informed pursuer of the truth who came to a fair and reasonable decision after a thorough examination of the evidence, because no such person can exist in the Christian worldview, who does not come to Christ. Therefore, I *must* be a wicked liar, I *must* be so deluded by sin that I am all but clinically insane, an irrational madman suffering from some evil demonic psychosis.”

  • shart of turin

    If Christianity encourages ‘hard thinking and self-reflection,’ then why is it that most christians embrace the sect of their parents or spouse? That seems to be the opposite of hard thinking and self-reflection and appears to fall more in line with going with the status quo.

    • Miguel de la Pena

      Genetic fallacy.

      • hector_jones

        Except that it’s not. A genetic fallacy would be if shart had tried to argue that your beliefs are wrong because you got them from your parents.

        The point is that the correlation between a person’s religion and his parents’ religion shows that religious beliefs are inherited rather than chosen for their truth value.

        Did you investigate Islam and the Koran before rejecting it? Of course you did not.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Apparently you missed the commenter’s point. Regardless of how someone came to their beliefs, a belief system isn’t invalidated simply because that’s how your parents raised you. My parents raised me to believe 2+2=4, would you argue that belief is wrong because I haven’t considered other answers?

          The validity of the Christian notions of ‘hard thinking and self-reflection’ are irrelevant from the idea that people are usually raised by the most common belief system of their society.

          I didn’t reject Islam and the Koran until I studied it.

  • avalon

    One more for your collection, Bob:

    “…there is a certain class of truths of whose reality belief is a factor as well as a confessor; and that as regards this class of truths faith is not only licit and pertinent, but essential and indispensable. The truths cannot become true till our faith has made them so.”
    William James (Will to Believe)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      I’ll put that in the compost heap; thanks.

  • The Thinking Commenter

    Mr. Craig self-refuting his own self again I see. Good job William. You’ll make a skeptic out of yourself yet, or not.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      The inconsistency is trivial to point out, and yet I’m guessing a guy like that is just in too deep to ever change.

      • avalon

        “trivial”?
        Perhaps you missed what Dr. Craig has said about Mormons:
        “If evidence goes against the Book of Mormon to prove it false, then to ignore or avoid that evidence is not sincere faith but rather dishonesty and deceitfulness.”
        “A standard Mormon response is to resort to the subjective. He insists that he knows the Book of Mormon is true because he has a ‘burning in the bosom’.”

        and perhaps the best quote of all since it applies to ALL religious belief:
        “To believe that something is true merely because you feel it to be so or because you are sincere in your belief does not make it true.”

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          The crazy quotes just keep a-comin’!

        • MNb

          You should know by now that you always win with WLC when looking for crazy quotes. Ron underneath inspired me to find this one:

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6Qpsvg0BFw

          Wrong, WLC. The FSM consists of transcendental meatballs and spaghetti. You ask me what that means? The same as “a transcendental being who brought all matter and energy into existence”.

          One more:

          “homosexuality, … in fact … is a dark, twisted, and dangerous lifestyle, just as addictive and destructive as alcoholism or smoking.”

          If you can stomach it – ie are a stronger person than me – read the following link. This quote is not even the craziest one.

          http://www.reasonablefaith.org/a-christian-perspective-on-homosexuality

  • Trent Horn

    I don’t think you’ve been fair to Koukl and Plantinga (I won’t get into Craig’s epistemology here, even though I agree with some of his arguments).

    Koukl is just defending intuitionism, or the view that some of our knowledge does not require justification except for our common sense feeling that those claims are true. This makes sense because if we needed evidence for ALL of our beliefs then we would be stuck in an infinite regress and couldn’t rationally believe anything. Koukl is simply using intuitionism to show that there are moral truths like “it is
    wrong to cause suffering just to increase suffering,” a position that is reasonable if not obvious.

    The atheistic philosopher Walter-Sinnott Armstrong writes, “We could never get started on everyday moral reasoning about any moral problem without relying on moral intuitions. Even philosophers and others who officially disdain moral intuitions often appeal to moral intuitions when refuting opponents or supporting their own views. The most sophisticated and complex arguments regularly come down to: “But surely that is immoral. Hence, . . .” Without some move like this, there would be no way to construct and justify any substantive moral theory. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong. “Framing Moral Intuitions” in Moral Psychology (Volume 2):The Cognitive Science of Morality: Intuition and Diversity, ed. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Cambridge, 2008) 47.

    In regards to Plantinga, he defines atheism as, “the belief that there is no such person as the God of the theistic religions.” Under this definition the lack of evidence for God would not prove atheism is true anymore than the lack of evidence for aliens proves “there are no such persons as the aliens featured in sci-fi television shows.” You might say atheism is not defined that way (I disagree, but that’s a debate for another time), but Plantinga’s comment is perfectly reasonable based on the definition he gives for atheism.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Koukl is just defending intuitionism, or the view that some of our knowledge does not require justification except for our common sense feeling that those claims are true.

      Koukl says, “we know intuitional truth simply by the process of introspection and immediate awareness.” There isn’t much that can be well defended with that thinking.

      This makes sense because if we needed evidence for ALL of our beliefs then we would be stuck in an infinite regress

      Really? Figuring out Newton’s laws of motion requires intuition to avoid infinite regress? I don’t think so.

      Koukl is simply using intuitionism to show that there are moral truths like “it is wrong to cause suffering just to increase suffering,” a position that is reasonable if not obvious.

      First, show me that moral truth is the sole domain Koukl is focused on, because I didn’t see that. Second, I agree with the sentiment, but that’s just because my (and Koukl’s) moral programming says that. There’s no absolute/objective truth here.

      • avalon

        When apologists make the claim that science relies on intuition they are ignoring the primary difference between science and religion. Religious claims often seem to be believed in more for their personal worth in our need for an ultimate meaning to life than for their logical or empirical merit. The one thing which appears definitive of a spiritual experience is whether it is interpreted or can be interpreted in such a way as to be relevant in some sense to an “ultimate meaning to life.” This means that the test for a truly spiritual belief is whether it accomplishes the goal of answering our need for meaning (and how well it does so), and this matters more than whether that belief is consistent, proven, or true. William James said, “…we have a right to believe the physical order to be only a partial order; that we have a right to supplement it by an unseen spiritual order which we assume on trust, if only thereby life may seem to us better worth living again.” The goal of religious belief is to ‘make life better worth living’
        Holders of firm religious beliefs do not merely resist attempts at critique, they are often impervious to them. This kind of behavior, which seems inexplicably irrational, is revealed to be quite explicable when we recognize that the religiously devout are often interested in things more important to them than the truth (such as an ultimate meaning to life). Since the personal, emotional benefits provided by spiritual beliefs do not depend on those beliefs being true, their truth becomes (in practice) irrelevant. In science, the truth of factual claims is not determined by the emotion which accompanies them.

        From a scientific point of view appeals to transcendental methodologies are problematic. There is no uniformity as to what various metaphysical intuitions are intuiting. In this sense, metaphysical intuition is not at all like the experimental, verifiable, repeatable proof that we find in the empirical sciences. It is simply not the case that these “intuitions” are intuiting the same thing.

        The problem with this intuitive approach is this: two parties cannot come to an agreement on some issue and one party is petitioning the other to participate in his “experience.” The assumption here is the problem will clear up if the second party has access to a particular “experience.” But the problem does not really have to do with experience, or a lack thereof, as much as it has to do with the conflict of interpretations and the multiplicity of perspectives. This means that metaphysical views on the nature of ultimate reality are more like articles of faith than propositional contents based upon some “verifiable” experience.
        .

        • MNb

          “they are ignoring the primary difference between science and religion”
          The explanation is very simple: because of the spectacular successes (both positive and negative; I’m thinking of Zyklon-B as well) of science apologists one way or another want to ride the scientific bandwagon to uphold and/or regain some credibility.

      • Trent Horn

        Koukl was using this reasoning to show that are basic intuitions about morality are true. He used the example of the feeling we get after thinking about a mass suicide to show that our intuition that “Human beings have intrinsic value” is true. You can’t scientifically prove a statement like that is true. He then uses it in an argument for God, but the majority of the post is defending the use of intuition in regards to ethics. There’s a whole field related ot this so it’s not some “Christian apologetics” fantasy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethical_intuitionism). It’s also used in math though I disagree with its use in that field (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/intuitionism/)

        I don’t buy the idea that morality is just “biological programming” because then we can’t have meaningful moral discussions about something being “right” or “wrong.” When it comes to moral issues we could just try to “re-program ourselves” so that we no longer get upset by rape or the murder of toddlers but that seems outlandish. Perhaps we’ll have to have a discussion about that at another time.

        In regards to the regress argument, this plagues all fields including science. For example we ask the question, “Why is the scientific method true?” If you use science to prove it, then that’s circular reasoning. If you point to successful predictions that come from the method, then we can always ask how we know those predictions are correct or that the theory applies to events that haven’t happened yet. We can always ask “Why?” infinitely. Many people think we can avoid the regress by appealing to foundational or intuitive truths where asking “Why?” is silly since no evidence need be given, it just is true if you think about it. See “Münchhausen trilemma”
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%BCnchhausen_trilemma

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Koukl was using this reasoning to show that are basic intuitions about morality are true.

          Was that article applying intuition solely to morality? I didn’t see that.

          You can’t scientifically prove a statement like that is true.

          Then why say it’s true? How about, “Human beings have intrinsic value is widely accepted” instead?

          I don’t buy the idea that morality is just “biological programming” because then we can’t have meaningful moral discussions about something being “right” or “wrong.”

          We don’t posit objective morality simply for the convenience of having a conversation about it. If objective morality doesn’t exist, fine; let’s not worry about it then. There’s plenty of the regular kind (y’know—the kind defined in the dictionary under “morality”) that we can discuss.

          I see zero evidence for objective morality. What’s called objective morality is actually just shared morality.

          we ask the question, “Why is the scientific method true?” If you use science to prove it, then that’s circular reasoning.

          Wouldn’t that be called an axiom? Axioms are at the bottom of the chain, and that’s what stops the infinite series of “Why’s.” Note, however, that axioms aren’t taken on faith. They’re tested all the time. I see no problem here.

        • gusbovona

          The scientific method isn’t true. Rather, it works; that it, using it we can make predictions and those predictions turn out to be true to an extent that no other general method (like intuition) can.

          It’s easy to see if a prediction is correct. You check it against reality. Is this that difficult? If I predict that my lost car keys are in the pocket of the pants I wore yesterday, I just check the pockets of those pants to see if my prediction is correct. Science is the same thing in principle, only a bit more complicated in practice.

          I’m not sure what you mean by the word “true,” but when you suggest that the statement “Humans have intrinsic valve” is true, I’m pretty sure that’s not the same “true” that we mean when we say that a scientific conclusion is true.

        • MNb

          Ah, you beat me to it. I don’t like the word true in the scientific context either.

        • avalon

          “I don’t buy the idea that morality is just “biological programming” because then we can’t have meaningful moral discussions about something being “right” or “wrong.” ”

          Why would you need the concept of morality to have meaning? We can agree that the idea of mass suicide is repulsive to most humans who have what we consider a normal brain. And that it causes emotional distress due to our empathy. Does that somehow become more “meaningful” by adding a moral label of “wrong”?

        • TheNuszAbides

          no, but it works wonders for prescriptivisms!

        • Ron

          “Human beings have intrinsic value”

          To ourselves perhaps—though not always; to non-human species, not so much.

        • Pofarmer

          To non human species we are competition-or lunch.

        • Greg G.

          Also a home. Our human cells are out-numbered by the cells of microbes and nematodes by ten to one, or so I’ve read.

        • MNb

          “I don’t buy the idea that morality is just “biological programming” because then we can’t have meaningful moral discussions about something being “right” or “wrong.””
          That’s a non-sequitur. If biological programmed we still can discuss what morals mean to us.

          “For example we ask the question, “Why is the scientific method true?” If you use science to prove it, then that’s circular reasoning.”
          Nope. The answer begins with two very simple observations: science works. The nuclear bomb works. Internet works. The way the world looks like has radically changed last 200 years, in a faster pace than ever. Because of science.

          Btw “why is the scientific method true?” is bad phrasing. Science is not about truth. Even when Jerry Coyne wrote “Why Evolution is True” he meant something else than Koukle with “there are moral truths like …..” Apologetics largely depends on this kind of ambiguity.
          The scientific method only makes temporary claims, so explains Stephen Hawking in chapter 1 of A Brief History of Time. Sure, we assume that things will fall downward and never upward. Still the scientific method explicitely and always keeps the option open that some smart person will design an experiment that shows the opposite. This principle applies to the scientific method itself as well. If a third method will be developed (I already mentioned deduction and induction above, which are both essential components of the scientific method) it will be tested and scrutinized. But if it yields results, like the scientific method does, it will be accepted.
          Intuitionism like Koukl’s doesn’t.

        • Pofarmer

          when you look at the sum of the actions of life on this planet, I don’t see how morality can be anything else other than biological programming.

    • MNb

      “This makes sense because if we needed evidence for ALL of our beliefs then we would be stuck in an infinite regress ”
      If Koukl says this he doesn’t understand the scientific method. You certainly don’t. The amazing is that you can find the refutation in Craig’s quote:

      “beliefs based on argument and evidence”
      “Argument” refers to deduction and evidence to “induction”. Comparing the outcomes of these two methods quite often gives counterintuitive results. BobS’ example of Newton’s Laws show this. Newton has thoroughly refuted Aristotelian Mechanics, which is the more intuitive one.

      “Koukl is simply using intuitionism to show that there are moral truths ”
      “There is a god” is not a moral truth, whatever that means.

    • avalon

      Trent,
      You present quotes from apologists and an atheist about intuition and assume they both mean the same thing. This is a common tactic to confuse the issue.
      When a theist talks about intuition (at least some intuitions), they mean thoughts that have a divine source and enter our minds. That’s why they count them as accurate knowledge. Peter Kreeft calls this “the voice of God in the soul” and Koukl says intuition is a gift from the “Divine Planner” which gives us direction. I seriously doubt that the atheistic philosopher meant ‘the voice of God in his soul’ when he used the word “intuition”.
      For the atheist, scientist, and all naturalists, intuition is a natural function of the brain creating thoughts in the subconscious. It is completely natural and internal. But for theists (or any supernaturalist) some intuitions have an external source (either by transmission or design).
      That’s not to say apologists don’t believe in the natural explanation for some of their intuitions. They do, and that provides a convenient excuse when their religious intuitions are proven wrong (‘the earth isn’t a stationary planet at the center of the universe? Must have been a human intuition rather than divine revelation.’).

      So, to be clear, when the atheists say “intuition” they mean there’s only one kind: with an internal, natural, brain-based source. But when apologists say “intuition” they sometimes mean “the voice of God in our soul”. These are two very different definitions. There is scientific evidence for the first (natural, brain-based), which apologists tend to shun. But no evidence for the second (voice of God). In fact, for apologists it seems to be taboo to even question this concept of our thoughts having an external source. To do so would shake the very foundation of their belief: the idea that God not only exists but that He also communicates with and influences humans thru some mysterious entity known as “the Holy Spirit” which provides divine intuitions as accurate knowledge.

      • TheNuszAbides

        gnosticism lives!
        …outside of fantasy roleplaying, unfortunately.

  • http://opportunityseekers20.blogspot.it AndyT

    I think many fellow apologists would disagree with Craig’s analysis: isn’t faith supposed to be a result of God’s Grace? Isn’t it supposed to flourish in the chosen ones’ hearts, no matter what they do?
    As far as I know, most Protestant denominations place faith beyond human decision, so in their opinion atheists are more to be pitied than blamed, right?
    For the same reason, apologetics itself should be totally useless: the “elects” are going to believe anyway, while the rest of humanity is not.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      You seem to have drifted into another neighborhood of Crazy Town. That we see believers and nonbelievers in society is best explained by God just tapping certain ones for the gift of faith, with the rest consigned to the furnace of hell? I’m surprised anyone would be eager to worship such a god.

      • TheNuszAbides

        meh, i can only see them (not AndyT) ‘countering’ that with the free will canard.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Oops–I think I misunderstood. When you said “fellow apologists,” I thought you were putting yourself in Craig’s camp. If that was a mistake, I apologize for labeling you a citizen of Crazy Town!

      • http://opportunityseekers20.blogspot.it AndyT

        Don’t worry! Well, maybe I am eligible to be a citizen of Crazy Town
        for several reasons, but being a Christian apologist is not one of them! 😉
        By the way, I would not worship such a whimful deity as well!

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Thanks for the correction.

    • R Vogel

      Just for clarification, it depends which faction you are referring to. Calvinism believes in predestination, which seems to be what you are describing. You don’t really have a choice in the matter. You either get grace, whether you like it or not, or you don’t. Arminianism, on the other hand, believe that the ‘sinner’ has some role to play in the equation: Everyone is extended grace, but you gotta accept it.

      It would seem to reason that Calvinists would be more prone to pity the ‘unelect’ while Arminians would feel more free to despise them, but it seems to be exactly the opposite in my experience. Strange that…

      • MNb

        “Calvinism believes in predestination”
        Apparently the American version.
        Dutch calvinism gradually has taken over the remonstrant, ie the arminian point of view on predestination.

      • http://opportunityseekers20.blogspot.it AndyT

        Thanks for the explanation; moreover, Calvinists and their latest offshoots (i.e. Neo-Calvinists) seem not to understand their approach to salvation makes their proselytizing (“altar calls” and the like) totally useless: why should they lose their time, if the script has been already written by God himself?
        I’ve read some of them try to reconcile Calvinism and Arminianism (“Calminianism”, ” Arvinianism”, etc.), but such efforts are often harshy criticized/ridiculized by both Calvinists and Arminian.

        • R Vogel

          Yeah, I thought about that as well. I have only engaged with the Arminian tradition, which has its own problem, so I don’t know exactly what the explanation might be. It seems to leave no room for human agency, so why do anything? I have read that at least historically, that Calvinists were motivated by a lack of confidence that they were, in fact,one of the elect, so they were always trying to prove it. There seems to be a lack of that insecurity in the Neo-Calivinists which may go a long way to explain their arrogance.

          Thanks MNb for the clarification – I will make sure to properly modify it to ‘American Calvinism’ or maybe more accurate ‘New Calvinism’ in the future. Hope I didn’t give any offense. I will have to look into Dutch Calvinism. I would be interested in how they deal with the whole TULIP thing. I’ve heard that many of the ideas of ‘Calvinism’ aren’t even attributable to Calvin himself, I wonder if that has something to do with it…

        • TheNuszAbides

          ‘ridiculized’ is my new favorite word.

  • Ron

    Bob, here’s another quote:

    “There is a book…” Ken Ham

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEZtF5IZxGE

    As for Jesus demanding evidence, I’m not so sure. He’s also reported to have said: “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Yes, that is a counterexample in the Jesus version of the Punch and Judy show.

      I was indeed quote mining Jesus, but then again, that’s what the Christians do.

  • spitzs

    Also, anyone making claims about an afterlife of any kind is banking on those claims being supported with evidence(when they finally make their visit). There’s nothing beyond investigation there, and you can’t assume mystical realms of immortality into existence. The religious beliefs are beliefs in things they will eventually experience: they will go to heaven, they will meet their maker, you will learn the truth after you die and you’ll burn for it. The arguments just cover for the inability to support the claims now, which is why death also happens to be the perfect time to schedule the big reveal

  • johzek

    When Craig says “Christians do wrestle with and think about these very profound, ultimate questions.” I can’t but think they should instead ponder the simpler question of why the external reality they perceive with their senses is totally unlike the supernatural reality they hope exists but can only imagine. Dare I say, could it be because it is imaginary. One cannot hope to answer the ultimate questions unless one he has a firm grasp of the nature of the reality that he actually perceives. The use of the word wrestle in the quote is very apt here because it illustrates that Christians are not just observing reality dispassionately and seeing where the facts take us but are instead fighting reality every step of the way in their attempt to somehow justify their arbitrary premises.

    • primenumbers

      When Craig says “Christians do wrestle with and think about these very profound, ultimate questions.” – that’s because they’re suffering great amounts of cognitive dissonance and their wrestling is a sign of that, and WLCs “arguments” are merely rationalizations.

  • Maine_Skeptic

    “When a person refuses to come to Christ, it is never just because of
    lack of evidence or because of intellectual difficulties: at root, he
    refuses to come because he willingly ignores and rejects the drawing of
    God’s Spirit on his heart.”

    Isn’t all fundamentalism really just presuppositionalism?

    • MNb

      That’s an intriguing question.

    • Pofarmer

      Yep, you have to believe first.

      • wtfwjtd

        For the believer, seeing *isn’t* believing; rather, believing is seeing.

        • TheNuszAbides

          what’s more satisfying than an optical illusion? pure projection of imagination!

          actually that can be a wonderful thing… in the TruBelieverz case it must be the concomitant impositions on society/sanity that make the difference.

  • MNb

    Some Dutch gems (I can’t let you Americans get away with all the fun):
    “Maar dan kan God onmogelijk slecht zijn omdat het groter, perfecter is om goed dan om slecht te zijn.”
    “God impossibly can be evil because it is greater, more perfect to be good than to be evil.”

    “Een kwaadaardige God heeft dus iets nodig buiten zichzelf om kwaadaardig te zijn. Een goede God heeft echter helemaal niets buiten zichzelf nodig om goed te zijn.”
    An evil God needs something outside itself to be evil. A good God at the other hand doesn’t need anything at all outside itself to be good.”

    “Het goede is eenvoudiger dan het kwade.”
    “Good is simpler than evil.”

    http://filosofie.be/blog/emanuel-rutten/3465/is-god-goed/

    “Wij kunnen de werkelijkheid alleen maar begrijpen in zoverre deze zich logisch door ons laat ordenen. Maar er blijft altijd een werkelijkheid over die veel te bizar is om logisch te worden beschreven.”
    “We only can understand reality in so far as we can arrange order in it by logical means. But there will always remain a reality which is way too bizarre to be described logically.”

    Jan Riemersma

    “As we will conclude that the inability to explain sexual reproduction [by natural selection – MNb] poses a challenge for the naturalistic worldview at large, we will end this study by discussing dualistic, vitalistic and finalistic doctrines as potential alternatives to account for biological phenomena.”

    http://dare.ubvu.vu.nl/bitstream/handle/1871/39335/dissertation.pdf?sequence=1

    Dutch apologists receive doctor degrees for stuff like this.

    • wtfwjtd

      Wow, that’s quite a collection MNb. When I see this crazy stuff, no matter what kind of religious nut spouts it, I wonder: Is this stuff they say that they really believe, or do they just come up with it when they are stumped by a challenging question about their worldview?

      • MNb

        My guess is both – first they make it up and then they get really convinced. There is a Dutch word for it: “doeldenken”, something like “thinking towards a goal”.

        • TheNuszAbides

          there is also a webcomic word for it: “fap”.

    • TheNuszAbides

      “good is simpler than evil”

      and i was thinking it didn’t get flimsier (or less worth stating) than “it takes fewer muscles to smile than to frown”…

  • wtfwjtd

    WLC’s whole premise of “reasonable faith” is an oxymoron, a contradiction of terms. It’s a devious attempt at defining “faith” as belief that’s well-grounded in logic, reason, and evidence. When no one’s looking, the Christian pulls the ol’ switcharoo, and substitutes the Biblical definition of “faith”, that is,accepting religious dogma with zero evidence.Then, they try and use the term with the dual definition interchangeably, and hope no one notices.
    Tom Gilson’s “Thinking Christian” is another dishonest attempt to equate acceptance of religious dogma with rational thinking based on evidence. The problem here, of course, is if the Christian “thinks” too hard about things, they can end up de-converting. It’s a path that Christianity has long avoided, but with dropping numbers in the younger generation Christianity has been forced to confront it. Hence, the pretenses of critical and skeptical thinking by the religious, in order to try and re-package the same old dogmas and doctrines to a new generation.

    • Pofarmer

      Jay tried that exact thing on the thread with Matt Brown, stating that we have “faith” in the consistency of Gravity.

    • MNb

      “It’s a devious attempt ”
      The motivation is simple: science works. It has been incredibly successful, whether in a positive way (medicines, internet) or in a negative way (the Holocaust, the nuclear bomb). So every single apologist one way or another tries to take over some of the credibility that science provides.
      This is why David Rives is my favourite creationist with his telescope and his nonsense about good science and bad science. He literally embodies these “pretenses of critical and skeptical thinking” and “science confirms the Glory of the Heavens” or however he puts it. It’s all about image and not about content.

  • Greg G.

    I saw this in the comments at Friendly Atheist:

    “People say I’m atheistic towards all those other gods. No I’m not. There are no other gods.” –Sye Ten Bruggencate

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Amazing. When someone either has a poor grip on reason or deliberately twists it to serve his purpose, where do you go with that?

      He should be drummed out of the League of Thoughtful Christians, but he knows that’s never a possibility. Any argument serves their presupposition.

      • MNb

        “Any argument serves their presupposition.”
        And this even applies to the best defenders, the people who probably have a higher IQ than me, have studied more, read more books etc. The one and only exception I’m aware of is Richard Swinburne. He is so abstract and technical that hardly a common believer will understand him.
        Note that this intellectually dishonest attitude is reflected in the christians that visit this site. No matter how often we show them where they are wrong, they still keep on repeating their mistakes. I really can think of only one explanation: they “know” their conclusion is right and hence are sure their argument can’t be wrong.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          That’s certainly how Wm. Lane Craig acts. Every time I hear him say it, it baffles me how he still has his job, both because he says that intellectual arguments aren’t necessary and because, as a professor, he wouldn’t accept this kind of poor thinking on papers from his students.

    • Pofarmer
  • Jay

    Love this quote: “To paraphrase physicist Paul Dirac: in science one tries to tell people, in a way understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before.” What an assumption. Science is helpful to a point but is limited in what it can tell us with any certainty. Just look at how many theories it told us what the truth was about something only later to tell us that was not correct.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Science delivers. If your point is that it’s limited, yes it is.

      Religion, by contrast, delivers only promises.

      • Jay

        Christianity gives hope and explains why the world is so screwed up.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Hope? Is that relevant to the discussion of whether the Christian god exists?

          Lots of religions give hope. Do you accept them all, or is there some sort of evidence that you try to follow?

          And what religion doesn’t explain why the world is messed up? I hope we can agree that explanations are easy to cobble together. Evidence that they’re true (like science tries to find) is another thing altogether. That’s hard, so religion doesn’t even bother.

        • Jay

          Without God there is no hope. I don’t care about other religions except Christianity.

          Christianity does give reasons why the world is screwed up. Atheism cannot tell us why nor can it give any hope.

          Science doesn’t tell us why the the world is screwed up nor can it give you meaning.

        • 90Lew90

          So your religion is really all about you. Period. Thanks for clearing that up. You like to pretend its all about a brotherhood of faith or whatever, but actually, it’s all because you’re a bit of a bedwetter who’s still afraid of the dark. Turn the light on. How’s that?

        • Jay

          No. I happen to think that other religions at their core are false.

        • ohnugget001

          So is yours, Jay. So is yours.

        • Jay

          Prove it. Demonstrate that God does not exist or that the gospel accounts are historically false. Do that and I will become an atheist. If you can’t then you should reconsider your position.

        • ohnugget001

          Jay, you’re the one making the first claim, that a deity exists. The burden of proof is squarely on you, not me. You can no more prove your god is real than any other theist from another religion. Fortunately, logic is on the side of the atheist. If I cannot prove your god doesn’t exist, then I can’t prove Zeus, the FSM, smurfs, and unicorns don’t exist either – and neither can you. So, since the burden is actually on you, what proof do you have that your god is real?

        • Jay

          I have a lot of good arguments to believe that God exist. It is not illogical to believe such a thing given that the evidence is so good.

          The best evidence for the existence of God for me is the resurrection of Christ and what Christ did in His life. The second best argument is creation itself. Specifically our world and lives. All point to God.

        • ohnugget001

          You’re using your bible again as evidence that your messiah rose which is circular reasoning as I’ve previously pointed out to you. As for your argument regarding creation, we have mathematically sound theories that a universe can come into existence without the need for anything supernatural – through very natural causes. And your argument is generally known as the Cosmological Argument AKA Prime Mover, or First Cause argument in apologetics which is easily refuted. Please see any number of sites that host the refutation including:
          http://wiki.ironchariots.org/index.php?title=Cosmological_argument
          This argument was dropped by serious Christian apologists long, long ago, but is still used by the average theist (mostly American Christians) as they tend to not be exposed to anything outside of their own worldview as taught in Sunday school or a sermon occasionally.

        • 90Lew90

          That’s like a heroin addict believing his own hallucinations. At least heroin addicts know they’ve hallucinated. Where does that leave us? Comparing the music of Kurt Cobain with Bach? Which is the more powerful trip? And out of interest; does heroin kill more people than religious belief? The evidence (which we should always look to) suggests that heroin is the lesser evil.

        • Pofarmer

          “The best evidence for the existence of God for me is the resurrection of
          Christ and what Christ did in His life. The second best argument is
          creation itself. Specifically our world and lives. All point to God.”

          Have you been following the Conversation between, me, wtfwjtd, Greg G, and Matt Brown? You got nothing. What makes you believe, in a time when miracles were considered to be commonplace. When they believed that Angels moved the sun across the sky, that God opened the Vault of the heavens to pour out rain, that the tides were part of the mysteries of God, that comets were warnings hurled by God to the Earth, that Eclipses were signs of God’s wrath. That frogs came from mud, and that birds and squirrels came from trees. That flies arose from Carrion, and on, and on, and on. What makes you think, that in a time and place of profound ignorance of the natural world and everything around them, what makes you think that this one superstitious, supernatural event, is the one that actually happened?

        • MNb

          There is no evidence for the resurrection. If your sorry views do represent your life then your life is a sad argument for your god.

        • Jay

          The evidence for the resurrection are the 4 gospel accounts and I Cor 15 which were all written within the life times of eyewitnesses. These eyewitness accounts have never been shown to be false accounts.
          The origin of the church cannot be explained without the resurrection.

        • MNb

          Correction: the origin of the church cannot be explained without people believing the Resurrection. People believe all kinds of crazy things, as Scientology shows.
          The authors of the Gospels and 1 Cor. knew each other and copied from each other (see the hypothesis of the Q-document), as stemmatics (aka textual criticism) conclusively has shown. It’s even used to date the Gospels; we can conclude that Marcus is the oldest one, because the others added elements to his version.
          So you have only one source and Testis Unus Testis Nullus.

        • TheNuszAbides

          “written within the life times of eyewitnesses”

          if you can’t identify the deficiency inherent in those qualifiers, it is literally useless to argue with you over what constitutes evidence. and i suppose that flatters the ‘strength’ of your faith…

        • TheNuszAbides

          by “good” arguments you clearly don’t mean “high-quality” but rather “would be backed up by my fellow true believers because alternatives discomfort us”.

          and by “plenty” you must mean that you have been holding out on us, because there is nothing ‘plentiful’ about the circularity you keep dropping here.

        • 90Lew90

          You miss my point. I’m not talking about other religions. I’m talking about yours and the simple, plain, distilled fact about your religious belief being all about what it does for you. Self-serving, egotistical bullshit. The only reason your cult survives is because it exploits the fears of people like you, and you lie down and let it screw you willingly. That’s pathetic. And just because people like you are strong in number, then we must all sit and take notice of what you have to say, even though you’ve abdicated (and declare it to be so) your responsibility to think, or to read, or to investigate the human knowledge at your fingertips, which renders your religion bullshit. And you don’t care that the weight of the number you count yourself among could be doing a whole lot better without these bullshit fairytales, because your fairytale works for you. I’m sorry but that makes me very, very angry. In the real world I avoid these discussions, and will pipe up only if pressed, but since we’re on a forum where these things are at issue, I have to say, religious belief among people who have *no* excuse to carry on believing, infuriates me.

        • Pofarmer

          There has never been a scientifically studied case of anyone rising from the dead after 3 days. There, it’s false. Move on.

        • hector_jones

          Did you prove that Allah does not exist or that the Koran accounts are historically false when you decided not to become a muslim? If not then you should reconsider becoming a muslim.

        • TheNuszAbides

          he’ll presumably never even register the biting relevance of that rejoinder, because “don’t care about any other religion”. and i thought convenience STORES were pathetic…

        • 90Lew90

          Well, to take two examples which should be of great importance to the Christian; the Nativity and Easter, there is the confabulation about the Roman census for which there is no evidence (and which would have been an impossibility logistically) where everyone in the Roman Empire had to return to the place of their birth, which conveniently placed Jesus’s birth in Bethlehem, a fudge to have his birthplace fit with prophecy. Apart from that, the Bible account in Luke has the census carried out by Quirinius, governor of Syria, in the time of Herod the Great. Herod was dead ten years before Quirinius became governor of Syria. That’s thing one, concerning nothing less than the nativity.

          Thing two, which I won’t elaborate on much here but is easily looked up, concerns the accounts of events at Easter. The Gospel accounts are riddled with irreconcilable contradictions and inconsistencies. If the Bible is indeed the word of your omnipotent god, creator of the entire universe and all its wonders, it is wondrous to me that it seems to have gotten itself in a muddle in this most important part (among many, many others) of its own book.

        • MNb

          “the confabulation about the Roman census”
          Oh, the Roman census happened – actually three of them. The rest is made up though. It’s a pity you don’t mention the infanticide according to Matthew. That definitely has been shown a confabulation in every single detail.

        • 90Lew90

          An empire-wide census for which men had to return to the place of their birth to register? First I’ve heard of it! It also seems to have escaped the notice of such luminaries as Geza Vermes and Robin Lane Fox, both of whom make Ehrman look like a schoolboy, and he agrees with them.

        • MNb

          I didn’t write empire-wide; frankly I can’t remember. You already mentioned the Quirinius census yourself. Caesar Augustus at the end of his life wrote down his accomplishments (30 if my memory serves me well). The English translation is somewhere on internet. I can’t refind it right now and don’t have the time for a thorough search. He mentions them. Why Vermes and Fox don’t you should ask them, not me.
          The best source I could find quickly is this one:

          http://www.livius.org/concept/censor/

          Last few paragraphs.

        • MNb

          I still couldn’t find that piece written by Augustus, but here are the three censi (is this the plural of census? My Latin is rusty):

          http://formerthings.com/augustus.htm
          http://www.unrv.com/empire/roman-population.php

        • MNb

          Explain why you think that other religions at their core are false and you’ll understand why I think yours is false too. You’re an atheist bar one (maybe two, if you think the devil exists too).

        • ohnugget001

          I have people who I love and love me, a great marriage, kids who are their own adult selves now – and tons of hope that plans I’ve made and am executing on are coming to fruition – no deity required, thank you very much. BTW, a lot of the world is screwed up bc of you Christians. Own the blame, Jay, because your god is fictional, but your ilk’s actions are not.

        • Jay

          What are you going to do when your loved ones die? How will you cope believing you will never see them again?

        • ohnugget001

          Hopefully, I will not outlive my children. And I’ve confided to my wife that I hope she dies a day before me so I can wrap up any last minute temporal issues and cease to exist as well – hopefully at a nice ripe old age. But if one of my loved ones does die before me? I’ll be sad. I’ll grieve. And I’ll go on living my life. What is it you expect me to do? There certainly is no evidence that their is an afterlife like so many religions claim, so I deal in reality instead of pretending to know something that I don’t, like I’ll see them in heaven or some other fancifully unrealistic place. Are you going to do anything different than what I propose? Is there anything meaningful that is going to separate your response from mine?

        • Jay

          There is not much you can do if this is all there is.
          There is evidence for the after life. Christ said there is and the millions of NDE’s also support it.

          I have a great hope that I will survive death and will see my loved ones again because Christ said this.

        • gusbovona

          I see no reason to believe this Christ person of whom you speak regarding the afterlife.

          Unfortunately, we have to first rigorously confirm that all those NDEs are what they are claimed to be. Even more unfortunately, every time responsible, independent investigators have looked at them, as far as I’m aware, they have concluded that they offer no evidence for an afterlife, but are rather explained otherwise.

        • Jay

          Have you ever read the gospels? This Christ is believed by hundreds of millions of people.

          I have read some of these NDE’s and some of them certainly do point to some kind of limited existence after the heart and brain have stopped functioning for a time.

        • ohnugget001

          Please direct me to any scientifically investigated NDE case that is generally accepted in the scientific community, especially neuroscience. I require evidence to believe, and so should you.

          The “hundreds of millions of people” is a low estimate – don’t sell your religion short. There are an estimated 2+B of you. But Muslims are catching up with about 1.6B adherents and growing – They’ll overtake you in about 2030. Obviously one (or both) of you have it wrong. The number of people who believe something is not an indicator of it being true. This is defined as the fallacy of argumentum ad populum. Please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argumentum_ad_populum

          Remember, lots of people are Jews, Hindus, etc. The population size of a belief system is not an indicator of its truth, just its popularity.

        • gusbovona

          Do you mean to say that all it should take to believe in something is If millions of people believe it?

          Merely reading about NDEs is not what we mean we we say that a claim like that has to be seriously investigated.

        • Pofarmer

          Can we stop with the ad populum nonsense? Millions of people believe stuff that is wrong all the time. What about the millions that believe in Scientology, or Mormonism, or Buddhism, or Hinduism, or Islam? They out number you 3 to 1 or so.

        • Norm Donnan

          Not to mention those NDEs where people come back with knowledge of things that they couldnt have known before. So much for” science can produce NDEs”

        • MNb

          Hey, Norm is back! I have missed you. And he starts off with a lie; I wouldn’t expect any less of him. Nobody ever has come back with knowledge of things that they couldn’t have known before. Any single case that has been scrutinized has been falsified in this respect.
          Prediction: we get a lot of anecdotal “evidence” now – ie not scrutinized.

        • MNb

          “Have you ever read the gospels?”
          Yes. I’m not impressed.
          “This Christ is believed by hundreds of millions of people.”
          So what? Hundreds of millions of people have believed that the Earth is the centre of the Universe.

        • Pofarmer

          Yep. Neurologists can simulate NDE’s and out of body experiences in the lab. It’s all in our brain.

        • ohnugget001

          I’ll be honest with you and tell you that I’m not conversant enough to speak to your claim of “millions” of NDEs. However, I am highly skeptical, and you should be too. Until the scientific community comes to a consensus that ANY claimed NDE is nothing more than oxygen depravation, or simply that persons real desire for it to be true, these claims are very dubious.
          I also need to point out that many religions claim life after death, not just yours. None of them can produce any evidence to justify that position. And, not to put too fine a point on it, there is no real reason to believe that Jesus was an actual historical figure as there exists no record of his proposed life outside of that claimed in the bible. And if you use the bible as your evidence that there is an afterlife, because you believe it to be the word of god because the bible says so, you are committing the logical fallacy of circular reasoning. I might as well claim that Thor will return someday because a Marvel movie said so. These claims are synonymous, though I’ve tried to cushion the blow with some humor. :).

        • MNb

          Fortunately you will never realize that you have fostered false hope – because there will be nothing left of you capable of realizing anything. I pity you for wasting your precious short time though – it’s only about 70 years. But I do recognize your full right to waste your life as you please.

        • gusbovona

          “What are you going to do when your loved ones die?”

          Cry, grieve, and eventually accept the reality of the situation, and treasure the time I have all the more. so what?

          Why does it matter how anyone copes?

        • Jay

          It just shows you that you have no hope in ever seeing them again. I don’t know how a person does it without a belief in God and the hereafter. What a brutal way to live.

        • gusbovona

          But it does give one the advantage of knowing that one has met reality square on, and has not given in to foolish delusions just because life means death in the end.

          As the great Christopher Hitchens has said (paraphrase): “we are expelled from our mother’s womb as if shot out of a canon toward a barn door studded with nails and rusty hooks, and the only question is whether we use the intervening time in an interesting and ironic way.”

        • Jay

          If someone rises the dead and says there is life after death then its not a delusion.

        • wtfwjtd

          There’s no more evidence for believing Jesus rose from the dead than a host of other dying and rising saviors–Osiris, Dionysis, Attuz, Baal, etc.:

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2014/04/jesus-just-one-more-dying-and-rising-savior-easter/

          I reject the Jesus resurrection myth for the same reason I reject all of these other resurrection myths-the same evidence exists to attest to the veracity of all of them, which is zero.

        • Jay

          Have you read the sources for the claims that Osiris, Dionysis, Attuz, Baal, etc. rose from the dead? Many skeptics claim this but the sources do not support it. No scholar supports this nor that Christianity borrowed from these myths.

          The resurrection of Christ is one of the best attested facts of the ancient world.

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          There is exactly one independent source – Marcus. Testis Unus Testis Nullus, dear Jay.

        • Greg G.

          The rising from the dead could be a delusion and anything that was thought to have been said could be part of the delusion.

        • Jay

          Its not delusional when other see it happen with their eyes and hear with there ears. See John 11 for example.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          And do you accept the hadith that Muhammad split the moon in front of witnesses? If so then you must accept that he was a true prophet of God and accept Islam!

        • Jay

          No. Koran denies that Christ died on the cross and rose again. The Koran was written 600 years after Christ and this false statement about Christ not dying on cross shows it to be in significant error.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          According to the Qur’an, it’s the actual words of God spoken to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel, so you can’t say that it isn’t trustworthy because it comes from God! Are you saying that God is wrong? Who should I trust, the all-wise Creator of the Cosmos, or some fallible humans who said that some other fallible humans witnessed something with their fallible senses?

          (I’m being hypothetical here)

        • TheNuszAbides

          ‘error’ hasn’t been proved but significant ‘competition’ sure as sh*t has been.

        • Greg G.

          Randel Helms argues that the Lazarus story is derived from the story of Horus resurrecting Osiris. Through tellings from Egyptian to Hebrew to Greek, the name changes from Osiris to El-Osiris to Eleazer to Lazarus. Mary and Martha are sisters of Lazarus as Isis and Nephthys are sisters to Osiris. The Egyptians city was Anu, referred to as On in some Old Testament verses, but it would have changed to Beth-anu in Hebrew to end up as Bethany in Greek.

          It is explained in a link I gave you a short while ago but here it is again: New Testament Narrative as Old Testament Midrash by Robert M. Price.

          It’s another fictional deed done by a fictional character attributed to fictional Jesus.

        • Pofarmer

          Surely you cannot be suggesting that some of the miracles in the NT were made up! Ole Jay here is perfectly willing the vouch for the authors of the Gospels, whoever they were.

        • gusbovona

          I agree. But the operative word there is “if.” Makes all the difference.

        • 90Lew90

          “If someone rises the dead and says there is life after death then its not a delusion.”

          GUFFAW! Read that over again and hang your head.

          Check me out: “I just raised someone from the dead. There is life after death.”

          In response to my statement, you’d be perfectly entitled to tell me I’m delusional.

        • Pofarmer

          You raised someone from the dead? How cool is that!?

        • 90Lew90

          Yeah, it was sore on the electricity and he doesn’t much like his bolts, but hey, win some, lose some.

        • Jay

          I don’t follow. If Jesus Himself taught that there is life after death and He Himself died and came back to life then how is that delusional?

        • 90Lew90

          Why take claims written somewhere that some other guy rose from the dead and says there’s life after any more seriously than ones written here? Same claim written in two different places. Is it just because you’ve never heard of me? Maybe I can find some friends to back my claim up. Are you gonna be my doubting Thomas?

        • TheNuszAbides

          you’re getting closer. review what an “If… then” statement signifies. nobody is expecting you to keep your beliefs and tack on “life after death is delusional”. the IF is the issue. you are not arguing with people who find anything convincing in that story.

        • TheNuszAbides

          that ‘argument’ will not ever get you anywhere here. you won’t even honestly unpack the “if” at the beginning of it.

        • 90Lew90

          And that just shows what an ostrich you are. As I said, when you live with the knowledge that any day could be your last, or the last of those you love, it tends to sharpen up how much you value your own life and theirs. You? Hey why should you care if anyone you love dies? You’ll be seeing them all in the big happy eternity after all. Won’t you. What a numb way to live. What a squanderous attitude.

        • Jay

          Not really. Having the hope that I will see my loved ones again brings joy and peace to me.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          Just a side question, Jay. Do you believe pets go into the afterlife with humans? Or do they get a separate one or what? I’d just like to know what you believe out of curiosity.

        • Jay

          I don’t think its impossible. The Bible does not say one way or the other. Its an open question.

        • 90Lew90

          I can’t take this any more. Sorry, but God, are you fucking stupid.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          It makes you wonder just what’s so tragic about having a family member die according to Christianity when death is just losing pointless flesh but retaining full consciousness. Losing a family member is just like them taking a vacation, and you’ll see them again anyway right? A few decades is basically nothing compared to eternity.

        • TheNuszAbides

          except for the family members that refuse to accept The Light blah blah blah… sucks to be them.

        • Pofarmer

          “I don’t know how a person does it without a belief in God and the hereafter. What a brutal way to live.”

          What is brutal about it? It’s reality. Learn to deal with it.

        • Jay

          The problem is that you have not proven reality is as you claim. You have not proven or given any reasons why I should believe God does not exist or that we don’t survive death. You are only assuming these things not proving them.

        • Pofarmer

          Uhm, Jay, I’m not the one making claims of people rising from the dead, or undectectable realms.

        • Jay

          True. Christ rising from the dead was not done in “undectectable realms”. There were eyewitnesses that knew He was dead on a Friday and then seen alive on the next Sunday by multiple witnesses under various circumstances.

        • gusbovona

          How do you know that those eyewitnesses actually saw what others said that those eyewitness saw?

        • gusbovona

          One other point: we don’t have the eyewitnesses, we only have others’ report of what eyewitnesses said. Truly “having” an eyewitness means that you can talk to the eyewitness him- or her-self to check whether they are lying, making a mistake, confused, etc.

        • Pofarmer

          There were reportedly many eyewitnesses to the feats of Hercules, Achilles, and Romulus.

        • hector_jones

          Jay, these are all just arguments ad consequentiam. Please go look up that logical fallacy instead of repeating it over and over.

          What a brutal way to live? What other choice have you got? Reality doesn’t care what you find brutal. You can face reality and deal with it now, or you can deny reality and believe in false gods and false hopes.

        • Jay

          My arguments are not “arguments ad consequentiam”. I’m pointing out the consequences of certain beliefs.

          If atheism is true then life is brutal. Its brutal because there is no hope.

        • 90Lew90

          You’re a brick wall.

        • hector_jones

          You are flat out wrong. Your arguments are indeed ad consequentiam because you are arguing that your beliefs are true because the consequences of them being false are unappealing to you.

          It’s exactly as if you had argued that you have a bank account somewhere with a billion dollars in it. We ask you to prove it, and you reply “I have to have a bank account with a billion dollars in it because if I didn’t then I would be poor and I can’t stand the thought of being poor. Poverty is brutal.”

          Not being able to see this demonstrates that you have a poor intellect – another reality which I doubt you are willing to face.

        • Jay

          I’m not basing my beliefs on just consequences.

          To prove I had a billion dollars in the bank I would buy something that only those with that much money could buy. I could also show you my bank records. These things would demonstrate i had a billion in the bank.

        • hector_jones

          Yes those things could demonstrate that you had a billion dollars in the bank. But you have no such evidence to prove that your god is real or that he awaits you in the afterlife. You can’t even show me a list of people who are currently in heaven or in hell. You are exactly like a guy insisting he has a billion dollars in the bank with nothing to back it up, but he believes it anyway, because poverty is brutal.

        • TheNuszAbides

          “I don’t know how a person does it…”

          maybe you think that will come off as humility.
          the more significant point is that (while you give nearly no evidence of actually CARING ‘how a person does it’, because Christianity) you do actually turn up in a place like this and even (technically, if purely rhetorically) ask questions.
          the sad part so far is that you are too content within your bubble to seriously absorb the responses to those questions which several people generously, often brilliantly, provide and expand upon.
          (i’m getting there, hopefully, but it takes case-by-case practice to bypass my habit of getting angry/argumentative.)

        • 90Lew90

          What kind of question is that? I’ve seen many people die. Three from my immediate family and I’m only 37. Is this more about your religion as your little blanky? I don’t need to think they’re in the sky or somewhere to know they live on in me and that I feel a responsibility to honour their memory.

        • wtfwjtd

          “What are you going to do when your loved ones die? How will you cope believing you will never see them again?”

          I grieved, and faced the reality that they were gone. I still grieve, and miss them all the time. That’s the reality Jay–for all of Christianity’s empty promises and false hope, there is not, nor ever has been, one shred of credible evidence ever produced by Christianity that believing in Jesus grants anyone, anywhere, life after they die.
          Reality–you might try it sometime. It’s far, far better than deluding yourself with the fairy tales and false hope of a mystery religion.

        • Jay

          You don’t know if you won’t see them again or if we don’t survive death. Its not an empty promise if the One who is saying there is life after death, raises the dead Himself and rises from the dead Himself. This is not the stuff of fairy tales.

        • ohnugget001

          Jay,
          You’re using a discredited book, your bible, to make extraordinary claims – claims for which you can provide no evidence. Everything you say is the same that a Muslim claims, or a Hindu may claim about reincarnation, etc. With the same complete lack of proof you dismiss those claims, I dismiss yours.

        • Jay

          Who has discredited the Bible and what facts have done this?

        • Greg G.

          In the 1970’s it was thought that Moses and Abraham were historical figures. Archaeology has shown that their stories are not true. In the 1990’s it became apparent through archaeology that David and Solomon were small time if they existed at all. Paul thought Jesus was ancient in the first century and so did the other early epistle writers. Mark had to take stories from the literature of they to say anything at all about Jesus. The other gospels are derived from Mark. Acts imitates Deuteronomy, and draws on Josephus and Greek plays. Revelation was too whacked out from the beginning.

          What’s not already discredited?

        • Lbj

          That’s news to me that “Archaeology has shown that their stories are not true”. What facts did they show that they were not historical figures?

          Paul certainly believed Jesus was a historical figure that lived during his lifetime and rose again before he believed in Him.

          It is possible that the gospel writers after the first gospel was written used some of that material. That is to be expected given they are writing about the same person.

          What literature is Mark stealing from for his gospel? Who in the first 3-4 centuries makes the claim that Mark was making this up?

          Here is what Papias who lived around 95-120 said about the gospel of Mark:
          “The Elder used to say: Mark, in his capacity as Peter’s interpreter, wrote down accurately as many things as he recalled from memory—though not in an ordered form—of the things either said or done by the Lord. For he neither heard the Lord nor accompanied him, but later, as I said, Peter, who used to give his teachings in the form of chreiai,[Notes 1] but had no intention of providing an ordered arrangement of the logia of the Lord. Consequently Mark did nothing wrong when he wrote down some individual items just as he related them from memory. For he made it his one concern not to omit anything he had heard or to falsify anything.”
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papias_of_Hierapolis

          This tells us where Mark got his material for the gospels. I can also give you the early witness to who wrote the other gospels if you want.

          Your making a lot of claims that I don’t see you supporting with any facts.

        • Greg G.

          That’s news to me that “Archaeology has shown that their stories are not true”. What facts did they show that they were not historical figures?

          The Jews in Israel have been doing archaeology for decades and have found nothing to support the story of Moses leading millions of people out of Egypt. They can’t find evidence that the Hebrew ancestors were in Egypt. There used to be a field of study called “Bible Archaeology”. They had to drop it because most of the stories are not confirmed by archaeology.

          Paul certainly believed Jesus was a historical figure that lived during his lifetime and rose again before he believed in Him.

          I’ve posted this information in several places. It shows everything Paul says about Jesus and where he gets the information from centuries old scripture, mostly Isaiah. Paul thinks he is reading history in the scripture but that it was hidden for all that time. The fact that it is being revealed in that time was a sign that the Messiah was coming during their lifetime.

          It is possible that the gospel writers after the first gospel was written used some of that material. That is to be expected given they are writing about the same person.

          Matthew uses 90% of Mark and half of that is verbatim. About two-thirds of Luke is from Mark and much is verbatim. John uses some of the same stories as Mark plus borrows some of his storytelling techniques. But we can find everything Mark says about Jesus in the literature of the day that was written prior to Mark. New Testament Narrative as Old Testament Midrash by Robert M. Price combines the work of several New Testament scholars who have independently traced the roots of Mark to works that each specializes in. Together, nearly every passage is based on other writings. Then add Mark’s Use of the Gospel of Thomas by Stevan Davies who shows where the parables came from.

          What literature is Mark stealing from for his gospel? Who in the first 3-4 centuries makes the claim that Mark was making this up?

          We see Mark using the miracles of Moses, Elijah, and Elisha, the travel and adventure from Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad, stuff from the deuterocanonical works, all of them were available and commonly used in mimesis and midrash. It is remarkable how Mark could weave in Psalm 107 and Isaiah 65:4 with the Cyclops encounter to create the Gerasene demonaic, Legion.

          Papias is reported to have said they had trouble reading Matthew as it was in Aramaic, IIRC. But our Matthew copied our Mark verbatim and our Mark was written in Greek. So we know he was refering to a different Matthew. We don’t know if he was referring to the our Mark, and if he was, how would we know if he knew the origins of it? He was probably writing a generation after Mark was written.

          Your making a lot of claims that I don’t see you supporting with any facts.

          That’s not my fault. I have presented this information in the comments of several articles in this forum and others. I can’t include it in every post because it would be spamming.

        • Lbj

          Do you know how much that archaeologists think there is yet to discover out there? Over 90% has not yet been found what they think is possible to find. There is not find yet that has discredited the Bible. In fact there is a lot that has confirmed it.

          Price and Carrier are not reputable scholars in this field. They are not good sources of scholarship for this. Reading them will just confuse you. Read Larry Hurtado, Richard Bauckham or Michael Kruger if you want some solid scholarship in this area.

          Get serious. How would you even know Mark was familiar with “Homer’s Odysseyand Iliad, stuff from the deuterocanonical works”? This is so bizarre and no serious scholar of the gospels would ever try to defend this stuff.

          Matthew was not written in Aramaic but Greek. The earliest copies of Matthew or parts of Matthew are in Greek.
          Matthew does share some of the same material as Mark. We would expect this given they are writing about the same individual i.e. Christ.

        • Greg G.

          Archaeology has shown that the city of Jericho was unoccupied when Joshua was supposed to have brought down the wall. The wall crumbled from erosion.

          You are making an <ad hominem attack on Price and Carrier. Did I not make it clear enough that the link for Price combines the arguments of reputable scholars? I bet you didn’t even read it. Don’t be afraid. I know it’s a lot but you demanded I present the evidence for my claims.

          I read in a book that there was a list of books from an ancient library. Most books had a few copies. I think there were 80 some copies of Euripides which was the third largest. They carried over 600 copies of The Odyssey and The Iliad each. Greek composition was taught by imitating those writings. Anyone who could compose writings in Greek would have known Homer inside and out. Read MacDonald’s book. It’s in the bibliography at the link for Price. MacDonald is a serious scholar and he defends it. Read it and try to understand it before you criticize it. He tried to include somethings that might have been stretching in order to be complete but I think he missed on the name of Legion.

          Miller and Miller are in Price’s biblography and the differ with you on the deuterocanonical influences. Remember the question from the Sadducees about the woman with seven husbands? Mark 12:18-27 is reference to Tobit 3:7-8.

          You are correct that Matthew was written in Greek which is my point. It was Papias who said “Therefore Matthew put the logia in an ordered arrangement in the Hebrew language, but each person interpreted them as best he could.” So Papias’ Matthew is not the one we have today.

          Did you notice that I used the word “verbatim”? Matthew copies about 45% of Mark word for word. That doesn’t happen because you are writing about the same person. It happens because you are reading the text and writing down what it says. Luke does it, too. If Matthew was a disciple, why would he copy the work of a person who was never there? Church tradition cannot be relied upon. They didn’t know what they were talking about.

          I challenge you to read the information at this link and find something Paul says about Jesus in any of the seven Pauline epistles accepted by most scholars as authentic that is not found in the Old Testament. It’s just information I have collected in my spare time.

        • Lbj

          I have listened to those 2 debate and it was awful. Its going to take a lot more to demonstrate that Mark got his material for his gospel from those books you claim were present. Speculations about the gospels are just that. Speculations. They are not facts.

          Quoting something verbatim from another work does not mean they are telling identical stories about Christ. As I said we should expect this after the 1st gospel was written. Luke in his introduction tells us his approach to how he was going to write his gospel:
          “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, 3 it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order,most excellent Theophilus; 4 so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.” Luke 1

          Why would it be a problem for Matthew to use some of Mark’s material if Mark did right 1st?

          The names associated with the gospels have always had those names. The early church knew who wrote those gospels.

          I have heard from Bart that he does not accept all of Paul’s letters as being from Paul and all his reasons are speculations.

          Carrier is not to be taken seriously when he says–“posit that the Jesus figure was originally conceived of as a celestial being known only through private revelations and hidden messages in scripture; then stories placing this being in earth history were crafted to communicate the claims of the gospel allegorically; such stories eventually came to be believed or promoted in the struggle for control of the Christian churches that survived the tribulations of the first century.” This is pure nonsense.

        • Pofarmer

          Justas. The scholarly consensus is that only 6 or 7 of the gospels attributed to Paul were actually written by him. It’s just not Ehrman. Likewise, the scholarly consensus is that the Gospels were anonymous until sometime in the second century. Have you really read the books atteibuted to Paul? Have you read the passages that might relate to an earthly Jesus, why don’t you list here all the things Paul says about an Earthly Jesus for us.

        • Greg G.

          I really don’t care how much you despise Price and Carrier. I haven’t quoted or cited Carrier, I linked to a comment I posted under an article. That post contradicts Carrier on some points. Price’s article uses the articles of other scholars. I am asking you to look at the evidence itself, which in most cases is reading the Bible. What do you have against that? You compare verse here with verses there. At first, you could say it’s speculation, but when yu see the same pattern repeated continuously, it is a pattern that must have an explanation.

          When one directly copies the other, we should pay attention to where the two depart. Matthew omits almost 10% of Mark, things like the naked boy in Gethsemane. He alters much of it like making some of Jesus’ miracles happen immediately. The changes appear to be for theological reasons, not historical reasons. Many of the additions to Mark are where Matthew is forcing OT passages to be fulfilled prophecy. He has Jesus move to Capernaum to fulfill an OT verse that mentions Galilee, that would have been fulfilled anyway if he knew Nazareth was in Galilee. Matthew 21:1 copies Mark 11:1 but then Matthew changes the story to two donkeys because of Zechariah 9:9, which he quotes in 21:5. Zechariah was not talking about two donkeys, he was just using a Hebrew poetic doublet.

          It would not be a problem for Matthew to use Mark if he got it right but the evidence you are afraid to look at shows he made up the story and Matthew didn’t know it. That is a huge problem for you.

          The early church didn’t know anything about the sources of the gospels. They assumed for centuries that Matthew was the original and Mark was an abridged version of it. Do you know why they have four gospels and not three or five? It’s because there are four winds and reasons like that.

          Ehrman is giving the scholarly consensus on Pauline authorship. There are specific reasons for each epistles for why it is considered authentic or rejected. The early church had many bogus epistles and they developed techniques of recognizing style and content. Many of today’s methods are refinements of those. They have also developed new methods. 2 Thessalonians is so alike 1 Thessalonians that it is believed that it was composed to defeat second century forgery detection methods but it is too unlikely for two letters to be so similar.

          Saying an argument is pure nonsense and showing it is nonsense are two different things. You appear to be capable of the easy way. You accused me of not backing up my claims when I had done it repeatedly to the person I was responding to. I backed up my claims and youu ran from the evidence. Now you are not backing up your assertions. Present your evidence and we’ll consider it.

        • Pofarmer

          ya know, he’s so close, when he complains the Gospels were written in Greek. Well, yes, they show all the hallmarks of being used in Greek AND using the Greek septuagint instead of the Torah. Someone pointed out the other day that Paul even does this in ine spot. Why in the world would followers of hebrew jews be using the septuagint and not the Torah? Even the famous “Sermon on the mount” is based on ideas and translations in the septuagint. This shouldn’t be the case if there was a real guy speaking in hebrew or aramaic to be quoting.

        • Greg G.

          Someone somewhere pointed out that Jesus was arguing with the Pharisees but was quoting the Septuagint where it differed from the Hebrew text. I hope somebody can identify the passage.

          Paul sometimes quotes the Hebrew scriptures, translating them to Greek, and sometimes he quotes the Septuagint. Sometimes his translations do line up exactly with either. Whatever makes his points best.

          Does it make sense to pray “Father, Father” using Aramaic once and Greek once, as in “Abba, Father”? Or was that for the benefit of the reader, who had just learned that “Bar” means “son of” from the Bartimaeus pericope, so they will understand that “Barabbas” is “so of the father”, too?

        • Pofarmer

          “But for those who claim the Jewish or Christian faith as their own, the consensus now developing in archaeology as well as in critical literary studies raises many acute questions concerning the use of the Bible as a source of religious truth. The believer seems to be caught, as one observer recently noted, “between the rock of the biblical claim and the hard place of the archaeological contradiction” (Willis, in Charlesworth and Weaver 1992: 77).”

          http://glasovipisma.bfspc.bg.ac.rs/phocadownload/knjige/archaeology%20and%20the%20bible.pdf

        • Pofarmer

          Fwiw, all three of your “scholars” are also committed christians, two of them working at divinity schools. Is that the hallmark of disinterested scholarship?

        • Ron

          Indeed! The Reformed Theological Seminary (where Kruger is president) makes no pretense of its theological bias towards upholding scriptural authority, and requires all staff members to sign a yearly “Statement of Belief and Covenant” as part of their employment contract.

        • wtfwjtd

          Yes, no bias there! “Toe the inerrant scriptural line, or get fired.” I’m sure this thought never crosses their minds when they doing their scholarly work.

        • Lbj

          Everyone is biased. Even atheist are.

        • Ron

          Yes, that’s true. Atheists are biased towards views that comport with reality.

        • Lbj

          They say this but never offer any evidence or good reasons that atheism comports with reality.

        • hector_jones

          This false objection of yours has been answered many times. The fact that you keep bringing it up tells me you are irrational, wilfully blind, lacking in intelligence, or some combination of the three.

        • Lbj

          I’m not convinced by what I’m hearing because they are weak reasons. If atheism were true then it leads to all kinds of absurdities.

        • wtfwjtd

          And yet you are convinced beyond doubt that the Christian god exists based on no evidence whatsoever? Talk about a double standard!

        • Lbj

          I do have evidence for my beliefs. Not just one piece of evidence but multiple.

        • Greg G.

          Some of us had the same evidence and opinions that you have but we rejected that because it didn’t add up when it was put together.

        • wtfwjtd

          Sure you do, but it’s not evidence you are willing or able to share, is it? I posted the following above, and you just ignored it:

          “The fact of the matter is, Christianity refutes itself with its false claims and unfulfilled promises. Jesus said that whoever believes would do greater miracles than him, a sign of the believer would be to drink poison and not be hurt, and his followers would not die before he returned. Shall I go on? All of these false promises show that Jesus was just another con man, who deluded his followers with whatever nonsense he thought they wanted to hear.”

          I know, I know, you believe because you’ve always believed, not because of reason or evidence, but for emotional reasons. Don’t you ever wonder why Jesus never answers your prayers? Or why you really can’t drink poison?

        • hector_jones

          If atheism were true, it leads to conclusions which you find personally distasteful, not to logical absurdities.

        • Pofarmer

          What kinds of absurdities?

        • Greg G.

          Anything that contradicts his indoctrination is an absurdity.

        • TheNuszAbides

          “holding other thoughts makes me uneasy! ABSURD!”

        • Carol Lynn

          I’m curious. What would you consider a “strong” reason that supports atheism?

        • Pofarmer

          I’m going with willfully ignorant fucking dumbass

        • TheNuszAbides

          damn, that comment right there is Troll Concentrate.

        • wtfwjtd

          We all have our biases, but we are free to take either side of an argument. Christian scholars, OTOH, for the most part, are not.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2013/07/can-christian-scholars-be-objective-2/

          When a man would be fired for advocating a position different from that which his employer is pushing, you are not going to get anything other than blatant bias.

        • Lbj

          No problem with this. Good scholarship can still be done. There are committed atheist who could teach about the Bible. The idea of “disinterested scholarship” is nonsense. The evolutionist who teaches is not disinterested. The same could be said for all kinds of fields.

        • Pofarmer

          “Paul certainly believed Jesus was a historical figure that lived during his lifetime and rose again before he believed in Him.”

          What passages indicate this?

        • MNb

          “That’s news to me that “Archaeology has shown that their stories are not true”. What facts did they show that they were not historical figures?”
          Israeli archeologists like Israel Finkelstein (that man is a genius) has dug the entire Sinai for remnants that could be even vaguely related to Moses and his tribe wandering through the desert. He found zero, nada, zilch.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bible_Unearthed

          At the moment he is trying to date the oldest palace found in Israel; it may be or may not be attributed to King Solomon.

          http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=13&article=3814

          It seems to depend on a few grain seeds:

          http://mainzerbeobachter.com/2012/08/03/goed-nieuws-uit-megiddo/
          http://zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com/2012/08/03/a-tiny-seed/
          Science delivers once again.

        • Greg G.

          Thanks. I always think I could never forget a name like Israel Finkelstein and I can always think of it until I try to say it or type it. I’ve been trying to recall it for a couple fo days now. I saved it to my notes this time.

        • Pofarmer

          Reality? Archaeology, psychology, sociology, geology, astronomy, physics, medicine, morality? Show me any science from the bible that is still relevant today. For at matter, let’s talk about what morality is relevant today. Hell, what religious ceremonies are relevant today.

        • ohnugget001

          “Who has discredited the Bible and what facts have done this?”

          Hello Jay,

          When I was a young man, I was brought up in a fundamentalist, evangelical church. I was a born again Christian who accepted Christ into my heart when I was somewhere around 14 yo. I was a True Believer” and was adamant that that the Bible was the authoritative Word. If science or logic produced a counter-Biblical claim or result, I immediately rejected it in favor of the Biblical interpretation.
          Fortunately, I have always been a voracious reader, one who also loved to debate with family and friends. I was your typical arrogant youth that loved to research a topic and argue the side I believed true. Unfortunately, for my misplaced faith, this led me to discovering the dismaying mass of contradictions in the Bible, the historical claims that it makes that are irrefutably wrong, and even the scientific claims it makes that are clearly now understood to be false. It took some time for me to amass enough of these to actually discard my unsupportable faith, but I did, and it was the most morally and intellectually honest act I have likely ever performed.

          I know that anything that I provide which contradicts your faith will not immediately change your mind. Out of your allegiance to God, you will immediately reject any reason or evidence I provide. You may even ignore the information I provide as not worth your time as it could not possibly be true. Nevertheless, I will provide you links that, if you investigate them, and maintain an open mind, and are willing to accept reason and evidence despite your faith, will challenge your belief system. The amount of evidence against the Bible is overwhelming, but please, do not take my word for it; read your Bible from cover to cover, not just what books and chapters your pastor recommends or that are covered in some Bible study you attend. And read the info in these links. If you find the info I supply to be wrong, point it out and lets investigate it together. Attempt to convince me to return to the flock. Pit your beliefs against mine. I care enough about other people knowing what is true, not just what is useful, to attempt to help you see reason and reality.

          One of the best sources available for Biblical contradictions – the goto source to destroy your faith in the inerrancy of the Bible.
          http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/index.htm

          Want a look at the errors present in just the first book of the Bible?
          http://atheism.about.com/od/Errors-Mistakes-Genesis-Bible/

          An interactive tool to exploring the thousands of errors in the Bible. Yes, thousands.
          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/08/19/an-incredible-interactive-chart-of-biblical-contradictions/

          There’s plenty more resources, and these are widely known outside of the bubble that is Christianity. These should keep you busy destroying your worldview and in the end wondering how you could possibly have missed these things and why did I believe that crap in the first place. There’s little possibility of retaining your belief after reading these sources, Jay, so investigate at your own faith’s peril. I’m not kidding, Jay, if you read this stuff, it will challenge your faith to death. If you want to actually continue a conversation, drop me an email addy and let’s explore the tenacity of your faith together.

        • hector_jones

          It’s an empty promise because there is no One who grants life after death. The burden is on you to demonstrate these things are true.

          And before you insist that the bible is all the proof you need, keep in mind that there are plenty of ‘holy scriptures’ from numerous cultures throughout history that make claims that you don’t accept.

        • Jay

          Christ who was God in the flesh taught there was life after death. He Himself rose from the dead. The gospels are a record of these things and have not been proven to be historically false.

          It is not unreasonable to believe there is life after death. There is nothing illogical about this belief and science has not disproven the afterlife either.

          NDE’s do show there is some kind of existence of men that is not dependent on their physical bodies.

        • 90Lew90

          ND-like experience can be induced in the laboratory, ditto out-of-body experiences. See Kevin Nelson, neuroscientist, ‘The God Impulse: Is Religion Hardwired Into the Brain?’ We know how these things work! Read some!

        • angharad

          I actually kind of had one of these. I got the tunnel with the light at the end and everything. It wasn’t a near death experience though. It was an anoxic brain event brought on by taking a brisk walk with a large foetus sitting on the major artery to my legs…

        • hector_jones

          Christ wasn’t God (prove that he was) and whatever he may have taught about life after death is unsubstantiated. You’ve been told repeatedly that ‘not proven false’ isn’t the test. If that is indeed the test you apply then you have no basis for rejecting Islam, Mormonism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Scientology, or any other religion.

          It is unreasonable and illogical to believe in life after death when there is no evidence for it. Again ‘not disproven’ isn’t the standard for scientific evidence. NDEs prove nothing because in every instance the person involved didn’t die. I’m confident that you know absolutely nothing about any particular NDE and are just playing the standard christian game of saying “NDE” and thinking that constitutes evidence for your outrageous claims.

        • hector_jones

          You are yet another christian who has had all his questions answered elsewhere in these comments, but who persists in acting as if he never got a reply so he just keeps asking the same questions again and again as if that makes the question important.

          How do you cope when a pet dies? Or do you think you are going to see your dog and cat again in heaven too?

        • MNb

          That actually happened to me; my father was brutally murdered more than five years ago; my (atheist) son, then 14 years old, found him. We faced the facts straight in their eyes and accepted them as they are. We started with it about an hour, maybe two hours after my son had found my father. We mourned and above all fostered our memories – we still do.
          Fortunately we didn’t have to bother with “sh*t chistians say” like “Why, god, why? What have I done that you take him away from me? I feel guilt, but what do I have to feel guilty about?”

        • Jay

          Sorry to hear this.
          Your last point is well taken. What do you do with your guilt? What do you do when you have no hope of seeing him again?
          This is why atheism so bankrupt. it can offer no comfort when these things happen. Christianity does offer hope in these situations.

        • gusbovona

          Christianty may offer hope, but so does my magic leprechaun who tells me that he will see his father again. But we would be foolish to believe in that leprechaun unless we had good reasons (beyond the hope he gives) to do so.

          Your entire point about hope is so premature when we disagree as to whether Christianity is true or not. The question of hope has *nothing* to do with whether Christianity is true or not.

        • 90Lew90

          To knock-kneed bedwetters who don’t have the fortitude to face reality. Take an example from my own family story. My brother was still-born, and my mother was a devout catholic. Because he was un-baptised, my mother was not allowed to have him buried in the graveyard — “consecrated” ground. The compromise was that he could be buried at the edge of the graveyard. To my mother’s horror, this turned out to mean that he was literally buried under a hedge. Add to that the fact that she was told that this innocent would not be going to heaven, and was given the cold hard “fact” that the child was now in “limbo”. How comforting.

          It doesn’t end there. Later, my older sister developed Hodgkins lymphoma at the age of 19. She beat the disease three times, got married to a wonderful guy, managed to carry twins for a few weeks from eggs donated by my other sister because her own ovaries were frazzled with radiotherapy, but miscarried. She died aged 29. Far from being a comfort, my mother’s faith plunged her into a deep depression for the rest of her days, which were numbered by a three-year illness with cancer of her own. What “comfort” and “hope” are you talking about?

          The ones in our family who dealt with these tragedies best were the rest of us, who are atheists, including my father. We were more philosophical and less constrained by the implications of the Christian beliefs my mother held. Those beliefs did not “comfort” her, they damn near crushed her. What do you suppose this person should have been? Grateful or something? I’m afraid when you watch someone die, and the indignity of the corpse in death after all the beauty that body and that person brought into the world in life, it’s a rather tall order to ask a person to believe that their essence has simply gone elsewhere.

          What pained my mother most was first the “why, God, why” stuff, having seen two of her children die, and also the guilt brought about by having her faith shaken, because her religious upbringing (she was Irish catholic who would now be in her 80s) was such that to doubt God was itself a Cardinal Sin. That was agonising for her and agonising to watch. Particularly since my mother’s deep grief was only exacerbated by such a load of pie-in-the-sky.

          I may be wrong, but something tells me you’ve had a pretty easy life.

        • Jay

          I have had a good life but I have also experienced tragedies.
          Limbo was used by the Catholic church to try to explain where unbaptized babies went. How the church dealt with your brother and mom is tragic. I wonder if there is more to this.

          Faith can help people deal with death. Its not easy even when you have faith. What would your mom say about the loss of your sister? Did she attribute it to her lack of faith? Did she continue to go to church?

          Depression can be caused by other physical conditions that faith in God may not easily overcome. Sometimes I feel sad and my faith does not seem to make it better. That does not mean my faith is vain.

          It is not unusual for Christians to doubt God at times and to be angry with Him. It is not necessarily a sin to doubt God at times. Its what we do with it that matters most. This is why going to church is so important for Christians. It is here we can find hope and encouragement from others when we don’t have it in ourselves at times.

          How did you deal with these tragedies as an atheist? How did you find comfort and strength to bear these things?

        • 90Lew90

          Shared grief and mutual support from family, support and love from friends, the knowledge that these people live on in my memory, the sense that I had to honour their memory by emerging from grief wiser and more compassionate, and moving on and cherishing life as precious, and the acknowledgement of the simple truths that everything living will at some stage die, that without death life couldn’t be and that in the grand scheme of life, neither I nor they were singled out. The deeper lesson was that it is essential in life to accept great change magnanimously. And yes, my mother did continue to go to church, and she believed until the end, and she took to heart the daft idea that she should “embrace her suffering and offer it up” as sharing in the Passion of Christ. Great thing to tell a depressed bereaved mother, don’t you think?

          A note on that “embrace your suffering” line. That is a line which has caused unspeakable evils carried out by the purveyors of your anti-human religion throughout the ages right down to the fraud, Mother Teresa, who ran homes for children where, in order to help them better embrace their suffering, it was increased, while all the world looked on believing her to be a living saint, under the illusion that she was helping these children. It is a sickening fraud. It is of the type Christopher Hitchens shrewdly pointed out: “You can get away with almost anything if you can just get yourself called ‘Reverend’.”

        • Greg G.

          How did you find comfort and strength to bear these things?

          I heard Chris Spielman, former NFL linebacker whose wife died of breast cancer, was being interviewed at a Golf Tournament to raise money for his foundation that supports breast cancer research. He is a Christian, BTW, but what he said about his daughter was poignant and pertains to how we all should deal with the loss of a loved one. His wife died a few years ago after a twelve year battle with cancer when his daughter was 15. They visited her grave last Christmas Day. His daughter said that it was the first time she wasn’t sad for the loss of her mother but appreciated how lucky she was to have had her relationship with her while she lived.

        • MNb

          What really has surprised me – before my father was murdered I didn’t really believe it – is that psychology, ie the scientific method, helps. Remain aware of the positive things in your life, keep on trying to improve things, both for yourself and the people around you. Since then the bond between me and my son has become stronger; if there is anything I feel guilty about it is this – that my father needed to die to make this possible.
          Obviously no god had anything to do with this.

        • Pofarmer

          i intend to write a longer post, but I am writing this as a place holder because, well, disqus sucks. I’ve just seen so many times in my wifes family where faith was a hindrance or a confounding influence rather than a help.

        • hector_jones

          Christianity offers hope, but it doesn’t offer reality. Hope all you want, but you will not be seeing your loved ones again after you or they die. Deal with it.

        • hector_jones

          To me the Christian ‘hope’ argument is very much like an argument for fake lotteries. Lotteries offer hope that people can win a lot of money and solve many of their problems, so they are a good thing. The problem though is that we can prove that lotteries really exist and really pay out money. With the afterlife, we can prove no such thing. There is also the problem that people can end up spending a lot of their money on lottery tickets and never win anything. The afterlife is a lottery with no proof that anyone ever won or got a payout, like the lottery in the book 1984, but with a heavy investment required from players. We have a name for fake lotteries – frauds.

        • wtfwjtd

          At least with lotteries, we know for a fact that a few people win them. This is not always pie-in-the-sky either–a good lesson in “be careful what you wish for, you just might get it”.

          The Christian promise of life after death, though, is false hope, and fraudulent. Not a shred of evidence exists to back the assertion that belief in Jesus results in a trip to afterlife of any kind, much less paradise. Christianity is nothing but a cruel hoax.

        • hector_jones

          Agreed. Notice how Christians like to say that their religion doesn’t promise ‘an afterlife’ it merely offers ‘hope’. Imagine a lottery ticket salesman saying he definitely can’t guarantee you will win the lottery, and he can’t prove to you that anyone has ever won the lottery at all, but you should keep buying tickets because what he’s really selling you is ‘hope’. Everyone can see that this is a fraud.

        • wtfwjtd

          Great point. And also imagine, this salesman not just encouraging people to buy a few tickets, but to invest their life savings in buying tickets for a lottery that no one has ever been shown to win. That’s the “promise” of Christianity, and unfortunately the gullibility of its followers, in a nutshell.

        • MNb

          That’s why christianity is more like a fake lottery – it promises to pay prices, but there is exactly zero evidence that it actually does.
          I smell a nice BobS article here.

        • wtfwjtd

          Bob’s pretty sharp at math, that would be a great article!

        • Lbj

          Most of what we all believe is based on authority. The authority for Christians is Christ who rose from the dead and said their was life after death.

          The atheist just asserts that there is no life after death by his own limited authority that assumes it has exhaustive knowledge of what happens after death.

        • wtfwjtd

          So, where does this Christ live? Please arrange a meeting for me, I need to meet him ftf.

        • Lbj

          This example does not fit with Christianity. Christ is the one who said we survive death. He died and rose again Himself. Christians believe in life after death based on the authority of Christ.

        • hector_jones

          Christ either never existed, or if he did, the stories told about him are bogus. At worst, he was a con man. He has no actual authority. Stop asserting that he rose from the dead. I need evidence.

        • Lbj

          No reputable scholar does not believe Jesus did not exist. In fact, Jesus is one of the best attested figures of the ancient world.

          Read the gospels and tell me if this is the story of a con man. This is an absurd claim.

          There are a number of pieces of evidence for the resurrection of Christ in the New Testament. I Corinthians 15 lays out the eyewitness evidence in about 10 verses.

          Here is another that is more modern by a lawyer named Simon Greenleaf who set out to disprove the resurrection.
          “Greenleaf, one of the principle founders of the Harvard Law School, originally set out to disprove the biblical testimony concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He was certain that a careful examination of the internal witness of the Gospels would dispel all the myths at the heart of Christianity. But this legal scholar came to the conclusion that the witnesses were reliable, and that the resurrection did in fact happen.”
          http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/jesus/greenleaf.html

        • hector_jones

          I’ve seen all these arguments about a thousand times by now. They are garbage. If you find them convincing, good for you. But I am willing to bet big money that you came to believe in Christianity first, then decided these arguments were convincing, after you were already convinced. So do me the favor of not insulting my intellect by claiming that anyone but a true believing christian could find any of this persuasive.

        • Lbj

          I was raised in a Christian home. As an adult who has studied this I do find it convincing.

          How could Greenleaf, one of the principle founders of the Harvard Law School, not a Christian at the time, come back a believer after looking at the evidence? Something you are missing convinced him.
          Surely you are not going to tell me he was stupid man who believed in myths are you?

        • hector_jones

          I was raised in a Christian home. As an adult who has studied this I do find it convincing.

          Exactly.

          How could Greenleaf, one of the principle founders of the Harvard Law
          School, not a Christian at the time, come back a believer after looking
          at the evidence?

          Give me evidence that Greenleaf was not a Christian at the time. Given the time period in which he lived, this is unlikely. But if he wasn’t, prove to me that he became one by ‘looking at the evidence’. (Do not refer me to the wikipedia entries about him, as they are terrible.)

        • wtfwjtd

          Simon Greenleaf was just another apologist who employed the same old nonsense of trying to repackage his BS by combining it with his profession, hoping that no one would notice it was still the same old refuted arguments.
          The fact of the matter is, Christianity refutes itself with its false claims and unfulfilled promises. Jesus said that whoever believes would do greater miracles than him, a sign of the believer would be to drink poison and not be hurt, and his followers would not die before he returned. Shall I go on? All of these false promises show that Jesus was just another con man, who deluded his followers with whatever nonsense he thought they wanted to hear.

        • Greg G.

          No reputable scholar does not believe Jesus did not exist. In fact, Jesus is one of the best attested figures of the ancient world.

          Do any of those reputable scholars have proof that Jesus existed? I have been asking for this for several months. Will you provide me one please? It always seems to me that the evidence that the scholarly consensus that Jesus existed is based on is the scholarly consensus itself.

        • TheNuszAbides

          they must be positively fuming that they can’t pull anything over on wikipedia [for too long at a time]…

        • Carol Lynn

          One I get through the bad grammar and plethora of negatives in your opening, the sentence says, “Reputable scholars believe Jesus existed.” By that logic, any scholar whose research leads them to a different conclusion is not a ‘reputable scholar’ to you. Of course, considering your level of discourse, I have no doubt that you are merely parroting what you have been told and have not yourself read or evaluated any of the research by anyone on either side of the issue.

        • Lbj

          Now that you have berated my bad grammar why don’t you give me some solid reasons to believe in atheism or why Christianity is false. I don’t want speculations and assertions. Some sound reasons would help. Can you do that?

        • gusbovona

          As Christopher Hitchens says, Christianity is absurd because you have to believe that God created us sick but commands us to be well (especially when considering that he could have given us free will but made us incapable of sinning, like God has free will but can’t sin).

        • Lbj

          We may be sick but we still are an amazing creation.

          Someday God is going to create a world where sickness, sin and death will not be part of life.

        • gusbovona

          You are ignoring the point: Christianity is absurd, it makes no sense. If you don’t agree, you have to explain how being made sick but being commanded to be well makes sense. It’s one or the other (or retreat into denial).

          You asked for why Christianity is false. I offered you an aspect of Christianity that makes no sense. What else do you need?

        • hector_jones

          Someday? What’s he waiting for? Hasn’t figured out how to do it yet? What’s your source for this news item?

        • Carol Lynn

          Have you been reading this thread or do you just skip over the parts that make you uncomfortable because they contain information that contradicts what someone has told you about god? This thread is crammed full of sound reasons why Christianity is not reliable. I suggest you go back and read them this time rather than demand that they be spelled out for you again.

          The difference between an assertion and a sound reason is the quality of the evidence that supports it. You have already stated that you dismiss any evidence that does not support your assertions. I’d like you to show that you have given any of the sound reasons that contradict your assertions a thorough study. Cite your sources and spell out your reasoning. Can you do that?

        • Ron

          By definition, theism means belief in gods. And atheism, derived from the greek atheos (godless, without gods), means lack of belief in gods. In other words, these terms describe whether or not someone entertains a belief in the existence of gods—and nothing more.

          Atheism isn’t a world view, or a philosophy, or a religion, or a belief system; it’s an answer to a single proposition: Do you believe in the existence of gods? (To which the answer is: No!)

          Assigning additional meanings to these concepts not only confuses the issue but serves to annoy atheists—i.e. non-believers—who’ve already addressed this issue on numerous occasions.

        • Lbj

          So what is the atheist left with? What is his worldview that explains the world and everything in it?

        • gusbovona

          Atheists are “left with”

          1. Commitment to best procedures for determining what’s true;

          2. Commitment to revising those procedures, as results warrant;

          3. Living in the real world, not a delusion because we were raised that way or it makes us feel good;

          4. Comfort with uncertainty when we don’t know the answer;

          5. The honesty to admit that we don’t know the answer.

          But aside from that, not much.

        • MNb

          Science.

        • Lbj

          What does science tell you what your purpose is in this world? What does science tell you about justice?

        • MNb

          1. Death. That’s the problem with you christians, isn’t it? You emotionally can’t put up with the fact that some day you won’t be here anymore. Sorry, Justas, if you want more purpose in your life you will have to formulate it yourself. I have done so with some success.
          2. That justice is man made.

          In addition to my previous comment: one other point believers like to make is that the Bible tells such an awesome story of origin.
          Forget it. Science, beginning with the Big Bang, via cosmology, geology, abiogenesis, evolution, the study of prehistory, history arriving at today with you and I having this nice conversation, tells a story that beats the crap out of any Holy Book.

        • Lbj

          Thank you. If you rely on science to give you purpose you find it cannot. You have to lie to yourself it has a purpose when “reality tells you it does not.
          Same for justice. It is man who determines what is right or wrong. The Nazis made just laws that justified the holocaust. The terrorist believes crashing planes into buildings is just.
          In your world you cannot these things are really wrong. All you can say is that you don’t like them.
          What a worldview this is…..

        • MNb

          “You have to lie to yourself”
          One of the things I really like about christians like you is how they tend to forget the perhaps best and most important thing their big hero Jesus said. It can be found in Matthew 7:1.
          Who are you to judge if I have to lie to myself if I can find purpose for my life? Where is the lie when I postulate that a happy life is to be preferred to an unhappy one and that I don’t need god to recognize this? Where is the lie when I derive purpose for my life from this statement, that I suspect is accepted by the vast majority of believers as well?

          “The Nazis made just laws that justified the holocaust.”
          I still can reject those laws as unjust, just like I can maintain that Justin Bieber makes music that sounds awful to my old ears.

          “are really wrong”
          The not really wrong fallacy is just a variation of the No True Scotsman.

          “All you can say is that you don’t like them.”
          And a little more: just like I can explain why I don’t like Justin Bieber I can explain why I don’t like those nazi laws. It’s very easy actually. Keyword: happiness. But yeah, if you are one of those believers who think happiness is irrelevant I only can shrug and think: “what a worldview Justas has …..” Just like I can only think “what a lack of taste this teenage girl has, adoring Justin Bieber.” But as soon as you accept that being happy is to be preferred to being unhappy you have made your god superfluous. Kudos to you if he helps you to pursue that goal, but I don’t need him.

          “What a worldview this is…..”
          Thanks for confirming that you are only a christian because you can’t cope with the hard facts our indifferent reality presents us. I can. So you are the one who deserves to be pities.

          “The terrorist believes crashing planes into buildings is just.”
          If it weren’t so tragic this would be funny – typically these terrorists claim to execute the will of god, just like you.

          “The Nazis made just laws that justified the holocaust.”
          Are you aware that the nazi Paul Blobel, who was in command of Einsatzgruppe, at his trial at Nürnberg justified his crimes in exactly the same way as WL Craig justifies the Kanaanite Holocaust?
          What a worldview …..

        • hector_jones

          And the Christian believes that God allowing a 4 year to die from cancer is just, because God has his reasons, whatever they are. This means it’s ok for the Christian to allow that 4 year old to die from cancer because it’s God’s will.

        • TheNuszAbides

          no, you’re confusing a particularly toothless brand of relativism for “relying on science”.

        • MNb

          As a lawyer Stephen Greenleaf is about as relevant for History of Antiquity as you for Quantum Electro Dynamics.

        • TheNuszAbides

          “No reputable scholar does not believe Jesus did not exist.”

          do you know how ‘reputations’ have worked throughout human history?

          can you clarify when there was a glorious window of all information on a topic being completely accepted by everyone involved with no pressure imposed for any reason other than Seeking The Truth?

          quit overstating your case and you’ll be taken more seriously.

        • MNb

          This example does fit with christianity. The organizer of the fake lottery is the one who said he would pay prices. He himself had dollar billets in his hands. Ticket buyers believe the price will be paid on the authority of the organizer of the fake lottery.

        • TheNuszAbides

          authority derived from: various syntheses of scriptures selected (mostly) ages ago when translations were even less exact/consistent
          +
          theological decisions/interpretations reached centuries-to-millennia after the supposed events in question.

          even setting aside that the only nigh-objectively-valid authority is of a developed person over an undeveloped person (do you see the potential for abuse yet?), there is no authority inherent to this. it’s wishful thinking and Doing As You’re Told Without Question.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Great observation. Perhaps I’ll do a bit of research and post about it.

        • Lbj

          How do you know you will never see your loved ones again? Surely you are not going to tell me its illogical.

        • hector_jones

          I don’t ‘know’ it. But I have ZERO evidence that I will. Hence it would be foolish of me to conclude that I will see them again. The logical conclusion is that I won’t. Why is it that you fail time and time again to comprehend basic reasoning about evidence?

        • TheNuszAbides

          training.
          and lack of training.

        • Greg G.

          It’s not that anyone wants to never see them again, if it happens, then GREAT! But if we don’t assume that will happen, we enjoy them more in the meantime.

        • MNb

          I don’t feel guilt, so I don’t have to anything with it.
          You really enjoy asking questions I already answered, don’t you?

          “What do you do when you have no hope of seeing him again?”
          Face the facts, mourn, foster our memories. The only bankruptcy here is in your religiously twisted mind.

        • TheNuszAbides

          “Sorry to hear this … [your views are] bankrupt.”

          i hope nobody is paying you to proselytize.

        • Greg G.

          Do you think all your loved ones will make it to heaven? How are you going to feel about them being tortured forever? Won’t you feel like the man with a hundred sheep and one lost in Matthew 18:12?

          But there is supposed to be no sorrow in heaven, only joy. That means that you will be happy your loved ones are getting the eternal torture they deserve. When you get to that heaven, your empathy and love will be left at the door. You won’t have any humanity.

          Heaven sounds better in theory until you try to think it through.

          So without religion, we enjoy our loved ones while we can, grieve when we lose them, but we don’t have to worry about watching them fry for eternity like Christians do.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Without God there is no hope.

          The Hindus disagree. Sounds like their case is as good as yours—just a blatant claim without evidence. If it’s good enough for you, I guess it’s good enough for the Hindus.

          I don’t care about other religions except Christianity.

          And the Muslims don’t care about other religions than Islam. Does this get us anywhere besides religionists who are pigheaded?

          Christianity does give reasons why the world is screwed up.

          Drop acid and you’ll probably come up with another set. That doesn’t mean it’s well grounded in evidence.

          Atheism cannot tell us why nor can it give any hope.

          Atheism doesn’t try to. Science, however, is the only vehicle with a track record for actually telling us about reality. Christianity can only dream to be as useful.

          As for hope, no, atheism and Christianity both can’t give us absolute or transcendental hope. But such a hope is a fantasy. The ordinary kind (use a dictionary) is quite reachable by Humanism, for example.

          Science doesn’t tell us why the the world is screwed up

          What problem did you have in mind? Overpopulation? Climate Change? Deforestation? Science has quite a bit to say about these problems.

          nor can it give you meaning.

          So you’ve given up on “God exists” and are just arguing that Christianity is useful?

        • Jay

          What hope do the Hindus claim to have?

          In our discussions here I will defend Christianity only. To try to defend all religions would be absurd since they have contradictory claims and beliefs.

          Thank you for admitting there is no hope in atheism.
          Science is not “the only vehicle with a track record for actually telling us about reality.” Science can only hope to tell you how the world world works but cannot tell why their is a world to begin with nor tell you why you are here or what happens to you after you die.

          Science cannot tell you why people are dishonest, murder each other, abuse each other, lonely, etc. Science cannot tell you why men are evil and do evil things.

          Christianity gives meaning to life. It tells me my life has an ultimate purpose. It gives hope beyond this world.

        • gusbovona

          “Christianity gives meaning to life. It tells me my life has an ultimate purpose. It gives hope beyond this world.”

          That would be great, except no one has ever been able to make a good case that Christianity is true (I’m not talking about obvious facts in the bible like the city of Jerusalem existed, etc.).

          Even if something makes you feel good, gives you hope, etc., that’s no reason to believe in it. You need actual, good reasons, and there just aren’t enough for Christianity.

        • TheNuszAbides

          yeah, i wish those who are at least making the effort to argue in the first place would just drop the “actual references to actual territory that actually existed… when the scriptures were written!” babble… just amounts to evidence that those doing the arguing don’t know what an argument is… or how one makes it cogent…

        • Pofarmer

          Get a clue. There is no “why” to the world we live in, at least not anything discernable. Psychology and sociology and nuerology can, indeed, tell us many things about human behavior and why we act the way we do. Christianity lies to you and gives you false hope. Sorry.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          What hope do the Hindus claim to have?

          Don’t you know about Hindu ideas of the supernatural, afterlife, reincarnation, and all that?

          In our discussions here I will defend Christianity only.

          Avoid the problem inherent in Pascal’s Wager—it also focuses only on Christianity vs. atheism, and that’s where it fails.

          To try to defend all religions would be absurd since they have contradictory claims and beliefs.

          And what does that tell you about humanity’s desire to invent religions?

          Thank you for admitting there is no hope in atheism.

          Thank you for putting words in my mouth.

          There is no hope in chemistry, either. That’s why I reject it—indeed all of science, since it has no hope.

          Science is not “the only vehicle with a track record for actually telling us about reality.”

          Perhaps I’ve forgotten some. Tell me what you had in mind and how that avenue will convince us that Christianity is true.

          Science can on ly hope to tell you how the world world works but cannot tell why their is a world to begin with nor tell you why you are here or what happens to you after you die.

          Why is there a world? Science sez: celestial mechanics, Big Bang cosmology, and so on.

          Why am I here? Science sez: biology, anthropology.

          What happens when you die? Science sez: nothing.

          It’s really not so hard.

          Science cannot tell you why men are evil and do evil things.

          What kind of explanation are you looking for besides what biology tells us about the social traits of various species??

          Christianity gives meaning to life. It tells me my life has an ultimate purpose. It gives hope beyond this world.

          Alcohol gives some people meaning. I bet the Jim Jones cultists felt tremendous meaning.

          As for ultimate purpose, I encourage you to get a guarantee on that one. And when you get evidence for it, let me know.

          Or are you saying that all you care about is hope, with or without evidence?

        • TheNuszAbides

          “What happens when you die? Science sez: nothing.”

          oh come on, there’s organ donation, or ash & bone fragments, or compost, or embalming fluid… or relics! oh, bygone glory days…

        • TheNuszAbides

          “What hope do the Hindus claim to have?”

          well, that “not caring about other religions” sure lasted a while.

          “Thank you for admitting there is no hope in atheism. ”

          now you’re just being a smug prick. stop wasting everyone’s time and either read and reflect and respond, or pick another topic and see who’s still interested.

        • TheNuszAbides

          “I don’t care about other religions except Christianity.”

          as though that weren’t cringingly obvious to everyone already. if you really thought that needed to be stated, you must not give anyone here any credit for having the ability to read and deduce and observe (on the same day!). you honestly should get out more, mentally speaking.

          (plus it’s probably not even technically true. if you care enough about how threatening or devoid of [fill in thing you mistakenly believe is missing] atheism is, enough to keep posting your disrespectful and oblivious comments in this thread, you might even get misty-eyed for all the worst or least-relevant reasons over 9-11 or the Crusades or the Inquisition or… well, those are probably the only ones you’ve even barely heard of, going by what you opened by saying you’d never seen.)

        • 90Lew90

          I think the best way to begin tackling this “screwed up” world is to better understand the protagonists — ourselves (if we’re being extremely egotistical and myopic). You know, our strengths and weaknesses and proclivities. One of those proclivities is to adopt spurious beliefs about ourselves and “our” world, which tend to exacerbate our egotism. The number one culprit in purveying such beliefs historically — ignorance on a monumentally harmful scale — is religion. Give up your “hope” (the self-serving conceit at the bottom of all religion reveals itself again) and start dealing with the reality that you’re not a piece of shit under yet another fictitious god and to un-screw the world is entirely in *our* hands. I can forgive an ostrich. You people…?

        • Jay

          If atheism is true then you have no more value than ostrich. Nor does atheism offer any hope.

        • 90Lew90

          Atheism is simply a rejection of the gods of the books. The gods of the books are done with, or should be. There is no excuse for a person in a developed country with access to the whole raft of human knowledge to continue to cling to their belief in their god, other than that it serves them well. That is the very epitome of self-serving egotism and wilful ignorance, and to me it’s unforgiveable. It is unforgiveable because religion, looked at squarely, has overwhelmingly been a source of harm and ignorance in the world, and self-serving people like you would perpetuate it.

          To add insult to this injury, it presents itself in the language of “wisdom” and “love” when in reality, it is anything but. It is politics and power hiding behind a big smelly grey cloud of incense. Atheism, you might find if you pulled your head out of the sand, sharpens the value you hold of life itself in the here-and-now, whereas Christianity in particular cheapens it. Doctrinally. “Take no care for the morrow.” What rot! I don’t need to “hope” for a paradise in some “afterlife” when I appreciate today, and working with and among and on behalf of my fellow human beings and all the life we share on this planet *now*.

          You on the other hand, are a member of what is basically a death cult which is distinctly unhealthy and has only been reined in after much bravery and much spilling of blood by people who managed, against all the odds, to wrest power from your stinking religion. And I bet you have the nerve to think Muslims are crazy.

          Given that we live in an ecosystem of co-dependency, whether or not I have more “value” (how do you quantify that?) than an ostrich is indeed debateable. But what I do know is that I would spare a few ostriches to protect a human baby, given that the baby and I are members of the most outstanding species ever to have evolved in the known universe, and what’s more, we couldn’t be more closely related in evolutionary terms, and that it is in my instinct as a human being to feel a strong emotional connection with my kin.

          Your god, on the other hand, is pretty indifferent to them, as it is indifferent to all the rest of its “creation”. Give me a break.

        • Jay

          Atheism is bankrupt. It explains nothing and does not lead to increased knowledge or a better life.

          If you fully embraced your atheism you would despair because you would know your life is meaningless and has no ultimate purpose.

          What has atheism done for the past 2000 years to make the world a better place?

          Christianity on the other hand has for the past 2000 years has benefited mankind by establishing charities, education for the poor and cared for the sick.

        • 90Lew90

          Christianity has benefited mankind for the past 2,000 years? Pull your head out. Christianity, when it really took hold, plunged the world into the Dark Ages for about 1,400 years. Charities, education and care for the poor and the sick? Christians rejected every medical advance up until the mid-19th Century as interfering in their god’s “will”, from surgery to anaesthetic to psychology. Where we now have healthcare, under Christianity we had demonic possession and witches and people suffering the wrath of your god rather than common or garden illnesses which could be treated and cured, and diseases which could be eradicated. Christianity has been a millstone around humanity’s neck.

          Apart from that (and I note that you haven’t taken on a single one of my points yet), Christianity hijacks and parastises the basic human impulse to goodness and care for the self and others. It debases the value we should put on ourselves, from which flows proper, deeper care for others. It teaches that we are a pile of steaming crud and we need to supplicate and grovel for some sort of relief from our shittiness in a non-existent afterlife.

          Education existed before Christianity and was of a much better quality. See the Greeks, the Romans and the Eastern traditions.

          Atheism makes no positive statements, so it appears you don’t even know what it is. It is simply a rejection of the positive claims you make for the existence of your god. Claims which are, to use your own term, bankrupt. You say it doesn’t lead to increased knowledge? I would beg to differ, because people in the grip of religious belief are over a barrel in terms of what knowledge they can accept. The atheist is opened up to that fundamental basic wellspring of knowledge: curiosity. Moreover, it is curiosity without fear. That condition of the Western mind since the late 17th Century when Christianity’s dominance began finally to be thrown off has led to an exponential explosion in knowledge.

          But you choose not to see that, because you choose hokum. And you choose hokum because, as you admit, that makes you feel better. You should be ashamed of yourself.

        • Jay

          Christianity is not the cause of the dark ages. I know of no historian that makes that claim.

          Look in the early centuries and you will see Christians ministry to the sick and educating the poor. It was the monks who copied and saved many of the great works of antiquity. These are all historical facts. Many of the great universities in the US were founded by Christians.
          Many of the early scientists were Christians.

          You will need to back your assertion that “Christians rejected every medical advance up until the mid-19th Century as interfering in their god’s “will”, from surgery to anaesthetic to psychology.” I have never seen this claim.

          I know atheism makes no positive statements about anything. Atheism doesn’t open up anything. Like I said, its bankrupt. That’s why you can’t tell me what positive impact atheism has had for the past 2000 years. There is none to be had.

        • gusbovona

          “That’s why you can’t tell me what positive impact atheism has had for the past 2000 years. There is none to be had.”

          That only matters if you assume that the reason for atheism’s impact – great, small, non-existent, whatever – is due to something inherent in atheism that will always make its impact negligible or whether whatever lack of impact is due to circumstantial factors that could change in the future.

          In simpler words, how could atheism have a great impact in the West when so much of the West has been in the grip of the delusion of Christianity for so many centuries?

        • 90Lew90

          Atheism is an expression of doubt. Doubt has given us untold wonders. Disciplined doubt has been the most inspiring, propelling force in the human mind from antiquity (think Socrates), through the Middle Ages (think Descartes) to modern science. Atheism is simply an expression of that very healthy frame of mind: doubt — the sceptical, testing, unbelieving, wondering frame of mind which has produced every bit of knowledge worth having. Contrast that with faith. Then we’re getting somewhere when we’re answering the “what-has-atheism-done” question. That’s not the question the Christian should be asking. It’s sleight-of-hand (if they know what they’re doing) or else it’s a question from ignorance.

        • Jay

          You should doubt atheism because there are no facts to support it. You assume God does not exist and by doing so are forced to believe all kinds of ridiculous things about the world and yourself.

          Science did not come from atheism. Rather it was the Christian worldview that says that God created the world and it is man’s responsibility to understand the creation He made and be in awe of it.

        • Pofarmer

          Jay, if you believe half of what you write, you are simply a fuckin idiot.AY,J

        • Jay

          I believe it all and I’m I must be a pretty smart idiot since no one here has refuted me yet :)

        • 90Lew90

          What?! Guffaw! Dunning-Kruger in full effect! GUFFAW!!! Fuckin idiot it is then!

        • 90Lew90

          What ridiculous things am I forced to believe? (That’s rich coming from a Christian!) Are you trying to conflate atheism with nihilism again? Haven’t I told you a number of times now that they’re not the same thing and one does not follow from the other?

          Thanks for parroting the factoid I gave you about modern science initially being an endeavour to know God’s work. You should have included that I also said modern science pointed to the claims of theism being utter bunk. Science has rendered atheism the only intellectually respectable position to take.

          Atheism is a rejection of the religions of the book. We have perfectly good grounds for taking such a position (indeed, we have no ground whatsoever for accepting theism). My position on the existence of a god is that if there is one, it is unknowable, and therefore imponderable, and therefore doesn’t bear thinking about. That is not to rule out the possibility entirely and it is consistent with everything I’ve said.

        • Jay

          Ridiculous things you are forced to believe is that you are an accident, a meat machine that has no ultimate purpose. It are forced to believe that our world is just a combination of “just right coincidences” (that are mathematically so improbable as to be impossible) that makes our lives possible.

          Do you believe that modern science has disproven God or that God is unnecessary to explain reality?

          What are your “perfectly good grounds” for rejecting theism? Can you give me a couple of examples?

        • 90Lew90

          Improbable is not the same as impossible. What “ultimate purpose” do I need? What “ultimate purpose” do you have that I don’t?

          Did you ever think of your own need to believe you have a major role in the universe, and in the eyes of its “creator”, is a pretty monumental arrogance on your part? I mean, just how conceited do you need to be? These things are explained satisfactorily in various scientific disciplines. They’re wide open for you to go and look at how they work. They’re not on some high shelf.

          I’m not going to flog a dead horse by addressing your
          second ridiculous question. I’ve already given you my position on the existence of god.

          Likewise I’ve already answered your third, a number of times now. But you seem intent on not paying any attention to the responses given to you, and instead just keep issuing the same inane questions, like some Christian bot on a loop. What’s the point in formulating yet another answer for you to just ignore it? Not only is that rude, but if it’s true that you really don’t grasp that your questions have been answered, repeatedly, then you’re too dumb to bother with. Sorry if that’s harsh, but that’s how it is.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          Come on, man. Do I have to go the painfully obvious route of mentioning all those pagan Greeks who studied nature and engaged in what we now call science? Who all preceded Christianity by the way. I’m not sure why it’s harder to believe or understand that e=mc^2 just because rather than e=mc^2 because an all-powerful being said so. There are many aspiring scientists who don’t say, “I want to discover something new about the world. Oh, darn! I don’t believe that some intelligent being created everything, so I guess I can’t do science!” and proceed to do science.

          I think what you’re doing is trying to make a subtle appeal to atheists’ general proclivity towards science and saying “Hey Christianity is responsible for this!” in an attempt to make your religion seem like it’s what atheists are attracted to.

        • TheNuszAbides

          at this point it’s either that or actually follow through on one of the more nuance-able doctrines that ever managed to survive: that we’re all imperfect and can be fooled in so many ways…

        • Jay

          When Christianity started it engaged other belief systems and won. Why don’t the atheist engage the Christians with better arguments from atheism so as to free us from the “grip of the delusion of Christianity for so many centuries?”

        • gusbovona

          Christianity “won” not necessarily because it is true.

          Trust me, atheist arguments are superior, but even the best, healthiest seed in the world will not grow unless the ground into which it is planted is capable of receiving what the seed has to offer. All the atheist can do is to plant the seed and hope that the soil is fertile enough.

        • Jay

          What positive arguments can you give me that leads you to believe atheism is true?

        • gusbovona

          The atheist argument is not that atheism is true, but that the argument for Christianity (as well as other religions) are not good enough to warrant belief.

          I hope you understand that the burden of proof is properly on each religion, not atheism, to show that it is correct. If you don’t understand why, please let me know and I’ll explain why.

        • MNb

          Still it would be nice if we could provide positive arguments for atheism. I think I can; see above.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i seriously doubt that would result in Jay accepting the terms. ideological primacy is drowning out anything resembling something as baseline as “human thought” or “critical reason”.

        • MNb

          1) Interacting with our material reality requires material means. Immaterial entities like your god don’t have such means by definition.
          2) Materialism leads to atheism. Materialism results not in a perfect, but in a coherent and consistent worldview. It provides a reliable method to separate correct views from incorrect ones (see Popper’s falsifiability) and hence increases its credibility. It has a mechanism for self-correction.
          Dualism, which all religions depend on, does not provide any method to separate correct views from incorrect ones. Dualism is not capable of arguing that for instance the Resurrection is an incorrect claim while Mohammed riding the sky on his horse from Mekka to Jerusalem is a correct one.

        • TheNuszAbides

          “Dualism, which all religions depend on, does not provide any method to separate correct views from incorrect ones. ”

          well, but any number of apologists/reactionaries think “It’s Divine Writ!” or “our kind, wise, bearded pastor taught us…” are ‘methods’.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i guess it’s nice that you’re technically asking questions, but you really should re-read everything above from Lew, MNb and Greg at the very least, because you’re not grasping the function or identity or significance of atheism in any useful way.
          read slowly. do it again.

        • 90Lew90

          If you call what the Christian mob did to Hypatia, for instance, “competing” and “winning”, then I’m afraid you’re rather warped. And pretty insufferably ignorant of the history of your own faith.

        • hector_jones

          If by ‘engaged with’ other belief systems you mean ‘used the power of the state to oppress’ other belief systems then you would be closer to the truth.

          But I know christians love to teach their children that their religion won out because the truth of it was just so darned overwhelming to people. If you read actual history and pay attention to it you’ll see how false this is. For one thing it doesn’t explain how large areas of the world that were christian for centuries ended up muslim, unless you are going to argue that the truth of Islam was even more compelling to Christians in places like Egypt. That’s what Muslims argue.

        • TheNuszAbides

          wow. if you think that there really was (or even is, today) no other factor at work besides “belief systems engage each other and the most coherent(/righteous/compelling/et al.) one wins”, you’re as naive as people who think/thought of judicial combat as a valid method to determine truth or justice (not just a cover for Killing-Makes-Right or History is Written by the Winners).

        • 90Lew90

          I don’t know what history you’re reading but I’d say it’s not a long shot to guess you’re not reading very widely at all. Fact is, between the 4th and 18th centuries, the Western world went down the tube because of the grip Christianity had.

          Look at any human history and you will find care for the sick and the poor and attempts at medicine. Look at Ayurveda, which is ancient. Ditto Chinese medicine. They neither knew nor cared about the Christian god, and yet, there were people endeavouring to relieve the suffering of others. That is human. It comes from no gods. You can find it in even the remotest tribes in the Amazon, who learned to use plant concoctions for pain relief and as antiseptics, even though they didn’t know how they actually worked.

          Ancient knowledge and thought — irony of ironies — which ended up preserving Christianity, chiefly that of Plato and Aristotle, where *not* preserved by Christians but by Arabs. That thought was reintroduced to the Christian West by Arabs. Suck that up. Christians rejected and forgot about classical thought, hence the Dark Ages. Augustine knew a bit of Plato. Classical thought didn’t return (to save Christianity’s ass) until Aquinas, and Aquinas used Greek thought to make Christianity intellectually respectable. In between, there were the Dark Ages. Christianity is plagiarism upon plagiarism for the simple fact that there is no intellectual rigour to be had from the Bible and the only wisdom it holds can be found in any human canon.

          You keep talking about atheism as if it is a positive position. The ‘a-‘ in ‘a-theism’ means “without”. Yours is the positive position, with your ‘theism’. Think about it this way: If we were to draw out where atheism comes from, we might say it springs from doubt. If you try for a little while to meditate on what comes from *doubt* you might come to realise that *doubt* is the wellspring of curiosity, which is in turn the wellspring of experiment, which is in turn the wellspring of knowledge.

          Contrast that with your *faith*. Faith is what is demanded of a mind which must necessarily be closed. End of story. I know which I prefer.

        • Jay

          If “Faith is what is demanded of a mind which must necessarily be closed.” then how was it that many of the great scientists of the past 500 years where Christians? How was it possible for these men to make such great discoveries and inventions if their minds were closed?

        • gusbovona

          I’m sure you mean that question rhetorically, but the irony is that one could answer it as a legitimate, scientific question.

          Newton had perhaps the greatest mind that ever lived, demonstrably, but he also believed in all sorts of insane ideas, only some of which were religious.

          The facts on the ground show us that people can compartmentalize their rationality between different spheres.

        • 90Lew90

          That some of the great scientists of the past 500 years were Christians matters not a jot. I suppose you’re thinking of Newton, for instance. The fact is that because of Christian dominance, and the peril that could befall a person who openly rejected Christianity, Christianity was the default position. Newton was also an alchemist. It does as much good for the modern-day alchemist to raise that fact as an endorsement for alchemy as it does you as an endorsement for your faith. Since those men believed, initially, their investigations were to try to better know God’s work. What they ended up finding was that practically everything that had been claimed for your god could not be true, and the reaction of organised religion was to try to crush their endeavours (and indeed them).

        • TheNuszAbides

          their faith was not absolute. for which i will always be thankful.

        • TheNuszAbides

          once every few years i irrationally yearn for a “+Billion-Upvote” button. this is one of those times.

          really the ultimate kicker, where all topic-drifty quibbling begins and ends: “the only wisdom it holds can be found in any human canon.”

        • MNb

          “Christianity is not the cause of the dark ages.”
          That’s correct. It did exactly zilch to improve earthly life as well though. Also note how inconsistent you are. Above you write:

          “the world is so screwed up”
          Well, that is the medieval world view, when Europe was 100% christian. Now you claim:

          “Christians ministry to the sick and educating the poor. It was the monks who copied and saved many of the great works of antiquity.”
          Which implies that the world now is less screwed up than in The Middle Ages. So what is it?

          1. Either our 21st Century world isn’t that screwed up after all and there is correlation (for the moment I put the question about causation aside) between secularism and the world getting less screwed up;
          2. Or our 21st Century world is as screwed up as the Middle Ages (if not more), with 100% christianity in Europe, and that christian ministry you are so proud of is a total failure.

          You can’t have both. Or rather you can, because it adds to our fine collection of “Sh*t christians say” “and don’t live up to”.

        • Jay

          The world has changed since the Middle ages and in some cases for the better. In some cases not.

          The world is a far more dangerous place than the Middle Ages. More people have died by wars in the past couple of hundred years than in the Middle ages for example. I suspect the crime rate is higher today than the Middle ages.

          Tell me, what good has atheism done for the world since the Middle Ages? Give me some examples where atheism has improved the quality of life since the Middle Ages?

        • gusbovona

          I already replied to your question about atheism improving the quality of life up-thread. Did you miss that? If you didn’t miss it, why do you just repeat your questions if you’re not really interested in what a reply might say?

        • Pofarmer

          Thrld is a far more dangerous place than the Middle Ages. More people have died by wars in the past couple of hundred years than in the Middle ages for example. I suspect the crime rate is higher today than the Middle ages.
          There are fewer wars going on right now that at any other time in recorded history, and you are also less likely to die of violent causes. But, continue to believe nonsense if you must. There is a book called “damned good company” that details major contributions by a few secularists throughout history.

        • TheNuszAbides

          what’s even more significant (and so easily overlooked by believers who catalog the ‘great theists of history’ as if being part of an overwhelming majority is ever notable for anything other than outnumbering everyone else, by definition!)…

          is that when people think and discover and invent, THEIR IDEOLOGY =/= THE ULTIMATE CAUSE. the fact that they wished to think and observe and test – all profoundly perverse with regard to the invariably dominant religious culture of cover-of-authority – is the ultimate catalyst. the causes could be almost anything, and almost always multiple anythings.

        • 90Lew90

          “The world is a far more dangerous place than the Middle Ages.”

          That is simply false. In the Middle Ages you were far more likely to die at the hand of another than you are today. You were far more likely to die of disease, and you were far less likely to make your fifth birthday. The death tolls in wars were, proportionally, far bigger.

          And yet one more time you ask “what good has atheism done”. I won’t explain it again because you’re just obviously ignoring what I’ve told you about how you misconstrue atheism by asking that question, which is what I would call wilful ignorance. You’re just going “la-la-la-la” with your fingers in your ears. And repeatedly making yourself look impenetrably thick.

        • Lbj

          Help ,me out. What century has resulted in more deaths than all the other centuries combined?

        • MNb

          First of all this is an incredible stupid question, even for you. It might have escaped you, but mortality rates in every single century in every single place always has been 100%.
          What century, in its second half, has resulted in less violent deaths, relatively speaking, and thus increased the chance you will die peacefully in your bed, than every single period before? Yup – 1950 – 2000. With a bit of luck the first half of the 21st Century will bread this record. Thanks to secularism.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          Do you mean atheism or atheists? You should realize that atheism is just as much a belief system as theism is. That is, atheism does not inform how an atheist should behave any more than believing that there is a god informs how a believer should behave. You probably think it does because you might hear the word “God” and instantly conclude that whoever believes in it must believe what you do about it. Hence deism, pantheism, pandeism, panentheism, personal god, impersonal god, etc.

          Not sure if this is a non-sequitur but atheism does not necessarily entail disbelief in an afterlife.

        • 90Lew90

          “You should realize that atheism is just as much a belief system as theism is.”

          How does a simple rejection of a claim, the ‘a-‘ in atheism simply meaning ‘without’, become a “belief system”. Sorry, but no it isn’t. Atheism only content is a rejection of the claim that a god or gods exist. That’s all there is to it. It is a negative position on a positive claim. For it to be a “belief system” it would need to make some positive claims, or at least one. It doesn’t.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          Sorry, I wasn’t clear. I mean atheism is just as much a belief system as theism, that is, it isn’t one at all. Theism is an element of Christianity which is in totality a belief system but theism alone is not a belief system, just like atheism.

        • 90Lew90

          I don’t mean to start on you here but I think it’s important that we be clear about our terms if we’re to debate believers. Some of them, our friend Jay here excluded, are quite savvy. From Wikipedia: “Theism, in the broadest sense, is the belief that at least one deity exists. In a more specific sense, theism is commonly a monotheistic doctrine concerning the nature of a deity, and that deity’s relationship to the universe. Theism, in this specific sense, conceives of God as personal, present and active in the governance and organization of the world and the universe. As such theism describes the classical conception of God that is found in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Sikhism and Hinduism.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theism

          So theism is about much more than just Christianity and a-theism is a simple ‘no’ to all that. Each of the religions mentioned have theologies specific to them, each making claims based on belief about the respective religions, which can be challenged by the atheist by pointing to evidence from other disciplines, or the simple fact that they all contradict each other. But that doesn’t make atheism itself a belief system. It is a lack of belief and a rejection of the positive claims of the various religions. To call it a belief system gets it upside down. It’s important to get that right. Without theism: no atheism. Atheism depends on theism. Theism comes first, atheism is a response to it. It’s not a belief, but a rejection of what religions claim. You can no more call atheism a belief system than you can call a-fairyism a belief system. See what I mean?

        • MNb

          “I think it’s important that we be clear about our terms”
          I totally agree. The strongest weapon of the theist is ambiguity on meaning of words. Believe me or not, but I have read an argument by a christian who equated himself with religious suicide terrorists because he handed over a few christian pamphlets in a pub.

        • Lbj

          Thats why atheism is nonsense. It offers no evidence for its position but only assumes it.

        • MNb

          Then you not believing in the fairies tending the flowers in my garden is nonsense too. Your view offers no evidence for your position but only assumes it.

        • Greg G.

          When there are thousands of contradictory god concepts based on the same evidence which can also be explained by human psychology, Occam’s Razor simplifies the matter. When a set of claims of one particular religion is logically inconsistent, we can reject it. The implication of an omnipotent, benevolent being is that there would be no suffering.. That contradicts reality. The rationalizations point to either non-omnipotence or malevolence. Yours falls here.

        • Lbj

          I agree that there are “contradictory god concepts” but that does not mean one of them is not true. Not all of it can be explained by human psychology. You can’t explain the life of Christ by merely asserting human psychology.

          Give me a couple of examples that show Christianity to be “logically inconsistent”.

          Suffering is not logically inconsistent with a omnipotent, benevolent being. God has His purposes in allowing it and it can lead to greater faith, comfort and growth for a person.

          There are countless examples of this in life. Parents allow some suffering for their children to grow. If you want to be in shape or be a good athlete then you must suffer.

        • hector_jones

          Are you ‘Jay’ under a different name? You make the same arguments.

          Convince me that inoperable brain cancer is part of God’s purpose and that this leads to greater faith, comfort and growth for a person.

        • Pofarmer

          “You can’t explain the life of christ by human psychology.”

          What? Of all the dumb things you’ve written, this has to be at the top.

        • TheNuszAbides

          trust me, that abyss is bottomless

          … by design! 😉

        • Greg G.

          The belief that god exists and the belief that Jesus existed can be explained by human psychology.

          If God can prevent suffering, then suffering is unnecessary. His purposes could be served without suffering. If not, then he is not omnipotent. If his purposes involve unnecessary suffering, then the purpose is the suffering. That is sadistic, not benevolence.

          If parents were omnipotent, they wouldn’t allow their children to suffer unnecessarily. Humans must make tradeoffs to achieve their ends. An omnipotence can achieve its end desires with or without suffering. If suffering happens, it means the omnipotence desired unnecessary suffering.

          If I was omnipotent, I would be an omnipotent athlete without the suffering.

          You don’t seem to have thought this through to the logical conclusion. Your cognitive dissonance kicks in before you can reach an uncomfortable conclusion.

        • gusbovona

          1. One thing (out of many) that is unbelievable in Christianity is why God gave us free will as well as the capacity to sin. God has free will but cannot sin, why didn’t he make us that way as well?

          2. God can’t figure out some other way to give a beautiful 4-year child more faith, comfort, and growth as a person than to make them suffer horribly for months with cancer?

          No parent would give their child cancer for their “personal growth.”

        • Lbj

          1- good question. He did give Adam freewill. He had a free choice to make. God in His wisdom ordained that those who were to come later would be able to sin. Why He did I don’t know entirely.

          2- Who is to say the 4 year old is not growing in faith etc? If the life of the 4 year old is all there is then it is tragic. If there is life after death then there is still hope for a better life.

          i agree with your last sentence.

        • gusbovona

          1. Then you agree that this aspect of Christianity makes no sense?

          2. Your reply is not an answer to my question in my #2. I didn’t say that making the child suffer wouldn’t achieve some goal (although I might challenge that later). I questioned the omnipotence and omniscience of a god that couldn’t figure out some other way to achieve the same goal that wasn’t so painful. Do you see the difference?

        • Lbj

          1- no

          2- God could have spared that child but evidently had other plans. Remember: this life is not all there is. Knowing that helps to bear the suffering in this world.

        • hector_jones

          God could have spared that child but evidently had other plans. Remember: this life is not all there is. Knowing that helps to bear the suffering in this world.

          This is the standard christian reply, of course, but no rational person finds it satisfying.

          For one thing, is assumes god and the afterlife, the very things that we ask you to prove, and you can’t. You don’t ‘know’ there is an afterlife at all.

          God ‘evidently’ had other plans? Well, God didn’t save the child from dying at age 4 from cancer. That’s all you can say from this. You can’t say he ‘evidently’ had other plans because, again, you assume facts not in evidence, i.e. god’s existence.

        • gusbovona

          1. You said you “didn’t know” why God would make us that way, but you somehow disagree with me when I say it is “unbelievable.” Do you not see the contradiction?

          2. You still are not addressing my point. I’ll try one more time: the question is whether God could have achieved his same goals (of faith, personal growth, etc. for the child) in some other fashion that didn’t involve horrible suffering.

          So. yea or nay: could God have figured out another way, or was he constrained in some fashion?

        • TheNuszAbides

          it’s admirable that you persist, but bizarre that you feed the endless circularity J enjoys. if God wants it, then it isn’t ~actually~ horrible. if God knows and does more than any of us can ever comprehend, It transcends contradiction.

          i would say ‘quit while you’re ahead’, but i can’t see how you could ‘fall behind’…

        • TheNuszAbides

          just because something (e.g. “Parents allow some suffering for their children to grow”) can be rationalized… let’s see if you can fill in the blank.

        • Pofarmer

          What atheism is saying is that the evidence for theism sucks, and we aren’t going to follow the demands of theism. What evidence for a position like that would you like someone to provide?

        • Lbj

          The evidence for theism is superior to people’s beliefs about black holes. The evidence for God can be seen every moment of every day in the creation around us. We see it in plants and insects in their interactions, We see it just by looking at your hand which is absolutely incredible. Just think about the eyes in your head that can see things and your brain is able to make sense of the world around you so that you enjoy it. Take the food you eat that not only nourishes your body but its enjoyable. Taken all these things (and others) together and how they are all interrelated tells me that only an intelligence could put this together and function as it does. There is no way the mindless forces of nature alone could make a world like this. However, this is exactly what the atheist must believe. Its like believing a car came together by wind, rain and sunshine alone.

        • hector_jones

          Gosh you’re right! All I had to do was look, and there was the evidence for God and Jesus right in front of me all along!

          http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1189905/thumbs/o-DOG-BUTT-JESUS-facebook.jpg

        • gusbovona

          Justas, the world we see is not very good evidence of God, it’s very good evidence of the world. Seeing God would be good evidence of God. I’m not sure if I can be any clearer than that.

          What you fail to include in your estimation that nature couldn’t make our world is the billions of years, and the billions and billions of attempts, that nature had. It’s only science that can transcend our personal incredulity and inability to comprehend intuitive such large numbers. (Also, natural selection is the exact opposite of random force.)

          Lastly, “there’s no way . . .” is not an argument.

        • Lbj

          There are some “just right” conditions that must be in place for life to exist here as to be statistically impossible by “chance” alone. Things like the strength of gravity, the size of our planet and star to the orbit and rotation of our planet must be perfectly balanced for our being here. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

          There is not enough time or stars-planets in the universe for this to have happened by chance.

          PS- these things have nothing to do with evolution.

        • gusbovona

          The fact that some constants are “finely tuned” is not an argument for a god. Why would a creator have to finely tune physical constants? Put another way, what meta-creator is responsible for the constraints imposed upon God that forced him to have to set those constants at such a fine tuning?

          “There is not enough time or stars-planets in the universe for this to have happened by chance.”

          Show your work, please.

        • Carol Lynn

          Especially when the “way” is explained by scientific methods and needs no god in it at all.

        • Lbj

          How does that follow? If anything, the more we discover the more the need for a Creator. Just look at a cell or DNA. These things are so complex that there is no way for the mindless forces of nature creating such things. We know this also in how life began. How did inorganic material turn into a high-tech factory (cell) without intelligence?

        • Carol Lynn

          See my question to you below – you have just proven that you have NOT made a thorough study of the issues and understand nothing of the processes involved. Show me that you have read scientific materials on abiogeneis and evolution. Cite your sources so we can evaluate how rigorous the science is in them and show us where they are factually wrong on how cells and DNA function and how they came to be the way they are (edited to add) without the need for god. Can you do that?

          (Edit – Half hour of silence. Can we all assume that Justas is even now scurrying around the internet finding scientific sources to properly explain evolution to him? snicker Nah. Me either.)

        • Carol Lynn

          Edited – Sorry. That original comment was probably snarkier than it needed to be. Hey, Justus! C’mon back.

        • CodyGirl824

          I highly recommend this book: Alvin Plantinga (2011) “Where the conflict really lies.”

        • Carol Lynn

          A biologist discusses this very question of complexity and evolution here http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/06/10/multi-component-schmulti-component/ It’s short and sweet. Educate yourself, Justas, instead of just parroting things. If you are up for a little intellectual rigor, you might also try The Logic of Chance: The Nature and Origin of Biological Evolution by Eugene V. Koonin

        • Pofarmer

          Are you aware of the problem of infinite regress.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i think i even caught them using the phrase somewhere (probably after seeing your comment and googling it for 10 seconds), but by now they’ve demonstrated that all phrases they use with a hint of intellectual origin are just parroted to mash with tangential-at-best talking points.

        • Pofarmer

          Justas somewhere in this thread claims it’s not a problem because he’s sure his God is the only one, and completely uncaused.A

        • MNb

          “There is no way the mindless forces of nature alone could make a world like this.”
          Why not? Because you are to narrow minded to imagine it, I guess. Your examples are nothing but god of the gaps arguments and some of them (eyes, hands) are totally filled by science.
          But you add nicely to our fine collection of “Sh*t christians say”. Yours comes directly from the IDiots from Seattle. May I assume that you reject Evolution Theory? I really hope so, because then we have another silly christian who rejects science if he doesn’t like its results.

          “Its like believing a car came together by wind, rain and sunshine alone.”
          That’s about the worst analogy pulled off by a believer I have ever read – it’s even worse than Fred Hoyle’s infamous Boeing analogy.

        • Lbj

          Atheism has nothing to say about the afterlife. What does is say about what a soul is? Do they even believe they have one?

        • MNb

          Some atheists (Thomas Nagel for instance) are dualists indeed. I used to be one in my early years as an atheist.

        • Lbj

          Without a soul-spirit all you are is a meat machine with no freewill. If all your thinking is just the chemicals in your brain then you don’t freewill or independent thinking.

        • Greg G.

          With a soul-spirit all you are is a soul machine with no freewill. If all your thinking is just the vacuous spirit in your brain then you don’t freewill or independent thinking.

        • Greg G.

          No, a soul is a concept invented to scare you with. “That’s a nice soul you have there. It’d be a shame if something was to happen to it.” It’s funny to see believers try to explain where the soul is and what it does.

        • Lbj

          There is evidence for a soul in NDE’s. If we don’t have a soul we don’t have freewill.

        • hector_jones

          1) Prove that we have freewill.

          2) Prove that, if there is free will, it requires a soul.

          3) Prove that NDEs have something to do with freewill and souls and aren’t purely brain phenomena.

        • Greg G.

          We can have the illusion of freewill without a soul.

          I had an OBE once that was caught on film. There was no aura and the images I saw when I felt like I was disassociated from my body and floating above was not what actually occurred. It was just what I inferred through my hearing and touch senses. NDEs don’t seem to be qualitatively different from that or dreams.

        • Greg G.

          Tell me, what good has atheism done for the world since the Middle Ages? Give me some examples where atheism has improved the quality of life since the Middle Ages?

          Medicine benefited tremendously with the atheistic idea that diseases are not caused by demons. The scientific method has led too many things to list when scientists realized they didn’t need the God hypothesis to explain the world.

          Do you know that we didn’t always have computers and the internet. That was all built by not praying for it.

        • Pofarmer

          If we get sick and die, we just get to meet God quicker.

        • Greg G.

          Jay thinks one guy did that but Jesus brought him back. What a jerk!

        • hector_jones

          Yep. One time 2000 years ago Jesus brought a guy back purely for the showmanship. But as for all those children who got sick over the next 2000 years and died horribly? Fuck ’em.

        • Lbj

          Show me some evidence that atheism had anything to do with medicine etc? Show me someone in the past that discovered something or invented something based atheism.

          Atheism denies reality. It assumes the world came into existence by nothing. That’s what Krauss says.

        • Greg G.

          I have corrected you before about what Krauss says about nothingness. Maybe you should read it yourself and try to understand it.

          Atheism is the result of critical thinking. Critical thinking is what leads to discoveries.

        • Lbj

          Nothing is no thing. I know what Krauss said and its absurd nonsense.

          There is no critical thinking required to be an atheist.

          Give me some examples of discoveries discovered on atheism.

        • Pofarmer

          Richard Feynman and John Archibald Wheeler, Rev. Mod. Phys. 21, 425 (1949)

          …the “paradox” is only a conflict between reality and your feeling of what reality “ought to be.”

          Richard Feynman, in The Feynman Lectures on Physics, vol III, p. 18-9 (1965)

          I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.

          Richard Feynman, in The Character of Physical Law (1965)

          We have always had a great deal of difficulty understanding the world view
          that quantum mechanics represents. At least I do, because I’m an old
          enough man that I haven’t got to the point that this stuff is obvious to
          me. Okay, I still get nervous with it…. You know how it always is,
          every new idea, it takes a generation or two until it becomes obvious
          that there’s no real problem. I cannot define the real problem,
          therefore I suspect there’s no real problem, but I’m not sure there’s no
          real problem.

          Richard Feynman, in Simulating Physics with Computers appearing in International Journal of Theoretical Physics (1982) p. 471.

          What may very well be absurd, is the philosophical concept of nothingness. Underlying everything is the Quantum world. Nothingness itself, may well be irrational.

        • Lbj

          I think we can agree on this. :)

        • MNb

          Well, and if Quantum Mechanics (rather its offspring) implies that something can come out of nothing and we have empirical evidence for it (no matter how indirect) we’ll have to accept it. If you postulate that the hypothesis is quite shaky, yes, you’re right. If you say that it is impossible and/or disproven you’re wrong.

        • Greg G.

          Show me nothing or no thing. Can you prove Krauss is wrong? You accused me of not backing up my claims. Back at you.

          After I read his book, it seemed to me that there could be universes coming into existence inside other universes but most likely after the super-clusters had gone super-luminal and wouldn’t be visible to the emerging universe. A little research led me to pocket universes in a science journal.

          When you apply the same critical thinking to your own religion that you use on other religions, atheism can be a consequence.

          A discovery with God in it is not an atheist discovery. A discovery that omits all gods and supernatural forces as factors is an atheist discovery. The latter discoveries have proven useful, the former, not so much.

          Remember the story of Laplace and Napoleon? Even if apocryphal, it works.

        • MNb

          “it seemed to me that there could be universes coming into existence inside other universes”
          This is one of the Big Bang Theories. It’s fantastic and frankly I don’t buy it, but if I have learned one thing it’s this: just because it’s fantastic and I am incapable of buying it is doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Before I accept it I need good deductional and inductional evidence though; that’s what made me accept (to some extent) the hypothesis of the Multiverse. For a few years I thought that one fantastic too.

        • TheNuszAbides

          well, to be fair, it’s one possible result of critical thinking. not everybody keeps that stuff Turned On. 😉

        • Pofarmer

          Thing don’t get invented nor ideas forwarded soley because of atheism, but freeing the mind of the shackles of theology can certainly lead to advances in the human condition. “Damned good company”. Now, as to Krauses assertions, you are misscharachterizing what he says. But, think about this for a minute. You are saying that not o only did God create the Universe from nothing, but that he himself is nothing because he exists outside of time and space and matter. How does this provide a better answer than that the universe arose from quantum fluctuations?

        • Lbj

          Before I can answer this I would have to know what a “quantum fluctuation” is and how it could create a universe for starters. I would also need to know how we know that the “quantum fluctuation” is eternal given that if there was ever a “time” when absolutely nothing existed there would be nothing today.

          God does not need the universe exist. He is what is called a necessary being. That is, His existence does not depend on anything but Himself. One of the things this does is to avoid an infinite regress. This is also the kind of God that is described in the Bible.

        • hector_jones

          All your questions about ‘quantum fluctuations’ are my questions about god. What a coincidence.

          I see no evidence that god is a ‘necessary being’. I find him to be a superfluous being in the extreme. You can’t just make up beings and gods to avoid infinite regresses. You need evidence that this god actually exists.

        • Lbj

          Ok. The evidence for this God is the design and fine tuning of the universe, our world and the resurrection of Christ. All these things are best explained by a super-powerful-intelligent Being we call God.

        • gusbovona

          We don’t have enough good evidence to conclude that Christ was resurrected. Actually, we don’t even have enough good evidence that Christ actually died on the cross (as opposed to being near death), so if he didn’t die, he couldn’t be resurrected.

          For fine-tuning, see my comment above that you didn’t reply to in which I show that God doing the fine-tuning has its own problems.

        • TheNuszAbides

          “…we don’t even have enough good evidence that Christ actually…”

          existed as a particular individual.

          /ftfy

        • hector_jones

          HAHAHA you are a hoot.

        • Lbj

          You have to admit this fun :)

        • MNb

          How does that deny reality? Just because it’s beyond your imagination? This is a honest question. I have always wondered how christians can imagine Jesus rising from the dead, turning water into wine, driving out demons, feeding 5 000 people with one small piece of bread, not to mention all the stuff written in Revelations. But they can’t imagine something coming out of nothing, which doesn’t even violate the laws of Thermodynamics. What’s more: they are capable of imagining some immaterial entity creating something out of nothing, because that’s what Genesis 1 tells us!
          Very weird.

        • Pofarmer

          Not only that, but an uncaused immaterial creator.

        • wtfwjtd

          …who also happens to be invisible and inaudible. How much more un-falsifiable can you get?

        • Pofarmer

          It’s pretty much the definition of non-existant.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i’m curious how long it will take the identification of confirmation bias, as a common analytical tool, to be regularly and comprehensively applied to past human endeavors, say, by the time the average human reaches adulthood. it’s clearly taking a while to build momentum as a thing… could it be… vested interests?

        • Lbj

          Christians claim that this ” uncaused immaterial creator-invisible and inaudible” Being became a human being in Christ. If the skeptic or atheist can disprove the existence of God or show the gospel accounts as being fraudulent then he will have shown Christianity to be false. If he can’t, he should seriously reconsider his position.

        • wtfwjtd

          I pay little attention to fantastic claims without evidence. Since Christianity is making the fantastic claims,it bears the burden of furnishing the required evidence to back them up.

          As for the gospel account, there is only one, the others simply copied their story from it. It’s no more a true story than Homer’s Odyssey, maybe you should consider accepting that as truth as well, since the same evidence as the gospel backs its claims.
          I consider both to be entertaining stories, nothing more.

        • Lbj

          I agree we need evidence for such claims. What is the required evidence that is required and whose says this what is needed to show its true?

          It is true in a sense there is only one gospel (the gospel of Christ) but its also true that there are four similar and yet different accounts of Him. (There is nothing like this in the ancient world).

          I can’t think of any reputable scholars in this field that hold to the idea that the gospels are “no more a true story than Homer’s Odyssey”. The historical evidence for the gospels is to strong to refute. People who try to only do so by speculations and not facts.

        • Pofarmer

          There is actually good evidence that the works of Homer were written over a period of years by multiple authors.

        • wtfwjtd

          Historical evidence for the gospels? What historical evidence?

        • TheNuszAbides

          well… some people wrote them down! eventually more than once! and some other guys figured out that other stuff written on the same topics was totally fake! and then they made sure to codify it, nice and neat.

          we’re so lucky – sorry, blessed! – that the Fathers were looking out for humanity and stuff and figured all this stuff out centuries ago so we don’t have to…

          /derp

        • Lbj

          We either have a “uncaused immaterial creator” who has always existed or we have an infinite regress. An eternal being is not a illogical.

        • hector_jones

          If an eternal being isn’t illogical then neither is an eternal universe. Hence no god is necessary.

        • Lbj

          Nothing creating some thing is logically impossible.
          Christians don’t “imagine” Jesus rising from the dead but believe He did based on eyewitness accounts and that God exist and has power to do this.

        • hector_jones

          You’re a POE right? You can’t possibly believe what you just typed is rational or coherent.

        • Lbj

          Do you believe that nothing can create something? It is irrational to believe such a thing.

        • hector_jones

          Yeah, nothing creating something is the part of your comment that I found ridiculous, sure.

        • 90Lew90

          X. THEOLOGICAL OPPOSITION TO INOCULATION, VACCINATION, AND THE USE OF ANAESTHETICS http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/whitem10.html

          VII. THEOLOGICAL DISCOURAGEMENT OF MEDICINE http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/whitem07.html

          V. THEOLOGICAL OPPOSITION TO ANATOMICAL STUDIES http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/whitem05.html

          I. THE THEOLOGICAL VIEW OF EPIDEMICS AND SANITATION http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/whiten01.html

          I. THEOLOGICAL IDEAS OF LUNACY AND ITS TREATMENT http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/whiteo01.html

          III. THEOLOGICAL “RESTATEMENTS.”–FINAL TRIUMPH OF THE SCIENTIFIC VIEW AND METHODS http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/whitep03.html

          That should keep you going for a while. This book, A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom, by Cornell University founder Andrew Dickson White, was written toward the end of the 19th Century. The full text is available at the source I provided. It also remains available in print. Well worth a read.

        • Greg G.

          Thanks for posting this. I look forward to checking these out.

        • Pofarmer

          Haven’t you heard? Andrew Dickson White has been “discredited.” However, whenever I look at the “Scholars” who have supposedly “discredited” him, their CV’s always look an awful lot like apologists.

        • TheNuszAbides

          meh, i’m sure he thinks “but cathedrals” counters that one.

        • MNb

          “The world is a far more dangerous place than the Middle Ages.”
          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          The victims of all the endless wars during the Middle Ages (invading barbarians, bored knights, crusades) might disagree.

          “I suspect the crime rate is higher today than the Middle ages.”
          BWAHAHAHAHA!

          http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2011/06/long-term-trend-in-homicide-rates.html

          https://soci.ucalgary.ca/brannigan/sites/soci.ucalgary.ca.brannigan/files/long-term-historical-trends-of-violent-crime.pdf

        • Greg G.

          I think you’ll have to explain ratios and percentages to him.

        • hector_jones

          Something tells me Jay still won’t get it.

        • Greg G.

          If anybody could, it would be MNb. He’s a professional at it, IIRC.

        • MNb

          Alas MNb enjoys Jay’s nonsense too much. So I restrict myself to recommend him updating his knowledge about percentages.

        • Lbj

          right about that.

        • Lbj

          your right about that.

        • Pofarmer

          Atheism opens up your mind.

        • TheNuszAbides

          how did i know you were going to misinterpret the phrase ‘positive statements’?

          “I know of no historian that makes that claim.”
          “I have never seen this claim.”

          well, at least you’re starting to admit something relevant. that’s a step in the right direction.

        • Guest

          careful, next Jay is liable to misinterpret (deliberately or no) your phrase “positive statements”.

        • MNb

          “If you fully embraced your atheism you would despair”
          This is the most yawn-inducing non-sequitur – based on a strawman moreover – christians like to pull off, with a bit of luck resulting in a No Real Atheist fallacy.
          I don’t despair. So according to you I don’t fully embrace atheism: there is your No Real Atheist.
          There is no logical relation between despair and atheism: there is your non-sequitur.
          And here is the strawman:

          “you would know your life is meaningless”
          No, there is no external ultimate meaning. I give meaning to my life myself. And if I may brag a bit, with some success.
          Let me give a simple example: the plumber. Say you have leakage in your kitchen. That doesn’t exactly contribute to the quality of your life. So you call a plumber. Let’s assume he/she is an atheist. According to your silly (il)logic the plumber has to say “Bugger off, our lives are meaningless, enjoy your water ballet.” You as a christian, still according to your silly (il)logic, should answer “You’re wrong on the part about meaning; but yeah, as a good christian I will go to heaven anyway, so I accept the water ballet as the cross I have to bear.”
          Neither of you will. Not you, because in the end you want the leakage to be repaired whether god or not. Not the atheist plumber, because he/she will rather leave your house leaving you behind happier than when he called you.
          That’s all the meaning and purpose an atheist needs. We atheists just recognize it’s temporary and subjective (plumbing for instance is not for me).

          You are just another fine example of “Sh*t christians say” and I’d like to add: “don’t live up to”.

        • Jay

          There are real atheist. Its just that if they lived consistently with their atheism they would not say some of the things they do like wanting to make the world a better place or that there is such a thing as evil or that their lives ultimately matter.

          I don’t give a rats if my plumber is an atheist. I just want him to fix the leak. All that plumber can say is that stuff happens and I might as well make a buck off someone’s misery so I can use my money to bring me a little bit of happiness so I don’t have to think about how pointless life is.

        • 90Lew90

          You’re confusing atheism with nihilism. Nihilism does not follow from atheism.

        • MNb

          “I just want him to fix the leak.”
          Exactly my point. Thanks for confirming.

          “All that plumber can say is that stuff happens.”
          Exactly my point. Thanks for confirming. There is no ultimate meaning. We atheists just apply this to everything in our lives. But as you confirm again that plumber fixing the leak

          “bring(s) me a little bit of happiness”
          and that’s all the meaning atheists need.
          See? You are perfectly capable of atheist thinking without falling into despair. Your god (or any other) had nothing to do with it.

        • TheNuszAbides

          “… if they lived consistently with their atheism…”

          is this the part where you pull out some fiction about how you used to be an atheist but then you thought really really really hard and finally saw the light? whether it is or not, it’s a failure to persuade anyone with a modicum of knowledge and experience of Systems of Thought in general.

        • TheNuszAbides

          indeed, it’s manifestly safe to assume that humans have done countless wonderful and horrible things to other humans since before anyone is aware of anyone remembering or recording anything.

          whether any of those actors credit a deity or a religion (or have someone else project the credit for them) doesn’t make history, or cause and effect, as crudely bias-confirming as you imagine.

          even ending that sentence with ‘imagine’ is giving you too much credit.

        • MNb

          Correct. Atheism says we shouldn’t wait for an imaginary sky daddy for improving things, eventually in afterlife. It implies we have to make the best of it here and now – or not, if you prefer to wallow in your misery. Pick your choice. I have made mine.

        • Jay

          Why make things better for the world now when it ultimately does not matter for you? Your personal impact on the world for the most part has no lasting impact. After you die you will soon be forgotten forever.

        • gusbovona

          Because it matters in a non-ultimate way. Because we have an in-born feeling of wanting to be with other people, so we form social groups, and it makes us feel good when we have friends, etc., so we want to make things good for our friends because that is reciprocated back to us, and some of our species is currently trying to expand that concept to larger and larger social circles, and hopefully one day that social circle will encompass the entire world.

          It’s precisely because we will all be forgotten eventually that gives incredible meaning to the precious little time we have.

          You’re stuck on the idea that there is only one kind of meaning, and it has to be some ultimate, absolute meaning.

        • 90Lew90

          So will you, but you seem intent on missing points. You can not extrapolate from anything that I’ve said that because I choose not to believe in your god or any others, that I mustn’t care a jot about the world. Atheism is not nihilism. As I said repeatedly to you last night, an appreciation that this is the only life one gets tends to intensify one’s love of it and the preciousness of it. It is your view, that you’re going to live forever in some form, which should logically lead to a slovenly and squanderous attitude to your life currently. In this vein you are instructed to “take no care for the morrow”. That is a perfectly logical injunction to make on someone who believes as you do.

        • gusbovona

          In fact, Christianity allows someone to commit the most heinous crimes, and if the criminal accepts Jesus into his heart, all is forgiven. What bigger, better carte blanche could one ask for to do absolutely anything? What moral monster of a God would create such a system of infinite reward despite committing horrible crimes?

        • 90Lew90

          Exactly. Antinomianism is something I’m unfortunately all-too-familiar with, being from Northern Ireland, where at one time, being “saved” in prison helped enormously when you were being considered for early release, despite having blown up a packed pub.

        • MNb

          Well, that’s the good christian way as explained by two 17 year old teens from Youth for Christ (I was 13 or 14). Confess, repent, convince others of your integrity and go to heaven. In the meantime f**k the victims.

        • Greg G.

          This life is all we have so we want it to be worthwhile. The few decades we have everything. To you it’s nothing because you have unfounded hopes of living for eternity.

        • Compuholic

          Why make things better for the world now when it ultimately does not matter for you?

          This is great example of how religion devalues the human experience. You might not have noticed it but there is this timespan between birth and death that is called “life”. I would prefer my limited time here to be as enjoyable as possible.

        • MNb

          Why do you ask questions I already answered?

          “we have to make the best of it here and now – or not, if you prefer to wallow in your misery. Pick your choice.”

        • Greg G.

          Yes, but at that time I won’t care.

        • TheNuszAbides

          “After you die you will soon be forgotten forever.”
          ah, so you see the future! i’m so envious.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i just wish that someone had written a biography or memoirs or something, ever; it’s so depressing that dead people aren’t remembered!

        • TheNuszAbides

          that was beautifully phrased, making it all the more headdesky that you’re bouncing it off the proverbial brick wall…

        • 90Lew90

          Thanks!

        • hector_jones

          You think that an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving creator God explains why the world is so screwed up? LOL

        • TheNuszAbides

          nah, that’s why they eventually had to stir in the devil stuff!

        • MNb

          Christianity gives false hope and is unnecessary for explaining why the world is at it is.

        • Jay

          Christianity does give hope that we survive death because Christ rose from the dead for example. He taught there is a heaven. He backed up His claims by miracles and the kind of life He lived.

          Can you show me some facts that show how these things are false?

        • gusbovona

          It’s up to you to show us that your fairy tales are actually true. But all you’ve got is an old book.

        • 90Lew90

          And again, Your Obtuseness, the onus is upon you who makes the positive claim that these things happened to prove that they did, not the other way around. Repeating the claim ad nauseum does not cut it as proof, and neither does citing the Bible.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          Be careful Jay, remember that you actually have to follow Muhammad in order to get into the nice afterlife. And you should believe his claims because he backed them up with evidence. I mean a million Muslims can’t be wrong right?

        • MNb

          The only evidence you gave for Jesus’ miracles is “Jesus taught” – ie it’s in the Bible. You claim the Bible come from god. So your argument is circular and hence must be rejected as evidence.
          Nobody ever rose from the death; there is no reason to assume Jesus did; it goes against natural law; the Bible is fiction and hence not divinely inspired.
          Of course, as I noted above, you are dishonest like almost every apologist, so you raise the bar for evidence you don’t like as high as possible while you lower the bar for evidence that confirms your biases as much as possible.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          I assume you’re saying that we should become Christians because it gives us something to look forward to whilst also being rational. It could be both of those things but still false, and I think the truth of Christianity, not its attractiveness is what we we’re looking for. I can give an elaborate theory explaining the reason that we come back down after we go up is because tiny elves grab us in order to prevent us from reaching their pot of gold in the sky. The theory can be consistent with what we see but that doesn’t make it true.

          And remember that if Islam (Jesus wasn’t crucified) is right then Christianity is wrong (Jesus was crucified) and you have to weigh all the evidence for either religion without bias.

        • smrnda

          I disagree.

          The heaven promised by Christianity is that of having our brains reprogrammed so we will be mindless praise-bots of a despotic god.

          I think polytheism would explain the world better. Many gods and goddesses with competing agendas and different domains of power would explain things much better than 1 god.

        • MNb

          Polytheism is more probable on the Fine Tuning Argument. About 30 natural constants suggest about 30 immaterial entities, ie about 30 First Causes.

      • TheNuszAbides

        …and its ‘unlimitedness’ is seductive to lazy thinkers.

    • MNb

      “Science is helpful to a point but is limited in what it can tell us with any certainty.”
      No, science is helpful to a point exactly because it cannot tell us anything with absolute certainty.
      Science is always open to improvement.
      Religion never.

      • Jay

        Not true. Christianity can be falsified by demonstrating that God does not exist or that the gospels are lies.

        Science is limited in what it can tell us given that it is based on unprovable assumptions.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          God can’t be proven not to exist, but that’s not how we decide to not believe something. Instead, we follow the evidence where it leads (and it leads to Christianity being just one more false religion).

          The difficulty with convincing a Christian–as the bizarre Wm. Lane Craig example shows–can be that their belief is unfalsifiable. Whatever you say will be absorbed into the amoeba of their belief.

        • Jay

          Ok. What evidence leads you to believe Christianity is false?

        • 90Lew90

          The entire corpus of sound modern knowledge. You should check some of it out. Your want of it is very apparent.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You don’t use evidence to reject a belief; you use evidence to accept it, and there isn’t sufficient evidence for Christianity.

          That’s why you don’t believe in fairies.

        • Pofarmer

          Don’t put words in Jay’s mouth. He might very well have not ruled out fairies.

        • Lbj

          You have got to be kidding. There is ample evidence for Christianity. We have history, changed lives, the church, creation and the Scriptures.

          What do atheists have?

        • 90Lew90

          Plenty of evidence for Christianity. None for Christ. And by Christ I don’t mean Jesus as a historical figure. I mean Jesus-as-Christ. I’m sure you understand.

        • TheNuszAbides

          not that there’s anything substantial for the historical figure either.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You gotta be way more specific than this.

          Hinduism is older. Hinduism changed lives. Its books are older. So is it more true than Christianity?

        • MNb

          While BobS is right underneath the historical fact that atheism originated at least twice and christianity only once is evidence against christianity. The historical fact that the Bible, supposed to be divinely inspired, contradicts itself and gets so many scientific facts wrong is evidence against christianity. The fact that according to the Bible Jesus prophecized that he would come back within the lifetime of his apostles but didn’t is evidence against christianity. The fact that christians never have been able to reach a significant level of consensus on the correct interpretation of their Holy Book, which is supposed to be divinely inspired, is evidence against christianity.

        • Lbj

          We should look at the passage that Jesus says He would come back in the lifetimes of the apostles. In Luke 9:27 He makes the statement ” But I say to you truthfully, there are some of those standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”

          What follows next is the His transfiguration on the mountain where He takes 3 of His disciple with Him who saw His appearance change. This is most likely what He meant by “there are some of those standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.”

          Jesus also accurately predicted the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD.

          If consensus is the criteria for truth about something then we will have to do away with most of science and history. The fact is their are many things all Christians agree on. All Christians believe that Jesus was God and trinitarian in nature. To deny these things shows a person is not a Christian.

        • TheNuszAbides

          cities fall. the earth quakes. tidal waves occur. divine intervention is not a prerequisite for speculation that happens to be echoed by reality at a later date.
          ‘prophecy’ proves nothing. nostradamus has far more under his belt (so far…!) but i don’t see any major religion eager to accord him mythical status. competition envy?

        • Greg G.

          The omnipotent, benevolent God of the Christianity can be ruled out because of the existence of suffering. If he is omnipotent, he could do an unlimited number of miracles perpetually to prevent suffering. So all suffering is unnecessary. That implies that the omnipotence had chosen for there to be unnecessary suffering. That is sadistic so it cannot be benevolent. That doesn’t rule out an evil god or a god that is not omnipotent but it does rule out the Christian god.

          If you compare the Gospel of Mark to the literature of the day, everything it says about Jesus was said to have happened or been done to someone else or to fictional characters. The narrative is story-telling. The other gospels pile it even higher.

          So, Christianity is falsified by both of your criteria and you have already determined all other religions are false. Welcome to atheism. You’ll be happier without the cognitive dissonance.

        • Jay

          It is true there is suffering but there is also much good. The good are things like the air we breath, food we eat, companionship and beauty. Even in suffering much of it can be alleviated.

          God has a purpose in allowing suffering. Sometimes it can be a good thing because it builds character for example. Humans allow suffering for this reason. So suffering itself would not disprove the existence of God.

          Suffering does not rule out the Christian God for the previous reasons. In fact the Scripture not only tells us why there is suffering, but that we should expect it. It also tells us how to deal with it. (Atheism is incapable of dealing with the suffering issue).

          Not sure what you mean when you say “If you compare the Gospel of Mark to the literature of the day, everything it says about Jesus was said to have happened or been done to someone else or to fictional characters.”

          You still have not given me any counter historical facts that demonstrates that the gospel accounts are fictions.

          I have yet to see anyone make a compelling case that other religions at their core are true. I certainly do not believe atheism is true either for the same reason.

        • gusbovona

          If the horrible suffering for months of a 4-year with bone cancer builds character when God allows it, then why don’t we do the same? The answer: to allow horrible suffering when one could prevent at absolutely no cost makes one – God or person – a moral monster.

        • gusbovona

          Remember, it’s up to you to demonstrate that the gospels are true, because you’re the one claiming that they are. All we atheists need do is to say, “No one has given sufficient reason to believe the gospels, so we don’t.”

        • 90Lew90

          I’m sure you’ll be answered adequately on the existence of evil and/or suffering posing a serious challenge to the conception of the all-loving Christian god, but yet again, I must take you up on your mistaken notion of what atheism is.

          You say: “(Atheism is incapable of dealing with the suffering issue). [sic]”

          Of course it is! For the nth time, atheism is simply the rejection of the concept of the existence of a god or gods. Full stop. Period. End of story. Your repeatedly saying atheism is incapable of this or that is just daft. Do please try to get that into your head.

        • hector_jones

          Does inoperable brain cancer build character?

          I have yet to see anyone make a compelling case that other religions at their core are true.

          Now apply this test to your own religion.

        • Greg G.
          It is true there is suffering but there is also much good. The good are things like the air we breath, food we eat, companionship and beauty. Even in suffering much of it can be alleviated.

          A torturer will give food and water to prolong the torture. That doesn’t make it good. The thing you aren’t getting is that an omnipotent being could alleviate all suffering, so that suffering is unnecessary.

          God has a purpose in allowing suffering. Sometimes it can be a good thing because it builds character for example. Humans allow suffering for this reason. So suffering itself would not disprove the existence of God.

          What kind of purpose could God have for suffering that could be done another way with omnipotence? Character can be built without suffering. An omnipotent being could do it. Humans are not omnipotent so they have to make trade-offs. Suffering doesn’t disprove an evil god but it does disprove a god that is both omnipotent and benevolent.

          Does a baby that suffers excruciating pain before dying build character for the baby? Does your god torture the baby to build character in the parents? That would be a god with no character causing suffering for no good reason except he thinks it fun. It is sadism.

          Suffering does not rule out the Christian God for the previous reasons. In fact the Scripture not only tells us why there is suffering, but that we should expect it. It also tells us how to deal with it. (Atheism is incapable of dealing with the suffering issue).

          If the Christian god is supposed to be both omnipotent and benevolent, then it is ruled out. When scripture tries to justify suffering, it underscores that its god is malevolent and sadistic. You wouldn’t have to “deal with it” if there was a god that was both omnipotent and benevolent. An indifferent universe can account for suffering which is what atheism would expect.

          Not sure what you mean when you say “If you compare the Gospel of Mark to the literature of the day, everything it says about Jesus was said to have happened or been done to someone else or to fictional characters.”

          Most of the miracles in Mark are copies and exaggerations of the OT miracles of Moses, Elijah, and Elisha. Jesus’ travels around the Sea of Galilee are derived from Homer’s Odyssey. The exorcism of Legion is taken from Odysseus’ encounter with the Cyclops and Isaiah 65:4. The Passion narrative is based on the death of Hector in Homer’s Iliad. Some of the teachings in Mark are reworked teachings of Paul. New Testament Narrative as Old Testament Midrash by Robert M. Price eliminates most of Mark from reality. Mark’s Use of the Gospel of Thomas by Stevan Davies shows where the parables came from.

          At this link I showed that everything Paul says about Jesus (besides his gushing fawning which 90% of what he says about Jesus) came from centuries old scripture, not new oral tradition.

          You still have not given me any counter historical facts that demonstrates that the gospel accounts are fictions.

          Done above. The link to Price is the core of a book. The link to one of my posts shows that Paul knows nothing about a first century Jesus. He thinks the OT is telling about a Jesus from the distant past of Paul’s own time. The Philippians Hymn comes mostly from Isaiah and I quote the passages line-by-line to show it. There is a lot to digest there. Take your time and think about it.

          I have yet to see anyone make a compelling case that other religions at their core are true. I certainly do not believe atheism is true either for the same reason.

          I agree with that first sentence and will go you one better. You religion is false for the same reason all the others are false. That leaves atheism as the only alternative.

        • TheNuszAbides

          right there, the flimsiest dogma ever: “god is unknowable, you prideful heathen!… except in the ways we’ve managed to figure out how to understand warlords/priest/each other and projecting that onto god – oh yeah, and we’re ~created in his image~! yay!”

        • MNb

          “The good are things like the air we breath, food we eat, companionship and beauty.”
          You christians like to reverse cause and effect, don’t you? Air, food and companionship were not “created” to serve us humans. We humans adapted to the circumstances and made use of air and food. We developed companionship because it increased our survival chances. Beauty is the product of our cognitive skills. If there are no humans around the word “beauty” loses its meaning.

        • MNb

          “You still have not given me any counter historical facts that demonstrates that the gospel accounts are fictions.”
          Historical fact: Matthew is the only one who told about the infanticide. The other authors don’t mention it. Historical fact: Herodes the Great was an old man when Jesus was born and hence had nothing to fear of him. Historical fact: Herodes the Great called himself king, but he totally depended on the Romans for his power. Historical fact: the Romans, who were totally capable of genocide, never ever permitted an infanticide just to please a puppet king of theirs. Historical fact: the central theme of the infanticide story can be found in the tales about Moses, Oedipus and Paris of Troje. Historical fact: there are no Roman records of the infanticide.
          Conclusion: it’s fiction.

          Similar cases are made for the Resurrection and for Jesus killing off demons by driving them into pigs and drowning them.

          Contemporary fact: you are guilty of a double standard.

          “I have yet to see anyone make a compelling case that other religions at their core are true.”
          You demand conclusive proof from other believers and atheists. Of course you enormously raise the bar for what you accept as such proof.

          “You still have not given me …..”
          You refuse to deliver such conclusive proof yourself but demand conclusive counterproof from other believers and atheists instead. Of course you enormously lower the bar for what you accept as proof for christianity.

          This is confirmed by you not answering my question above:

          What kind of evidence you would accept that shows god does not exist, that god is not the christian version and/or that the gospels are lies.
          Like almost all apologists you are dishonest and as such a disgrace for your belief system.

        • TheNuszAbides

          this is why the power of numbers/majority is so atrociously unappealing to me.
          but it still seems like a pipe dream to have a global majority of rigorous critical thinkers without imposing authority beforehand.
          of course, that’s more than likely merely a failure of imagination on my/many others’ part…

        • PinxEngrayz

          Nothing quite like being raped, dying from the ebola virus, suffering third-degree burns in an automobile accident — to name just three of innumerable such examples — to build character. Ah! But this gives other people the opportunity to be kind and compassionate and loving, so it’s still “good.”

          Fair enough. I have a description for anyone who thinks the intense suffering of another is God’s way of providing an opportunity to show character: irredeemably self-centered.

        • TheNuszAbides
        • MNb

          Then please tell me what kind of evidence you would accept that shows god does not exist, that god is not the christian version and/or that the gospels are lies.
          Of course I am willing to return the favour and tell you what kind of evidence I would accept that there is a god (though not necessarily the christian one) and that god is the christian version.

        • Pofarmer

          What unprovable assumptions is science based on?

        • Lbj

          The laws of the universe are the same throughout the universe. That our senses are giving us correct data about the universe. The laws of nature today are working the same way they were in the distant past to name a few assumptions of science.

        • Pofarmer

          Ah, but these are provable and subject to investigation. Hell, we KNOW that our senses don’t give correct information about the universe, that’s why humans invented religion.

        • Lbj

          I suppose religion was invented long ago to explain how the world around them worked. They attributed things to the gods such as lightening and droughts.

        • 90Lew90

          The best investigations into the origins of religious belief suggest that the precursors to it are probably pre-linguistic. It took language for us to codify or interpret experiences which we call religious or spiritual, and which are more than likely common to all higher vertebrates. Our having evolved the capacity to communicate in language is where it all got tricky. You need language to suppose that your god also has language and things to say. Perhaps the god of horses says “houyhnhnm”.

        • TheNuszAbides

          that was the only exceptionally thought-provoking thing in what i’ve read by N.D.Walsch – “you invent a war in heaven (because you think I solve my problems the same way you do)”
          of course it still posits a discrete/contradictorily-external EverythingForce, making the whole thing collapse into a tepid puddle.

        • Pofarmer

          Pretty much everything.

        • Greg G.

          Elements and compounds produce signatures by absorbing light spectra. We see that in far away galaxies. It how we can detect the red shifts. If there were different laws of physics, it would be unlikely that they would mimic our laws of physics.

          We know that our senses do not give us complete and correct data. We can compensate for that by technological enhancement. We know out biases make us misinterpret what our senses detect. We can compensate for that with scientific methods.

          When we see far away galaxies, we are viewing the past. We can view the early universe and all ages up to the present. They show the same laws of physics in action.

        • MNb

          “The laws of the universe are the same throughout the universe.”
          That assumption is not a problem at all. It’s why scientists make observations and develop experiments – to check if these laws apply universally indeed. Similar for

          “The laws of nature today are working the same way they were in the distant past to name a few assumptions of science.”
          Modern cosmologists keep the option open that this is not the case, specifically for the first time interval after/of the Big Bang, called Planck Time.

          “That our senses are giving us correct data about the universe.”
          That’s a bigger problem, especially in historical sciences (cosmology, historical geology, abiogenesis, paleonthology, archeology) where observations can only made one time. A particular Supernova happens only one time for instance. To reduce the risk that we are given incorrect data scientists have developed all kinds of protocols.
          In fact it’s apologists like you who have the problems – you demand something science doesn’t deliver and doesn’t claim to deliver: absolute certainty.

        • Lbj

          So you agree for science to operate it must make assumptions about the universe that it cannot prove?

        • 90Lew90

          I’ve only caught the tail-end of this, but I would have thought “assumptions” or educated guesses, are the first point from which science proceeds, known as hypotheses. Then the rest of the method comes into play — experiment, repeatability, falsifiability (a controversial one) etc etc, to whittle away rubbish ideas and to act as a guard against our own biases and perhaps, hopes. I’ve seen a lot in recent days from religious posters about how important religion in giving one “hope”.

          The “hope” that religion provides: A man stuck down a well observes a strand of spider web, perhaps jewelled with some beautiful droplets of dew. “Well, at least I’ve got that,” he says to himself. “One day I’m gonna climb up out of here on that beautiful thread. As long as I keep looking at it I’ll find a way.” Entranced by the beauty he sees in the bit of web, he neglects to turn around and notice that there’s a fucking ladder behind him.

        • Greg G.

          Science may start with an assumption but then figures out the implications of what that assumption would mean and devises an experiment that would show if the implications of the assmption works out. If the experiments fail, the assumption is discarded. If it works, you can make further assumptions from that assumption. If they continue to work out, it becomes absurd to doubt the assumption.

          The fact that science works shows the assumptions were valid.

        • Pofarmer

          The thing about somebody like Justas, they don’t realize all the things that religion has been “certain” of over the centuries that have been proven to be not so. Even when they were proven wrong they persisted, sometimes for centuries, perpetuating wrong belief. Theology lacks the method that naturalism does for determining what is true or what is real, namely, experimentation, observation, examination, and reflection on the results. Then lather rinse repeat and you get closer and closer and closer to the truth. Religion, on the other hand, assumes that it starts out with the truth, therefore no revision is necessary, or even considered possible in most instances. It is the antithesis of the scientific method. And make no mistakes, since the turn of the 20th century, look at population growth, look at food production, look at maternal and child death statistics, look at longevity. Every one of these areas has shown exponential improvement. Hell, in colonial days maternal mortality was as high as one in 8. Child mortality was as high as 1 in 4. Today, in the U.S., maternal mortality is something like 12 in 100,000, and infant mortality is something like 6 in 1000.

        • MNb

          I refer to Greg underneath and have only one addition:

          “it cannot prove”
          Science cannot prove anything. Science does not (pretend to) guarantee you will fall downward iso upward if you jump off a bridge tomorrow. I repeat:

          “you demand something science doesn’t deliver and doesn’t claim to deliver: absolute certainty.”
          If one of those assumptions is wrong the scientific method will discover it.

        • TheNuszAbides

          you either don’t know what “falsified” means or wrote that sentence all-kinds-of-incoherently.

        • Rudy R

          Christianity can be falsified by showing that their is not sufficient evidence that Jesus died on the cross and resurrected from the dead. And to add to that, there is evidence that casts a shadow of Jesus’ historical existence.
          You can’t falsify a god, because to do so, you would have to provide characteristics of a universe that is not created by a god. Since, to my knowledge, no one has, and according to the criteria of falsification in science, a god can not be prove to exist.

  • 90Lew90

    In my experience, Christians have a tough time being honest, not least to themselves. Then they get carried away with their “do-unto-others” cant, especially with children.

  • Asemodeus

    The thing with christians is that they don’t care about being consistent or being shown as hypocrites. I lost count of how many of them I’ve caught plagiarizing. Just flat out stealing literature from other people. None of them I caught apologized or showed any remorse.

    They just do not care as long as they get to feel morally superior.

    • TheNuszAbides

      shame you lost count; that sort of thing really ought to be comprehensively documented.

  • Boomer8238

    Christians don’t “wrestle with and think about” anything! They just mindlessly swallow dogma that makes no sense whatsoever when you really do “wrestle with and think about” it.

    SHEEEEEEEEESH……..

    • Jay

      Why do you say this? Some of the best thinkers in history have been Christians. Just look at some of the Christian thinkers mentioned in the article above.

      • The Man With The Name Too Long

        There have been Christians who were great thinkers. There have been non-Christians who were great thinkers. There have been Christians who were not great thinkers. And there have been non-Christians who were not great thinkers. Great thinking has nothing to do with Christianity, but everything to do with people who actually, you know, think, Christian or not.

        I think what a lot of atheists have a problem with is this line of thinking: “All of the evidence we have collected says that the planets formed over millions of years but the Bible says they were made in 6 days. I guess I better go with the Bible.” Thoughts verified by countless observations but still rejected in favor of stories and claims where the reader can’t know if it’s meant as allegory or literally. So we get Biblically literal creationists as well as Christians who accept evolution and such and no one can tell who’s the true Christian.

  • RandomFunction2

    To Bob the broken, yet somehow fabulous atheist,
    Sure, some apologists sometimes say silly things. It doesn’t mean that, as an atheist, you can leave the game satisfied and not bother to answer their rational arguments. A lot of top-rank Christian thinkers hold that the best available evidence supports their religion and they have provided it (what they think is good evidence).
    The popes have said that faith and reason cannot contradict, because they come from the same source, God. They may be wrong, and I do think they are wrong to some extent, but they still deserve a fair hearing. You cannot dismiss their claims just because some careless apologists said that reason wasn’t that important.
    I do agree, at any rate, that Craig is seriously mistaken and offensive if he really meant what the quotes have him say (if he is not quoted out of context). It’s true that some atheists don’t believe because of lack of evidence. Some others, though, reject religion for bad reasons. You cannot make hasty generalizations.

    • Pofarmer

      There are no bad reasons to reject religion.

    • hector_jones

      So are you still on the fence? What arguments from the popes do you find convincing enough that you can’t make up your mind and so we need to give them a ‘fair hearing’?

    • MNb

      “not bother to answer their rational arguments”
      Strawman. That’s what this entire blog is about: answering christian arguments, both rational and irrational.

      “The popes have said …..”
      The popes have said all kinds of silly things.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      A lot of top-rank Christian thinkers hold that the best available evidence supports their religion and they have provided it (what they think is good evidence).

      Top rank like William Lane Craig? You can see above what I think of his thinking process.

      The popes have said that faith and reason cannot contradict

      Great! If they’re parallel tracks to the truth, then just drop the Faith route (since it makes Christianity look ridiculous), take the Reason route, and have faith that you’ll end up in the same place. Problem solved.

      You cannot dismiss their claims just because some careless apologists said that reason wasn’t that important.

      I respond to the best arguments that I can find. Show me another interesting one, and I’ll take a look. Perhaps I’ll have something interesting to say in response.

      if he is not quoted out of context

      A fair concern. Search my quotes above in Craig’s book yourself here.

    • TheNuszAbides

      “You cannot make hasty generalizations.”

      indeed, reiterating them without question over millennia and prettying them up with double-down ‘commentary’ is far more satisfying…

    • thepalescot

      I believe that’s covered by the Courtier’s Reply.

      “I have considered the impudent accusations of Mr Dawkins with exasperation at his lack of serious scholarship. He has apparently not read the detailed discourses of Count Roderigo of Seville on the exquisite and exotic leathers of the Emperor’s boots, nor does he give a moment’s consideration to Bellini’s masterwork, On the Luminescence of the Emperor’s Feathered Hat. We have entire schools dedicated to writing learned treatises on the beauty of the Emperor’s raiment, and every major newspaper runs a section dedicated to imperial fashion; Dawkins cavalierly dismisses them all. He even laughs at the highly popular and most persuasive arguments of his fellow countryman, Lord D. T. Mawkscribbler, who famously pointed out that the Emperor would not wear common cotton, nor uncomfortable polyester, but must, I say must, wear undergarments of the finest silk. Dawkins arrogantly ignores all these deep philosophical ponderings to crudely accuse the Emperor of nudity.”

  • 90Lew90

    Conversations with Christians are often like trying to explain to zombies that they’re dead.

  • Pofarmer

    I really wish someone at disqus qould get there head outta there ass. I like the way disqus aggregtes comments and that you can see replies to your comments and follow commenters you find interesting. I HATE the way disqus threads comments, and I REALLY HATE that you can’t see all the comments in a thread without sometimes clicking on a link to the commenter in the sidebar. This is really nearly intolerable when even all the relevant comments in the same conversation thread don’t show up.

    • hector_jones

      I also hate that if I have all the comments showing on a large thread, disqus causes my browser to hog a lot of CPU.

      • Pofarmer

        It kills my ipad and also nearly stalls my Galaxy 4.

        • Greg G.

          When it gets like that, I type the response into Notepad and copy&paste it into the Reply box. It can still be slow but I don’t have to wait two or three minutes for the text to catch up with my typing.

        • Pofarmer

          For whatever reason, when the threads get really long, it screws up my copy and paste too, and I have to go to my work PC.

        • Greg G.

          Yes, it is hard to paste into a box with text. It messes up your formatting and puts the cursor at the end of the text, even when you pasted somewhere in the middle.

          I get around that by pasting only once and putting a space between paragraphs, that is [Enter], [Space], [Enter] instead of [Enter],[Enter].. If you don’t have that, it will crunch the paragraphs together.

          I use my work computer often, too. The extra RAM helps.

    • MNb

      I totally agree. When you do click on a link to the commenter in the sidebar you don’t get all the relevant comments either. Sometimes I happen to meet a question directed to me several days after it was posted. I cannot help wondering how many questions and relevant remarks I miss.

  • Sue Blue

    Does Kurt Wise also say, “If all the evidence in the world tells me my ass is on fire – my eyes see the flames, my nose smells the smoke, the sensory nerves connecting my ass to my brain are singing soprano, my neighbors are screaming ‘stop, drop and roll, you stupid fuck!’, and sirens are heralding the approach of first responders – but Jesus tells me I’m just fine and the Bible says no flame can touch me, I’m going to go with J and the Bible!!”

    Yeah, I can’t wait to see that.

  • MNb

    Wow, BobS, you’re getting famous.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/06/19/yet-another-reason-to-refuse-to-debate-william-lane-craig/

    Second (actually fourth, if I count correctly) link.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Yeah, pretty cool. I got a little surge of visitors from that. Thanks, PZ!

  • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

    Note sure why some of these things are all that strange. A lot of this is actually old material in Christianity.

    For instance, re: Craig’s “Should a conflict arise between the witness of the Holy Spirit to the fundamental truth of the Christian faith and beliefs based on argument and evidence, then it is the former which must take precedence over the latter,” consider what St Ignatius of Loyola wrote in the 16th century:

    “To be right in everything, we ought always to hold that the white which I see, is black, if the Hierarchical Church so decides it …” (Spiritual Exercises, 13th Rule.)

    Sadly, little of this insanity is news. Christians’ fierce and angry refusal to acknowledge that it’s insane, is centuries old. In fact, Christians view the insanity of their religion as the very thing that grants it veracity! It was Tertullian around the turn of the 3rd century who said:

    “The Son of God was crucified; I am not ashamed because men must needs be ashamed of it. And the Son of God died; it is by all means to be believed, because it is absurd. And He was buried, and rose again; the fact is certain, because it is impossible.” (De Carne Christi, V.4)

    (Some folks claim that Tertullian never actually said such a thing, that it’s a “mistranslation.” If it helps, here’s his original Latin: “Crucifixus est Dei Filius, non pudet, quia pudendum est; et mortuus est Dei Filius, prorsus credibile est, quia ineptum est; et sepultus resurrexit, certum est, quia impossibile.” I’ll let the reader decide if the translation above reflects the Latin accurately.)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      I agree–it’s neither new nor strange. What’s odd to me is WLC debating using reason in a conventional way but then saying this.

      If reason and evidence a very poor second-place to knowing, why bother? Why not just pray and get the good stuff? It’s an odd kind of hypocrisy for him to make debate his main thing while denigrating debate.

      • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

        WLC is hardly alone in this dance of double standards. It’s how one plays the game of apologetics: They refute each allegation separately as it comes up, rather than keeping in mind how each one relates to every other.

        Therefore Christians think nothing of insisting their religion is well-reasoned, based on cold hard facts and solid logic, and therefore doesn’t need to be taken on faith and is all true; but then turn around and admit it’s foolish and irrational and that just means it has to be taken on faith and is all true. That these two approaches are opposites of one another is something they choose to ignore … and if one points out the inconsistency, they can get their knickers in knots over being told so.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          They refute each allegation separately as it comes up, rather than keeping in mind how each one relates to every other.

          Reminds me of the advice commonly told about not lying: life is simply much easier when you tell the same story to everyone.

        • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

          Re: “… life is simply much easier when you tell the same story to everyone.”

          But Christian apologists can’t do that. Their beliefs are convoluted, absurd, and at times self-contradictory. If they just tell the truth from beginning to end, they’ll inevitably appear insane. Apologists are forced to lie at certain points in order to get around this.

    • Tom Hanson

      Let’s put a little historical context in here ref the Tertullian quote. Figure that pretty much nobody in his time denied the existance of gods or a God. The basis of of Tertullian’s argument was that his opposition denied that he was really ever a man, because gods or God could not die, and no god worth godhood could ever be so ungodlike as to die by crucifixion. Pretty much the opposite of today’s discussions.

      • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

        Re: “The basis of of Tertullian’s argument was that his opposition denied that he was really ever a man, because gods or God could not die, and no god worth godhood could ever be so ungodlike as to die by crucifixion.”

        Uh, not really. I suggest reading Tertullian’s treatise again. What he’s saying is precisely what he appears to be saying: that Christianity is true because it’s so absurd that no one could have fabricated it. Just as he was saying that Jesus must have been crucified, because no one would voluntarily promote a (false) idea that his/her deity had been crucified.

        • Tom Hanson

          I do not dispute what you are saying in the least. It was probably bad choice of verbiage to call it the basis of Tertullian’s argument. His side of it was exactly what you say. The issue at hand, in large part, was about whether or not a God could die. Tertullian was a very feisty lawyer, who did have the courage of his convictions and was willing to, and did, die for them. More fun than most apologists to read with a blunt sometimes bizarre rhetoric that pulls no punches. Logically he was not arguing at all, he was making an assertion in the strongest possible language, by, I think, supplying a defiant reductio ad absurdam which actually was or became a commonplace for the orthodox.

        • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

          Re: “Tertullian was a very feisty lawyer, who did have the courage of his convictions and was willing to, and did, die for them.”

          I hadn’t heard he was martyred. It’s possible he was, but I’m not sure it’s definitely known that he was. The Romans would have to have pulled him out of whatever Montanist compound he was living in, for that to happen.

          Re: “Logically he was not arguing at all, he was making an assertion in the strongest possible language, by, I think, supplying a defiant reductio ad absurdam which actually was or became a commonplace for the orthodox.”

          Yes, he was making a “defiant assertion” rather than “arguing logically.” And that’s the problem with a lot of apologists. They aren’t presenting compelling information that supports their case; instead, they’re making absurd, defiant pronouncements. Really, it’s quite childish, if you think about what it is they’re doing. Most of them haven’t grown up very much. Tertullian may have had a lawyerly character but he was in the same boat.

          (FWIW if you really want to see how juvenile and petulant Tertullian could be, read ch. 30 of De spectaculis. It’s downright eye-opening in its viciousness.)

        • Tom Hanson

          No need. It’s among my favorite bits from a man who had no discernible wish to learn how to win friends and influence people. To do him justice, he wasn’t trying to “prove” anything in any philosophical sense. That aspect of Christian thought we now see as apologetics pretty much began with Augustine some generations later. It pretty much started with Tertullian as refutation of lies about Christianity ref ritually killing infants etc. As a good lawyer he was a born apologist in that sense. Best sarcastic snarling style before the 18th century, hands down. And Christians have never really had to “prove’ in the deductive sense that Jesus died (ie. was truly human) because it was a question about something that could only have been learned through Divine Revelation and in the medieval sense was not a matter of reason at all, but a matter of Faith alone. which from an outside point of view often means an admission of self-contradiction.
          If you get the idea that I am personally quite fond of Tertullian you would be absolutely accurate. I do not however think that he would ever have been the life of a party as an adult.

        • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

          Re: “If you get the idea that I am personally quite fond of Tertullian you would be absolutely accurate.”

          And if you’re getting the idea I think he was a fiercely angry, sanctimonious, puritanical, childish little man-boy, you would also be absolutely accurate. His own words indict him as such. The only defense one can offer for any of his immature conduct is that he was sincere in his beliefs and truly thought his screed-tantrums were justified because they brought people to Jesus … or something along those lines.

          Re: “I do not however think that he would ever have been the life of a party as an adult.”

          That’s an understatement. The man couldn’t even get along with the (majority of) the Christian community in and around Carthage, whose banner he’d carried for a number of years in the face of heresies like Marcionism. He decided they weren’t good enough for the likes of him, and fled to a Montanist commune.

          I’m not too sure how well-received he was among the Montanists; maybe initially they liked his nasty, defiant attitude and the chip he carried on his shoulder. I can only imagine, though, that his welcome may well have worn out. Maybe that’s how he got martyred (if he was, which I’m still not sure occurred) … they had enough of his conniptions, threw him out, and ratted him out to the authorities.

  • asmondius

    I’m sorry, but I don’t see a difference between you and the individuals you are critiquing here:

    – Science is imperfect and never complete, yet you seem to approach it in the same way others refer to the Holy Spirit.

    – No one has hard evidence of what happens after death, yet you seem certain that you know more than anyone else. Looks like ‘intuitional truth’ to me.
    – Science hasn’t cured cancer or AIDS, but by God it has produced atomic weapons.
    – I’d like to know how you are certain that prayers are never answered. Let me guess – the Holy Science told you so.

    • Kristian Cormack

      correct science hasn’t cured AIDS, but the catholic church has actively increased the spread of it by having its ministers proclaim that contraception is immoral, thus allowing AIDS to run riot in Africa

      • asmondius

        Contraception generally prevents pregnancy, not AIDS.
        If AIDS is running riot, it is because of promiscuous sex – there is no other possibility.

        • Kristian Cormack

          haha are you really so naive, condoms do help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases FACT ! to promote otherwise is highly unethical !

        • asmondius

          You said ‘contraception’, not ‘condom’.
          The Church promotes chastity, which is the only fool-proof way to avoid sexual diseases. They promote a superior solution while you promote an inferior one.

        • Kristian Cormack

          Last time i checked condoms were a form of contraception, people are not perfect ! promiscuity is a biological imperative !

        • asmondius

          ‘promiscuity is a biological imperative !’
          You just undermined your own claim.

        • Kristian Cormack

          how exactly ?

        • Pofarmer

          The Church promotes ignorance and wishful thinking. There is a reason that teenage pregnancy and abortions are higher in the more religiously conservative areas of the U.S.

        • asmondius

          Of course – there are more teenagers there because their parents did not abort them.

        • Pofarmer

          Uhm, no, that’s not what the statistics say. Perhaps I was not clear enough, pregnancy and abortion rates are higher.

        • asmondius

          Of course, there is no other significant attribute of a population besides the majority religious belief. Right?

        • Pofarmer

          If you have a case to make, make it.

        • asmondius

          Please scroll up.

        • Pofarmer

          Fwiw, scrolling up may or may not work. Disqus doesn’t always show all the comments, so you can miss them. The only way to be sure, is to link to the comment you want someone to see.

        • MNb

          Of course there is. Level of education in The Netherlands is much higher than in Louisiana, where HIV, teen pregnancy and abortion rates are three times or more as high than in The Netherlands. Now why is that level of education so much higher? Dutch government doesn’t permit regular churches and other christian wacko’s (like you) mess with the curriculum, even if The Netherlands have state financed religious schools, unlike Louisiana.
          You being braindead I’ll explain this to you in detail: a religious Dutch school financed by government is obliged to adopt the curriculum as determined by government, who delegates this task to scientists. The result is that fundie schools – and we have some in our very own Bible Belt – have to teach Evolution Theory in biology class as well. Do they refuse or obstruct then they will be in serious trouble. Only recently a religious school has been closed for exactly the reason of low quality.

        • asmondius

          Well, let’s see.

          The great majority of children in Louisiana attend secular public schools. If the ‘level of education’ in the Netherlands is greater than that of Louisiana, it follows that the godless public school system in Louisiana must be an inferior method of educating people.

          There is no conflict between a belief in Creation and biology, by the way. Biologists can not tell you with certainty how life on the planet began.

          Finally, it is significant demographically that the Netherlands has a much more homogenous population than Louisiana. Perhaps you are saying that ethnic and racial diversity are negatives for the education level of a population.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          You do understand “per capita,” right?

        • 90Lew90

          Condoms are contraceptives. The church promotes an unrealistic solution, which is no solution at all. Circumcision also helps reduce the spread of HIV. What does your church have to say about that?

        • asmondius

          IUD’s are contraceptives as well – they don’t stop HIV. It then follows that to say ‘contraceptives stop HIV’ must be false.

          Circumcision is not prohibited by Christianity. Does this help?

        • 90Lew90

          So more correctly, some forms of contraceptive — condoms — inhibit the spread of HIV. True? But your church has condemned the use of contraception. Even when it saves lives. True? In fact, your church says that the use of condoms specifically actually contributes to the spread of HIV. Where does that leave you? You obviously accept that HIV is a bad thing, and yet you object to the use of a method which is proven to prevent its spread. On what basis? A belief that helps you sleep at night? I would say that’s more than a little self-serving.

        • MNb

          The facts say otherwise. But of course you are too braindead to care about something like facts.
          Prohibit condoms and sexual diseases will spread. Denying this only confirms what we already know about you.

          Let’s compare. Louisiana has 4,5 million inhabitants. Amount of HIV-patients:

          http://www.lphi.org/home2/section/generic-160/

          almost 31 0000.

          The Netherlands have 17 million inhabitants – four times as many. Amount of HIV-patients:

          http://www.soaaids.nl/nl/soas/veel-voorkomende-soas/cijfers

          almost 19 000.
          How come? The Netherlands being far more secular than Louisiana from the very beginning of the AIDS-epidemy (about 30 years ago) has applied a policy of sex education and easily accessible contraceptives, including condoms. This policy doesn’t care about christian values.
          Louisiana policy totally does.
          If you would do a little research you would find that this is no coincidence. Abortion rates are in The Netherlands much lower as well, for similar reason.
          So you’re simply wrong, as usual. Christianity is a failure once again, no matter what popie says.

        • Kristian Cormack

          last time i checked condoms are a form of contraception sorry if my use of a widely understood term confused you somehow !

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          Well there’s always infected needles. Also, the atheists commenting here don’t say that you should or must have sex, but that if you do, you should use protection.

          Humans are hilariously fragile. Anything could kill you. If you were to apply the logic of depriving yourself of something as wonderful as sex solely to avoid the RISK of disease to anything you want that might hurt you, you’d probably live a bleak life.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          And yet, in practice, chastity works quite poorly. Look at abortion rates in red vs. blue states.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Science has given us contraception that prevents (in many cases) pregnancy and STDs. Thank you science.

          Prayer looks pretty impotent by comparison.

        • asmondius

          Chastity prevents trouble in ALL cases, as opposed to the less than perfect record of ‘science’.
          Since prayer is not mentioned at all in my post feel free to check), you simply dragged out yet another straw man.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Yes, not having sex is a great way to avoid difficulties caused by having sex. Problem is, it’s not workable in practice. Red states have more focus on abstinence and more unwanted pregnancies.

          Oops. Better go back and check to see how abstinence is working for you.

          As for straw men, yeah–it would be ridiculous to attack the impregnable wall of your logic, so I just have to toss out something I can actually defeat.

        • hector_jones

          You seem to think that ‘chastity’ belongs outside the realm of science. You have no basis for this assumption.

          On what basis do you conclude that STDs are 100% avoided by chastity, when your own belief system says that pregnancy is possible for a 100% chaste woman?

        • Greg G.

          Attempted chastity has an amazing failure rate for pregnancy prevention and STD prevention. It’s like not doing anything.

        • Pofarmer

          That’s because it is not doing anything. The idea of Chastity, like so many religious concepts, attempts to deny human nature, and change it. It ultimately fails at a very high rate. Scientific contraception, on the other hand, works with human nature to prevent pregnancy, and STD’s in the instance of condoms. Study after study has shown that education and contraception have a far, far higher succes rate for prevention of pregnancy, and abortions, than attempted Chastity. Libby Ann has a great poat on it citing many relevant statistics. Asmondius isn’t interested in what works though, he’s interested in his theology.

        • scottie1111

          You Idiot.
          Latex condoms DO protect against HIV.
          It’s scary that you have a set of balls and are capable of impregnating another Christard like yourself. Do the human race a favor, get a vasectomy so you don’t further muck up the gene pool.

    • Ron

      1. Science is a process, i.e. the systematic study of our universe through observation and experimentation—not a final destination.

      2. What Happens After Death

      3. Science hasn’t cured those illnesses yet. And how those discoveries are used is a moral/ethical concern, not a scientific one. Hammers can be used to drive nails or to club people in the head. Knives can be used to slice food or to slice throats. And the same atomic theory that builds bombs also drives modern medicine.

      4. On prayer:

      In Mark 11:24, Jesus makes the following promise:

      “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (NIV)

      This promise is repeated in Matthew 18:19-20, Matthew 21:21-22 and John 14:12-14.

      And in Mark 16:17-18, Jesus states the following:

      “These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe…. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.”(NLT)

      That’s a scientifically testable claim. Please gather a group of true believers (I’ll let you decide who qualifies as a true believer) and go clear out an entire hospital of patients. I’ll become a believer when I see it in the news.

      • asmondius

        1. Since science depends upon the independent imitative of individuals, I doubt it is simply a ‘process’. I’d call it a ‘discipline’. Religion is also a discipline.

        2. This simply describes the decay of the body – humanity wishes to know what happens to the human identity/personality after death.. Science can’t say for sure since it does not know the origin of life.

        3. ‘Science hasn’t cured those illnesses yet’
        Sounds like faith to me – believing in what is to yet come.
        4. Perhaps you are unaware that several studies have revealed that prayer does indeed produce positive results in hospital patients.

        Your demand that prayer cure everyone in a hospital is in reality a demand of God – that in itself is a prayer. Congratulations.

        • Ron

          1. Your opening charge was that science is imperfect and never complete—points I ceded by explaining that science’s stated purpose isn’t to make definitive, immutable statements, but to expand our knowledge of the universe through trial and observation. This makes it a process of discovery. That some people pursue science as a career is beside the point.

          2. Your identity/personality/consciousness ceases to exist upon brain death. Cellular degeneration leading to loss of neural activity and consciousness are readily observable facts of death. To date, we have no evidence to support claims of continued consciousness beyond brain death; so those stating otherwise are tasked with providing it.

          The origins of life are an entirely different field of study. Not knowing how my car battery was manufactured in no way impacts my ability to determine it no longer has enough power left to turn over the engine.

          3. My trust in medicine is evidence-based—i.e. it’s built upon medicine’s proven track record of finding effective cures for previously incurable illnesses. Religious faith, on the other hand, is predicated purely on hope in things unseen.

          4. Could you please point me to those peer-reviewed studies? I’m especially interested in viewing the ones highlighting the efficacy of prayer on the restoration of lost limbs of amputees. And my request was for you to demonstrate the power of healing through prayer as promised in the verses cited. Can you do so, or not?

        • 90Lew90

          On point 4, the largest ever study on hospital patients carried out over ten years by the Templeton Foundation flatly contradicts his claim. People who were prayed for actually ended up exhibiting more post-operative complications. They got sicker. The moral of the story? If you get sick, be sure to tell any well-meaning religious people where to stick their prayers.

        • asmondius
        • 90Lew90

          What exactly is that supposed to signify? A journalist writes a cock-and-bull story about some guy. That’s not a study. That is not a paper. It’s some trashy “news” item. The Templeton study was of 1,800 patients over ten years, “the most scientifically rigorous investigation of whether prayer can heal illness”. Result? The people who were prayed for and knew it got sicker. Interesting. Perhaps your god holds people who pray in contempt.

          The NY Times reports on the study here: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/31/health/31pray.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

          The Templeton release on the report is here: http://www.templeton.org/pdfs/press_releases/060407STEP_paper.pdf

        • asmondius

          1. I said ‘discipline’, you respond w/ ‘career’. There is a disconnect here somewhere.
          2. Point me to the scientific evidence showing that the human identity ceases to exist after death. In fact, please advise as to where specifically the human identity exists.
          3. Trust is faith – you simply replaced God with human medical knowledge. You don’t see God, I don’t see a cure for cancer.
          4. Sorry, I don’t respond to requests from people who have already decided they know everything. That would be pointless. Pray to your ‘peer-reviewed’ scientists to restore lost limbs, and please do let us know what happens.

        • Pofarmer

          1. I would like to know how religion is a discipline.

          2. all the evidence we have points to the human identity existing within the brain.

          3. As long as all you see is God, you’ll never see a cure for Cancer, or any other illness, parasite, or mild skin condition.

          4. Typical. You got nuthin.

        • asmondius

          1. There are rules to follow and you have to work at it continuously. Take my word on this.

          2. ‘Points to’ is conjecture. We do not know.

          3. Since I see God in others – you as well – that should not be a problem.

          4. I saw that person coming a mile ahead – I don’t suffer smart alecks.

        • Pofarmer

          1) Yes, because if you don’t work at it continuously, the construct starts to unravel.

          2.) No we “do not know” but all the evidence, that would be all of it, “points to” the brain. None of it, “Points to” anything out side the body, to the point that it isn’t even a point of inquiry.

          3.) You are doing as Mark Twain says, and seeing the works of people as agents of God, when we are really just humans working for each other. Drop the God, and the works still stand. It’s an unecessary addition, Occams razor applies.

          4.) The point stands. If there is a way found to restore lost limbs, science will do it, no amount of faith will suffice.

        • Ron

          1. I addressed your specific claim and you introduced a side topic unrelated to that point, so the disconnect originates with you.

          2. The medical evidence shows marked personality changes in those suffering from severe head trauma. The medical evidence also shows that cadavers don’t respond to external stimuli.

          Now, could you please point me to the evidence that indicates a person’s identity/consciousness continues on in a disembodied state following clinical death, and also how you arrived at that conclusion?

          3. Trust means confidence that someone/something is reliable. Faith, as employed by theists, means belief in a deity. Hebrews 11:1 defines it as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

          My “faith” (as you like to call it) is placed in “the substance of things empirically demonstrated, and the evidence of things seen and quantified.”

          4. That’s too bad. At no point did I claim to know everything; so this reflects a projection on your part.

          Even more perplexing is why you’d consider it pointless to provide me with the very evidence sought to sway me towards belief, especially in light of 1 Peter 3:15’s injunction to “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”

          While medical science is not yet capable of restoring entire limbs, steady progress is being made in that direction via research. The following articles present case studies on the regeneration of major muscle tissue following injuries that normally would have left patients immobile or reliant on the use of prosthetics:

          http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/scientists-regenerate-leg-muscles-pig-bladder-tissue

          discovermagazine.com/2011/jul-aug/13-how-pig-guts-became-hope-regenerating-human-limbs

          And these articles highlight the discovery of a gene found to regenerate tissues and body parts in mice:

          http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/new-limb-regeneration-ins/

          http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/334725/scitech/science/scientists-discover-gene-for-advanced-healing-and-limb-regeneration

        • Greg G.

          4. Perhaps you are unaware that several studies have revealed that prayer does indeed produce positive results in hospital patients.

          I am aware of several of these studies. They all had procedural problems that allowed believers to affect the outcome, either intentionally or subconsciously. That’s why the Templeton Foundation, a Christian organization that tries to bridge religion and science, designed a prayer experiment that eliminated the possiblity of cheating. The group that was prayed for and informed of it did the worst.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      No, the way I approach science is not at all like others approach the Holy Spirit. I recommend you read the post again.

      No, I am not certain of the afterlife and never said that I was. The point is that there is insufficient evidence to support the extraordinary conclusion that there is one, so those who follow reasons tentatively conclude that there isn’t one.

      Yes, science has told us many apparently true things about reality. It’s a shame that there’s no reason to believe the same claim about religion.

      I am not certain prayers aren’t answered. I can’t imagine any thoughtful reader of my posts coming to that conclusion.

      • asmondius

        ‘No, the way I approach science is not at all like others approach the Holy Spirit. I recommend you read the post again.’

        I was referring to the thought process I see in all of your posts and blog entries. You seem to trust that science is always correct. That’s faith. If that was a false observation, fine.

        ‘ I am not certain prayers aren’t answered. I can’t imagine any thoughtful reader of my posts coming to that conclusion.’

        Here is your quote (emphasis is mine):
        ‘But in religion, one tries to tell people, in a grand and mysterious way, SOMETHING THEY HAVE NO REASON TO BELIEVE—that an invisible God actually exists, THAT PRAYERS ARE REALLY ANSWERED, and that there is an afterlife.’

        People can only respond to what you write.

        ‘Yes, science has told us many apparently true things about reality. It’s a shame that there’s no reason to believe the same claim about religion.’

        Well, let’s see. Christianity has held for about 2000 years that Jesus Christ came to redeem us and that we each have an equal chance to better ourselves. That message has been constant throughout.

        What has science told us over that same period? That draining blood from the body cures ‘night vapours’. That you can tell personality traits by counting the lumps on a person’s head. That people will never fly. That there’s nothing wrong with a little cocaine now and then. That shock treatments are beneficial for individuals with psychiatric issues. That hysterectomies are always a good routine surgey for women. That the Earth will enter a new Ice Age by the year 2000. That the coelacanth is extinct. That there is no harm in being exposed to Agent Orange. That if we surgically modify an infant with ambiguous genitalia to be a female, that child will become a female. That homosexuality is a mental disorder. That ulcers are due strictly to diet and temperament. That the smallest particle of matter is the atom. Ad nauseum.

        ‘No, I am not certain of the afterlife and never said that I was. The point is that there is insufficient evidence to support the extraordinary conclusion that there is one, so those who follow reasons tentatively conclude that there isn’t one.’

        Ah, so you have this magical ability you called ‘reason’ which allows you to conclude which of two equal possibilities is the most likely. Sounds like just a belief to me – just like religion.

        • Pofarmer

          So, you are saying that holding stubbornly onto a false belief, is better than advancing ones knowledge?

        • asmondius

          ‘holding stubbornly onto a false belief’ = atheism

          See how that works?

        • Pofarmer

          Not really, no, I adjusted my viewpoint to facts on the ground. You keep making excuses as to why your viewpoint doesn’t jive with the same facts, and refuse to give any kind of empirical support for them.

        • MNb

          “You seem to trust that science is always correct.”
          It seems to you but that’s because you’re braindead. BobS knows Richard Feynman’s first principle (you can google it); you apparently don’t.
          The thing is that science provides many reliable results. Belief doesn’t.

          How is “I am not certain prayers aren’t answered” contradictory to ” no reason to believe that prayers are really answered”? Oh of course – it’s contradictory in your braindead mind.

          “People can only respond to what you write.”
          People should first understand what BobS writes. I know – that’s a hard task for Mr. Braindead.

          “That message has been constant throughout.”
          Yes, now how is that a reason to accept it as true?

          “Ad nauseum.”
          Actually not ad nauseam. For every single example you provide there are at least ten correct scientific claims. Please tell me. Even you will acknowledge that internet enables people to communicate all over the world. What’s the religious equivalent?

          “so you have this magical ability you called ‘reason'”
          Pssst – you introduced yourself by claiming that you were a rational person. Rational persons rely on reason. Here you reject it. So much for consistency, ie your rationality.

        • asmondius

          Your worship of science and technology is no different than the worship of religion.
          You continue to make believe that the society and civilization you live in are not a result of religion.

        • Pofarmer

          Most of the civilization we live in, is the result of minds being freed from religious Dogma. The reformation and enlightenment, maybe you’ve heard of them?

        • MNb

          As a Dutchman I happen to know that the Reformation was even more religiously dogmatic than the RCC when it took off in my country. Luther and especially Calvin (and calvinism was for a long time the default religion) were worse dogmatic bigots than any catholic contemporary.
          But like I explained above I’m very grateful for the Enlightenment. During Dutch Golden Age is was very, very risky to be an atheist in even the most liberal country of the world (relatively) at the time:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adriaan_Koerbagh

          Spinoza knew why he refused to publish his Ethics during his life.

        • Pofarmer

          Yes, definately, but without the one I don’t see how you get the other.

        • MNb

          Do I understand you correctly? You state that without the Reformation the Enlightenment would not have happened? That’s very bold.
          For starters the Reformation happened at least 150 years before the Enlightenment, so it’s not easy to lay bare a causal relation. Then the authority of the RCC had been challenged long before Luther was born (one name is Johannes Huss) and there is no reason to assume those challenges would have stopped without the Reformation, ie if Luther and the rest had remaind catholics.
          Finally France totally did not need a Reformation to pull off their version of Enlightenment. The country was almost 100% catholic at the beginning of the 18th Century.
          If anything the Enlightenment is the result of several different factors: the development of modern science, the development of modern western philosophy and the start of globalization. Leibniz for instance invented the binary system and then learned that he had beaten by Chinese mathematicians.
          The Reformation may have had influence on the Enlightenment, but I strongly dispute that it was a necessary condition.

        • Pofarmer

          I think that, at any rate, the idea had to be put forth that the Church’s absolute Dogma could be contradicted. That is what Luther, and Zwingli, and Calvin and then a whole host of others did. It became clear that it was O.K. to think, and people started thinking about how to think, not just how to believe and follow. It may not have had to have followed the exact same formula, but it had to become possible, and in some sense safe, to stand up to the prevailing Dogma of the day.

        • MNb

          Like I wrote Luther etc. were far from the first. I already mentioned Johannes Huss. Another example is Wycliffe. They both lived well before 1500 CE when they contradicted the RCC’s absolute dogma. In this respect I also should mention Macchiavelli, who didn’t even mention Jesus in his political analysis. So people had started to think for themselves well before Reformation.
          Of course Copernicus had not much to do with Reformation either.
          You seem to be victim of protestant propaganda. It’s not any better than its catholic counterpart. Luther was not the isolated hero who dared to stand up against RCC authority. Even the story that he nailed his 95 statements on a church wall is false. He just followed the regular procedure like the loyal monk he then still was.

          “It became clear that it was O.K. to think”
          well before Luther, independently from Luther and it would have become clear without the protestant gang as well. Moreover especially Luther wasn’t exactly a guy who advocated independent thinking – he only tried to replace RCC dogma with his own ones. Same for Calvin; I don’t know about Zwingli.
          Reformation wasn’t a necessary condition for Enlightenment.

        • Ron

          Worship: an expression of reverence and adoration for a deity.

          Science: the pursuit and application of knowledge and understanding of the natural and social world following a systematic methodology based on evidence.

          We trust and respect science because it works. Faith in gods…not so much.

        • asmondius

          Yes – you worship science.

        • Pofarmer

          No one worships science, but if they did, at least it produces results which improve the lot of mankind.

        • gusbovona

          In those three words – “you worship science” – we can see two logical problems:

          1. bald assertion with no support – there could, hypothetically, be something to support the statement, but none is offered at the time of making the statement, leaving the rational person no way to accept the statement

          2. equivocation – I do not think the word “worship” means what you think it means if you use it to describe the vast majority of peoples’ view of science.

        • MNb

          For some reason I can’t remember the last time I prayed, sacrificed or did some other ritual for science and technology. What I do remember is that I don’t use several products of science and technology. An example is the blackberry. For probably the same reason I cannot remember the last time I postulated that science is infallible, like you maintain your god is.
          See the diff? Ah, Mr. Braindead just can’t.

          “You continue to make believe that the society and civilization you live in are not a result of religion.”
          And again you being braindead saves you from me accusing you of lying. Alas for you according to your very own Holy Book being braindead is no excuse for bearing false witness. I never wrote that I believe such a thing.
          Of course the society and civilization I live in is largely a result of religion. Fortunately for me – and even for catholics like you as I’ll show you underneath – secularists began to make serious amendments about 200 years ago. They had embraced the Enlightenment. The more we proceed on this path – ie developing society and civilization by removing religious influences ao – the better off the civilized people of society are. Even many believers recognize this today. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte appears to be a christian. That happens to be just irrelevant. Many Dutch atheists voted for his party; many christians didn’t.
          Now The Netherlands are originally a protestant nation – the Dutch Reformed Church dominated until 1795. Then thanks to the French army Dutch secularists (called patriots) took over. One of the first thing they did – the French Revolution was their example – was giving catholics and jews equal rights. That was undone when the French left in 1814. So your fellow-catholics and the jews needed another secularist – JR Thorbecke – to get their equal rights back.
          It seems to me that you are a little ungrateful to secularists. Be sure I am not. I thank them for my freedom, because if braindead bigots like you had it their way I never could have been open about my atheism, as large chunks of your very own good old US of A show again and again.
          Be sure if in the USA the fundies will manage to dominate politics (unlikely, I admit) and secularism and atheism are rendered harmless your beloved RCC will be the next victim of evangelical fundies. So choose your political loyalty wisely. That is, if Mr. Braindead is capable of recognizing his interests.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You seem to trust that science is always correct.

          Nope. Not only do I not do that, I’ve never seen any hint of this in any other atheist. Keep a tighter rein on those biases.

          People can only respond to what you write.

          Who wrote that? It’s brilliant. Yep, I see no reason to justify the claim of prayer. I never said that I am certain that prayers aren’t answered.

          Christianity has held for about 2000 years that Jesus Christ came to redeem us and that we each have an equal chance to better ourselves. That message has been constant throughout.

          “Christianity” has been a drunken target staggering around for 2000 years. And, of course, that’s not the point. The point is that we have no strong evidence that any of Christianity’s supernatural claims are correct … after 2000 years. Science has a substantially better record of making claims that it can back up.

          What has science told us over that same period? That draining blood from the body …

          I’m not sure that your list of wild guesses could be called “science.” If your point is that science is sometimes wrong, yep, you’re right. And my point stands: science delivers. Christianity … not so much.

          Before you slap together your rebuttal, just consider the science that allows us to communicate.

          Ah, so you have this magical ability you called ‘reason’ which allows you to conclude which of two equal possibilities is the most likely.

          So “there is an afterlife” and “there is no afterlife” are equal possibilities? I suppose ghost/no ghost are also equal? Fairies/no fairies, too?

    • scottie1111

      ASSmondius, why don’t you just throw your computer in the trash with your spectacles and pharmaceutical drugs…
      …because science is evil and The Holy Spirit will relay this communication without an internet.
      You’re a gullible science denier who truly lives up to being a Christard.

  • Matt M

    It amazes me the simple points of categorization that Atheists miss.
    Reason applies to logic.
    Science applies to the mechanism of the observable natural world.
    You do understand that Nazi Doctors thought what they did was “Reason” based, right?
    And Communists? They also thought that everyone else was denying “Reason”, and unwilling to accept it. This is because they were atheists that didn’t seem to understand where Science is applicable and where not.
    Reason says nothing pertaining to origin or abstract notions. Atheists need to pretend that it does for their view to be correct. This is the crux of the entire argument. Christians realize that Reason is applicable in certain categories of human inquiry, Atheists do not. It is as simple as that.
    That is why you generally get such absurd flows of logic from atheists, and people like Craig usually so easily win debates.
    Sample atheistic logic:
    1) Reason and science have a long record of answering human inquiry. (Like understanding how lightning occurs.)
    2) The origin of human morality is a human inquiry.
    3) Therefore the origin of human morality must have originated via natural processes.(Just like lightning).
    -Here we’re comparing Human Morality to lightning or computer chips with a straight face. Perfect…
    (And no… Christianity is not Nordic mythology and does not claim God is banging a hammer, though Atheists get confused on this point too.)
    But, thanks for letting us know how reasonable Atheists all are, but Christians such as Pascal, Boyle, Newton, and Francis Collins and yes Craig and Wise are not. Correction, they just understand where it is applicable and where it is not; which is why they excelled. They didn’t waste their time trying to apply “Science” to morality like atheists must do if they are correct.

    • MNb

      Are you saying that reason and logic do not apply to the mechanism of the observable natural world? Dang, have all those physicists studied the culmination of reason and logic (called mathematics) for nothing. If you’re not saying this you are the one who’s making a category error – so big your entire argument falls apart.
      You understand that nazi- and commie scientists were demonstrably wrong (demonstrated by science, not by religion of course), do you?
      Anyhow – the last time that “reasonable” Craig tried to debate someone who totally applies reason and logic to the mechanism of the observable natural world (namely Sean Carroll) he totally got creamed.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

      If you want my critique of some of William Lane Craig’s arguments, search for that name in this blog. Sorry, he’s not much of a thinker–he’s just a shill for the Christian position.

      Yes, science can tell us a lot about why humans are the way they are.

      You do raise one interesting question: would Christian thinkers from centuries past–Newton, Leibniz, Pascal, etc.–be Christians if they were alive today? Doubtful, I’m thinking, based on the poor showing of Christianity within today’s leading scientists.

  • Miguel de la Pena

    I can see how those who worship science would have difficulty with some of these things. However, implying that a hierarchy of God’s word over man’s limited and continuously developing knowledge completely negates reason is dishonest and impresses more as though the author is having a fit over the idea that Christians believe God over man.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

      Who worships science? Not me. I doubt no commenter here would say that.

      Why would I conclude that God exists without using reason? I don’t conclude the existence of anything else without reason.

      • Miguel de la Pena

        General revelation.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Tell me more. Is this a reliable route to understanding? Can I use it just like you can? Are the results repeatable? Does it tell you the same things it tells the Muslim, Shinto, or Hindu guy?

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Yes, it is.
          Yes, you can.
          Yes, they are.
          Yes, it does; atheists as well.

        • MNb

          “Are the results repeatable?”
          So when can we expect the second Revelation?

          Edit 10 hours later: please read Resurrection.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          You’re asking when prophecy will be fulfilled? If so, nobody knows when exactly.

        • MNb

          Then the result of “general revelation” called “Resurrection” may not be repeatable.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Neither is your birth, yet I still believe you were born.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          ‘Cause there’s evidence for it, amiright?

          Contrast that with the supernatural claims in the Bible. Ouch!

        • Miguel de la Pena

          You’re completely free to deny the evidence of the Biblical miracles.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          I don’t deny the evidence; I await the evidence. It’s a mile wide and an inch deep. There is scientific consensus on zero miracles. So, yeah, I don’t find miracles a compelling claim.

        • Greg G.

          What evidence for Bible miracles? The Jesus miracles are re-enactments of the miracles of Moses, Elijah, and Elisha. The Moses miracles happened in a context that should have left evidence but there is none so the evidence shows the Moses story to be fiction. If the Bible has unreliable stories of miracles, our skepticism toward all Bible miracles is justified. Your acceptance of those stories is unjustified without additional evidence. Absence of evidence where there should be evidence is evidence of absence.

        • Pofarmer

          Considering that one of the miracles of Elijah is having a bunch of children eaten by a bear……….

        • Greg G.

          But that one is believable because saying “baldy” in Hebrew is to bears what “soouuiiee” is to pigs or “kitty kitty kitty” is to cats. I know this because it was a revelation.

        • Pofarmer

          Must have been a special revelation, mine was different.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Small correction: it was actually Elisha, Elijah’s acolyte, who got so pissed off at kids mocking his baldness that he called down 2 bears who killed 42 kids. (But, hey–who hasn’t wanted to kill a bunch of sassy kids now and again, right?)

          It’s possible that Elijah (lots of hair) was a recast sun deity and Elisha (bald) was a moon deity.

        • Pofarmer

          Elijah, Elisha, potatoe, poahtoe,

        • al

          What would count for evidence?

        • Greg G.

          If millions of people lived in the Sinai for forty years, there would be many forms of evidence from bones of animals and humans to abandoned tools to campsites in great numbers. Researchers have looked diligently with a motive to find such things without success.

          EDIT: Also, if a million pieces of Egypt’s labor force suddenly walked out, their economy would have been devastated. Egypt would have been conquered almost immediately. History shows that they remained a power for centuries after that event was supposed to have happened.

        • Pofarmer

          Historical evidence from other cultures would also be useful. Say, Egyptian records of a great exodus of workers, or maybe evidence of sudden economic decline. Genetic evidence, maybe, suggesting that the Israelites were genetically different from their Caananite neighbors. Also, the Egyptians and another culture, the Sumerians? were fighting an ongoing war in that area at that time, so you would think that somebody would have bumped into them and recorded it, somewhere.

        • al

          Maybe the event was recorded but is now lost. Historians do know that when the powers that be lost they did not usually record their defeats.

        • Pofarmer

          Even if the losers do not record their loss, there is still generally evidence of it.

        • al

          like what?

        • Pofarmer

          See, Greg, above.

        • Greg G.

          The loss of millions of people from the economy would be devastating. The Sumerians would have routed the Egyptians. History from all sides would be different.

        • al

          Maybe, maybe not.

        • Pofarmer

          Lol.

        • Greg G.

          You don’t replace a million trained slaves that could draw on 430 years of experience during war and not miss a beat.

        • al

          Maybe they did or they did but the records have been destroyed.

        • Greg G.

          Where is the physical evidence of a 40 year trek through a relatively small desert? We have provided evidentiary indications that it didn’t and that it couldn’t have happened.

          Also, try to work out how long it would take for 2 million people to leave Egypt with livestock. Egypt to the Promised Land is such a short trip, the first to leave should have arrived before the last of them left as it would take a couple of weeks for them to leave.

        • al

          Maybe there is evidence but they don’t understand what they have. Archaeology is not an exact science.

          It took 40 years ” Because of their disobedience and lack of faith, God told them to turn around and wander in the desert for 40 years, until all but Joshua and Caleb had died … even Moses. Answer: The Israelites were never likely to have made the journey in ten days considering the delays they experienced. Very early on in their travels, the decision had been made to take a more circuitous route to avoid the warring nation of the Philistines:” Exodus 13:17″http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Why_did_it_take_the_Israelites_40_years_to_travel_from_Egypt_to_Canaan_yet_such_a_journey_even_at_that_time_would_have_taken_no_more_than_eleven_days

        • Greg G.

          Professional archaeologists have bones of humans and cattle, coprolite, cultural artifacts that they don’t understand? It’s more likely that you don’t understand the problems with the story, or that you do see them and are desperately trying to wish them away.

          How did the brilliant decision to take the long route work out for them? One in a million made it. With 603,550 soldiers and a God who could have plagued their enemies into submission, they would have had a better rate of survival taking the direct root.

          When they bedded down at night, assuming each was 5 feet tall and 2 feet wide, they would occupy a space over 64 miles on a side provided nobody pitched a tent, brought livestock, spread their arms, or had to pee.

          Walking, they would not March in a 64 mile wide column, so their length would be a few hundred miles. At a walking pace, it would have taken at least a week and a half to pass a given point, like the border of Egypt. It would have taken that long to cross the Red Sea. How did they expect nobody to notice them taking the long route?

          Work out the math and logistics for this maneuver instead of believing everything they tell you in church. Your intellectual integrity depends on it.

        • MNb

          Even then – it took Alexander the Great and his armies 10 years to walk from Egypt to India and back. That’s a much larger distance in a much shorter time.
          You’re just another believer who rejects science when the results don’t suit him.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          You are saying that the Hebrews were in the Sinai for 40 years, right? That’s a lot of corpses and animal bones that should be there.

          They haven’t been found–that’s a clue.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          So is that your argument, now? “The evidence that would show the truth of the Bible could be lost … yeah, that’s it! The evidence must all be lost.”?

          Not much to build a worldview on. My suggestion: follow the evidence where it leads.

        • Greg G.

          I was adding an edit about the effect it would have had on Egypt when you posted a reply. “Great minds” and all that.

          There is also the archaeological evidence that the cultures that the ancient Hebrews were supposed to have conquered show no sudden changes.

        • Pofarmer

          Well, and genetic testing and pottery and other physcial evidence suggests that the Hebrews were right there in Palestine all along. They just developed a different set of beliefs than their neighbors.

        • Greg G.

          I wonder if one group could have taken in a group of Ahkenaten’s priests who were run out of Egypt and would have brought a robust monotheistic religion with them. If their tales became construed with the Hebrew culture’s history, it could explain some things, I speculate.

        • Pofarmer

          I think you could come up with any number of speculations more possible than two million people wandering around on the sinia for 40 years.

        • Pofarmer

          You know what’s slightly interesting? Moses doesn’t make it into the promised land. In the short ending of Mark, the women just run away and don’t tell anybody. Both of these endings seem designed to explain why the one hearing the story had never heard of this person before.

        • Greg G.

          Good point. There is a lot of characters in mythology disappearing without a trace.

        • Al

          what????

        • Pofarmer

          Surely you know about the short ending of Mark?

        • Al

          Yes. Even in Mark’s ending he mentions the resurrection. Also, by the time Mark wrote the apostles were already preaching the resurrection.

        • Pofarmer

          He mentikns the empty tomb, but the women run away and tell no one, just like Jesus keeps telling people not to tell anyone about his miracles.

        • Al

          Was that command in Mark a command never to tell anyone ever or just for a time?

          Jesus did not always say to everyone He healed not to tell anyone. He raised a number of people from the dead and healed a blind man and these were done in public.

          If you are going to claim something about the Bible make sure you understand the contexts and if it applies to all situations.

        • Pofarmer

          The raising of Lazarus isn’t in Mark, it is only in John. In the healing of the blind man, Jesus takes the blind man outside the village, ostensibly alone, and then tells him not to go back into the village.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Which context, Dr. Al? Mark has a very different context from John, say. In Mark, Jesus is adopted by God at the baptism. In John, Jesus was divine from the beginning of everything.

          The Bible is a sock puppet that you make say whatever you want. Just know that two can play that game.

        • al

          Since the exodus probably happened over 5000 years ago you expect to find bones etc? Do you have any idea how the processes of nature breaks down stuff down like that in a short time? Most of that stuff would turn to dust in a short while.

          So what kind of evidence is needed for a miracle in the past?

        • Pofarmer

          It’s actually pretty common to find bones, pottery shards, etc, etc, from that time period. It is a desert, after all. There is a post either on here, or elsewhere on Patheos Atheist about “Camels in Genesis.” and how the Genesis stories of domesticated Camels don’t line up with the Archaeological findings. Hmmmmm, maybe that article was on Vridar.org. Anyway, archaeological evidence from the supposed time period of the types described definitely exists.

        • al

          How would bones and pottery tell about an exodus?

        • Pofarmer

          You would expect to find, say, different kinds of pottery from local kinds in dump pits. Pottery was often a telltale as to who was making it and when and where it was made. Amounts would give a clue as to populations. Bones tell all kinds of tales, from how people were buried to what they ate, to their general physical condition and age. Trash dumps are great resources.

        • al

          Finding bones would not tell anything about a historical event such as the exodus.

        • Pofarmer

          You really need to take this up with Israel Finklestein. Do a little reading. You are looking like a moron.

        • al

          . Archaeologists make a lot of speculative comments that sounds like facts. Remember, your the one who thinks archaeology disproves the exodus and the Bible. I’m just asking you to prove it and not just assert it without any facts.

        • MNb

          Archeologists dig. If they find nothing where they ought to find something – like Israel Finkelstein in the Sinai – there is nothing to speculate. Only if they find something the speculation can begin.
          For instance the evaluation of King David seems to depend on one little piece of grain ….

          http://zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com/2012/08/03/a-tiny-seed/
          http://humanities.tau.ac.il/segel/fink2/

        • Greg G.

          Finklestein is an Israeli archaeologist. He would have more to gain by validating Exodus than disproving it. His personal integrity and the complete lack of evidence prevents that.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          You do realize that the burden of proof is yours, right? You’re the one who claims a miraculous exodus from Egypt.

          You say there’s little evidence for your claim? Yes, I agree. And that means that you can’t show that it likely happened.

        • al

          Even if they find something out in the desert that would not necessarily proved it happened. Mere bones cannot prove a historical event.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          True enough.

          And you’re just digging your hole deeper and deeper …

        • Greg G.

          If I look outside and see a wet sidewalk, it might mean it recently rain or someone sprayed it with a hose. If the sidewalk is dry, it means both that it has not rained and nobody has sprayed it with a hose. Likewise, a cache of bones could be evidence for the Exodus or something else. The lack of bones shows that neither something else nor the Exodus occurred.

        • Greg G.

          Finding bones and other evidence would open the door to the possibility that there was an Exodus. Not finding any evidence after diligently looking for evidence rules out that it happened. You can’t trust the Bible. Accept that and you don’t have to present silly arguments for how it could have happened.

        • MNb

          It’s the other way round – no remnants, no people, no Exodus.

        • Greg G.

          It’s the complete lack of them that shows it never happened. Do you think it possible for a family to go decades without breaking a piece of pottery?

        • wtfwjtd

          “Since the exodus probably happened over 5000 years ago you expect to find bones etc?”

          Uh, no, more like 3,400 years ago, tops, and this is generously assuming that it was a historical, and not just a symbolic, occurrence.

          And yes, we would absolutely expect to find bones, litter, and other evidence–in fact, lots of it, as there were supposedly way more than 1,000,000 people and animals that were part of this alleged “event”. You think you could hide this under a rock somewhere in the desert? Fat chance.
          With zero archaeological evidence to support it, most historians today don’t consider the exodus as a historical event, but rather a symbolic one.

        • al

          Do you know if every square inch of the desert down 20 feet or so where they were wandering has been evacuated?

        • MNb

          Israel Finkelstein has done that job.

        • Greg G.

          The Sinai is 130 miles at its widest by latitude and 240 miles at its widest by longitude. That’s barely large enough to hold 2 million people. It’s not large enough to maintain a population that size for 40 years even if it was a tropical rain forest. It would be practically impossible to find a spot not camped on for decades.

        • al

          Problem is that there be hardly nothing left since they were not building permanent dwellings etc.
          consider this:
          “The decomposition of a dead body depends on many factors, any of which can affect the time necessary to break it down. If a body is buried in a coffin deep in the ground, for example, it could take as long as 50 years for all of the tissue to disappear. But if it is exposed to the elements, it will decay very quickly. The most important factor in decomposition time is how much exposure the body has had to bacteria. Bacteria need oxygen to survive and are generally found in heavy concentrations in water. Therefore, exposure to air or water will speed up the process of decomposition dramatically. Animals and insects will feed on the tissue if a body is exposed, also quickening the process. Regardless of how long it takes for tissue to be completely broken down, it may take the underlying bones hundreds of years to fully decay.”
          http://curiosity.discovery.com/question/take-dead-body-to-decompose

          After a couple of thousand years or so there would nothing left unless they were properly preserved.

        • Greg G.

          After a couple of thousand years or so there would nothing left unless they were properly preserved.

          Burying the evidence of 40 years of 2 million people in the desert would be preserving it.

          The remains of an army from about 3000 years ago was found in Egypt fairly recently. It was reported to have been about one fortieth the size of Moses band.

          I would think that your claim that it happened 5000 years ago creates a contradiction with your claim that they were avoiding a war of the Philistines. The Philistines weren’t robust enough to have lasted 1500 years. Or are you willing to make up sh*t to save a stupid story.

          How about dealing with how long it would have taken then to leave Egypt?

        • al

          Doesn’t matter how many people there were. Stuff doesn’t survive very long in the desert.

          Maybe you missed this:

          “The decomposition of a dead body depends on many factors, any of which can affect the time necessary to break it down. If a body is buried in a coffin deep in the ground, for example, it could take as long as 50 years for all of the tissue to disappear. But if it is exposed to the elements, it will decay very quickly. The most important factor in decomposition time is how much exposure the body has had to bacteria. Bacteria need oxygen to survive and are generally found in heavy concentrations in water. Therefore, exposure to air or water will speed up the process of decomposition dramatically. Animals and insects will feed on the tissue if a body is exposed, also quickening the process. Regardless of how long it takes for tissue to be completely broken down, it may take the underlying bones hundreds of years to fully decay.”
          http://curiosity.discovery.com

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Stuff doesn’t survive very long in the desert.

          Question 1: what, are you a child? How little about the world do you know?

          Question 2: Don’t you read the stuff you post? Your own excerpt said, “exposure to air or water will speed up the process of decomposition dramatically.”

          It’s a desert, Chester. What does that tell you?

        • al

          Chester, you should do research before you post:
          “Egypt receives less than 80 mm (3.15 in) of precipitation annually in most areas and almost never rains in summer, although in the northern coastal areas, specifically in Alexandria, the average annual precipitation reaches 200 mm (7.9 in).”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_of_Egypt

          ” In the Sinai’s northern, or Mediterranean, region of low relief, the climate in winter has a relatively high amount of precipitation (5 inches [125 mm]);” http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/545586/Sinai-Peninsula

          What does that tell you?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          That the coastal area isn’t a desert.

          Are you changing your claim now? You’re saying that the Hebrews traveled back and forth exclusively in the coastal area and not the desert?

          I count 15 uses of the word “desert” in Exodus. For example, you may remember the lament, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt?”

          Maybe God should check with you before he dictates stuff next time.

        • Greg G.

          The most important factor in decomposition time is how much exposure the body has had to bacteria. Bacteria need oxygen to survive and are generally found in heavy concentrations in water. 

          That is from your quote. That is why we would expect to find bones in the desert. We find bones of small dinosaurs that are fossiled. It’s not like bones disappear and reappear as stone copies. As I said, archaeologists have found human remains in deserts that are thousands of years old.

        • al

          Of course they are going to find some remains. Most probably turned to dust a long long time ago.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Wow–you’re determined to have no evidence for your beliefs. I’m impressed (in a “watching someone play Russian roulette” sort of way).

        • Greg G.

          AL paid good money to a scientifically illiterate preacher to tell him this was true and he’s bound and determined to get his money’s worth.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          What was that stuff you said the Hebrews had lots of during the alleged exodus? Something with a ‘c’…Coprola? Corrola? Coca-cola? Let’s assume that al is right that all the flesh and bone would be dust right now. What of the cannolis? Would we expect to find them in the desert somewhere?

        • Greg G.

          Cannolis are on the dessert bar. We hope the coprolite is elsewhere.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          I read that as “Cannolis are on the desert bar.” I wonder what interesting things lay hidden in the Sinai Dessert? That’s got to be somewhere in the Gospel of the FSM. The Hebrew National Franks wandered around in the Sinai Dessert for 40 years waiting for the Lord FSM to deliver them to their buns. (not as funny as it was in my head…)

        • Pofarmer

          It’s only evidence if it confirms what al thinks.

        • al

          Don’t talk to me about evidence. There is NONE for atheism.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          That doesn’t faze many atheists because of the burden of proof. If I give 1,000 arguments for the existence of X but you show all of them to be fallacious, unintelligible, and/or false; then there’s no need for you to present evidence for the nonexistence of X.

          Still, there are plenty of arguments against theism, although I assume you find fault with them all. Conversely, an atheist would find fault with arguments for theism. In the end, we have two groups finding fault with all the arguments of the other group. But one group is making a positive claim and one is not. If we simply accept the positive claim by default, then to remain consistent we have to accept any positive claim that has no good evidence for or against. I don’t think you would be willing to do so and neither would I.

          I’m an agnostic. I like to poke holes in theistic and atheistic arguments alike when I see that I can.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          (1) There doesn’t have to be. The incredible claim (y’know, like a supernatural sky daddy created everything) has the burden of proof.

          (2) I have a presentation at a conference in Seattle in a week. My topic is evidence for atheism, and I have about 20 arguments for atheism–that is, where following the evidence gives a conclusion of atheism.

          Look through the archives. I’ve posted about all of them.

        • Greg G.

          Bob linked to a picture of the 3000 year old human remains that were found in the desert. They’ve lost a lot of weight but they don’t look like they are turning to dust anytime soon.

        • MNb

          Most. Not all. And Finkelstein found nothing, zilch, nada. We are talking about a guy who is capable of finding a piece of grain that’s almost 3000 years old.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          You mean the army of Cambyses? Yes, that was an impressive find, and it was almost as old as the Exodus is claimed to be.

          http://static.ddmcdn.com/gif/cambyses-army-remains-sahara-676100-.jpg

        • Greg G.

          That is a picture from the article I linked to recently somewhere in your blog.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Can you say “mummy”?

        • JewNot

          Just for clarification, when is it ok to use science for evidence as in your description for why no bones would have been found?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          That’s a lot of poop.

        • wtfwjtd

          If you know where to tell modern archaeologists where to dig, by all means, please do so. There have been dozens, maybe hundreds, of trained archaeologists over the past few hundred or more years that have spent their entire careers looking for evidence of the exodus and have come up with nothing. It would be great if you would tell these trained men where they should be looking, I’m sure they would greatly appreciate it.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Translated: “You haven’t proven that the Exodus didn’t happen.”

          And you’re right. But the burden of proof is yours. Without strong evidence from your position, we’re obliged to reject this remarkable claim.

        • Greg G.

          I think it’s been shown that the described exodus never occurred. But he is willing to fudge so if he says there were only a dozen people who left and we’re lost for 40 days or so, then his story would be plausible.

        • Pofarmer

          I think that story actually is plausible. It’s not the story, but at least it’s plausible,

        • Pofarmer

          Ever heard of ground penetrating radar? Archaeologists are usingit extensively nowadays.

        • Greg G.

          First, your dating is about as far off as the age of the New Testament.

          Second, the dry desert preserves organic material effectively and the lack of rain keeps it from washing away. That’s why still readable ancient texts are found in the vicinity of Egypt.

        • al

          What dating of the NT did I give you?

          3500-5000 years is a long long time for organic material to survive. Its highly doubtful it would survive such a long time in a desert.

        • Greg G.

          The NT is almost 2000 years old. The genealogies put the Flood at about 4500 years, Abraham after that, a few more generations, then 430 years in Egypt. It’s closer to 3000 years than 5000.

        • al

          There is no reason to think that the genealogies are complete and exhaustive.

        • Greg G.

          There is no reason to think the genealogies are real while there is evidence that the stories around rhe genealogies are fiction which implies that the genealogies are fictional, as well.

          The only reason to think the Exodus happened is the OT so if it’s necessary to discredit that, you discredit your only source.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Except that the Bible says so.

          If you’re saying that that’s not much of an authoritative source, I agree.

        • al

          This is embarrassing. They don’t say they are complete and exhaustive.

        • Greg G.

          They give the age of the father when the son was born. If you are saying it’s fiction, then we agree.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          It names the patriarchs and then gives the number of years between them. The list doesn’t have to be exhaustive for us to calculate the (hilariously unscientific) date for the origin of the universe.

          Do the math.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Never seen a mummy?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          And mummies.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          The claims of prophecy in the Old Testament are so thin that you’d laugh at them if they came from another religion.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Ah–so we’ve now got the easy part (the empty claims) out of the way.

          Great! I await the evidence to support them.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          I’m afraid picking each of them apart would require more time than I have to give.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Then in the future, put in the enormous qualifier that your statements are empty claims. Bold claims that revelation works for everyone are useless without the evidence.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Would you say they’re as useless as the evidence-free claim that God does not exist?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          When did I make that claim?

          Sounds like the burden of proof for showing that your savior really did come to earth is, y’know, a burden for you.

          Don’t be shy. Tell us why we should believe God exists.

    • MNb

      “However, implying that a hierarchy of God’s word over man’s limited and continuously developing knowledge completely negates reason is dishonest”
      Why? Science works. God’s word doesn’t.

      • Miguel de la Pena

        Science is limited. God isn’t.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          God? That’s a bold, evidence-less claim. You gonna take it a little further or just leave it hanging there?

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Referencing God is a claim? What claim are you referring to?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          You said, “Science is limited. God isn’t.” We’re all set, except for that claim that God exists.

          That’s a bold, evidence-less claim (but I repeat myself).

        • Miguel de la Pena

          So we’ve established that we feel the same about each other’s worldview.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          You’re saying that there’s no evidence behind science?

          And I’d still like to hear evidence of your claim that God exists.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          I’m saying atheism is a bold, evidence-less claim. I understand atheists love to make the association between science and atheism, so no worries. I’m sure you’ve heard various lines of evidence supporting a Creator (God). Now, taking into consideration your article above, how productive do you believe it to be for you and I to comb through each line of evidence?

        • MNb

          Define evidence.
          Let’s get specific. What kind of evidence would you accept that
          a) christianity is wrong, but another religion (say pastafarianism) is correct?
          b) there is no god?

          “you’ve heard various lines of evidence supporting a Creator”
          Again define evidence. See, my experience is that apologists are so dishonest that they use a double standard. You have shown your own dishonesty a couple of times on this blog, so unless you show otherwise I assume that your usage of the word evidence is dishonest too (ie betrays double standard). If that’s the case your comment is empty; we can shrug it off.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Sound logical reasoning; for the first question, A, & B.

        • MNb

          Well, you haven’t provided any sound logical reasoning to show that there is a god. Nobody has. Exit god.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          My “claim” is the simple statement that I see no evidence of God. I think that puts the evidence challenge on your broad shoulders.

          how productive do you believe it to be for you and I to comb through each line of evidence?

          Do you have a particular favorite argument that convinced you? Or that you think should convince someone else? If I haven’t heard of it before, then this discussion could be quite productive. If, as you seem to sense, you have just the same old stockpile of old arguments, then you’re probably right that this would be a waste of time.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          It is quite ironic that you ask for an argument that convinced me – despite having referenced Dr. Craig’s work above. I’ll say that an argument that I’ve started looking into, which is very intriguing to me, is the Transcendental Argument (TAG). I’ve read some rebuttals to it, but I’d be curious about your take on it.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          I missed the irony.

          I’ve written about TAG. Look it up here.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Thanks, I’ll check it out.

        • Pofarmer

          The only bold claim made by most atheists is that they see no evidence for God, in various forms. So, have at it.

        • al

          If you heard Craig debate then you know what the evidence is. Of course maybe you don’t understand the evidence and we thought you did. Our mistake. Sorry…

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          And I’ve bitch-slapped Craig about his ludicrous arguments in these posts as well.

          Here are all my posts. Take a look.

        • al

          Wow. Maybe you should you debate him since he has crushed every atheist debater he has debated. Perhaps you could succeed where others have failed.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          I cringe whenever I see the title of a YouTube video say, “X pwns/crushes/destroys/schools Y in debate!” and then proceed to watch an edited video showing the debater of the uploader’s favor speaking proudly and confidently while showing clips of their opponent stammering, sometimes without regard to the context of the conversation being had within the clip.

          Even in a full debate, you’ll find dissent in the comments section. It seems that whether or not Craig was destroyed or did the destroying in any debate with an atheist depends on if you already agree or disagree with him.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          That’s what his fanboys say. Take a look at his debate with Sean Carroll (my summary here). Philosopher Craig wanted to debate cosmology, so he got into the ring with a cosmologist! He got his ass handed to him.

          I think very little of his style, though others think he does well. His expertise is debate, so I shouldn’t be surprised when people say he does well against non-debaters.

          As for me going up against Craig, I’d be delighted. Obviously, it’s a no-win prospect for him to go up against a nobody like me. What is telling, however, is that he now has special rules to justify why he won’t debate certain people. His slip is showing.

          What is possible, however, is to get Craig to respond to some of my critiques. If you have an in at Reasonable Faith, let me know. Perhaps he would respond.

        • Philmonomer

          Ah, I miss DrewL. While in many respects he was a punk who preferred to throw missiles (and give reading assignments) rather than explain what he believed or why (he was almost certainly some kind of Evangelical Christian philosopher/graduate student), at least he 1) had interesting things to say (unlike al) and 2) had no respect for WLC.

          (I’d link to where he said WLC was a buffoon, but I have no idea how to find it easily.)

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Disqus has some clunky search tools. I didn’t find him using the word “buffoon.” However, here is a comment where he makes clear that he doesn’t think much of WLC.

          For old time’s sake:

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2013/01/its-a-pro-slavery-free-for-all/#comment-876430718

        • Philmonomer

          Thanks.

        • al

          If WLC is such a buffoon then why aren’t atheists stepping up to the plate and clean his clock? Even Dawkins is afraid of him.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          They have. Did you see my recent comment about Sean Carroll wiping the floor with him?

          Give me a try. I think I’d do a good job.

        • Pofarmer

          Yep, there’s a pretty good list of Atheists who sould like to debate him who he won’t, some of whom even have the proper credentials. There are enough Atheists getting his number to make it interesting.

        • al

          I’d love to see this. BTW–your braver (?) than Dawkins .

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Say wrestler The Rock is taking all comers. You going to go a couple of rounds with him? No? Why is that–you chicken?

          Or maybe you’re simply not a professional wrestler. If he left you a mangled heap, that wouldn’t show that your theistic views are wrong.

          Dawkins has said that he won’t debate anyone who resorts to the laughablely hateful arguments that WLC stoops to (he was referring to Craig’s justification for the genocide of the Canaanites).

          That’s a good enough reason for me. Another reason might simply be that there’s no upside for Dawkins. He’s already a famous atheist and a famous biologist. Beating Craig wouldn’t add anything meaningful to his CV (as he has pointed out).

          Or, Dawkins may simply feel (getting back to my Rock example) that Craig has been debating professionally for decades, and he hasn’t. So Craig’s a better debater than Dawkins. Great. Means nothing in the domain that we’re talking about.

          Tell Craig that I’m ready.

        • al

          Maybe you and Bob can tag team against Dr Craig. You know. Kill 2 birds with one stone.

          Dawkins knows he would get his hat handed to him. He knows better.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Even if you were right, your point is that Craig is a better debater. Maybe you’re right. Is that your point?

          I’m kinda looking for the correct evaluation of Christian claims. A show doesn’t help much. I listen to Craig on podcasts and read his writings, and then I destroy him here in blog posts. Read them and try to find errors.

        • Greg G.

          Craig won’t debate John Loftus.

        • al

          Craig does not lose debates . Sorry. I would love to see you debate him.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Ah–that’s an article of faith, I suppose, like “God exists”? Just part of your dogma.

          And I’d love to debate him. High five.

        • MNb

          Dawkins is as afraid of WLS as WLC is afraid of John Loftus.

          http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2013/03/an-update-on-why-william-lane-craig.html

          Is this all you’ve got? A silly pissing contest?

        • Al

          Don’t know about Loftus. I do know that Dr Craig has wanted to debate Dawkins and he has refused. You would think Dawkins would want to show atheists how to take down one of the best Christian debaters. Think what that would do for them?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          [Yawn]

          Maybe Dawkins doesn’t think he’s a good debater. Maybe Dawkins isn’t good at flower raising or at calligraphy. No one much cares. Debates prove little (though–have I mentioned this?–seeing WLC get his ass handed to him by Sean Carroll was awesome).

        • MNb

          Now you know about Loftus. Just click the link, if it’s not too hard for you. You do know now that Loftus has wanted to debated Craig and he has refused. You would think that Craig would want to show christians how to take down one of the best ex-christian debaters. Think what that would do for them?

          Everything you write about Dawkins regarding this matter applies equally to your hero Craig himself. That’s because amongst others Craig is a hypocrite.

          Note: I don’t care much about debates and what they do. Philosophical, let alone scientific issues can’t be settled that way. Like I wrote, making a fuzz like you do only resuls in a pissing contest. But apparently you (with Craig) think debates veeeeerrry important regarding the god-question. Even with this assumption your hero doesn’t come off well. I don’t care, but you should, given your comments on this page.

        • al

          Lights is not in the same class as Dr Craig. I would like to him debate Loftus and Bob.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          You’ll have to try that again in English.

        • MNb

          I don’t care about Lights. You wrote that Dawkins was a coward for refusing to debate Craig. According to your very own shallow arguments Craig is a coward for refusing to debate Loftus. You’re just too dishonest to admit it. Typical the christian apologist.
          Craig is in no class. He is sub zero: a liar, a hypocrite, with nazi morals. These are no hollow accusations. It all has been documented by mainly Chris Hallquist.

        • MNb

          No, you shouldn’t debate WLC. You’re way too honest and nice for a fraud like him.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/hallq/2012/05/william-lane-craig-says-reason-leads-to-atheism/

          But I have to admit, based on my personal experience on Patheos, that Craig seems to be very relevant:

          http://infidels.org/library/modern/chris_hallquist/faith.html

          Festival of recognition, as we Dutch say.

        • Pofarmer

          I thought Bart Ehrman did pretty well against Craig, as well. Craig was reduced to “you must let the message of Jesus info your heart” by the end.

        • Pofarmer

          I think crushed is a wee bit strong.

        • MNb

          I have read some stuff on his website Reasonable Faith. It’s cringeworthy.
          If you want to see WLC debunked you should visit The Uncredible Hallq:

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/hallq/2012/07/next-up-everything-i-have-to-say-about-william-lane-craig/

          If this has wetted your appetite, you’ll find an overview here:

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/hallq/tag/william-lane-craig/

          No offense to our host, but Chris H did a better job than BobS ever could.

        • MNb

          Still god’s word doesn’t work.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          “Still god’s word doesn’t work.” – You’re welcome to your opinion, as relative, vague, and arbitrary as it may be.

        • MNb

          Thanks. It’s not vague and arbitrary, though I admit it’s relative, because I compare with science.
          What has gods word achieved compared with internet, airplanes, Curiosity riding around on Mars, the nuclear bomb and the Holocaust? Nothing good. Nothing bad. Nothing.
          Just nothing.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          I see. Perhaps I can make a similar argument… Richard Dawkins’ writings don’t ‘work’ because I was trying to reheat some pizza the other day and my microwave wouldn’t turn on. I referenced Richard Dawkins’ book and found it useless. Therefore, his writings don’t work.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Don’t like Dawkins? His book does indeed work in the domain it’s supposed to, but no matter. Say it doesn’t work, if you want.

          MNb’s challenge remains. Science delivers. Christianity (in sharp contrast) makes bold pronouncements and backs up none of it.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          “…does indeed work in the domain it’s supposed to…”
          – As does the Bible. You can say it doesn’t work if you like.

          You understand that supporting MNb’s ‘challenge’ is as silly as supporting my Dawkins/microwave example.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          What does “the Bible works” mean? That it makes accurate prophecies? (It doesn’t.)

          That it gives accurate scientific information about the world. (Nope–all it gives is crap.)

          That it correctly tells us about the supernatural? (It doesn’t even tell us about the Trinity, so I’m not sure how useful even a Christian would find it, but its [ambiguous and bizarre] claims about the supernatural have no evidence behind them.)

          Yes, I’m saying it doesn’t work. In sharp contrast is science which, y’know, delivers. Ah, wouldn’t it be nice if religion did as well?

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Excellent argument supporting the most vague, subjective claim I’ve heard in a while. You know already that the Bible isn’t intended to be a modern science book, yet you wasted time writing against that. Your other claims are about the historicity and reliability of the Bible; about which you’re welcome to your opinion.

        • MNb

          Problem for you, which you try to avoid with rounding movements, is that I gave several examples which show that science works. You haven’t given any that shows that god’s word works.

          “the Bible isn’t intended to be a modern science book.”
          Don’t worry, we agree on that. However that doesn’t refute my claim that god’s work doesn’t work. You have to give an example. Just one. Something. Anything. Then we can try to find out if god’s word works or not.
          But thus far it looks like you can’t think of any. Disclaimer: even that is not sufficient reason to me to call myself a 7 on the scale of Dawkins. After all you may not be smart enough to show such an example, but someone else might.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          The whole notion of something “working” or not is so vague that I’m surprised you keep referencing it. The primary purpose of the Bible, from my view, is to allow man to know God through his Word. For this, science fails. It doesn’t work at all. While forensic science may be used to support the historicity/reliability, it has no impact on the Word itself. For this, science is impotent.

          For a more meaningful, direct conversation, you may want to consider using a more specific term than “works”. Also, I couldn’t care less what number you give yourself on the scale of Dawkins. You’ve said this a few times now and it doesn’t mean any more than before the first time.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          And science doesn’t help us much to understand how the witch in Hansel and Gretel built a house made of gingerbread.

          Kidding! Of course it does. Science informs the engineering that would tell how structurally sound a gingerbread house would be, how it would last in rainy weather, and so on. Answer: not very well.

          And science can respond to the miracle claims made in the Bible. It can critique the scientific claims, from Jacob and the spotted sheep to the lack of health care advice to the resurrection to the creation of the universe–all tribal superstition and myth.

          “Science is impotent”?? Hey, I love this guy! Such a kidder.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          …and science explaining Christ’s Resurrection?

          Impotent.

        • Pofarmer

          Lol. Science says it didn’t happen, hasn’t ever happened. There are plenty of explanations for the story of the ressurection of Jesus. You know who’s impotent here? You are. You can’t give one piece of evidence for anything you say here. All you can fall back on are religious stories trying to attribute them to followers of some divine man/god. Who died but didn’t die and was immaterial but also material who didn’r actually change anything when he did/didn’t die for sin that he/his father allowed in the first place. Once again, I look for some sort of reasonable argument and find-vapor.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          “Science says it didn’t happen…”
          Science doesn’t say anything, scientists do. I’m not sure if you knowingly lie to yourself or if you honestly believe these things. Either way, don’t stop reading.

        • MNb

          Like the good old dishonest apologist you are you go nitpicking on a phrase when you can’t answer a pointed out problem. The Resurrection didn’t happen. There is no single reason to think it has; you haven’t given one; you can’t; science perfectly can explain where the story comes from.
          Science wins again.

        • Pofarmer

          Not only that, I was using his own phrasing.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          The New Testament claims it did. Do you have any verifiable, reliable ancient evidence that supports your claim that the Resurrection didn’t happen?

        • MNb

          “The New Testament claims it did.”
          Do you have any verifiable, reliable evidence that the NT claim is correct? What is your methodology to separate correct claims about supernatural events from incorrect ones? Do you for instance have any verifiable, reliable evidence that supports the claim there aren’t fairies in my backyard tending the flowers, so that they blossom more beautifully?
          No? Then I don’t have to answer your question either.

          Actually there is verifiable, reliable ancient evidence that the Resurrection is just a story. Stories develop. So we expect that the oldest version is the shortest, the slimmest and has the least detail. We expect that every next version adds more details.
          That is exactly the case. Marcus is the oldest Gospel; the original version ends with 16:8. Slightly younger versions add 9-20. That’s how myths develop.
          Of course you being who you are are going to reject that evidence. But that’s only your problem, not mine.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          So you’re saying you have no evidence to support your belief. Got it.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          The burden of proof is yours, Chuckles.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Uh oh–here we go again with “air molecules.”

          Miguel: thanks for clarifying. I was a little baffled by Pofarmer’s comment, but I’m back on track now. Thanks!

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          What resurrection? What we have is the story of a resurrection. What’s to explain?

        • MNb

          The vaguenes of “working” is deliberately a bit vague to help you out, to give you as much leeway as possible. Still god’s word doesn’t work. Then why should I pay attention to it?

          “The primary purpose of the Bible is to allow man to know God through his Word.”
          If god’s word doesn’t work, how do you know the Bible contains god’s work and that it allows you to know god?

          Now you have admitted that god’s word doesn’t work this statement of yours

          “However, implying that a hierarchy of God’s word over man’s limited and continuously developing knowledge completely negates reason is dishonest”
          has been proven wrong. Science works; god’s word doesn’t; hence taking the latter over the first negates reason indeed.

          “I couldn’t care less”
          Good for you. I remind you of what I’m arguing for because I consider you a piece of s**t given the way you introduced yourself on this blog and don’t want allow you to attack strawmen. Since your introduction you have shown your dishonesty over and over again, see.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          I appreciate you sharing your feelings with me. I’m sorry to hear about how sensitive you are. Perhaps you should visit your mom and ask her for a hug; you might feel better.

          Unfortunately, your pathetic point that the Bible “doesn’t work”, is as meaningful as the argument that science “isn’t cool”.

        • MNb

          My mum is dead since november last year. So much for christian empathy. You defeat your own belief system. God is supposed to be love, but MdlP hasn’t even received a tiny share.
          Reading your comments makes me feel better – it confirms my disbelief. It also confirms that christianity doesn’t prevent people for being pieces of s**t. By all means keep up the good work.
          I like you, MdlP, exactly because you’re a dishonest and judgmental piece of s**t, who doesn’t know what the word reason means and doesn’t want to know either. You’re the best antipropaganda for your own belief system I can think of. No mentally sane person would accept it given the risk to become like you.
          OK – then the Bible neither works nor doesn’t work. That’s less reason to pay attention to it. It certainly doesn’t allow us then to know your god. In the Bible there is nothing to know. That even more shows that taking god’s word over the science negates reason. Thus becomes clear why Revelation is such a big absurdistic joke.

        • Norm Donnan

          Hey there little buddy you said l was the best antipropaganda for our belief system,have you forgotten your bff so soon?

          Oh and even if your mother has died you can still feel her virtual hugs,l know l can,hows that for a bit of Christian love!!

          You seem a little tense,there is something from your childhood that really messed up your mind isnt there? Im pretty sure it has to do with your father,all this angst that seeths out from you has deep roots.Have you had any counseling since his death?
          I pick up that he has left you shocked and disillusioned in some way,maybe this is why you are unable to have faith maybe?What did he do???

          One other thing,”antipropaganda” isnt a word as such and if it were it would be saying “against falsehood” or lies which would be a compliment not an insult,(just trying to be helpful my friend).Oh and absurdistic isnt a word either,the red line under both these words is a givaway,now l know english is your second language so you are doing very well,keep it up.Gutntag

        • MNb

          “l was the best antipropaganda for our belief system,have you forgotten your bff so soon?”
          You were gone, so he has taken it over. Now you’re back it’s a very close race.

          “you can still feel her virtual hugs,l know l can,hows that for a bit of Christian love!!”
          As so often it isn’t worth anything.

          “You seem a little tense,there is something from your childhood that really messed up your mind isnt there? Im pretty sure it has to do with your father,all this angst that seeths out from you has deep roots.Have you had any counseling since his death?”
          As judgmental as MdlP indeed.

          “I pick up that he has left you shocked and disillusioned in some way,maybe this is why you are unable to have faith maybe?What did he do???”
          BWAHAHAHAHA!

          “One other thing,”antipropaganda” isnt a word as such”
          In Dutch it is and it expresses exactly what I mean.

          “and if it were it would be saying “against falsehood” or lies which would be a compliment not an insult,(just trying to be helpful my friend).”
          I don’t need your help either.
          Anti-propaganda in Dutch means – and even you are smart enough to understand that – propaganda that works like a boomerang. The anti-propagandist tries to make himself and/or his ideas look good, but in fact it makes him and/or his ideas look bad.

          “Oh and absurdistic isnt a word either”
          Again in Dutch it is. It refers to a genre of comedy that uses absurd jokes. Monty Python is the finest example.

          “now l know english is your second language”
          Only now? Well, typical christian distrust apparently. You judge other people’s character by your own.

          “Gutntag”
          Confirming that neither German (it’s Gutentag) nor Dutch is good.
          Goedendag.

        • hector_jones

          In English we would say ‘absurdist’. “Anti-propaganda” isn’t a common word but I bet someone writing in English has used it before you.

          Given Norm’s terrible grammar and spelling no one would put any stock in what he says about what is or isn’t a proper word in English.

        • MNb

          Ah, thanks. Like most Dutchies I use Dunglish (ie English according to the Dutch) now and then: “absurdistisch” becomes “absurdistic”. Next time I’ll try to remember to omit the “ic”.
          Also thanks for exposing Norm’s dishonesty once again. Of course he knew.

          “no one would put any stock”
          Well, I assume he is a native English speaker, so I think it a bit silly to contradict him on this subject.

        • hector_jones

          What’s even more silly is someone with Norm’s atrocious spelling and grammar lecturing anyone about word usage. I got a good laugh from it.

          In English it’s pretty random whether we put the ‘-ic’ on the end or not. Your guess was a good one, but in the end there are no hard rules about it, just customary usages.

        • Norm Donnan

          My spelling and grammer is perfect Auslish for your infomation Hector

        • hector_jones

          Your spelling and grammer are every bit as good as your since of humeur.

        • Norm Donnan

          Hey I see what you did there,very good.
          Hows your day going there Hector?

        • hector_jones

          Its going good,very good.

        • Norm Donnan

          Norms dishonesty, really Marko,.Hector can you tell our

          friend in english what that means. He seems to be speaking dunglish again.

        • hector_jones

          Mocking the English usage of a non-native speaker is pretty low, Norm, especially given just how terrible your own usage of English is. I’m reminded of the phrase “Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” I wish I could remember where I first read that sage advice.

        • Norm Donnan

          Oh please Hec,wasnt it you that Mark said about me to leave me to him because he enjoyed mocking me?????
          I also recall you telling him to f off.
          You have a timber yard in your eye my friend.

        • hector_jones

          Sometimes I think he overdoes it because you are such an easy target with absolutely no game. Mocking you is almost like mocking a retarded person, which I wouldn’t countenance. Present me with a note from your doctor, btw, and I’ll back off.

          Meanwhile here you are mocking a non-native speaker for his English. That’s low even for a creep like you, Norm. Have you no shame?

        • Norm Donnan

          A gay monkey calls me a low creep,ouch.Your a lumberjack

        • hector_jones

          A gay monkey can’t help being a gay monkey. Maybe you can’t help being a low creep, but you should give it a try.

          Btw I’m neither gay nor a monkey, proving once again that you’ve got no game, Normie. Try sucking less.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Since MNb’s second language is more eloquent than your first, you might want to avoid throwing stones.

        • Norm Donnan

          Eloquent maybe but wrong all the same,and as one so prone to throwing stones for a full time job himself not one to be pitied.
          Not that Ive ever seen one time our “moderator” ever moderate when your side is foul,rude and derogatory,only deathly silence.The term,hypocrite seems appropriate .

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Hypocrite? Why is that? I’ve jumped on you for idiotic statements but never for being foul/rude.

        • MNb

          Jumping on Norm for idiotic statements is very foul/rude according to Norm.

        • Norm Donnan

          Idiotic foul and rude statements abound here with rarely a peep from from you unless of course they come from those whose beliefs you are unable to comprehend,only then do you apply your civil criteria.Thats what l mean by hypocrite.
          This is the main reason l and others Ive shown your blog to realize there is no point in getting in to debate with.I realize you really carnt upset your support base by asking them to tone it down because this would deplete a lot of your comments but if you do choose to dont limit it to the likes of myself only.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Nope. Your complaint is foul language. I don’t push back against that much, regardless of who you are. No hypocrisy here.

          As for time-wasting arguments, now that is a problem. After 30 or 40 comments from a person who is giving an already debunked argument, say, I may get rude to them to discourage that bad behavior. Yes, I am quite patient. Show me that I treat stupid atheist arguments any differently.

        • Pofarmer

          Personally, I reserve profanity for the 232 time somebody has made the same stupid argument.

        • Norm Donnan

          Foul language is not an issue to me at all,l can give as much as l get.
          You and others may be very good with words,great with grammar and spelling and l am regularly reminded l am lacking which is why it amuses me when l nicely point it out to Mark all the hounds are released with the “how dare you criticize poor Mark”….who of all ppl is the first to mock everyone.
          You say you are annoyed at “debunked” arguments. Truth is you think because you have put up a response to a belief that its all done and dusted,what it usually reveals to us is just how you are totally unable to comprehend the issue .
          You may have an amazing intellectual or academic mind but because you deny the spiritual realm,your “debunking” is far from convincing and often a little embarrassing to read .
          So yes l often respond inappropriately which l apologize for but when a group of people who like to tag themselves as “free thinkers” mock others for not thinking as they do,well too bad.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          I’m still not seeing the hypocrisy.

          What I want (and the atheist commenters want too, I think) is intellectual reasons for a belief. If you say, “Look–I just believe, OK?” that’s fine with me. That’s not how I do things, but whatever.

          The issue is when the Christian say that in the domain of reason and evidence, their arguments actually win. For that I need evidence.

        • MNb

          How exactly does using or not using an apostrophe show that I’m “wrong all the same”? Not? Then you’re silly once again. Also thanks for showing that you’re not really into the “turn the other cheek” think and thus reject one of he best teachings of your hero.
          Now we’re at it: what do you think about this guy?

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudolf_H%C3%B6ss
          Do you rejoice at the prospect of sharing eternity with him, knowing that his victims will suffer in Hell? Are you going to sing hymns for him, like “f**k the jews”?
          I guess so. You have shown sympathy for national-socialism before.

        • Norm Donnan

          Oh Mark Mark Marko,gutntag in Australian is the Dutch way of saying “good day my friend”.
          As is usual you avoid the truth with Bwahahaha.
          I feel your pain and yes its understandable that you wont face it but you must or stay in denial until your on your death bed where you will have no option.

          You can make words mean what ever you like and twist science to fit your world view but its all wish full thinking my friend.Gutntag

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Sorry to hear about your mom. In all fairness, you resorted to name-calling and i suggested you get a hug. Had i known about your mom, my comment would’ve been insensitive; i didn’t, so it wasn’t. If anything i was trying to help you out.

          Regardless, if you knew what you were criticizing, you’d know that all men are sinners and the truth of christianity isn’t dependent on my, or anyone else’s behavior.

          Sorry if you feel judged, but that likely comes from guilt, not some random commenter online.

        • MNb

          “If anything i was trying to help you out.”
          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          As if I need your help.

          “you resorted to name-calling”
          Yup and I won’t take it back. It expresses exactly how I think of you. You want me to stop? Don’t say you’re sorry. It means zilch to me. I told you why I think so low of you. So just start to write better comments.
          Btw in your very first men you called us frustrated tin men. So you’re a hypocrite as well.

          “Had i known about your mom”
          Exactly. But you don’t. That’s why you should not make assumptions about commenters; just focus on what they write. Making assumptions like that only makes you look worse.

          “my comment would’ve been insensitive”
          It still is. Except that it wasn’t from the beginning; I had lost contact with her since long. You didn’t know that either. I only wanted to make you look bad and succeeded. My goal was to teach you that you should not make assumptions about commenters. If you had paid more attention to Matthew 7:1, my favourite quote from the Bible, you wouldn’t have made this mistake.

          “if you knew what you were criticizing”
          I know.

          “you’d know that all men are sinners”
          Sin is meaningless.

          “the truth of christianity isn’t dependent on my, or anyone else’s behavior.”
          I.m not talking about truth. In this context that’s meaningless as well. If you are not capable of behaving according to your belief system it is defeated. Throw it out of the window or try to behave according it. Your pick.

          “Sorry if you feel judged”
          BWAHAHAHAHA! I couldn’t care less about your judgment.

          “but that likely comes from guilt, not some random commenter online.”
          And immediately you get judgmental again. See – your belief system isn’t worth anything.

        • hector_jones

          The very first comment you ever posted here that I saw ‘resorted to name-calling’. Need a hug?

        • Miguel de la Pena

          The tin man line was more of an analogy. If you got your panties in a bunch over believing someone called you a tin man…

        • hector_jones

          You are a shithead. Don’t get your panties in a bunch, shithead. That’s just an analogy.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Imitation is the highest form of flattery. Thank you.

        • hector_jones

          Rationalize it how you will. You aren’t being imitated, you are being mocked. Of course you are too stupid, dishonest, or both, to understand the distinction.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          The problem was the hypocrisy.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          From which side?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Do you have anything meaningful to say? If so, say it. Ball’s in your court. It doesn’t seem that you have much more than one-liners.

          The point I was making is that science delivers but religion doesn’t. You disagree? Show me.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          “You know already that the Bible isn’t intended to be a modern science book.” So you’re not of the “Bible has accurate scientific foreknowledge” camp? There are apologists who make that claim most likely to appeal to atheists’ general reliance on science for truth rather than holy books as an alternative to arguments from personal experience. But just know that I’ll be holding you to your statement that the Bible is not meant to be relied upon for science.

          Not that you’ve done it, but I’m really bothered seeing apologists who claim things like, “The Bible said such-and-such before scientists could figure it out” and upon coming across a scientifically incorrect statement in the Bible, backtrack and say, “Well the Bible is not supposed to be a science book.” Of course, Muslims claim the same thing with the Qur’an but the Qur’an and Bible contradict each other in many places.

        • Greg G.

          Miguel has claimed the Bible is inerrant so I read it as he is saying Bob “already knows…”, not that he himself thinks the Bible is not a science text. He seems to be willing to say anything as long as it’s vague.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Saying the Bible isn’t intended to be a science book speaks to the function/purpose of the book. The statement says nothing about the scientific accuracy of it’s content. Any document from history may be scientifically accurate without intending to be a science book.

          It’s also a stretch to say the Bible can’t be relied upon for science simply because it’s purpose was not to teach science. For example, the Bible isn’t intended to teach mathematics, but it doesn’t make sense to say it is unreliable where math is mentioned.

          I’d say to the apologist you referenced, science isn’t the only means of discovering truth. The scientific method doesn’t meet it’s own criteria. Does that make science invalid?

        • gusbovona

          Science doesn’t have to meet its own criteria; whether it does or not is irrelevant. Look at it this way:

          We ask the question, “What is the best method for making accurate predictions about objective reality and developing models of reality?” When we compare the results of science, psychic abilities, guesswork, wishful thinking, religious dogma, etc., we discover that science wins the day, hands down. All the other methods only work coincidentally or by chance, which means they actually don’t work.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          “Science doesn’t have to meet its own criteria” – You’re arguing that science can be self-defeating and still believable? Awesome.

          You also may want to consider adding philosophy, logic, mathematics, and every other means of discovering truth that you conveniently overlooked. “religious dogma”… why not throw around the term “bigot” haphazardly as well, it’s what all the cool kids are doing these days.

        • Pofarmer

          Philosophy and logic are only useful for discovering truth if combined with emperical methods.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Science is a slave to philosophy. It always will be.

        • Pofarmer

          Philosophy predated science as a means to discerning nature. Once we had the means and understanding to gather emperical data, then the scientific method and methodological naturalism became our main method of discovery. Philosophy was superceded. Philosophy is inferior to science as a way of determining what actually is.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Your thoughts on philosophy are completely off. I know you’ll disagree just to avoid being wrong, but science says nothing. Scientists do all the interpreting, saying, and understanding. What’s that Ph in PhD stand for?

        • Pofarmer

          What am I wrong about? I know several guys who are profesional scientists, I myself was once a paid researcher at a major university attached to a few papers. None of us ever had a philosophy course that I am aware of. Philosophy isn’t even tangentially important to most modern scientists. What is important is what you can measure, what you results can show, and what you can prove with those results.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Science cannot be done without philosophy. I’m not talking about having taken a course. Philosophical assumptions are used in the search for causes. Philosophical assumptions can also dramatically impact scientific conclusions and data interpretation. You can’t avoid it.

        • Pofarmer

          Lol. The whole point of the scientific method is to remove bias and depend independant veridication of results. If you want to argue against methodological naturalism, that’s a whole nother argument.

        • MNb

          You are not talking about scientific research either. The vast majority of scientists simply neglects all philosophical issues while at work.

          “Philosophical assumptions are used in the search for causes.”
          BWAHAHAHAHA! Causality itself is an assumption and since 80 years or so not a philosophical anymore, but a scientific one. Thanks to Bohr, Feynman and many after them Modern Physics has abandoned it. Modern Physicists since then don’t look for causes anymore. Modern Physics is probabilistic.

          “Philosophical assumptions can also dramatically impact scientific conclusions and data interpretation.”
          It’s exactly the other way round. Empirical evidence as found by scientists and theories as formulated by scientists affect philosophical assumptions. That’s because science uses two objective methods (deduction and induction) while philosophy uses only one (deduction).
          Prove me wrong. Give me from the last say 70 years one single example of “a philosophical assumption dramatically impacting conclusions and data interpretation in physics”. Just one.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          That’s cute… as if physics is the only field of study. How about studies from last century that supposedly showed that African Americans are less intelligent than white people. Just following where the evidence leads, right? No possible bias there, right?

        • MNb

          A pointless comment from a dishonest man.

          “as if …..”
          I didn’t write that. Moreover Modern Physics perfectly can explain why daily life – and that includes many scientific theories – appear to be causal. Keyword: correspondence principle.

          “How about studies …..”
          They have nothing to do with the issue causality vs. probability. You are like a Republican who attacks Democratic policy by arguing that the Monkeys were inferior to the Beatles.

          “No possible bias there, right?”
          That bias has been recognized since at least three decades. Of course an ignorant and dishonest believer like you never has paid attention. Believers like you don’t need to learn anything new but prefer to stay backward.
          Oh – the bias has been recognized by psychologists themselves, not by believers.
          Science is self-correcting. It learns from its mistakes. Religion doesn’t, it’s stagnating.

          Of course you only write this because you’re not capable of giving even one recent example “a philosophical assumption dramatically impacting conclusions and data interpretation in physics”.
          That’s what happens when your worldview is founded on baked air.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Weak, long-winded response. You know I’m right.

        • MNb

          Your arrogance defeats your own belief system.

        • hector_jones

          When he gets a short reply, it’s too short, proving that the atheist has no argument. When he gets a long reply, it’s long-winded. When he calls people names he’s just using an analogy, when people call him names it’s because they have no arguments. The hypocrisy is strong in this one.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          I see a Top Ten list of the science discoveries each year. I’ve missed the Top Ten for philosophical contributions to our knowledge of reality. Point me to it.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Yeah, it doesn’t seem there is a whole lot that’s brand new in philosophy these days. Yet, you see the infantile state of many sciences as being an advantage? Even still, the “contributions” to our knowledge of reality from science aren’t done absent of any philosophy. To assume so is simply absurd.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Are you arguing against something I’ve said here?

        • hector_jones

          No, he just needs a hug.

        • MNb

          Philosophy, logic and mathematics are not means of discovering truth. That’s something we should have known since Euclides. Pythagoras’ Theorem is true you say? Change one Euclidean axiom and it is false.
          In exactly the same way there is no need to accept any religious presupposition.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          At this point you’re just disagreeing to disagree and you’re making yourself look foolish in the process. It’s sad, but a little funny.

        • Pofarmer

          See, philosophy, logic, and math, cannot give reliable results on their own. You must combine inductive and deductive reasoning to get reliable results from them. That is why most of Aristotles science has been overturned, philosophy isn’t a valid method of discovery on it’s own. This should be painfully obvious.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          So, you’re using reason to say logic isn’t reliable?

        • Pofarmer

          Experience.

        • Al

          Philosophy, logic and mathematics are necessary to do science.

        • gusbovona

          It would help if you just didn’t post a single sentence as a pronouncement, but explained your claims just a bit.

        • gusbovona

          This is fairly uncontroversial, although it would require only a minimum of philosophy for science, and much of philosophy would be irrelevant.

          So what?

        • al

          Just pointing out what others may not know.

        • Pofarmer

          What do you mean by the scientific media doesn’t meet it’s own criteria?

        • Miguel de la Pena

          The scientific method is self-defeating.

        • Pofarmer

          Are you being intentionally vague or just stupid? How is the scientific method self-defeating?

        • hector_jones

          He’s being intentionally vague because he has no evidence or argument for his position. It’s vague one-liners like that that make him look more and more like asmondius. Perhaps they are brothers and Miguel is Kevin while asmondius is Matt Dillon.

        • Pofarmer

          I personally think both he and asmondious are frustrated.

        • hector_jones

          I think they both just need a hug.

        • Pofarmer

          They ars probably afraid they would go up in flames if they were hugged by an Atheist.

        • gusbovona

          The scientific method is self-defeating, obviously, because it hasn’t accomplished anything. Religious dogma, though, has a fantastic track record of innovation and discovery, on a never-ending search for new understandings, etc.

        • Pofarmer

          Lol.

        • Pofarmer

          Neil Degrasse Tyson begs to differ.

          I simply go with what works. And what works is the healthy skepticism embodied in the scientific method. Believe me, if the Bible had ever been shown to be a rich source of scientific answers and enlightenment, we would be mining it daily for cosmic discovery.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Tyson can beg to differ all he wants.

          Going with what works is as meaningful as saying, “i just go with what’s cool.” It’s an empty, meetings point.

        • Pofarmer

          Ah, but that’s the thing, it’s not sn empty point. Science reliably teaches us about our world. Religion and revelation does not, and we know that science is superior in that department because it has confronted and contradicted religion so very many times.

        • Al

          This is not true. There have been times when science has been shown to be false. Many of its theories are unprovable. It takes faith to do science.

        • gusbovona

          Science is a method, not a body of facts. The great thing about science is that its findings *can* be revised, but only when better evidence comes along.

          Which theories of science are unprovable?

          Please explain what you mean that science requires faith? Do you mean the same type of faith that religion requires, or a different type of faith?

        • hector_jones

          Remember, “it takes faith” and “unprovable” are only criticisms when directed at science. They are virtues when Al applies them to his religious beliefs.

        • Al

          The scientific method is based on unprovable assumptions such as the laws of nature are the same throughout the universe at all times and that our senses are giving us an accurate understanding of reality are a couple of unprovable assumptions. You must have faith in these assumptions that they are true. You must have faith that the laws of nature are the same today as they were a billion years ago.

          The origin of the universe and life are a couple of unprovable theories.

        • gusbovona

          It’s not a necessary assumption that the laws of nature are the same throughout the universe, at all times, it’s just that we have never seen the laws of nature be different in one place than another. When we do, we’ll revise our theories. Hasn’t happened yet.

          Furthermore, the assumptions and the faith that we see in religion have nothing to do whatsoever with anything that occurs in science. For instance, when Saul of Tarsus based the religion he created on a vision he had, the faith required to believe his story and the assumptions he made have absolutely nothing to do with the scientific method, and is actually the complete opposite.

        • Al

          What evidence do you have that gravity is the same on the back side of the Andromeda galaxy?

        • gusbovona

          I’m not an astronomer, so I can’t answer that question.

          But do you seriously think that astronomers just assume that gravity is the same? Do you think that if someone could show that gravity was different, they would? There’d be a Nobel prize for sure.

          [Disclaimer: for all I know, gravity might be shown to be scientifically different on the back side of Andromeda.]

        • Pofarmer

          That sounds like a sean carroll question.

        • gusbovona

          Speaking of whom, he downplays the revolutionary aspect of science. He says that we *aren’t* going to find, for instance, some new energy that powers psi or chi because we know that we have a handle on all types of energy. I may be paraphrasing that poorly because, said that way, I’m not sure how he knows that. Anyway, it’s not like science arbitrarily changes its theories just because it’s Tuesday.

        • Pofarmer

          After you say that, I think I’ve heard Carroll say that the main forces of the Universe are known, and well known. We know them down to the Atomic level. So, the chance of Universal forces acting differently somewhere else is slim, because we know those forces down to a very fine level. And there is certianly no indication that atomic forces vary,

        • hector_jones

          I’ve heard him say that too, come to think of it. I think it was in the context of debunking life after death. He said something to the effect that all forces operating in our universe are known and understood well enough for us to conclude there is no mechanism by which a god is communicating with believers and no mechanism by which souls could pass into heaven and continue to hold our consciousness after death.

        • Al

          Yes. They have to assume it because there is no way to check it.

        • gusbovona

          I’m willing to accept that there is no way to check it if you can substantiate that. How do you know that astronomers can’t check it? Did you read it somewhere?

        • Al

          How could they check it? You can’t send a probe out there or spaceship.

        • gusbovona

          Aw, c’mon, are you kidding? You’re not an astronomer, I take it, and all you can do is to rely on your naivety and ignorance and conclude that there’s no way? You don’t get to believe anything you want just because you don’t know whether the opposite could be proved or not.

        • Pofarmer

          There are these things called telescopes. They look out at things other than visible and they look out hundreds and millions billions of years in the case of Hubble.

        • 90Lew90

          Sorry to interject and excuse me, but I’ve seen this happen a million times. You can count them when “science” finally gets into my head. I might be wrong about the exact figure but it is a bewildering and beleaguering one. Maybe just a thousand.

          This is what happens: You get some religious guy who doesn’t know the first thing about science arguing against an equally ignorant atheist who thinks — rightly — that the scientific persuit of knowledge is a good thing. The atheist is probably more interested in what science has borne for humanity than the religious guy. The religious guy thinks the atheist is trying to knock his god out of the picture with this thang cawled science. The religious guy thinks the guy who says science has been to the good has a new form of faith. No. For a start, “no” to the religious guy. To the religious guy: you can go and do the science yourself if you have the means. It’s not stuff on a high shelf. It may be complex, but in order for it to be called “science”, it has to be repeatable. You can do it yourself if you make the effort and have the means.

          My other problem with this vortex of discussion that the religious people who think science is a religion always draw the atheist into (the atheist who doesn’t himself have a clue about science but is quite interested) a discussion where they then start pummelling the atheist with often quite intelligent questions. The atheist-science-enthusiast gets drawn in. Again: No.

          The proper response from the atheist at this point is to admit that he doesn’t know (unless he has a book handy which he can cite) and ask the religious believer about his fantastical claims. We’re not discussing science here. We’re discussing religion. Religion makes some pretty darned outrageous claims. To be enthusiastic about the progress science has begotten is an entirely different thing to actually believing that water turns into wine or that wine turns into blood. Literally. Science proceeds from evidence and a very simple but brilliant application of doubt. Religion runs on belief based on nothing other than a primitive need to believe. If you’re not a scientist, stop arguing about science (to the believer and the enthusiast alike).

          What about this transubstantiation stuff? What about bodies “rising” (what’s “up”?) into the sky? What about this “rapture” that never happened and never happens, but which a certain god predicted would be there in a jiffy? These are the questions that make your Bible and Bob worth reading.

        • Al

          Never said science was a religion. I have stated and shown that science has limitations and it requires faith to work.

          I don’t believe in transubstantiation because that is not what Christ taught. Dozens of people saw Jesus’s ascension. This should not be so strange for Him considered the amazing things He did during His life.

          When Christ comes again, it does say those who are His will be taken from the earth. This is still a future event.

        • 90Lew90

          When Christ comes again I would salute him for making a fool out of you. Not me. If he makes me look a fool, I’ll have a pretty good argument to have with him and if chucks me into hell well fuck him.

        • Al

          Its your life and He will determine your eternal destiny.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Astronomers can see the Andromeda galaxy, and it moves as if gravity is the same. Indeed, seeing how galaxies worked allowed them to deduce that much mass was missing from their estimates, which gave us the hypothesis of dark matter.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          The axioms on which science rests are tested continually. If we were to discover an exception, that would be noted and taken into account. Where’s the problem? What more could you want?

          No, no faith required. Just trust in something that has earned that trust.

          The origin of the universe and life are a couple of unprovable theories.

          More big talk? Or are you going to back this up? Put something on the line. Tell us that your faith rests on this statement of yours and that if science does find theories, you’ll drop your faith.

          What’s that, Al? You say that you won’t do that, that this is just a smokescreen? In that case, your argument is meaningless.

        • Pofarmer

          Sure, science has been wrong lots, but new discoveries outdate and replace old incorrect ideas. Science corrected itself. Religion has no such mechanism. And it doesn’t take faith to do science. It takes the knowledge that methodological naturalism works, and so far is the best method we have found for aquiring useful knowledge.

        • Al

          Its only assumed that science corrected itself. How many theories are replaced by other theories and by even more theories?

          Just because science may correct itself does not mean the new theory is correct.

        • hector_jones

          So how do you know the bible is accurate then, Al?

        • Al

          By observations and reason. How do you know a scientific theory of today is accurate when you know that someday science may find it to be inaccurate?

        • hector_jones

          What observations support your conclusion that the bible is accurate?

          As for reason, I’ve read plenty of your reasoning by now and it sucks.

          It seems to me that on the one hand you are trying to argue that you know the bible is accurate because you apply scientific principles to it, then whenever you are told that scientific principles contradict the views of the bible, you take a crap all over science. So what makes your method different and better?

        • Al

          The creation supports the claim of the Bible that God exist. I have answered prayers which another claim that the Bible makes.

          On those things I can’t know by experience and observation I trust in the authority that says such things as heaven and hell existing and that there is life after death. I believe these things on the authority of Christ.

        • hector_jones

          What creation? How does it support the claim of the Bible that God exist? You need to explain this.

          You have answered prayers? You mean you have had prayers answered? Like what? Please give us the details so we can evaluate them. You are here to convince us, afterall. Right?

          You trust in the authority of Christ. But that’s the very thing we dispute. We don’t believe any such authority exists or can be shown to exist. I don’t think your observation or reason as you have presented it here are good enough to support the existence of the authority of Christ.

        • Pofarmer

          I’ve had prayers answered too, and lately. but I was praying to the left back door post. I read a blogger once, maybe it was Athiest in Dixie, who said he and his wife had a prayer competition. She prayed to God, and he prayed to the living room lamp. At the end, he had more answered prayers than she did, so they both deconverted.

        • hector_jones

          And they weren’t able to rationalize it by telling themselves that God had the lamp bugged?

        • Pofarmer

          They were apparently intellectually honest enough to see what was going on.

        • Al

          The design of the universe and especially our world is a clear demonstration of the power of God.

          You believe things by authority to because you can test for yourself all things you believe. You believe atheism is true not because there is any evidence for it but because you have a belief for it without any evidence.

        • hector_jones

          The design of the universe and especially our world is a clear demonstration of the power of God.

          Now make an argument for why this demonstration of power is ‘clear’ based on the design of the universe. Because I don’t see it. And I don’t see how you get from that to ‘God reveals himself in the Bible’. It’s not even written in the first person.

          You believe things by authority to because you can test for yourself all things you believe. You believe atheism is true not because there is any evidence for it but because you have a belief for it without any evidence.

          Utter nonsense. I believe atheism is true because there is no evidence for God and certainly no evidence that ties the ‘creator of the universe’, whoever that might be, to the God of Christianity.

        • Al

          When we see a complex highhly designed object like a car or computer we know an intelligence is behind it, We know no forces of nature can create these things. The universe, life and our world have the appearance of design and are fine tuned to level that man cannot even achieve, The most logical and reasonable conclusion is that an intelligence that we call God did it.

          You believe in atheism without any evidence for it being true. In fact, it leads you to embrace nonsense.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          A car and a rock are very similar; therefore, God? Is that your argument?

        • gusbovona

          May I suggest that you do some study and research into what the scientific method actually is?

          The history of science is not one of arbitrarily replacing theories based on whole sets of data with something else completely unconnected. Science is better described as a gradual tightening of theories. Newton’s theory of gravitation was incredibly accurate, but Einstein’s theory was even more so, and we might develop a new theory that is even more accurate. It’s not like Einstein’s theory is True ™ in some philosophical sense, it’s just the most accurate we have.

          Rather than asking whether something is correct, science answers the question, “How accurate of a prediction can we make?” People commonly and loosely then say that the theory that is the most accurate is “correct,” but that’s not precise language that describes what’s going on.

        • Pofarmer

          Now, this is actually a good point. but science continually winnows to get us closer and closer to reality.

        • hector_jones

          Science has experimentation and repeatability as assurances that our theories are close to the truth. This computer I am typing on is great evidence that all the science that went into it is valid.

          The bible, otoh, has nothing to compare with it.

        • hector_jones

          The bible is ‘scientifically accurate.’ But wait, science has been wrong! So how does Al know the bible is accurate accurate as opposed to merely ‘scientifically’ accurate. Uh oh.

        • gusbovona

          “uh oh” indeed. If the bible is scientifically accurate, and science can change its conclusions . . . .

          Nice catch.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          William Lane Craig begs to differ.

        • Pofarmer

          What great advances in understanding has William Lane Craig Authored?

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Great question. While I don’t have the time to, or interest in, reviewing Dr. Craig’s work I’m happy to know that if you’re truly interested you can look it up yourself.

        • MNb

          I have done so. The only great advance in understanding by WLC is his nazi defence of the Canaanite Genocide. Quite an accomplishment indeed. I found it on his website Reasonable Faith. Very insightful indeed.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          It sounds like your knowledge of WLC is quite limited, yet you’re ok with that. Very telling.

        • MNb

          It sounds like you don’t want to admit that WLC’s philosophy is worthless, but can’t tell what his accomplishments are either. Very telling, except that I already knew you were dishonest.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Like George Wallace’s 1963 “I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever,” I suspect that crazy justifications like this one of genocide will be WLC’s legacy.

        • MNb

          I pity WLC as much as Wallace. Did the latter btw not withdraw his words later, more or less?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Yes, he did fully repent for his words and moved to the good side of the civil rights issue. But that thinking is still what he’s remembered for.

          As will be WLC for his sycophantic support of genocide.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          I’ve read a modest amount of WLC’s work. Search this blog for posts on it.

          (Spoiler: I’m not impressed.)

        • Al

          Billions of people across the centuries have found it to be a rich source of enlightenment.. Though it is not a science book it has accurately been shown to be scientifically accurate. It accurately showed that the universe had a beginning when people thought the universe was eternal.

        • gusbovona

          How much of the Bible are you saying is scientifically accurate? Is there any part of it not scientifically accurate?

        • Al

          Can’t think of any. The Bible was written in a pre-scientific society. The Bible describes the world for the most part from a personal perspective while science tries to describe it from formulas and theories.

        • gusbovona

          Wait, what? You can’t think of any what? Are you saying you can’t think of anything in the bible that is not scientifically accurate? I just want to be clear as to what you’re saying.

        • hector_jones

          Sounds to me like he’s saying he can’t think of any part of the bible that is not scientifically accurate. I hate to break it to you, but Al’s an idiot.

        • Al

          Yes..

        • gusbovona

          Are scientific conclusions expressed through metaphor, or allegories, or are they stated plainly and precisely?

        • Al

          The Bible does not express truth by mathematical or scientific formulas. It does use human observations, metaphors and parables for example to express truth.

        • gusbovona

          You didn’t want to answer my question directly, for some reason. Oh well, I’ll try another method.

          When the sun stood still in the sky in the Bible, was that scientifically accurate?

          When the Bible said that the first persons were Adam and Eve, is that scientifically accurate?

        • Al

          It certainly appeared that the sun stood still.
          It is true that Adam and Eve were the first human beings.
          What does science say who were the first human beings and how do they know? Do they have a skeleton?

        • gusbovona

          If it appeared that the sun stood still, then why didn’t the Bible say that? Don’t we all know the difference between, “It appeared as if X” and “X (truly happened)? Why doesn’t the Bible know that difference?

        • Pofarmer

          Isn’t it cute when fundies try to rationalize their myths?

        • gusbovona

          Science says that evolution is true, and that means that there were no first two people. The change from the species that were our ancestors to us happened so gradually, over such a long period of time, that every child was the same species as its parents (of course).

          For an analogy, see this:

        • al

          Just because science says something is true doesn’t make it so.
          Let’s talk about the process of evolution. What kind of force is natural selection and how does it know what to do and when?

        • gusbovona

          If the science is sound, and is confirmed through multiple independent lines of evidence, as evolution is, then it’s as true as we can possibly determine.

        • hector_jones

          So science needs to have the skeleton but you don’t? Shame on you, Al.

        • Al

          A skeleton would be evidence. Right?

        • gusbovona

          A skeleton wouldn’t be the only type of evidence, right?

        • Al

          Yes. It would be the strongest evidence.

        • gusbovona

          The larger point is that science says that there *were* no first humans, that the human species evolved gradually just like every other species. So looking for a skeleton of the first humans is foolish.

        • Al

          I don’t buy that idea that we came from the slime.

        • gusbovona

          Any good reasons that we didn’t evolve, when every shred of evidence says we did? Even the Catholic church accepts evolution, so it’s not just for atheists anymore.

        • Al

          What evidence? What is the evidence that man came from the slime?

        • Pofarmer

          Jerry coyne. “Why evolution is true.”

        • Al

          Just because Jerry says its true doesn’t make it so.

        • Pofarmer

          There was recently a book on evolution that had Robert M. Price as a collaborator. The other dude was a Christian and they were going to write the book from both sides. By the end of the book, the other guy was an Atheist, that’s how strong the evidence is. Go to Amazon and search “Robert M. Price evolution”. And it’s not what Jerry Coyne says that matters, it’s if what he says can be shown to be correct.

        • Al

          Wow. I’m convinced.
          What is the evidence that I can hold in my hands that proves evolution i.e. man came from the slime?

        • Pofarmer

          Al, if you aren’t actually going to look at any of the literature on the subject, what’s the point? What are you afraid of?

        • Al

          If I’m not mistaken you refused to read Simon Greenleaf.

          I have read a lot of evolution material. It has more problems than it solves.

        • Pofarmer

          What evolution material? What problems?W

        • Al

          Text books, TV programs, articles.

          What kind of force is natural selection? How does it work and what does it rely on?

        • Pofarmer

          Read jerry coyne. Read ” the selfish gene”. Good Lord man.

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          If you indeed had “read a lot of evolution material” you would not have asked these questions.
          I suppose googling on “natural selection explained” is too hard for someone who has admitted not being capable of managing a computer mouse.

        • Al

          Could have saved yourself a lot of typing and embarrassment. All you needed to say was I DON’T KNOW.

        • MNb

          On creacrap sites no doubt. If I’m not mistaken you have read neither

          http://www.amazon.com/Evolution-What-Fossils-Say-Matters/dp/0231139624

          nor

          http://www.amazon.com/Why-Evolution-True-Jerry-Coyne/dp/146923307X

          Why should any atheist read Greenleaf? This suffices:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Greenleaf

          No credentials in history.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Testimony_of_the_Evangelists

          No discussion of the problem of hearsay.

          http://infidels.org/library/modern/richard_packham/montgmry.html

          “I was frankly expecting to read profound legal reasoning in their works, not such gross misstatements of the law.”
          Waste your money as you please; mine won’t go to such books.

        • gusbovona

          Are you really saying that you won’t believe anything until you have evidence that you can hold in your hands? That is the standard that you are suggesting.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Well, yeah, but only for the stuff that he finds offensive. For stuff he’s on board with, he accepts that blindly.

          Old “Double Standard” Al, up to his old shenanigans.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Evolving Out of Eden by Price and Suominen.

          (They quote me on p. 201–reason enough to buy the book!)

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          True, but because it’s the scientific consensus, you don’t have a leg to stand on when you declare it false.

          You lose.

        • gusbovona

          Evolution is massively confirmed from multiple, independent lines of evidence. It’s too much to summarize effectively. You can start at http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evohome.html

        • Al

          How about just one piece of evidence.

        • gusbovona

          Fossils.

        • Al

          Fossils are bones. What do they tell us about evolution and how do we know that they are accurate?

        • gusbovona

          They show us how organisms can change over time (which is what evolution is). Dating the fossils (through independently confirmed principles of geology) shows this. Plus, one organisms evolving so that it can’t productively mate with its ancestor organisms – the definition of a species – has been observed in the laboratory.

        • Al

          How does that work i.e. “show us how organisms can change over time ” if all you have is one bone of one animal?

        • gusbovona

          We don’t have one bone of one animal, we have lots more. LOTS more. I never said we only had one bone of one animal. Where are you getting this?

          If you’re going to keep asking me questions in an attempt for me to demonstrate the reality of evolution, it’s not gonna happen for a multitude of very different reasons.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          That’s an interesting question. How do biologists use fossils when in all these years they’ve only discovered a single fossil?

          Or perhaps there are more … ?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Technically, that we have a common ancestor with slime, but yeah. That is indeed what the science says.

        • hector_jones

          Are you a complete idiot? So where is your skeleton of Adam & Eve? That would be the strongest evidence, right?

        • Al

          Ok. So you don’t even have any physical evidence. So what else ya got?

        • hector_jones

          You really are a fucking idiot. It’s YOU who doesn’t have any physical evidence. You are the one who claims that Adam and Eve were real, not me. So where are their skeletons?

        • Al

          I don’t rely on skeletons but evolutionists do.

        • hector_jones

          Skeletons are among a number of things that evolutionists rely on. Get a clue.

          You, otoh, rely on myths, fables, ignorance and poor reasoning.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Yeah, the scientific consensus is built on no evidence. What an idiot you are. You ever consider the scientific foundation that supports the technology we’re using to communicate right now?

          But I guess you’re OK with that since that doesn’t injure your religious pride, right?

        • 90Lew90

          What a daft question. Would you not just pick up a book and inform yourself a bit? Or watch something other than Fox Snooze?

        • Pofarmer

          That would be hard.

        • 90Lew90

          I was always told there’s no such thing as a stupid question. That’s good enough from me. So I choose “daft”. Daft is beneath contempt. If you ask a daft question you’re damn near close to a waste of air.

        • Pofarmer

          Lol. Lucky guess. Humans don’t naturally conceive of things with no beginning.

        • hector_jones

          Is ‘religiously accurate’ as good as ‘scientifically accurate’? What’s the difference exactly? You have nicely skirted around the fact that only parts of the bible are ‘scientifically accurate’. What do you mean by ‘enlightenment’? It seems to me you have abandoned the entire truth argument for your religious beliefs and resorted to ‘people find it comforting’.

        • Al

          Yes to your first question. Truth in theology is just as important as it is in science.

          By enlightenment I mean how the Bible tells me what is important for me in this life to pursue and its significance for the next life.

          Some truths of the Scripture are not comforting such as its teachings on hell.

        • hector_jones

          What is your method for determining whether the bible is true? Saying the word ‘theology’ doesn’t answer the question. Tell me how a theologian goes about deciding what is true and what is not. How do you know this method actually works, given that Muslim theologians come to vastly different conclusions than Christian ones. Why aren’t theologians converging on truth instead of continuing to reside in separate camps? They’ve had millenia to figure this out.

        • Al

          Observation, reason and logic helps me to determine if what the Bible says is true.
          Theologians go about determining what is true theologically by what the Scriptures says. If a theologian says there is no life after death and no heaven or hell then he is claiming something that goes against the revelation of the Bible. He is wrong.

          Muslims theologians would agree with Christian theologians on somethings but not others. Both agree that God exist and created the world. Both disagree on the nature of God.
          This is same kind of thing happens in science. Not all scientists agree.

        • hector_jones

          “by what the Scriptures says”

          How do you know what the Scriptures says is true? Does Scriptures include the Koran, the Hindu writings, Buddhist writings, and all other religious writings? Why not?

        • Al

          The Bible’s authority is based on God Himself who has revealed Himself to people in history. The Bible is a record of this.

          The Scripture does not include Koran, the Hindu writings, Buddhist writings, and all other religious writings because God has not revealed Himself in these writings.

        • hector_jones

          You haven’t even read the Koran, the Hindu writings or the Buddhist writings. But people who have tell me that God most certainly does reveal himself there.

          Ultimately your reasoning is just circular. You believe in God because He’s in the Bible. You believe in the Bible because you believe in God.

        • Al

          I don’t have to read those writings to know that some of what they say is false because it contradicts what the Bible says. The Koran for example says that Jesus is not God and did not die on the cross. That contradicts what the Scripture says and is thereby false.

          I don’t just believe in God because He is in the Bible but also because I see His handiwork in creation and from personal experience He exist.

        • Pofarmer

          In other words, you are conditioned to believe.

        • hector_jones

          And you know ‘the Scripture’ is true because God reveals himself in it, even though Muslims say the exact same thing about the Koran. So how is a guy like me to decide which faith I should join, Al? How did you decide on Christianity over Islam?

        • Al

          You decide by who is the greater. Since Jesus was God in the flesh and made these claims about Himself and showed it by His miracles then I look at Muhammad. What did he do. Made no claim to deity, did no miracles and lied about Christ.

        • hector_jones

          Ok so because Muhammed backed off a little bit and didn’t go all the way and claim to be a deity, you find him to be less convincing than the guy who claims to be a deity? Why can’t a regular Joe perform miracles if God wants him to? Doesn’t your own bible say that Moses parted waters and stuff like that?

          You believe Jesus was divine because he performed miracles in the bible. And you know that the Bible (as opposed to the Koran) is true because it has a guy in it who does miracles but the Koran does not. Circular.

        • Al

          Others in the Scripture did perform miracles but they attributed that power to God and did not claim to be God incarnate. Jesus did and He ultimately showed this by rising from the dead Himself. These others did not do such a thing.

        • hector_jones

          This doesn’t address my comment. Sorry.

          Where’s that best evidence I asked for, btw?

        • hector_jones

          Btw, may I ask which denomination of Christianity you follow?

        • Al

          Evangelical protestant.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          Interestingly, the Qur’an contains a dialogue about this between Jesus and God. I can’t remember the chapter or verse(s) but it goes something like this:

          God: Did you ever claim to be God?

          Jesus: No.

          I guess to the Muslim this is enough proof that you have it wrong. And the Muslim knows he/she is right because Muhammad performed miracles such as splitting the moon. And his followers were willing to die for him. And stuff.

          If miracles are what you’re after you might be interested in this: http://www.sunnah.org/history/miracles_of_Prophet.htm#expulsion

        • Al

          The gospels are eyewitness accounts of the life of Christ. Matthew and John were His direct disciples. Muhammad comes over 600 years later as does the Koran. The Koran is making false statements about Christ since the gospel accounts do indeed claim to be written by eyewitnesses while the Koran is not.

        • hector_jones

          No they weren’t eyewitness accounts. But this ground has been covered with you and you haven’t learned a thing.

        • Al

          I have already demonstrated in a number of places that the gospel accounts are eyewitness accounts. No one has demonstrated with any counter facts that they are not.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          What kind of information would we have to provide you?

        • gusbovona

          Strictly speaking, the gospels are accounts of eyewitness accounts, as the author of the book of Matthew, for instance, was not the disciple Matthew.

          Furthermore, the value of an eyewitness account is vastly diminished when we don’t have the eyewitness present to ask question, check things, try to poke holes in the story, etc.

        • Al

          Matthew was a disciple of Christ. That has been believed by the church since the beginning.

          It would be great to have the eyewitnesses with us today but we don’t. We don’t have that for any historical event that is over 100 years ago.

        • gusbovona

          How do we know that the person we identify as the disciple of Christ, Matthew, is the person who wrote the book of Matthew?

          Historians need more than eyewitness accounts to truly verify events in history, especially the more outlandish claims one runs across now and again.

        • Al

          The church has always had the name Matthew associated with his gospel and we have the testimony of Papias in the 2nd century.

          Historians would love to have as much support as there is for the gospels for other secular writings.

        • gusbovona

          A 2nd century source? That’s a lot of years later, isn’t it? A lot can happen in those intervening years. How reliable should we treat that evidence, and why? Does Papias have any potential for bias? BY the way, Wiki (which only goes so far, I know) says “For one thing, it is not even explicit that the writings by Mark and Matthew (that Papias mentions) are the canonical Gospels bearing those names.”

          If any writing had as little support as for the idea that Matthew was written by the disciple of the same name, we should distrust that as well. Apply the standard equally.

        • Al

          Actually Papias’s comments are quite amazing given that we don’t have this kind of attestation for other writings in the ancient past. Most writings of the ancient historians are lost.

          He is described as “an ancient man who was a hearer of John and a companion of Polycarp” by Polycarp’s disciple Irenaeus (c. 180).

          We have 2 pieces of evidence of Matthew being the author.
          1-no one else is connected to the gospel of Matthew.
          2- the witness of Papias.

          We know more about the gospels than any other writings of the ancient past.

        • gusbovona

          It doesn’t matter what evidence we have for other ancient writings: why would we trust to the level of sufficient evidence a single other source?

        • gusbovona

          I’m not a historian by any stretch of the imagination, but 5 minutes online got me this: “It has been questioned, both in ancient and in modern times, whether the history of Herodotus possesses the essential requisite of trustworthiness. Several ancient writers accuse him of intentional untruthfulness. ” (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/eb11-herodotus.asp)

          Note “several ancient writers.” And that isn’t even a full list of confirmations. And they’re properly *skeptical* on top of that.

          Your #1 is not a piece of evidence.

          No comment on whether Papias might be biased or not?

        • Al

          All men are biased. That does not mean men cannot tell the truth. What would Papias have to gain by lying about this? What was at stake for him to lie about this?

          History is questioned all the time. That doesn’t mean what ancient historians wrote was all untrue. Even if historians find some errors in ancient works they don’t conclude the rest of the works are untrue and useless.

        • gusbovona

          It’s not only bias, and it doesn’t have to be lying. He could be repeating something he heard and believed and didn’t check it out sufficiently. It could be a thousand other things.

          Some things from history we know, and some we can’t really know because of insufficient evidence. Let the chips fall where they may.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Eusebius said that Papias “seems to have been a man of very small intelligence, to judge from his books” (Church History, book III, chapter 39, paragraph 13).

          (Ooh–sometimes it’s fun when there’s bickering within the Christian camp.)

        • MNb

          Except that the Church hasn’t.

          http://www.willibrordbijbel.nl/?p=page&i=63981,63981

          “Hoewel het boek gewoonlijk ‘het evangelie volgens Matteüs’ genoemd wordt, vermeldt de schrijver zijn eigen naam niet. Vanaf het eind van de tweede eeuw n.Chr. wordt het evangelie toegeschreven aan Matteüs en wordt zijn naam in de handschriften genoteerd.”
          “Though the book usually is called “The Gospel according to Matthew” the author doesn’t mention his own name. From the end of the 2nd Century CE gets attributed to Matthew and is his name written down in the manuscripts.”
          The “New Willibrord Translation” is the authorized translation in Dutch by the RCC.

        • Pofarmer

          If Matthew was a disciple, why is 90% of his writing copying verbatim from Mark? Nobody but the most Fundy apologists believes that.

        • Al

          This is a major topic that would take pages to explain the similarities and differences.

        • Pofarmer

          Sure it would, and you would be contradicted by most of modern scholarship, so, it’s also pointless.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          “…the gospel accounts do indeed claim to be written by eyewitnesses while the Koran is not.”

          Maybe we should be discussing this under Bob’s other article, “Why the Gospel of Mark Is Likely NOT an Eyewitness Account”.

          More importantly, did you read the link? Those are ahadith (not Qur’an), as in, sayings going back to Muhammad from his own followers. If the ahadith are proof of Muhammad’s prophethood (as they claim), then the Qur’an is to be accepted as divine revelation. Then, if it conflicts with Bible, that means the Bible has it wrong (such as the crucifixion of Jesus). So what about the ahadith do you find unconvincing? Compare that to what you do find convincing about the Gospels and try to get rid of any double standards.

        • Al

          Muhammad was a prophet but not a true one. He lied about a number of things. He contradicts Christ and is wrong about the nature of God as He has revealed Himself in Scripture. Muhammad’s message was never confirm by God by any miracles.

          Jesus on the other hand was confirmed by God by His miracles.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          “Muhammad’s message was never confirm by God by any miracles.”

          If you did read the link, you would have seen many people attest to his supposed miracles (same goes for Joseph Smith). I can’t help but think you hold a double standard. You “know” that Jesus performed miracles because there were eyewitnesses according to the Gospels (even without physical evidence of these miracles). Muslims “know” that Muhammad performed miracles because there were eyewitnesses according to the ahadith. Why do you accept the former but not the latter? If he performed miracles then he must have been a true prophet, right? Therefore any contradiction between the Qur’an and the Bible means that the Bible is wrong.

          “He contradicts Christ and is wrong about the nature of God as He has revealed Himself in Scripture.” Once again, then Scripture is wrong. Although you may be right all you’re doing is simply asserting that Islam is wrong because it contradicts your Christianity. You say you have reasons and evidence that Christianity is true, do you find that if you apply those reasons and evidence to Islam that you must find that true as well?

          There are multiple possibilities:

          1) Your methodology for finding the truth of these religions is inadequate.
          2) Both of these religions are false (they are not divinely revealed/inspired) so you are trying to find evidence of something that isn’t true (a wasteful endeavor).
          3) You apply a different methodology of finding the truth of one religion than the other (double standard).
          4) You simply prefer that Christianity is true rather than Islam. (emotion has no bearing on the truth of a statement)

        • Al

          Any supposed miracles for Muhammad were written decades if not centuries after he died. These are legends.
          There are none in the Koran.

          Jesus on the other hand performed His miracles in public and on multiple occasions.

          The Bible predates the Koran by at least 6 centuries. We know the Koran makes inaccurate statements such as claiming Jesus never died on the cross. It denies that Jesus was God. Therefore the Koran is not the Word of God because it makes false statements.

          If you want to assert that the Koran is true and the Bible is false then how are you going to deal with the false claims of the Koran that I mentioned? What counter facts will you bring to the table to show that the Bible is wrong?

          If you are not a Muslim then what are you? If you are an atheist, then you bear the burden to show that atheism is true. Can you do that?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Don’t even understand your own religion, do you?

          Your gospels were oral history for 4 to 6 decades before being written down. The Koran was probably committed to paper before that.

          Koran inaccurate? How do you figure? Maybe it’s the gospels that are inaccurate. I did mention that they came from a goddamn angel, didn’t I? Sounds like a reliable source.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          And the Muslim says the equivalent things.

          Why should I believe you over him?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Huh? Mohammed got his information from a frikkin’ angel.

          We don’t know who wrote the gospels of Matthew and John, and they were written down decades later, anyway.

          Sounds like Mohammed has taken you behind the woodshed for a good thrashing.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Why can’t a regular Joe perform miracles if God wants him to?

          He can!

          “whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12).

        • hector_jones

          Looks like Al doesn’t believe after all.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          So do you follow the Muslim theologians or the Christian ones? Do you just follow the one that you like best, or is there some objective mechanism for deciding one supernatural claim is true rather than another one?

        • Pofarmer

          Al, you do realize, you have no methodology here to seperate incorrect beleifs from correct ones, other than what makes you feel good, right?

        • Al

          Not true. Since Jesus was God in the flesh and what He taught was true then I know that anything that contradicts what He taught is false.

        • Pofarmer

          Like I said.

        • hector_jones

          Evidence please. I’m not even convinced that Jesus ever existed in the flesh, let alone that he was God in the flesh. What he taught is demonstrably false on many points, and you most certainly do not know that anything that contradicts it is false. All you’ve shown is you believe this stuff because you believe it.

        • Al

          What kind of evidence do you need?

        • hector_jones

          Give me the best evidence you’ve got.

        • Al

          Since Jesus was a historical person we look for historical evidence. The gospels and secular writers either mention Him or refer to someone associated with Him.

        • hector_jones

          Is historical evidence the same as scientific evidence? Because you’ve been taking a shit all over science in these threads. I don’t understand how ‘historical evidence’ carries any weight with you if it can be wrong just like ‘scientific evidence’.

        • Al

          How is history done and how do historians establish historical facts about the past?
          It is true that historians can be wrong but that does not mean they are always wrong. Same with science.

        • hector_jones

          So how do you know that the Resurrection is true if historians can be wrong?

          My point is that you have demonstrated zero knowledge here about how historians and scientists actually work and what methods they use. Instead you cherry pick. When you think you can make an argument in support of your religion, suddenly the entire bible is ‘scientifically accurate’, ‘admissible in court’ and ‘historically proven’. The second someone shows that your arguments are unsound, you respond by dismissing the scientific method as faulty, based on unprovable assumptions and requiring faith to accept. This is called having your cake and eating it too, Al.

        • Al

          Give me a counter argument that shows its unsound.

        • hector_jones

          You’ve had that given to you repeatedly.

        • Al

          If you don’t have any examples then there is none.

        • Pofarmer

          Thank you for registering, btw.

        • Pofarmer

          There was no adam and eve, there was no flood, there was no fall, and on, and on. It’s a book of ancient stories.

        • 90Lew90

          Or an ancient book of stories. I’ve had a shitty couple of months. I’ve been finding myself thinking the world would be a better place if people just appreciated it for what it is instead of what they want it to be. I was watching Stephen Fry last night on a kind of panel game show called QI. They were talking about the game Snakes and Ladders (apparently Americans call it Shutes and Ladders) and how ancient that is. It’s Hindu. For kids. A very simple way of teaching children basic human truths about ethics. Brilliant. I don’t know why supposed grown-ups need to complicate self-evident stuff. I’m really scratching my head about this. Again. I suppose I just spent my Sunday on a catholic site.

        • Pofarmer

          I’ve about given up on Catholic sites. Their worldview is too far removed from reality by their own theology.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Keep in mind that the status quo benefits lots of people–politicians, priests, etc.

        • Al

          And your evidence is?????

        • Pofarmer

          Reams of it, mountains of it, books full of it. The whole of modern science says as much. Are you just being ignorant for the sake of ignorance?

        • al

          Just because ya got lots of stuff on it doesn’t make it true. Modern science can’t explain how life began and give us any of it either.

        • gusbovona

          Your statement, “Just because ya got lots of stuff on it doesn’t make it true. ” is so silly that I’m going to translate it for you to show you how silly it is:

          “Just because ya got lots of evidence doesn’t make it true.”

          The reason it is so silly is because it is exactly and precisely *evidence* that makes something true.

        • Pofarmer

          There is no secular writer contemporary with Jesus who writes about him. There is no religious writer contemporary with Jesus. Who writes about him. We have no writings from Jesus himself.

        • Al

          In A.D. 64, the Roman historian Tacitus wrote:
          “Nero fastened the guilt . . . on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of . . . Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome. . . .” Tacitus, Annals 15.44

          Pliny the Younger
          “They were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to partake of food–but food of an ordinary and innocent kind.”Pliny, Letters, transl. by William Melmoth

        • gusbovona

          Is something written in 64 considered contemporary to Jesus?

        • MNb

          Science works. More is not necessary.
          In my philosophy of science the word truth is meaningless. Knowledge is what matters. Religion provides zilch of it. Religion is also a dismissable source for ethics and esthetics.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Your philosophy of science is cute and trendy, but it’s also flawed.

        • MNb

          I rather rely on Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time, chapter 1 than on a prejudiced christian like you, who rejects science when it suits him.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Rock on. His “multi-verse” theory is very interesting in that he is looking to postulate his own version of what theologians have known from the beginning of time. Another case of bad philosophy.

        • MNb

          Ignorant. The multiverse theory is not philosophy, it is solid physics. Moreover it is not Hawking’s, Then it has only indirectly to do with the point I made about philosophy of science: the word truth is meaningless.

        • Pofarmer

          “Science doesn’t know everything … religion doesn’t know ANYTHING.”

        • Miguel de la Pena

          After typing that did you fold your arms and stomp your feet on the ground like a 3 year old?

        • Pofarmer

          Seemed self evident.

        • 90Lew90

          In Bertrand Russell’s ‘Autobiography’ he writes about how he nearly had a breakdown when he discovered “reality” is pretty much meaningless, never mind truth. I can’t recommend him highly enough if you’re interested. His essay, An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish (among many others) is available online.

          First par.: “Man is a rational animal-so at least I have been told. Throughout a long life, I have looked diligently for evidence in favor of this statement, but so far I have not had the good fortune to come across it, though I have searched in many countries spread over three continents. On the contrary, I have seen the world plunging continually further into madness. I have seen great nations, formerly leaders of civilization, led astray by preachers of bombastic nonsense. I have seen cruelty, persecution, and superstition increasing by leaps and bounds, until we have almost reached the point where praise of rationality is held to mark a man as an old fogey regrettably surviving from a bygone age. All this is depressing, but gloom is a useless emotion. In order to escape from it, I have been driven to study the past with more attention than I had formerly given to it, and have found, as Erasmus found, that folly is perennial and yet the human race has survived. The follies of our own times are easier to bear when they are seen against the background of past follies. In what follows I shall mix the sillinesses of our day with those of former centuries. Perhaps the result may help in seeing our own times in perspective, and as not much worse than other ages that our ancestors lived through without ultimate disaster.”

          I love that man! http://www.personal.kent.edu/~rmuhamma/Philosophy/RBwritings/outIntellectRubbish.htm

        • Al

          You can’t have knowledge without truth.

        • MNb

          Prove it. But first define knowledge and truth. Hint: your predetermined conclusions are neither knowledge nor truth.

        • Al

          What is truth? Define it.

        • MNb

          Incurably stupid. You made a statement about truth, so you are the one who has to define it. I wrote it’s meaningless in my philosophy of science, so I don’t have to define it.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          Of course a book that isn’t intended as a science book can have accurate scientific statements. I agree with you there. I’m just pointing out the hypocrisy of Christians and Muslims who try to point out scientific foreknowledge in their holy books as a means of proselytizing, but say that we shouldn’t be looking for science in those books when something in them is scientifically inaccurate. I had this type of argument used on me by a Christian once, where he said circumcision eight days after birth is ideal because of some vitamin in the blood stream in addition to decreased risk of STD’s. He said this was medical knowledge ahead of its time (of course, the Bible makes no mention of these things) and lends credence to it being divinely revealed/inspired. I guess he was oblivious to the problem of why a perfect god would create us with something he wanted cut off right after we’re born.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Sounds like that guy may have been reaching a little too far. Circumcision was established simply as a covenant between God and man. The std-protection part contradicts how God calls us to live.

          Why do you assume a perfect God didn’t create man perfectly. According to Genesis, he originally did.

        • Pofarmer

          Genesis is a story. Reality contradicts it. There is no evidence to indicate otherwise,

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Unless you have reliable evidence from or near that time, like the Old Testament, to support your comment, it’s just a baseless opinion.

        • Pofarmer

          Lol. All you have is the old testament story, built upon the stories of the Sumerians and Babylonians. If you have some evidence of this perfect creation and fsll, that would be awesome. Otherwise, it’s more than justified to chalk it up to pre scientific people trying to explain their world.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          So you’re saying that you don’t have any evidence that supports your comment. Awesome.

        • Pofarmer

          If you wish to make the claim something happened, then you need to privide the evidence which supports it.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          If you wish to make the claim that something that’s been documented did not happen, then you need to provide the evidence which supports it.

        • Greg G.

          Israel Finklestein and other Jewish archaeologists have tried for over a century to find evidence to support the Hebrew texts. They’ve been quite thorough. They’ve only shown that the claims of the Old Testament are false and unrekiable.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Are they the only researchers who have looked for supporting evidence? Point being, there are archeologists who have looked forevidence and found it. Simply because they support your view doesn’t mean they’re the only ones out there.

        • Pofarmer

          Are you gonna acknowledge any of it? Or are you just being coy?

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Are you going to acknowledge any of it? Or are you just being coy?

        • Pofarmer

          Well, that answers that.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Zactly

        • MNb

          So those “archeologists who have looked for evidence and found it” come straight out of your thick fat lying thumb.

        • Greg G.

          No, there were archaeologists searching for about a hundred years, many financed by churches. They eventually dropped the name “Bible Archaeology” because they found so little support for the Bible.

          I edited out part of a sentence there. I’m not sure that there were Jewish archaeologists for a century. I had intended to say they have been there for nearly half a century.

          What evidence are you referring to?

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Instead of going through the entire body of evidence, I’ll refer you to answers in Genesis. They seen to have a fair amount of info there.

        • Greg G.

          I’ve refuted that claim here and here. I accept that as a tacit admission that you have no evidence.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Wait, you’ve refuted an entire website?

          Good one.

        • Greg G.

          You should work on your capitalization or learn how to use the limited set of HTML that Disqus allows. Cite the information you are willing to defend from that site. I recommend that you run it by talkorigins.org so you don’t embarrass yourself. Try this Google search of talkorigins.org for “Answers in Genesis” for starters.

        • Greg G.

          It’s been a week and you haven’t presented one claim from Answers in Genesis that you would like to defend.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s easier to just throw a website at you than, defend a specific claim, Miguel is rather nebulous.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          You’re going up against Ken “the Hamster” and Answers in Genesis? Good luck with that, bro. They’re in the Big Leagues.

        • hector_jones

          Good one indeed. An entire website! How authoritative.

        • Al

          There is plenty of support from archaeology for the Bible. See Biblical archaeology
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_archaeology

        • Greg G.

          Thanks for the link, Al. It supports what I’ve been saying. I couldn’t find anything mentioned that supports anything from before the Assyria invasion except for the Tel Dan stele that makes a reference to “house of David” which I’ve mentioned elsewhere.

          You should have read the Expert Commentaries section of your link, particularly those by Finklestein and Hawass.

        • MNb

          Oh, there is stuff from before the Assyrian invasion.

          http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/print/2010/12/david-and-solomon/draper-text
          http://www.fsmitha.com/h1/ch04b.htm

          Even the archeologists who advocate low chronology recognize this.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronology_of_the_Ancient_Near_East

          No doubt you will be interested in

          http://zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com/2012/08/03/a-tiny-seed/

          I’m too lazy to look it up now, but I have read that the results are inconclusive. Radiometry gives a probability distribution. This one has two peeks: one at the early 10th Century (when King David and/or King Solomon were supposed to rule) and one some 40-60 years later. The seed being found in a palace there can only be little doubt that around 900 BCE there was a kingdom. Now kings happen to have fathers as well, so it’s not that much of a stretch to assume a political leader called David a few decades before. Whether he was the ruler of a mighty united kingdom remains highly doubtful though.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Yeah? Give us some highlights.

          All I’ve ever read are claims that a town or king mentioned in the Bible is historically accurate. Big deal–The Wizard of Oz mentions Kansas, and that’s a real place.

          I think you need a lot more than simply that some of the names are accurate. That’s the minimum you’d expect from a divinely inspired book.

        • Al

          That is not true. Archaeologists have found all kinds of evidence for the Bible. King David is one that we have proof of.
          There is no archaeological find that has disproved the Bible.

        • Greg G.

          There is a stele that says something like “house of David”. That is not evidence of a kingdom. But there is evidence that there was no kingdom at the time David was supposed to have been a king.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Your Bible has some accurate place names and historical figures. What do you deduce from that? That the supernatural claims must be true?

        • MNb

          “King David is one that we have proof of.”
          Source?

          “There is no archaeological find that has disproved the Bible.”
          So the Great Flood and Moses wandering through the Sinai are historical events?
          For the first there is way too much (local) evidence.
          For Moses, well, you could also thoroughly search your drawer, not find your keys and still conclude that they are there. Hint: this is a metaphor for the work done by Israel Finkelstein and co.

        • Pofarmer

          Eh, are you claiming that Genesis consists of documentary evidence for The Fall? I suppose that makes Beowulf evidence of Gryndel?

        • Miguel de la Pena

          So you’re saying you have no evidence.

        • Pofarmer

          No evidence of what? There is evidence of a line of civilizations all around the world that predate the Genesis account, and no similar account of this perfect world, and fall. We have long accounts in the fossil record that don’t indicate any radical change from herbivores to meat eating, for instance. We have long accounts in the fossil record indicating that there would suddenlly be some change that went from birth being not painful to suddenly painful and dangerous. All of the evidence that we DO have, contradicts the claim of the Genesis account of the fall as being an actual event. Psychology, sociology, biology, medicine, can account for all of the characteristics normally attributed to “the fall.” Now, if you have some evidence that this actually happened, it would be a good time to put up and shut up, rather than simply being ignorant.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Silly strawman arguments that do absolutely nothing to support your claim. Do you have any affirmative evidence that atheism is true? Put up or shut up, and stop deflecting.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Oooh! Ooh! Pick me!

          Your doppleganger Al has asked the same thing, and I pointed him to the “All Posts” button at the top. I just recently scoured that for arguments for atheism (not just against Christianity) for a recent presentation, and I found 25.

          Take a look and see how many you come up with.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          You may have to specify some, I didn’t find any.

        • Pofarmer

          What strawman argument? The original point of contention is whether or not there is evidence for the doctrine of “the fall”. My contention is that there is not, and that the all the evidence that we do have plainly contradicts any such event happening. Your contention seems to be “I have a book.”

        • MNb

          If you wish science to make the claim that something that’s been documented did happen or not happen you first need to formulate that something in such a way that can be tested.
          So what do you mean with The Fall? Do you provide a literal or metaphorical interpretation of Genesis? Which testable hypotheses do you derive from it?
          If you can’t answer these questions it doesn’t make sense to look for evidence. Then we will conclude it’s just theology. That’s fine with me, but then claiming “The Fall happened” loses every meaning.

        • 90Lew90

          There is a mountain of archaeological material from that time. In terms of archaeology it’s not that long ago. Have you not been to a decent museum? Ever visited a site? I’d recommend Persepolis, which I had the good fortune to be able to visit in 2001. It’s astonishing in itself, but also astonishing is that it had been submerged in sand and had to be dug up with little more than paintbrushes. That kind of painstaking effort based on proper learning is one of the things I love about people. You and your ilk waving your storybook around is really quite disappointing.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          The Persepolis sounds interesting. Unfortunately, the fantasy group (“you and your ilk”) that denies archaeology only exist in the fantasy novels of authors such as Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris. Your demeanor is indicative of the bigoted ignorance and blind hatred they promote. Congrats!

        • Pofarmer

          What in the hell. “The fantasy group that denies archaeology. ” What? It’s us who have been requesting evidence and giving names and links. “Bigoted ignorance and blind hatred” What? It’s you who insists a several thousand year old tale that appears little different than multiple other several other thousand year old tales consists of “evidence”, while, apparently, these other stories do not. The projection is strong with this one.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Funniest part about your comment… you imply that me saying only one religion is true is blind hated.

        • Pofarmer

          More along the lines of bigoted ignorance. You didn’t differentiate.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          The idea that there is only one reality is now bigoted ignorance? That makes perfect sense.

        • Greg G.

          You should read up the thread and sort out who said what. You’re not making sense.

        • Pofarmer

          I don’t think he cares, he just doesn’t want to leave an open point, even if the response to it is gibberish.

        • 90Lew90

          Persepolis is interesting. The “Down With America” that had been painted over the aircraft hangar and then painted over where we arrived also tickled me. How things change… For the record, I’m no fan of Sam Harris. I think he’s Janus-faced so I’ll be mounting no defence of him here, but Dawkins, if you’ll excuse me, does not write fantasy books. I’m afraid the fantasy is in your head. Dawkins is completely reasonable and thoroughly polite. I sympathise with him and his restraint because it took him so long to mount a riposte to attacks on his life’s work by Christian ignoramuses. The latter got going at him in the 1970s when he revolutionised our understanding of genetics with The Selfish Gene.

          These attacks on him personally, as well as misrepresentation of not only his work but his entire field, continued pretty much relentlessly until finally in 2001, September 11 happened. And then the torrent of hatred from good god-loving Christians became deafening, and such was the bloodcurdling tone of it, he felt he had to make a principled stand to combat the swelling tide of utter ignorance and utter loathing. Now, I don’t know about you, but I find that admirable, and he has stirred debate and part of his legacy is that the debate he almost single-handedly started will continue. That’s why we’re communicating now.

          All of the good things to have come from religion he is keen to preserve; its art, its music, the Bible as literature. The man is not a bigot. What he rails against is the wilful ignorance religion promotes. If that kind of “thought” kept running up against something I’d spent my life researching then I would be angry too. Righteous anger is not reserved for religious people. His anger is righteous. And I’m with him. Maybe you should read some of his books because I’d bet my bottom dollar you haven’t. And I’d say you probably haven’t read any of Sam Harris’s either. Finally: If you think the Bible is in any way historically accurate, may I politely request that you pull your head out of your anus.

        • Greg G.

          At or near what time? There is evidence of human activity going back 9000 years about 30 miles from my house. There is DNA evidence that the human population was as small as 10,000 people within the last 100,000 years but no smaller. What part of the Bible story do you find credible?

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Personally, I like the Resurrection of Christ. I don’t see a billions-year-old Earth to be contradictory to the Biblical account of creation. But if you want to hang on to that point, you go right ahead.

        • Greg G.

          Congratulations on being able to disagree on the age of the earth with most American Christians and most Christians throughout history.

          Mark is based on fictional accounts that happened to fictional characters who weren’t Jesus and the other gospels are dependent on that one. The resurrection is just a part of the story that gets embellished with each telling.

          You were chiding Pofarmer about evidence for Genesis yet you don’t accept it. The evidence is against the creation accounts, the Flood story, and the stories about the Hebrews being slaves in Egypt. That makes Exodus fiction, too, which is also confirmed by the evidence.

          The evidence is against David and Solomon having a kingdom. They might have been warlords.

          So Pofarmer has more than baseless opinion. Your evidence for the resurrection comes from one book with questionable material and a few cherry-picked letters that don’t say anything about Jesus that doesn’t appear to have been taken from OT sources.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          All of the events you listed also have non-biblical evidence that supports them as well. It seems that there is enough evidence to support a belief as well as things you could view as supporting your skepticism.

        • Pofarmer

          Just one. What is the ecidence for the The Fall. Ought to be a piece of cake.

        • Al

          Crime, war, diseases.

        • Greg G.

          There is evidence of disease older than the earliest humans. Don’t you have any serious evidence?

        • RowanVT

          Didn’t they find a dinosaur fossil once that had a bone tumor?

        • Greg G.

          I think that is Sue, the T. rex.

        • RowanVT

          Apparently an entire study was done on the epidemiology of cancer in dinosaurs! 😀

          http://www.academia.edu/227680/Epidemiologic_study_of_tumors_in_dinosaurs

          That is just too crazy-cool! 😀

        • Pofarmer

          Don’t be stupid, Al.

        • Al

          You wanted evidence for the fall and you got it. You should be thanking me.

        • Pofarmer

          What I got was a dumbassed circular argument. no different than saying that fever, nausea and vomiting cause the flu.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Would there be any natural explanations for that? Or is the Garden of Eden story the only plausible explanation?

        • MNb

          I agree that crime and war are excellent evidence for the Fall. Now the interesting fact is that there are far more christian convicts in prison than atheists ones, even relatively. Another interesting fact is that christian political leaders have initiated many more wars than atheists. This leads to the logical conclusion that christians are much more alienated from god, because of the Fall of course, than atheists. Christians with all their crimes and wars are the Fallen Ones.You want to get closer to your god? Then deconvert.

        • RowanVT

          Pfft. You ignoramus. That’s all stuff that escaped when Pandora opened the box.

        • hector_jones

          Religion

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          So when you have both natural and supernatural explanations for something, which explanation wins?

        • Miguel de la Pena

          That’s kind of a silly question. If something can be explained both ways, why does one have to “win”?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Don’t like the word “win”? Then give me another one that says it better.

          If we have a plausible, workable natural explanation, who would keep the supernatural one?

          Are you saying that explanations that are technically wrong (like Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny) are still fun to keep around as harmless traditions? I can go along with that.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          I’d offer you another word, but I’m not clear on how you intended to differentiate the two. Saying one “wins” implies the other explanation, which may also be valid, “loses”; it doesn’t make sense.

          If we have a natural explanation of something, does that necessarily invalidate or weaken the supernatural explanation? It’s possible that one could be viewed as supporting the other? Since is still a slave to philosophy.

        • Greg G.

          The Demon Theory of Disease held sway for a long time. Treatment under that theory never helped. The Germ Theory of Disease leads to effective treatments. That is how you can differentiate between the supernatural and natural explanations.

          In the history of science and technology, everything has confirmed natural explanations even when religion has long held supernatural explanations.

          Supernatural explanations are only good for bilking lonely old ladies out of their Social Security checks.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Astronomy wins; astrology loses. Perhaps that’s a bit harsh, but that’s the way it is.

          Geocentric solar system? Homeopathy? Alchemy? They lose.

          I’m not sure what your point is. Is it that we need to gently let down people who’ve backed the wrong horse, and “lose” is too harsh and might make them sad? Or are you saying that a supernatural explanation can happily live alongside the natural one in an evidence-based world?

        • MNb

          Wrong again. Philosophy is subject to science. That’s because science uses two objective methods: deduction and induction. Philosophy only uses deduction.
          Philosophers don’t design experiments. They don’t go out in the field doing digging either. Neither do they look through telescopes. They sit behind their desks and stare through the window. Now theoretical physicists do the same, but their output gets tested by experimental physicists. The output of philosophers can’t be tested that way by definition – or they are not doing philosophy anymore.
          Such christian ignorance. You’re behind the times with about 200 years.

        • Al

          You can’t do science without philosophy.

        • MNb

          Prove it. Give me the theory behind it. Plus refute mine that I gave above. Also give me the evidence – for instance which philosophy books do paleonthologists use when searching for and digging up fossils?

        • RowanVT

          We know the cause of lightning. Adding Zeus back into the picture merely complicates it unnecessarily. The natural explanation entirely invalidates the old explanation of a god throwing them.

        • Greg G.

          Then there’s Thor, too. That complicates it further.

        • RowanVT

          Lightning is caused by Thor and Zeus fighting over thunderbolts.

        • Pofarmer

          Uhm, because one way leads to understanding phenomenon and their causes, which allows us to then use that knowledge to understand other related phenomenon, and one way fundamentally misunderstands the same thing and sends us down theological rabbit holes?

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Your comment implies that one explanation invalidates all others. That doesn’t make sense at all.

        • Pofarmer

          I suppose in your, world it doesn’t no. but, in the, real, world, when, the naturalistic view suffices, there is no reason to consider the supernatural

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Interesting, and limited, opinion.

        • Greg G.

          You say there is evidence but you don’t present it.

          From The Exodus on Wikipedia

          A century of research by archaeologists and Egyptologists has found no evidence which can be directly related to the Exodus captivity and the escape and travels through the wilderness, and most archaeologists have abandoned the archaeological investigation of Moses and the Exodus as “a fruitless pursuit“.

          Also note at Extra-Biblical Accounts section that those are from about 300 BC, about a millenium too late to be reliable.

          Here is the Wikipedia account of the History of Jerusalem during David’s supposed time. Note that when they give “according to the Bible” accounts there is no other evidence while researchers who do look at evidence dispute the accounts.

          This link show where Mark and the other gospel authors were getting their information and it wasn’t from oral history: New Testament Narrative as Old Testament Midrash by Robert M. Price.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Wait… wikipedia?

          …smh

        • Greg G.

          If you don’t like Wikipedia, go to the footnotes. I’m trying to make it easy for you. You are very resistant to knowledge. You look for any reason to reject it. You should fix that.

          Edit: If Wikipedia is wrong, you should be able to refute it. You don’t even try. Is it because you know you can’t?

        • MNb

          I must admit that it’s because of ignorants like you that I got interested in History of Antiquity.

          “All of the events you listed also have non-biblical evidence that supports them as well.”
          I pick two.
          From Greg: “That makes Exodus fiction”
          Evidence:

          http://mailstar.net/archaeology-bible.html
          https://www.nytimes.com/books/first/f/finkelstein-bible.html

          Also from Greg: “The evidence is against David and Solomon having a kingdom.”
          Evidence:

          http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/print/2010/12/david-and-solomon/draper-text

          So David and Solomon might have been a bit more than warlords. So what? Numa Pompilius was King of Rome. Who cared and who cares? The same for Julius Nepos, Roman Emperor. David and Solomon were peanuts.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          “Circumcision was established simply as a covenant between God and man.” Why God would want a part of someone’s penis cut off is beyond me. Think about how this sounds.

          Israelites: God! Please watch over us!
          God: Only if you cut off all of your foreskins.

          “Why do you assume a perfect God didn’t create man perfectly. According to Genesis, he originally did.” If God wants us to get rid of something then that implies that we’re better off without it. If we were perfect with our foreskins then why would God command us to cut them off? If we weren’t perfect with them, then that means we were created imperfectly.

        • Pofarmer

          In my mind, it’s hard to go from the all powerful, all knowing, all good, ruler and creator of the universe, to a being that is worried about the skin in the tip of my dick.

        • 90Lew90

          I agree with you both and frankly I think it’s barbaric. I wonder if the parents of the infant who died of herpes in New York think about the health benefits of circumcision. Done in the traditional way, the cutter then fellates the baby. It’s also not uncommon for infants to die of haemorrhaging after it’s done. Bizarre, barbaric and pretty damn creepy. Leave it religion to come up with that fine combination.

        • Pofarmer

          Also keep in mind that this was, and in some cases still is, performed on adults, without, uhm, anesthesia. I wonder, was forced mutilation a part of other ancient religions? Did they just go around looking for a flap of skin or something they could cut off? Why were they so worried about sex organs, anyway?

        • 90Lew90

          Exactly. The sex organs as a target is the most devious means of tribal “ownership” that can be dreamt up. Every time you pee you think of your god. Probably not so much now but I’d say that was the intention. I read somewhere that the Jews did it to mark themselves out as distinct and also to remind Jews themselves to be pious. Mind games. Girls have it worse. Ayann Hirsi Ali gives a hideous account of what was done to her and her sister. They weren’t infants either, I think they were teens, and she had to be held down by her aunts while her clitoris was cut off (keep in mind that there are more nerve endings there than in the end of your penis and try and imagine that), and then she was sewn up so she couldn’t even get a finger into herself. It’s just insane.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s amazing the vile things one human will do to another human BECAUSE of their religious faith. Religious folks like to point out all the great things that religious folks do, but they don’t want to admit that all these other things are done because of the same faith, not in spite of it.

        • Al

          This has nothing to do with perfection but was part of a covenant that God was making with His people.

        • 90Lew90

          Oh come off it. Why? Couldn’t they just have sacrificed bulls like everyone else? You’re having a laugh.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          I’ve heard that circumcision was seen as ritual human sacrifice. God doesn’t take all of you, just a little bit.

          (Hey, did you hear about the rabbi who did free circumcisions? He worked for tips!)

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Why God would use that as the covenant and not something else? Perhaps it’s symbolic of a few things. Either way, I don’t see the question of why to be of primary importance.

          “…implies that we’re better off without it.”
          – I don’t see why would that be the implication? Could the implication also be sacrificial and/or symbolic in a sense?

        • Greg G.

          Or it could come from monotheistic Egyptian priests who fled when their religion was rejected. There is a story of Osiris who was cut into pieces and reassembled but his penis was swallowed by a fish. The Egyptians believed he decided who got to live in the afterlife so showing him that a piece of your pens was missing improved your chances.chances. That makes more sense than Moses having a fistfight with God as the Bible says.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          What is circumcision symbolic of? Devotion to God? Sacrificing some of your food to feed a starving child is a noble thing. Cutting off a part of your penis to show how far you are willing to go to prove your devotion to someone is ridiculous in my opinion. It’s a pointless sacrifice. At least with Jesus, Christians claim that something positive is gained from his sacrifice (salvation), but there is nothing for the “sacrifice” of a foreskin. It just makes God look like a bully that goes around the school telling kids to punch themselves in the face to see if they’ll listen, and then sets them on fire at the end of the semester if they don’t listen…forever. If circumcision is for health benefits, then that brings the question back of why a perfect God would intentionally create males with something harmful to them.

          “I don’t see the question of why to be of primary importance.” If you believe God demands something, wouldn’t you think it was important, no matter how trivial it seems in your perspective? I feel you’re saying this to just brush it off. But this is God we’re talking about. You can’t really ignore what God has to say about anything (I don’t for the sake of this discussion).

        • Miguel de la Pena

          If you took even a minute to read the book you’re criticizing, it clearly states the purpose of the covenant. I could explain it to you, but I’d feel like I’m feeding a pigeon instead of letting him get his own food.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          “All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal” (Psalm 119:160).

          I assume you’re a back-to-basics kind of guy who lives by the Mosaic covenant?

        • Miguel de la Pena

          I’d say I’m more of a read-the-Bible-in-it’s-entirety kind of guy.

        • MNb

          And never mind the contradictions? Jesus said something about tittles and jotas, which totally applies to the Mosaic covenant. So the “I’d say I’m more of …..” is totally meaningless.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          “tittles and jotas”… you’ll need to specify that one.

        • MNb

          Because you don’t understand your own Holy Book? I suggest you to google on “Jesus jota tittle”.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          To difficult to explain, got it.

          It sounds rather silly to say that God/Jesus is contradicting himself by referencing the OT law in the NT. Sounds more like an observation, not a contradiction.

        • MNb

          You’re definitely lacking comprehensive reading skills. I didn’t bring up the tittle and jota think as an example of a contradiction. You wrote:

          “I’d say I’m more of a read-the-Bible-in-it’s-entirety kind of guy.”
          I answered:

          This “is totally meaningless” because of the tittle and jota thing, which completely applies to the Mosaic convenant. So you haven’t answered BobS’ question

          “you’re a back-to-basics kind of guy who lives by the Mosaic covenant?”
          See – apparently I have to spell it out for you – with the tittle and jota thing your big hero Jesus completely confirmed the convenant.

          The other question for you is: are you despite the contradictions in the Bible? Or do you deny them?

          Next time I’ll try to remember that you are incapable of handling more than one issue at the same time. My bad that I overestimated you.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          So, you’re saying that because Jesus (new covenant) confirms the Mosaic covenant, there’s a contradiction. How so? Perhaps your point isn’t clear because it doesn’t make sense.

          Also, you’re going to have to re-type the question, “are you despite the contradictions in the Bible?” I’d reference your spelling/grammar but you just helped me better see how petty and meaningless those types of references are. It’s not about reading comprehension, it’s about your difficulty with clearly conveying a message.

          I have yet to study what some refer to as a contradiction in the Bible and found the Biblical message to be contradictory. If anything, it’s either a deliberate or unintentional misunderstanding of scripture.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          I have yet to study what some refer to as a contradiction in the Bible and found the Biblical message to be contradictory. If anything, it’s either a deliberate or unintentional misunderstanding of scripture.

          It’s those dang atheists again? Isn’t it always the way?!

          Since we’re sharing, I’ll note that the Christians who have a rebuttal for every “contradiction” are often simply starting with their presupposition that the Bible is contradiction-free and then rationalizing that to the facts. And, of course, if the Bible were error-free, that would be a reasonable thing to do. But since we haven’t established that yet, I have no respect for that route.

        • Pofarmer

          One of the other Atheist blogs is doing a “bible study” series, and noted that, quite often, translations were tweaked to minimize or eliminate contradictions.

        • adam

          ..

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Miguel is concerned about people misunderstanding the scriptures, but when the Bible’s authors themselves get it wrong, I imagine he’s pretty easygoing if any of us mortals do the same.

        • adam

          For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one ittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Jesus Matthew 5:18

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          I’m curious then how the Bible in its entirety gives a consistent message about the Mosaic covenant. Cuz it looks to me that Psalms here is arguing eternality, while some of the NT verses say that, no, there’s a new sheriff in town and the rules have changed.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Some say the rules have changed, others say it’s prophecy fulfilled. Some would also say Christ was a “new sheriff”, most understand this as the same God.

        • adam

          Yes, THIS bible……………obviously:

        • Ron

          I did read it. It says that if Abe and all his male descendants cut off their foreskins, Lord Genocide will grant them possession of all the land of Canaan—i.e., right after they go in and slaughter all of its inhabitants.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Are you suggesting that the Cannanites were “innocent” and that what happened was immoral?

        • Ron

          What makes you think that? I was merely pointing out that God left the Israelites to do all the heavy lifting. It’s kind of like promising my son a new iPad for Christmas and then telling him to go grab one off the store shelf without paying while I wait outside in the car.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          …and by heavy lifting you mean acting in faith.

          In your analogy your son’s ipad was already paid for.

        • Ron

          Heavy lifting as in the Israelites had to kill, enslave and/or drive out all the existing inhabitants to obtain their “promised” land. That doesn’t sound like a prepaid purchase to me.

        • MNb

          Aren’t you the guy who maintains that your christian morals are objective? If you argue against the Canaanite genocide being immoral you contradict yourself. “Genocide is objectively morally wrong” and “the Canaanite genocide was objectively morally right” don’t go together.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Refer back to my question above. You conveniently avoided it.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          I’ll jump in, out of turn.

          I suggest that genocide (like that that God orders against the various tribes in Canaan) is immoral.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          How do you know what happened with the caananites was unjust?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          In my opinion, genocide is unjust.

          How about you? What’s your opinion?

        • Miguel de la Pena

          I asked about the caananites specifically; being that this is the only incidence i hear referenced often. Was that just or unjust?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          A little slow of reading? I just said that genocide is unjust.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          How do you know the killing of the canaanites was unjust? I’d love to know.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Not “the killing of the Canaanites,” genocide.

          Are we seriously at an impasse here? I have to explain to you why genocide is bad?

          The icing on the cake, of course, is that Yahweh had myriad options besides genocide. Ordinary Iron Age rulers demand genocide. Omnipotent, omniscient, omni-benevolent gods have painless ways of eliminating roadblocks.

          Genocide is for barbarians. Because he ordered it, that’s what your god is.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          So, what you’re really saying is you have no way of determining whether the killing of the Caananites was justified or not.

          Again, I’m not asking about genocide in general, I’m asking specifically about the Caananites – yet you can’t help but flip flop between the general and specific question. We aren’t at an impasse, you just don’t have an answer and referred back to genocide in general.

        • Kodie

          Do you know any Canaanites?

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Thank you, again, for reiterating my point.

          By the way, if you’re looking to disagree with me you’re failing miserably.

        • Kodie

          It isn’t that hard of a question, why don’t you just answer it?

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Ah, my apologies. Your question was so silly that I understood it to be rhetorical. Take your best guess on how many Canaanites I know.

        • Kodie

          So, what you’re really saying is you have no way of determining whether the killing of the Caananites was justified or not.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          I’d say i have reason to believe it was just, where you have no reason to believe it was unjust.

        • Kodie

          What reason do you have to believe it was just?

        • Greg G.

          God used floods and plagues to kill people. Why command the Israelites to do the dirty work? That’s not a god, it’s a godfather.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Hard night partying, perhaps?

          Short sentence version since this is a complicated topic: Genocide is bad. God commanded genocide on the Canaanites. That was bad because genocide is bad. All genocide is bad.

          There we go. All better now?

        • Miguel de la Pena

          How ’bout this one with the same logic…

          Lying is bad. People lied to save Jews from the Nazis. That was bad because lying is bad. All lying is bad.

        • Ron

          Hey, that’s precisely what Answers in Genesis says:

          If we love God, we should obey Him (John 14:15). To love God first means to obey Him first—before looking at our neighbor. So, is the greater good trusting God when He says not to lie or trusting in our fallible, sinful minds about the uncertain future?

          Consider this carefully. In the situation of a Nazi beating on the door, we have assumed a lie would save a life, but really we don’t know. So, one would be opting to lie and disobey God without the certainty of saving a life—keeping in mind that all are ultimately condemned to die physically. Besides, whether one lied or not may not have stopped the Nazi solders from searching the house anyway.

          Looks like you’re all on the same page.

        • Greg G.

          That is desperation apologetics.

        • Ron

          Yup, but aren’t they all? When you start defending genocide (à la WLC) you know you’ve reached rock bottom, morally speaking.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          I’ll add that quote to my Crazy Pile.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Yeah, I’m fine with not seeing things the exact same way as answers in Genesis does on every single issue.

        • Greg G.

          Good! Your example shows that morality is relative and not absolute! Obviously it is based on a case by case basis and not a supernatural pronouncement.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          So, you’re saying that based on the example of someone lying to a Nazi to protect the life of a Jew, all lying is ok now. That doesn’t make sense.

        • Kodie

          What doesn’t make sense is that in Greg’s brief post, you couldn’t parse the phrases “morality is relative” and “case by case basis”.

        • Greg G.

          If lying to the Nazis is OK but is immoral in other situations, then we are not talking about absolute morality, it’s relative.

          You are trying too hard to misrepresent what your challenger says. I said, “Obviously it is based on a case by case basis and not a supernatural pronouncement.” That is the opposite of what you tried to make it say. You are almost as bad as Al.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          When two values are involved, such as lying and right to life/preservation of life, the question is which absolute moral value takes precedence. Having to choose one doesn’t mean that the other one is no longer a value, it just means another value took precedence. Situations vary, but that doesn’t mean that if I have to choose between rape and murder that the other one will end up being morally right.

        • Greg G.

          I agree with the final conclusion but your semantics are nonsense. If both are absolute, you cannot choose to ignore one. We can come up with scenarios where any of your absolutes are not absolute. If your absolutes are not absolute depending on the situation, it’s not an absolute.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Yeah, no. A moral standard can be absolute while situations are always changing. If I had to choose between two evils, I would still feel a degree of guilt for doing one or the other. Why? Because I chose one, the other is still absolute. If it weren’t, I would have no problem or reservation with choosing a lesser evil; it would no longer be evil because of the situation. That doesn’t work.

        • Greg G.

          You feel bad because your best choice was evil, not because it was absolute.

          You really want there to be an absolute morality but arguing that relative morality is actually absolute is just self-defeating. You can’t semanticize absolute morality into existence.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          I say that all genocide is bad but not all lying is bad. How about–you see things differently?

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Why draw the distinction between the two? Personal preference? You can just as easily say “I say that all lying is bad but not all genocides are bad.”

        • Miguel de la Pena

          If you were actually interested in understanding this, you would have read the Bible where it talks about it. The answer is very clear in the text. It want a health thing.

          If the rest of your beliefs are based on such a limited understanding it may be worthwhile to take some time to read and understand what it is you’re criticizing.

        • Greg G.

          Here are some verses related to circumcision. I couldn’t find anything about it being health related. I saw the word “unclean” but that meant “ritually unclean”, not “unsanitary”. Can you specify chapter and verse?

          If it had to do with a health issue, why does Paul say the following?

          1 Corinthians 7:19 (NRSV)
          19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing; but obeying the commandments of God is everything.

          If you read the Bible in its entirety, Paul thinks it is just about obeying any stupid thing God thinks up.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          *It wasn’t a health thing.”

        • Greg G.

          Ok, I understand the typo now. So what is the purpose of circumcision in your mind? Was it just to see how many silly things the Israelites would do?

        • Miguel de la Pena

          The purpose “in my mind” is described in the Bible – a sign of a covenant between God and the Jewish nation. We can hypothesize about why, but from what I’ve read, it doesn’t really explain why circumcision was used.

        • Greg G.

          Right, even Paul thought it was a meaningless gesture. What would God need with a covenant with mere humans? An self-sufficient being wouldn’t need anything from humans and an omnipotent one could supply all their needs with miniscule effort.

          The Egyptians had a religious justification for circumcision. Osiris had been cut into pieces and reassembled but his penis had been swallowed by a fish. He later became the god of the afterlife. It was thought that one had a better chance of being judged worthy of the afterlife if his pecker was missing a piece, too.

          Many stories about the Egyptian gods are found in the Old Testament stripped of their godhood, showing up as mortals. With circumcision, it seems the ritual was copied but the justification didn’t adapt to a monotheistic narrative.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Your first question assumes God needs man, but you don’t consider that God wants to have a relationship with man. The latter seems much more likely because of the reasons you pointed out.

        • Greg G.

          There is but one question in my post. Why do people need a covenant with an omnipotent being? It should be able to provide its side effortlessly while demanding much effort and sacrifice from the humans to fulfill their side of the covenant. Why does an omnipotence require a covenant? My question doesn’t assume that God needs men. It actually assumes an omnipotence wouldn’t need men.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          An agreement with God is the assurance of our salvation (via the covenant of grace). God doesn’t need men to agree to it, but he’s gracious enough not to force men against their will to do so.

          Why does an all-loving God want a relationship with men when he doesn’t need us? Uh, maybe because he loves us?

        • Greg G.

          Torturing people forever for not accepting is not a healthy attraction. It reeks of loneliness and desperation. A person who is nice to you but not nice to people they don’t have to be nice to is not a nice person. When God smites people when he doesn’t get his way is a sign of a god that is not nice. You shouldn’t even consider wanting to spend eternity with that monster. It’s a good thing it’s a fictional story.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          You should be thankful you don’t have to.

        • Greg G.

          You should reconsider that you do when you don’t have to.

        • The Man With The Name Too Long

          “The answer is very clear in the text. It want a health thing.” I assume you mean “was” a health thing. Anyway, that raises the question once again of why a perfect God would create us with something unhealthy. The Bible says that circumcision is required by God himself. In other words, it is a matter of divine importance that you cut the foreskin off the penis. And you have just stated that it was for health reasons. Taken all together, we have God demanding you to cut off the foreskin of the penis for health reasons. Correct?

          Of course, however, God created us with this foreskin (note that I am assuming that this God exists and that the Bible reflects his actual words for the sake of argument) that he is commanding us to cut off for health reasons. By now you must understand that a perfect creator would create a perfect body, and a perfect body would not have something that is unhealthy for it specifically designed by said creator. I suppose you’ll just say that original sin had something to do with it. But you probably know about the problems with the Genesis story.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Yes, it was a typo. Your assumption is incorrect.

          I meant to type, “it wasn’t a health thing”.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          The Bible makes clear that circumcision is for health reasons? I’ve only seen that as a post facto rationalization. Show me where it says this in the Bible.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          There was a typo in my comment above. It should have read that “it wasn’t a health thing”.

        • Eric Bostic

          Remember these folk’s will side step any archeological finding’s that support the ord db of GOD.If they cant se it or touch it cant be possible, a waste of time to dicuss this wh
          ith them.

        • Greg G.

          Awww, you’re just mad because you believe in something on no evidence. It’s like believing there is a monster under your bed. It was fear that something existed. Now you have fear that something doesn’t exist.

          Don’t worry about Miguel. He never attempts to provide evidence, either.

        • MNb

          You’re a liar. I specifically asked you to provide the sources of your archeological claims. You never answered.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Are you saying that there is compelling archaeological evidence for the supernatural claims in the Bible? I’d be curious to hear more about this.

        • MNb

          Dawkins’ writings work in another way. God’s word doesn’t work in any way. Thus far you totally failed (again!) to give even one tiny example.
          I like your analogy with the microwave. I agree that god’s word is like a microwave that can’t be turned on, because the switch is lacking.

        • Sean

          Aw man. Atheists crack me up.

        • Greg G.

          So you can’t refute anything he said?

        • MNb

          You’re invited to answer the question too. What has gods word accomplished?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Yeah, unfortunately for you, MNb’s “opinion” is nicely backed up by evidence. Yours is just a bold proclamation with zilch to back it up.

          But, hey–maybe I’m simply poorly informed. Give us the evidence. Show us that prayer is a reliable way to get something (at least better than chance).

        • Miguel de la Pena

          I don’t believe you’re poorly informed. You may want to reference the above article (written by quite the passionate author) about belief in God and why those adamant to deny a belief in God are free to do so, despite the various lines of evidence.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          I scrolled up and I don’t see an article.

          Tell me again: what does the article cover? Does it support the claim that prayer is effective?

          Yes, I agree that free speech lets atheists speak their minds, but that’s not the topic under discussion.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          You may have to ask the author to re-post it if you don’t see it; but if the author can’t read his own work, you may be out of luck. See my original comment on what the article covers. When you’re able to read it again, it doesn’t reference prayer.

        • adam

          It ‘god’s word’ worked 911 would ring through to a church.

        • Greg G.

          Reality is limited. Imagination isn’t.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          So, you’re saying numbers (which are unlimited) aren’t within reality?

        • Greg G.

          Numbers are concepts, not an entity. We can think of any number but we can’t think of every number. Try counting from zero to infinity. (I heard Chuck Norris did it… twice.)

          There are an infinite number of even numbers yet they are limited. They don’t include odd numbers, irrational numbers, non-reducible fractions, and complex numbers.

  • MNb

    The Flying Dutch Apologist strikes again:

    http://www.gjerutten.nl/FineTuning_ERutten.pdf

    Page 6.

    “Zo bestaat er geen goede empirische ondersteuning voor de multiversum hypothese. De hypothese heeft binnen de natuurkunde dan ook een erg hoog speculatief karakter. Het is bovendien ad hoc omdat er naast het willen verklaren van de fine tuning niet of nauwelijks andere goede redenen zijn om van een multiversum uit te gaan. ”

    “For instance there is no good empirical support for the multiversum hypothesis. That’s why the hypothesis within physics has a very high speculative character. Moreover it’s ad hoc because besides the desire to explain fine tuning there are no or hardly good reasons to postulate a multiversum.”

    Yeah, ER, what about “the good empirical support” for a fine-tuner?

  • JewNot

    My favorite point is how Craig says that it is the atheists willingness to not accept Gods Spirit as the reason why he does not believe. Well of course we don’t accept his spirit. We don’t have the evidence to cause us to believe. We would be willing to believe if we had the evidence.

    If God came down tomorrow and said “HA! Told you so”, I’d bet most of us would believe. If that happens, and we are sent to hell for not having faith, then hey, you guys win.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

      And then Craig’s belief is that it’s the Holy Spirit’s job to put belief into us (or not). So they imagine a god who capriciously (from our standpoint) picks some for heaven and some not.

      And they worship this guy?

      • Miguel de la Pena

        So, despite believing in him, you feel that you should be obligated to spend eternity worshiping God? Wouldn’t that be immoral?

        Forced love is rape. But Sam Harris pointed out “There is, after all, nothing more natural than rape…” (Letter to a Christian Nation p.90). God is bad if he did it, but humans are just being the DNA-propagators that we are when we do it. Moral arguments of atheists makes so much sense!

        • gusbovona

          But, of course, Harris never said that rape is not bad when humans do it, or that rapists are just DNA-proagators, etc. In fact, Harris’ *very next sentence* in “Letter to a Christian Nation” is “But no would argue that rape is good . . . .”

          Harris is in no way judging God, if he was a rapist, differently than humans. He says rape is bad, whether done by God, commanded by God, endorsed in the Bible, committed by humans, etc.

          Harris wasn’t even making a moral argument, he merely pointed out that, even if rape and religion both had some evolutionary basis, that doesn’t mean that either is now acceptable.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          He says nothing is more natural than rape. Despite his claim that he believes “the most natural” act of rape as “bad”, he has no moral framework for determining right or wrong.

        • gusbovona

          Miguel, you just changed the topic.

          You brought up Harris to begin with, and your point was that Harris was apparently applying a different standard to God and humans regarding rape. But when I showed you in my last post how that was wrong, you dropped the God/human/rape topic entirely.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          The point was regarding morality and Harris’ lack of any ground to stand on. See, still the same topic.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          I’m used to seeing Darwin quoted out of context, but I guess it’s an easy fallback for someone without an actual argument.

        • Greg G.

          Do you know what would be even more immoral than forced love?

          Torturing someone for not loving you.

          Do you know what is more immoral than that?

          Torturing someone for eternity.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          What is moral is respecting people’s right not to worship him. Being apart from God may be torture, but if that is what people choose, that’s what they’ll get.

          …as if atheists have any objective moral framework to determine right or wrong.

        • Pofarmer

          “…as if atheists have any objective moral framework to determine right or wrong.”

          As if anyone does.

        • Ron

          Atheism only addresses one’s belief in gods, not moral values. Moral frameworks reflect the cultural values of the society one lives in, and it’s quite noteworthy that stoning women to death and burning people accused of witchcraft is permitted in highly theocratic nations while it’s frowned upon in secular ones.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          I think you’re making a common mistake. Your reference to burning and/or stoning people is a reference to the punishments for crimes a particular culture may use – not the crimes they’re convicted of. People use to burn those thought to be witches because witches were thought to murder people (immoral). The stoning of women can be the result of a number of crimes in other cultures, most of which that I can think of are a result of something that’s commonly (if not universally) frowned upon. The moral violation is the same across cultures, the culture’s punishment for such violations is what varies.

        • Ron

          Which secular nations consider witchcraft a morally punishable offense? Which secular nations stone women to death for “dishonoring” their families? Both of these “crimes” (and their accompanying punishments) are informed by religious beliefs.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Witches back then were viewed as murderers, can you name a nation that condones murder?

          Which secular nation praises those who dishonor their spouse? Are there no domestic violence laws in secular nations?

          It’s the punishment that changes across time and culture, not the values.

        • Ron

          Being viewed as a witch and/or murderer does not automatically equate to being guilty of either. Yet many people were (and still are) being burned to death based on such a faulty premise because the holy texts prescribe it. And the moral dishonor I’m referring to is the dishonor of failing to wear a ninja outfit in public, and the dishonor of becoming an adulterous woman after reporting you’ve been raped, and the dishonor of renouncing your culture’s religion, etc.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          So, you’re saying that because people are still convicted of crimes based on false accusations, somehow religion is to blame? That’s really the point you’re making?

          You’re also arguing that dishonoring your marriage, family, or culture was once a bad thing, but now it’s a good thing. Awesome.

        • Ron

          I think we need to call the fire department to help extinguish all those straw men you keep setting ablaze.

        • adam

          ..

        • Greg G.

          It would be more moral to be magnanimous and give everyone the necessary evidence to make a completely informed decision. I not sure that being with a god who only accepts those who are gullible enough to accept it on poor evidence would be a good thing to be with.

          How do you know if God’s moral framework is actually good? It would be self-referential and circular. You would be defining bad things as good. There is no way that can be objective in any sense of the word.

          We humans can tell what is good and what is bad for us with our limited knowledge. A religious person can do no better.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Good has given us enough evidence to reasonably make an informed decision, while at the same time he hasn’t given us so much evidence that it is impossible to deny him; that would be forcing everyone to recognize and worship him. Forced love is rape, despite how natural Sam Harris believesrape to be, it’s still wrong.

          You’re also suggesting that while man knows what is good, if God exists we should wonder if he knows? That doesn’t make any sense, considering the characteristics of a Creator and moral law giver.

        • Greg G.

          How can you make “a reasonably informed decision” that God is good when you cherry-pick only the evidence that would lead to that conclusion? One could look at the bad things and conclude that God was bad and the good things were just “mysterious ways”. Observing all such evidence should lead you to the concludead that God is indifferent, impotent, or non-existent.

          Threatening hell is forced love. “Natural” does not necessarily mean “good”. The sentence following that Harris quote is “But no one would argue that rape is good, or compatible with a civil society, because it may have had evolutionary advantages for our ancestors.”

          I wasn’t suggesting that an existent god wouldn’t know what is good. I would suggest that it might not care what is good. How would you know if the god isn’t evil and has maliciously deceived us about what is good? You shouldn’t automatically trust someone with a limitless ability to deceive you. How do you really know what that God is trying to communicate anyway? We know that slavery is bad, yet the Bible sanctions it. It makes more sense that the Bible is a product of humans who survived off the charity of slave-holders.

          EDIT
          It seems that you have enough bad evidence to make an astoundingly ill-informed decision.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          One could look at the bad things and conclude god was bad….

          When “bad” can be defined any way you want (as it is with atheism), then the “bad” things are just things you personally don’t like, they aren’t necessarily immoral. Also, God being “bad” wouldn’t make sense either, he would just do things you personally wouldn’t prefer. There is no standard by which to judge anyone’s actions other than your personal preference.

        • Greg G.

          Most languages have a word that translates as “bad” because the concept is common to humans. I didn’t define it. It was defined that way centuries before I was born. You understood my use of the word so “my” definition is valid. Likewise, the words “calamity”, “disaster”, and “evil” pre-date me.

          How can you argue that God doesn’t do bad when he is quoted in the Bible taking credit for it?

          Isaiah 45:7

          New International Version
          I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.

          English Standard Version
          I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things.

          New American Standard Bible
          The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these.

          King James Bible
          I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

          Holman Christian Standard Bible
          I form light and create darkness, I make success and create disaster; I, Yahweh, do all these things.”

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Are you saying disasters are never just?

        • Greg G.

          Of course. A natural disaster has nothing to do with justice.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          as if atheists have any objective moral framework to determine right or wrong.

          Zinger! Nice one. As you know, I make my moral choices by putting the options on the wall and throwing darts.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          The blindfold is optional!

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          I neither understand your point nor see how this addresses mine.

          Do you think Harris was arguing that rape was moral?

        • Miguel de la Pena

          “Moral arguments of atheists make so much sense!”

          I don’t think Harris knows morality from a hole in the wall and is able to effectively argue one way or another.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          So what is Harris’s opinion of the morality of rape? Does it differ from yours?

    • Miguel de la Pena

      It’s all about the end game. We win in the end.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

        So we’re at the stage in the conversation where you just declare you win without evidence? Do I get points if I shout louder?

        • Pofarmer

          Evidence free assertion. Miguel has faith.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Dang–that’s always the trump card! I was hoping to beat him by switching to all caps, but he’s outsmarted me.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          I wouldn’t like hearing it either if i were in your position.

        • MNb

          Painstakingly missing BobS’ point.

        • adam

          Why because Bob has not been deluded into believing in MAGIC?

        • Miguel de la Pena

          I’m sure Bob believes life came from non-life… which is worse than magic.

        • adam

          Not MAGIC at all
          But SCIENCE

          http://www.wired.com/2010/05/scientists-create-first-self-replicating-synthetic-life/

          Of course YOU could settle this all RIGHT NOW, by DEMONSTRATING the MAGIC powers of YOUR god…

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Why? Because scientists say that without any evidence?

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Humans from rocks and time. Very reasonable.

        • hector_jones

          “I don’t understand natural processes therefore abiogenesis doesn’t exist” pretty much sums up your view. Which is funny because someone around here once posted “I don’t understand evil, therefore God does not exist” as if that self-evidently destroyed atheism.

          Your failure is the assumption that abiogenesis’s existence is dependent on your understanding of natural processes.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          I’d say my view is that abiogenesis is “so wildly improbable” (Dawkins’ word, not mine) that it requires more blind faith than any believer is accused of having.

        • hector_jones

          Blind faith in what exactly? In natural processes that we know actually exist? And that’s less probable to you than blind faith in a god who remains entirely hidden from view?

          And you haven’t at all addressed the contradiction in your own position. You mocked arguments against god with the strawman “I don’t understand God, therefore he doesn’t exist” yet elsewhere you explicity argued “i don’t understand abiogenesis, therefore it is wildly improbable”. All you’ve done is repeat your position, rather than respond to the obvious logical flaws in your thinking.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          For clarity, it was Richard Dawkins who declared abiogenesis wildly improbable. I’m pretty sure he understands the science fiction notion of abiogenesis.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          So Dawkins says that the chance on any planet is one in a million, but there are trillions of planets? Is it something like that?

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Per Dawkins, it’s one in a billion billion billion in any one year.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          You’ve already had your nose rubbed in it once, but it’s fun, so let’s do it again. As Greg G pointed out, Dawkins said: “My guess is that life probably isn’t all that rare and the origin of life probably wasn’t all that improbable.”

          And this is a pointless exercise because you don’t give a damn about abiogenesis. Proven or not, you’ve stated that it affects you not at all. Perhaps you like to take your mental masturbation to a public arena for voyeristic pleasure?

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Yeeeahhhh, one in a billion billion billion “wasn’t all that improbable”. Have you read the text yourself or are you going off of a commenter who is referencing something different?

        • Kodie

          Just because you have no demonstrated grasp of how probabilities work doesn’t mean you’re right. Thank you for also demonstrating you have no demonstrated grasp of logic either.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Read what text? You mean the text that says, “My guess is that life probably isn’t all that rare and the origin of life probably wasn’t all that improbable.”

          Yes, I’ve read it, thanks. Doesn’t much help your argument.

          But yeah, keep going down the Dawkins road. As you know, if Pope Richard says it, I believe it, and that settles it. You find something ridiculous that he said and I’m obliged by my non-faith to accept it.

        • hector_jones

          So you think Dawkins is saying that life on earth originated by some other means than abiogenesis? I think you need to read him again.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Dawkins is living on more blind faith than the most ignorant Christian imaginable.

        • hector_jones

          Sure, whatever.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          The results are in, folks. Read ’em and weep.

        • Pofarmer

          It always gets down to this, doesn’t it? The apologist has to reject science at some point where it is inconVenient for the,

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          As if “Dawkins said it!” would be constraining on atheists even if he did say something unfortunate.

        • Pofarmer

          I can’t remember which Hitchens quote I posted on a Catholic blog. It wa a reletively innocuous one. And one poster went into a complete and total snit railing about Hitchens. We’ve seen them do similar things regarding Laurence Krauss. I assume this is because they are effective. Laurence. Krauss though, I will admit, isn’t really effective at countering theists. He simply doesn’t give them the time of day.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          The reaction one gets is a good clue about whether you’re getting close.

        • Pofarmer

          That’s what I, figured, so I douboed, down.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Shrewd.

        • Greg G.

          Dawkins did not declare that. You shouldn’t quote from religious sources, especially creationist sources, without verifying the quote in context because it will get embarrassing for you. Dawkins was saying that hypothetically here:

          What is more, as far as we know, it may have happened on only one planet out of a billion billion planets in the universe. Of course many people think that it actually happened on lots and lots of planets, but we only have evidence that it happened on one planet, after a lapse of half a billion to a billion years. So the sort of lucky event we are looking at could be so wildly improbable that the chances of its happening, somewhere in the universe, could be as low as one in a billion billion billion in any one year. If it did happen on only one planet, anywhere in the universe, that planet has to be our planet — because here we are talking about it.

          There first sentence of the next paragraph is:

          My guess is that life probably isn’t all that rare and the origin of life probably wasn’t all that improbable.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          I’m sure Miguel is properly chastened and will be more careful with his sources again and will treat Creationist sources as possibly biased.

        • MNb

          No, he is not properly chastened yet. Please click this link:

          http://evolutionwiki.org/wiki/Dawkins_acknowledges_that_generation_of_a_self-replicator_is_more_than_improbable

          Yup, his claim about Dawkins goes back to Watchtower 30 years ago …..

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Yes, I’ve read it.

          He’s saying we are proof that this one in a billion billion billion event occurred. “my theory is true because we’re here”… verrry convincing.

        • Greg G.

          He wasn’t saying it to be convincing. Did you read “My guess is that life probably isn’t all that rare…”?

          How many different ways are there for life to begin? There could be billions and billions of wildly improbable events that could start life so that it is inevitable that one of those wildly improbable events would occur. There are many possible orders of a well shuffled card deck, each one extremely unlikely but one of them will occur every time the deck is shuffled. Highly improbable events are inevitable.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Lots of time makes “wildly improbable” events not so wildly improbable.

          Correct my memory, but in the 20-year Lenski bacteria experiment, I thought that they said that there were enough mutations in total to have two for every base pair in the DNA of the bacteria. Or something like that.

          Mutations are rare, but if given enough time …

        • MNb

          For clarity, you’re just another dishonest apologist, as 5 seconds of googling makes clear.

          http://evolutionwiki.org/wiki/Dawkins_acknowledges_that_generation_of_a_self-replicator_is_more_than_improbable

          I’m pretty sure you never have read what Dawkins actually wrote and won’t care to do so.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          So, you’re denying that Dawkins ever wrote that it is “wildly improbable”?

        • MNb

          So, you’re denying that you misrepresented Dawkins when writing

          “I’m pretty sure he understands the science fiction notion of abiogenesis.”
          and rather relied on cherry picking that goes back to JW’s Watchtower? If you were honest you just had read the link. It says it all

        • Pofarmer

          I think he missed the first sentence of the next paragraph, which Greg G. Even quoted to him. Now he’s just playing dumb.

        • Greg G.

          What do you mean “playing”?

        • MNb

          Or he simply is dumb – sometimes it’s hard to tell.

        • Greg G.

          The “wildly improbable” quote was taken out of context. You produced a quotemine. That is a dishonest argument. It is why folks have disdain for religious arguments.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          So, you’re denying that Dawkins wrote, “My guess is that life probably isn’t all that rare and the origin of life probably wasn’t all that improbable”?

        • Miguel de la Pena

          I don’t deny Dawkins wrote that. It’s completely hilarious that he wrote that it’s both wildly improbable and not that improbable.

        • Kodie

          Did you know you can google equations and it will calculate them for you?

          If .0001% of humans have a particular disease, you would think that is rare, wouldn’t you? But that’s 7000 people. Since Ebola virus is in the news, do you know what percentage of humans have died of Ebola this year? .00003% of humans.

          Since the universe is larger than 7 billion celestial bodies, life could be both rare and numbers too large to count.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Now that you’ve had your chuckle, you admit that what Dawkins said undercuts your point, right?

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Undercuts my point? Not in the slightest. It only makes him look like a fool by describing a theory as both wildly improbable and not that improbable.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          What I hear you saying is that Dawkins’ statement is contradictory, with no way to figure out whether he’s saying A or not-A. Is that it?

        • Miguel de la Pena

          I’m saying that he said both. The rest should be fairly self-explanatory. I understand you’re looking to defend your team and all, but this moron has said some things that make an atheist cringe. It’s a waste of time defending the guy.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Oh? Show me. Looks like he’s exploring the options and then giving us his take.

          But you’re sticking with the hypothesis that he’s so confused that he embraces two contradictory claims, not in the same book, but in adjoining paragraphs?

        • Miguel de la Pena

          So, are you denying that he admitted it was “wildly improbable”? Or are you saying that wildly improbable events really aren’t that improbable?

        • Kodie

          Sure it’s been explained to you, but you purposely ignored it.

        • Kodie

          Does Dawkins have another idea? If abiogenesis hadn’t happened, the probability that it will would be still non-zero. I think you have a problem with statistical probabilities. Once it has occurred, it can still be described as something that in all probability shouldn’t have happened, but did because the probability was non-zero, and we are after the fact. You may have a reading comprehension problem though.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Does Dawkins have another idea?
          – You say that as if Dawkins is the only person on the planet with a reasonable explanation for life. That’s weird.

          Also, thank you for re-explaining the point I made already. Reading comprehension is definitely important.

        • Kodie

          If you think your point and my point have any similarity, you’re still the only one with the problem here.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Funny how you’re the only one on this thread who has any real difficulty with conveying a point.

        • Kodie

          Just because you don’t understand, don’t blame me.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          So if you don’t understand it, that must mean that the other person didn’t communicate correctly?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          I’ll repeat my challenge. Is this a founding element of your faith? That is, are you so confident that abiogenesis is bullshit that your faith is built on it, and if there does become a scientific consensus on how it happened, you’ll abandon your faith?

          If not, then you’re just playing games. Stop wasting our time with the scientific riddle du jour.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          I already told you, it isn’t.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Then I can repeat myself as well: don’t bring up puzzles for which the answer doesn’t matter to you. If abiogenesis is meaningless to you, then don’t pretend that it’s some cornerstone of your apologetic argument.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Yeah, you kept asking if abiogenesis was so vitally important to me… it isn’t. Apparently, your worldview is dependent on it and me pointing out the ridiculousness of it doesn’t sit well. So, when atheists mock Christianity, it’s all good. But when a Christian points out how “wildly improbable” a key belief of atheism is, I’m told not to bring up “puzzles”? That’s cute.

        • Kodie

          Your whole argument rests on an imaginary friend of yours. Which one is more wildly improbable?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Apparently, your worldview is dependent on [abiogenesis]

          Wrong again. I cheerfully follow the scientific consensus. There isn’t one on abiogenesis (except that it happened somehow). Overturn the consensus, and I’ll follow it yet again.

          and me pointing out the ridiculousness of it doesn’t sit well.

          Your pointing out the ridiculousness of abiogenesis is like your pointing out the ridiculousness of relativity or overturning the Four-Color Map Theorem.

          when atheists mock Christianity, it’s all good.

          Do they err? If so, point it out and (unlike most apologists) I’ll change my argument.

          But when a Christian points out how “wildly improbable” a key belief of atheism is, I’m told not to bring up “puzzles”?

          Yeah. Miguel tells me that he’s overturned a scientific consensus. Stop the presses.

        • Kodie

          Improbable does not mean impossible, and so if something improbable actually happens, it’s not longer improbable, it is 100% probable. Maybe an invisible sky dude sneezed and homunculus came out his nose. Do you think so?

        • Miguel de la Pena

          You’re right, it means possible – despite the mathematical probability being better understood as wildly improbable. Such as walking into a casino and hitting the jackpot on the first spin on a slot machine, 26 different times in a row. Even if someone’s done it once, it’s still wildly improbable – not the type of odds anyone should base their worldview on. It doesn’t look like you really thought this out, but if the slot machine example happens once, it doesn’t become any more (100%?) probable that anyone else is going to do the same. Or maybe everything in the universe just happened to create itself! (some call it wildly improbable, the rest of us call it laughable)

        • Kodie

          There is no reason to take you seriously if your comprehension is so poor. No matter what is unlikely to happen, if you like infinitesimal odds of happening, if it already happened, there is 100% odds that it did happen. Does that make it more likely to happen again? That’s not how probabilities work. I’m sure you’ve heard of the Powerball or whatever. The odds of winning the Powerball with a pick of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (edited to add: Powerball #6) are exactly as likely as winning with a 3, 17, 23, 36, 41 (edited to add powerball #6). Exactly as likely. The odds of winning the jackpot 2 draws in a row is not as unlikely as you think, because the 2nd week you have just the same odds as you had the first week. Your odds of winning the 2nd week are exactly as likely as someone else winning for the 1st time.

          So if the universe moved in such a way as life emerged on one planet out of several billion, your odds of existing on said planet is 100% since you’re already born. Your odds of existing on a planet without life on it is 0%. If you were there, you’d be life on that planet. Why doesn’t your god spontaneously create life on some other planet and demonstrate?

        • Greg G.

          Pssst. Those Powerball combinations do have exactly the same chance to win the jackpot and that is zero because there is the sixth Powerball number.

        • Kodie

          But that’s the powerball powerball number. Don’t fuck this up Greg! I’m still right! I fixed it to complete the pick with the powerball #6.
          Edited to add – play last night’s numbers for the exact same odds as any other set of numbers:

          5 28 31 52 59

          27

        • Greg G.

          Oops. Is it too late to apologize?

        • Kodie

          I think half of your winnings will be sufficient.

        • Greg G.

          Thank you for your mercy for only taking half this time.

        • hector_jones

          Just don’t let it happen again.

        • Kodie

          He has a second chance, then I just get the other half. I can’t be the best one at math here.

        • Miguel de la Pena

          Consider the possibility that you may not have as good a command of the English language as you believe you do. You’ve already changed your words after wording something incorrectly and attempted to blame my reading comprehension. That seems more sad than persuasive.

          There’s also a “widly improbable” chance that aliens from outer space created animals and humans in their space laboratories and placed us here. The odds of this being true are slim, but because we are here, that is 100% proof that’s how it happened. Awesome.

          Why doesn’t God spontaneously create life on some other planet? Who says he hasn’t?

        • Kodie

          What was incoherent to you, illiterate one?

        • hector_jones

          You are deeply confused about how probability works and what Dawkins’ position is. You’ve had it explained to you in a way that anyone with some high school mathematics would be able to understand, yet you persist in your misunderstanding. That makes you a fool.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          Following the scientific consensus–very reasonable.

        • Miguel de la Pena