Your Religion Is a Reflection of Your Culture—You’d Be Muslim if You Were Born in Pakistan

Don’t be too confident in the correctness of your Christian beliefs—they’re just the reflection of your culture. You’d be a Muslim if you were born in Pakistan (or Saudi Arabia or Iran or in any other overwhelmingly Muslim country).

This argument feels right—it’s hard to imagine a baby born in Yemen growing up as anything but a Muslim—but let’s put our confidence in this argument on hold until we explore some popular objections.

Objection 1: The argument fails when stated in absolute terms. There are people born in Pakistan and Somalia who grow up to not be Muslims. Some come from Christian communities, and some grow up to reject the Islam of their birth. Ayaan Hirsi Ali (raised as a Muslim in Somalia) is one well-known example. And a large fraction of the American atheist community must’ve rejected their Christian upbringing.

You’re right. We’re talking about a tendency or correlation, not a certainty. “You’d be a Muslim if you were born in Pakistan” is a concise way to express the observation, but it isn’t precisely correct. Better would be: “People tend to reflect the religion of their environment.” Or: “We find a very strong correlation between belief and the environment of the believer. Why is that?”

While adults can switch religions, this is rare. The recent Pew Research study of the changes in world religions estimates that of the 8.1 billion believers in 2050, just 65 million (less than one percent) will have switched into their belief (chart).

People don’t pick their religion by throwing a dart at a grid of the hundreds or thousands of religions of history. They don’t even roll the dice and pick a religion based on its popularity at the moment (31% Christian, 23% Muslim, 15% Hindu, etc.). The religion of young adults is very strongly correlated with that of their culture.

Objection 2: So there’s a correlation; so what? Does it therefore prove one’s religious beliefs are false? This is the genetic fallacy (think “genesis”—the genetic fallacy criticizes an argument based on where it comes from).

No, this argument doesn’t prove anything. It simply points out a correlation that must be explained.

Objection 3: A pro-Christian argument stands on its own. When I present an argument for Christianity, you must respond to the premises. Let’s say I’m biased—so what? That does nothing to prove my argument wrong.

Agreed, but your arguments aren’t the issue. Here I’m presenting the argument, that upbringing correlates with belief and therefore religion looks like nothing more than a cultural custom.

Objection 4: The atheist is hoist with his own petard. The argument applies to the atheist as well. Was the atheist raised in an atheist environment? Then his conclusions about religion must be as suspect as those of the Muslim raised in Pakistan. Was the atheist instead raised in a religious environment? Then since the atheist is confident in his beliefs, adults can then be trusted to correctly wade through the possibilities, Christians as well as others.

Imagine four people. One has malaria, one smallpox, one yellow fever, and one is healthy. Which of these is the odd man out? “Healthy” isn’t a kind of sickness just like bald isn’t a kind of hair color. We don’t see four people with different sorts of sickness; rather, we see three people sick and one healthy.

The symmetry that you imagine doesn’t exist. Children raised in a religion-free environment usually aren’t atheists because they were taught to be atheists but because they were not taught to be religious. By contrast, Christians are Christian because they were taught. Remove tradition and religious books, and Christianity would vanish. There is no objective knowledge from which to rebuilt it. No supernatural beliefs are self-evident. (I explore religions vanishing in such a scenario here.)

Remember the chart of religious switching mentioned above. Religions must continually get new recruits to thrive, and switching as adults isn’t where they get them. They get them through childhood indoctrination: they get them through making new babies (discussed more here).

These four objections are representative of the dust raising that I’ve found on the internet in response to this argument. But when the dust settles, the problem remains. The strong correlation between adult beliefs and environment must be answered: almost all religious adults got their religion from their families, friends, or elsewhere in their environment.

Glass House rebuttal

Christians must be careful about pushing back too much. If they deny that the correlation between upbringing and adult belief means much, they’re left explaining why there are 26 countries that are 95+% Muslim and eight that are 99+% Muslim. Is it because the claims of Islam are correct? Or is it (dare I say it?) that people tend to adopt the religion of their culture?

What explains this?

Religion is a cultural trait like customs, fashion, or traditional foods. If there really were a god, we would expect people to be drawn to the true religion over all the others because its claims were supported by far better evidence, not that people would mirror their environment and religions would fill their ranks by indoctrinating children before their critical thinking skills are developed.

Religion is like language. I speak English because I was raised in the United States. I didn’t evaluate all the languages of the world before I picked the best one; it was just part of my environment.

Language, customs, fashion, and food aren’t things that are evaluated on a correct/incorrect scale. English isn’t any more correct than French or Chinese or Farsi; it’s just what some people are accustomed to. It’s not incorrect to understand or speak or prefer French; it’s just uncommon in the United States.

In the United States, one speaks English—not everyone, of course, but mostly. And in the United States, one is a Christian—not everyone, of course, but mostly. There’s no value judgment behind either one. Religion and language are simply properties of society.

How thoughtful of God to arrange matters so that,
wherever you happen to be born,
the local religion always turns out to be the true one.
— Richard Dawkins

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005639807802 Kaatje Murakami

    Wrong. I was raised in a ‘Christian’ cult and ended up becoming an Asatruar. Explain that one, wise guy.

    • Mick

      He wisely made that very point:
      While adults can switch religions, this is rare.

    • Kodie

      The internet.

      • MNb

        Her name suggests we have another Dutch(wo)man on board. Sure enough there is Asatru in The Netherlands.

        http://www.negenwerelden.nl

    • RichardSRussell

      You were exposed to ideas which you liked better than the ones you grew up with and decided to switch. Where in Bob’s article do you find anything whatsoever that says this never happens? Quite the contrary: he says that it seldom happens but quite explicitly acknowledges that there are exceptions to the pattern.

      His essay is an example of my favorite twist on an old metaphor: “The battle is not always to the strong, nor the race to the swift, but that’s the way to bet.”

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

      Done. See the first objection in the post above.

  • Snowflake

    Thank you. I very much enjoyed reading this.

  • Clover and Boxer

    Somebody made this argument in a discussion last week, and a Christian literally responded with one example of a famous person who converted to Christianity and said the idea of people predominantly choosing the religion of their community was ridiculous as evidenced by the one example to the contrary given. /facepalm

    • Pofarmer

      The exception that proves the rule.

  • Kodie

    Although the US is predominantly Christian, there are people of all faiths here. I don’t know exactly that there’s a Christian culture of one kind or that people are influenced by the place they are, here. People who are not Christian tend to gravitate, as in Boston, there are a few areas with a higher population of orthodox Jews (I live in one). Boston is not a lot like NYC, but there’s a rumor that most people here come from somewhere else. We have one of the, if not the, densest locations of colleges and universities, good and popular ones for students all over the world, and plenty of graduates choose to stay. Most of the people I know are not from the US at all. Massachusetts itself is one of the most predominantly Catholic states of the US (along with New Mexico from a map I recently looked at), so it would seem more than 50% Catholic, while I know very few Catholics.

    Anyway, my point was that place does not necessarily designate a religion. Depending where you grew up, tradition does, and that’s from families going way back seeking enclaves of others sharing the same faith… sometimes it’s a nationality, but sometimes, that’s almost the same thing. The traditional settlement where I grew up in New York was Dutch, but I don’t know any Dutch people! (Aside from MNb, I know exactly one Dutch person who is from Curacao and half-Chinese, settled in Boston). Where I grew up were suburban flight from NYC, Italians and Irish, some Polish, but also due to a techno facility, Chinese and Indians. I feel like my school was probably mostly Catholic, as Italians and Irish tend to be, but I was not ignorant of Hindus and Buddhists and Sikhs, they had a presence. Too many people in my neighborhood came from another country for me to grow up with the idea what a “real” American was, like white, Christian, euro (although one immigrant neighbor was all 3), etc.; my mother once noted, and I think this is important, the houses where at least one parent was an immigrant were the only houses in the neighborhood to bother to post a US flag on American holidays like Memorial Day, Independence Day, Veteran’s Day, or even Labor Day. Always and only them. “Real” Americans back in the day didn’t have to advertise, celebrate, or honor America in any way to prove something. And I might go over this again – this in a suburban neighborhood with what I imagine was a higher proportion of immigrants from all over the world. I really don’t remember any fear or prejudice of them, but all-American families did not put out flags on their houses.

    • TheNuszAbides

      Anyway, my point was that place does not necessarily designate a religion. Depending where you grew up, tradition does…

      i think you meant ‘depending how‘ – or else that’s pretty semi-circular. 😉 and the fact that there are portable components to culture simply illustrates a contribution to the ‘exceptions’ of the overall correlation (diaspora, conversion, etc.).

  • wtfwjtd

    I guess the discouraging thing for the Christian apologist is that, if they admit the obvious–that Christianity or any other religion is a cultural construct–they are admitting that it’s just another man-made religion. No wonder they have to fight the idea so hard.

    • Pofarmer

      The Fall. satan, et al.

      • wtfwjtd

        You mean the idea that religion is a cultural construct is “of the devil”? I’ve even heard Christians claim that Satan “planted” fossils to fool mankind into believing evolution. How can you break through such unfounded conspiratory nonsense? It’s truly amazing.

        • Greg G.

          I used to hear that often but I haven’t lately. It was always used by people who asked, “Why are there still monkeys?”

        • adam

          And of course:

        • Pofarmer

          It’s not that it’s hard to debunk, it’s fairly easy to debunk. The problem is the brainwashing of the individuals to resist information that contradicts there world view.

        • TheNuszAbides

          yes, unfortunately ‘debunking’ and ‘disabusing’ are almost always miles apart.

    • baaron31

      Well said though I am still profoundly amazed how in this day and age religious people in western countries, with access to information still decide to fight the obvious and still deny that religion is man made! I think this phenomenon deserves more studies!

      • wtfwjtd

        “I think this phenomenon deserves more studies!”

        That’s a good idea, not unlike when people tend to get mad and double-down when someone points out a mistake they’ve made, for example. It does make one wonder about the reasons for this behavior.

      • TheNuszAbides

        looks like you’re conflating “access to information” and “the obvious”, though. just because There Is The Internet doesn’t mean all of the rational conclusions are directly in front of everyone’s faces. anything intrinsically ‘obvious’ wouldn’t have required scientific investigation or nomenclature and would be the few items accurately labeled ‘common sense’. but it’s not only religion that muddies those waters, it’s human habits.

        however, you are headed in the direction that shows that sects which are more restrictive of their followers do seem to be losing membership because of access to information – at least when the questioning follower makes the conscious choice to pursue that information…

    • RichardSRussell

      It’s not just the Christians who resist the obvious implications. And at least the Christians are no longer torturing and massacring people because they follow the “wrong” set of beliefs. Sunni and Shiite Muslims, OTOH, ….

      And just the other day I read where Buddhists — Buddhists, of all people — in Burma (Myanmar) are persecuting the “stateless” Rohingya people and the descendants of Muslim immigrants. And you should read some of the horror stories about the puppy mills run by the supposedly-wouldn’t-harm-a-fly Amish.

      Daniel Dennett was right to compare religion to a self-destructive brain parasite.

      • wtfwjtd

        To a sociologist, I’d say one religion pretty much looks like another, since they are mostly based on the same types of non-evidenced claims. And yes, religion can definitely prompt otherwise good and decent people to act in horrific ways against their fellow man, which is a good-enough reason to actively oppose it.

      • TheNuszAbides

        i’d call that a fair definition of all flavors of hyper-tribalism, insofar as it works in [ostensible] favor of subgroups and against pretty much any unified concept of ‘humanity’ [beyond “if only everybody thought Our Way”, obvz.]

      • MNb

        Just ask Mano Singham. His (christian) family fled (mainly buddhist) Sri Lanka a few decades ago (I can’t refind the article where he describes this).

        http://freethoughtblogs.com/singham/2013/08/21/the-dark-side-of-buddhism/
        http://freethoughtblogs.com/singham/2013/03/26/the-dark-side-of-buddhism-in-practice/

    • TheNuszAbides

      so the slipperiest will say something along the lines of “they’re all Seeking The Truth, but sadly [insert crocodile-tears for rationality] some (i.e. the out-groups) misinterpret the Evidence we’re Given…”

  • MrCorvus

    IMO, logically, either all religions are correct(many paths to God) or they are all wrong (religion is man-made).

    The other option, that one religion is correct and all the others are wrong, doesn’t make any sense to me. It would imply that an all-powerful, loving God decided that the fate of your eternal soul would come down to a crap shoot on where and how you happened to be born and raised.

    • RichardSRussell

      But, of course, not all religions believe that God is all-powerful or loving. Maybe one of THEM is right, hmm? It would sure explain a lot of the shit that rains down on us.

      This is a polite way of saying that your claim of being logical falls a tad short of the mark.

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

      One vote for “all wrong,” please

  • MNb

    “The argument applies to the atheist as well.”
    There is another point. Atheism has at least two independent origins.

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

    Note that its first adherents were contemporaries of the Hebrews who developed judaism. They were from an entirely different time and entirely different culture.
    No single religion can boast of this and that demands an explanation as well.

    “Imagine four people.”
    So we don’t have four people, we have five. Two of them are healthy. Their physical constitutions are not exactly the same, but neither has the extra’s the other “enjoy”.

  • Theo

    While I really like this article, I would personally change the disease metaphor. I am making the assumption we want to reach people, and the disease metaphor might be a tad aggressive in that case. I would propose something similar, except with outfits. If we have four people, one in a suit, one in a t-shirt and jeans, one in a swimsuit, and one wearing nothing at all, we say that there are three outfits here.

    • MNb

      Though I’m usually not adverse to aggressive language I’m with you in this case – it distracts from the point made.

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

      Helpful point, thanks.

  • bdlaacmm

    What a stupid column! If I had been raised in 1930s Germany, I might well have been a Nazi. Doesn’t make them right, and it doesn’t make someone who didn’t grow up in 1930s Germany wrong.

    Good grief! And these people have the nerve to call themselves “Team Reason”. Gimme a break!

    • Greg G.

      That is the point of the article. You tend adopt the culture you were born into whether that culture is right or wrong. Almost every religious person believes they were lucky to be born in the right place so they could be in the right religion. That doesn’t mean any one of them is correct.

      • bdlaacmm

        It also does not mean they are incorrect. This entire line of “reasoning” is bogus.

        • Greg G.

          Did you see the sentence under Objection 1?

          We’re talking about a tendency or correlation, not a certainty.

          And under Objection 2?

          No, this argument doesn’t prove anything. It simply points out a correlation that must be explained.

          PS:

          It also does not mean they are incorrect.

          It does mean that most of them are incorrect and possibly all.

        • bdlaacmm

          “It does mean that most of them are incorrect and possibly all”

          It means nothing of the sort. If fact, it means nothing whatsoever. What a waste of ones and zeros.

        • Greg G.

          At most, one could be right which means every other one is wrong. That means most of them are wrong. That still doesn’t mean any are correct. If anything, it shows that humans tend to be wrong at religion.

    • Rudy R

      Comparing a fascist political group to a religious group is a false analogy. Political groups organize to seek power in government while religious groups organize to worship a god in a particular fashion. And what makes your analogy an epic failure is that most members in the Nazi party were Christians. In 1939, 6 years into the Nazi era, the population of Germany was approximately 67% Protestant and 33% Catholic, with 1.5% as non-religious.

      • adam

        “Comparing a fascist political group to a religious group is a false analogy.”

        Not necessarily, a religious group IS a political group and some are fascistic.

        “Political groups organize to seek power in government while religious groups organize to worship a god in a particular fashion.”

        People dont need any group to worship in a particular fashion unless they want or need political power to do so.

        The Inquisitions and Crusades were about power.

        • Gerald Moore

          Yup. Political power amassed through religious groups is what primarily differentiates a cult from a religion. Without some political power a cult would find it difficult to persuade a government to even recognize them as a religion.

        • TheNuszAbides

          that’s another potentially instructive definition of ‘cult’: a group that can only push back against its own members.

      • Clemency Fane

        “And what makes your analogy an epic failure is that most members in the Nazi party were Christians.”

        I think that’s a different assertion than the point of Bob’s post. I think he was trying to say that religious affiliation, like political affiliation, are primarily culturally determined.

        I would suggest an alternate analogy to Bob’s might be a secular example. Many US residents are Catholic. Many also watch football. It’s a major culturally recognized sport here; however Catholics in Ireland watch Gaelic football. Religion and sports preference are culturally determined, not linked to one another otherwise (correct me if I’m off base here, Bob). (“off goal” might be more appropriate…)

        On a side note about indoctrinating children to fill the ranks of religions, I grew up Catholic and I’ve thought ever since childhood that the ban on artificial contraceptives (like the LDS practice of having large families) is actually for the purpose of making more members.

        Personal anecdote: my boss is LDS and has a 31-year-old son with a wife. They can’t pay their rent, but decided to start a family, and had to move back in with Mom & Dad. Guess who’s raising the kid. I was further shocked to find out they’re trying for another baby. Seems irresponsible to me, but that’s not relevant. It’s all about God’s plan. Unfortunately God doesn’t assist them in paying their bills – oh, and that 10% tithe to get into the celestial kingdom.

        • Rudy R

          …But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can’t handle money!” – George Carlin

        • Clemency Fane

          Awesome. I guess figuring out how to get other people’s money by promising paradise is pretty damn wise. A sort of heavenly pyramid scheme! No tangible reward here and now, but there will definitely, most definitely, be a huge payoff.

        • Rudy R

          I usually file this under “a fool and his money are soon parted”.

        • wtfwjtd

          “Awesome. I guess figuring out how to get other people’s money by promising paradise is pretty damn wise. ”

          It’s dishonest, but yes, in a literal way it’s paid off handsomely for the purveyors of various religions. But then again, who says that pushing religion is about promoting ethics and honesty? Hmm…..

        • Kodie

          They give a little to the poor so they can sleep at night.

        • Greg G.

          I heard a story about country singers Willie Nelson and Roger Miller before they were famous. They were traveling together by car across Texas when they saw a magnificent sunset.

          Miller said, “Wow! Imagine what God could do if he had money!”

          My favorite Roger Miller song:
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qk_hPTN50UE

          Dang Me is a close second.

          My favorite Willie Nelson song:
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJtUTVURzKQ

          I heard an older version of this sung as a ballad. Willie really improved it by adding Texas Swing to it.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i’m a man of means by no means …

    • UWIR

      Are you seriously claiming that the fact that people not brought up as Nazis do not generally become Nazis is not strong evidence (not proof, but strong evidence) against Nazism being objective truth?

      • bdlaacmm

        No, what I am seriously claiming is that Bob Seidensticker (the author of this article) has nothing meaningful to say. That is what I was driving at.

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

          Because … ?

          When you’re asked to substantiate your concerns, there’s nothing there.

        • Kodie

          Feel free to make some meaningful statement otherwise.

        • TheNuszAbides

          but how did reading the article make you feel? c’mon, open up a bit; don’t just fling around whoppers like “bogus” without backing them up just a little!

    • RichardSRussell

      Bob wasn’t talking about right and wrong, he was talking about how cultural conditioning predisposes people to believe ideas that are popular in the culture they grew up in. That accounted for a lot of Nazis in Germany, just as it accounts for a lot of Christians in the US. That seems like a pretty uncontroversial observation to me. Why do you think it’s stupid?

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

      What I hear you saying is that people tend to reflect the culture they’re raised in and that as a result, adherence to a belief may not be strongly tied to correctness.

      Good point. I should write a post about that.

      • Clover and Boxer

        “Team Reason” +1

    • Kodie

      You might be onto something. Cultural conditioning does not make beliefs correct. What about this article confused you?

  • Darryl Nightingale

    From
    Objection 4:”Children raised in a religion-free environment usually
    aren’t atheists because they were taught to be atheists but because they
    were not taught to be religious.”

    What
    evidence is there to support this assertion? Merely asserting a
    proposition does not make it true, no matter how attractive some may
    find it.

    I was certainly taught to be an atheist, as were all of my many cousins. But perhaps we were exceptions to the rule 😛

    Also
    in Objection 4, the author deploys the following analogy to illuminate
    the difference between being taught to be religious and being raised in a
    religion-free household:

    “Imagine
    four people. One has malaria, one smallpox, one yellow fever, and one
    is healthy. Which of these is the odd man out? “Healthy” isn’t a kind of
    sickness just like bald isn’t a kind of hair color. We don’t see four
    people with different sorts of sickness; rather, we see three people
    sick and one healthy.”

    The
    author wants us to believe that religion is like an infectious disease,
    and atheism, in contrast, is a state of health, i.e. freedom from
    disease.

    Thus
    religious people are infected by religion (taught it) but atheists are
    not infected by atheism (not taught it). Rather, atheists are raised in
    an environment free of infectious agents and thus remain healthy.

    Attractive as these propositions are to some, they are nothing more than tautology deployed in support of dogma and bigotry.

    That it they are presented without a shred of evidence is hardly surprising, because there is none.
    .

  • Darryl Nightingale

    From Objection 4:”Children raised in a religion-free environment usually
    aren’t atheists because they were taught to be atheists but because they
    were not taught to be religious.”

    What evidence is there to support this assertion?

    Merely asserting a proposition does not make it true, no matter how attractive some may find it.

    I was certainly taught to be an atheist, as were all of my many cousins on my mother’s side of my family. But perhaps we were exceptions to the rule 😛
    .

    Also in Objection 4, the author deploys the following analogy to illuminate
    the difference between being taught to be religious and being raised in a
    religion-free household:

    “Imagine four people. One has malaria, one smallpox, one yellow fever, and one
    is healthy. Which of these is the odd man out? “Healthy” isn’t a kind of
    sickness just like bald isn’t a kind of hair color. We don’t see four
    people with different sorts of sickness; rather, we see three people
    sick and one healthy.”

    The author wants us to believe that religion is like an infectious disease,
    and atheism, in contrast, is a state of health, i.e. freedom from
    disease.

    Thus religious people are infected by religion (taught it) but atheists are
    not infected by atheism (not taught it). Rather, atheists are raised in
    an environment free of infectious agents and thus remain healthy.

    Therefore, because they are diseased, the judgements of religious people about the nature of religion are inherently suspect, whereas, because they are healthy, those of atheists about the nature of religion are not.

    Attractive as these propositions are to some, they are nothing more than tautological nonsense deployed in support of dogma and bigotry.

    That it they are presented without a shred of evidence to support them is hardly surprising, because there is none.
    .

    • Kodie

      I was raised in a religion-free environment, my atheist grandfather forbid us taken to church, and I also grew up in an area of the country not known for being overtly religious. I was certainly aware of religions, but considered it like a family type of tradition, like big Italian families with all the cousins living next door – that wasn’t my family but I didn’t consider it an invalid way to be a family, and I didn’t wish for my family to spontaneously adopt traditions that weren’t ours. Critical thinking didn’t come from inside my home. I don’t know where I got it, not at school, I don’t know where. I did get to a rather late age to even consider what I believed in, if anything. I would also tend to disagree with Bob and others, growing up without the introduction of a religion did not in any way inoculate me against seeking one later in life. I don’t know where anyone gets the idea that adults without an indoctrination period are necessarily critical thinkers and do not seek or adopt a religious belief as adults. If there is anything in our culture, there is the idea that you need to fill that spiritual slot with something, and as far as I can tell, it almost doesn’t matter what. Most people I know are progressive to the extent they’ll keep their religions to themselves, and accept almost anyone else as long as they (1) also keep their religious beliefs to themselves, and (2) aren’t nutjobs about whatever they do believe. It’s almost easier here for a fundamentalist to slip in, provided they don’t expose their literal nutjob beliefs in biblical accuracy or start arguments with other grown-ups about how they’re going to hell and damaging their children letting them go to public school.

    • UWIR

      An analogy is a comparison between two different situations, asserting that there are elements that are similar. It is not an assertion that all attributes are identical. Making an accusation of bigotry based on such a basic misconception of analogies is despicable.

    • TheMarsCydonia .

      How were you taught atheism?

      • adam

    • RichardSRussell

      What evidence is there to support this assertion?

      About a billion Chinese.

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

      Yes, that’s a good distinction between children raised by atheist parents who were simply not taught about religion (or taught about it anthropologically instead of theologically) vs. those who were deliberately taught that religion is wrong and atheism right. I’ve heard plenty of stories of people in the former category, but I don’t have data showing which is larger.

      The idea of infection (bad) vs. not-infection (good) wasn’t the point of that example. That part of the analogy wasn’t meant to carry over. As another commenter suggested, I should use a different example (clothes vs. no clothes or hobbies was the suggestion, IIRC).

  • morris98

    In a Muslim country anything is possible because the state can dictate. In a truly free country a baby would have no religion. Yes a baby will be brought up by parents with whatever their religious beliefs or lack thereof are. But upon maturity he/she will be free to express personal choice. Such beliefs should be seamless, no rigidity whatsoever. That will break all the barriers and divisions. Rigidity of institutional religions are not good for today’s multicultural society

    • Kodie

      You seem to be ignorant of how suggestible the human brain is. It’s not just like you’re taught to follow the rules of a religion as a child and you can decide later if you’d like to follow them or not. Parents don’t suggest to a child that it may be a good idea to think about it when they’re older and settle their beliefs then.

      • morris98

        I am aware of what you are saying. But ideally I don’t want to have parents think automatically that their children are of the same religion as they are. It is the culture that is being promoted by our secular system. Children do grow up thinking freely in many families. Unfortunately our secular system encourages this kind of brain washing to respect religions. We need to separate religions from state. Why should our state respect religions. How do they know religions are respect worthy? They should neither respect nor reject religions. People should be free to practice religions within the framework of the laws.

        • Kodie

          In a free society, parents with freedom of worship as protected by the 1st amendment are also free to raise their children without interference from the government unless there is proof of abuse. The state can hardly establish that teaching a religious belief in the home is abuse. Separation of church and state does go both ways.

        • Rudy R

          A Constitutional amendment doesn’t necessarily reflect principles of a free society. Teaching a child a religious belief may not be physical abuse, but there is a good argument that it could be mental abuse. The Duggar family is a prime example.

        • Kodie

          Most religious people are not Duggars. I do think that religious belief has an emotional abuse factor nonetheless, in that the main argument for belief is you’ll go to hell if you don’t, you see bad as good, you love your abuser and think of all the excuses for him, besides which, he’s imaginary. So is the church abusing its power over its believers? Yes. Can the government infringe on your conscience? Only to the extent you’re breaking the law. Raising your kids to believe something you’ve come to believe is important for them to know is a basic freedom, like you wouldn’t keep your kids from learning to recognize shapes and numbers and the alphabet, right? Can you imagine if you believed something screwy but in your free (from government interference) conscience, it was just as vital to teach your children, that without which, you’d feel you’re neglecting your role as a parent and first teacher to your child?

          I don’t believe (mostly) that the state encourages brainwashing to respect religions. Mostly religious people are secure enough in their majority that their ridicule, or worse, keeps atheists and anti-theists silent. Sure it says “In God We Trust” on money, and sure, nobody’s getting very far getting rid of the Pledge of Allegiance or at least restoring it to its original copy. Is the government brainwashing us to respect religions though? I don’t feel like it is. It is more like we’re obligated to tolerate religious freedom of belief. I’m not to tell my neighbors how they must raise their children to be open to all evidence and decide when they’re older if they think this crock is true, and they’re not to tell me I need god in order to be a good person. It doesn’t go that way, because he is obligated by his “higher power” to win souls but doesn’t understand that entails my right to respond to that with my own freedom not to believe it, not because the government wants me to respect it, but because they’ve been winning arguments by social mockery and stigma of disbelief all this time. I’m socialized by society to “respect” it because of negative social outcomes that could happen if I don’t. So I’m not going to say they’re not abusive, but how they go about things is the privilege of free speech vs. well, I have free speech too, but there is risk involved.

          I’m not really sure what the problem here is. I was responding to someone who is a bit too idealistic.

        • Rudy R

          There’s no problem. Mostly we are in agreement and at worse, violent agreement. But if the state has any inclination, it can establish that teaching a religious belief in the home is, at the very least, mental abuse. I just offered the Duggar family, because they represent the most obvious example of mental abuse based on religion. Thousands, if not hundreds of thousands (millions?) of families could fall into the category of inflicting mental abuse towards their children as it relates to religious doctrine. You brought up a good point that children are threatened with Hell if they don’t follow their parent’s particular religious doctrine.
          To be fair, I was raised in a Lutheran home, and not once was Hell ever a conversation in our home, and in fact, religion was never discussed outside the church.

        • Kodie

          I agree with a person’s right to believe whatever horseshit they want. I don’t think it is government’s role to decide how much of that horseshit they’re not allowed to teach their children. It’s hard to say whether scaring your children into behaving is abuse, and how would they come to determine that, how to enforce it, etc. I was raised like that, to some extent, and I didn’t like it, but I think there is just a lot of leeway the government especially has to give with how you raise your kids. How many can they take away, how to enforce compliance with any particular parenting style. I am going to go wayback, to the “it takes a village” idea, and how children used to be disciplined by teachers, neighbors, store clerks, etc., and how we turned into a society that is intolerant of anyone even speaking to their kid except to indulge them in positive attention.

          Yes, parenting is hard, parents don’t like any fucking twinge of criticism for how they do anything they do and why they have to do that. How on earth are you going to butt the government in and tell them, like the thought police, that indoctrinating their children in a religion is any less acceptable than the alphabet? I’m against thought police in general.

        • Pofarmer

          I dunno Kodie. I’m seeing an awful lot of the Dugger patriarchal bullshit seeping into local churches and families.

        • Kodie

          Don’t you live in the bible belt already? I’m sure this religious cult is part competitive sport. I can’t think of a single reason to get on board other than to show off. My mother was watching them last time I visited, and even though she said she doesn’t share their beliefs, she was always jealous of families where everyone pitched in and got along without complaining. Hopefully, her illusions are shattered by now.

        • Pofarmer

          “I’m sure this religious cult is part competitive sport.”

          Now that’s fuckin funny right there.

        • morris98

          Why the religions have to be any more protected than service clubs or for that matter any NGOs. By making a specific reference to the protection of religions when we do not really know what religions are, the state guaranteeing that is not fully known. Religions should be practiced within the framework of our constitution and laws rather than the other way around. Parents are free either way.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i agree, especially with some of the more ludicrous distinctions between ‘religion’ and ‘cult’.

        • morris98

          That has to be our next step in thinking evolution. We must seek not only freedom of religions but also freedom from religions. Religions should not constrain us. Only man made constitution should. This inequality between believers and nonbelievers must be addressed. By putting religions on a pedestal we started to worship unknown monsters. And they are haunting us now. A secular concept free from religions is the answer.

    • RichardSRussell

      There are SOOOO many things that would be different in a “truly free country” than there are in any actual country that exists today.

      • morris98

        True. Our political thinking is free to evolve and will continue to
        evolve if it was left alone and not constrained by religions. We need to separate them so that we can continue our search for true freedom.

  • UWIR

    To #3 I would add that in many cases, it is a valid counterargument, because the arguments for Christianity are based on Christian psychology. For instance, CS Lewis argues that the Bible must have been written by God, because it’s clearly divine. But perceiving Jesus’ words as so Good that they could not have possibly been the product of a Liar or Lunatic is due to growing up with Jesus’ words having special status.

    To #4, I would add that there is a a further asymmetry. Muslims sometimes “convert” to atheism even if they have never heard of atheism. But there is no documented case of a Muslim ever converting to Christianity without being previously exposed.

    • RichardSRussell

      I really like the point you make in your 2nd paragraph.

    • TheNuszAbides

      without being previously exposed.

      i suspect some might miss the forest for the trees with your second point (i was confused at first) because it references Muslims rather than being clearly general, e.g. “there is no documented case of a theist ever converting to another theism …”

      or if you had even just put “e.g.” between “documented case of” and “a Muslim”…

      (that’s assuming my final reading was accurate and you weren’t actually saying something about Muslims in particular!)

      • UWIR

        Well, the title of the posts is “Your Religion Is a Reflection of Your Culture—You’d Be Muslim if You Were Born in Pakistan”, so I was just responding to the fact that Islam had already been chosen as a specific example.

    • testadirapa

      I know lots of those. This one is particularly famous:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSNWB_Jic40

      • TheNuszAbides

        are you expecting anyone to believe that he was not previously exposed to Catholicism, or are you having comprehension problems again?

        • testadirapa

          Yes he met a Catholic in the army as an adult. Did you expect him to reinvent Christianity by himself in is head?

        • TheNuszAbides

          yep, you missed again.

        • MNb

          Not me, but it was UMIR’s point – some muslims seem to be capable of reinventing atheism by theirselves in their heads. However you might notice I didn’t upvote his comment. It’s because I simply cannot imagine any muslim who never gets exposed to christianity, which makes his addition quite empty. At the other hand I have met muslims (also christians btw) who weren’t exposed to atheism until they met me. I live in a very religious country – about 4% unbelievers.

        • TheNuszAbides

          but the point being made about the asymmetry (again if i have it right) is to elaborate on objection 4 – that atheism can be hit upon completely independent of the existence of prior atheists, their writings and rantings, etc.: i contend the ‘example’ wasn’t posed in a generalized enough way, but it stands to reason that fewer and fewer folks (who aren’t starting new gangs of their own) tell Revealed Conversion stories like Saul-Paul’s. (because once The Book is published, i mean, why bother?)

        • Kodie

          You might be onto something.

        • testadirapa

          In other words, it all depends on what you mean by “exposed.”

          If you meant to say that nobody converts to religions they know nothing about, then you are perfectly correct.

          Not a very interesting discovery, however.

        • TheNuszAbides

          and that packs so much sting because you’re doing such a compelling job of showing off what interests you?

          it all depends on what you mean by “exposed.”

          yes, too bad you didn’t consider that (which was from the comment you were responding to, btw) for a few seconds before posting a thoroughly irrelevant video.

        • testadirapa

          I did consider that. I just thought your notion of “exposed” was bit more sophisticated (e.g. “indoctrinated as a child”) than just “heard about it from somebody else.”

          But if that is what you really mean, yes, I fully agree: it is impossible to embrace Christianity without being “exposed” to it more or less like it is impossible to marry a woman without being “exposed” to her.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Not a very interesting discovery

          yes, we get that you are only here to pose at poking holes and smugly dismissing all comers and fondling your sense of wonder, but the comment you made a pointless response to was expounding on one of the points made in the OP. now go ahead and regurgitate that thing about ‘abstractions pointless, living good!’

          but i thought i’d ask anyway, just in case. congrats, i regret it already!

        • MNb

          To some (but imo not high) extent it is – exactly because religious people seem to be capable to figure out atheism despite knowing nothing about it.
          What I think more interesting is that every single religion originated exactly once in human history, while atheism has at least two independent origins.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cārvāka

          The similarities are remarkable, aren’t they? It looks like atheism is not culturally determined. What does that tell us?

        • Kodie

          It’s not interesting to you, a believer, that god doesn’t get in touch with people directly and tell them the true truth? That they have to hear it from another person? That they have to go through a lot of effort, as you explained for yourself, to discover what they want to believe is true, among all the beliefs in the world they can have?

      • MNb

        He wasn’t previously exposed to christianity?

        • TheNuszAbides

          lol, with any luck you can get Testy to double (triple?) down on how boring/meaningless/obvious UWIR’s point was after failure to grasp/refute…

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

        Sounds like so bold a claim that scientists (or other impartial experts) should be involved. Has there been any effort to move this from just anecdote or story to fact?

  • testadirapa

    “Here I’m presenting the argument, that upbringing correlates
    with belief and therefore religion looks like nothing more than a
    cultural custom.”

    I am happy to grant you that religion is for many people a cultural custom.
    That says nothing at all about what my religion is for ME, and what YOU should believe.

    You obviously never read (or never understood) Kierkegaard.

    • Greg G.

      What does it matter what your religion means to you unless your religion happens to be true? Our beliefs should be in accordance with the strength of the evidence for each belief.

      • testadirapa

        I did not say “what it means to me.” I said “what it is to me” i.e. (among other possibilities) whether I consider it true. Just to help your comprehension I will rephrase my statement:

        “That says nothing at all about whether I have good reasons to think my religion is true, and what YOU should believe.”

        • Greg G.

          If you have good reasons to think your religions is true, then everyone should hear those reasons. I’ve never heard one before.

        • testadirapa

          If you have several hours I can recount to you all my life experiences, the hundreds of books I have read, the people I have met, a lifetime of reflections, and why I reached certain conclusions. But these are private and delicate matters that cannot certainly be settled in a few sentences among strangers.

          In the end on the most crucial and difficult questions of life everyone has to do his own homework.

        • Greg G.

          Once again I am disappointed. You have a lifetime of insufficient reasons to believe but not a single good reason for it.

        • testadirapa

          Since you have not lived my life and don’t know my reasons, your opinion is quite irrelevant.

        • adam

          Actually, his opinion is the same as mine.

          So it is quite relevant…

        • testadirapa

          Non sequitur

        • Kodie

          What was non sequitur?

        • Greg G.

          I would settle for one good reason.

        • testadirapa

          mmmh, I doubt it.

        • Greg G.

          What is your best reason?

        • testadirapa

          Let’s be honest here: nothing I could say would be a good reason for you and you know it. Answers are only meaningful to people who have questions. One can share what he found with those who seek. To discuss abstractly with those who don’t seek is a waste of time.

        • Kodie

          You can’t sell snake oil to people who aren’t in the market for any.

        • testadirapa

          Indeed. Nor can you sell food to people who are not hungry.

        • Kodie

          Of course you can sell food to people who aren’t currently hungry. You can’t sell bullshit to people with noses, though.

        • testadirapa

          you got my point

        • Kodie

          Your point was not a point. You are making baseless assertions about the necessity of your beliefs that others would be “open” to listening to you spew poor logical argument. You can’t even begin to convince someone who already is aware how much nonsense it is. The evasive tactics of a true theist, the unwillingness to share what cannot be understood by anyone who isn’t trying to adopt a delusion.

        • testadirapa

          you just confirmed my point, thank you! But please, keep going, you are quite entertaining.

        • Kodie

          What point? That you prefer to spin your beliefs as something so important and necessary that you will only bother to share them with people who want to receive these careful lessons from the master…. of bullshit? You’re not making any other point.

        • testadirapa

          the point was that trying to reason with hostile and angry people who have no curiosity about religious questions is a waste of time.

        • Kodie

          The point was you’re delusional about why you get a typically hostile reception to your nonsense.

          I don’t really blame you for not wanting to engage honestly, but atheists would all change their minds if you had one sensible argument in favor of your beliefs. You’re kidding yourself if you think you have any good reasons for your beliefs. If they only sound good to a “seeker” then they aren’t good.

        • testadirapa

          naaah, they wouldn’t. It works both ways: people reject perfectly sound arguments that do not fit their prejudices. It happens all the time. That’s why discussion in the abstract never work. You have to live.

        • Kodie

          What other religions did you research and why did you dismiss them on your quest? You never answered that question, but you can guess why I ask? If you had a good reason to believe your silly myths, I would stop calling them silly myths, I would stop calling you delusional. Emotional arguments are not reasons to squint until I can see what’s not there.

          2nd question: how much money have you gladly given to your church so they can tell you how to think?

        • testadirapa

          Since I have made no attempt whatsoever to advance any particular religion, why do you care? Why are you so obsessed about religion? It’s very strange.

          It sounds like somebody indoctrinated you as a child. Was that the grandfather you mention in your profile?

        • Kodie

          You have made an attempt to advance your special reasons and meanings your religion has to you, like anyone should care. You want people to care, or you wouldn’t have visited to speak up on behalf of your precious reasons for believing in a fantasy and that scamming other people is the righteous path to heaven. And how am I obsessed? You asked for questions! You want to know what our questions are.

          Nobody indoctrinated me. You sound prejudiced and believe all atheists are just mad at god. So you know all about atheism and how that works, just because we’re not “seeking” your precious expertise in bullshit.

        • testadirapa

          I made no attempt at advancing anything. I did not even formulate my own religious ideas. On then other hand, you do sound like a really angry person.

        • Kodie

          What am I angry about? That you’re a dishonest person? That you’re a hypocrite? That you developed prejudices about atheists because they dismiss your precious beliefs in nonsense and fantasy? You rationalize that hostility as coming from something other than a direct reaction to you and your beliefs and what you want of your beliefs to be manifest in law. You’re allowed to believe it, and we’re allowed to point out why it’s wrong to believe such silly myths. You’re an adult? That’s when atheism came to me. To believe in a religion, you have to confirm your wishful thinking with poor logic. I came to a realization that adults honestly sincerely believe these fantasies to be true. I had grown up with a vague idea that religions were something people had of a traditional identity, like the country their great-grandparents came from, and still pretend that it’s anything like being Irish to consider oneself Irish by the 3rd or 4th generation in America. Irish-Americans, and not just Irish-Americans, to my surprise, are also dead serious about their identity, whether it’s meaningful or not.

        • testadirapa

          You know nothing about my beliefs. I wish you much happiness.

        • Kodie

          I know that you developed tactics to deal with critics of your religion by not sharing your “good reasons” so that you can maintain them, and pass the blame for hostility directed at you on “angry” people who think you sound delusional, because you are. If you had a good reason for believing, it would sound reasonable to everyone. You chimed in for some reason, but you got backed into your hypocritical corner, so you clam up. That’s how your beliefs are so real to you that we should be careful how we regard you and your “good reasons” for arriving at them, right?

          Anything else is “angry”. Good one, typical theist!

        • testadirapa

          Yes, yes, keep going…

        • Kodie

          How about explaining how your church doesn’t pay taxes?

        • testadirapa

          You see you are fixated? Go and do something fun… Goodnight!

        • Kodie

          You wanted people to ask you questions, but you don’t answer any. You see how you are dishonest and a hypocrite? This is fun.

        • testadirapa

          No, you misunderstood me. I don’t want people to ask ME questions. I want you to ask YOURSELF questions.

        • Kodie

          Why do religious people always think if we didn’t find god that we didn’t really look? Because you’re convinced you’re right for no sound reasons. Because you’re so arrogant to think if anyone looks they’ll surely agree that you are not delusional. There is nothing there to look for.

        • testadirapa

          “There is nothing there to look for”

          I envy your easy certainty. Aren’t you curious?

        • Kodie

          See what I mean?

        • testadirapa

          Don’t try to wiggle out. Are you certain there is nothing to look for or not?

        • Kodie

          Are you certain something is there just because you found something? You’re arrogant, evasive, hypocritical, and judgmental. So religious.

        • testadirapa

          Thanks! Now, how one can find something if there is nothing?

        • Kodie

          Wishful thinking.

        • testadirapa

          Just quoting you…

        • Kodie

          So you have poor reading comprehension also.

        • adam

          “Thanks! Now, how one can find something if there is nothing?”

          Which is the fundamental problem with gods in the first place

        • MNb

          There are people as well who have found the Monster of Loch Ness. How did they do it?

        • Kodie

          According to you, you worked really hard to feel comfortable believing something ridiculous that you consider it some kind of accomplishment, that you’re certain if someone didn’t have the same conclusion as you, they just didn’t work hard enough at it. That’s just your bias. This is in a thread about how many religions there are in the world and how most people come about believing them, which you were offended by, because, among all the variety of theists in the world, your personally treasured beliefs are true and special.

        • testadirapa

          Sure, sure. I was asking if you are certain there is nothing to look for or not?

        • Pofarmer

          There is lot’s to look for, certainly, like why humans have God beliefs, for instance. Been lot’s written on that. Or, the Cognitive biases that trick us, been lot’s written on that, too. Things that weren’t even discovered and quantified until the 1970’s. Lot’s and lot’s of current research to be interested in.

        • MNb

          I am – more certain than that there is no Monster of Loch Ness in that lake.

        • Greg G.

          In this corner, we have the challenger, testadirapa, who will attempt to demonstrate the existence of the supernatural using the “Shifting of the Burden of Proof Fallacy” and “Word Play“.

          And in this corner, we have the Boston Bomber, KODIE, defending her undefeated, untied record using “Absolute Reason“, “Valid Logic“, and “The Comfy Chair“!

        • MNb

          Are you curious about tying shoelaces?
          Same answer.

        • adam

          And the one think I keep asking myself is:

        • MNb

          I totally did so.
          Answer: there is no god.

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

          You’re right–people reject good arguments that challenge their preconceptions. They also reject poor arguments.

          Which category are we talking about here? Show us that the atheists are rejecting the good arguments that shake their worldviews, not rejecting poor arguments.

        • testadirapa

          This discussion got sidetracked. I actually was interested in pointing out that while for many people religion (and also atheism, by the way) can be something they inherit from their culture, that does not contradict the fact that many people embrace a religion (or atheism) out of careful personal reflection.

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

          I assume your last phrase says that some people do serious intellectual study either before or after adopting a worldview. Yes, I agree.

          An important fact in the post above is that less than 1% of believers switch religions (and, if you look at the chart, Christianity is the outlier with far more people leaving than entering). In other words, more than 99% of people stick with their religion.

          Yes, I agree that some people think long and hard about their supernatural beliefs. The fact remains that the vast majority of people fall into a religion (almost certainly that of their environment) and stick with it. Ignoring the very few studious ones that you point to, that’s not a very good way to pick a worldview.

        • testadirapa

          I agree, with two qualifications:

          a) This applies also to non-supernatural beliefs, and

          b) It is not wrong (actually it is reasonable) to start one’s investigations from what has been handed down to us from our family, culture etc. Of course, one should have the intellectual honesty to move on to something else if it proves more compelling.

          Actually, since these are very difficult questions, I don’t even begrudge those who, out of honest uncertainty, decide to stick with what they have but keeping an open mind.

        • MNb

          “This applies also to non-supernatural beliefs”
          I’m not so sure of this. Quite a few children from Dutch communists (I’m speaking of 1945-’50) became later anti-communists.

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

          a) Tell me more. Is this just an aside or do you have a concern here? What types of beliefs?

          b) Yes, I agree that taking advice from one’s parents, friends, and society in general makes sense. Children are wired to be accepting of this input. But we see where this gets us–99% of people never leave the comforting womb of their origin worldview. Since these worldviews are contradictory, we can be certain that most of them are wrong.

          I have no magic pill to get people to either leave religion or merely rethink it. I’m simply observing the problem.

        • testadirapa

          a) Political beliefs, often. All kind of cultural notions. Atheism itself can become a established notion, see the statistics from the former East German or the Czech republic. Then people will accept it just as uncritically as they may accept a religion.

          b) Well, I am comfortable living with people who hold beliefs I consider incorrect or even silly, as long as there is mutual tolerance and respect. What you are describing just seems to me to be part of the human condition.

        • Rudy R

          Herein lies the problem. You may want to encourage mutual tolerance and respect with those that don’t hold your moral values, but most American Evangelicals, Catholics, and Mormons don’t hold that position. They don’t believe in mutual tolerance when they try to prohibit/limit, through Federal/State legislation, use of contraception, universal access to abortion clinics, consensual sexual practices, same-sex marriage, and teaching evolution in school etc. etc. etc. If these religious groups didn’t insist on mandating their religious morals on everyone else, than atheists wouldn’t feel the need to be debating these issues.

        • adam

          I have curiosity about religious questions.

          Can you demonstrate that YOUR ‘god’ is anything but IMAGINARY?

        • MNb

          Agreed, though “angry” is superfluous.
          The point of course is in the word “trying”. You may be trying to reason, but you are not reasoning. And as long as your conclusion – god – is predetermined you trying to reason is a waste of time indeed. Moreover we on this blog indeed are quite hostile to such attempts. Finally we indeed have little curiosity about religious questions exactly because we reject the first assumption and the last conclusion: god. That’s what we are atheists for.
          Sorry, Testa, if you want to reason with us on this blog you’ll have to accept our rules. Trying to impose yours simply doesn’t work.

        • adam

          I have curiosity about relligious questions

          Can you demonstrate that your ‘god’ is not IMAGINARY?

        • Greg G.

          A good reason is good whether I think it is or not. You seem to be wasting a lot of time refusing to give your best reason. If you want to be honest you could just admit that you know your best reason isn’t really very good.

        • testadirapa

          I disagree. Some people can appreciate a good reason better than others. To give a good reason to anybody who is not in the position to recognize it does no good.

          Let’s play a different game. Instead of me giving you reasons, you give me questions. What your most burning religious question, if any?

        • Kodie

          What other religions did you research and why did you dismiss them on your quest to find the one true religion?

        • Greg G.

          I have asked several times. What is your best reason for believing your religion?

        • testadirapa

          I just explained why I am not interested in discussing my religion. I asked you another question. If you don’t want to answer, we are done. Good night?

        • Greg G.

          It doesn’t have to be one for your religion. I would like one good reason for believing any theistic religion is true.

        • testadirapa

          Bah, if you ask the question in that generality, I really have no idea.

          But tell me your own outlook. Do you consider it possible that there exist realities beyond our immediate empirical experience?

        • Greg G.

          I can’t rule out a brain in a vat or anything. None have any evidence and come from the imagination. The possibility is so remote that believing any of those things would be absurd. Ideas that have no objective evidence and are contrived to have an excuse for not having evidence are even more absurd.

        • testadirapa

          I never said we should believe without evidence. But do you have any evidence that what we experience empirically is all there is?

        • Greg G.

          I said, “I can’t rule out a brain in a vat or anything.” If I had evidence that empirical experience was all there is, then I could rule out those things. All of my beliefs and understandings are provisional. All I need is good reasons. That’s why I am asking you. You said you had good reasons.

          Supernaturalism is contrived to be not naturalism. It has built-in excuses for why supernaturalism cannot be observed by naturalism’s methods.

          Naturalism cannot prove itself is true. Many see that as a weakness but it is not. Any system that is self-justified is circular. Any coherence with reality is coincidental or contrived. If it is self-justified it is unfalsifiable even if it is false. That is a weakness for supernaturalism.

          If naturalism is true, then it is actually unfalsifiable because the truth is unfalsifiable. If naturalism is false, then it is potentially falsifiable. It could be shown to be false by supernatural means or it could be shown to be false by demonstrating inherent inconsistencies by the methods of naturalism.

          That should save a lot of wordplay so we can get to the part where you give at least one good reason to think supernaturalism is true.

        • testadirapa

          I don’t like to use the word “supernatural” in a strictly philosophical context because the definition is usually circular. What is “natural” to begin with? What can be observed empirically? Then by definition we cannot say anything about the supernatural, since if we observed it would by default become “natural.”

          So I would rather contrast the sphere of the “knowable” with whatever is radically “unknowable.” And since by definition we cannot say anything about the unknowable, I would focus on our experience of things, of what can be observed, without wasting time on “supernaturalism.”.

          This is were one must refer to one’s personal experience and ask questions like: does the universe match my desire for happiness? Or does it fall short? Is the existence of the universe intellectually surprising or not? Does the experience of beauty give me pause or not? If it does, why?

          If your aswer is no to all these questions, that’s the end of the conversation. I answer yes to all.

        • MNb

          My answers:
          Irrelevant.
          Irrelevant.
          Irrelevant.
          Please explain what you mean with “give me pause”.
          If yes, not because of a god that can’t be observed empirically by definition and is is “unknowable” that the concept has become meaningless.
          See, that’s simple.

        • Kodie

          So you explain that god is a figment of your imagination.

        • adam

          Of course, how can it be any thing but?

        • Greg G.

          What we call natural are what we can detect by natural means. Those who believe in the supernatural assert that it cannot be detected by natural means.

          Your first two questions make no sense. The universe has galaxies of stars. My happiness doesn’t depend on them. My happiness depends on things in my little piece of the world and I am very happy.

          The universe exists. What’s to be surprised about? I didn’t exist before it popped into existence.

          Beauty can be striking. Things can be awesome and interesting. Our brains respond to things positively and negatively for various reasons. Some things hit a lot of the positive responses at once. Some things hit many negative things at once and we are repulsed. When I see a beautiful sunset, I admire its beauty at many levels.

          Do you see a beautiful sunset as the handiwork of an omnipotent being? Are you not let down because the most beautiful sunset seen on Earth looks like an omnipotent being not giving much effort.

          Do you only see beauty as supernatural? You are just putting your thumb on the scale unless you also recognize all the ugliness and suffering going on at the same time. If beauty means anything about a supernatural being, then it has to own the ugliness, too. On balance, it doesn’t help you.

        • testadirapa

          Thing are ugly because they lack beauty. And the same applies to pain and death. Why would anybody not love death if we did not love life? I remain amazed at the existence and beauty of the universe and at being alive. People who do not live in wonder live less.

        • Greg G.

          Ugly is ugly because it is ugly. Be torn apart by a beautiful tiger is not more beautiful than being torn apart by an ugly lion. Having your blood splattered artistically is still ugly.

          Are you one of those who slips into religious awe and sees nothing but puppies and rainbows?

          Evolution has instilled the will to live in us.

          I think that people who live in wonder experience less. One can experience all the beauty plus understand the history that produced it simultaneously. There’s a Richard Feynman video where he talks about this.

        • testadirapa

          Feynman’s point was that actually scientific knowledge increases our sense of wonder, does not decrease it.

        • Greg G.

          Exactly. But it doesn’t lead to belief in the supernatural. Are you trying to provide good reasons to believe or just lousy excuses for unjustified belief?

        • testadirapa

          Well, in case you missed it, I was trying to challenge your notion that the problem of God boils down to “belief in the supernatural.” But since I obviously am not getting my point through, never mind…

        • Greg G.

          I think I got it. Sense of wonder, therefore God. Sense of beauty, therefore God. Those sound like post hoc rationalizations of someone who believes on emotional reasons.

        • testadirapa

          I never said “therefore God” because at this stage the word God means nothing. I would just say “therefore a set of open religious questions.”

        • Kodie

          What if it doesn’t? Your sense of wonder seems to me to ask questions that presuppose yourself with some purpose on earth, therefore some kind of god. Which god? Apparently the one you intentionally sought information to believe in. Information that was compiled from the rationalizations from humans.

        • testadirapa

          Do you have any such questions?

        • Kodie

          Religion doesn’t offer an affirmative answer. It’s a comforting but illusory answer.

        • testadirapa

          I did not ask about answers. I asked about questions.

        • Kodie

          If I didn’t come to your conclusions, I must not have asked questions?

        • testadirapa

          That’s what I just asked you. Do you have any questions along the lines I was describing?

        • Kodie

          Now?

        • testadirapa

          yes

        • Kodie

          Like you think atheism is a placeholder for people who haven’t had their questions answered to your satisfaction.

        • testadirapa

          uhm? I certainly don’t think that.

          I was asking if you have any open questions like the ones I was discussing with Greg?

        • Kodie

          What do you think?

        • testadirapa

          I am sure you do… would you like to share?

        • Kodie

          The answers to your questions are comforting but illusory.

        • testadirapa

          I guess that was a “no.”

        • Kodie

          You’re inconsistent.

        • testadirapa

          ah, really.

        • Kodie

          You leaped to a conclusion you earlier said you did not think. You really do think if people don’t find what you found, that they didn’t look hard enough or ask the right questions. What you really want is validation for your delusional beliefs, by casting atheists as people who just aren’t full of wonder about life or whatever amazes you personally, and aren’t as fulfilled because they just can’t be. Stop being so arrogant and judgmental for a change. Do you have any questions? You don’t seem to have any questions, just assumptions (wrong ones).

        • testadirapa

          I recommend a cup of chamomile before going to bed. It will calm you down and help you sleep.

        • Kodie

          What are you rambling on about?

        • Greg G.

          There are always “open religious questions” because they are contrived to be unanswerable because they mean nothing.

        • testadirapa

          Here we part ways. To me, asking religious question is perfectly rational if they reflect our lived experience (including love, wonder, beauty etc. as I was describing earlier). Whether we can find answers is irrelevant to the reality of the questions.

          But, again, if you have no such questions, there is not much else to say.

        • Greg G.

          Love, beauty, and wonder by themselves have nothing to do with religion or the supernatural. Religion just claims things. Religion “explains” them as “mysteries”.

        • testadirapa

          Again, we’ll have to disagree. All religious questions arise from love, beauty and wonder (and, sometimes, fear; but fear is always fear of losing something that is perceived as positive, i.e. life). And calling them mysteries is not an explanation at all. It is rather a recognition.

        • Greg G.

          It’s all about warm, fuzzy feelings and a strange definition of fear, but not any good reasons to think it is true, not even one. You believe for emotional reasons.

        • testadirapa

          What is true or not true? I have been trying for two days to explain that I am not interested in proving the truth of any “answer,” but rather I want to highlight the seriousness of certain questions. Instead, you keep going back to this demand that “I prove what I believe.” When did I make any statement of belief? Never…

          OK, let’s give it break. By the way, I am a mathematician and my wife always complains that I do not have one emotional, fuzzy-feeling bone in my body.

        • Kodie

          Should your wife be jealous that you show this side to us?

        • Greg G.

          You said you had good reasons for be living in the supernatural but you couldn’t give one. You offered beauty, love, wonder, and fear. Now you say you don’t even get a warm, fuzzy feeling and you don’t care so much about the truth.

          The questions you raise could be answered by any contrived myth. If you don’t have good evidence for your story, why take it any more seriously than the FSM?

        • testadirapa

          Beauty, love,wonder and fear are NOT fuzzy feelings. They are fundamental human experiences.

        • Greg G.

          They are fundamental human experiences.

        • testadirapa

          Yes, so don’t dismiss them as “warm fuzzy feelings.”

        • Kodie

          It’s where you wander off to from there that’s in the warm fuzzy territory.

          The questions you raise could be answered by any contrived myth.

        • Greg G.

          When they are used as support for the supernatural, they are warm, fuzzy feelings because they make you feel good. Pain is not the absence of pleasure and pleasure is not the absence of pain. Ugly is not the absence of beauty, love is not the absence of hate, wonder is not the absence of ennui, and fear is not the “fear of losing something that is perceived as positive”. They are human feelings that do not provide evidence for anything supernatural.

          If that is your best reasons to believe in the supernatural, you need not bother with your second best reasons.

        • testadirapa

          The supernatural …. again? I explained to you about ten comments ago why the concept of supernatural is quite meaningless. At this point I can just start cutting and pasting my old comments and enter an infinite loop.

          Good night!

        • Greg G.

          Right. You are just so coy. You won’t say what you are talking about. I don’t know what you believe. I’ll just let the word “god” stand for whatever you believe. It means nothing and is easier to type. Nobody needs to know or care what your belief is.

        • testadirapa

          I have been insisting again and again that taking one’s life experience seriously leads to religious questions, regardless of what one thinks about “god.” They are not easily answerable, but nevertheless a thoughtful person cannot just deny that he/she faces them.

          That’s all.

        • Kodie

          You’re implying that your comforting but illusory answers are a necessary conclusion to these questions, and heavily imply that atheists have not asked them hard enough or honestly enough to reach the same conclusions as you have. An intelligent person would recognize they are nothing but comforting and illusory.

        • testadirapa

          No, I don’t believe that at all. As for “asking enough and honestly enough,” some people do, some people don’t.

        • Kodie

          You’re being dishonest if you say you’re not making that implication. You keep asking us if we have any questions, the same kind of silly unanswerable questions that led you to find a god, and if we don’t, you ask again if we have any questions, like we must, we should, we have to keep asking those questions until we arrive at religious belief. Why do you think we never asked those questions? Why do you think we must still have questions? Why do you imply we’re not living life, appreciating or experiencing full human experiences, or change the text in your post from where it had said “intelligent” to now where it says “thoughtful”? You are heavily implying that “taking life’s experiences seriously” leads to open religious questions that can only be answered (plugged in) by religion.

          What if the answers to those questions is, wouldn’t it be great if it were true, but guess what it’s not. What are you implying now? That we have to keep making the effort to reach the great achievement of fooling ourselves? That’s the only way to be alive?

        • testadirapa

          Draw your own conclusions. I stand by what I said, not by your “implications.”

        • Kodie

          If you stand by what you said honestly, you know you’re making these implications.

        • testadirapa

          Not the way you phrased them…

        • Kodie

          Well then dare to say what you really mean.

        • Greg G.

          I understand that. But a god, a Tao, or an ineffable ground of being can only address the questions like another myth would. Using those are like people who go to the doctor who uses the latest methods medical science can offer and the patient considers it a miracle.

        • adam

          The most important thing when inventing a Tao is to make sure it’s invisible, inaudible, and imperceptible in every way. Otherwise, people may become skeptical when it appears to nobody, says nothing, and does nothing.

        • testadirapa

          I would rather keep the questions open, unless I find some better option than a myth.

        • Greg G.

          Why not keep the questions open until you find a reliable way to answer them? That’s what a person who cared about the answers would do. Otherwise, it appears that the myth is most important and the questions are just an excuse to believe your favorite myths.

        • testadirapa

          That exactly what I just said.

        • Greg G.

          A “better option than a myth” is a low bar to set. I recommended “a reliable way”. Yet you opt to believe in a myth unless you find a “better option”. I argue that the better option is to not believe in any myth.

        • testadirapa

          I don’t know what you are talking about. I never said I opt to believe in a myth. I said the exact opposite:

          “I would rather keep the questions open, unless I find some better option than a myth.”

          Obviously a better option than a myth would be what you call “a reliable way.” Are you looking for something to disagree about when there is nothing?

        • Greg G.

          You believe what you believe. You don’t call it a myth but you have no way to distinguish what you believe from the myths believed by others. You said you had good reasons for what you believe but you have only offered the same poor excuses that others have used to justify their myths.

          A myth can account for love, beauty, wonder, and fear in a teleological way but if the myth isn’t true, then its account isn’t worth anything. Science can explain those things adequately but not teleologically. Is that your problem with it?

          Why exactly did you bring those emotions up, again?

        • testadirapa

          What I believe is irrelevant to the argument I have been making, but this has gone on too long. Thanks for the conversation.

        • Greg G.

          Actually our conversation has been about why one would believe anything. I favor using the best means of understanding and you have favored also using bad, and perhaps impossible, means of understanding. We didn’t discuss your beliefs but the conversation was relevant to why you hold your beliefs.

          It was fun. Thanks! Enjoy!

        • Pofarmer

          Then, compare human expereince to the experience of the rest of life on this planet, compare and contradt and see how similar we are to all the rest of the mammals and primates on our pale blue dot. Research cognitive biases and evolutionary psychology. Let those religious questions pass.

        • adam

          “I have been insisting again and again that taking one’s life experience
          seriously leads to religious questions, regardless of what one thinks
          about “god.””

          Yeah, yeah, yeah, you keep INSISTING without demonstrating…

        • MNb

          That explanation doesn’t alter the fact that your god doesn’t belong to our natural reality, exactly because he/she/it isn’t observable. You can dismiss it out of hand, but the question how he/she/it interacts with our natural reality remains.

        • MNb

          Why “dismiss”? There is nothing wrong with warm fuzzy feelings. They just demonstrate exactly zilch.

        • MNb

          “I want to highlight the seriousness of certain questions.”
          That doesn’t mean those questions are relevant, let alone that religion can answer them or that they contribute to our understanding. AfaIc religious questions belong to the same category as “what’s the sound of green?”
          The only thing you do is “asking religious question is perfectly rational if they reflect our lived experience (including love, wonder, beauty etc. as I was describing earlier).”, not caring about the answers “Whether we can find answers is irrelevant to the reality of the questions.” and fall on your knees to worship an imaginary being. So Greg ir right:

          “You believe for emotional reasons.”
          Well, I’m happy for you, but I happen not to make that jump from your fuzzy feelings to that imaginary being, so shrug.

          “my wife always complains that I do not have one emotional, fuzzy-feeling bone in my body.”
          That’s what happens if you save your emotional, fuzzy feelings for your imaginary god iso your wife.

        • Otto

          It is impossible to know for sure that what we experience is all there is, but is there any reason to think or act otherwise?

          Seems to me this is all we have to work with.

        • TheNuszAbides

          To discuss abstractly with those who don’t seek is a waste of time.

          probably not even in the way you mean…

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

          So instead of admitting that your reasons apply only to yourself and wouldn’t convince anyone else, you declare your opponent to be closed minded.

          That’s a nice twist, though transparent.

        • testadirapa

          The reason I mentioned Kierkegaard earlier is that achieving conviction on religious matter (including negative convictions, i.e. atheism) requires a deep and very personal engagement with life. Many people seem to debate these matters with the attitude of a tenth grade debating society, just to score points for their team.

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

          Yes, much arguing is thoughtless, knee-jerk. If you aim to raise the bar, Godspeed. Or if you have suggestions for improving the quality of the debate, pass them along.

        • MNb

          Kierkegaard’s conclusion rather is “don’t argue at all”, so it’s not entirely clear to me what Testa is doing on your blog. It’s not aimed at him. I can’t remember you having any objection to someone being religious because of “a deep and very personal engagement with life.” I certainly don’t.
          Though we could discuss of course how that “deep and very personal engagement with life” works in daily life. But this is the point where believers like Testa usually remain silent. Which is also OK with me, but leads me back to the question: what’s he doing here?

          The only answer I can think of is something I noticed with many believers like Testa. They feel any criticism of christianity is automatically directed to them – and then without any further reflection make themselves the focal point of entire christianity.
          It’s exactly here that Dawkins made one of his good points: we don’t believe in your god either. To which I add that if we’re not talking about your (ie Testa’s) god you are free to neglect what we say.
          Sometimes those fans of liberal theology are even more annoying than fundies.

        • Kodie

          Christians like Testa think they’re special. It’s almost like, well, they agree that Bob’s criticisms are apt in the real world, but personally, is offended because how dare you make any generalization. “I’m not like those other people, my beliefs are authentic, I worked to achieve these beliefs the hard way, and how dare you diminish my beliefs by lumping me in with everybody else.”

          But it is an awfully common response from Christians. Typical, you might say.

        • adam

          “Let’s be honest here: nothing I could say would be a good reason for you and you know it.”

          Yes, LET’S be HONEST

        • adam

          “Let’s be honest here: nothing I could say would be a good reason for you and you know it.

          No simply NOT TRUE…

        • adam

          In the end:

        • testadirapa

          All my friends are very real.

        • adam

          Good to hear that you dont have a religion based on any of IMAGINARY ‘gods’

        • testadirapa

          I can’t stand ‘gods’

        • Kodie

          Why not?

        • testadirapa

          I exaggerated. Gods are OK as literary/mythological figures created by human imagination.

        • Kodie

          That’s all they are.

        • Kodie

          What’s crucial or difficult about it?

        • testadirapa

          If you have no questions, nothing.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i think the key word was ‘delicate’, as in “i won’t play because i don’t want to be mocked.”

        • Kodie

          Why would we mock them?

        • TheNuszAbides

          If you have several hours I can recount to you all my life experiences, the hundreds of books I have read, the people I have met, a lifetime of reflections, and why I reached certain conclusions.

          blogs can work wonders… or is that not your style?

          But these are private and delicate matters that cannot certainly be settled in a few sentences among strangers.

          oh, you tease!

    • Kodie

      Your religious beliefs don’t mean anything to me.

      • testadirapa

        And why should I care?

        • Kodie

          Because apparently, you’d like your delusions to be carried into law.

        • testadirapa

          Really! Quote me… where did I say such a thing?

        • Kodie

          It is hard to see how a “beautiful committment of love” is compatible
          with sexual expressions that objective violate the dignity of the human
          person as an incarnate soul.

        • testadirapa

          And how on earth do you interpret that to mean that I’d “like my delusions carried into law”?

        • Kodie

          The part where you bring up your status as a taxpayer. Mind you, your delusions are subsidized.

        • testadirapa

          Unfortunately paying taxes is no delusion!

          But if it makes you happy I will confess: I LOVE to have my delusions carried into law! Yeaaah! Happy?

        • Kodie

          Your church pays taxes?

        • Kodie

          Don’t tell me. I am against divorce and would gladly make it extremely onerous, or else eliminate it altogether.

        • testadirapa

          Yawn. I am still waiting for evidence that I want religion-based legislation.

        • Kodie

          I’m not sure how else one could interpret “I am against divorce and would gladly make it extremely onerous, or else eliminate it altogether.”

        • testadirapa

          Where does religion come into that? I can make a perfectly secular case about imposing penalties on those who break contracts, and nowadays civil marriage is mostly a contract.

          You, on the other hand seem obsessed with religion! Do you check under your bed before going to sleep if there is any lurking “religion” ?

        • Kodie

          As long as people like you use your delusions to infringe on other people, I plan to keep it up. Why are you against divorce? In other words, what business of yours do you think it is? Your religious business.

        • testadirapa

          Civil marriage has nothing to do with religion. It is a matter of secular law. If I am in favor of stronger contract law (say, for the sake of the children, or to raise the bar for fiscal benefits) I am entitled to my own opinion. You cannot prevent me from having my own opinions just because of you delusional fixations about “religion.” That would be Fascism plain and simple. Mind your own business, thank you.

        • Kodie

          Did you seriously accuse me of fascism?

          That says nothing at all about what my religion is for ME, and what YOU should believe.

          This is what you came here for, but what you really want is to leverage your religious beliefs into secular law by minding everyone else’s business, telling them what they should believe, and what their marriages are for them.

          Hypocrite!

        • testadirapa

          No, I do not want any such thing. I only want to be free to express my opinion without having some Fascist tell me that I cannot because you know better than me “what I really want.”

        • Kodie

          You announced loud and clear what you really want, a double-standard.

        • testadirapa

          And you announced loud and clear that you have not much else to say. Good bye.

        • Kodie

          Bye, hypocrite!

        • MNb

          Your freedom to express your opinion is the same as the freedom of anyone you decide to call fascist to tell you that you’re a hypocrite and have a double standard.
          If you don’t think so you can report the police, drop a complaint at the feet of the moderator or leave this blog.
          The fact that you want your freedom and want to deny Kodie hers without taking such actions shows that you’re a hypocrite and apply a double standard indeed, whether she’s right or mistaken.

        • Greg G.

          I only want to be free to express my opinion without having some Fascist tell me that I cannot because you know better than me “what I really want.”

          What you really want is the freedom to express your opinion without anyone having the freedom to openly disagree with you. You are a Fascist and a hypocrite.

        • Greg G.

          As far as the government is concerned, all marriage is civil marriage. The government licenses who can perform the ceremony and licenses the couple. Whether the couple attaches any religious significance to the marriage is no business of the government. The government gives tax breaks to married people and allows a spouse to make important medical decisions for the other. It can also step in to settle property disputes when they marriage ends. That may be the primary reason for the marriage license – to cut down judicial involvement in every emotional break up. The government even recognizes common law marriages but I don’t know if that includes tax breaks.

          Businesses are now respecting same sex couples for inclusion on health plans.Heterosexual couples must be married though. Shouldn’t same sex couples be force to marry to get health benefits, too?

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

      I am happy to grant you that religion is for many people a cultural custom.

      My work here is done.

      • testadirapa

        Your goals were rather modest.

        • Rudy R

          And your comment was rather lame.

        • testadirapa

          Basic logic is often not very exciting.

        • Rudy R

          You didn’t apply logic, you gave your opinion. A goal is the object of a person’s ambition or effort and as such is the person’s subjective aim or result. Don’t see the logic in how you can decide Bob’s goal.

        • testadirapa

          I was referring to the original comment, sweetheart, which Mr. Seidensticker ignored because “his work is done.”

          But since I can see you are more interested in sophistry than in any real conversation, let us put this to rest.

        • MNb

          Basic logic may often not be very exciting, you have problems understanding it.
          BobS didn’t ignore the original comment, darling. He quoted you and concluded that “his work is done” – because you confirmed his standpoint.

        • Rudy R

          My apologies. I thought we were in a real conversation. Agree, lets put it to rest.

      • James Raskalinikov Dean

        Bob, you say your work here is done.

        This time, as well as not deigning to look at the arguments you claim to be demonstrating as wrong, your work did not include proof-reading.

        What is your point? That you can write straw-man fallacies?

        • MNb

          “What is your point?”
          Yes, you seriously lack comprehensive reading skills. BobS’ point is that he totally agrees with “religion is for many people a cultural custom.” That’s the header of the article and the conclusion he argued for.
          Once again you have done an excellent job writing a silly comment. I cannot help admiring you for reaching unprecedented levels of silliness. Are you sure you’re not a reincarnation of Graham Chapman?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I’m wondering what Bob’s point is…

          What is his real work? He says he explores intellectual arguments for Christianity, but by his own admission he does not do this.

          He presents strawman arguments and attempts to show he has dis-proven the existence of God.

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

          What did I admit, now?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          you admitted you thought your time too short to examine the important argument in the Abolition of Man. I think you must know (?) the importance of the this argument. To treat it in such an inadequate way when you say you are in the business of exploring intellectual arguments for Christianity seems contradictory.

          If you are worried the book is too hard to follow there are a bunch of lectures and help guides on Youtube.

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

          you admitted you thought your time too short to examine the important argument in the Abolition of Man.

          Don’t stop there. That doesn’t even scratch the surface of tangents to track down and books and articles to read that I don’t have time to do.

          I think you must know (?) the importance of the this argument.

          What argument? C.S. Lewis on morality? Not all that important but important enough to write a post on. Which I did.

          I suppose to satisfy you, I should have you as my tutor, directing me on what to read? Maybe on what to think?

          I appreciate all suggestions for further reading but—news flash!—I won’t be able to follow up on every one. You conclude that therefore I have no interest in what Lewis thinks about morality? Knock yourself out.

          But the solution is obvious: you summarize the good points that Lewis foolishly omitted in Mere Christianity. You’re delighted to assign homework and then mock me when I don’t complete it to your satisfaction. Do a little yourself and tell us all about it.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I conclude from your saying that you don’t think it worth your trouble to read The Abolition of Man that you have no interest in what CS Lewis thinks about morality.

          The obvious solution you propose strikes me as odd. Are you really waiting for someone to tell you what to think about things?

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

          I conclude from your not having bought and read my two books about atheism that you’re not serious about this entire conversation. Come back when you’ve done so.

          Are you really waiting for someone to tell you what to think about things?

          I’m waiting for you to get a clue that your assigning homework and then whining when I don’t complete it to your satisfaction is out of line.

          That you don’t summarize the argument that’s so fucking important and overturns what I’ve said above suggests to me that it’s not all that earthshaking. Seems to me that I’m meeting you more than halfway by encouraging you to share your summary with us.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Bob, have you really written two books about atheism? Can I get them online for free? If so, I would love to have a read!

          I’m expecting the biggest laugh since Jimmy Savile’s God’ll Fix It.

          I notice you have now have started swearing. So you seem to care about something – I suspect it’s just yourself!

          That you didn’t notice that I have summarized CS Lewis’s argument suggests to me you don’t really care about it.

          But perhaps you’re right Bob. I have indeed slagged you quite a bit. Perhaps I should write an article as a response to your piece? Do you think I could get it published on here? Who would I talk to about it?

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

          Patheos is only for bloggers. Some will accept guest posts, however.

          I’ve read every response to you’ve made to a comment of mine. I remember asking quite a few times for your summary but don’t remember seeing it. But yeah–I’m sure that the fact that you’re getting way too close to home made me suppress the memory of your summary of Lewis.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Bob, when I said that CS Lewis argues that morality is not subjectively decided upon, not arbitrarily chosen, but exists objectively, this is summarizing CS Lewis’s book. As a premiss for this he cites seeing the same hand, if you will, behind all the sacred texts and things like that from all cultures, in all ages. He also raises his fears that his present age are attempting to deny the existence of what he calls the Tao. His fear is that the social engineers must replace the Tao with something – their own Tao. This is what you seem to be doing. No doubt touting your own reductionist views seems to you the right thing to do.

          Now, this, I have said a number of times. So it is odd that people keep demanding that I summarize the book that they cannot be bothered to read.

        • MNb

          “As a premiss for this he cites seeing the same hand”
          And you’re so silly that you don’t see the problems with this?
          a) If this is correct it’s neatly explained by Evolution Theory. I’ve already pointed out that CLS doesn’t like it as soon as Homo Sapiens is concerned. That’s of course he wants to use this “same hand” to argue for his god, which appears to be a god of a filled gap.
          b) If CLS had cared about science as you claim he does and had accepted the consequences of Evolution Theory he would have had to conclude that morality remains subjective – namely depending on Homo Sapiens.

          Like I already wrote a couple of times – CSL was a shallow thinker. But nobody will be surprised that a silly guy like you is deeply impressed.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I have talked about evolution, and the interesting suggestion that the Tao might be an illusion of consciousness, and it’s seeming universal quality might be merely the fact of it’s being a human phenomenon.

          CS Lewis, as has already been mentioned, believed in the theory of evolution. But it seems that he was not persuaded that it explained everything. And neither am I.

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

          An evolution denier, too? What fun! You’ll have to enlighten us on that topic as well.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          It would seem there is overwhelming evidence for evolution. But the question is, does it explain everything?

          The Phenomenon of Man has a lot to say on this. Interesting because I think Dawkins didn’t bother to read it.

          One of the observations is that evolution seems to have a direction – always towards an increase in mind. Until thought is born – in human beings.

          Did you deliberately use the word ‘denier’ because of its holocaust denier connotations?

          Just out of interest, I would like to know what you think about 9/11. One can tell a lot from a person from what they think about 9/11.

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

          Why is Phenomenon of Man a must-read?

          I think 9/11 was bad. Does that answer the question?

        • MNb

          I guess not. He probably wants to know who was behind it according to you. It’s just another silly mind jump of JRD.

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

          Yep. The obvious interpretation of his comments was, “Was 9/11 an inside job?” but I pray to the god that doesn’t exist that he’s not a 9/11 Truther.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I think it does!

        • adam

          “Why is Phenomenon of Man a must-read?”

          Probably for the SAME reasons his Abolition of Man was…
          .
          .
          .
          He DOESNT KNOW..

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

          That he replied to the comment without answering that question says a lot.

        • MNb

          Yeah, only seldomly has not-answering been more clear …..

        • Cognissive Disco Dance

          The Phenomenon of Man has a lot to say on this.

          You seem to be hitting all the right notes haha. Peter Medawar’s hilarious review of The Phenomenon of Man: http://bactra.org/Medawar/phenomenon-of-man.html

          Quote: “Later we are told that the ‘nascent cellular world shows itself to be already infinitely complex’. This seems to leave little room for improvement.” Haha.

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

          A nice addition to the conversation; thanks.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I’ve already read this. In fact I think Dawkins has read this too, and not read the original. Lets see if you can find a reductionist explanation for the constant increase in mind we see in evolution of life. Medawar doesn’t offer one.

        • Greg G.

          Before writing was invented, the human brain needed more memory and thought capacity as a survival strategy plus flexibility. The excess brain capacity allows people who think that the evolution of the brain was constant and directional to function and survive.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Greg, are you just making this stuff up as you go? Are you saying the invention of writing had an effect on the brain capacity, and mind of human beings? That it lessened memory?

          Do you get the thing about the constant increase in mind? you can trace through the fossil record a constant – an ever increasing brain size, as if this increase in mind were the great driver behind evolution, in some way.

        • Greg G.

          Humans didn’t have writing all the time the brain size was getting larger. That means they had to remember stuff and their lives depended on it.

          Domesticated animals brain sizes have decreased. The same has occurred with humans over the past 20,000 years.

        • Kodie

          It’s funny to think prehistoric humans never forgot why they walked into a room.

        • MR

          Honey, have you seen my spear? I could have sworn i left it right here… Oh, never mind, found it!

        • Heather

          You are correct, sir!! In the transition from hunter-gatherer to agriculture the human brain
          shrunk about 10% (our average height shrunk, too).

        • adam

          “as if this increase in mind were the great driver behind evolution, in some way.”

          What an IDiot cant tell the difference between ‘driver’ and result..

        • MNb

          “are you just making this stuff up ….”
          You sound exactly as Ken Ham, the infamous creacrapper from Answers in Genesis.

          “an ever increasing brain size, as if this increase in mind were the great driver behind evolution, in some way.”
          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          The sperm whale has a brain of averagely 7,5 kg. You have 2 kg if you’re lucky. So the mind of the sperm whale is 4 times as great as yours, according to your argument – which as always is nothing but silly.
          Among humans some great minds have small brains.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Have a little think about this MNb,

          The sperm whale, a creature you seem most enamored of, even knowing the average weight of its brain, is an evolved creature. It began as hydrogen atom, whatever they are. Imagine yourself tracing it’s evolution backwards, from now, to it merely being hydrogen atoms, and then nothing at all.

          Does it’s brain get bigger or smaller?

          Is this consistent? Does it get smaller, and then bigger again? And then smaller again?

          I think there is another thing you haven’t heard about. There is the brain size to body size ratio. And there is also the diminishing return thing. Given the way the brain works, the size of brain in what we call human minds seems quite optimum.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Wow, James. Things get bigger. So profound …

          Do you not get that your assessment of human brains is entirely anthropomorphic? Our brains are not the optimum size for echolocation, or flight, or the formation of hives, or communicating to our pods through songs in the water as sperm whales do.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          This is exactly the point raised in Phenomenon of Man.

          Of all the creatures on earth, the human has the highest brain to body size ratio – except the dolphin. The dolphin’s brain, however, is larger.

          I have read somewhere that it is thought one may get diminishing returns with ever larger brains, and that the human size may be optimum.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          What is exactly the point raised in Phenomenon of Man? That things get bigger?

          “the human has the highest brain to body size ratio – except the dolphin”.

          No. Mice have the same ratio as humans; many ants and birds have a higher ratio than humans, as does the tree shrew and the elephant fish. One wonders where you get your “facts”.

          Humans are amazing. So is all of life on earth.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          The brain size ratio I seem to remember I got from Asimov’s Guide to Science, and elsewhere. There is indeed more to it, and it’s even more interesting than i thought. Though the point still essentially stands, is stronger if anything.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          What point still stands? That humans have the highest brain/body ratio? You were wrong; they don’t. How does that make it “stronger”?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          http://io9.com/5890414/the-4-biggest-myths-about-the-human-brain

          I don’t know if you’ve read this. They talk about new work on the question, taking into account scaling, and neuron density. It seems clear to me the point still stands. It was too simplistically said before I think, but nevertheless I think the point still stands.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          What point still stands? This article (like hundreds of other popular science articles on the brain) simply shows that you were wrong about the human brain/body ratio being the largest.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          It shows more than that though Beau. It shows there is more to it than just body brain size ratios. But essentially the point stands. If you account for scaling the human body brain ratio is the largest. It’s also the most neuron packed.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Again, what’s your point? Humans are more amazing than other animals?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          This is where we came in about the phenomenon of man, yes, human’s are more amazing than other animals.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Well, that’s a matter of opinion. There are amazing abilities and adaptations in the animal kingdom that humans can only dream of having. But is there anything more to your opinion that humans are more amazing than other animals?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          We already mentioned that putting mind, and all its miraculous wonders in the same category as shit, and all its wonders was a category error, didn’t we.

          I have a feeling you’re going to start saying stuff like that.

          I think the qualitative difference in mind seems miraculous. The question I think isn’t whether there is anything more to my opinion, but whether it really is so miraculous, and what it all might mean.

        • Kodie

          I think the qualitative difference in mind seems miraculous. The
          question I think isn’t whether there is anything more to my opinion, but
          whether it really is so miraculous, and what it all might mean.

          But you’re not satisfied with an explanation other than the one you’ve already accepted, the one we’ve explained is bullshit, you love that bullshit. That bullshit gets sprinkled around making people stupid and gullible and unintelligent. So what does that say about your “category error”? There are whole farms of corn smarter than you are, because they are only satisfied with real shit, not fairy tales that deliver you your feedings but do nothing to nourish you in fact. What makes you think you’re qualified to participate intelligently in any conversations about this? You are unable to recognize how inadequate you are. You keep repeating assertions about how amazed you are, and that’s the end of the story. Nobody gives a shit. We’re asking you how you reasoned through what you’ve read and the conclusions you make – those conclusions you keep insisting are real and dodging criticism, derailing things while you accuse people of not reading things; we have no evidence that you’ve read them, only that you swallowed them whole and don’t have much else to say for hundreds of posts.

          Do you really think you’re amazing at thinking? Your mind is better than…. what? Who? You’re the culmination of the “direction” of evolution? What a load of lard you are in that jelly head of yours.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Kodie is right. You have poor reading comprehension. The “shit” comment was not about a comparison of mind and shit, it was about the basis upon which you elevated mind (on the basis of brain size).

          The larger point (which seems over your head) is that there are a plethora of amazing evolutionary adaptations that could be singled out from eyesight to echolocation to flight to hive communities to bioluminescence to coordinated predation – and the list goes on and on. Singling out the human brain as the “purpose”, “end result”, or “direction” of evolution is arbitrary and short-sighted.

        • adam

          “I don’t know if you’ve read this.”

          Why would I read anything recommended by a demonstrated LIAR……

          I mean look what ‘faith’ has done for you…
          You HAVE to LIE to represent your god..

        • adam

          ….

        • adam

          //

        • adam

          The most important thing when inventing a Tao is to make sure it’s
          invisible, inaudible, and imperceptible in every way. Otherwise, people
          may become skeptical when it appears to nobody, says nothing, and does
          nothing..

        • adam

          “I think there is another thing you haven’t heard about. There is the brain size to body size ratio.”

          By your own IGNORANCE, it is something YOU havent heard about…

          Brain to body mass ration
          human
          1:40

          mouse

          1:40

          Dolphins have the highest brain-to-body weight ratio of all cetaceans.[7] Along with them, primates and elephants have the highest value among mammals

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Adam I know I said I wouldn’t respond to your posts, but I was being a bit silly. Have a look at this – v interesting:

          http://io9.com/5890414/the-4-biggest-myths-about-the-human-brain

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          What did you write again?
          First:

          “an ever increasing brain size, as if this increase in mind were the great driver behind evolution, in some way.”
          Ie increasing brain size results in increase in mind.
          Which is wrong.
          Of course, as the good apologist you are, you won’t ever admit, so instead you switched to

          “There is the brain size to body size ratio.”
          Implying: increasing ratio results in increase in mind. Which Adam nicely debunked.
          What do you do now?
          You confirm that we are right without admitting it!
          This is in your article:

          “Myth #3: Human brains are the largest relative to their body size”

          Please note the word “myth”. Because you’re so silly I’ll spell it for you: m y t h.
          Here it means “falsified”.
          You yourself gave a link that confirms you’re dead wrong.
          BWAHAHAHAHA!

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          But it doesn’t prove I was dead wrong does it?

          It shows that there is more to it than a simple brain size and mind correlation.

          We can amend it to human beings have the largest brains for their body size among primates, and human beings have the most neuron dense brains.

          We are still left with the fact that the human brain stands out among all the others in interesting ways.

          But I thought all this was pretty clear from the article.

        • Pofarmer

          Some brains are better at different things. Even among humans, there are vast differences in brain capabilities. Chimpanzee brains, for instance, have better short term memory than we do. They can remember strings of complex sequences better than we can. The fact of the matter is, we really don’t know how much the human brain “stands out” because we really can’t access what other species know or experience because we can’t directly communicate with them. So, basically, all you are doing here is hand waving around a bunch of crap about how special humans are.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          relative
          brain size — even when factored into an an encephalization quotient —
          cannot be used as a reliable measure of neuron quantity across orders.
          By extension, it really drives home the point that brain size, body
          size, and the relationship between the two, are insufficient benchmarks
          for assessing cognitive abilities, and that such assessments could
          instead focus more attention on the total number of neurons that a species possesses.

          However, it
          also reveals two seemingly counterintuitive facts about the human
          brain. The first is that our brains are, to some extent, pretty
          unexceptional. They may contain 86-billion neurons, but that is precisely
          the number that you would expect to find (based on the scaling rules of
          primates) for a brain of its size; if you increased a chimpanzee’s
          brain to the size of a human’s, you’d find it to have just as many
          neurons as your own.

          And yet, it confirms that something about the human brain is undeniably special. Herculano-Houzel explains:

          First, the
          human brain scales as a primate brain: this economical property of
          scaling alone, compared to rodents, assures that the human brain has
          many more neurons than would fit into a rodent brain of similar size,
          and possibly into any other similar-sized brain. And second, our
          standing among primates as the proud owners of the largest living brain
          assures that, at least among primates, we enjoy the largest number of
          neurons from which to derive cognition and behavior as a whole.

        • Pofarmer

          And?

          Also, if you are going to plagarize, include your links.

          like this

          http://io9.com/5890414/the-4-biggest-myths-about-the-human-brain

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          This says there is something special about the human brain, compared with others.

        • Kodie

          It doesn’t make your point for you, you have to do that.

        • Pofarmer

          How so?

          From your source.

          “Similarly, the brain of a capybara — the largest rodent in the world —
          may weight over 70 grams, but their cognitive skills pale in comparison
          to those of a capuchin monkey, whose brain weighs just 50 grams.”

          You don’t seem to be reading the same article that I’m reading.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Perhaps not!

          The bit you just put up is about how brain size isn’t the only factor, as all brains are not the same. Some are more neuron dense than others. The monkey’s is more neuron dense, and it would seem that this is also a factor. Its mind seems more developed than the larger, but less neuron dense capybara.

          Did you read all the article?

        • Pofarmer

          Yep.

          Primate brains tend to be more neuron dense than some non-primate brains. But it states in the article that a Chimpanzee brain is as dense as a human brain, it just isn’t as large. Would a chimpanzee with a human sized brain have the Cognitive abilities of a Human? We don’t know. But you are the one here claiming there is something “special” about a human brain, while the article specifically says there’s not.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          The article asks that question about a scaled up chimpanzee brain.

          The point is, in one way there isn’t anything special about its being a human brain that has consciousness.

          It just so happened that it happened where and when it did in the part of the great evolving living we call human beings.

          Another point is that something seems to have happened when brain and mind reach a certain point, there is a qualitative change in mind. Thought is born. The universe is aware of itself in a new and deeper way. And, it seems to me, the universe, that is the parts of it where this is happening, human minds, is aware of the Tao, or of God.

        • Kodie

          What certain point are you certain about? Why do you think it seems that way to you, and no further explanation from you, so far in this discussion, how is this a valid argument? How is this articulating what what seems to you is the way we should agree to see it? Do you see? I’m only ridiculing you because you’re that ridiculous. I’m not trying to be mean or hurtful, but you don’t seem to have any understanding why that’s not an argument to support your assertions. No article you have presented, no nothing so far, has done the work for you to explain what you’re trying to say. You actually have to read and process the thoughts you’re trying to express yourself, and clarify it for us in a common language, not mind-reading what “seems” to you. That doesn’t make anything. As it’s been pointed out and you deny it, and accuse people of not reading it if they don’t finally agree with your assertions, CS Lewis book didn’t explain what you wanted it to, and neither do these articles about chimp brains and etc., seems to everyone else to contradict your assertions. I’m sure you think you know what you mean is coming across as if you’ve said it, but you haven’t, and it’s not.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I’m talking about the observation in the Phenomenon of Man. Evolution has a direction – always towards an increase in mind. And at a certain point this ever increasing mind undergoes a transformtion, like water reaching boiling point and becoming steam, or like a rocket achieving escape velocity. Life reached a point where the minds of a certain branch of itself were now so developed a new phenomenon entered the universe. Thought was born.

          I think maybe you missed me saying this earlier. It’s a problem I think with all the posts. It seems it gets to a point where the conversation gets too fragmented.

        • Kodie

          No, I saw where you said that a couple of times before. It’s the part where you don’t understand why that’s incomplete in getting your point across.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          You want me to put up a link verifying that it’s true that the fossil record shows an constant increase in mind?

          I took Chardin’s word for it while reading the book. I’ve never seen this point disputed either.

        • Kodie

          No, you are leaping to a conclusion about what that implies, and not articulating any reasons why. “It seems” is as far as you’ve gotten. You seriously imagine that you are keeping up, don’t you?

        • Kodie

          Evolution’s direction is adaptation to one’s environment for survival. Our brains’ capacity for cognition, memory, and innovation served our survival as a species. You are arguing for something completely different and unable to articulate how you arrived at your conclusion. I said this a while ago and you probably missed it, but being able to think of things that aren’t true is technically a plus, so we can follow interesting leads from that pile of thoughts, and arrive at a solution. Some of these leads end up as fiction that people take seriously. You seem to have followed some other dummy on that lead, but even religion, just like a hammer, is a tool. Someone recognized how useful it is to control people (and make a living) selling the afterlife to them.

        • adam

          “Did you read all the article?”

        • adam

          “This says there is something special about the human brain, compared with others.”

          What?
          It’s ability to dishonestly represent an IMAGINARY ‘god’.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I thought that was pretty clear that I hadn’t written it. The original link is above.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s never clear unless you include a link, or at least quotes.

        • adam

          ….

        • Greg G.

          Birds are quite intelligent but weight is selected against in birds so their intelligence might be greater than brain size would indicate. Crocodile brains would be selected for oxygen conservation so much of the dead weight would be removed by natural selection. I saw a documentary many years ago that showed an alligator feeding frenzy. A mother hippo nudged her small baby into the middle of it and the alligators immediately became docile. They seem to have more intelligence than you might think. They knew that the mother hippo would have killed them if they so much as looked at her baby.

          So, intelligence and cognitive abilities are not necessarily size related.

          Humans and chimpanzees are similar in size so the part of the brain that is dedicated to body function should be similar. Human brains are about four times the size of chimpanzee brains. But chimpanzees are very intelligent animals. So it might seem that the extra size of the human brain would be dedicated to cognition.

          Australopithecus brains were twice the size of chimpanzees. Human brain size evolved slowly but consistently from 1.25 million years ago to 250,000 years ago, adding 200 cc. Over the next 200,000 years, brain size increase 250 cc, simultaneously in two different human species and was probably limited by the size of the birth canal.

          Larger brains require more food and more oxygen so extra brain size must pay off in the acquisition of resources. Adding brain size is probably the fastest way to increase intelligence even if it doesn’t produce the most efficient brains. A human with a smaller, more efficient brain may be more intelligent than one with a larger, inefficient brain.

          Our ancestors were around for tens of thousands of years with the same brains we have but with no significant advance toward our civilization. Someone invented agriculture and the idea spread and it to improved. Someone invented writing and the idea spread. Someone invented the scientific method and knowledge increased exponentially.

          Somewhere in there, someone invented religion. It is hard to pinpoint when and where but it didn’t lead to the advancement of civilization. A religion may have developed about the gods providing for the people and planting your own crops would have made the gods angry so it held back agriculture. Of course we have no records of that nor what the religious reaction to writing was but we see that both of those were exploited by religion that required sacrifices that the priests ate and they had it written down.

          Our brain size alone is sufficient to explain our cognitive advantages over other animals. There is no need to invoke a soul to explain it. Invoking religion does more harm than good.

        • adam

          “But I thought all this was pretty clear from the article.”

        • adam

          No, you werent being silly, you were just being a LIAR…

          But then again, LYING is the VERY BEST that YOUR ‘faith’ prepares you for in presenting YOUR ‘god’

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Adam, I told you that I wouldn’t respond to one of your posts unless you wrote green banana at the top of it, hoping it stop you posting up annoying stuff. But it didn’t. I think it was being silly to say I wouldn’t respond unless you wrote green banana at the top.

          However, I think it isn’t worth responding, is it.

          How is the state of you ignorance on brain sizes and neuron density in different animals? Mine is less than it was.

        • adam

          Don’t worry.

          We ALL understand your NEED to LIE to represent the DISHONEST ‘god’ you worship.

        • adam

          //

        • Kodie

          Our big brains do quite a lot of imagining things that are not true. That’s an effect you cannot ignore!

        • Greg G.

          I will give that the human brain is the only biological organ that has ever named itself but our brains haven’t changed since those brains thought it’s main purpose was to cool the blood and that the heart did all the thinking and feeling.

        • MNb

          You can wriggle as much as you like, JRD, you wrote that “bigger brains hence greater minds” and that’s just silly.

          “Does it’s brain get bigger or smaller?
          Is this consistent? Does it get smaller, and then bigger again? And then smaller again?”
          Irrelevant for the correlation you propose between bigger brains, greater minds.
          Plus there is

          http://discovermagazine.com/2010/sep/25-modern-humans-smart-why-brain-shrinking

          “I think there is another thing you haven’t heard about.”
          As soon as you start thinking the result is silliness. This is no exception.
          Plus Adam underneath showed you wrong. Again.

          “the size of brain in what we call human minds seems quite optimum.”

          Given the fact that you haven’t provided a standard for “optimum” this is a circular argument. But that’s what you are an apologist for. What makes it special and typical for you is that it’s a silly circular argument. The weight of human brains can greatly vary:

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Are you suggesting there is not this constant towards ever larger brains? I think it merely that we didn’t go into enough detail. Seemingly, it is not only the size of the brain, but the quality – the neuron density.

          I think we are going to find it impossible to work out the neuron density of the creatures we only know through the fossil record. But what we know about their ancestors is surely going to throw up some interesting patterns.

          This paper is a bit more up to date than the one I’d seen saying the human brain was perhaps an optimum size. This paper argues the brain could get bigger before reaching the optimum size – the point where getting bigger no longer brings improvements.

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3973910/

        • Pofarmer

          Are you trying to get at something or just being a pain in the ass for the fun of it? If you have a point, just make it, fer Pete’s sake.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Oh you do this to other commenters as well … put words into their mouths. You’re the one “making this stuff up”.

          Greg did not say that our brain capacity changed when writing was invented, he said that our brain capacity existed and was necessary for survival long before writing was invented.

          As for brain size being the “great driver” behind evolution – hogwash! We humans are far outnumbered on this planet by bacteria, viruses, beatles, and a host of other creatures.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          No he didn’t. Just have a read. He said, before writing the human brain capacity needed and thought capacity as a survival strategy plus flexibilty. I asked him to clarify what he meant.

          I’m surprised you think the thing about there being more non human bits of universe come to life so meaningful.

          And surprised you seem not to understand that in the many ways life can expand, some can only go so far. I said this already.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          James, you should “just have a read”. Greg did not say that “the invention of writing had an effect on the brain capacity”, you have a problem with basic reading comprehension.

          There’s no accounting for what surprises people. I find the diversity of life amazing. You seem to be more interested in the “limitations” of life, as though you had any insight into what those limitations are.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          But we all have an awareness of the sort of limitations I’m talking about. Sticking with exoskeletons, along the exoskeleton way of evolution, the size of the creature is limited by the environment. They can only grow so big, and therefore, however wondrously complex they may become, they are never going to hold that much mind.

          But life evolves into everywhere, and it so happened that thought was born in human beings.

          I’m not especially interested in the limitations. I’m interested in the big picutre.

        • Kodie

          The size of the creature is optimum for their environment.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          yes, but it also limits the size their minds can be, or rather their brains.

        • Kodie

          Our brains are for survival. It’s all this is about. If it were about thinking amazing thoughts, you’d die instantly, but your brain is enough to keep you alive.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Well this seems exactly the heart of the matter Kodie. Is it really all about survival? Is this really the full picture?

          How is it then that we do think these amazing thoughts, and we do not instantly die?

        • Kodie

          See, you don’t see, your reading comprehension suffers, like it’s been held back at the 5th grade level. If survival relied on each human having amazing thoughts, you are bereft, so you’d die. You rely on others to do your thinking for you, and they’re not very good at it either. And you’re still alive, so thank opposable thumbs for helping you live as long as you have.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Thought was born in cetaceans before humans.

          If you think the human mind is the primary end result or “purpose” of evolution, you’re not seeing the “big picture”, you’re anthropomorphizing.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          But I’m not anthropomorphizing am I.

          I don’t think the human mind is the primary result or purpose of evolution. Thought may well have been born in cetaceans before humans, though the article published above sheds doubt on that… maybe they’re still bubbling under. A nascent sort of consciousness, like a half dream.

          It’s not that it’s human minds that it has happened it that is interesting, it’s not the human part that is defining this, what is interesting is that it has happened at all. It is the phenomenon that defines the human.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Well, who would argue that consciousness is an amazing phenomenon?

        • Greg G.

          But why think that humans are all that special. Look at how much we have learned in the past few centuries. Yet it took about 40,000 years from when our average brain size peaked to agriculture. All that brain power had to be useful for something or it would have been selected against, being an energy user. If our intelligence was something other than natural, there is no reason we wouldn’t have had today’s technology 40,000 years ago. The raw materials were under their feet all that time.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Did you ever see that movie, The Gods Must Be Mad?

          What were we doing for all that time? I don’t know that we weren’t doing things in some ways in a better way.

          People talk about a spiritual disconnection and stuff like that. The Tao seems to have been replaced by propaganda driven consumerism. Our thoughts manipulated to equate happiness, and all the good things of the Tao with things that aren’t really good.

          Also, about the 40.000 years ago. It really seems to me the time scale doesn’t matter. It happened when it did. It didn’t even have to happen then.

          And I think the changes in life on earth, the agriculture revolution and civilization, and now this new revolution, they are in a way changes of state, analogous to the the change in mind that occured when the brains in animals reached that point where thought was born.

        • Kodie

          You strike me as the kind of person who is so proud of your shits, that you call people over to look at them.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I’d call people over to have a look at you.

        • adam

          “I’d call people over to have a look at you.”

        • Greg G.

          I love The Gods Must Be Crazy!

          It seems to me that our scientific progress was unlikely but inevitable given enough time. If given enough time and tickets, you will win the lottery. But if the human brain had some soul attachment that makes it different than animals we should have progressed from the Stone Age to agriculture far more quickly, to writing more quickly, and to science more quickly. Religion has made people fear change. Even anesthesia for surgery was opposed for religious reasons because they assumed suffering was a good thing in some way or God wouldn’t allow it in the first place.

          The octopus seems to be quite intelligent. They can figure out how to open a jar to get the crab inside. Their ancestors may have developed a bit of intelligence before vertebrates evolved.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I don’t know either Greg. I don’t think any of it seems likely or inevitable.

          I love The Gods Must Be Crazy too.

        • adam

          Crazy loves company

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Last I heard, the agriculture thing came about not because of a change in brain, but because of mutation in a type of wheat.

          But I agree, it’s pretty amazing what human’s can do. It is like anything is possible.

          And it’s because of our minds.

        • adam

          “But I agree, it’s pretty amazing what human’s can do”

        • MNb

          The entire Universe is amazing – it’s even amazing beyond our imagination.

          http://www.viralnova.com/crazy-space/

          Not because of our minds.
          So that’s another open door from our shallow thinker, who has stripped his argument so much that it doesn’t back his religious worldview anymore.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Yeah, but I didn’t say the universe is amazing because of our minds, did I.

          I said we human beings are able to do anything. We are at present staggering ourselves. Technologists say we have passed the Omega point. Alan Moore says all bets are off.

          There is a qualitative change in the unverse, and it has happened in human minds. Because of this change in mind new elements have come into existence that would never have been there if not for the change in mind.

          I point this out because I think it is an indication of the scale of the change, the qualitative change that has occurred. For sure, all minds are amazing, crow minds, dog minds, swarm minds. But I see that something new has happened with the coming of human minds.

          Also, I have said several times I am not religious in the narrow sense that most people here seem to use the word.

        • Kodie

          You adore being a human because you’re a human. Do you think if other animals could imagine as much as you do, that they would wish to be humans? Humans are as much a cancer to the earth, so I don’t know exactly why you block that out and just focus on the neat-o brain thing. It’s supposed to be good for our survival, but let’s see. Most people are in favor, indirectly, of our extinction. They’re too dumb to accept climate change that humans caused, and too dumb to worry what will happen in the next century. Good thing a few brains in this world aren’t so fucking stupid, they might actually be able to save your ass from drowning, but you will give credit to god.

          That’s fucking stupid.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          If people really are dumb this is in no small part down the social engineering taking place.

          When you say human beings are a cancer on the earth, from what point of view is it that you draw this dark metaphor?

        • Kodie

          Can you elaborate more about this social engineering you keep yammering on about?

          I draw that from the point of view of humans. You’re interested in glorification and only point to achievements of humans. Objectively, we’re a parasite, a blight, we’re opportunistic like any other pest.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          When you say objectively we are a parasite, I don’t know what you mean.

          We are not like a flea living on a dog surely.

          Perhaps you mean it as a metaphor, I think this more likely.

          But it strikes me that the metaphor might be flawed, because it seems full of human value judgement.

          It’s seems very human to care about stuff so much.

          About the social engineering, it seems to me quite obvious that the ‘world view’ of much of the world is almost entirely controlled by a small minority. It would be these people and their agents that I am referring to as the social engineers.

        • adam

          ,,

        • Kodie

          How do you figure humans are not like fleas living on a dog? How do you look at humans and not see vermin using up all the resources on the vanity that our “intelligence” has afforded us? Mice, rats, fleas, look for an opportunity for a meal and don’t think “hey, this might belong to a human so I should look somewhere else.” They don’t think they are doing anything wrong, they don’t have the perspective to know they are a pest. They just take what they want, shit where they want, use up what they want.

          It seems human to think about it, and just like an animal to justify our existence as superiority without thinking about anyone but ourselves. Your superiority of the human species does a lot more damage. We have the alleged intellectual skills to reflect on how much damage we do, but do we think about it? Your thinking is like a mouse.

          I still don’t know what you mean by social engineering. It sounds like something you read off a conspiracy theory site and made you paranoid. I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. The closest I can think is the majority of theists who imagine the world going to hell in a handbasket and come up with ways to aggravate the situation unwittingly, because they’re so unwitting like that. When you believe in an imaginary being who requires certain superstitious behaviors, and you demand the world take notice of your fears, and try to enter politics on this horseshit, you’re driving the society in the wrong direction. Nobody that I know of is “engineering” anything. I think you believe in satan or something, that’s what you sound like, you think the world is leaving your superstitious delusions behind because of a minority influence. But because you’re not expressive or rational, that’s only my guess at what you’re trying to say. You still seem to think we can read your mind, or that everyone knows what social engineering is (the way you mean it) so you don’t have to describe this meatloaf coming from your cranial appendage.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          In parts of this you really seem to be arguing that point that there is something special about human beings – or more precisely that human beings are aware of something that other minds are not.

          Human beings are aware that what they are doing is wrong.

          Kodie, I think the world is so run so badly, so unfairly, I really can understand why people turn to fundamentalist thinking. I think the way things are done is satanic, but I am not a fundamentalist.

          That feeling that you have, that things are right and wrong, I don’t think it’s an illusion. One may as well call it God. That’s all I think I have to say about it.

        • adam

          ” One may as well call it God. “

        • Kodie

          As someone pointed out to you, which you don’t care, is that all creatures have something special about them, that’s why they’re species. You have a fetish about one particular quality, and no real sense of it. Lots of animals hold each other accountable, and know what is unacceptable. Your cognitive dissonance is, you fail to read and learn, you think something is true and keep hammering at it, even without reasons, you just think so.

          That’s not keeping up!

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

          Why pull the Dark Lord into this? The crappy nature of reality can’t be explained otherwise? Isn’t the natural explanation both sufficient and simpler?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I only put it in as a metaphor.

          But I don’t know if the natural explanation is more help. OK, for natural things like volcanic eruptions, I think we can expect to be able to look at things scientifically. But the darker things on earth, the things humans do to each other, I am not sure a natural explanation would be sufficient, and I don’t think it would be simpler. Also, of course, I do not think it would be without value.

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

          Of course a natural-only explanation would be simpler! There is no universally agreed-to evidence for the supernatural, so throwing that into the explanatory mix only makes things more complicated. And makes Occham cry.

          If you think that the natural-only explanation is insufficient, point out the gaps that likely won’t be explained by natural explanations.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I think it depends what we mean by simple. A fundamentalist might really believe a proposition like Satan is responsible for all the world’s evils.

          This is pretty simple, on that level.

          Whereas a scientific explanation for all the world’s evils would have to be far more complex.

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

          Sure, you can imagine that, but you’d be wrong.

          Introducing the supernatural into the conversation is insanely complexifying. Now you’ve got all the justification for that.

        • adam

          “Whereas a scientific explanation for all the world’s evils would have to be far more complex.”

          How so?

        • Kodie

          The natural explanation is that we’re animals, and this is something animals like us do – we’re selfish, short-sighted, opportunistic, and egotistical – things that not only come from being animals, but are, how you put it, “optimum”? due to our big evolved brains. That’s the natural explanation.

          I still don’t know what you meant by social engineering, by the way. I suspect that it still has something to do with illuminati or satanic cults or something, distracting everyone from your “objective morality”, the “tao” that’s not really tao, or god, or whatever you think humans ought to achieve. You really think otherwise, that we’d be better animals if not for this social engineering that you’re so vague about (like everything else you’re vague about). How about once explain in fine detail what exactly the fuck you’re talking about. If no explanation is forthcoming, I will maintain you’re delusional and paranoid. That’s a speculative opinion only you can change with information.

        • Greg G.

          When you say objectively we are a parasite, I don’t know what you mean.

          We are not like a flea living on a dog surely.

          No, it is more like we are a whole bunch of fleas on a dog, sucking so much blood that the dog is suffering, so much that the other parasites are not getting enough to survive.

          There is the Tragedy of the Commons, where a common field can be exploited by a certain number of livestock. But it is logical for an individual to take just a bit more, by grazing just one more cow, as it benefits him more than the loss to everyone else. But the same strategy is there for all. But when all employ it, the loss is devastating to all.

          Humans feed on cattle, pigs, poultry, and other domestic animals plus those taken from the wild. The arable land is dedicated to feeding those animals.

          We are deforesting the rain forests, destroying habitats.

          The human population continues to grow which displaces habitat for other species. At the current population growth rate, in a thousand years, humanity will outweigh the universe. Obviously, something will curtail the population growth before then but will it happen before the rest of the life on Earth has been replaced by humans?

        • Kodie

          Cannibalism doesn’t seem so wrong now, does it?

        • Greg G.

          Human veal will be a delicacy. Which will be in greater demand: organic human flesh or free range human flesh?

        • Kodie

          Don’t be silly, Greg. Factory farming got us that far, why would we change it?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Yes, I get that the way things are arranged on earth at present is awful – I don’t hesitate to say Satanic, I think it so bad it’s worth saying Satanic.

          But when Kodie says it is being objective to see it this way, I don’t really agree. It think it very human – a view informed by the Tao – to see it this way. I think we could even say we have anthropomorphized it.

          It must be a metaphor, because the earth is not really a living creature (?). And if to consume other living things, as all life does, is to be a parasite, then all life is in that sense a parasite. So what could it mean?

          I am very struck by how little nature cares. Nature does not have the capacity to care. Long before humans were around to care about things in the way we do nature cared about nothing. Supervolcanoes, asteroids, stuff like that it would seem regularly beat natural holocaust on the earth.

          Shall we call nature a parasite on itself?

          And have a google of overpopulation myth. Very interesting. Very scientific too!

        • Greg G.

          It must be a metaphor, because the earth is not really a living creature (?).

          Then consider it to be every form of life.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I thought that’s what you might mean. But life consumes stuff. Ok, nitrogen atoms don’t care they get incorporated into plants, or anything, but all life consumes. If it moves, it eats.

          If we consider it, the creature upon which man is a parasite, to be every form of life, that must include humans too. And must apply to all consuming creatures.

          So it’s a metaphor, which isn’t a problem for me, but I can’t call it the objective view.

        • Kodie

          Now take another step and apply that to your morality beliefs.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Please explain what you mean Kodie.

          I think you might be saying that morality is a metaphor, but I can’t be sure. I’m afraid I can’t read deeply enough into what you have said.

        • Kodie

          Humans are equivalent to parasites, you say that is a human perspective. What OTHER PERSPECTIVES are there?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I did not say that human’s were equivalent to parasites.

          And as for the suggestion that the human perspective is the only one – very interesting.

        • Kodie

          That’s because you’re in denial, and you’re a hypocrite. For purposes of “objective,” I threw that out there, and you said, and I paraphrase, “nuh uh, that’s a subjective view.” The universe doesn’t care what humans do to the earth, or to the animals, or to each other. Only humans do. So how would you clearly express in a way that morality might be a fucking dimension? Do you know how stupid that sounds? And you just keep repeating it without any reasons, not even terrible reasons. Please, give us some terrible reasons to talk about! That would drastically change the direction of the conversation.

        • Kodie

          Why don’t you explain to us these delusions you found on the internet. You are right, we shouldn’t care about the planet, who cares, you’ll be dead, we’ll all be dead, and the earth will still just be a planet in space.

          So I guess it is human, we want to survive? We want to take care of our home? But we’re animals, we don’t really think that far ahead or believe anyone who does. You prefer to dig your head into fairy tales and spout nonsense, assert blather with no sources or citations. If something is scientific that you read on the internet that should further the discussion, why are you avoiding your responsibility? That is not keeping up!!!

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eA5BM7CE5-8

          Do you not know how to use google?

        • Kodie

          I’m just sick to fucking death of your opinions. You just say something is weird or fascinating or strange. Nothing of substance. That’s not how you keep up.

        • Greg G.

          I don’t know if I want to spend an hour on that. What about the growth rate that would cause the weight of humanity to exceed the weight of the universe in a thousand years? There is only so much carbon on the planet. What happens when every carbon atom is part of a human. What are they going to eat?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Yeah, but this guy shows that that isn’t going to happen.

        • Greg G.

          Please sum it up. If it seems plausible, I check it out. Otherwise, I will never get that hour back.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          all over the world population increase is slowing. Public perception is otherwise. it’s slowing almost everywhere. He does like animated graphs and stuff. There is a correlation with poverty. If anything, it is clearly a poverty problem.

        • adam

          …..

        • Greg G.

          Thank you. Throughout history, most people have relied on their children to support them in old age. Having more children lightens the burden for each child and may well benefit one’s retirement. Retirement savings plans and pensions reduce the need for more offspring but that’s no option for the poor.

          There have always been poor people. Humanity has had to create wealth by appropriating natural resources but that doesn’t spread the wealth evenly. Today we have more ability to feed more people but it only results in escalating population growth. The world population has more than doubled just since I was capable of understanding the concept.

          China has tried to limit its growth but the rest of the world has ignored the problem. There is a finite amount of hydrocarbons that can be used as fuel for energy. OPEC set quotas for oil production for each country based on their oil reserves many years ago. None of the countries has ever lowered their oil reserves estimates from that amount despite filling their quota every year. If they lower their estimate, their quota is reduced accordingly. When we hit maximum output, I expect energy prices will soar and the standard of living of most people will be reduced. With less energy being more expensive, fewer people can be fed.

          Can we develop other types of energy in time? I think our population is already too big for any margin of error. Our economies are precarious. The population of the planet will likely be reduced in an unpleasant way. I’d like to live another 100 years and not see it happen though.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          You should watch that guy’s thing. I think a lot of what you’re concerned about is addressed.

          I don’t think there have always been poor people. I think it’s very much a phenomenon of civilization.

          Today we have the technology and energy to build a paradise on earth. We can look after everyone’s needs easily.

          Population is falling in the ‘wealthy’ parts of the world.

          It seems that the population problem is a poverty problem.

          or a political problem.

        • Kodie

          What “this guy”? He shows how? How do you know he’s not full of shit? Speak language!!!! It’s called keeping up, you can’t!

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

          What are they going to eat?

          Long pig.

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

          An hour-long video? Oh, I get it–we complain about this being too long, and then you get to say that we’re not serious about the conversation, right? You’re good at that.

          I don’t have an hour to watch your video. Summarize it for us.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Population growth actually slowing almost everywhere, falling in many places. Correlation between poverty and population growth. End poverty, end the population problem, which isn’t the problem the mediasphere says it is.

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

          I attended a lecture a decade ago at which a CIA demographer said that 60+ countries were already falling in population.

          My objection with the media is that this issue isn’t talked about enough, not that the facts about population growth are not told.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          You mean that they don’t talk about what the guy in the video was saying enough – that the population growth problem isn’t such a threat to our survival as it has been made out to be?

        • adam

          “that the population growth problem isn’t such a threat to our survival as it has been made out to be?”

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Adam, that’s a very strange thing to put up.

          I’m starting to think you might be a psychopath.

          I can’t imagine how anyone would put something like that up. It doesn’t follow on from what went before at all.

        • adam

          And yet you think nothing of being a psychopathic LIAR

          But we understand you have to be dishonest to properly represent this ‘god’ of yours…

          “I’m going to be straight with you. Unless you say, ‘GREEN BANANA at the top of one of your posts, I will never ever respond to anything you say again. You have to write it in capitals like that. I really mean it. If I do not see that at the top of your post I will act as if your post does not exist.

          This is a solemn promise, and you know I tell the truth.”
          Says Jame Raskalinikov Dean the Liar…

          So we KNOW what your ‘solemn promise’ is worth and that you DONT tell the truth…

        • MNb

          “I’m starting to think …..”
          Which is totally meaningless, because you haven’t the faintest idea what the word psychopath means. Worse – you don’t even want to.

          “the population growth problem isn’t such a threat to our survival”
          I actually agree with this. Kids like in Adam’s picture may starve by thousands or more, that isn’t a threat to our survival either. Our survival will be even guaranteed if the entire human population starves and only about 10 000 survive. That likely has actually happened already.

          http://io9.com/5501565/extinction-events-that-almost-wiped-out-humans

          You simply missed Adam’s point. Nobody is surprised. But you’re the emotionally impaired, because you’re not able to connect a lacklustre attitude like yours about population growth with starving kids like in that picture.
          Christian love sucks in a major way again.

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

          I’m not much interested in laying out the errors that’ve been made and clarifying them. Let’s just lay out the truth.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          What you fail to point out, James, is that “the guy in the video”, professor Hans Rosling, is praising the efforts of birth control activists and family planning educational efforts that are making a difference in helping impoverished populations avoid unsustainably large families.

          In other words this is a not problem to be ignored as though it doesn’t exist, it is a problem that is successfully being addressed by proactive birth control advocacy and education – work that Rosling insists (in no uncertain terms) must continue!

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

          So JRD is a strong advocate of birth control and family planning? Great to hear.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Yes – his use of this video is strictly apologetic. Picking and choosing what he likes without context.

        • MNb

          You are really determined at embarrassing yourself. You are also very good at it. You don’t even get that

          1. “Population growth actually slowing almost everywhere” is not an argument against overpopulation. When a place already is overpopulated growth slowing down still means getting more overpopulated.
          2. Population growth in itself doesn’t say everything – all those people want to become wealthy too. If all 11 billion people (the common estimation of the present day and almost 4 billion more than we have now) want to live like the average American the Earth will still not being capable of sustaining us.

        • Kodie

          That’s the assertion. Where are the supporting arguments?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          If you click on the youtube thing just above the guy shows you all his sources, he’s got animated graphs and stuff.

        • Kodie

          That’s not my homework, that’s yours, dumb ass.

          If you’re convinced, you have to explain it. We know you’re lazy and stupid, so what incentive does anyone have to follow your instructions so you don’t have to express in common language what you wish to convey to your audience? Because you can’t? MNb already said it’s crap by the first minute. I have trust in what he knows vs. what you know, which is nothing. That’s how it works.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I did bother to put it up there, and gave a little summary.

          It’s nice that you trust MNb, I suppose, but would you not rather just know for yourself?

        • adam

          “but would you not rather just know for yourself?”

          Why?

          Like with all your other subjects, you CANT make them even seem interesting or valid enough to even WANT to know…

        • Kodie

          All you said was that overpopulation was a myth, look this guy says so, and he has a lot of charts that mesmerized me into believing it’s true! What you lack is substance of any kind. Say who made the video, add it to your first claim of this subtopic, and reiterate at least some of the statistics that make your case – the first time you post about it. Don’t make people ask you to summarize and cite your sources. Don’t make people have to explain all the missing parts of your posts. Don’t defend being such an idiot – try to be better at this, even if you are wrong (and we know you are).

          I would rather not have to watch a whole video recommended by someone who is not a critical thinker vs. someone who is who could spot the lies in the video within a minute.

        • adam

          “End poverty, end the population problem, ”

          Hasnt worked for religion for thousands of years…

        • MNb

          You only need to see the first minute to get that overpopulation is a problem away. As there are lies, lies and damn statistics I have no doubt the rest of the video is about rationalizing it away.

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

          If the damage done to the whole weren’t so abstract and distant–if you had to pay to cost yourself, immediately–things would work out better.

          But no problem–we’re pretty smart. We can figure it out. We wouldn’t do something that we knew was stupid in the long run, right?

        • MNb

          “I don’t think the human mind is the primary result or purpose of evolution.”
          More shallow thinking.
          Evolution doesn’t have a purpose.
          Evolution caused the human mind.
          That’s the big picture. Simple and plain.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Don’t you think it’s a little too simple and plain?

          What is the human mind?

          What is the universe?

          I don’t see any of this answered satisfactorily with you simple and plain statements.

        • adam

          “I don’t see any of this answered satisfactorily with you simple and plain statements.”

        • Kodie

          This might be the last time I try to explain how poorly you express yourself, but this is a great example. You never answer these questions, you say “something weird” like we know what you’re talking about. We do, in some sense, guess what you’re getting at, but it’s not the same thing as you delivering the message clearly. You’re in awe, you find it strange, it “seems” to you, etc. You do not go deep into that thought and express it for yourself.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Kodie, if you are refering to what I said about the simple and plain explanation not being satisfactory, I think I put that clearly enough.

        • Kodie

          I think you don’t get it, which is why I call you illiterate. I tried to get you to notice how you put assertions out there and expect everyone to read your fucking mind. You think you are expressing yourself clearly? You have some complaint with how someone else expressed themselves “simple and plain” too simple and too plain for you? I call you illiterate because you simply cannot function as a reading participant in this discussion.

        • adam

          “But life evolves into everywhere, and it so happened that thought was born in human beings.”

          Wow, no other creatures or being ever had a thought….

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          ‘a dog knows, but man is the only animal that know that he knows.’

        • adam

          No, all kinds of animals know that they know…

          Just like we know that you are a LIAR..

          “I’m going to be straight with you. Unless you say, ‘GREEN BANANA at
          the top of one of your posts, I will never ever respond to anything you
          say again. You have to write it in capitals like that. I really mean it.
          If I do not see that at the top of your post I will act as if your
          post does not exist.

          This is a solemn promise, and you know I tell the truth.”

          LIAR

        • Greg G.

          I don’t know that I know that a dog doesn’t know that he knows. I had a dog that loved to play ball. When he wanted to play, I would say, “Where’s your ball?” He would look off into space for a second, then take off running to the other side of the house, or wherever, then come running back with the ball. It’s like he knew that he knew where the ball was after thinking about it. When he didn’t know, he would go into a search mode with much sniffing.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I don’t know Greg. It’s not like the dog is going beyond knowing where the ball is – which does, however, seem pretty miraculous to me.

          But I can’t ever imagine the dog thinking about known knowns, unkown known, etc, like that Rumsfeld thing. Or even just sitting there thinking about thought.

          It isn’t there sufficiently in the dog.

        • adam

          “But I can’t ever imagine the dog thinking about known knowns, unkown known”

          Yet you CAN imagine:

        • adam

          “It isn’t there sufficiently in the dog.”

          Not for someone as IGNORANT as YOU, of course.

          But regular people who have empathy INSTEAD of a pathetic IMAGINARY god do…

          http://www.care2.com/causes/dogs-who-mourn-meet-4-who-openly-grieved-the-loss-of-their-humans.html

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          So you’re saying it’s empathy, or a pathetic imaginary god. And people with empathy do something.

          did you put that little quote above up perhaps subconsciously? Is it an error of yours to just keep posting shite?

        • adam

          You are a demonstrated LIAR.

          But we understand you have to be dishonest to properly represent this ‘god’ of yours…

          “I’m going to be straight with you. Unless you say, ‘GREEN BANANA at the top of one of your posts, I will never ever respond to anything you say again. You have to write it in capitals like that. I really mean it. If I do not see that at the top of your post I will act as if your post does not exist.

          This is a solemn promise, and you know I tell the truth.
          Says Jame Raskalinikov Dean the Liar…

          So we KNOW what your ‘solemn promise’ is worth and that you DONT tell the truth…

        • MNb

          “But I can’t ever imagine …..”
          And then apologists like you complain that atheists lack imagination …..

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          OK, MNb, I can imagine this. But I would have to be imagining a fantasy dog.

          Have you ever had a dog?

        • adam

          “But I would have to be imagining a fantasy dog.”

          No you would just have to be honest and less ignorant…

          Both apparently beyond your wants and desires…
          or capability

          http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/nature/animal-morality.html

        • Greg G.

          But the dog knew that he knew where the ball was because he would run directly to it, even when it was on the other side of the house. If he didn’t know, he would go into a search mode. If he knew immediately where the ball was, he would take off immediately. Sometimes he hesitated as if he had to remember, before taking off in a run.

          He once chewed through the basement door (it was a cheap luan door) when I left him there when I went to work. He knew he didn’t want to be there.

          His grandmother was sharp, too. I would ask, “Where’s that cat?’ and she would look around but if I said, “Where’s the bird?” in the same tone, she would look up. But she would also look up when I asked her, “Where’s the dead bird?”

          Animals probably have thoughts we cannot imagine. They experience the world differently. We have thoughts that animals cannot comprehend. We have larger, more complex brains that have great flexibility but is subject to more errors. Our brain is different and we think differently. I think there is a direct correlation. You seem to exaggerate the differences in thought to arrive at the conclusion you want.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          But I still feel, and sincerely not wishing to take anything from the cognitive abilities of your dog, or any other animals, that the dog only knew where the ball was.

          I don’t think a dog has the ‘meta-thought’ capability to think about thinking. To know that it knows.

          I’m not trying to arrive at any conclusions, I am trying to figure out what’s going on.

          Something weird has happened with human beings. No other animals have started space programs. Ants, as GK Chesterton says, do not build statues to remember great ants.

        • adam

          “I don’t think ”

          Yes, we know you dont think….

          You are just here to be deceptive.

          And of course LIE

          http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/nature/animal-morality.html

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Adam, when a thing from you comes up, I don’t know why, maybe the black in the je suis charlie thing, but I imagine some really kitsch death metal music coming on, and I hear your words in that sort of voice, but a bit more glam rock maybe. I suppose it’s a sort of synasthesia.

          And of course LIE!!!!!!! I really hear the dischords coming in here.

          Do you know what the Bible is?

          When you say wrong, what do you mean by wrong?

          and as I say, do you even read these memes? Where do you get them from? Is there a website that pumps them out?

        • adam

          No it is just the cognitive dissonance of you being exposed as a FRAUD…

          But we understand why you HAVE to LIE and be deceptive, it has to do with the kind of ‘god’ you worship that REQUIRES deception…

        • Kodie

          You ever think, jeez humans are vain. No other animal bothers to celebrate their own existence.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          It’s not that other animals simply don’t bother to it though is it? it isn’t within them to do such things. They do not have minds like humans. Which, as you suggest, is not all bad perhaps.

        • Kodie

          You don’t know how they process thoughts and what’s a priority for them.

        • adam

          ” They do not have minds like humans. “

        • Rudy R

          Dogs are very good at what dogs do. They have no reason, from an evolutionary standpoint, to develop brains that require cognition greater than what they have presently. All animals have to adapt to their environment or they become extinct. Because human’s ancestors had no physical characteristics that could help defend themselves against other animal attackers, they developed greater cognition skills than their attackers. Now I admit, this example is very simplistic and our evolutionary cycle is much, much more complicated.
          I agree with Kodie, that there is nothing that suggests humans are at all any “better” than any other animal. Human’s capacity to outwit all other animals has done great damage to the animal kingdom and their environment.

        • Greg G.

          When my dog wanted to play, his attention was focused on me or the toy. When I asked him where the ball was, for a second or two, his attention was not on me or anything in the vicinity. It seemed that his attention was on his memory and had to work through some things. He then ran to where he had dropped it near the car the day before when I took him somewhere. He didn’t know immediately where the ball, then he remembered, and knew that he knew where it was.

          What does Chesterton know about ants? They build functional monuments for their queen.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I agree the dog is thinking. He’s remembering, I’ll go along with all that, but I still he is incapable of thinking about thinking that humans can. It’s like he’s completely colour blind. He simply cannot see colours.

          And about the ants building a functional monument to their queen – isn’t this anthropomorphizing them? Monuments and queens are human ideas.

          And would not Dawkins say the ‘monument’ was designoid?

        • MNb

          “still he is incapable of thinking about thinking that humans can”
          So what? We are incapable of running like dogs can, of hearing like dogs can, of flying like bats can.
          Something weird has happened with dogs and bats. Something weird has happened with all species. By definition – that’s what they are species for.
          It’s funny how you christians – I refer to your Chesterton quote – claim to be humble ‘cuz Jesus preached it and the next moment are so arrogant to maintain that you’re special.

        • Greg G.

          Dogs can think about smelling in ways that humans cannot.

          Ants do all the work so the queen can reproduce. Ants don’t call her a queen but their loyalty goes way beyond what a human could muster. I’m not making a case that ants are like humans, I am responding to what you claimed Chesterton said. Building a monument is one thing. Building the Taj Mahal is something grander. But devoting one’s life to serving the reproducer of the colony is far beyond that quote.

        • adam

          ‘a dog knows, but man is the only animal that know that he knows.’

          But YOU are a demonstrated LIAR….

          So nothing you write has any good meaning, except to perpetuate your deception…

          https://duckduckgo.com/?q=dogs+mourn&t=ffsb

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          you see, this meme you’ve put up here makes me think you just put ‘lie’ into a search thing.

          did you really mean to put this up?

          Nice quote though! Thanks!

        • adam

          ” makes me think”

          If ONLY it were true….

        • MNb

          “it so happened that thought was born in human beings.”
          As the good faithful apologist you lack the imagination to accept anything beyond the false dichotomy “now something isn’t there and suddenly, a moment later, it is.” Your shallow thinking never developed beyond Bronze Age “and God said ….” kaboom.
          Thought – mind – evolved gradually, step for step. So it’s a spectrum. Do dogs have minds? To some extent. Exactly what we would expect according to Evolution Theory. If “Goddiddid” we would expect a sudden jump – at moment t mindless beings, at moment t + 1 mindfull beings. That’s not the case.
          And that’s why you are wrong and Evolution Theory is correct. Until proven otherwise with empirical data.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Chardin writes about all this, the gradual emergence. Chardin and CS Lewis, whose arguments I have mostly been putting forward, for I am persuaded by them, did not think the theory of evolution was incorrect.

          I don’t think Bronze Age thinking was shallow. Or even, in principal, unscientific. They figured out bronze, and bunch of other stuff for instance. Have you ever read Homer? That’s the Bronze Age he’s writing about.

          you put this: If “Goddiddid” we would expect a sudden jump – at moment t mindless
          beings, at moment t + 1 mindfull beings. That’s not the case.

          I don’t think anyone has claimed that God made minds suddenly appear, any more than eyes suddenly appeared.

          The universe, however, seems to have suddenly appeared. Just dust. And from that, this. Very odd.

        • adam

          “I don’t think Bronze Age thinking was shallow.”

          Of course YOU dont…

        • adam

          “I’m surprised you think the thing about there being more non human bits of universe come to life so meaningful.”

        • adam

          “Greg, are you just making this stuff up as you go?”

        • Rudy R

          You presuppose that this so called “increase in mind” has been proven. But in fact, it hasn’t even left the hypothesis stage. And to claim that there isn’t a reductionist explanation for the mind would suggest that the mind existed prior to inception, or for that matter, the evolution of the brain. Funny thing about the mind, or consciousness, is that it’s generally regarded that a baby isn’t sentient until about two years old. And where is this increasing mind for the tribes in Papua New Guinea?

        • Cognissive Disco Dance

          I’ve already read this. In fact I think Dawkins has read this too, and not read the original. Lets see if you can find a reductionist explanation for the constant increase in mind we see in evolution of life. Medawar doesn’t offer one.

          Therefore: 1) The Phenomenon of Man is the greatest thing since sliced bread. 2) Medawar is completely off his rocker I guess.

          Otherwise I don’t know what your point is. 😀 It’s a dodge. Barely relevant, if at all. And I don’t know what you mean by “reductionist” but I have this feeling that the people you think are “reductionists” aren’t anywhere near being one. You probably actually mean something like “scientist” lol.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Ah, and here you repeat the same lie to bolster your argument: Dawkins did read “The Phenomenon of Man”, years before he read Medawar’s critique of it.

          As for your silly demand for a “reductionist” explanation for the constant increase in mind, you could ask the same question about the constant increase in immune systems, flight muscles, eyeballs, teeth, or virtually any evolved trait. With that logic, you could actually make a better argument that the purpose of the universe is to create shit.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          How do you know Dawkins read it? I’ve never heard him mention it in his books, except in the God Delusion, where disappointingly he brushes it aside with the joke line from the famous Medawar review. I’m not saying what you say is wrong, because I would be surprised if Dawkins hadn’t read it, just wondering how you know.

          And for the other thing, in the Pilgrim’s Regress, I remember a bit where the pilgrim is imprisoned, and one day the jailer brings him some milk to drink, and says, if you consider consuming other emissions from the animal you will see that our relations with the cow are not delicate. And then the pilgrim is free, for he realises his jailer is in error. I think you make a similar error in saying that phenomenon of mind in the universe is the same as the phenomenon of shit.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          How do I know Dawkins read “Phenomenon of Man”? Because he said he did! In a 2012 conversation with Daniel Dennett, among other places (I already told you this in another comment and provided the link).

          You, on the other hand, claimed twice that you didn’t think he’d read it:

          “The Phenomenon of Man has a lot to say on this. Interesting because I think Dawkins didn’t bother to read it.”

          Though you now change your tune saying you would “be surprised if Dawkins hadn’t read it”. You seem to have a habit of just making up garbage that suits whatever point you want to make. That’s called lying.

          Shit is not for human consumption, but it has enormous value in the recycling of biological waste across the spectrum of life. The point (which seems to fly over your head) is that mind is not the only amazing result of evolution in the world. It is one of many.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Yeah, sorry Beau, I missed where you said he said it earlier. Thanks for posting that up. I will have a watch.

          I would have thought it very likely that Dawkins would have read the Phenomenon of Man, but, as I say, since he had nothing to say about it in The God Delusion, where one might have hoped he would address the arguments, all he did was repeat the joke line from the Medawar review. So this made me think he hadn’t read it. You say he says he read it as an undergraduate.

          I never make stuff up Beau.

          Why would one bother?

          Mind can indeed be lumped in with everything else if you wish. But it bothers me that there seems an important difference between mind and shit. Maybe this difference doesn’t bother you. Maybe you do find shit as amazing as mind.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          You insulted Dawkins more than once by tossing out the idea that he criticized the Phenomenon of Man without reading it. If you don’t think that’s making stuff up, you have a problem with honesty.

          Indeed, “why would one bother” to make up this idea about Dawkins? Why did you? It’s one thing to get facts mixed up. Using falsehoods to insult or criticize someone that you don’t like is a whole other level of dishonesty.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          i said what I thought, and made it clear that it was only my own opinion. This is not making stuff up.

          And I do like Richard Dawkins. Not as much as used to though. It seems to me he’s really sold out.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          No, James. Making a completely false statement about a person in order to denigrate him is not expressing an “opinion”.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Well now Beau, if what you are saying is true, you are it seems to me describing yourself, because what you are saying about me is false.

          I don’t really care, and would not go so far as to have a fit of pomposity as you seem to be doing and start calling you a liar, but that’s just me.

          Show me where I made this false statement, and make yourself look a little foolish.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          So now you want to deny that you claimed Dawkins “didn’t bother to read” The Phenomenon of Man?

          “The Phenomenon of Man has a lot to say on this. Interesting because I think Dawkins didn’t bother to read it.”

          It is not a “fit of pomposity” to point out what you keep denying.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I said ‘I think’

          It’s there, you yourself put it up.

          And I’ve told you why I thought that.

          Don’t you think it a bit odd that Dawkins didn’t refute the arguments?

        • Kodie

          I don’t find it odd that he put what he wanted in his book and didn’t go off on some hobby horse of yours to satisfy your requirement that everyone read such and such a book. You really don’t know how arrogant and awful you are.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          You have a really skewed idea about what constitutes opinion. What would you think of someone who skimmed this site, then went off to another blog you weren’t watching to write “James Raskalinikov Dean is praising Lewis and de Chardin, and I don’t think he’s even bothered to read them.”

          Why should he “refute” it? He only references the book, then references a great critique of it. I’m sure there are quite a number of weak treatises that Dawkins does not waste his time “refuting.”

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I don’t think my idea about opinion is skewed.

          If someone did what they did, worded as you worded it, I would think they were expressing their opinion.

          It seems to me that Dawkins spends a lot of time refuting weak arguments. Why are there still monkeys? Dawkins often deals with stuff like this. What use is half an eye?

          de Chardin’s point about the case for saying evolution has a direction towards mind is surely worth tackling.

          Incidentally, I have another theory about Dawkins. I think he was influenced by Medawar’s style. Maybe he knew him. Just speculation.

        • Kodie

          How many lies have you made up to justify your opinion of Dawkins? You keep coming up with these ideas but just no evidence to back them up, all these contradictory opinions about Dawkins and why he didn’t specifically dig in to a book you like (what’s that book say? Do you know?).

          Please stop making speculations. How many more stupid things have you got up in that attic of yours?

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          There is only one reason that Dawkins spends time on such idiotic notions as “why are there still monkeys”, and he explains it in his introduction. It is because such ideas are prolific. As for the idea that evolution has “direction” and “purpose”, Dawkins does address this conceit in his book. “Phenomenon of Man” adds nothing of substance to the questions Dawkins is addressing “The God Delusion”, and for those who think it might, Dawkins references an excellent critique of the book by a Nobel winning scientist.

          The criticism that Dawkins is addressing “low-hanging fruit” in “The God Delusion” is common among apologists. That criticism fails to recognize (as Dawkins makes clear), that a large percentage of the population believes this low hanging fruit, and the results are such movements as those that push ID or young-earth creationism in the classroom (as often happens in my home-state of Texas).

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          You say Dawkins addresses the ‘idiotic notions’ because they are prolific.

          This is something that really bothers me about Dawkins. There are all sorts of ‘idiotic notions’ that are prolific that he doesn’t talk about. There are so many clearly illogical things about the way things are done on earth and he never has anything to say about any of them.

          Why isn’t he more outspoken about monarchy for instance? I’m sure you can think of other things you might expect him to be oustpoken about, if it really were prolific ‘idiotic notions’ at the heart of it.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Ah … because this is a book about religious delusion … and specifically religious delusions that have an impact on the sciences that are Dawkin’s life’s work.

          Good Lord, do you want list every problem in the world that one author doesn’t address in one book? How is that a useful criticism?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Yes, he should have called it the religion delusion, but I think all such delusions must impinge upon his work? He also is inclined to go on about it is truth itself that motivates him, and stuff like that.

          But I guess he makes his own choices.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Nonsense. He wrote a book about delusions with a direct and specific impact on education in his own field.

        • adam

          “Why isn’t he more outspoken about monarchy for instance? ”

          Why aren’t YOU more honest?

          Well, when representing a dishonest ‘god’ you HAVE to be dishonest…

        • adam

          But you dont THINK, you DECEIVE

          But you represent the god of DECEPTION, so you HAVE to DECEIVE…

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          You’ll have to quote me Beau.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Really? You can’t keep track of your own statements?

          “The Phenomenon of Man has a lot to say on this. Interesting because I think Dawkins didn’t bother to read it.”

          “I’ve already read this [Medawar’s review]. In fact I think Dawkins has read this too, and not read the original.”

          Clearly, what you “think” about Dawkins isn’t worth much.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Well there’s a logical fallacy.

          Moreover, it was clearly my opinion.

          Like you said, he says he read it as an undergraduate. I wonder in what spirit and how closely he read it. As I say, I’m going to have a watch of that interview you put up. Do you know where it is it comes up? Don’t worry if you don’t cos I don’t mind watching it all, I would have just had a quick look.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          What’s the logical fallacy?

          And it was clearly an uninformed opinion, though you now want to dig yourself in deeper by wondering “in what spirit and how closely he read it”.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I suspected Dawkins had not read the Phenomenon of Man.

          It would seem I was wrong about this.

          It is a fallacy to think that I would also be wrong about other matters relating to Dawkins.

          ‘Clearly, what you “think” about Dawkins isn’t worth much.’

          This really suggests that not only my thoughts about his not having read the book were not worth much, but that my thinking in general may not be worth much.

          And I’m not digging myself in anything, am I?

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Really, James, you think I was basing that statement on one falsehood?

          You misunderstand me. I am stating that nothing you have said about Dawkins on any comment on this blog is worth much.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I haven’t really said much about Dawkins, so yes I did think that.

          In fact, I’ve said I like Dawkins and think he’s good on evolution. But as you say, it’s just my opinion. He might actually be crap on evolution.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Fortunately, I don’t have to depend on your opinion of Dawkins, I’ve read most of his books myself, and found them fascinating, informative, and well documented; in this I agree with virtually everyone in his field that he is among the foremost authoritative writers on the theory of evolution today.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          One wishes he would stick to writing about evolution.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Not this one. Or the millions who have bought the God Delusion.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Yeah, the God Delusion, that was a fun book.

          Wouldn’t you rather he had done something more like the extended phenotype though?

          He seems to spend so much time arguing against absurd arguments I fear he’s neglecting what he should be doing.

          Actually, I think he’s gone a bit nuts with his own success. Have you seen him on twitter? I had a look. He’s always going on and on about himself. And he seems completely obsessed with religion.

          I have, of late, started to think he might be a psychopath.

        • adam

          “I have, of late, started to think he might be a psychopath.”

          Says one who should know…

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          No, I don’t “prefer” Dawkins do any other writing than exactly what he’s done, and what a moronic notion that you think you have the erudition to suggest what he write.

          I do look at his twitter posts from time to time. His thoughts are far more cogent than anything you’ve offered on this blog.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Easy Beau. I’m just saying he should stick with what he’s good at. And he’s gone nuts. And he might be a psychopath.

          Man, I guess I’m a bit worried about him.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Easy? I’m easy. You’re the trollish numbskull calling an award-winning scientist a psychopath.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I’m saying I’m thinking he might be. His narcissism seems indicative of it.

          Have you looked into psychopathy much? Very interesting.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Clearly you don’t want to be taken seriously anymore, now that you’ve sunk to tossing out buffoonish nonsense.

        • Kodie

          It’s my favorite when literate people have done someone the extended favor of taking them so seriously, they actually argue with what that person thinks they are expressing clearly, so giving that person the impression they are being taken seriously, and are happy with how clearly they believe they are expressing themselves, and then, because that person doesn’t understand how conversations work, how debates, even, work, just takes it for granted that his opinions and impressions are necessary to the conversation. I have actually gone out of my way to describe in excessive detail what is the matter with Jimmy and Jimmy’s style of “expressing” himself, as if he matters, and he doesn’t care to understand just how much he’s lacking in literacy, honesty, and frankly, social skills.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Are you keeping an open mind there Beau? One percent, apparently, of all people are psychopaths. A couple of prominent noticeable ones in the mediasphere recently include, for my money, Lance Armstrong, and Jimmy Savile. They tick all the boxes.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          No, James, I think you’re on the wrong track here in your self-diagnosis, though I’ll try to keep an open mind about your psychopathy. I think the simpler diagnosis is that you’re an idiot.

        • adam

          ” And he might be a psychopath.”

          Speaking of psychopaths

          But we understand you have to be dishonest to properly represent this ‘god’ of yours…

          “I’m going to be straight with you. Unless you say, ‘GREEN BANANA at the top of one of your posts, I will never ever respond to anything you say again. You have to write it in capitals like that. I really mean it. If I do not see that at the top of your post I will act as if your post does not exist.

          This is a solemn promise, and you know I tell the truth.”
          Says Jame Raskalinikov Dean the Liar…

          So we KNOW what your ‘solemn promise’ is worth and that you DONT tell the truth…

        • Kodie

          You’re so worried, you label him with a mental illness because you can’t fathom that someone might have a different thought than you do? That someone might become famous writing books about atheism and called your faith a delusion? You are deluded in many, many ways.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I don’t think he has a mental illness. When I say he’s gone nuts on his own success, I mean it as a metaphor. He’s probably started to believe the hype. And Psychopathy is not a mental illness, if he is a psychopath. I’m not saying he is, but his behavior suggests he could be.

        • Kodie

          How is a disorder of the brain not a mental illness, you idiot. You mean it as a metaphor? You are not being relevant. You are shooting your mouth off about your impressions again, you don’t like what he writes about so you find some fault with his personality. Ad hominem. A relevant thing would be to tackle something he’s actually written, but you can’t do that. Brag about how you think you’re doing, but this is far behind “keeping up.”

        • adam

          ” And Psychopathy is not a mental illness, if he is a psychopath. ”

          psy·cho·path
          ˈsīkəˌpaTH/
          noun
          noun: psychopath; plural noun: psychopaths
          a person suffering from chronic mental disorder with abnormal or violent social behavior.

          I.e. LYING and DECEPTION, YOUR hallmark

        • MNb

          Well, well, our shallow apologist rejects some more science …. this time psychology is butchered.

          https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mindmelding/201301/what-is-psychopath-0

          Of course he also wipes the lower end of this digestive system with Matth. 7:1, displaying all his christian love.

          From this point on we can safely discard everything this ignorant claims about consciousness. This is not silly anymore, this is deliberately stupid.

        • adam

          Interesting from your link:

          “Psychopaths, and to a degree, sociopaths, show a lack of emotion, especially the social emotions, such as shame, guilt, and embarrassment. Cleckley said that the psychopaths he came into contact with showed a “general poverty in major affective reactions,” and a “lack of remorse or shame.” The PCL describes psychopaths as “emotionally shallow” and showing a lack of guilt.”

          No shame or guilt for LYING and being DECEPTIVE.

          Ranging from what the PCL describes as “glibness” and “superficial charm” to Cleckley’s “untruthfulness” and “insincerity,” to outright “pathological lying,” there is a trend toward devaluing speech among psychopaths by inflating and distorting it toward selfish ends. ”

          Since he worships a psychopathic ‘god’, the best way to represent it is to be psychopathic himself.

        • MNb

          I won’t deny this thought crossed my mind.

        • MR

          Yeah, he’s just playing mind games. I wonder if when they do this, they think Jesus is patting them on the back.

        • adam

          “mind”

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Are you talking about your own contribution? I have not once rejected any science, and have said that I endeavor to be a scientific as I can.

          Which science do you think I have rejected? Psychology is it? I said psychopathy is not a mental illness. I’m extremely interested in psychopathy. I have to wonder why you posted to a link wherein it does not claim that psychopathy is a mental illness.

          As you say, your action seems deliberately stupid. But I think you just misunderstood the terminology, and genuinely thought that they were saying psychopathy was a mental illness – and probably that when I had said it was not a mental illness you misunderstood what I meant too.

        • Kodie

          Are you talking about your own contribution? I have not once rejected any science, and have said that I endeavor to be a scientific as I can.

          Which science do you think I have rejected? Psychology is it? I said psychopathy is not a mental illness. I’m extremely interested in psychopathy. I have to wonder why you posted to a link wherein it does not claim that psychopathy is a mental illness.

          As you say, your action seems deliberately stupid. But I think you just misunderstood the terminology, and genuinely thought that they were saying psychopathy was a mental illness – and probably that when I had said it was not a mental illness you misunderstood what I meant too.

          What the fuck is this mess?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          What mess? Have you put dog shit in your freezer? I warned you about that. The tip was about removing bubble gum from clothing.

        • adam

        • Kodie

          Your words are an explosion of diarrhea.

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

          Logorrhea would be the technical term.

        • Kodie

          I’m familiar with that term, but this is going to need some gloves and a bucket of bleach.

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

          !

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          James, what your simple mind doesn’t seem to grasp is that “mental illness” is a broad term that includes a spectrum of mental disorders including anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and personality disorders.

          http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/mental-health-types-illness

          The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders lists psychopathy as an “antisocial personality disorder”, while the World Health Organization lists it as a “dissocial personality disorder”.

          https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mindmelding/201301/what-is-psychopath-0

          To be completely explicit:

          “There is no fundamental difference between so-called mental illnesses or disorders and physical illnesses or disorders; both are simply subsets of illness or disorder in general (Kendell, 1993; American Psychiatric Association, 1994)”

          http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/180/2/110

          But, again, James, we wouldn’t expect you to understand such basic distinctions – not because you’re a psychopath – simply because you’re basically ignorant.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Beau,

          Did you read what you put up?

          Can you catch psychopathy?

          Can you cure it?

          nobody says psychopaths are mentally ill.

          Moreover, nobody really knows what psychopaths are. A leading authority calls them an intra-species predator.

        • Kodie

          A leading authority is nobody. If you have something to say, why don’t you learn how to keep up?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          you know Kodie you could just google ‘psychopath intra-species predator’

          https://scholar.google.be/scholar?q=psychopath+intra-species+predator&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart&sa=X&ei=ZSCDVeSQHoTaU5PdiZgD&ved=0CBwQgQMwAA

          You have to think for yourself a bit

        • adam

          ….

        • Kodie

          You know, Jimmy, when you say something you think is correct, the normal thing is to bring your own citations. Don’t blame me for your stupidity, your lack of concern for your audience, your lack of concern for how stupid you make yourself look. “A leading authority” is nobody. You want to back up your claims, you name that person and post a link. We’re not interested enough in what you have to say to go look things up for your lazy dumb ass.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          about what you just put above Kodie, would it be reasonable for me to ask you put citations?

          Moreover, I said a leading authority says psychopaths are an intraspecies pedator.

          You may or may not be interested in this. How is your looking things up doing anything for my lazy dumb ass?

          I already know I’m right. How is it helping my ass if you take some time to look some stuff up? Less time to type what I put into google than it took to make your comment, which had no citations, and didn’t help anyone’s lazy dumb ass.

        • Kodie

          If you know you’re right, then get the fuck out. Your task is complete. You’ve bothered the shit out of everyone with your nonsense. Looking things up that you believe is true has no appeal to me. See, you’re dumb. Your reading comprehension is abysmal. You’re gullible, you don’t think things through, and you have no reasoning skills. Why would I go off to read something because you recommend it? You have to participate in the conversation, and how you do that is make your case yourself, using facts or whatever you’ve learned, and names of people, and the articles they’ve written or videos they’ve made. “A leading authority” made up some bullshit you believe about psychopathy? What are his or her credentials? You’re not courteous enough to do a little bit of it. Nobody else is going to the trouble to learn what you think is neat.

          We said that from the beginning when you failed to summarize The Abolition of Man, and all you have to say for someone who also read the book is that you don’t think they read it. Bbbutt! Lewis says so! In his book. He says there’s a tao, and a thing and everything!

          So vague! NOT CLEAR. Just your impressions, and vague ones. From the very beginning, you don’t think it’s your job to speak up for the points you seem to so very much want people to understand. Your personal recommendations that they go read or watch something is not supposed to be instead of you delivering the interesting parts to us. You have, in hundreds of posts, continued to deflect and deny that you have a fucking problem expressing yourself in a common language so that everyone understands the points you’re trying to make. That’s hostile! That’s not courteous behavior. When people get angry with you, you deserve it all.

        • MNb

          “I already know I’m right.”
          Whistle ….. “falling through gravity …..” whistle ….. “gravity is a dimension” ….. “whistle”.
          The proper expression is “not even wrong”.

          Look, stupid, a psychopath – and changing the label into “intraspecies predator” won’t make any difference – has well defined characteristics. What you do is using the typically apologist trick of using such terms in an ambiguous way, so that it serves your purposes – in this case throwing poop at Dawkins. Decent people call that dishonest. But I suppose that is beyond your comprehension.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Oh my, James, the more you talk the more you prove that you are an idiot, not a psychopath. Do you imagine that all mental illness is curable? That you can “catch” any mental illness like a cold? Nobody says that psychopaths are mentally ill? What a buffoon you are! You haven’t even read the links I provided, have you?

          Here’s another example from an article by two psychiatric professors (nobody?):

          “The causes and specific pathophysiology of psychopathy are an active area of research. Like other mental illnesses, psychopathy appears in all races and cultures.”

          http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Psychopathy

          Here’s another “nobody”:

          “the nature of ASP (psychopathy) implies that it wreaks more havoc on society than most other mental illnesses do, since the disorder primarily involves reactions against the social environment that drag other people into its destructive web…The despair and anxiety wrought by antisocials (psychopaths) tragically affects families and communities, leaving deep physical and emotional scars…”

          http://www.cassiopaea.com/cassiopaea/psychopath_2.htm

          or

          “Psychopath is a psychiatric term that refers to a person suffering from a mental illness involving violent behavior or various kinds of abnormal social interactions.”

          http://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/psychopath

          Nobody?!!

          More to the point, we know what you really intend by calling people psychopaths:

          “Psychopathy tends to be used as a label for people we do not like, cannot understand, or construe as evil,” Jennifer Skeem, Professor of Psychology and Social Behavior at the University of California, Irvine.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Beau, it seems to me that you have had very little to say. But I do recall you saying how something about you finding it galling when people attempt to read your mind, or something like that.

          so it’s odd that you should put, ‘We (the royal we?) know what you really intend by calling people psychopaths…’

          Well, I did not call Dawkins a psychopath, I said I had started to think he might be one.
          And by this I meant no more than I have started to think Dawkins might be a psychopath.

          But I am using the term psychopath technically, not emotionally.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Well since you make such cavalier statements as

          “nobody says psychopaths are mentally ill”

          which is demonstrably false, and since you have failed to provide any evidence of psychopathy of any merit whatsoever, I do not see why we should take anything you say seriously.

          You are clearly not a psychopath, just stupid.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Beau, you know when people use a phrase that goes…

          nobody likes eating shit!

          The phrase is demonstrably false.

          You seem to have no more to say than this. spend more time doing intersting stuff and less time talking shit.

        • adam

          ….

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Did god really send bears to kill 42 kids for calling one of his servants bald?

          What are you talking about?

        • adam

          And yet you think nothing of being dishonest

          But we understand you have to be dishonest to properly represent this ‘god’ of yours…

          “I’m going to be straight with you. Unless you say, ‘GREEN BANANA at the top of one of your posts, I will never ever respond to anything you say again. You have to write it in capitals like that. I really mean it. If I do not see that at the top of your post I will act as if your post does not exist.

          This is a solemn promise, and you know I tell the truth.”
          Says Jame Raskalinikov Dean the Liar…

          So we KNOW what your ‘solemn promise’ is worth and that you DONT tell the truth…

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

          Yes, Elisha demanded that God kill 42 rude boys. God did so with 2 she-bears.

          Praise the Lord.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Yes, but Bob my point is do you think this really happened? I don’t.

          Adam’s meme seems odd. It seems as if it is written with the view that it actually happened. Like’s it attempted trick is, Oh, you were prepared to believe that the Nazis did this, and isn’t that really evil. But no I tricked you! It wasn’t the Nazi’s that did this, it was God! So see, I just made you understand that God is a bad as the Nazi’s!

          It’s like a variant of when people juxtapose speeches from Hitler and present day politicians, and mix up who said what.

        • adam

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

          You don’t think it happened? Then where does that leave us with the Bible’s credibility for the difficult passages, like all that supernatural stuff?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I don’t know Bob. People ultimately, I suppose, make of it what they will.

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

          Of course they will, but I’m asking for your analysis. You say that the Elisha incident didn’t happen. Maybe the Flood didn’t happen either. And lots of other stuff. But then where does that leave the claim that the Bible is historically reliable and that what it says about the supernatural is completely true? This is your claim, isn’t it?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          It’s not my claim – not as narrowly as you put it.

          But also I think it wrong to discount entirely the Bible as historical. It is what it is, a remarkable collection of books. And also, I do not think it would be right to discount what it has to say about what you seem to be calling the supernatural and I think I might be calling the Tao, or God, and our relationship to the Tao, or God.

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

          Since the word “Tao” is very well defined (sorry, C.S. Lewis), let’s avoid confusion by using it with some other definition. If you aren’t referring to what Taoism means, please find a better word.

          Can you sharpen your answer? What do you believe then? That the Bible is kinda reliable? Is there a simple algorithm you use to pick history from not within the Bible? I would hope so; the alternative is a fuzzy rule by which you are guaranteed to abuse, using your own conscience to decide what you think the Bible ought to say and ignoring what it actually does say.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Bob, one of the things about the Tao is that you cannot say what it is.

          the way that can be spoken of
          Is not the constant way.
          the name that can be named
          Is not the constant name.

          I don’t think there is a simple algorithm to pick history from not history. This complex task falls within the scope of all sorts of sciences and academic areas.

          I think you are right to complain about a simplistic attitude that would argue that Bible is the literal word of God etc, and can be used like a manual, and is infallible guide on all matters.

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

          I’m familiar with Taoism, and I thought you weren’t talking about Taoism. If you are, then show me how it ties in with Christianity. If you’re only taking concepts (like “you can’t say what it is”) then it’s best to use that concept with the T-word.

          I don’t think there is a simple algorithm to pick history from not history.

          Sounds right to me. But then what good is the Bible if it has good things and wrong things, and you must use your judgment? If it’s simply a provocative idea source, great. But if you’re going to use it as the foundation for a supernatural belief, you must first show that it’s reliable. Which you say it’s not.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          it isn’t reliable I think as an infallible guide good book written by God might be, if such a think could exist – which I think it could not.

          To some people Shakespeare is simply some stories, written for entertainment, and money.

          To some people the Bible, and other such books, may well be simply a provocative idea source.

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

          … which doesn’t advance the conversation.

        • adam

          “Bob, one of the things about the Tao is that you cannot say what it is.”
          The most important thing when inventing a Tao is to make sure it’s invisible, inaudible, and imperceptible in every way. Otherwise, people may become skeptical when it appears to nobody, says nothing, and does nothing.

        • MR
        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Bless your little heart, James!

          I’m sorry you don’t find it “intersting” when your lame comments get trounced by actual facts and legitimate sources.

          Maybe you should go back to the playground, where sticking your tongue out might actually have an effect …

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I do find it intersting though Beau, not that my lame comments get trounced by actual facts and legitimate sources, but that one can watch all the rhetorical devices and tricks people such as yourself use.

          I think you know you’re using them too.

          Face it Beau, regarding me saying I think Dawkins might be a psychopath, you have added nothing in your posts except to perhaps demonstrate that the definintions for what constitutes a mental illness or disorder are not precise. I already knew all this because I have been interested in this sort of thing for a long time.

          And rhetoric. Your closing thing is just empty rhetoric – though, of course, not ineffective for being empty.

          And your opening thing. Just a bit weird. If you have nothing to say, say nothing.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          No, James, I know no such thing. What I can see quite clearly is that your default is to accuse people of psychopathy, dishonesty, rhetorical devices, and trickery – while offering no evidence of any such thing.

          You offer no arguments at all – only vague evidenceless accusations.

          I frankly find your behavior despicable.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Beau, when you begin with, Bless your little heart James, this is a rhetorical device.

          One does not accuse people of psychopathy. I said I think Dawkins might be a psychopath. Maybe he is. But as I have made clear, I am using the term technically.

          Take all this on board Beau, because I wouldn’t think it right for you to think someone’s behavior despicable if you had not understood that person’s behavior.

        • adam

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          James, when you say “take all this on board” that is a rhetorical device.

          So what? Everyone uses rhetorical devices; they are ubiquitous. There is nothing wrong or right about using rhetorical devices.

          If you are trying to say that “bless your little heart” is some sort of rhetorical trickery, you are denser than I thought. There is no trick to the condescension I intended with “bless your little heart”. I often use condescension when I address people who behave childishly.

          What is despicable in your behavior is quite clear to me.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          If you think it’s OK to be condescending, then I suppose it’s your business. I hope you don’t think it makes up for your having nothing to say.

        • Kodie

          You don’t take hints, do you?

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          How ironic, that you can criticize condescension and practice it in the same comment.

          “Nothing to say”? I’ve given you a lengthy critique of the Abolition of Man, Evidence, quotations, and sources to back up everything from the classification of psychopathy to the actual statements of Richard Dawkins. It is you who offer nothing. If you are using the term “psychopathy” “technically – where is your evidence? What possible “technical” reasons do you have for thinking a published, and decorated, and respected scientist is a psychopath?

          Give me a break. I don’t believe for a second that you meant that term “technically”. You gave no “technical” reasons (there aren’t any). Dawkins was only a part of the conversation because of your dislike of the God Delusion. He would never have come up otherwise. You can’t just throw out “oh and by the way, I just incidentally think he’s a psychopath” and expect anyone to see it as anything but a stupidly worded ad hominem.

          No, I don’t find anything wrong with condescension or ridicule, when it is warranted.

        • Kodie

          You’re a silly hypocrite. You’re being criticized because you have said nothing of substance, and you think your opinions and impressions are complete arguments. We’re trying to tell you something important, and you’re too stupid to comprehend – this is about you because you are a shitty communicator. Now you’re trolling people because you can’t take the criticism.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          But Kodie, have I not taken pains here to make clear that I am distinguishing between simply giving an opinion and making a claim that something is true? Maybe not sufficiently. Though I think you put your efforts mostly into understanding things in your own way with very little regard for what is actually said.

        • Kodie

          You have only given pains.

        • Kodie

          You fucking arrogant douchebag. How patient do you think people ought to be when you are so hostile to your audience?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Loaded question again. Do you really believe I am so hostile? Ironic if you do? And how patient should you be? What did Jesus have to say about this? Perhaps if you don’t know what to think for yourself you might try thinking what would Jesus do?

        • Kodie

          I return your hostility. I don’t just conjure up this level of impatience from nothing. You are in denial if you think you’re doing a good job or making any points whatsoever. You have observations, opinions, and impressions, you read this or that somewhere, but you don’t deliver the interesting parts to us, you get mad because we don’t look up what’s so interesting to you that you cannot even say. You are incapable of carrying on a literate, intelligent discussion. If you think you are doing a good job, you’re factually mistaken. You’re rude about it! That’s why I’m rude to you, you disgust me. You disgust a lot of people.

          If you have something to say, why do you make people guess what you’re talking about? Why post no citations? Why get evasive when someone asks you to back up your assertions? Why change the subject or post irrelevant opinions of personalities? You think someone is a psychopath? When someone tells you you’re wrong, they post relevant facts that you’re missing, and you ignore them. That’s hostile so you get it in return. Jesus would smack the shit out of you.

        • MNb

          “What did Jesus have to say about this? Perhaps if you don’t know what to think for yourself you might try thinking what would Jesus do?”
          You’re the christian, not Kodie.
          So you should ask these questions to yourself. It has been duly noted that you don’t.

        • MNb

          “nobody likes eating shit!”
          You’re the exception confirming this rule.

        • adam

        • Kodie

          Why do you think this is important? When someone says something you don’t like, you just devalue them. It’s hard to be patient with someone as shitty as you are. Opinionated, judgmental, non-self-aware, of all the things you admire about your own species, you have no self-awareness of how lame and irrelevant and unfounded your opinions are. No citations, you read it somewhere, and it seems true because you think so. What the shit is that? It’s nonsense.

          I read your lack of regard for your audience as hostility, no matter how civil your tone.

        • adam

          ..

        • Rudy R

          The DSM and ICD diagnose psychopathy as an antisocial personality disorder and dissocial personality disorder. Is that how you characterize Dawkins?

        • adam

          “One wishes he would stick to writing about evolution.”

          Just as many here wish you would quit being dishonest and deceptive.

        • MNb

          “It is a fallacy to think that I would also be wrong about other matters relating to Dawkins.”
          At the other hand you have been wrong on so many things since you entered this blog …..

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I don’t think I have been wrong though.

          And it would still be a fallacy.

        • adam

          “I don’t think I have been wrong though.”

          You are a demonstrated LIAR.

          But we understand you have to be dishonest to properly represent this ‘god’ of yours…

          “I’m going to be straight with you. Unless you say, ‘GREEN BANANA at the top of one of your posts, I will never ever respond to anything you say again. You have to write it in capitals like that. I really mean it. If I do not see that at the top of your post I will act as if your post does not exist.

          This is a solemn promise, and you know I tell the truth.”
          Says Jame Raskalinikov Dean the Liar…

          So we KNOW what your ‘solemn promise’ is worth and that you DONT tell the truth…

        • adam

          You are a demonstrated LIAR.

          But we understand you have to be dishonest to properly represent this ‘god’ of yours…

          “I’m going to be straight with you. Unless you say, ‘GREEN BANANA at the top of one of your posts, I will never ever respond to anything you say again. You have to write it in capitals like that. I really mean it. If I do not see that at the top of your post I will act as if your post does not exist.

          This is a solemn promise, and you know I tell the truth.”

        • adam

          Here let me help you deal with your LYING….

          “I’m going to be straight with you. Unless you say, ‘GREEN BANANA at the top of one of your posts, I will never ever respond to anything you say again. You have to write it in capitals like that. I really mean it.If I do not see that at the top of your post I will act as if your post does not exist.

          This is a solemn promise, and you know I tell the truth.”

          Truth?
          The truth exposes both YOU and YOUR ‘god’ as dishonest…

          but you are not alone in your dishonesty

        • Kodie

          What is more useful? Your mind is not useful. All you use it for is to regurgitate fallacious assertions from a book you can’t process well enough to articulate reasons for. Other minds are more useful to the rest of us, but shit is also useful to us. You don’t know where food comes from, apparently, so you don’t use your mind to think, but you do use that food to shit at I’m guessing a fairly consistent rate, as things go, or perhaps more frequently than average, based on your posting frequency.

        • adam

          “I never make stuff up Beau.”

          But, this is what he PROMISED to me

          “I’m going to be straight with you. Unless you say, ‘GREEN BANANA at the top of one of your posts, I will never ever respond to anything you say again. You have to write it in capitals like that. I really mean it.If I do not see that at the top of your post I will act as if your post does not exist.

          This is a solemn promise, and you know I tell the truth.”

          He cannot tell the truth, because he worships and represents a dishonest god…

        • adam

          “In fact I think Dawkins has read this too, and not read the original. “

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          No irony intended…

        • adam

          None needed

          But we understand you have to be dishonest to properly represent this ‘god’ of yours…

          “I’m going to be straight with you. Unless you say, ‘GREEN BANANA at the top of one of your posts, I will never ever respond to anything you say again. You have to write it in capitals like that. I really mean it. If I do not see that at the top of your post I will act as if your post does not exist.

          This is a solemn promise, and you know I tell the truth.”
          Says Jame Raskalinikov Dean the Liar…

          So we KNOW what your ‘solemn promise’ is worth and that you DONT tell the truth…

        • MNb

          “Lets see if you can find a reductionist explanation for the constant increase in mind we see in evolution of life.”
          Let’s see if you can find a reductionist explanation for superconductivity at a relatively high temperature.
          Or, as your version from Antiquity said to my (skeptical) version of Antiquity: “let’s see if you can find a reductionist explanation for thunder and lightning.”
          You (we) can’t? My 2000 years old version couldn’t?
          So what?
          Ever heard of the god of the gaps?

          To make a point you have to conclusively demonstrate that science never will be able to find such an explanation. I wish you good luck.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Have you ever heard of a category error?

          An explanation for superconductivity at a relatively (?) high temperature isn’t going to explain itself, is it?

          I think scientist are quite open about electricity still being something of a mystery. As is literature.

          I like how you put some words in italics to make it appear as if you had made a powerful argument.

          Fortunately, I am aware that one does not have to conclusively demonstrate that science never will be able to find such an explanation (?) in order to make a point.

          Thanks for the lucky wish!

        • adam

          The most important thing when inventing a Tao is to make sure it’s
          invisible, inaudible, and imperceptible in every way. Otherwise, people
          may become skeptical when it appears to nobody, says nothing, and does
          nothing…

        • adam

          “I think scientist are quite open about electricity still being something of a mystery. As is literature.”

          Still electricity can be easily demonstrated, IMAGINARY gods and tao, NO …

          Literature, no mystery. just human being writing…

        • adam

          “I’ve already read this. In fact I think Dawkins has read this too, and not read the original.”

        • MNb

          “But the question is, does it explain everything?”
          Silly guy asks silly questions. No, Evolution Theory does not explain how come that my computer starts working when I push the power button.

          “The Phenomenon of Man has a lot to say on this.”
          Undoubtedly, but as long as CLS doesn’t use the scientific method (and in the quote I found) he’s just irrelevant.

          “Interesting because I think Dawkins didn’t bother to read it.”
          LOL! What you think Dawkins reads and doesn’t read is your standard!

          “One of the observations is that evolution seems to have a direction.”
          Nope. This is the produc of wishful thinking.

          “Did you deliberately use the word ‘denier’ because of its holocaust denier connotations?”
          Now you bring it up – holocaust deniers also reject the scientific method as soon as the results don’t suit them.

          “I would like to know what you think about 9/11. One can tell a lot from a person from what they think about 9/11.”
          You first.

        • MNb

          Oh oh! Silly JRD recommends goof Teilhard de Chardin! I was about 10 when I realized that it’s meaningless to draw a diagram without specifying the quantity along its axes – let alone telling us what its units are.
          I grant you this – compared to TdC indeed CSL is a deep thinker.

        • Greg G.

          One of the observations is that evolution seems to have a direction – always towards an increase in mind.

          No it doesn’t. Parasites often become simpler. Look at all of the Homo species that have gone extinct. Our species nearly went extinct less than 100,000 years ago. Neanderthals did. Some humans species in Asia did. The dominant type of biological life is single cells.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          You know it’s all going to turn to dust?

        • Greg G.

          Mostly it gets recycled into more cells.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          but eventually Greg…

        • adam

          ….

        • adam

          “You know it’s all going to turn to dust?”

        • MNb

          Yes. You are the one who claims (if you’re a christian, that is) that something will be left, not Greg G.
          Your apparently think you asked a great counter question, but it’s only another sign of your silly thinking. It’s irrelevant for the point that Greg G makes: “always towards an increase in mind” is simply wrong.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          MNb, what do you think I’m on about when I paraphrase the argument in the Phenomenon of Man, that evolution has a constant, and that is always towards an increase in mind?

          I should add that some ways life goes, according to the book, find limitations. Insects exoskeletons limit how big mind can get in that direction, for instance.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          You could just as easily say that our big, fleshy bodies limit us from having exoskeletons, while insect exoskeletons continually evolve in complexity.

        • Kodie

          With our big brains, we can almost emulate any physical quality of an animal we want. There must be something about those animals that did better than we did.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          that’s right, you could Beau. This is exactly the sort of thing it says in the Phenomenon of Man.

          Your example would be an exoskeleton centric view, as opposed to a mind centered view.

          It would be interesting to examine the record to see if there has been a common tendency throughout evolution towards an increase in exoskeleton – size, complexity.

        • adam

          ..

        • Kodie

          That it’s not an argument, it’s an assertion?

        • Rudy R

          What exactly is increase in mind? Is it just a poetic term for book learnin’? And why in just humans?

          And don’t be so thin-skinned. “denier” in its present usage is usually attached to climate change.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          an Increase in mind – the brain size has got larger and larger as creatures have evolved. At some point, like water gradually warming, a change occurs. Thought is born. This happened first in human beings. This particular path of life was the first one we know of where a qualitative change in the state of mind happened.

          A dog knows, but man is the only animal that knows that he knows.

        • Rudy R

          Why the dog comparison? Why not compare elephants, dolphins and whales to humans? Did not their brain size grow? Do they not exhibit the same behaviors as humans? How can you be so certain that they don’t “know”?
          You start with a premise that human’s are special, because that’s the position of your religion, and you look for anecdotal evidence to prove your point. A prime example of an Apologist.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          The dog quote is from the Phenomenon of Man. You are right, it doesn’t have to be dogs. But I think you miss the point.

          All life is related. It just so happened that when the qualitative change in thought occurred, it happened in what we call human beings.

          You really don’t need to bring religion into this.

          For the first time, on earth anyway, the universe became self conscious.

        • Rudy R

          It’s awfully presumptuous, and unscientific, to assume the universe became self conscious from the advent of human cognition. And yes, you really don’t need to bring religion into this, just empirical evidence, which Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s hypothesis seriously lacks.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Can we compare different types of consciousness scientifically? I think we can, and it has been done. And I think we can identify some things about human consciousness that are remarkable, like language, for instance. We have to look at the evidence, I agree.

        • Rudy R

          And now you miss my point. The universe didn’t become self conscious with the advent of human cognition, just humans becoming aware of their place in the universe. And yes, I agree that human language is remarkable, but there needs no further explanation for language than that prescribed by evolution. Other animals communicate as well, albeit, not with the sophistication of humans, which we can attribute to brain size and anatomy.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          You say human beings becoming aware of their place in the universe, but it strikes me that human beings are the universe.

        • Kodie

          It strikes you? WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          are you on meds?

        • Kodie

          Your insight into this topic has so much relevance!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • adam

          Are YOU?

        • MR

          I smell hubris….

        • Kodie

          I get hubris and hibiscus mixed up. You have to give Jimmy credit for letting us all know how stupid we are!

        • MR

          Hibiscus are the those candied flowers you can get at Trader Joe’s. Hubris is that awful smell coming from JRD’s bloated sense of self-worth.

          We are the universe
          We are the children
          We are the ones to make a brighter day
          So let’s start givin’….

        • Kodie

          What are we going to do when Jimmy folds up his revival tent and moves on? Where have all the candied flowers gone? We’d think we were dogs without him to lead us to the answers.

        • adam

          Deep hubris…..

          From WAY up there where his head is situated.

        • Rudy R

          It strikes me that you’re divorced from reality.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          But all I mean is that human beings are a part of the universe. Like everything.

        • adam

          “Like everything.”

          Like YOUR stupidity and DISHONESTY…

        • Rudy R

          And that we can agree.

        • MNb

          Well, everything natural and material. Undetectable entities like your god aren’t.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Human beings “are” the universe? I would agree that human beings are part of the universe, but “are”?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          We are the part of the universe with minds. We are the universe come to life, talking and thinking about itself.

          And, as CS Lewis pointed out, for such a thing to happen takes a universe as vast as the one of which we are.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Well, humans are a part of the universe (an infinitesimally small part) that can talk and think. Still a far cry from human beings “are” the universe.

          The Lewis statement is equally devoid of information; yes, we wouldn’t exist if our universe didn’t exist. Not particularly profound (not that I’ve come to expect anything particularly profound from any Lewis writings).

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Well Beau Quilter, can you not open your mind to see that scale might not matter? That you do not matter? This seems to me quite profound.

          People not rating CS Lewis seems to me just as odd as people not rating Shakespeare.

          I wonder if you might say what you do think profound writings.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          What?!

          I’m not the one whose obsessed with size, James; that’s your conceit. Scale does matter, but in terms of physics, not value.

          My mind is quite open to the fact that I don’t matter at the scale of the universe (I always find it bizarre when commenters think they can read your mind).

          … and … oh my … rating Lewis beside Shakespeare is laughable. In fact, I’ve read enough of Lewis to be pretty sure he would laugh at that comparison himself.

          Profound writings … Shakespeare is as good a beginning as any … Richard II, Twelfth Night, The Tempest …

        • MR

          I find Lewis to be cloying, almost to the point of condescension, like he’s talking to a bunch of middle-schoolers.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Yes, and this approach is especially annoying given that his own logic rarely rises about middle-school level.

        • adam

          “Yes, and this approach is especially annoying given that his own logic rarely rises about middle-school level.”

          Which explains why JRD has SO MUCH difficulty understand CSL…

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Sorry Beau, I didn’t mean to imply that you couldn’t open your mind. I believe in the universal human. I assumed that like everyone you could open your mind, and was puzzled at your attitude.

          Puzzled also that someone would think Shakespeare a profound writer, but not CS Lewis.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Shakespeare is universally acknowledged as one of the greatest writers in the English language, the beginning of Early Modern studies in literature. Lewis is a literary footnote, by comparison. Tolkien considered Lewis’s Narnia series didactic, derivative, and contrived.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          So it would seem that it is the universal acknowledgement that makes you feel Shakespeare is a profound writer, and that CS Lewis is not.

          I wonder Beau, perhaps you have not read enough of either Shakespeare or CS Lewis to make a fair judgement.

        • Kodie

          I know I’m not the only one, but I’m so fucking sick to death of you accusing people of not reading any particular book you have yet to summarize or articulate the arguments of just because they don’t come to agree with your opinions. YOUR OPINIONS ARE UNFOUNDED. You have made hundred of posts not founding your personal opinions on anything, and you have a lot of fucking nerve to go on many, many times disbelieving that anyone else read a book that you sleep with under your pillow hoping to learn something. You know-nothing pseudo-intellectual boring fucking arrogant piece of waste.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Kodie, as you keep saying, my reading skills aren’t very good. Do you think you could put this a little more clearly for me?

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          I have read most of both. Multiple times. Lewis is popular in some circles, but any literature professor could tell you that he isn’t remotely in the same class as Shakespeare.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          There you go again with popular!

          And other people telling you what to think!

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          How is reading the source material myself letting “other people telling you what to think”?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Lewis is popular in some circles…

          any literature professor could tell you…

          But not a word about what you have to say.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          What?! My opinion of Lewis is all over this blog! My critique of Abolition of Man is probably too long for reasonable blog comment!

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I suppose what I mean is that there wasn’t a personal response. I feel a similar atmosphere in Shakespeare and CS Lewis. Of course they are very different, and living in very different worlds. But I really feel the same spirit. The vision of the saint, of seeing something beyond this world, and a furious attempt to put it in writing, and from both, what wonderful writing.

          I have never met a literature professor who did not think CS Lewis a great writer. Not a great novelist, or poet, perhaps, but a great writer without a doubt. And certainly a minor novelist. And the Narnia books continue to intrigue professors of literature, in all sorts of interesting ways.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          What do you mean there wasn’t a personal response? Lewis is primarily prized by Christian apologists, and is often inserted in Christian college humanities courses. Outside of that demographic, he doesn’t rate particularly highly in literary circles.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I mean where’s the real Beau? the human? You’re just giving these dry ‘facts’ about CS Lewis. It’s like talking to wikipedia. No personality there.

        • Kodie

          What the fuck you troll. You’re all over the fucking place and you can’t stay in one area at a time, you’re bouncing all over the place like a fucking ping pong ball, and you don’t say anything worth having a brain to say, OR READ!

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          You’re not making sense. I could tell you all sorts of things about the real human Beau. He’s a proud father and husband, he studied design art in grad school, is a lover of live music and theatre, he gives money to Doctors without Borders and other charities.

          C.S. Lewis is irrelevant to the real, human Beau.

        • Rudy R

          I agree with Beau. No one I know, Christian and atheist alike, gives two shits about CS Lewis. He’s not even an after thought. Why are you so emphatic for CS Lewis be received with the same respect as Shakespeare? Is it because his ideas represent your world view and you need someone, anyone, even atheists, to validate your belief? If you do, you’re on a fools errand, especially on this blog. Most of us here, I dare say, in one way, shape, or form, hold naturalism as our world view.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Would you call it your religion? Your creed?

          Is it that you think it’s true that you hold it as your world view? Would this mean that truth is what you hold most precious?

        • adam

          ” Would this mean that truth is what you hold most precious?”

          As a DEMONSTRATED LIAR, what do YOU know of truth?

        • Rudy R

          Everyone has a world view, whether they realize it or not. My worldview is metaphysical naturalism. It’s not a creed and it’s not a religion. If you knew what a world view was, you wouldn’t be asking such inane questions. Why would I hold a world view that I thought was not more probable than all other world views?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          So I suppose you are saying you do think that what you call ‘metaphysical naturalism’ is true.

          This is I think the interesting thing here. The objection seems to be that ‘metaphysical naturalism’ cannot establish what is true in any meaningful way.

          For would it not have to establish what truth is?

        • Rudy R

          Again, if you knew what a world view was, you wouldn’t be asking such inane questions.

        • adam

          “For would it not have to establish what truth is?”

          Truth?
          What do YOU know of the truth?

          You are a demonstrated LIAR.

          But we understand you have to be dishonest to properly represent this ‘god’ of yours…

          “I’m going to be straight with you. Unless you say, ‘GREEN BANANA at the top of one of your posts, I will never ever respond to anything you say again. You have to write it in capitals like that. I really mean it. If I do not see that at the top of your post I will act as if your post does not exist.

          This is a solemn promise, and you know I tell the truth.”
          Says Jame Raskalinikov Dean the Liar…

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Is English your first language?

        • adam

          “I’m going to be straight with you. Unless you say, ‘GREEN BANANA at the top of one of your posts, I will never ever respond to anything you say again. You have to write it in capitals like that. I really mean it.If I do not see that at the top of your post I will act as if your
          post does not exist.

          This is a solemn promise, and you know I tell the truth.”
          Says Jame Raskalinikov Dean the Liar…

          So we KNOW what your ‘solemn promise’ is worth and that you DONT tell the truth…

        • adam

          Is LYING yours?

        • MNb

          “So I suppose …..”
          Whenever you start a sentence with these or similar words my bet is that you are wrong. This is no exception.
          The funny thing this time is that you address your problem yourself, with

          “‘metaphysical naturalism’ cannot establish what is true in any meaningful way.”
          Assuming – and given how silly you are it’s a risky assumption; more likely is that you don’t understand what you write yourself again – that you use the correct meaning of the word “truth” here (namely 100%, absolute, never changing, eternal certainty) this leads to the logical conclusion that this

          “So I suppose you are saying you do think that what you call ‘metaphysical naturalism’ is true.”
          is you being totally wrong again.
          In short: he is not saying that.

        • MR

          “So I suppose …..”

          Whenever you start a sentence with these or similar words my bet is that you are wrong.

          I’ve pointed this out, Kodie’s pointed this out…. I sense a pattern….

          “It seems to me…”

        • Kodie

          The worst part isn’t that it’s been pointed out repeatedly and ignored ignored ignored. The worst part is that other people go to the effort to list, analyze, compile, research, and compose sometimes lengthy responses to this douchery, and all he has to say is that he doubts someone else read the book, or didn’t read it more than once, or in the right spirit. He doubts everything that seems another way to another person. He’s applying what “seems like” to him, but if it “seems like” some other way to anyone else, he doesn’t take them seriously, he mocks their interestingness to him, he sincerely believes his opinion can invalidate another person’s evidence. Without any expression to back up his “theories” or “speculation”, he rambles on, aimlessly.

          There is no substance in Jimmy. Why don’t Christians know how to read?

        • MR

          The worst part isn’t that it’s been pointed out repeatedly and ignored ignored ignored. The worst part is that other people go to the effort to list, analyze, compile, research, and compose sometimes lengthy responses to this douchery….

          Agree. Greg totally pwned him with his summary of AoM, and JRD hasn’t even given a convincing argument that he’s read any more of it than some article referencing it.

          Why don’t Christians know how to read?

          I think Christianity necessarily inhibits good reading habits in order to survive. God apparently doesn’t require logic and coherence to get his message out.

        • Kodie

          I notice how “artfully” he stacks new information together on top of and together with old information to pretend he’s learning, while everything supports his beliefs. He has to know he’s doing it, right? When any of you all were Christians, were you lying your ass off and trying to be annoying? Or did you honestly imagine that you were keeping up?

        • MR

          Hmm…, I don’t think I started debating until I began to question my own belief, and then it was to inquire of my fellow Christians on the difficult questions I faced. It was the lack of honest answers that pushed me away.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          What is he saying then? I don’t see how he can be saying anything else.

        • MNb

          Call me unsurprised. That’s what you are a shallow thinker for.
          Call me also unsurprised that you don’t see it despite me already explaining it to you.
          Naturalism (whether philosophical or methodological) is not about truth (as defined in my previous post; someone like JAC uses a different meaning). So saying “you call metaphysical naturalsm true” is a strawman.
          What he is saying is “I think naturalism correct” or even “It’s highly probable that my worldview is correct. Realizing that he might be wrong is an integral and essential part of his worldview. He just thinks it highly unlikely, but still remains open to all possible, thinkable and imaginable information that falsifies his world view. This is in stark contrast with you. Though there are theologies who produce a cheap parody of this with “doubt is OK” and other fancy stuff.
          The essential difference between naturalists (monists, materialists, whatever you like to call us) and believers is that we naturalists think 100%, absolute, never changing, eternal certainty is meaningless. You must take the next sentence literally: even regarding the question if you will fall downward or upward I don’t have that certainty. I repeat: this is an essential and integral part of naturalism.

        • Kodie

          ‘Cause that’s how worldviews work…..

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          So, it seems then that you are judging your world view by some exterior standard – the probability that it, your world view, is true. Or at least as closely in accordance with what is true as you can get reasonably get it.

          But is truth itself, which you are using to guide the creation of your world view, external to your world view?

          Does not your world view have to presuppose all sorts of assumptions, like there being true and false things?

        • adam

          “So, it seems then that you are judging your world view by some exterior standard -”

          You mean like a book of myths?
          Or philosophically IMAGINED ‘gods’?

        • MNb

          “But is truth itself, which you are using to guide the creation of your world view, external to your world view?”
          Your habit of getting things wrong in full action again.
          No. He is not using truth itself to guide the creation of your word view.

          “Does not your world view have to presuppose all sorts of assumptions,”
          Applause! You’re finally getting something right! Of course it’s an open door – every single worldview has to make all sorts of assumptions.
          There still is a way to find out which assumptions are most likely and which ones are least likely correct: look at what works and what doesn’t.
          Science works, as you and I demonstrate every day again. WIthout science we two wouldn’t have been able to communicate with each other.
          Sure there are still lots of problems with science and problems science can’t solve (yet?). It’s not perfect. But that doesn’t deny the simple fact that nothing works as well as science.
          And that’s a start.

          “like there being true and false things?”
          But of course, silly as you are, you immediately fly from the bend again, as we Dutch say.
          No. Like there being things falsified and being things not falsified yet. That’s basic philosophy of science. That’s totally consistent with what I wrote above: show me a method that works better than science and I’ll pay full attention.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          You say he is not using truth itself to guide the creation of his world view. What is he using then?

          Also, regarding science, which it appears to me you are saying you think the best way to find out what is and is not correct.

          I understand there is no one scientific method. It is merely to be very careful about how we think about things, and why we draw conclusions. I personally hope my thinking is a scientific as it can be.

          But, as is very commonly pointed out by scientists, there are a great many things that we cannot be meaningfully scientific about.

          Science, Latin for knowledge, I think would say it would be unscientific to reject things because they could not easily or meaningfully be understood scientifically.

        • Greg G.

          Does not your world view have to presuppose all sorts of assumptions, like there being true and false things?

          Logic is a worldview?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Wouldn’t it have to part of your world view that logic was indeed meaningful?

          Interesting one. And is logic meaningful? By what standard?

        • adam

          “Wouldn’t it have to part of your world view that logic was indeed meaningful?”

          How can it be ‘meaningful’ to someone who refuses to use it?

          Speaking of LIARS..

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I see you bothered to check in what sense the word lie was being used this time.

          Or maybe not. Could just be chance again.

        • adam

          But we understand you have to be dishonest to properly represent this ‘god’ of yours…

          “I’m going to be straight with you. Unless you say, ‘GREEN BANANA at the top of one of your posts, I will never ever respond to anything you say again. You have to write it in capitals like that. I really mean it. If I do not see that at the top of your post I will act as if your post does not exist.

          This is a solemn promise, and you know I tell the truth.”
          Says Jame Raskalinikov Dean the Liar…

          So we KNOW what your ‘solemn promise’ is worth and that you DONT tell the truth…

        • Greg G.

          A or not A, where A is the property of being alive. It’s not an inconsequential distinction.

        • Rudy R

          Yes, my world view, and any world view for that matter, presupposes things. Things I presuppose: I exist. I can not exist and exist simultaneously. Either I am mortal or I am not mortal. You exist. Others exist. The world exists.
          I then try to build coherent models of that perceived world, using as much evidence as possible. By the very nature of my world view, there is nothing external or outside of nature, supernatural, if you will, so there is no truth external to my world view. Truth is determined by how accurately we build those models.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          But this universe we find ourselves within Rudy, it’s a funny set up, is it not? And we are it!

        • Rudy R

          Yep, it’s a funny set up, but think that it is highly improbable that there is no other life forms in the universe beside that on Earth.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I go along with that. The universe seems eerily disposed to come to life, and then consciousness.

        • Kodie

          “It’s a funny set up” is not a clear expression of whatever argument you’re trying to make.

        • MNb

          “Would you call it your religion? Your creed?”
          Shallow thinker asks silly questions again.
          Rudy R specifically used the word “world view”. That isn’t Sanskrit or something – except possibly for you.
          Once again you make me suspect that you don’t understand what you write yourself.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          How much faith is one to put in their world view? How far is one to acknowledge that this ‘world view’ is very much controlled, generated even, but the social engineers Lewis was worried about?

          I’ve said this before but it is worth saying again. The tone of the comments on here suggest to me that there has been a corruption of people’s world view. We have people unable to recognize there is something special about consciousness, about our feelings of wonder, our sense of the Tao.

        • Kodie

          “suggest to you that”. Why do you keep talking?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Kodie, you are the one who very frequently says things that don’t need saying.

        • Kodie

          It needs saying: you’re terrible at reasoning. You can’t express any reasons. All you have is “what I read” and “seems to me that”. You can’t even talk about what you read, you depend on others to have read it so they (might) know what you mean, and when they disagree with your implications, you accuse them of not reading it – like the paranoid gullible lying sack of nonsense that you are. You are terrible at saying what you mean. You only just keep jibber-jabbering. Do you honestly imagine that you are keeping up?

          I HAVE SAID ALL OF THIS BEFORE AND IT WASHES OVER YOU LIKE NOTHING. You keep plowing through, repeating yourself, repeating your nonsense assertions, no supporting arguments. Your opinions and impressions are not arguments. I’m not the only one who is trying to get you to see where you need to be to keep up.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          The trouble is though Kodie, I’m quite into language, analyzing arguments, logical fallacies, stuff like that. I’m quite happy that I’ve made my points clearly enough, and my reasoning hasn’t been at fault I think.

          If I’m wrong I’d like to know. Who wouldn’t?

          You have pretty done much nothing but tell me how stupid I am, how I suck at reading, how I’m a troll, and suggesting there is something I”m missing. Just now you put it as ‘keeping up’. What do you mean by this?

          Where do I need to be to keep up?

        • Kodie

          You have not demonstrated a grasp of whatever you’re trying to say. You’re happy as a pig in shit that you’ve made your points, because you believe you’re making any. Assertions, opinions, impressions, and insults where people haven’t interpreted your favorite texts, or regard those authors as highly as you – is not making points. You have not demonstrated that you have read the book you like everyone to read. You are like, um, just read the book, then you’ll know what I mean. Since the start, that’s how you think one clearly makes a point.

          That’s what I mean by “keeping up”. If you observe how other people put an effort in, well, you don’t. You ignore their posts, tell them you don’t take them seriously, make some irrelevant remark, like insult their taste in literature. How is that making your point? You sound like your whole goal here is to advertise this life-changing book you read and if everyone read it, they’d have to agree with you. No, dummy, that’s not how it works. Did it ever occur to you that you might be misinformed, gullible, lack critical thinking skills? It’s obvious from your writing, not from your words, but from how you believe you’re pretty good at making points. I mentioned this to you early on and you never addressed it, you just keep returning to your goal of selling people to learn this idea you think is neat from your favorite book. You’re not learning how points are made clearly from people posting to you who do know how to make points clearly, because you aren’t reading them or comprehending them – all you are doing is scanning for disagreement.

          I recognize your disrespect as hostility, so you get it in return.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I thought you probably didn’t mean much more than this, but I’m a still a little disappointed!

          I really have done my best to address people’s arguments.

          And has it ever occurred to you that you might be misinformed?

        • Kodie

          Your best needs a lot of improvement. I’ve been trying to tell you, but you are in denial. You’re not informative.

        • adam

          “Kodie, you are the one who very frequently says things that don’t need saying.”

          You are a demonstrated LIAR.

          But we understand you have to be dishonest to properly represent this ‘god’ of yours…

          “I’m going to be straight with you. Unless you say, ‘GREEN BANANA at the top of one of your posts, I will never ever respond to anything you say again. You have to write it in capitals like that. I really mean it. If I
          do not see that at the top of your post I will act as if your post does not exist.

          This is a solemn promise, and you know I tell the truth.”
          Says James Raskalinikov Dean the Liar…

          So we KNOW what your ‘solemn promise’ is worth and that you DONT tell the truth…

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Is this really the best you’ve got? I mean, if you are seriously attempting to show that I lie about things, is this really the best you’ve got? I think it is actually.

          I don’t think it carries any weight, and just repeating it all the time is a bit weird.

        • MNb

          “I don’t think …..”
          Again: as soon as you start a sentence with words like these you’re usually wrong.

          “just repeating it all the time is a bit weird.”
          Yes, but it’s the only way to get through thick skulls like yours.
          But hey thanks. Next time you make a solemn promise and claim “you know I tell the truth” we’ll take it for what it is – worth nothing.
          Or you could follow Jesus’ advise – just admit you were wrong writing that and humbly swallow your words. That’s what Adam really is showing: you make propaganda for your big hero, but aren’t capable at all of following his example. Of course this thought never occurred in your shallow mind, but be sure everyone here noticed. Folks here are pretty smart.
          Rather damning for you and your religious worldview: preach humility and display too much arrogance to swallow your pride.
          Funny for us – I bet Adam had as much fun with you as I have.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Ok, I admit that when I told Adam I was making a solemn promise that unless he wrote GREEN BANANA at the top of one of his posts I would never respond to him again I did not keep that promise.

          I don’t really feel bad about breaking that particular promise though, partly because I was being silly, and partly because I don’t think it’s the right thing to do to make statements like that. Unless you do this, I will never… etc.

          And adam put the thing up about the brain to body size ratio thing, and I thought this was really interesting about the mouse, so I looked into it. As I said, I got my information from Asimov’s Guide to Science some years ago.

          If Adam really is having fun, I’m happy for him. But I think if having fun is his goal, he should try something else. Does he create these meme’s himself? I don’t think so. I don’t think he spends long choosing them, or thinking about them. What’s in it for him? It’s weird.

        • adam

          “Rather damning for you and your religious worldview: preach humility and display too much arrogance to swallow your pride.”

          I disagree, I think it represents his religious worldview well.

          Deceptive, dishonest and bold face lying…

          I think it represents his ‘god’ perfectly…

        • adam

          “I think it is actually.”

          You are a demonstrated LIAR.

          But we understand you have to be dishonest to properly represent this ‘god’ of yours…

          “I’m going to be straight with you. Unless you say, ‘GREEN BANANA at the top of one of your posts, I will never ever respond to anything you say again. You have to write it in capitals like that. I really mean it. If I do not see that at the top of your post I will act as if your post does not exist.

          This is a solemn promise, and you know I tell the truth.”
          Says Jame Raskalinikov Dean the Liar…

          So we KNOW what your ‘solemn promise’ is worth and that you DONT tell the truth…

        • Greg G.

          There is something special about consciousness but it isn’t that special. There is something special about mere sentience.

          A few hundred years ago, people felt a sense of wonder about lightning, thunder, clouds, and the Northern Lights. Now we can understand them in scientific terms and the wonder of ignorance is replaced by more wonder. So wonder is mostly curiosity of what we don’t know.

          The sense of the Tao is in your head. You may have accidentally indoctrinated yourself by misunderstanding things you have read. Perhaps you have mistaken your hyperactive agency detection for the Tao.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          The sense of everything is in my head though.

          And as you say, the wonder does not go away. A thunder storm is not less thrilling because you understand it a little more scientifically. I am no less awed at the thought that the sound of thunder is the sound of the air smashing into the vacuum created by the great transfer of electrons.

          And I also know that while we understand it all more scientifically, this doesn’t mean that much. It is still mysterious.

          And this seems to me just like the waterfall in the abolition of man. I guess you live in Holland so not many waterfalls around, but even so, I guess you know what CS Lewis is on about when he defends the view that it is sublime. Knowing that it is water running along the surface the earth doesn’t, it seems to me, affect this deeper truth.

        • adam

          “And I also know that while we understand it all more scientifically, this doesn’t mean that much. It is still mysterious.”

          It means a lot more than an IMAGINARY ‘god’

        • Greg G.

          I have never been to Holland. MNb is from there originally. I grew up in the foothills of the Appalachians so I grew up near small waterfalls. One of my favorite places was a 4 foot waterfall where the water hit another rock layer and sprayed into a pool a couple of feet below.

          Some people have a sense that people are talking about them. It doesn’t mean they are correct.

          Many years ago, I wondered about the “meaning of life” a lot. I was also thinking about time as the fourth dimension. One night, I was able to visualize twisting 3D space and everything as the paths they took when seen in 4D. I also saw everything from the atomic scale to the galactic scale. I held it in my mind for just a moment but it still influences my attitudes.

          It seemed like a new way to see “truth”. I was elated and didn’t sleep for two days. I tried to do it again. A few months later, I got the same feeling on an unsolved mathematical problem. However, I was able to prove that the solution I got from that method was wrong.

          My bedroom at the time was very dark. It had no windows as the house was built into a hillside. My room was like a sensory deprivation tank.

          So I do not pretend that my first vision is necessarily correct, either. The brain is capable of creating spectacular illusions. Conclusions derived from logic and evidence can help distinguish a valid idea from a mental illusion. I’m not certain that logic and evidence are sufficient to help distinguish a delusion from normal thoughts. That may take a qualified therapist.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Yeah Greg, i go a long with all this. In Richard Feynman’s autobiography he talks about a very similar experience in an isolation flotation tank…

          What about gravity also being a dimension? That’s the latest thing Ive heard…

        • Greg G.

          I’ve never heard of gravity being called a dimension but it is interesting. Gravity is often described as a warping of space-time but warped into what? I used to be able to do the math that predicted that from a 3-D universe plus time.

          I have seen articles about the universe being a hologram of a two-dimensional space, too.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five-dimensional_space

          I only know about it from talking to someone about it, but I think it’s really interesting. I think if can see time as a fourth dimension I really can see gravity as a dimension also.

          And, I’m increasingly thinking, morality!

        • Kodie

          Since you’ve asserted from the beginning, with nothing to back you up or make your case. How is morality comparable to gravity? How are you saying morality is objective, but taking care of the earth instead of think about ourselves like these dumb animals you hate is subjective?

          You make zero sense, and you’re not even trying.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Sorry if I gave you the impression I don’t care about the other creatures alive on earth, or indeed everything. The only thing special about human beings is that they are the one place where the change has happened, and we are aware of morality, and we want not just to live to survive, but see it more deeply, we want to be good.

          As I say, I get that people see time as a dimension, and I get that some people are arguing that gravity is a dimension, and morality also it seems to me is quite similar to these things in that it seems fixed. (Jesus, please don’t start going on about how individuals responses to morality can vary…)

          But I’m not claiming, of course, that morality is a dimension. Or that gravity is. Or even claiming that I really understand what any of this might mean.

          It is a very strange set up.

        • Kodie

          Jesus, don’t start with the arguments you’ve already dismissed because you don’t care?

        • MNb

          “I get that some people are arguing that gravity is a dimension.”
          You can bet the lower end of your digestive system that those people are not physicists.

          “Or even claiming that I really understand what any of this might mean.”
          The claim that you totally don’t understand is completely safe. All you produce is hollow bleating. And you tell yourself that it’s all very, very deep and profound ….
          If religion is a virus that affects the brain you’re strong evidence for it.

        • adam

          ….

        • adam

          “I think if can see time as a fourth dimension I really can see gravity as a dimension also.”

        • Greg G.

          And, I’m increasingly thinking, morality!

          Oh, come on. Forces act on certain types of particles. Our brains are made of the same particles as every other part of other cells from any other life form. A human brain is just a different configuration of that matter and each human brain is a different configuration than all the others. How is a force of the universe to distinguish all the variations one species of brain from all the variations of all the other species?

          You are stuck on a silly idea. Get over it.

        • MNb

          That Wikipedia article of yours does not propose that gravity is a fifth dimension. You better don’t link to articles you don’t understand. It makes you look stupid.
          Btw there are theories of physics that propose ten dimensions. None of them are called gravity.

          http://www.universetoday.com/48619/a-universe-of-10-dimensions/

          Every single bit of it belongs to natural reality; none of it has to do with the supernatural, immaterial, transcendental, spiritual or whatever fance lable you’d like to use.

        • adam

          “our sense of the Tao.”

          The most important thing when inventing a Tao is to make
          sure it’s invisible, inaudible, and imperceptible in every way. Otherwise, people may become skeptical when it appears to nobody, says nothing, and does nothing.

        • adam

          “No personality there.”

          You mean as opposed to the LYING personality you have?

        • MNb

          The real Beau is not on internet, silly. Neither is the real MNb or the real JRD.
          You’re one of the shallowest people I’ve ever came across on internet. Your silliness saves you.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I see a contradiction in this unhelpful little reply. But never mind! It didn’t come from the real MNb, so don’t feel too bad about it.

        • adam

          “No personality there.”

          Well we cant all be flamboyant LIARS and DECEIVERS like you….

        • Greg G.

          I have never met a literature professor who did not think CS Lewis a great writer.

          A great writer can make stupid ideas sound good. Don’t let that fool you.

        • Kodie

          Doesn’t matter how many people tell him this, in how many words, in so many ways, he ignores it every time.

        • adam

          “A great writer can make stupid ideas sound good. Don’t let that fool you.”

          Too late, he is already the LYING fool…

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          again, no intended irony

        • adam

          But we understand you have to be dishonest to properly represent this ‘god’ of yours….

          “I’m going to be straight with you. Unless you say, ‘GREEN BANANA at the top of one of your posts, I will never ever respond to anything you say again. You have to write it in capitals like that. I really mean it. If I do not see that at the top of your post I will act as if your post does not exist.

          This is a solemn promise, and you know I tell the truth.”
          Says Jame Raskalinikov Dean the Liar…

          So we KNOW what your ‘solemn promise’ is worth and that you DONT tell the truth…

        • adam

          “But I really feel the same spirit. ”

          The same spirit of DELUSION…

        • adam

        • MNb

          “I suppose what I mean”
          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          You don’t know what you mean, but have to suppose what you mean! Suddenly falling through gravity begins to make some sense to me.

          “the Narnia books continue to intrigue professors of literature, in all sorts of interesting ways.”
          Yeah. Like CSL’s friend:

          http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/nov/19/cs-lewis-literary-legacy

          “Many, including Lewis’s friend JRR Tolkien, found them incoherent, sentimental and unsatisfactory. The twin taints of racism and sexism attach to them – as they do to other Lewis works. Notoriously, at the end of the Narnia stories, Susan appears to be punished for entering adolescence and developing an interest in lipstick by exclusion from what in the Narnia mythos passes for heaven.”

          Great writing indeed. Or not.

          I also suggest you to read a bit further and take notice of Philip Pullman’s evaluation. You won’t like it. You will like the last paragraph of the article even less.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Yes, CS Lewis does get a lot of slagging. So does Schoenberg, for instance.

        • adam

          “My critique of Abolition of Man is probably too long for reasonable blog comment!”

          It was just long enough to expose JRD as a shyster and deceiver.

        • MNb

          JRD really is a funny silly guy, isn’t he?

        • adam

          “Lewis is popular in some circles…”

          Obviously with IDiots like YOU, who cant understand Lewis enough to make your points.

        • adam

          There you go again with popular!

        • adam

          “I wonder Beau, perhaps you have not read enough of either Shakespeare or CS Lewis to make a fair judgement.”

          What’s the difference you are just going to be dishonest to represent your dishonest ‘god’?

        • adam

          “I wonder Beau, perhaps you have not read enough of either Shakespeare or CS Lewis to make a fair judgement.”

        • adam

          “Puzzled also that someone would think Shakespeare a profound writer, but not CS Lewis.”

          Puzzled, no

          Deliberately ignorant more likely…..
          Dishonest MOST likely…

          As you are already a DEMONSTRATED LIAR

        • adam

          ” That you do not matter? This seems to me quite profound.”

          Then again you are an apologetic IDiot…

        • adam

          Gee, if ‘scale’ matters then YOUR existence is less than meaningless in the overall SCALE of the universe. Same with your ‘morality’ or demonstrated lack there of in you dishonest dealings with the subject.

        • Kodie

          You have yet to express what’s so profound about it. We know your pea-brain is overly enthusiastic and impressed, but we can’t figure out why. Can you figure out why? Is it that the book didn’t really say anything profound, or your incapacity to communicate with other humans in the common language? Both of these are your fault. That no one is so far convinced what you find so amazing and profound rests entirely on your small brain lacking the intellect to translate the text to us. Other people have been doing your homework, so as far as I can tell, their communication skills are far higher than yours are, and we find that the text is not profound, but only flowery and full of fallacies to make fools like you fall on your knees thinking you know something.

          The fact that you are so proud to be human and so in love with the intellectual capacity of humans, compared especially to the unique abilities of all living organisms, I would say, we’re also humans. We’re communicating to you, we’re not “stuck” on something that we can’t get, we get it because it’s been explained by intellects much deeper than yours, much more analytical, and most importantly, able to get the words out. You don’t get it. You’re ignoring it. You don’t even bother to read or to learn. You’re unable to communicate in a common language what is particularly profound or impressive about a book you read. So far, you are zero here. You even are so unintelligent, you can’t recognize how much intellect you lack. What is there to be impressed by?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          It is true Kodie, you do manage to get a lot of words out.

        • Kodie

          Why don’t you know how to read?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          And you ask a lot of unhelpful questions like that. Loaded questions. I think you should spend less time talking about the people talking.

        • Kodie

          What’s unhelpful?

        • Kodie

          But you can’t read. And you’re not talking.

        • MNb

          Yes, because we have minds. Lots of other animals also have minds.

          “for such a thing to happen takes a universe as vast as the one of which we are.”
          Could you provide the mathematical calculations this conclusion is based upon? If no “as vast as the one of which we are” is totally meaningless – just another shallow thought.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I don’t have to provide any mathematical calculations.

          Just have a think about it.

          Imagine you want to ‘make’ yourself. What would you need to do it?

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          I believe the point is not really that your Lewis quote needs better math. The point is that your Lewis quote is obvious, banal, and lacking in any particular insight.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Oh no, just the opposite. The Lewis observation is a great one, not banal at all. To see that it takes a universe to make a human being is most insightful.

          What about you Beau Quilter, if you wanted to ‘make’ yourself, how would you do it?

          Perhaps you consider yourself a simple thing.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          The closest thing I can do to “make” myself is to partner and make a baby – which I have done a few times (with excellent outcomes – I might add).

          … but if you think that rather obvious and derivative Lewis observation profound … please yourself. Perhaps you could find a Precious Moments figurine to hang it on.

        • adam

          “Oh no, just the opposite. The Lewis observation is a great one, not banal at all.”

        • Kodie

          Jimmy, when someone asks you what you find so insightful about it, use meaningful words to build your case. Don’t keep repeating your dumbass assertions. By now, we all get the gist of what the book says and why you’re so dumb you fell for it. But be honest, you don’t think you need to try so hard. You actually think you’re “keeping up,” don’t you?

        • adam

          The most important thing when inventing a Tao is to make sure it’s
          invisible, inaudible, and imperceptible in every way. Otherwise, people
          may become skeptical when it appears to nobody, says nothing, and does
          nothing.

        • adam

          “I don’t have to provide any mathematical calculations.

          Just have a think about it.”

        • Kodie

          An excessively large universe? You just have to think about it.

        • adam

          “We are the universe come to life, talking and thinking about itself.”

          Viruses and bacteria are ALIVE…

          CS Lewis, as YOU FAILED to demonstrate, points out no such thing.

        • Kodie

          What a terrific way to think about it!

        • adam

          “but it strikes me that human beings are the universe.”

          Too many time being struck by the stupid stick…

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          How are human beings the universe (as opposed to being an infinitesimally small part of it)?

          Incidentally, I have read Lewis’s Abolition of Man. Like Mere Christianity, it is filled with straw men, false dilemmas, and unsubstantiated assertions; his conclusions fall like a house of cards – which is why Lewis has very little influence outside the admittedly prolific world of Christian apologetics.

          He builds the entire edifice on the presumption of a “Tao” – his word for an objective morality that supersedes humanity and, indeed, the universe. But he provides virtually nothing to substantiate the existence of such a “Tao” other than similarities in the moralities of human societies across time and space (ignoring the plethora of differences between them!). Neither does he attempt to codify or identify what, exactly, this “Tao” consists of, other than occasional listings of behaviors he considers moral.

          He argues against straw men (presumably secularists) who denigrate poetry, literature, and other arts as valueless and who believe that the purpose of man is the “conquest of nature”. If such ideas do exist among secularists and scientists, they are rare and unrepresentative. He is fighting with straw men.

          He makes many assertions about the lack of moral progress in history, ignoring such huge advances as the extension of human rights beyond tribalism, the universal denouncement of slavery, the democratic empowerment of women and all races, and a host of other moral advances that would have made no sense to our ancestors.

          While worrying over secular reductionism, he makes, himself, the most ludicrous reductio ad absurdum, concluding that men who treat our “Tao” (morality?) as an extension of nature, will eventually work towards the “abolition of man”, by reducing our morality to simply another aspect of nature that can be manipulated. This grand reductive conclusion is based, in part, on the idiotic notions that secular man is intent on “conquering nature” (as an end in itself?) and that man is incapable of valuing morality unless its source comes from beyond man.

          Any ethical philosopher worth his salt can tell you (and Lewis – who was not a philosopher, except in the most amateurish meaning of the term – that any universality that is evident in human morality derives from the simple fact that we are all human. This is why most ethical philosophies can be grounded in the notion of human well-being. No supernatural grounding is required.

        • MNb

          So you’re basically saying that CSL was a shallow thinker? Call me non-surprised.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Yep. He was a Christian apologist, and like all apologists his arguments are full of logical fallacies.

        • adam

          The most important thing when inventing a Tao is to make sure it’s invisible, inaudible, and imperceptible in every way. Otherwise, people may become skeptical when it appears to nobody, says nothing, and does nothing.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I think you misunderstood the book, and I think you greatly misunderstand the political reality of the world we live in. I fear what you consider idiotic notions are notions genuinely held by the social engineers. They may indeed be rare and unrepresentative of the views of the majority, but the social engineers are not operating in a democracy.

          The book is not built on the assumption of a Tao, it explores the idea of a Tao, of a world with and without it, and finds that is one. And it’s not a cop out that CS Lewis does not codify it, for instance, to your satisfaction, it is the nature of the Tao.

          It is not news that CS Lewis was not a philosopher, he takes great pains to point this out himself. But, I understand, within the academic world of moral philosophy a great many of his ideas are well respected.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          No, I haven’t misunderstood the book, but if you believe that there are “social engineers” intent on “conquering nature” and devaluing the arts and humanities for some unknown and inexplicable reasons, do feel free to quote them and explain their great influence on society.

          Of course the book is built on the assumption of a Tao; you really have poor reading skills if you can’t see that assumption present in every argument Lewis makes. He makes no reasonable case for the existence of a Tao. None.

          And no, the only philosophers who respect CS Lewis are the Christian Apologists who sequester themselves in the little regarded branch of “philosophy of religion” found primarily on Christian College campuses.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Did you watch The Voice on TV last night?

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          No.

        • adam

          ” And I think we can identify some things about human consciousness that are remarkable, like language, for instance. We have to look at the evidence, I agree.”

          The evidence doesnt support those who work through deception and dishonesty..

          https://duckduckgo.com/?q=language+in+animals&t=ffsb&ia=about

        • adam

          “We have to look at the evidence, I agree.”

          Why would you start NOW, after all of your dishonesty and deception?

        • adam

          “For the first time, on earth anyway, the universe became self conscious.”

        • adam

          “For the first time, on earth anyway, the universe became self conscious.”

          The most important thing when inventing a Tao is to make sure it’s invisible, inaudible, and imperceptible in every way. Otherwise, people may become skeptical when it appears to nobody, says nothing, and does nothing.

        • adam

          “For the first time, on earth anyway, the universe became self conscious.”

        • adam

          “A dog knows, but man is the only animal that knows that he knows.”

          Says the IDIOT who cant demonstrate any of his claims

          http://www.world-of-lucid-dreaming.com/10-animals-with-self-awareness.html

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          There’s good evidence that dolphins and whales “know that they know”, and they’ve been around far longer than humans.

        • adam

          “A dog knows, but man is the only animal that knows that he knows.”

        • MNb

          In addition to BQ underneath: crows apparently know that they know as well.
          But hey – an apologist and CSL admired sooner or later has to reject science …..

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I’m very sorry. You miss the point.

          It doesn’t matter if crows know that they know or not. Human beings know that they know. The universe comes to life, and then it knows that it knows. This is the point.

          And in addition, I am sure you are not claiming that the consciousness of a crow is the same as that of a human being.

          And I am sure you know it’s all, in a very important sense, the same thing anyway. It’s all just bits of the universe come to life. That nascent consciousness in the crow’s mind, is of the universe.

          Do you know what science means?

        • adam

          “And in addition, I am sure you are not claiming that the consciousness of a crow is the same as that of a human being.”

          And in addition, I am sure that you are not claiming that consciousness of a crow is different than consciousness of any other animal..

        • Kodie

          But adam, Jimmy is learning new things. See how he scrambles facts that are new to him right into his original narrative? Nothing will destroy the strength of his opinion.

        • adam

          Of course….

        • adam

          The most important thing when inventing a Tao is to make sure it’s
          invisible, inaudible, and imperceptible in every way. Otherwise, people
          may become skeptical when it appears to nobody, says nothing, and does
          nothing….

        • Kodie

          Do you even know what crows know? You are being really lazy. I thought you would have said something far more substantial by now with all your yakking.

        • adam

          “The Phenomenon of Man has a lot to say on this. Interesting because I think Dawkins didn’t bother to read it.”

          Why should he read it.

          What DOES the PoM have to say THAT YOU CAN ARTICULATE and SUPPORTS your position?

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          By the way, James, your little crack that “Dawkins didn’t bother to read it” is a complete falsehood. Here is a conversation between Dawkins and Dennett, in which he describes quite plainly how he first read “The Phenomenon of Man” as an undergraduate:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdU-UtEJEIA

        • adam

          “The Phenomenon of Man has a lot to say on this. Interesting because I think Dawkins didn’t bother to read it.”

        • adam

          “Did you deliberately use the word ‘denier’ because of its holocaust denier connotations?”

        • Kodie

          Denier – one who denies a fact. What paranoid “connotations” are you blathering about?

        • adam

          The most important thing when inventing a Tao is to make sure it’s
          invisible, inaudible, and imperceptible in every way. Otherwise, people
          may become skeptical when it appears to nobody, says nothing, and does
          nothing.

        • adam

          “I have talked about evolution, and the interesting suggestion that the
          Tao might be an illusion of consciousness, and it’s seeming universal
          quality might be merely the fact of it’s being a human phenomenon.”

          The most important thing when inventing a Tao is to make sure it’s invisible, inaudible, and imperceptible in every way. Otherwise, people may become skeptical when it appears to nobody, says nothing, and does nothing.

        • adam

          “CS Lewis, as has already been mentioned, believed in the theory of
          evolution. But it seems that he was not persuaded that it explained
          everything. And neither am I.”

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

          Demanding? Of course I’m demanding, given how seminal to the conversation you claim Lewis’s book is.

          I see nothing new here.

          His fear is that the social engineers must replace the Tao with something – their own Tao. This is what you seem to be doing.

          What I’m doing? I’m just finding morality like everyone, including you, does. We’re not moving from objective morality to Man’s social construct if there was no objective morality to begin with.

        • adam

          “His fear is that the social engineers must replace the Tao with something – their own Tao. ”

          So ‘his fear’ is that someone will replace HIS imaginary Tao with some OTHER imaginary Tao

          Yeah, political power hates that..

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I only just noticed this comment Bob.

          This one really takes the cake. How would you feel if this were a thread about your two books on atheism, and I said you were wrong about it. And then went to say that I hadn’t read the books, but that it didn’t matter. My position would be ridiculous. Even worse if I this thread were on an article I had written claiming you were wrong about atheism.

          I had a look at your two books – well one of them – a novel? I’m imagining it’s a sort of Dan Brown rip off, with an atheist twist. But I haven’t read it, so of course I can’t make any meaningful comments about it.

          However, from what I have read by you, that is the CS Lewis thing and this, it seems to me you just rewrite stuff you’ve read in Richard Dawkins, but make it longer than it needs to be, and even less thoughtful. It’s like Dawkins for daytime TV America.

        • MNb

          False analogy …. BobS has read Mere Christianity.
          Your silliness doesn’t know any bottom, does it?

          “I’m imagining it’s a sort of Dan Brown rip off, with an atheist twist.”

          BWAHAHAHAHA!

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

          I only just noticed this comment Bob.

          No, you’ve already shared your insightful reaction, but it’s always a treat to get more from you.

          How would you feel if this were a thread about your two books on atheism, and I said you were wrong about it. And then went to say that I hadn’t read the books, but that it didn’t matter. My position would be ridiculous.

          It would indeed! I’m glad that isn’t even close to my approach in this post. Imagine if I were writing a post about Lewis’s views on morality in Mere Christianity but hadn’t even read the book—ridiculous!

          I had a look at your two books – well one of them – a novel?

          Both books are novels. No, no Dan Brown here.

          it seems to me you just rewrite stuff you’ve read in Richard Dawkins

          I doubt I’ve read even an article from Dawkins in the last year, but I realize that facts and meaningful argument aren’t what you’re here for, so that was just an aside.

          One wonders why you’re here.

        • Kodie

          He’s here to dazzle us with his brilliant observations and opinions that he finds while looking at the toilet to check out his bowel movements.

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

          Oh, so that’s how he’s been getting shit on his shoe.

          ??

        • MR

          He hasn’t been serious about this conversation for some time, if ever.

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

          I enjoy basking in the glow of his hateful comments. I do hear baby Jesus crying, however.

        • Kodie

          You admitted you are inadequate to summarize something Greg G. summarized after reading it a couple hours and read it more than once, apparently, to keep explaining. You have done zero to make your case. What is your reason for sticking around? You are like gum* on the bottom of a shoe, and I think you know that, and I think you intended to be that.

          *Because gum is actually harder to remove than dog shit.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          good tip for removing bubble gum is to pop the gummed stuff into the freezer. Probably not a good technique for dog shit.

          It’s true Greg did summarize it, but I didn’t think it was a very good summary. I know the book quite well. Indeed, Greg’s summary was the sort of thing one might expect a few generations into the nascent social-engineered world being criticized in the book.

        • Kodie

          You didn’t have anything to say about your book or Greg’s summarization that was helpful or relevant. Mainly, you accused him of not reading it because his conclusions were different from yours, but we have not read your explanations or summarizations yet. All we have from you is your blah blah blah read the book, I can’t explain it. You’re useless!

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Well, I got Greg to put his complaints into premiss conclusion form, and we had a look at them. His main one was that CS Lewis’s argument could be dismissed because it was circular.

          I bet you a hundred pound – ten times last time – that you cannot show me from Greg’s postings where he demonstrates that CS Lewis’s argument is circular – demonstrates, not claims.

          And bear in mind this is just Greg’s summary we are talking about, not the book.

          I could do a summary of the book. I tried a few times. As I say, on youtube you can find lots of lectures and introductions to the book.

          I just think it’s odd that someone interested in this stuff wouldn’t just read the book themselves.

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

          No, what’s odd is someone reading a post on Lewis’s views on morality in Mere Christianity and then becoming outraged that it’s not on a different topic that he thinks would be more appropriate.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          We’ve been over this Bob. You called your post CS Lewis is wrong about morality. That you wrote this article, and then pretended that you actually only meant to address ‘Mere Christianity’ is ridiculous.

          You are wrong about the argument as it appears in ‘Mere Christianity’ too, however, since it is the same argument, but not so clearly, or fully expressed.

        • MNb

          A silly guy you is not really the ultimate authority of what is and what is not ridiculous …..

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

          All this whining and I still don’t know what the problem is.

          Lead with your counterargument next time.

        • Kodie

          You know, what kind of useless fucking idiot are you to tell me how to remove bubble gum? You seem to have missed the point completely, you’re useless and annoying, and hanging around being intentionally useless and annoying.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Don’t forget I also said about not putting dog shit in the freezer. Just as good a tip.

        • Kodie

          Are you trying to tell us you’d rather be compared to dog shit?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          No Kodie, it’s just that your responses to what people put are often so confused that I feared you might start putting dog shit in your freezer.

        • Kodie

          Don’t blame me for your shitty reading comprehension and lack of responsibility. Make a valid argument, do your fucking job.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          See what I mean? How does this follow on? How am I blaming you for my shitty reading comprehension and lack of responsibility?

          And I did make a valid argument.

          You seem to misunderstand what people put. That’s the premiss. The conclusion is, that if someone writes something that mentions putting dog shit in the freezer, you might misinterpret what they put as a suggestion that it is a good idea to put dog shit in the freezer.

        • Kodie

          You haven’t put forth any effort to make your claims substantial in any part, and are curiously distracted by everything that will help you make a post without making your point. I told you that you are intentionally stupid and useless by metaphor, how else do you interpret this but to accuse me of not knowing how to take care of actual gum or actual dog shit. You know you’re a useless troll, now address the question and stop behaving like a useless piece of shit. I question your purpose for being here is to actually engage in an intellectual conversation, or is it to actually engage in being a typically useless Christian, behaving like shit, evading questions, not making points, reading comprehension terrible, and just holding out for troll points?

        • MR

          You know you’re a useless troll, now address the question and stop behaving like a useless piece of shit. I question your purpose for being here is to actually engage in an intellectual conversation, or is it to actually engage in being a typically useless Christian, behaving like shit, evading questions, not making points, reading comprehension terrible, and just holding out for troll points?

          This.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Kodie, I confess, I do not take you seriously.

        • Kodie

          I confess, you’re illiterate.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          There’s no apostrophe in you are.

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

          True, but there is in “you’re.”

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          to be honest Bob, I was hoping to get Kodie with that! But you will do!

        • MNb

          JRD, I confess, nobody here takes you seriously.

        • Kodie

          If your reading comprehension is that poor, don’t put it in the freezer, because it’s dog shit.

        • Kodie

          Are you on topic or not, I can’t even tell. Some theist agreed with his point on this topic, so what more does he have to do to convince them?

    • smrnda

      I’ve read Kierkegaard, a long time ago. I’ve also studied cognitive psychology, and if there is anything I learned is that people are not really that aware or in touch with their motivations for the choices they make. They’re hard to verbalize, and people aren’t even really all that rational.

      I mean, Kierkegaard wasn’t a Buddhist, nor a Muslim. It’s kind of odd that he just ended up a bit outside of the norm for his own society.

    • Dys

      You might want to re-read what Bob wrote for Objection 1. He already stated outright that his argument isn’t about absolutes, but correlations.

      Commenting on how he supposedly doesn’t understand Kierkegaard when your objection had already been adequately dealt with before you ever wrote it is rather pointless.

    • TheNuszAbides

      there’s a third option, silly.

  • RichardSRussell

    I’m predisposed to agree with Bob’s argument here, but I just ran across an article from Michael Shermer (of Skeptic magazine) that presents evidence to the contrary — at least in the US, where information tends to flow more freely. Citing recent evidence, Shermer writes that “people are changing religions—the Pew survey found that 42 percent of Americans currently adhere to a religion different from the one into which they were born and raised, further eroding the quaint notion of there being One True Religion. Yes, some people raised with no religion became religious (4.3 percent of U.S. adults), but four times as many went the other direction.”

    • Kodie

      I would guess that also has to do with where you grew up, and maybe with the internet’s help in the last couple decades. From what I understand, there are much more homogenous sections of the US where you grew up thinking everyone in the world was just like your town, or horrified that they’re different, and isolated from it, or considering one’s religion optional.

      • RichardSRussell

        I think you’re spot on about regionalism. Chances that kids in Utah are going to abandon Mormonism or young adults in Alabama are going to bail out from the Baptists are considerably lower than the churn that’s likely to occur in more diverse places like large cities, where you’re constantly exposed to more alternatives. But, as you say, as long as we’re all plugged into the Internet, it doesn’t GET any more diverse than that.

    • Clover and Boxer

      I haven’t read the article, but if someone goes from Lutheranism to Methodism is that considered changing to a religion “different from the one into into which they were born and raised”?

      • Greg G.

        No, that is just having lots of sects.

        • Clover and Boxer

          In the study that was cited though. I personally wouldn’t consider that changing religions.

        • Greg G.

          It seems that many Christians don’t know the specific beliefs of one denomination to the next, and don’t care. Denominations are interchangeable for them as long as they hear “Jeeezus” and “Amen” now and then.

        • Clover and Boxer

          Yes. I don’t see how “42 percent of Americans currently adhere to a religion different from the one into which they were born and raised” can be correct unless it considers changes between Christian denominations. I’m too lazy to look up the original study to sort it out.

        • Kodie

          Looks like most of them are probably still some kind of Christian.

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

          That’s certainly my view–that changing between Christian denominations doesn’t count from the standpoint of the Pew study.

        • Clover and Boxer

          All right. I think I found the answer: “If all Protestants were treated as a single religious group, then fully 34% of American adults currently have a religious identity different from the one in which they were raised. This is up six points since 2007, when 28% of adults identified with a religion different from their childhood faith. If switching among the three Protestant traditions (e.g., from mainline Protestantism to the evangelical tradition, or from evangelicalism to a historically black Protestant denomination) is added to the total, then the share of Americans who currently have a different religion than they did in childhood rises to 42%.”

          It seems the 42% number includes switching between Protestant traditions (broken down into three). The 34% figure at the beginning of the paragraph has to include people who switched between Catholicism and Protestantism, right? The share of people who are part of religions other than Christianity is way too small, “The share of the public identifying with religions other than Christianity has grown from 4.7% in 2007 to 5.9% in 2014.”

          So it seems that even in the U.S. changing religions doesn’t occur very much unless one considers changes between Catholicism/Protestantism and/or changes between Protestant denominations a change in religion.

          http://www.pewforum.org/2015/05/12/americas-changing-religious-landscape/

    • James Raskalinikov Dean

      I think Michael Shermer is dishonest.

      • MR

        And we think you’re dishonest.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Well where does that leave us?
          What do you think about Shermer when he does his fake laugh? I think it’s really weird.

        • adam

          ” I think it’s really weird.”

          And yet you think nothing of being dishonest

          But we understand you have to be dishonest to properly represent this ‘god’ of yours…

          “I’m going to be straight with you. Unless you say, ‘GREEN BANANA at the top of one of your posts, I will never ever respond to anything you say again. You have to write it in capitals like that. I really mean it. If I do not see that at the top of your post I will act as if your post does not exist.

          This is a solemn promise, and you know I tell the truth.”
          Says Jame Raskalinikov Dean the Liar…

          So we KNOW what your ‘solemn promise’ is worth and that you DONT tell the truth…

        • MR

          I think it’s really weird when you deflect and try to change the subject.

        • Kodie

          Would it not have been more appropriate and clear expression to support Jimmy’s opinion for him to read the article and point out where he thinks Shermer is being dishonest, to actually address the post instead of hate on the person “Michael Shermer” because he doesn’t like the way he laughs? I mean, that’s how someone “keeping up” would have done it.

        • MR

          I think you expect too much of dear, old Jimmy.

        • Kodie

          I’m only trying to illustrate another example of Jimmy doing it wrong. If I’m waiting for a light bulb to come on in that big yet dumb brain of his, yeah, I guess I am expecting too much.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          yeah you’re right. I wish I hadn’t said that about the Shermer. There is only a tenuous link to what’s being discussed here.

        • Kodie

          You don’t like how he laughs? That’s what you’d like to say to support your opinion?

      • adam

        “I think Michael Shermer is dishonest.”

        But we KNOW that you are dishonest:

        But we understand you have to be dishonest to properly represent this ‘god’ of yours…

        “I’m going to be straight with you. Unless you say, ‘GREEN BANANA at the top of one of your posts, I will never ever respond to anything you say again. You have to write it in capitals like that. I really mean it. If I do not see that at the top of your post I will act as if your post does not exist.

        This is a solemn promise, and you know I tell the truth.”
        Says Jame Raskalinikov Dean the Liar…

        So we KNOW what your ‘solemn promise’ is worth and that you DONT tell the truth…

      • RichardSRussell

        “What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.”
        —Christopher Hitchens, author and journalist

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          And even if I had presented evidence, it wouldn’t necessarily have any bearing on the above information.

        • MNb

          Then it’s not evidence.

        • Kodie

          Why wouldn’t you have have something relevant to say about what Richard wrote? That’s what I mean, you’re not keeping up. You think something irrelevant is more interesting to say.

        • RichardSRussell

          So you think it’s OK to slander someone without evidence, and your defense when someone calls you on it is that any evidence you might possibly have come up with would have been irrelevant anyway. Have you ever considered a career in used-car sales, politics, or Fox News?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          When I say I think Michael Shermer is dishonest I am not slandering him. Your quote form Hitchens is fair enough. I don’t think it’s the place to go into the evidence for Shermer’s dishonesty. I shouldn’t have said anything you’re right. he might be telling the truth about the stuff you put up, I don’t know.

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

          Tell us why it’s reasonable to conclude that Shermer is dishonest.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I think it is reasonable to conclude that on what seem important occasions Shermer has been dishonest.

          I don’t know if it is reasonable to conclude that he is, in general, dishonest. Perhaps, on the important occasions he was being dishonest, he had his own reasons.

        • adam

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

          You’ve simply clarified your position–Shermer is dishonest.

          Do you want to support that with anything? Any examples of his dishonesty?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Bob, you say I have I have simply clarified my position. But then I assume you are stating what you think to be my clarified position. But what you write is:

          Shermer is dishonest.

          This was never my position.

          I said I think Shermer is dishonest, which I ammended to I think it is reasonable to conclude that on what seem important occasions Shermer has been dishonest.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          So Shermer “has been dishonest on important occasions”, Dawkins is a “psychopath”, and criticizes books he’s never read?

          And you make such idiot statements with no evidence whatsoever – are you too much of an idiot to see why none on this blog is taking you seriously?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Beau, do you think you could rephrase what you have put?
          There is a loaded question, a bunch of assumptions, and much that is just plain wrong. I said I think Dawkins might be a psychopath. And my main objection to his treatment of Phenomenon of Man was that he didn’t bother to critique it, as they say.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          No – I don’t have to rephrase a thing.

          You think putting the words “I think” in front of a stupid, evidence-less assertion, somehow makes it better? And you said that Dawkins didn’t bother to read it.

          I’m so tired of your self-serving, dishonest comments.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I think there is a difference between offering an opinion and claiming to be stating a fact.

          I think putting the words I think before an evidenceless assertion helps to show that it is an opinion.

          I said that I thought Dawkin’s hadn’t bothered to read it.

          How am I serving myself? How am I being dishonest?

          I mean what I say above, but I don’t care that much about it. Were we not having a discussion about the meaning of the universe?

        • Kodie

          Why do you think sharing your opinions is anything? Why do you think we would care? That’s the whole thing – you threw out some insult because you “feel” like something is true. Don’t try using the word “think” anymore, it does not mean what you’re using it for.

          Your opinions are worthless and do nothing to forward a topical discussion.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Kodie I think your post is a little ironic. You mostly do nothing but give out our opinions, which seem jumbled and angry.

        • Kodie

          How ironic is it when you tell Beau he doesn’t say much of anything. Every single one of your posts lacks substance, and yet, when people go out of their way to demonstrate where you fail at expressing any points, your response is total denial, and keep on going the same fucking terrible way. I’m not telling you that you’re a bad person, but you probably are. You are terrible at coherent intelligent discussion, which makes it difficult for everyone else to know what the fuck you’re talking about. You’re not keeping up. You think it’s relevant or interesting to anyone how you feel about Dawkins or Shermer. It’s a fact that those expressions are empty, worthless, and pointless – and you don’t back anything up! You tell me to look up “this guy” or “leading authority says” like it’s my job to help you make your own fucking point. If it’s that important to you, you have to deliver the interesting parts TO US YOURSELF. It’s a fact that that’s now how one keeps up!

        • Kodie

          Why shouldn’t people be angry with you? You ignore basic courtesy.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Are you this socially inept in every conversation? Even opinions require evidence if the opinion is denigrating another person and is about something that is either true or false.

          It is one thing to say that a piece of music or art is “good” or “bad”. That is a matter of subjective opinion, and while it is possible to give your reasons when saying “I think this music is bad”, it is not always necessary, we understand that the opinion is a subjective assessment.

          But when you state an opinion about things that are objective facts, then your opinion isn’t worth anything, unless you can back it up with evidence. And if you are stating an opinion that denigrates someone else, then it is not only bad form, it is ugly and irresponsible to make such statements.

          And I’m not talking about calling someone “stupid” or “inane”. Those are subjective assessments. I’m talking about making a statement about someone that can be factually verified: “I think he didn’t bother to read it”; “I think he is a psychopath”; “I think he is dishonest”. Such statements are not only valueless without evidence; they are defamatory and dishonest in themselves.

          This is basic and obvious, James. You have shown no ability to make a case with evidence; and that includes in any conversations about the “meaning of the universe”.

          Do you not see what is ridiculously wrong with saying, “I think he is a liar, but I don’t have to tell you why, it’s just an opinion.”

        • adam

          He is just representing HIS ‘god’ in the very best way that it can be represented – by deception and ad hominem.

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

          It’d be a lot faster for all of us if you’d just say that you won’t answer the question. you got no examples? Just say so.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I know you said before about how time is short Bob, but where is it you’re hurrying to? The grave?

          And I think it is not unreasonable to presume that in the long run we might save ourselves time by making sure we are clear about what we are saying.

          Also, the clear cases I have in mind where Sherman is being dishonest require one to have a grasp of basic physics and good understanding of critical thinking. A faith even, in these things.

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

          where is it you’re hurrying to?

          Away from time-wasting conversations.

          Also, the clear cases I have in mind where Sherman is being dishonest require one to have a grasp of basic physics and good understanding of critical thinking. A faith even, in these things.

          Oh, you! You’re such a tease, you saucy bitch! Yet another allusion to specific examples you have in mind … that you’re not going to share.

          I don’t much care anymore. Tip for the future: move quickly to the specific examples to support your point. “I have evidence, but I don’t feel like sharing it” doesn’t make you friends here.

          And no, I have no faith in physics or critical thinking. Trust, yes. Faith, no.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Call it trust if you prefer, I don’t think it matters.

          It’s weird though, don’t you think to write:

          I have no faith in physics or critical thinking.

          Being generous here, I’m thinking you’re saying this because you attach a very particular meaning to ‘faith’, and you don’t want to use this word because of your own very particular meaning you have.

          But in any case I take you to mean you trust in basic physics and critical thinking.

          Am I right in thinking this is what you mean?

        • adam

          ….

        • Greg G.

          Trust is warranted, faith is not. Physics and critical thinking can pass scrutiny when evaluated against confirmation bias. Things that require faith, like prayer, when properly tested, fail the tests. Faith only appears to work when allowed the liberties of cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias.

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

          “Faith” has a slippery definition. “Trust” is usually seen to be belief firmly grounded in evidence (and which will change as the evidence changes). I have trust in physics.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          And also critical thinking? Do you also trust in critical thinking? And when you say you have trust in physics, do you mean you actually understand something about physics, or you trust others to make judgements for you, as perhaps a religious person might trust a priest to make judgements for them, and trust what the priest says for no more reason than it was said by a priest?

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

          Yes, I trust critical thinking. (Am I missing something? Is this question actually relevant?)

          I do understand something about physics as an amateur, but I also trust the scientific consensus as the best provisional answer we have at the moment.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          MNb keeps going on about gravity, for instance.

          Do you understand enough physics, and indeed critical thinking to say whether or not objects of differing weights fall at differing speeds?

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

          Yes, I’m aware of Galileo’s experiment that falling weights fall at the same speed (ignoring air friction).

          Is this going somewhere?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Do we need to do an experiment to show whether or not things of differing weights fall at the same or differing speeds? (Ignoring as you say the air resistence)

          I promise this is going somewhere really interesting.

        • adam

          “I promise this is going somewhere really interesting.”

          Speaking of ‘promises’

          And yet you think nothing of being dishonest

          But we understand you have to be dishonest to properly represent this ‘god’ of yours…

          “I’m going to be straight with you. Unless you say, ‘GREEN BANANA at the top of one of your posts, I will never ever respond to anything you say again. You have to write it in capitals like that. I really mean it. If I do not see that at the top of your post I will act as if your post does not exist.

          This is a solemn promise, and you know I tell the truth.”
          Says Jame Raskalinikov Dean the Liar…

          So we KNOW what your ‘solemn promise’ is worth and that you DONT tell the truth…

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

          Your promises have very little value, I’m afraid.

          Get to the point, please. I’m not good at playing games with unknown rules.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I hope I’m gong to show you that your world view, if you will, is not actually based on a trust in science and reason, but rather in something else, and that it is far more like a faith in a religion – except it seems very much a false religion.

          But in order to do this I just want to know what sort of understanding of science and reasoning you have.

          Do you really know for yourself that objects of differing masses fall at the same rate of acceleration? Or do you take this as an article of faith?

          And do you see how we can know that differing masses fall at the same acceleration, ignoring air resistance, without having done an experiment?

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

          Do you re ally know for yourself that objects of differing masses fall at the same rate of acceleration? Or do you take this as an article of faith?

          1. I’ve done the experiments myself, though just at an introductory level.

          2. I have no faith in anything, if “faith” is “belief not firmly grounded in evidence.” Rather, I trust the report of science. The consensus view of science counts for something. It has proven itself pretty reliable.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Here is a very important thing though Bob.

          Do you believe Newton’s laws of motion merely because you think Newton’s laws represent a consensus view?

          I think you should not. It is not meaningful to talk about a consensus view on Newton’s laws of motion.

          It is perhaps meaningful to talk about there being a consensus view on climate change being driven by CO2 from human endeavors – but not very meaningful, I think. Ultimately the consensus view is not a proof of anything.

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

          Of course the scientific consensus view isn’t proof. Still, it’s the best we laymen have. I always accept the scientific consensus.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Bob, does it not strike you as strange that you use language which sounds so religious – in the controlling organisation sense of religious?

          You say we laymen!

          And ‘I always accept the scientific consensus’.

          This sounds exactly like a faith in a religion, or a devotion to a state.

          And, I think more importantly, when it comes to matters like Newton’s laws of motion do you trust in these laws because of scientific consensus, or is your trust based on something better than that?

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

          Nope. No faith here.

          Science has proven itself quite reliable. Not perfect, but pretty darn good. And better than any competing route to knowledge about our reality.

          Since I am not a scientist in any discipline (well, computer science, I guess, but that’s not what we’re talking about), I rely on the scientific consensus. You got anything better?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I’m worried that you sound like you don’t know if you know things or not.

          I’m worried whether you accept the truth of Newton’s laws of motion because they are clearly true, and that this is something you can see for yourself, or because you have been told they are true by an authority you trust unquestioningly.

          It seems to me very clear that I believe Newton’s laws of motion because I see for myself that they are true.

          It would not make sense for me to feel that my thinking was in any way the result of a scientific consensus on the matter.

          I am worried that you believe in Newton’s laws of motion because you think there is a scientific consensus that they are true.

        • Kodie

          That’s because you believe in conspiracies, and you don’t know how science actually works. We know that scientists challenge findings, scientists don’t just watch a video and gullibly accept the amazing charts and graphs like you do. They are looking to falsify everything, and when they can’t, we have knowledge. It’s been pretty reliable.

          I’ve also criticized Bob for using this scientific consensus argument because I know it sounds religious to ignorant dummies like you who are suspicious of science and don’t know how it works. I told him this would happen.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Kodie, as I have tried to make clear, I am not at all suspicious of science, and am knowledgeable enough about, having been very interested in the universe etc for all my life.

          But, do you believe that things fall at a constant acceleration on earth, for instance, because a consensus of scientists say this, or because you know that it is true?

          It has been demonstrated to you that it is true by a proof exactly like a proof that shows the square on the hypotenuse of a right angle triangle is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides?

        • Kodie

          This only proves how dumb you are. Do you know how everything works? You are skeptical of all the things you don’t know, you don’t know them in your brain so you doubt scientists know and people who aren’t scientists can read. But then you blather on about how you think a lot of stuff works because you read it in a book or saw a video. You’re not smart enough to discern where this information is coming from, only that it is well-presented in a format you’re barely smart enough to digest, and not at all smart enough to convey to another person.

          So why do you think EVERYTHING YOU’VE SAID SO FAR means a damn thing? We know your sources and we discern that they are not reliable, not because you’re stupid (even though you are), but because people watched your video and people read your book, and talked about it in detail where the flaws are. You don’t listen to them, reading and comprehending, you read it yourself and you’re still stupid enough to believe whatever you read. I don’t trust Greg G. or MNb because they’re atheists and you’re not – they’ve proven to me over the course of years that they know what they’re talking about. You haven’t had that long experience, but that doesn’t justify you shutting out what they have contributed because nanny nanny poo poo, you watched it yourself so that means it is correct, and they didn’t come to the same conclusions as you did from the same information, so you assert they are wrong???? I know you about 2-3 weeks and your intellect is apparent – very slow and dim-witted, and prolifically so.

          No, you don’t seem to know how scientists know things and how other scientists retest them to make sure. You’re willing to take one man’s video or a “leading authority”‘s position or even a famous author known for literature but also being the Christian apologists’ main man. Apologetics is the art of making bullshit smell sweet to gullible people. You’ve been told what’s wrong with Abolition of Man. You’re in denial, but you also have done nothing to make any of your cases yourself. You assume if anyone uses the same sources as you did, they will see what you mean, but you can’t tell them yourself what you mean. And you assume the arguments are sound because you have no critical thinking skills that I’ve seen so far. And you further assume that anyone would consume those sources like you did and agree with you, and protest like a whining child when they don’t.

          I don’t have to know how my car works to use it. Cars are generally reliable machines that work a certain way that people who know how cars work know and agree how cars work. I don’t have any idea how my computer works. I don’t know how my air conditioner works. I don’t have to worry that these machines will turn into other machines, and when they stop working, I take it to someone who can diagnose the problem. It’s not demons. It’s never been demons.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          But do you understand why it is true that the square of the hypotenuse on a right angle triangle is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides?

          Do you understand that it is true that objects on earth fall at approximately 9.8m/s/s?

        • Kodie

          I have no idea what you’re talking about.

        • MNb

          As a teacher math and physics I do understand this stuff.
          The question is: do you? Given your track record of blunders I doubt it highly.

          1. It’s very easy to disprove Pythagoras’ Theorem. I can also tell how come and that will illustrate what I wrote before today: deduction can’t provide truth.

          2. Using “true” and “approximately” in one sentence is incoherent. You don’t say “The Creator approximately created the Universe” either.
          Plus you haven’t defined “On Earth.” Do you mean this literally? Then objects can’t fall by definition as height is zero. Do you mean “in the earthly atmosphere?” That value changes with height as described by Newton’s Law of Universal Gravity. So to give your question any meaning you have to set boundaries. As the value of g (which you assume to be approximately 9,8 m/s/s) is a spectrum these boundaries are totally arbitrary. As a result the claim “objects on Earth fall at approximately 9,8 m/s/s” is not a truth claim anymore.

          As always you ask the wrong questions. That’s because you don’t care about science.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          MNb, when you say true and approximate is incoherent, I want you to know that I meant approximate in the sense of as close to true as is possible.

          Sorry about not defining it more precisely.

          Let’s do that. I mean a ten pound weight 100m above sea level – with nothing but air between the object falling and the surface of the earth below. And we are going to imagine there is no air.

          If science is true, and I think it is, I can know the velocity of the object falling at any point during its fall to the earth.

          And I can know this not because of a consensus of scientists, but because it is true.

          It follows that it might seem like a consensus of scientists think this, but the consensus of scientist has no bearing on the proof. It is true in itself.

          Things fall at that acceleration on earth – approximately, meaning as close to a definite measurement as you can get.

        • Kodie

          Wow, dummy. Scientists are not in a conspiracy to tell us what to think. Can you do every experiment yourself to find out for yourself if it is true? Are you willing to say you know absolutely nothing about the natural world unless you yourself perform the experiments, scientifically, yourself?

          Say you know nothing!

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I am aware of what I know and what I don’t know. I know that the square on the hypotenuse of a right angle triangle is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides.

          I know that objects on earth fall at 9.8m/s/s

          I know if you have ten people in a room they can not all have been born on a different day of the week.

          Kodie, I worry that you don’t know whether or not you know any of this stuff.

        • Kodie

          Why, because I trust real science and not your crackpot sources? Most of what you think you know, you only believe, because someone told you and you believed they knew what they were talking about. I don’t know why you think we should trust your crackpot sources when you say they are telling the truth, or when you claim to know things that aren’t true. DO YOU DO ALL THE EXPERIMENTS YOURSELF OR NOT???? SAY YOU KNOW NOTHING! Stop trying to change the subject. You are not aware of what you know or don’t know.

        • MNb

          “I can know this not because of a consensus of scientists, but because it is true.”
          That remains a false dichotomy – if the word “true” means “approximately certain”. But in other comments you use “true” meaning “beyond all possible doubt”, so you are deliberately ambiguous.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          But I’m not deliberately ambiguous, Am I.

          I mean a consensus of scientists is not necessary for me to know that this is true.

        • MNb

          “I am not at all suspicious of science”
          Yes, you are, when you write that science can’t explain consciousness.
          You’re also conflating mathematical proofs (which are nothing but tautologies) with measurements in physics.
          That’s stupid indeed.

          The answer to your question is no, because the words “true” and “exactly like” are dead wrong.

        • MNb

          As long as you stick to your ambiguous language (“to know”, “truth”) you will keep on worrying. You’d better start to worry about two colliding stars in the Black Eye Galaxy. That has more impact on us here.

          “It would not make sense for me to feel that my thinking was in any way the result of a scientific consensus on the matter.”
          Then you better start praying to your god that your life may last a few millennia, because you will need that time – and some more – to “see for yourself that scientific theories are true”.

          Btw I have checked the postulation “there is no god”. I clearly see myself the postulation is not true.
          QED.
          That is, if I’d accept your train of shallow thoughts.

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

          I’m worried that you sound like you don’t know if you know things or not.

          Put your fears to rest. I’m certain that my knowledge is imperfect.

          I’m worried that you accept the truth of Newton’s laws of motion because they are clearly true, and that this is something you can see for yourself, or because you have been told they are true by an authority you trust unquestioningly.

          Don’t read so good? I’ve made this clear earlier: I trust no one unquestioningly, but I accept the scientific consensus in every case because we have nothing better. You think you do? Show me.

          It would not make sense for me to feel that my thinking was in any way the result of a scientific consensus on the matter.

          Step away from comfortable physics that you’ve grown up with—quantum physics, for example. Your common sense isn’t a good guide.

          I am worried that you believe in Newton’s laws of motion because you think there is a scientific consensus that they are true.

          Suppose my intuition said that f = ma but the scientific consensus said something else. Which do I go with?

        • MNb

          “Step away from comfortable physics”
          In fact it’s a good example exactly because Michelson and Morley have shown it’s wrong and Einstein has corrected it with the Lorentz factor.

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

          I was going to mention relativistic factors, but I don’t know for sure to which equations they’d apply.

          I’d imagine that dark energy (which is insanely counter-intuitive) must factor in there somewhere as well.

          And while we’re talking about counter-intuitive, the idea of action at a distance (for gravity) was pretty weird. We take it as a given because it’s the only explanation we ever hear for gravity. The Newton biography I read was subtitled, “The Last Alchemist” and credits his alchemical training for opening his mind to ideas like a magical unseen sucking force. You know, just like how billiard balls work except not.

        • MNb

          We hardly realize it anymore indeed, but Newtonian mechanics is counter intuitive. Cartoons recognize that:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gq_bjaI0NTo

          This is Aristotelian mechanics.

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

          Agreed. Everyone knew that moving things eventually slowed down and stopped–a thrown rock, a wagon, even a running person. Newton’s claim that things stop only because a force is applied to them (and they’d keep moving otherwise) is indeed counter-intuitive.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Yes Bob, that last bit is the key. f=ma.

          But do you believe this, or think this true, or trust this, solely on the grounds that the media-sphere gives you the impression there is a scientific consensus that say this?

          Or are you capable of knowing for yourself that it is true?

          Let’s take another even clearer example.

          For a right angle triange, the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the square on the other two sides.

          I know this is true. I have seen a number of different proofs. It isn’t true because of a scientific consensus. Such a thing would be silly in this case.

          Do you see that you can, leaving aside nice philosphical objections about ever knowing anything, actually know that things are true all for yourself?

          You don’t need a scientific consensus before you can decide whether or not you believe something is true?

          This seems pretty clear to me. I just want to check that it is clear to you too.

        • Kodie

          Do you know how everything works?

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          James, you are suffering from a pretty basic category confusion, here.

          A scientific theory and scientific evidence do not function in the same way as a mathematical proof. Mathematical proofs such as the geometrical measure of a triangle apply to an imaginary world in which space-time is assumed to be a perfectly arranged Euclidean 3 dimensional space, in which straight lines are always perfectly straight and two-dimensional planes are always perfectly flat. With this (ultimately false) assumption in place, an imaginary triangle with an imaginary right angle can be “proven” to have a perfect relationship between it’s imaginary hypotenuse and sides.

          In practice this can be useful, because even though no measure of a side or angle is ever perfect, math get’s us “close enough” for measurements of most objects. However, scientists know from constant experimental effects that the universe is ultimately not a perfect Euclidean space.

          There are other sorts of mathematical proofs that depend upon completely different sets of assumptions (non-Euclidean spaces), and for which your right triangle proof would actually be false.

          The differences between mathematical proofs and scientific evidences are clearly delineated and are explained in very basic scientific courses. I am surprised that you don’t know this.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I do know this Beau. I’m really into all this stuff, and have been all my life.

          There is a truth about the squares on the sides of a right angle triangle that seems to me as tight as the truth about gravity. An object will fall on earth at the rate of 9.8m/s/s.

          Do you know what I mean when I say these are deep facts? We are indeed talking about two dimensional stuff with the triangles, this is not the case with the object falling on earth, but nevertheless, the truths are truths in themselves. Evident to see, though perhaps not easy to see.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          No, James, I have no idea what value is gained in adding the word “deep” to such “facts”. How “deep” do you want to go?

          Triangular geometry is only true in a 3 dimensional Euclidean space, which exists only in approximation in our universe. The acceleration of gravity at 9.8 m/s/s is only true on our planet and nowhere else in the universe except perhaps on a planet of the exact mass as ours.

          Far from being “deep” facts, these are limited, local facts that do not reveal the much more fundamental and universal aspects of the universe. Furthermore, even these facts are not facts that you just “know” on your own; you learned them from generations of scientists and mathematicians who went before you. Even if you can verify them yourself, you can only do so because others did it first and taught you how.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          There remains, of course, the chance that I could have worked it out for myself!

          All that is very true about euclidean geometery, and that 9.8m/s/s is the rate on our planet.

          But you take my point, I’m sure, that on our planet, 9.8m/s/s is a constant.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Oh, that’s rich, James! You could have worked out the acceleration of earth’s gravity yourself! When it took modern physicists building off the work of generations of physicists before them to come up with this number! Boy, talk about narcissism!

          As I’ve said before, the “constancy” of the acceleration of our gravity is an approximation, which is variable according to relativity at scales we cannot measure. But even if I were to “grant” your point, how is that a “point”? How is stating scientific findings a “point”? What “point” do you think you’re making?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I did not mean to imply that I am a great physicist! Sorry Beau, I merely meant to say that in principle one could. This truth is independent of a body of scientists.

          Given that you understand this simple point, you will also see that when Building 7 on 9/11 came down at free fall acceleration for 2.25 seconds this can only mean that during that period, when 100% of its potential gravitational energy was being converted into kinetic energy another energy source must have been removing the supporting structure.

          But the very interesting point is you will now refuse to admit this, much, it seems to me, like a fundamentalist denying deep truths of science, you will now do the same. I think your world view very much like a poor sort of religion.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          What the hell?! You’ve been using this whole rigmarole as a lead up to a 9/11 conspiracy theory!

          Oh James, you are more stupid than I thought. The scientific reports on the 9/11 tragedy are not even remotely like the scientific consensus on General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, or the Theory of Evolution. You’re trying to compare the report of a relatively small group of engineers, to the consensus reached on major scientific theories by generations of scientists in labs all over the world. I’m not convinced of a conspiracy, but I’ll grant you this: I could be convinced by evidence. So you see, beliefs that I have about 9/11 cannot even be remotely construed as a religion.

          So you think the 9/11 explosions were planned demolitions? Good for you, you’ve just traded the reports of one set of experts for those of another set of experts you believe more. How own earth does this get you to religion?!

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          It is not, I think your beliefs just about 9/11 that are like a religion.

          You say you could be persuaded by evidence. But you are clearly not persuaded by the period of free fall acceleration.

          If you really understand the laws of motion, you will need no more evidence, beyond verifying for yourself that the free fall period actually happened.

          But rather than do this you surrender you thinking to an authority – one that pretends this evidence has no import.

          You accept these ludicrous assertions that the free fall period has no significance. This seems to me a blind faith.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          What beliefs about 9/11?! I haven’t even talked about 9/11 on this blog!

          Of course we would accept evidence that disputed conclusions about 9/11; if we question it, we wouldn’t be questioning basic physics, we would be questioning the claims of competing engineers.

          You still haven’t explained how this is remotely like religious faith.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I’m just assuming you have some.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          You’re assuming I have some what?

          James, don’t you see that you are conflating religious belief with what we think about events based on evidence? I think it is the year 2015; but if a group of doctors surrounded me and showed me clear evidence that I had just woken from a coma and five years had passed, my understanding would change.

          Indeed, you yourself seem to have a belief about 9/11 based on some evidence you have heard about. I haven’t verified your evidence yet, but that has less to do with my interest in evidence, and more to do with the fact that you have proven yourself an unreliable moron.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Don’t forget the boy who cried wolf Beau – the moral of the story, always check!

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Who are you calling a liar? (The boy who cried wolf was a liar) And what on earth does that have to do with religious belief?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          yes, I am asking you to remember the boy who cried wolf because you keep telling me I am lying (I am not by the way), but I think you should remember the boy who cried wolf because even if I were lying (which I am not) sometimes you should always check.

          And don’t put a kid in charge of looking after sheep!

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Have you actually thought through this allegory? What kid are we putting in charge of what sheep? Who is the wolf in your imagination?

          Or are you just blowing meaningless smoke as usual.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Just talking I guess.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Yes, I rather guessed it was pointless.

        • adam

        • MNb

          “But you take my point, I’m sure, that on our planet, 9.8m/s/s is a constant.”
          Wrong. It isn’t. It’s larger on the northpole and smaller on the equator.
          The gravitational constant, on which the gravitational acceleration depends, is a constant – not only on Earth, but in the entire universe. There are about 30 of such natural constants.
          It never ceases to amaze me how stubbornly apologists stick to their ignorance. The only point you make of course is that you look stupid.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I agree MNb, I know about the gravitational constant.

          But I didn’t think people were going to be so pedantic, when it clearly doesn’t matter for us here today on earth, though it’s not as elegant a way as describing it, one would have to be being pedantic to object to saying that free fall velocity on earth is 9.8m/s/s, and that this is constant.

          I’m surprised at people being pedantic as a response to my argument, because for sure MNb, thank you putting it more fully. I feel you strengthen my point about deep truths. I hope you do not object to me calling these constants deep truths. Sorry if you do.

        • MNb

          No, you simply wrongly assumed that we were too stupid to understand the difference between gravitational acceleration and the gravitational constant. And now you’re too dishonest to admit it. At the other hand I admit that I was so biased due to your previous silly comments that it took me several hours to get that you actually weren’t talking about what you seemed to talk about.

          “Sorry if you do.”
          Only seldomly there have been less sincere apologies. So I don’t accept them.

          http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/tables/funcon.html

          How do you know these constants have the value they have? Thanks to scientific consensus. To use your own argument: you haven’t measured them yourselves and if you were consistent you would not accept them. Still you do.
          Well, I’ve written it before and I write it again. They are just numbers. Calling them deep is meaningless. There are no shallow values for these constants.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          You are not the first person, however, I have encountered giving their views on these constants. I don’t mind calling them deep truths, and neither does Martin Rees.

          I wonder if it is a language thing. I take it you are Dutch, and not a native English speaker.

        • MNb

          Again please keep on wondering. It’s irrelevant.
          Could you provide a source for Martin Rees? I googled on “Martin Rees deep truth” and found nothing relevant.

          Also I notice that you deliberately neglect that you only know the values of those constants thanks to the scientific consensus. Thus you confirm that you’re as dishonest as the average fundamentalist.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean
        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          MNb, what do you mean by a scientific consensus? Again, I think this might a language thing.

        • Kodie

          It’s nonsense in English too.

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

          But do you believe this, or think this true, or trust this, solely on the grounds that the media-sphere gives you the impression there is a scientific consensus that say this?

          Fuck. We’re going round and round on this. Answering many questions was a hoot, but I’m tired of it now. If you have a point, make it.

          I have seen a number of different proofs. It isn’t true because of a scientific consensus.

          Truth is unattainable by we fallible humans. We do our best to find approximations to the truth. We have no infallible access to the truth to compare our guesses against.

          The Pythagorean theorem has limitations, for example. “Water boils at 100 degrees C” kinda works, but it needs qualifiers to work correctly. And so on.

          You don’t need a scientific consensus before you can decide whether or not you believe something is true?

          When it comes to science, you use the scientific consensus. Yet again, I challenge you: you got something better? Show me.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          OK Bob. I shall show you that your view of the world is a faith, much like a very poor religious faith. And you did not create it yourself, rather it has been largely created for you.

          A prominent theologian argues that many people like you are in the position of having America as your religion, but there is more to it.

          As I have said, I too trust in science, and have a solid understanding of it.

          On September 11th, 2001, at about 5.23 in the afternoon, Building 7 of the World Trade Center came down. According to NIST, and independent analysts, for 2.25 seconds the building came down at free fall acceleration.

          This can only mean one thing. It is not a matter about which a scientific consensus is needed in order for you to know what to think about it.

          For that time, in order for the building to have reached free fall acceleration, all its potential gravitational energy was being converted into kinetic energy. None of that potential energy was being used to remove the supporting structure. Therefore, another energy source must have removed the support.

          This is quite basic science and critical thinking.

          Of course, I don’t think you will accept this simple truth. I think you will go on with your delusion, because people do not easily stand to have their faith shaken.

          I think you will become very unscientific, and start spouting sophistry and appealing to all sorts of authorities to show that your world view is not at fault. And you will be making exactly the same sort of errors that the fundamentalists you enjoy mocking so much make.

        • Kodie

          You start off with an assertion, then you don’t name “a prominent theologian” who says Bob is in some kind of position that you agree with (without stating any reasons).

          And then without any sources to back you up, you claim to have a solid understanding of science. Based on what?

          Baseless conspiracy theory. “This can only mean one thing.”

          “I don’t think you will accept this simple truth.” What truth? The one you gave no sources or reasons for believing?

          You don’t think there’s a chance you’re actually too stupid to know what the hell you’re talking about? No chance of that? You accuse Bob of appealing to authorities? Where are your authorities? You name NONE. The building was on fire all day and eventually buckled under the strain. The reason scientists don’t buy your conspiracy theory is because it’s wrong.

          Why do you think you know more science than scientists? And you think what you’re doing is critical thinking? No, it is the same gullible beliefs as a religion, any religion, they are all poor.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          If the building came down at free fall acceleration you do not need to appeal to an authority. It is clear what that means.

          But as I say, since its implications are unsettling for your world view, you will not accept this simple fact.

          It seems to me your world view is like a very poor sort of religion.

        • Kodie

          I didn’t say anything about the implications.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          No, which might mean you do not understand the science, or do not like to think about the implications, and what it means for your world view – or your false religion.

        • Kodie

          You’re a terrible guesser. Why are you accusing me instead of addressing the things I did write?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          The theologian was David Ray Griffin.

          I already said NIST report the 2.25 second period of free fall acceleration.

          Is this what you meant?

        • Kodie

          You’re really not catching on.

        • Kodie

          Let me clarify – you seem to think you’re saying something but you’re not.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Please clarify Kodie. I have made very easy to follow statements. What do you think I think I am saying, and how is that you think I am not saying it.

        • Kodie

          You are saying blah blah thing, and arriving through no visible route, only one conclusion. You say you understand the science, but NIST says Tower 7 collapsed due to fire. Are you sure you can trust anything from their report since it doesn’t agree with your amazing grasp of the science?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Kodie, are you capable of thinking for yourself or not?
          NIST say, and in addition you can verify this for yourself, that Building 7 came down at free fall acceleration for 2.25 seconds.

          NIST do also indeed say that Building 7 collapsed due to fire, but if you understood the physics you would understand that this does not explain the free fall acceleration.

        • Kodie

          You haven’t demonstrated that you understand the physics, since actual physicists disagree with your conclusions. Basically, what you’re saying is someone made this impressive presentation to you, and now you think you know there’s only one implication, and they’re hiding it from everybody.

          You didn’t cite your source either, you assume that this conclusion is a given because you checked out the physics yourself. Right?

        • Kodie
        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          No Kodie, no physicist disagrees that if something is falling at free fall acceleration then that falling thing is encountering no resistance.

          In addition I can think for myself about this matter, and so could you.

        • Kodie

          It was on fire all day, what kind of resistance did you expect it to have?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Kodie, isn’t it odd that you laugh believers for allowing something supernatural to their world view that science will not permit, yet you are unable to see what science really is.

          The video from NIST, you will notice, had nothing to say about the period of free fall acceleration.

          But that you obviously thought it was an adequate response. You are blindly accepting the words of an authority. It’s like this NIST video is your priest.

        • Kodie

          But you haven’t demonstrated that you know the science, only that you believe hype about a conspiracy. You have claimed to know more about science than you do, but that doesn’t mean you do.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          As you may be aware, some psychologists talk about cognitive dissonance occurring when one’s world view is confronted with conflicting facts.

        • Kodie

          Yeah, you probably have that.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Do you think fire would have affected Newton’s laws of motion? Surely you do not. Could it be you do not really understand Newton’s laws of motion?

        • Kodie

          I doubt you know the science, you bought hype. That’s what you’re demonstrating.

        • Kodie

          Oh, conspiracy nuts like you aren’t known for thinking for themselves, they hop on board some crazy train or other. Just because you believe the scientific community is hiding something important from you doesn’t mean you’re thinking for yourself.

        • MNb

          “NIST say,”
          A scientific organization reflects and confirms the scientific consensus, exactly what BobS accepts when he is too lazy, doesn’t feel like or whatever to do the work himself.
          You’re clearly the one who is not capable of thinking for himself or you would not have mindlessly parrotted what an unqualified theologian says about this matter.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          MNb, I thought you were a physics teacher? I thought you were not disputing the implications of the period of freefall, but rather you were focusing on how the great deep truths like the gravitational constant are not such great deep truths?

        • MNb

          And I thought you claimed BobS was religious because he wrote that he accepts the scientific consensus? Now it has become clear that you do exactly the same.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I think Bob’s seeming to say that he accepts ‘the scientific consensus’ is exactly like a fundamentalist going along with stuff because it’s in the Bible. They both merely trust an authority.

          How has it become clear that I do exactly the same?

        • Kodie

          You accept dazzling presentations, you just think they know what they’re talking about, so you repeat them to sound like you know what you’re talking about. Not a smart thing to do. Plus you don’t go so far as to repeat their arguments, as if you understood them, you only repeat conclusions as if that’s a complete argument.

          You don’t discern the quality of the information or the qualifications of the people presenting it. We know how the scientific method goes, and it’s already been explained to you how that differs from blind faith in a religious leader (of which you also have, which is why you like to distinguish “poor religions”. You are even so sure that Lewis made a point in his book that you could not in hundreds of posts make a single argument for it. You even went far enough to criticize another person’s taste in authors because they did not even like the writing style.

          In summary, you have a lot of confidence in bozos and crackpots who make with the charts and graphs.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          You mean the guy doing the thing about the population myth?

        • Kodie

          Not just that guy (whom you referred to only as “that guy”). You have to know by now we question your methods, to put it as mildly as I can. You are simple-minded and follow thoughts and thoughts and thoughts to nowhere, repeat yourself, and repeat conclusions with no basis that you have an idea how to express.

          So basically everything you’ve written about, from Lewis to now, is you cheerleading some fanatic cause or other because you read it on the side of a bus or “what the government doesn’t want you to know,” that you don’t know is a scam.

          And then you have the nerve to ballbreak everyone around here for not agreeing with you – guess what, you’re not smart enough to make any of your cases yourself. What business do you have telling us you have trust in your dodgy sources you don’t like to name or cite?

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Really? Is this the convoluted argument you’re trying to make? That accepting scientific consensus is like accepting the bible? Really?

          James, every technological innovation that you use, from your computer to your cell phone is based on the work of science. The bible can’t even produce a toaster.

        • Greg G.

          The Bible can’t even produce a good sandwich:

          Exodus 12:8
          And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          So you rely on a theologian for your scientific understanding. I suppose you also hire a lumberjack when your kitchen sink is leaking.

          “I already said NIST report the 2.25 second period of free fall acceleration.”
          Aha. You rely on an organization that reflects and confirms the scientific consensus for your empirical data. Hey, that’s exactly BobS’ position. Thus you contradict your very own theologian yourself.

          Again a good job well done.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Why do you think I rely on a theologian for my scientific understanding?

          Also I do not rely on the NIST report to know that Building 7 fell at 2.25 seconds at free fall acceleration. Its demise was captured on about half a dozen video cameras.

          This guy is also a physics teacher, and he put this little film together to show people that they can think for themselves – just as you said you like to do with your students.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVCDpL4Ax7I&feature=iv&src_vid=POUSJm–tgw&annotation_id=annotation_8783

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Yes, James, we already know that you are getting your ideas from conspiracy theorists. It’s obvious that you didn’t go searching for a video and “discover” the free fall acceleration for yourself.

          The fact remains that it was reported by NIST. They don’t dispute that part of the North exterior wall of the Tower experienced free fall for a few seconds.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Yes, NIST, or rather your priest tells you that ‘part of the north exterior wall experienced free fall for a few seconds (2.25).

          You take the word of your priest before the evidence before your eyes.

          Is it really ‘part of the north exterior wall’? This sounds to me like a bit breaking off and falling. Or is it the entire building?

          The guy in the video uses a different measurement point to the one NIST used. Not that that matters because one can see it is the entire building that falls. NIST’s thing about part of the facade of the north wall seems to refer to the point they chose to measure and gives the impression that it was only the point they chose to measure that came down at free fall.

          But you have eyes to see do you not Beau? Or has your faith blinded you?

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Yes, my faith in the NIST has blinded me! All those years I’ve spent praying and tithing to the National Institute of Standards and Technology have blinded me. The NIST baptized me at the age of 13; I trusted them! But now I see that they plotted with the evil firefighters, and engineers, and port authority and pentagon officials, to cover up the truth. I’ve seen the light in 2.25 seconds!

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Well all that is very amusing as always Beau.

          I wonder though, assuming you have seen the building collapsing, do the words ‘part of the north exterior wall’ seem to describe what you see falling?

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          No, James, you’re right! It’s so obvious! I can now measure the entire building free falling for 2.25 seconds using only my God-given eyeballs. I can see the secret demolition explosions going off! If you look in the lower right corner, I think you can see the corrupt government spies and firefighters running away with their detonators!

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          It is obvious, and I think it’s fascinating that you really can’t see it.

          And it’s a fair question, do you think the words ‘part of the north exterior wall’ accurately describe what you are seeing?

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          No, of course not, I have now measured every section of the building with my own eyes and taken accurate architectural measurements using my own hand-made instruments and can now confirm that the entire building is falling in a precisely the way that can only be explained by the huge conspiracy of spies and firefighters and demolition experts and airline employees and pentagon officials lying to us for the past 15 years!

          Bless you, James, you have opened my eyes! 2.25 seconds is all it took to break my NIST idols! Listen, I live in Texas, I could probably get to Area 51 first, if you want me to get started on that chain link fence!

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          You may be starting to see what I mean. Your world view is a faith, your god if you will is human authority.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Yes, praise David Chandler! I see it now, I have worshipped NIST for so long, I failed to see the chains that the National Institute of Standards and Technology was placing on my life. I gave them the best years of my life! I sang my little NIST worship songs at NIST VBS and told all my secrets to my NIST pastor. I gave 10% of my income to NIST for all those years, went on a NIST mission trip for two years before college …

          Now to learn from your special video that my god NIST has been plotting against me with firefighters, airline employees, demolition experts and government spies for the past 15 years!

          I feel so dirty now …

        • adam

          And YOUR ‘god’?

        • MNb

          “It is obvious, and I think it’s fascinating that you really can’t see it.”
          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          Are you sure you’re not a fundie? You begin to sound like one more and more. Now you have started to blame others what you yourself are guilty of.
          Because you’re the one who doesn’t see, doesn’t want to see and refuses to see what BQ’s point is.
          Hey I – you wrote something about Martin Rees and natural constants being deep truths. I asked you to provide a source, but haven’t seen it yet. Perhaps I have missed it. In that case, could you repeat it? Of course better still just don’t provide a source – then you confirm my bias again that the difference between you and the average fundie is only marginal. That’s always pleasant.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean
        • adam

          You mean in the same DISHONEST fashion you claimed to read CSL’s book?

          Notice how your ‘god’ is constantly shrinking into philosophical nothingness?

        • MNb

          Ah, thanks. Note the title. It says “Deep Forces”. That is not nearly the same as “Deep Truths”. Given your dishonesty I’m assuming that you have twisted Rees’ words until proven otherwise.
          Plus this might very well be a book I’m going to read in the future (for personal reasons I have to be very picky). So thanks for that as well.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          By my dishonesty I assume you are still going on about my saying I would not respond to Adam unless he wrote green banana at the top of his post.

          Also, what you have put makes me think you might not know much about linguistics? Is this true?

        • Kodie

          Truth and force don’t mean the same thing in the English dictionary, you condescending douche. Don’t pretend he has a language barrier – his English is better than yours.

        • Greg G.
        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          It’s a really good book. I have not read the other one.

          As far as I can see, the only argument against the miraculously fine tuning one is that there are an infinite number of universes.

          Does it add anything to this?

          But thanks for the thing, I’ll see if I can get it.

        • Greg G.

          Theists like to argue that if you change just one of the constants by a small degree, the complex chemistry of life could never have developed. But you could make the weak nuclear force weaker or eliminate it without affecting the possibility of complex chemistry.

          What Stenger shows is that if you change more than one of the constants, complex chemistry could still be possible. A computer program was designed to test random configurations of the constants and it was found that one out of four configurations would allow chemistry complex enough for life.

          So the odds are not as long as theist want to believe. We happen to live in a universe where it is possible to wonder about the odds. If the universe was different, there would be nobody wondering about it.

          As to the infinite universes, it appears that a universe can come from nothing. The separating of energy by creating space is a zero-sum game. So there are no energy limitations on the number or size of a universe in the multiverse. If one universe can form, and we have an example, we should expect that there are others because it would be harder to explain why the existence of one would have any effect at all on others, let alone preventing them from existing. Consider how easy it is to make a lot of soap bubbles compared to how hard it is to make one and only one. That number is limited by the amount of soap, water, air, and the energy to agitate. Universes in the multiverse have no such limitations except for their extreme unlikelyhood as a quantum event but given no time or space restrictions, we would still be expecting unlimited numbers.

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

          For more besides the multiverse, see Sean Carroll’s debate with WLC. Or my blog post on the subject. Or search “fine tuning.”

          As for Stenger’s book, I’ll just warn you that the physics and math are pretty intense. Interesting book, though.

        • MNb

          “If the building came down at free fall acceleration”
          If.
          How do you know it did?
          Let me guess – scientific consensus.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          OK, let’s say since the building came down at free fall acceleration.

          And of course, I do not know this through scientific consensus. It would be silly, as you say, to imagine that were the case.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Of course you know it because of scientific consensus! You wouldn’t know what the measure of free fall is without the work of generations of physicists who worked out the acceleration of gravity and it’s specific rate on earth.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          You miss the point here Beau.
          For sure we are all standing on the shoulders of giants.
          We owe a debt to our forefathers.

          But I think you misunderstand what I mean by scientific consensus. It just means most scientists think this.

          A scientific consensus does not come into it when we are wanting to know if Building 7 came down at free fall speed.
          We look at the evidence, which will speak for itself.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          No, James, you do not understand the meaning of scientific consensus. It is not what “most scientists think”; it is what most scientists have independently tested, verified, and published.

          There can certainly be differences of opinion about individual events such as the fall of the World Trade Center Towers. As I understand it both your conspiracy theorists and the NIST note that there are a few seconds in which the North face of the tower experiences free fall. That doesn’t appear to be in dispute.

          But you seem oblivious to the fact that even that “simple” piece of evidence requires scientific understandings that took generations of scientific study to acquire. And that is true whether you believe the towers fell as the result of the planes or a controlled demolition.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          You say I am oblivious to the fact that… took generations of scientific study to acquire. But I began with the thing about standing on the shoulders of giants and owing a debt to our forefathers, so I am puzzled that you should write I am oblivious to it.

          But I see you see what I mean. The 2.25s period of free fall is a fact, independent of a scientific consensus.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          I can’t believe I doubted you! You did it! Without any help from Newton or Galileo or any modern physicists, you independently figured out the exact gravitational rate of acceleration, just so that you could measure it on a video of building 7. You are a genius!

        • Kodie

          I’m not so sure he knows it though. His source just happens to be correct, but if his source said something else, he’d believe that and tell us we’re dumb shits for believing in gravity. He’d play this stupid gotcha game and try to trap us into admitting something so he can ridicule us with his delicious snark and brag about how much he knows about and we’re just gullible for believing scientists!

        • MR

          That’s what you get when you deal with dishonest people.

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

          According to NIST, and independent analysts, for 2.25 seconds the building came down at free fall acceleration.

          This can only mean one thing.

          Did NIST come to a conclusion? What was it?

          This is quite basic science and critical thinking.

          I’m all for critical thinking. Based on what I’m inferring from your prior comments, I’m not so sure about you, but let’s wait and see how you clarify your position.

          Of course, I don’t think you will accept this simple truth. I think you will go on with your delusion, because people do not easily stand to have their faith shaken.

          What is my delusion?

          I think you will become very unscientific, and start spouting sophistry and appealing to all sorts of authorities to show that your world view is not at fault.

          I appeal to no authorities. Rather, I follow the scientific consensus. Let’s dismiss conspiracy theories and stay within the domain of science. You’re doing your best to muddy that water, so I don’t think we need to add yet more crap.

          What scientific consensuses do you reject? Evolution? Climate change? Or do you accept them all?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          You just put up this:

          This can only mean one thing.

          You omitted this:

          For that time, in order for the building to have reached free fall
          acceleration, all its potential gravitational energy was being converted
          into kinetic energy. None of that potential energy was being used to
          remove the supporting structure. Therefore, another energy source must
          have removed the support.

          And wrote, Did NIST come to a conclusion? What was it?

          What I put is correct, and easy science.

          It is true whether or not there is a scientific consensus. However, about what I have put I imagine there is a scientific consensus.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          I don’t think you’ve even read the NIST report; they’ve responded to the conspiracy theory you’ve bought into:

          http://www.nist.gov/public_affairs/factsheet/wtc_qa_082108.cfm

          “In the draft WTC 7 report (released Aug. 21, 2008; available at http://wtc.nist.gov/media/NIST_NCSTAR_1A_for_public_comment.pdf), NIST stated that the north face of the building descended 18 stories (the portion of the collapse visible in the video) in 5.4 seconds, based on video analysis of the building collapse. This time period is 40 percent longer than the 3.9 seconds this process would have taken if the north face of the building had descended solely under free fall conditions. During the public comment period on the draft report, NIST was asked to confirm this time difference and define the reasons for it in greater detail.
          To further clarify the descent of the north face, NIST recorded the downward displacement of a point near the center of the roofline from first movement until the north face was no longer visible in the video. Numerical analyses were conducted to calculate the velocity and acceleration of the roofline point from the time-dependent displacement data. The instant at which vertical motion of the roofline first occurred was determined by tracking the numerical value of the brightness of a pixel (a single element in the video image) at the roofline. This pixel became brighter as the roofline began to descend because the color of the pixel started to change from that of the building façade to the lighter color of the sky.
          The approach taken by NIST is summarized in Section 3.6 of the final summary report, NCSTAR 1A (released Nov. 20, 2008; available at http://wtc.nist.gov/NCSTAR1/PDF/NCSTAR%201A.pdf) and detailed in Section 12.5.3 of NIST NCSTAR 1-9 (available at http://wtc.nist.gov/NCSTAR1/PDF/NCSTAR%201-9%20Vol%202.pdf).
          The analyses of the video (both the estimation of the instant the roofline began to descend and the calculated velocity and acceleration of a point on the roofline) revealed three distinct stages characterizing the 5.4 seconds of collapse:
          Stage 1 (0 to 1.75 seconds): acceleration less than that of gravity (i.e., slower than free fall).
          Stage 2 (1.75 to 4.0 seconds): gravitational acceleration (free fall)
          Stage 3 (4.0 to 5.4 seconds): decreased acceleration, again less than that of gravity

          This analysis showed that the 40 percent longer descent time—compared to the 3.9 second free fall time—was due primarily to Stage 1, which corresponded to the buckling of the exterior columns in the lower stories of the north face. During Stage 2, the north face descended essentially in free fall, indicating negligible support from the structure below. This is consistent with the structural analysis model which showed the exterior columns buckling and losing their capacity to support the loads from the structure above. In Stage 3, the acceleration decreased as the upper portion of the north face encountered increased resistance from the collapsed structure and the debris pile below.”

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I agree Beau, they have responded to it the issue of the period of free fall.

          Do you see any problems with the response?

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          They didn’t just “respond” to the period of free fall – they reported it.

          Nope, no problems that I see. Do you see a problem?

          No wait, let me rephrase that. Do you have a “problem” that you would like to cut and paste from whatever conspiracy web site you got your idea from?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I shall point out the problem to you.

          But before I do, did you think about how you just cut and pasted this flawed explanation from a web site? I don’t think you are doing any thinking of your own. If you were, you would understand that the free fall period must mean another energy source was removing the building’s supports, not the building’s potential gravitational energy.

          NIST claim that the free fall period must be thought of as part of a longer period of time. It seems they do this to try to hide the free fall. They seem to be saying that if you start the clock when they say to start the clock and finish it at the end of the collapse we can see that building overall did not come down at free fall.

          I think this is only going to be persuasive to people who know nothing about physics and have blind faith in authority – which is probably most people!

        • Kodie

          Lol, you isolate one 2 second period of an entire day so you think you are smarter than physicists who take it all into account. They start the clock when the building started to collapse, you start it after the building started to collapse? You sound just like a frothing moron when you talk about this, you know. You pass the blame onto everyone else because they all say you sound like a frothing paranoid moron! You, the brilliant idiot Jimmy, know more about what’s going on because some goof on the internet pointed things out in a stop-motion video with narration, and ONLY ONE THING CAN BE TRUE YOURE ALL MISSING THE IMPLICATIONS GAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          You might be experiencing cognitive dissonance.

        • Kodie

          You haven’t demonstrated that at all.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Of course! Seven hours of burning couldn’t possibly bring down structural supports! The only possible explanation is that the NIST is lying to us! There was a second mysterious “energy source”, the secret demolition which the firefighters, building owners, airlines, pentagon officials, and demolition experts are all hiding from us! The only reason that the Towers 1 and 2 obviously fell from the top down is that their demolition explosives went off two late!

          Free fall only happens when huge government conspiracy rings set off demolition bombs at the base of a building! That’s the only explanation for 2.25s of free fall! It’s too bad that the bombs in Buildings 1 and 2 went off too late, and we didn’t get to see 2.25s of free fall on the biggest buildings!

          Thank you, James! 2.25 seconds have set me free! Now I can finally burn my NIST rosary!

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          To me Beau, you seem exactly like a fundamentalist waffling about nonsense.

        • Kodie

          It’s a good thing you have a sterling record of valid opinions, then.

          Because how you feel about Beau is important!

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          No, James, from now on I am free from my NIST chains! I am burning my NIST bible, and I’ve stopped all my future check payments to the Church of NIST. I with you now! What next? Shall we blow Area 51 wide open?!

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Do you deny you are waffling nonsense?

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          No, I don’t have a waffle iron.

          But if you think a waffle iron would be the best way to destroy my NIST scriptures, I’ll get right to it. I will really miss my NIST secret handshake and prayer beads, though. But I’ll try to be strong!

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

          My vote: work on those annoying physicists and their “quantum krap.” Quantum superposition? Effects without causes? That simply offends common sense!

          But with JRD on the case, I’m sure sanity will be restored. The coolest thing: he can get started immediately, without all that hassle of getting educated. Earning a doctorate is such a bitch!

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          I think JRD is pretty amazing! Did you know that he discovered the acceleration rate of Earth’s gravity, and the pertinent laws of physics, all by himself! Sure Newton and other physicists beat him to the punch. But JRD worked it out for himself completely independently. What’s more, he took a personal video of the collapse of WTC building seven himself (apparently he was in NYC at the time), analyzed the playback, and discovered the 9/11 conspiracy all by himself!

          He’s a real inspiration to us all! We don’t need scientific experts! We can all work out the physics of evil government mass murder conspiracies all by ourselves. All we need is a good eye, some “deep truth” (you know, like the Pythagorean Theorem, which JRD also independently discovered – he’s so smart), a can-do spirit, and maybe a little help from the Old Man Upstairs…

          By the way, I think I’ve discovered why JRD is such an expert on secret conspiracies. We’ve always thought the iconic rebel-without -a-cause actor James Dean, died in a car wreck in 1955?

          Well, guess what …

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

          I first thought that he was just a conspiracy theorist nut. But yeah, since he’s deduced this all himself without wallowing in 9/11 Truther web sites, he’s gotta be onto something.

          He’s a real inspiration to us all! We don’t need scientific experts!

          Gotta disagree with you. You forget that this is JRD we’re talking about! You and I can’t aspire to his almost supernatural ability to derive things from first principles. We put on our pants one leg at a time; not so for JRD.

          That’s a pretty clever connection you’ve made, though. James Dean = James Dean?! Talk about hiding in plain sight!

        • Greg G.

          The wreck was so he could begin a career as a country singer known as Jimmy Dean. Then he invented sausage.

        • MR

          I hear Disneyland is adding a “fall through gravity” ride in his honor.

        • adam

          So you walk in to your local grocer and order a pound of grapes and he give you two small grapes and says that will be $2.23..

          You insist two small grapes cant weigh a pound.

          He says without his NIST bible, he has been informed that all measures are to be REVEALED to EACH person, and in his new ‘faith’ he just KNOWS that your two grapes weigh a pound today.

        • MNb

          As the dishonest apologist you are you repeat your beloved false dichotomy over and over again.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          What is the dichotomy?
          Why is it false?

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

          And wrote, Did NIST come to a conclusion? What was it?

          What I put is correct, and easy science.

          Easy science? Then it should’ve been easy for NIST to reach a conclusion. What was it? This isn’t a case where (dare I say it?) NIST didn’t reach the conclusion that you did?

          No one cares about your analysis of science or engineering. Any big event has real experts to analyze it–I’ll stick with them.

          Going forward, please be careful to address all the questions I have. For example, I must, with annoyance, re-ask this one: What scientific consensuses do you reject? Evolution? Climate change? Or do you accept them all?

          When you omit answers, it makes me think that you’re afraid to answer.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I once saw an interview with Dawkins where someone was pressing him to admitting that evolution was only a theory, and he snapped back that theory here was being used in a technical sense, and, still being badgered, he said, OK then the FACT of evolution.

          I go along with Dawkins there.

          I’m not sure there is a meaningful scientific consensus on Climate change to reject. I do not accept them all.

          Do you accept them all?
          I think this is a weird question, because if you did it would seem like a fundamentalist unquestioning faith.

          Regarding the period of free fall acceleration, you must, I think, understand that during this time another energy source must have been removing the supporting structure.

          Is this what NIST say?
          Is NIST for you on this matter a ‘scientific consensus’?

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

          I once saw an interview with Dawkins where someone was pressing him to admitting that evolution was only a theory

          Huh? This is like pressing me to admit that Bill Gates is only a billionaire. OK: he’s only a billionaire. What are you getting at?

          Yes, evolution is a theory. Scientific theories don’t graduate to become laws or something better. That’s it—the end of the line. It don’t get any better than that.

          If your point is something besides bragging that you don’t know what “theory” means, then you’ll have to clarify because I must’ve misunderstood you.

          Do you accept them all?

          Jesus Christ—we’ve been over that. I accept every scientific consensus—every fucking one—as our best provisional statement of the truth. Any could be overturned tomorrow, and I’ll go with whatever rises to the top at that time. I have no other option since I’m an expert on zero scientific fields.

          For the tenth time: you got something better? Show me.

          I think this is a weird question, because if you did it would seem like a fundamentalist unquestioning faith.

          Nope, not even close. If you truly think that accepting the scientific consensus is the same as unquestioningly accepting what your pastor says, think about it for a long time. If you still can find no meaningful difference, we can discuss.

          Regarding the period of free fall acceleration, you must, I think, understand that during this time another energy source must have been removing the supporting structure.

          Is this what NIST say?

          (1) No one gives a shit what you think in an area where actual experts have come to a consensus. What kind of moron would I be to accept your opinion if it differed from the experts’ consensus?

          If you want to explore issues, that’s fine. I’m no expert, and that’s what I do. But for me to accept a single non-expert’s opinion over the scientific consensus is idiotic.

          (2) You were the one who cited NIST. Fair enough—then tell us what NIST’s conclusion was.

          Do you even know what NIST says about this? Or perhaps you do but just want to selectively give out information that supports your preconception.

          OK—I’ll do the 2 minutes’ work to find the answer. This is from nist.gov:

          The analyses of the video (both the estimation of the instant the roofline began to descend and the calculated velocity and acceleration of a point on the roofline) revealed three distinct stages characterizing the 5.4 seconds of collapse:

          • Stage 1 (0 to 1.75 seconds): acceleration less than that of gravity (i.e., slower than free fall).

          • Stage 2 (1.75 to 4.0 seconds): gravitational acceleration (free fall)

          • Stage 3 (4.0 to 5.4 seconds): decreased acceleration, again less than that of gravity

          This analysis showed that the 40 percent longer descent time—compared to the 3.9 second free fall time—was due primarily to Stage 1, which corresponded to the buckling of the exterior columns in the lower stories of the north face. During Stage 2, the north face descended essentially in free fall, indicating negligible support from the structure below. This is consistent with the structural analysis model which showed the exterior columns buckling and losing their capacity to support the loads from the structure above. In Stage 3, the acceleration decreased as the upper portion of the north face encountered increased resistance from the collapsed structure and the debris pile below.

          So: no, NIST doesn’t support your preconception. What do you think–does that make you a liar or just too lazy to do the research to find out what is said about the issue?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          But Bob, What is said about the issue is not the same as what is true about the issue;

          Stage two speaks for itself, does it not.

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

          Respond to all of the comments. I took some time to carefully respond to all of yours.

          You’re so terse here that I can only assume that you’re agreeing with me.

          Stage two speaks for itself, does it not.

          Who cares what stage 2 says?! We have what NIST says! “This is consistent with the structural analysis model which showed the exterior columns buckling and losing their capacity to support the loads from the structure above.”

          It’s real simple, Chester: your authority rejects your conspiracy theory. Either pick your allies better or drop your unsupported theory!

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Bob, I guess you just don’t understand the science.

          You are exactly like what you would call a fundamentalist believer.

          You really are saying, who care about science! Who cares about this 2.25s period of free fall, the authorities say this!

          I think this is extra hard for you because you don’t understand the science.

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

          All right, now I have to take some of the blame here. I thought that if I summarized my position clearly and succinctly, you’d respond in a thoughtful way, point by point, either acknowledging that I was right, correcting an error, or whatever.

          My bad. Your goal is simply to restate (incompletely) your position. And berate me as you went.

          OK, thanks–I got it now.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I guess it seems rude to say you don’t understand the science. I think it is.

          Sorry Bob. But I think this is the case, that you don’t understand the science, and your faith in ‘scientific consensus’ is just like a fundamentalist belief.

          And I”m sincerely very sorry for slagging you. I’ll regret that forever.

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

          Lots of charges, zero evidence.

          Again.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          You spent a long time complaining about me not agreeing with this anecdote about Dawkins, but I think you didn’t get what I said, so I didn’t respond to this.

          What else do you think I did not respond to?

          Also Bob, you say,

          ‘Who cares what stage two says?’

          Do you really understand what stage 2, as the NIST thing puts it, says?

          You add, We have what NIST says!

          But I think you must understand that the laws of motion are not the sort of thing that NIST declaim about.

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

          You spent a long time complaining about me not agreeing with this anecdote about Dawkins, but I think you didn’t get what I said, so I didn’t respond to this.

          I spend a long time carefully explaining what a fucking scientific theory is. Do you understand now? Are we on the same page? Are you appreciative that you’re better educated?

          Not worth any response?

          What else do you think I did not respond to?

          I go and resummarize stuff so you don’t have to read my comments? Fun!

          You add, We have what NIST says!

          Don’t use NIST as an authority unless you want to abide by what they conclude. You lose.

          If there’s any larger point in discussing 9/11 conspiracies, make that clear. Otherwise, that’s a stinking rabbit warren that I have no interest in entering.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          But Bob, it seems to me you are admitting you have nothing to say, nothing to add to anything.

          How do you explain Building 7 coming down for 2.25 seconds at free fall acceleration?

          Perhaps you do not understand the issue. This is fair enough! You can learn this stuff.

          But it seems very wrong to just accept the word of what you consider to be the authorities on this matter, does it not?

          You really are just saying the equivalent of, The priest says this, so just shut up!

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

          I have no explanation because I don’t give a shit. Y’know what I do? I rely on experts.

          What does the consensus of experts say? When I ask about the opinion of your own cited expert source you ran away, afraid of what they’d say. I wonder if I’ll get the same silence to this question.

          I have no interest in conspiracy theories. The topic here is the scientific consensus. If you want to discuss that, we can. Otherwise, you can chat with others about your conspiracy theories.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          You have your world view, which is exactly like a religious faith, and it has been worked into your mind.

          You are exactly the man CS Lewis feared would be the product of the social engineers.

          ‘I have no explanation because I don’t give a shit. Y’know what I do? I rely on experts.’

          It is not easy for you to see that Building 7 falling at free fall acceleration has any significance because it is not science, or truth, that you look to, but experts.

          Really Bob, this breaks my heart. I’m sorry if I upset you, I hope you’re OK. Good luck with stuff, sincerely.

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

          I’m too stupid to follow your logic. Explain, slowly and carefully, how my thinking is like that of a religious fundamentalist. So far, you’ve dodged this explanation–I think because doing so would expose your claim as empty.

          Really Bob, this breaks my heart.

          That I don’t think that 9/11 was an inside job? Yeah, you’ll have to find other allies for that project.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I think your thinking is like a religious fundamentalist because you have a blind faith in an authority.

        • Kodie

          How is your faith in internet conspiracy nutters? You don’t have the critical thinking capacity to know you’re not thinking for yourself, but thinking what someone else wants you to believe.

          We know how the scientific method works. It’s not blind faith in what they say, it’s trust in the results from a method that has served all of us, even you, quite well. What the NIST says, you trust the parts of it you want to, and you take the implications from someone else, because you want to ignore the truth. You found a clique that makes you feel smarter than everyone else, but you’re not.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Do people want me to believe the laws of motion?

        • Kodie

          You want to believe what they tell you are “the implications”.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          But if you understand the laws of motion you do not need people to tell you what the implications are because you can see it for yourself.

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

          I have no blind faith. I don’t say, “If science says it, it’s true!!”

          Next time, read what I actually write, not what you’d like me to write.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          “Y’know what I do? I rely on experts.”

        • Kodie

          Rather than think you know more than they do? Why, because some guy said?

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

          We’re just talking about the case of a scientific consensus.

        • MNb

          Liar.

          “Y’know what I do? I rely on experts who have reached consensus.”
          You omitted the last part deliberately.
          Exactly like fundies do – they don’t give a s**t about the 9th Commandment either.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Include ‘who have reached a consensus’ if you like.

          Bob still seems to have as his faith human authority.

        • adam

          Still not biblical ‘faith’

        • MNb

          And again you react exactly like a fundie. “If you like” is irrelevant. This is about reflecting your opponent’s position correctly. You don’t want to admit you were wrong, but are cornered too, so you begin to downplay. So of course you present the same lie a second time, in a different form:

          “Bob still seems to have as his faith human authority”
          You omit “human authority who have studied the issue, have published their findings in peer reviewed magazines and have been checked by other human authority”
          And again you do this deliberately, because you have been told so over and over again. And you do this because this part is crucial for the difference between faith and trust. Not to mention – something you’ve been told over and over again too – that BobS is totally capable of checking those findings himself given enough time, money and effort. You never addressed this.
          The only conclusion that remains is that you’re a liar. Like fundies.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          It is of course the done thing to attempt to represent another person’s argument fairly. It is also the done thing to make as generous an interpretation as you can of another person’s argument, if as it stands it is open to multiple interpretations.

          However, here on may just scroll up and have a read of what Bob put for himself. I thought just putting ‘I let other guys do my thinking for me’ or whatever it was he put was sufficient. I was not attempting to set out in detail Bob’s argument, although I suspect I probably did as good as job as Bob has so far done.

          He lets other people do his thinking for him and he thinks this is scientific, although he seems not to know what he means by scientific.

          You say that Bob has as his faith human authority – but add “human authority who have studied the issue, have published their findings in peer reviewed magazines and have been checked by other human authority”

          But I don’t know what your point is.

          Are you disputing the laws of motion, and the conclusion that if Building 7 is falling for 2.25 seconds at free fall acceleration then another energy source must be removing the support? I don’t think you are, because as you keep saying you are a qualified physics math teacher.

          Bob, however, believes NIST, not because they have explained how the above is not the case to his satisfaction, but merely, it would seem, because he has learned to accept pronouncements by such authority figures as truth without question.

          It seems much like a fundamentalist religious belief to me, as I have said.

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

          have a read of what Bob put for himself. I thought just putting ‘I let other guys do my thinking for me’ or whatever it was he put was sufficient. I was not attempting to set out in detail Bob’s argument

          Whenever you try, you fail. Probably best to just let me speak for myself since you’re clearly unable to do it. Or understand. Or state my position honestly. Or something.

          Just for laughs, I’ll remind everyone once again that I’ve asked you repeatedly what you recommend besides laymen accepting the scientific consensus. All I get from you is crickets—all but an admission that you’re shooting blanks.

          Bob, however, believes NIST

          Me? You’re the one who brought up those idiots in the first place, remember?

          Pick you authorities wisely. It becomes uncomfortable when you must deny their authority later, after they deflate your argument.

        • Kodie

          Do not kid yourself that you are doing anything like thinking for yourself. You are appealed emotionally to “think for yourself” by listening to that guy or some other guy, instead of follow the crowd, those brainwashed people who believe everything the “social engineers” want them to believe. That’s an emotional appeal to your powerlessness.

          You are not yourself knowledgeable enough to know what your sources say is correct or not. You are easily swayed by dramatic presentations that do not have their facts or conclusions straight, and you’ve done none of the work yourself, so how do you figure you are thinking for yourself? You’re not.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Do you believe in the laws of motion Kodie? Do they not speak with enough authority for you?

        • Kodie

          Do you remember the building was on fire all day?

        • Greg G.

          What other authority is there? Capuchin authority? One of the fake deity authorities? Even if there was a real deity, it ain’t talking.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Which authority do you put your faith in? Not an easy question I know. I suppose ultimately I listen to my heart, but I don’t think this a very satisfactory explanation.

        • Greg G.

          I do not have faith.

          With a brain like yours, you may as well listen to your heart.

        • Kodie

          Just an objective observation – you’re bound to be wrong most of the time. You don’t know, so you do trust people who sound to you like they know what they’re talking about. A lot of people have skill stringing words together (better than you!) and not saying anything worth listening to. You don’t know enough what to look out for, so you are easily swayed by an impressive or emotionally appealing demonstration. You’re not actually listening, or learning, you are only repeating.

        • adam

          “Liar.”

          Dishonesty for a dishonest ‘god’…..

        • Greg G.

          He likes to make baby Tao cry.

        • MR

          Bwah-ha-ha!

        • Greg G.

          I looked at the Building 7 conspiracy a few years ago. It fell at the speed it should have fallen which is near free fall velocity.

          If you lay on the floor and I drop a 5 pound sledge on your chest from two inches above, it won’t hurt, much. If I drop it from the ceiling, you will have painful injuries. A building falling the same height is coming down with more force. The strength of a floor offers little resistance to that energy. It’s not going to slow the cascade that much. The next floor will be hit with far more force and so on.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Sorry Greg, I think you might have read something about the towers here and mixed it up.

          Building 7 indeed did fall at the speed one would expect something to fall on planet earth if that falling thing had no support.

          It would have been odd if it had fallen faster than gravitational acceleration, granted. However, that the building fell at gravitational acceleration is also odd, but not for reasons of physics.

          And on the other point, you know that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction? A falling floor will encounter exactly the same opposite force that it hits with. The collapse of the towers also reveals another energy source in play.

          But I think the really interesting thing here is how we can see that people’s world views are actually more like a faith – and a faith in a very poor religion, and not at all grounded in rational thought and ‘science’.

        • Greg G.

          A falling floor will encounter exactly the same opposite force that it hits with.

          If something is opposed with an equal force, it is stopped. Think of two cars of equal weight colliding while traveling the same speed. If one car is traveling faster, the two cars would travel in the direction of the faster car at a slower speed’ depending on the velocity. If the faster car hits a much heavier truck, the car would have to be traveling very rapidly to stop the truck or push it backwards. A car hitting a stopped car will push it forward. On a slope, gravity will have to be factored in.

          The building fell at near free fall velocity. All the floors were weakened so the strength was not opposing the fall very much and the shock waves from each collision would weaken the support. You wouldn’t be able to determine the difference between free fall velocity and near free fall velocity from the available videos.

          If I wanted to look at this crap again, I would go elsewhere on the internet.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I’m sorry Greg, you really don’t seem to understand the physics.
          When you say the building fell at near free fall velocity, are you talking about Building 7?

          This is all I mentioned, as I’m hearing you I don’t want to discuss 9/11 really, rather I want to discuss how often people’s world veiw is actually a faith. The 9/11 thing is just the clearest demonstration of this.

        • Greg G.

          Building 7 was heavily damaged. It was no longer the steady building that had stood for a quarter century. It was barely standing. It was a matter of which point would fail first. When one point failed, the rest of the building that had been barely resisting gravity could not offer much resistance to a falling portion.

          All this demonstrates is that you are projecting faith onto people who are not as gullible as you are. My strength of belief is proportional to the strength of the evidence. You constantly show that your own opinion trumps evidence.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Even if Building 7 had been heavily damaged, which it had not, it could not have come down 2.25 seconds at free fall acceleration unless during that period of time another energy source was removing the supports.

          Do you think your professed belief in science may actually be a faith in human authority?

        • Greg G.

          If you fell through a series of 2×4’s, they might slow you down. If you fell through toilet paper strung across your path, you would slow an imperceptible amount. That’s the difference between a building that is sturdy and one that is about to collapse. The supports were cooked. It offered no resistance to a falling building because it was no longer strong. A strong building might slow the building’s descent. Every part of it was on the verge of collapse already.

        • Kodie

          The collapse of the towers also reveals another energy source in play.

          You keep saying that.

          The supporting columns were weakened by fire burning through the day as well as heavy debris from falling parts of the other buildings. What other energy source do you think this “reveals”?

          I think you might have read something about the towers here and mixed it up.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          By the way, James, if you had any credibility before you offered up this 9/11 conspiracy theory, (you didn’t – but, hey, just for the sake of argument) it’s all flushed down the toilet now!

          What else you got? Faked moon landings? Aliens at area 51? LBJ’s plot to kill JFK? Alien abductions? Bigfoot?

          I’m afraid you’ve just made yourself a bigger laughingstock with this latest nonsense.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          It’s interesting, James, I think we all started this conversation imagining you to be just another fundamentalist Christian. Now you’ve revealed yourself to be one of those trollish little web lurkers who puts his faith in internet conspiracy theories like religions. The irony is that you have exactly what you accuse everyone else of having: a world view which is exactly like a hair brained religious cult.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          No Beau, I really do believe in truth.
          I am at a loss to see how I have put my faith in an ‘internet conspiracy theory’.

          Whereas all you seem to have is the religious fanatic point of view. All you can do cry heresy, and be rude.

          And it would seem you are incapable of thinking for yourself. I suppose you have put so much effort into appearing condescending it may be almost impossible for you to see you have been wrong. If you can see a simple thing like the implications of the free fall, just think what else you might not be seeing.

        • Kodie

          Who is crying heresy? If the evidence was there of a plot, every single one of us would agree that it was, sadly, a plot. You accuse everyone of not thinking for themselves, but this is what people sound like when they are not deluded and bought into that everything around them is some plot and social engineering to keep us from finding out. You think you have “inside information” the “truth”, someone presented to you and you don’t have the critical thinking skills to reason that they’re ignoring the facts, and now you have this religious zealotry to see things that aren’t there and accuse everyone else of being blind to it. You’re the fool here, Jimmy.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Of course you believe in truth! I see it now!

          The great conspiracy to take down the World Trade Center! The aliens in Area 51! The water fluoridation that’s turning us all gay! The fake moon landings!

          It all fits! Thank you, James!

        • adam

          “No Beau, I really do believe in truth.”

          the ‘truth’?

          truth?

          And yet you think nothing of being a psychopathic LIAR

          But we understand you have to be dishonest to properly represent this ‘god’ of yours…

          “I’m going to be straight with you. Unless you say, ‘GREEN BANANA at the top of one of your posts, I will never ever respond to anything you say again. You have to write it in capitals like that. I really mean it. If I do not see that at the top of your post I will act as if your post does not exist.

          This is a solemn promise, and you know I tell the truth.”
          Says Jame Raskalinikov Dean the Liar…

          So we KNOW what your ‘solemn promise’ is worth and that you DONT tell the truth…

        • Kodie

          What about “social engineers”?

          See, you never say what that is, only that you accept that such a thing exists without inquiry. It suggests to me that you are paranoid, and wear a tin foil hat.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Very simple, James, Building 7 didn’t come down at free fall acceleration. A portion of the north wall facing came down at free fall for only 2.25 seconds of a longer fall, and only after several floors had been burning for hours and the structures attached to the wall facing had already buckled. Ask the firefighters who lost their companions in that collapse whether there were demolition explosions and how much fire engulfed the building. Clearly, you’d rather listen to the explanations of conspiracy idiots on the internet.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          But Bob, again you are merely repeating what your priest has told you. You sound exactly like a fundamentalist arguing how Noah’s ark was really possible, because Noah didn’t have to take every animal in there, or whatever nonsense people come out with to defend it.

          However, maybe you have done a little thinking about it because I see you do not deny the 2.25s of free fall. But now you say it was a portion of the north wall, and not the building. However, you can see for yourself that this portion of the north wall mentioned by NIST is actually the building. Are you going to believe your eyes, or your priest?

          And btw you will find plenty of testimony from firefighters about explosions, but your priest will tell you they were mistaken.

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

          You’re responding to Beau, not Bob.

          If you can see no difference between what scientists say (remember, it’s science that eliminated smallpox, gave us electricity and computers, and taught us about the Big Bang) and what pastors say (which has taught us zilch new about reality) then I think I’ve discovered the problem.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Of course! 2.25s of free fall couldn’t possibly have happened unless there was a grand conspiracy to cover up all the secrets the government was hiding in WTC7!

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Er … some conspiracy website you’re reading (you are so transparent) told you that only a controlled demolition under WTC7 could have caused a 2.25 second free fall – and you believed them, because you are just that naive. Did you bother to read that the fire had been burning across several floors for several hours before the collapse? Did you bother to read that the structural supports collapsed before the facing on the north side of the tower pulled away and fell on it’s own?

          Far from proving anything here, James, you’ve just revealed what a gullible simpleton you really are.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Beau, listen to yourself. You write, the structural supports collapsed before the facing on the north side of the tower pulled away and fell on its own.

          Your priest has you thinking all sorts of impossible things.

          Have you seen the same videos of the collapse your priest has? How is it you describe what is happening in such a strange way? Did you really look at the video and say to yourself, aha, there is nothing out of place here. The building is not collapsing at free fall acceleration, only the facing on the north side has pulled away (from what?) and is falling!

          Do you take my point – you sound exactly like a fundamentalist.

        • Kodie

          So anyone who disagrees with you is a fundamentalist? You’re not making a brilliant case for this conspiracy, and it’s obvious you have emotional reasons for clinging to it.

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

          James, listen to yourself. The experts have spoken but, because what they say doesn’t please you, you elevate yourself to the category of Expert. No–to Judge so that you’re even higher than all the experts.

          Didn’t the Bible say something about pride?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          The difference between you and I is that I am aware that there things I can know for myself.

          How do you cope with this situation Bob? You have experts telling you conflicting things. How do you choose which experts you are going to believe? Do you examine their arguments? Or is your faith based on something else? Do you reject the experts that challenge your faith solely on the grounds that they challenge your faith?

        • Kodie

          Why you so butthurt that nobody takes you seriously?

        • Greg G.

          Experts on religion are experts on what others have said about religion. If they offer subjective opinions, they are not speaking as an objective experts. When they speak of objective experiments, it is usually to make excuses for why it doesn’t support their beliefs.

          The scientific method eliminates bias when done properly. Most of those who disagree with the experts in science are doing something wrong. For example, there was a recent well-done experiment that challenged the speed of light. It turned out to be a faulty network connection to a computer that consistently threw off measurements.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I agree that what we loosely call the scientific method is an excellent thing.

          As you know, I do not think it sufficient to account for the Tao.

          But my objection here is that Bob, when pressed on the matter, reveals that his faith in science is actually a faith in human authority.

        • Greg G.

          The scientific method works with things that are real. It cannot test imaginary things like the Tao you imagine.

          Everyone is titled to an opinion but most people would do better to steal their opinions from someone smarter. But it would be wrong to steal opinions from conspiracy nuts if you are not familiar with the evidence.

          I looked at the global warming evidence 7 or 8 years ago. The deniers had explanations that required college level science to understand while the other side presented explanations at a sixth grade level on the internet. But when I looked more closely and began to understand the term8nology, I noticed that the deniers always left out something and that something always countered their claims.

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

          I have no faith in anything.

          But I think I’ve made this clear before. I guess you’ll just whip up whatever straw man you want to imagine, so there’s not much to stop you.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          If you like you can change the word faith to the word trust.

          Bob reveals that his trust in science in actually a trust in human authority.

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

          James discovers that science doesn’t come from angels but comes … from fallible humans.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Fallible humans did not create the laws of motion. They exist, like light, and I argue like morality, whether there are minds to perceive them or not.

          But it sounds as if you are admitting that you put your trust in nothing greater than what you perceive to be human authority, and science has little to do with this decision.

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

          Fallible humans did not create the laws of motion.

          I’m splitting hairs here, I’ll admit, but I like to disagree with you.

          Humans didn’t create time, but they did create the ideas of September and 10 o’clock. Similarly, they didn’t create the physical relationships in nature, but they did create the laws. Newton’s Law of Gravity didn’t exist before Isaac Newton. The relationship did, not the law.

          They exist, like light, and I argue like morality, whether there are minds to perceive them or not.

          I see no evidence for this claim of objective morality. Show me.

          But it sounds as if you are admitting that you put your trust in nothing greater than what you perceive to be human authority, and science has little to do with this decision.

          As I’ve explained several times, you are the one with the feeble authority. I put my trust in the scientific consensus. We have nothing better. You, by contrast, reject that consensus when it pleases you and you put your faith … in yourself.

          (Take care—that dude you’re following is an idiot.)

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I think you really do not see that what you are saying does not really follow on from what has been said.

          Your claim to follow scientific consensus is demonstrably false, or you would care more about the laws of motion. You will abandon trust in the laws of motion if a human authority asks you to.

          But in any case this has already been said.

          Just out of interest, who is this dude you think I am following that you think is an idiot? Do you mean Isaac Newton?

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

          Your claim to follow scientific consensus is demonstrably false

          Show me a scientific consensus that I reject.

          Just out of interest, who is this dude you think I am following that you think is an idiot? Do you mean Isaac Newton?

          Whaaa … ?? Yourself!

          Kinda follows from the paragraph that came before.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I have already said that you explicitly reject the laws of motion, about which there is, as you would have it, very clearly a scientific consensus.

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

          Wrong again. I’m delighted to accept the laws of motion. What you’re confused about is your interpretation of the application of the laws of motion. The experts say one thing and li’l ol’ James says another.

          Golly, which should I go with … ?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I assure you Bob, ‘the experts’ and I are saying the same thing. If an object is falling at free fall acceleration all its potential gravitational energy is being converted into kinetic energy. If it were encountering any resistance it could not fall at free fall acceleration. Therefore, for the 2.25s Building 7 came down at free fall acceleration, another energy source must have been removing the building’s support. You will not find ‘an expert’ who disagrees with this.

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

          Wrong again. You’ve made clear that you reject the conclusion of NIST.

          Let me know if you’ve forgotten. I’ll paste that bit in again, just to rub your nose in it.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Bob, NIST say that the building fell for 2.25 seconds at free fall accleration. Paste away. But I really hope you get what it means.

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

          Here you go. Eat it and weep.

          During Stage 2, the north face descended essentially in free fall, indicating negligible support from the structure below. This is consistent with the structural analysis model which showed the exterior columns buckling and losing their capacity to support the loads from the structure above.

          Oh, dear. I was expecting something about fireproof explosives, but there’s nothing here to support that.

          Ah, well–I guess we’ll just go with the NIST conclusion.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          As I have said, you take authority for your god, or whatever. If you did take science, and things like the laws of motion for your god you would surely be crying, Blasphemy!

          But you take human authority for your god.

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

          I make science my authority (where there is a consensus), while you put James Raskalinikov Dean as the authority.

          Which one of us is the arrogant one?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I think we’re both pretty arrogant about this! But my point of view is indeed scientific, as far as thinking scientifically can go. And then my point of view is just go Jesus on people.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Yes, because as I have said you have a faith in authority, not in science.

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

          I trust science (what is science but the consensus view?), while you trust yourself.

          Wow–talk about someone setting himself up as God! I’d chat with my pastor about that if I were you …

        • Kodie

          You have an emotional weakness, that is, you know you’re stupid, so you latch on to something that sounds smarter than everyone else, too smart to be fooled by the “social engineers” that you never have yet explained. I’ve asked you a few times, and you don’t respond to those posts. You only respond to posts where you can repeat your mantra. But from this side, you just have no idea how stupid you do look. Not because scientists say this and I believe them, but scientists say this and they used all the facts, instead of isolating one fact and ignoring all the rest of the facts like you do.

        • Kodie

          Yes, even those dopey scientists got some facts right, according to you. Why would they reveal such a secret if it meant that the only conclusion one could make is that the building collapsed due to demolition explosives? Why would they reveal that, and why wouldn’t they arrive at the same only conclusion that you have?

          Perhaps because something else caused the building to collapse, and I know you like to ignore it, the entire collapse wasn’t free fall. The Stage 1 was when the supports were giving way, once they gave way, which you ignore, then the building began Stage 2, gravitational acceleration, before Stage 3, when it slowed down again.

          Ignore the facts, dummy. Ignore all the rest of the pertinent facts. Obviously, no other conclusion can be made while looking at the complete set of facts, only 2.25 seconds happened in the entire day to Tower 7.

        • Kodie

          All science experts, right on down to 2nd-graders agree that fire is an energy source.

        • Dys

          I think James has gone and confused the expression of the law with the physical phenomenon it describes. People attempting transcendental arguments tend to do it rather frequently.

        • MNb

          That you have said something makes it only likely that it was incorrect. There can be several reasons for this:
          1. You’re silly;
          2. You’re ignorant;
          3. You’re stupid;
          4. You’re a liar.

          A combination is also possible.
          This is a typical case of “JDR is wrong until proven otherwise”. “I have already said” is only a confirmation.

        • Dys

          But Bob…you HAVE to accept Jimmy’s conspiracy theory ramblings or else you reject the laws of motion. It’s non-sequitur science!

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I think you are right.
          You have to accept or reject the laws of motion.

        • Dys

          You agree that you’re trying to present a non-sequitur in order to bolster a conspiracy theory? Good on you for admitting it. 9/11 truther nonsense doesn’t need to be accepted at all.

          People make the same mistake you do all the time. They think that because they’ve witnessed or experienced some phenomenon, that their explanation of that phenomenon must be accepted as well. But that’s not the case.

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

          Wrong again. No one’s rejecting the laws of motion. The issue is the conclusions drawn, which are at a much, much higher level. That’s the part that you’re having a hard time with (since you don’t like them), and where you want to place yourself at the top of the pyramid.

          Most Christians would call that arrogant, wouldn’t they?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          If you are not rejecting the laws of motion then I assume you think it is odd that Building 7 came down at free fall acceleration.

        • Greg G.

          A house of cards collapsed in a gravitational field.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Building 7 was a steel famed high-rise though, not a house of cards.

        • Greg G.

          On 9/10, it was a steel-framed high rise. On 9/11, it became a house of cards. Has anyone pointed out the fire? Do you understand fire? It produces heat. Heat can make metal lose its temper.

        • Dys

          The notion that the entire building collapsed at free fall speed is wrong. And there’s plenty of other issues with the controlled demolition theory, for which conspiracy theorists have invented more explanations.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          How is this notion wrong Dys? I bet you a hundred pounds you will struggle to explain how this notion is wrong. I think it is clear you have two options, you can contend it was not the entire building that fell, but this would contradict what you see on the many recordings of the event. You can claim that it was not exactly free fall acceleration, but to do this you would have to conclude that it was so close to free fall acceleration it is essentially indistinguishable from it.

          And don’t you sound just like a fundamentalist?

        • Kodie

          You said yourself that Stage 1 doesn’t matter. Stage 1, when the building started to collapse slower than free fall, so that is when the entire building was falling at a slower rate than free fall, and also Stage 3, when the entire building was falling at a slower rate than free fall.

          When there was no resistance left as the collapse left Stage 1, it entered Stage 2, free fall. Stage 1 accounts for a lot that you repeatedly ignore.

          Do you think calling everyone a fundamentalist all the time makes you smart?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I think they divided the collapse into three stages to try to hide the free fall, and to confuse people who do not have a good grasp of physics.

        • Kodie

          Why do you think so? Why would they break the collapse into 3 stages and explicitly note that one of those stages was the building collapse in free fall? What do you do with the other two stages of collapse? Why would they openly list for all to see that the building did indeed collapse in free fall a part of the duration of the full collapse? Why would they admit it openly, if they had something they were trying to hide? Are you in denial of the Stages 1 and 3 happening? Why do you think you have a good grasp of physics if you are intent on ignoring the complete set of facts in favor of your isolated one fact?

          Seriously, you just sound paranoid and lashing out at everyone ever for calling you stupid, because deep down, you know you are, and you want to feel smart about something. Conspiracies appeal to people who are intellectually weak like you, because you want to be in some exclusive group that pretends to know “something is up” and is suspicious of governments’ power to control you, your mind, what you eat and drink, what your favorite color is, you really believe that you are in severe danger of becoming a puppet and what it would mean for you if you actually believed what they publish as their official report. This is a wild goose chase on your quest to remain free of social engineering. You have ignored a great deal of information, and you didn’t ignore it all by yourself. You have human guides leading you, telling you what to think and what to say. You have pretty much brought nothing of substance, all you do is insult everyone because that’s part of the emotional draw, that you can feel like you know something and are smarter than everyone else. You don’t sound smarter than everyone else, you just sound like a paranoid asshole. You’re not making your case, you are just calling names.

          The case has been made against you, and all you can do is repeat what the human sources tell you to say, to downplay the fire, to ignore the sequence of the collapse, and to resort to calling everyone a fundamentalist when they fail to take you seriously. You sound butthurt and paranoid, but you haven’t made your case. It’s very hard to take you seriously when you have one isolated fact that “can only mean one thing”, compared to experts who are better equipped to assess the event using all the facts.

          Give one reason you think you are thinking for yourself, when it is obvious you are not. You belong to a subset of people who believe they are all thinking for themselves simply because they distrust the government’s official report because it destroys their conspiracy theory. Think about it – do you know something else is true, or do you distrust the government and feel stupid most of the time, so you are emotionally appealed to fight those feelings with a sense of power and knowledge, a sense, not real power nor real knowledge. Just because you don’t believe what the government agency has reported doesn’t mean they are incorrect. What motive would they have to “hide” pertinent information in a public report that you referenced initially. “Even the NIST says it’s true” but everything else is a lie used to cover it up?

          But go predictably to ignore the content of this post and go straight to calling me a fundamentalist! That’s all you have.

        • Dys

          And don’t you sound just like a fundamentalist?

          I’m not the one incessantly ranting about fringe 9/11 truther conspiracy theories on a post about how religion being a reflection of a person’s culture.

          As I’ve already stated, your attempt to set up the choice between accepting your preferred conspiracy or rejecting the laws of motion is a false dichotomy. You’ve continually confused the explanation for a phenomenon for the phenomenon itself. You need to find a real argument, because the “accept my fringe theory, or reject reality” tactic is laughably bad.

          There are plenty of sites that debunk the free fall excuse truthers throw out – if you’re truly interested, go find them. Because the truth is that whatever weaknesses that exist in the official story, perceived or otherwise, the conspiracy theories are paper thin.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Dys, you will not be able to provide a link to anything that will show the period of free fall does not mean what it does.

        • Dys

          Then you haven’t bothered looking at any of the sites that debunk your claims. Conspiracy mongers aren’t interested in the truth, they’re interested in perpetuating the conspiracy.

          But keep presenting your false dilemma, by all means. Because apparently you’re impervious to the fact that it’s a minority position, and thus doesn’t work as the refutation of the scientific consensus that you so desperately want it to be.

          The fact remains that the conspiracy theory has too many holes in it to be even close to plausible.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Dys, the fact that remains is that Building 7 came down at free fall acceleration. You will not find anything debunking this, as i have said. Have a go! I bet you ten pounds!

        • Dys

          Except I have. And if you haven’t, it’s because you haven’t bothered looking. I just honestly don’t feel like getting into a pointless link exchange argument with a conspiracy monger. Because you care more about propping up the conspiracy nonsense than reality. And it has literally nothing to do with anything being discussed in the original post. You merely brought it up as a red herring.

          In any case, your pathetic “believe my conspiracy or you reject the laws of motion” holds as much water as a sieve. It’s a complete non-sequitur. Have you managed to come up with a real argument yet?

        • MR

          I just honestly don’t feel like getting into a pointless link exchange argument with a conspiracy monger.

          It does seem like the topic has strayed from even the general subject of this blog. A good detractor can do that.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          There is nothing wrong with the free fall proof.
          The debunking website you linked to did not, of course, debunk the free fall proof. I suspect you did not check this for yourself, otherwise it would be strange to claim that you put up a link to something which debunked the free fall proof.

          However, it seems to me that a person’s world view is strongly influenced by what the perceive the majority of people to believe, they tend to go along with it. I think it interesting that you said the 9/11 Truth thing was a minority view. Your perception that this is the case I think makes it hard for to accept it. So hard, perhaps, you cannot think properly about the matter.

        • Dys

          There is no free fall proof. What you have is a claim. An assertion, really and a hypothesis at best. I also didn’t link to any site in regards to the free fall explanation.

          I suspect you did not check this for yourself, otherwise it would be strange to claim that you put up a link to something which debunked the free fall proof.

          I didn’t claim that I put a link up. In fact, I stated that it would be pointless for me to do so, because engaging in link wars with a conspiracy theorist is a waste of time. You insisted I wouldn’t be able to find anything debunking the freefall claim. That’s factually inaccurate, as I easily did. But the entire 9/11 diversion you’ve embarked on is nothing more than a red herring anyway.

          I think it interesting that you said the 9/11 Truth thing was a minority view.

          It is. Although not among the general populace, perhaps. Then again, the majority of the general populace also accepts unsubstantiated religious claims as well.

          Your perception that this is the case I think makes it hard for to
          accept it. So hard, perhaps, you cannot think properly about the matter.

          Uh, I’m an atheist. Perhaps you’re not anywhere near as adept at sussing the truth out as you’d like to believe.

          What you can’t seem to understand is that ultimately, your insistence on the conspiracy theory is completely irrelevant to the larger issue of accepting the scientific consensus.

        • Kodie

          It’s interesting that he said a minority of conspiracy theorists think they’re smarter than scientists, and have a more accurate assessment of the events than the scientific consensus. You don’t seem to know how scientists do their work, because any of them would happily upset what we’re given happened, only none of them, with more knowledge than you have, could. Or do you really think everyone is in on this? We’re all hiding something that you, yourself, with no influence from anyone else, figured out.

        • adam

          “However, it seems to me that a person’s world view is strongly
          influenced by what the perceive the majority of people to believe,”

          Which is why you:

        • Kodie

          That means you’re in denial of the complete set of information. What does it mean, and why do you avoid the necessary implications of what it does mean? Be specific this time, stop turning it around and calling everyone a fundie just because we disagree with your asinine take on the situation. You are far from thinking for yourself.

        • adam

          “I bet you a hundred pounds you will struggle to explain how this notion is wrong.”

          Yes, more of that hundred pounds of BULLSHIT in a 5 pound sack.

        • Kodie

          I didn’t see anyone reject the laws of motion. Even you agree – something happened to those supports, allowing the building to collapse in free fall. It’s the vast quantity of information you’re rejecting because it does not appeal to your emotional need to think you know the social engineers are out to fool you. Not Jimmy! Jimmy can’t be fooled! Jimmy knows what the laws of motion prove!

        • MNb

          “You will abandon trust in the laws of motion if a human authority asks you to.”
          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          Let’s put this to the test. As a teacher math and physics I’m a human authority on the laws of motion. Also BobS knows me pretty well in our virtual reality; he knows that I’m an experienced teacher on the subject.

          BobS, I ask you to abandon trust in the laws of motion. I just dropped a ball from the roof of my house, used my personal observation and those laws were wrong.

          Will you do so? On my authority as a teacher math and physics?

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

          James is unable to even correctly express my position. Kinda makes it hard to have a discussion with the guy.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          On a serious note though, as a qualified teacher in math and physics, you must know that if Building 7 falls for 2.25s at free fall acceleration, all of its potential energy during that period is being converted into kinetic energy, meaning another energy source must be removing the building’s support.

          Or is this not the case?

        • adam

          “As you know, I do not think it sufficient to account for the Tao.”

          The most important thing when inventing a Tao is to make
          sure it’s invisible, inaudible, and imperceptible in every way. Otherwise, people may become skeptical when it appears to nobody, says nothing, and does nothing.

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

          The difference between you and I is that I am aware that there things I can know for myself.

          And yet I keep asking—how many times has it been now?—for you to tell us what approach other than mine (laymen should accept the scientific consensus) we should adopt. And you keep not telling me.

          You don’t have one, do you? I mean, a reliable one. Your approach is to set yourself up as god. You are the one who calls the shots. Ironic, isn’t it, that you like to use that line yourself and say that it’s actually the atheist who’s the arrogant one, who is too proud to submit.

          Some expert says something that makes you sad? Fuck him—you get to decide what “truth” is in your world.

          You have experts telling you conflicting things. How do you choose which experts you are going to believe?

          Don’t read so good, do you? I’m talking about exclusively the situation where there is a scientific consensus. We’re not talking about the situation in another field (history, theology), and we’re not talking about where there is no consensus (string theory or quantum loop gravity, for example).

          Do you reject the experts that challenge your faith solely on the grounds that they challenge your faith?

          Oh, right—it’s me who has the fragile faith and who must reject scientific input to preserve it.

          You’re a funny man. Or maybe deluded.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I have already said that what we loosely call the scientific method is an excellent thing. That we should be as careful as we can about our thinking seems to me a greater principle behind the scientific method.

          You seem to be saying that you are unable to know what to think about something until there is a scientific consensus bout it.

          As you are using the term you may rest assured that there is a scientific consensus that if something is falling at free fall acceleration all its energy is being converted into kinetic energy. In the case of Building 7, assuming we do not allow supernatural explanations, this must mean another energy source is removing the support.

          If science were truly your guide you would see this. However, it would seem that authority is your guide. I am assuming that having read NIST claim there is nothing unusual about this you have accepted this opinion fully, and now believe it to be your own well reasoned and factually supported opinion.

          So it isn’t scientific consensus at all you seem to put your trust in, but rather human authority.

        • adam

          ..

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Good meme!

        • adam

          Too bad that you are such a psychopathic LIAR

          But we understand you have to be dishonest to properly represent this ‘god’ of yours…

          “I’m going to be straight with you. Unless you say, ‘GREEN BANANA at the top of one of your posts, I will never ever respond to anything you say again. You have to write it in capitals like that. I really mean it. If I do not see that at the top of your post I will act as if your post does not exist.

          This is a solemn promise, and you know I tell the truth.”
          Says Jame Raskalinikov Dean the Liar…

          So we KNOW what your ‘solemn promise’ is worth and that you DONT tell the truth…

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

          BTW, a young-earth Creationist acquaintance sent me a link to an article about the validity of doubting the scientific consensus. I think I’ve read it before, but I’ll take another look.

        • MNb

          “You seem to be saying that you are unable to know what to think about something until there is a scientific consensus bout it.”
          This is the only reasonable thing to do if you don’t have enough information, don’t have studied the topic and don’t have done any research. But that never stopped ignorant, dishonest apologists like you. And because you’re (deliberately?) stupid you repeat the same false dichotomy over and over again:

          “So it isn’t scientific consensus at all you seem to put your trust in, but rather human authority.”
          The scientific consensus IS the human authority BobS trusts. And so do you when entering a plane, for instance. Or is your prediction that it won’t fall down from the air like most previous times another one of your deep truths?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I think I have not made clear what I wanted to say. I have tried to say that things are true independently of whether people believe them or not. For instance, the thing about right angle triangles. You can call these things tautologies if you like. And also that truth exists, independently of whether minds exist to perceive it.

          What I trust when I enter a plane, or ride a bicycle is that the universe will not change. The deep forces will continue.

          And this, in spite of knowing that one day it will all end.

          I have tried to show that when Bob believes NIST’s pronouncement that when Buiding 7 came down at freefall acceleration for 2.25 seconds, it can not be because of a belief or a trust in these deep forces.

          Rather, it seems it is a trust in a human authority, albeit one that claims to understand these deep forces.

        • Greg G.

          If Building 7 had been sturdy, it would not have fallen. It fell because it had burned all day. The structure could not have withstood that. Furthermore, there are no explosives that could have withstood that heat and no way to control the explosions would have survived. The structure was barely standing and offered almost no resistance against the deep force of gravity once one part of it failed.

          You doubt human authority but accept human conspiracy nut authority. You don’t see the problem?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          If Building 7 had been sturdy, it would not have fallen.

          Building 7 was sturdy.

          But in any case, you still miss the proof of the period of free fall acceleration, that another energy source must have removed the supports.

          I do doubt human authority, but I have trust in the universe, of which we are.

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

          You trust the Ultimate Authority–yourself. Any other source of input is subject to your approval.

          What makes that crazy is that you’re one of those who enjoys wagging a finger at atheists, saying that they’ve set themselves up as God, etc., etc.

          Look in the mirror.

        • Kodie

          In every case, you miss the rest of the case. You repeat yourself a lot but you don’t seem to acknowledge what other people tell you. You love human authority, you have a lot of faith in humans who can impress you with their flowery words or dazzling presentations, and you have a lot of faith in yourself to comprehend right answers from wrong answers. I don’t even know how one would trust the universe. What an empty thing to say.

        • Greg G.

          It was sturdy for many years. It had a bad day. Fires make sturdy buildings unsturdy. Have you noticed that it burned for quite a while? You don’t think that weakened the structure, do you? It was barely standing. It didn’t need to weakened any more by explosives.

          What kind of explosives can stand that much heat for that long? Think.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Greg, where did you come by all that information?

          As I have said, I accept the laws of motion in the this matter as the authority. I think you got your information from NIST, who it clear when one examines photos and videos from the day, largely made up their information.

          But I also think you added some yourself. The bit about how the structure was barely standing and offered almost no resistance makes no sense.

          And there are explosives that fire will not set off. But I knew this already without having to check, since the building came down at freefall acceleration.

        • Kodie

          Since the building came down at free fall once the supports gave way due to being on fire all day, you figured out that there are some explosives that fire will not set off? You have a delusional estimation of your intelligence.

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

          Said by someone who’s jealous!

          You just need to accept the fact that we’re in the presence of greatness.

        • Greg G.

          They were expecting the building to fall for a while before. It is something buildings do when the reinforcements are burned. They never gave that a thought for years when the building wasn’t on fire. Do you understand what fire is? Do you understand that heat can change the strength of steel? Do you understand that the insulation on the steel slows the transfer of heat, it cannot stop heat for as long as the building was burning?

          The building was standing like a house of cards. It is obvious from how quickly it fell.

          Why don’t you give a list of explosives that can remain stable under those temperatures for several hours? How could the explosions be coordinated? What detonation system could survive the heat? Why bring down a building with explosives when it was already gutted?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          The period of free fall really is evidence beyond any doubt that another energy source removed the support.

          This in itself does not establish that the force was explosives, but it is a reasonable supposition.

          There is no evidence that the building was seriously involved in fire. In any case, no fire has ever brought down a steel framed high rise (excepting the towers). You will not find film or images of Building 7 consumed with flames. But you will find film and images of plenty of other similar buildings entirely consumed with flames, none of which, of course, suddenly came down at free fall acceleration.

          I’m afraid I haven’t got a list of fire proof high explosives, but it is a quite a well-known factoid.

          https://www.google.be/search?tbm=bks&hl=en&q=most+high+explosives+are+very+stable

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Of course you’re right, James. The photo evidence and firefighter reports that they expected WTC 7 to come down were clearly concocted. And all these firefighters describing the collapse by fire are clearly in on the government mass murders:
          http://www.debunking911.com/pull.htm

          They’re all conspirators! All of them! And you’ve got the 2.25 seconds of free fall to prove their evil lies!

          So what’s next, James? How do you fight against these mass murdering conspirators? At the very least you’ve stopped paying taxes haven’t you? It would be immoral to fund this mass-murdering government. How have you evaded the IRS so far?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          All the photo evidence I’ve seen shows the building was not heavily involved in fire, and this, in any case, as I’ve said does nothing to counter the proof of the free fall acceleration.

          Doesn’t it seem strange to you that the website you linked to says nothing about Building 7’s 2.25s period of free fall acceleration?

          What the firefighters have to say is indeed very interesting, but again is not evidence in the same category as the free fall. There exists, for example, a number of bits of film in which firefighters on the day seem to imply that they think the building is going to be taken down.

          I think Beau is not that what I have pointed out about Building 7 is irrational, unscientific, or unsupported by evidence that you object so strongly, and seemingly lose the ability to reason. I think it because these disturbing facts impinge on your world view, and in many ways your world view is like a fundamentalist faith, with human authority, not truth or science or reason as its heart.

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          Says the guy who abandons science as soon as its results do not suit him (“science can’t explain consciousness”). Says the guy who either doesn’t understand the difference between the gravitational acceleration and the gravitational constant (but is too dishonest to admit it) or has such a big ego that he can’t fathom we atheists understanding the difference (and again is too dishonest to admit it).
          DLR, you’re a joke – and you’re the only one who doesn’t get the joke.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          I know! It’s so strange that that the website I linked doesn’t even mention the 2.25 seconds! It’s almost as if they just took for granted the crazy idea that seven hours of fire added to debris damage can weaken and buckle the structural supports for the building!

          Plus, seriously, do all those firefighters who just lost their companions in WTC 1&2 really expect us to believe their silly lies and concocted evidence of huge fires in WTC 7, when James Dean, the smartest man God ever created, has concluded that the building was not heavily involved in fire. I mean, forget the evil, lying firefighters on the ground, James Dean has seen the photos!

          Can’t America see the obvious truth. It’s irrational, unscientific, and unsupported to believe firefighters and engineers who tell us that extensive fires weakened and buckled the structural support for WTC 7, when James Dean is here to tell us that it was an evil government plot with demolition explosives.

          Thank the Tao that you have freed me from my years worshipping the NIST on bended knee!

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Beau, I think you don’t understand the significance of the laws of motion. Even so, I cannot think that you believe that fire that had been burning for seven hours could suddenly make 2.25s worth of building support instantaneously collapse. But perhaps you do.

          Have you seen an image or video of the building seriously involved in fire? I know you have not. Please feel free to link to an image or video that shows I am wrong.

          ‘America’ obviously can see the truth. I think it very interesting that the most eloquent and passionate arguments for the truth have come from a theist, David Ray Griffin.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Your right! I haven’t seen ANY video or images of of the building “seriously involved in fire”! I mean, every one knows that this footage of gigantic flames and billowing smoke was actually created in a Hollywood sound stage, just like the moon walks:

          http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=d45_1320106542

          And surely anyone who understands the “significance of the laws of motion” would see that buckling and breaking structural supports could never release a wall for 2.25 seconds of free fall – only evil conspirators detonating explosives could do that!

          Actually, though, James, I’m not surprised that a theist believes that 9/11 happened because of an evil mass murder conspiracy of hundreds of firefighters, demolition experts, airline employees, and government officials. I mean, c’mon, he’s a THEIST, man. So, you know, God, Jesus, and everything – walking on water, rising from the dead, zombies wandering around Jerusalem – the guy’s gotta be rational, right?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Are you saying then that the bit of film you put up shows Building 7 burning up?

          Are you saying that you don’t think it odd that it came down at free fall acceleration because you have seen this bit of film?

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Why, no James, I think it came down at free fall acceleration for whatever reason you think it came down at free fall acceleration. Why would I believe a few videos of a burning building and the word of a bunch of New York firefighters and engineers over you. They say that 7 hours of fire damage can buckle and break the support structures of the building. But clearly you are much smarter than they are. Since you have told us that those surviving firefighters are liars and cowards covering up the murder of thousands, we’ll just simply have to believe you, won’t we?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          As I have made clear, it is not that I am saying things that is significant here. It is that what I am saying is true.

          The laws of motion are what they are. If you cannot understand them, do not feel bad about. It might take you a bit of work.

          But don’t start saying, as a counter to someone pointing out the truth about the laws of motion, that this person pointing out the laws of motion has said this:

          Those surviving fire fighters are liars and cowards covering up the murder of thousands.

          You disgust me with this. I did not say this, and you know it. If this is the depths to which you will resort to defend your satanic faith, you should go and have a serious think about your life.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Oh dear, James, I have your version of the truth wrong?! (Do help me understand, I almost forgot that you invented the Pythagorean Theorem).

          You don’t think the firefighters who reported extensive fires and their fear of building collapse were lying? You don’t think a pre-planned demolition brought down the building? You don’t think there was a conspiracy?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Beau I understand the only scrap of evidence to support your flimsy world view is that firefighters reported that the building was unstable and that it might come down, or was going to come down.

          As you must be aware, what the firefighters said on the day has no bearing on the proof of the 2.25s of free fall.

          If you are sincerely interested in what the fire-fighters had to say you will be interested in watching this.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7caDWzYi1E

        • Kodie

          Another hour-long video that you’re not going to deliver to us a summary?

          Also, you keep dismissing mountains of evidence, and then you call each single one a scrap. You are the one isolating 2.25 seconds out of an entire day’s worth of evidence to reach a different conclusion than experts, and you are not willing to face the implications of your conclusion. You are so paranoid of experts that you are emotionally appealed to believe something else, but you are unable to deal emotionally with the necessary implications – how many people from how many offices and departments of the government and contractors would have had to be coordinated to go with this idea, with not a single whistle blown. Explain the social engineers and how their dominance over the rest of us would have allowed thousands of people to agree to participate in this conspiracy without letting anyone know – not a peep for the last 14 years.

          Have they all been murdered so they can’t talk?

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          James, this is brilliant! All any one has to offer you are the reports of the silly firefighters:

          https://sites.google.com/site/wtc7lies/eyewitnessaccountsofwtc7fires

          But you give us another theologian! A Theologian! Who could argue with that kind of evidence?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          He analyses texts, so he has something to say about the oral histories of the firefighters.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Ooooh, even better! Forget about what the firefighters actually said:

          https://sites.google.com/site/wtc7lies/accountsofwtc7damage

          https://sites.google.com/site/wtc7lies/eyewitnessaccountsofthewithdrawalfromwtc

          this theologian “analyzes texts”!

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          He analyzed thousands of pages of transcripts of interviews with mostly firefighters on and after 9/11.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Translation:

          “He cherry-picked the words he wanted to hear out of thousands of pages of manuscripts, while simultaneously ignoring what firefighters have explicitly told us about the cause of the collapse.”

          But … of course … he’s eminently qualified to do so; he’s a theologian!

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          If you had actually watched the thing you would not written that. He doesn’t start talking until about 8 mins in.

        • Kodie

          8! minutes in???? Why don’t you just do us a favor and list the things he says, demonstrate that there is something interesting to bother watching something over an hour long. Do some work making your fucking case, like you never think you have to do.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          But I did watch him, because I hang on every word you say (you’re my idol!) – this wonderful Canadian theologian is cherry picking his case mostly from non firefighters, interpreting their words as he pleases, and doesn’t even bother with what the actual firefighters on the ground have reported and still report. Why should he? Like you, he’s so much smarter than they are – he’s a theologian!

          And by the way, you were right to ignore the multiple links I referenced in which those stupid firefighters were reporting on the fire that caused the collapse of WTC 7. What do they know?

          And, for what it’s worth, James, I don’t think Graeme MacQueen is near as smart as you are – he never once said “2.25 seconds” – which, of course, proves everything! No, I think you shouldn’t go to other authorities; James, best to stick with your own “deep truth”.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Analysing texts is what he is eminently qualified to do. He addresses the claim that he might be cherry picking the transcripts very clearly.

          I’ll tell you why you seem like a fundamentalist. it’s the desperation with which you cling on to the flimsiest bit of hope that there must be a flaw in the scientific way of looking at things, and the seemingly willful blindness to your own fallacious thinking.

          I think you must understand the import of the period of free fall. Eight stories worth of building suddenly disappeared, uniformly across the entire length and breadth of the building.

          I think if this fact did not impinge on your world view you very quickly grasp the truth of it.

          And herein is the interesting thing. We see that the rational world view of the atheist, is, when pressed, an irrational faith in human authority. And an event like 9/11, and the consequent implications that the human authority is not what the atheist had thought it was entails a very painful destruction of world view.

          I think for the Christian it is not so bad, because they merely discover human corruption, which is not a new discovery. The event does not impinge on the Tao.

          But for the atheist, the discovery of the human corruption might seem overwhelming, for to the atheist may make the mistake of thinking that their Tao has also been destroyed.

        • Kodie

          That is fucking ridiculous.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Oh I know he analyzes ancient scripture and that makes him far more qualified than the firefighters and engineers who claim to know how the towers fell.

          Oh James, I bow to your perfect logic. Why can’t the others on this blog see that all the “science” and “human authorities” you are appealing to prove that we should not appeal to science and human authority!

          And you’re so right about us atheists! The “discovery of human corruption” just overwhelms us! Lordy, Lordy, our “tao” might be “destroyed”. That’s why we PollyAnna atheists don’t even think humans are responsible for the 9/11 tragedy. It was all just a big accident … why, if we thought humans might have had anything to do with 9/11, our worldview would be shaken. It was an earthquake!

          Newton, (and, independently, James Dean) standing on the shoulders of generations of scientists, came up with the acceleration of gravity …

          … ergo – objective morality exists!

          Oops, excuse me, I meant the “Tao”. But not the “tao” in Lao-Tzu, or any one of a thousand other ancient eastern religious texts; I mean, of course, the “tao” in C.S. Lewis’ Abolition of Man; which everyone in the world has read, which is why we should redefine the word “tao” the way that Lewis did … so everyone understands us.

          You are so logical!

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          It’s like you’re doing a little dance, making a clown out of yourself. Who are you trying to impress?

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          Another truly stunning retort, James!

          Why actually address the fact that your premises defy logic, when you can dole out such amazingly witty insults, instead.

          I’m so impressed.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          You’re still doing you’re little clown dance.

          Let’s just for the sake of it have a look at some logic.

          Building 7 came down at free fall acceleration for 2.25s, which mean that eight stories of building disappeared.

          As a response to this watertight proof of an additional energy source, you respond that you have seen quotes from firefighters on the day, and post up some links to examples.

          I point out, but this is irrelevant, and just in a btw sort of way post up that interesting presentation.

          Then the little clown comes on and goes:

          “Oh I know he analyzes ancient scripture and that makes him far more qualified than the firefighters and engineers who claim to know how the towers fell.”

          Let’s have a look at this argument.

          The conclusion is: He is more qualified to know how the towers fell than firefighter and engineers.

          The premise is: He analyses ancient scripture.

          It’s just a mess.

          Leaving aside its own logical mess, he is only talking about his analysis of the oral transcripts of the firefighters and other people from the day.

          I’m not insulting you by saying you are doing a little clown dance, I am merely saying what I see.

        • http://timebottle.weebly.com/ Beau Quilter

          I know you’re a little slow, James, so let me make it clear for you.

          The “energy source” which removed the support for WTC 7 were fires that burned for 7 hours weakening the support columns until one finally buckled and gave way causing the rest to follow.

          Clearly you reject this. Too bad, but the only thing you offer is a theologian “analyzing” transcripts of witnesses, when there are actual witnesses who are experts on fire and building collapse who tell us to this day that the building collapsed after the support buckled and gave way after 7 hours of fire.

          The real mess, of course, comes when you try to use your own appeals to science and human authority to argue that we appeal to science and human authority.

          Your alternative: the “Tao”, whatever that is in your mind. Like the “Tao” tells you what “really” happened on 9/11.

          Talk about a mess!

        • adam

          The most important thing when inventing a Tao is to make
          sure it’s invisible, inaudible, and imperceptible in every way. Otherwise,people may become skeptical when it appears to nobody, says nothing, and does nothing.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Are you a young man or an old fool? I think you are more likely an old fool.

          It is the laws of motion that say that the building could not have come down at free fall acceleration without an additional energy source.

          Perhaps you do not understand the physics

        • Greg G.

          Let’s say the building had a dozen supports. After being cooked all day, one support finally fails which increases the stress on the other eleven by 8%. Eventually another fails a little sooner because of the added stress. The remaining ten supports now have 17% more weight. Eventually the building is down to four supports holding up three times the weight while the fire continues to weaken them. When one more fails, the last three suddenly get 33% more than they had but this exceeds their strength so they fail catastrophically and the building begins to collapse. Then you start timing the fall when the supports have all failed.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Are you trying to convince me or yourself?

          Not even NIST pretend that this is what was happening. Not that their explanation is any more plausible.

        • Greg G.

          I was trying to illustrate what would happen in the most general terms possible. The first two words were “Let’s say”. I’m trying to get it through that when the building was standing, it’s supports were enough to hold it up. That is indisputable. When the supports failed, they failed catastrophically. The support of the building was weakening continuously until there was a straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak.

          We understand what you were trying to prove with this topic but it backfired and has proved your belief in the Tao as silly as conspiracy theories.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          When the building was standing it was immensely strong. Buidlings are made far stronger than they need to be.

          You seem seem to be suggesting that a fire was steadily removing the supporting columns, as if they were all made of wood, and were slowly being consumed.

          Even if this were the case, one would not expect a 2.25s free fall uniformly across the width and breadth of the building. If the supports were wooden, and were being eaten away, you would expect a gradual, asymmetrical collapse.

          But this was not the case. When steel gets hot it loses some of its strength. However, when steel cools down again, it regains that strength. It did not get hot enough long enough for the building to be in danger from the fire it experienced. Indeed, no high rise steel framed building has ever come down because of being on fire (except of course for the two towers.)

          You are making yourself believe impossible things in order to maintain your faith in authority. If your faith were in science, and truth, you would, I think not have such trouble seeing that Building 7 could not have come down because of fire.

          You seem like a nice guy, and I think you’re being sincere in looking into this.

        • Greg G.

          There were two buildings next door to that building that were even stronger. They withstood having jumbo jets flown into them. They collapsed because of the burning fuel.

          Metal melts. Before it melts, it loses its temper. When it cools it does not get its temper back unless it is cooled properly. Being under stress would not be cooling it properly.

          When steel in one part of the building began to fail, the stress of supporting the building was transferred to other supports. At a certain point, the stress caused failures that were passed along rapidly. That is a catastrophic failure. That’s the point I was trying to illustrate earlier.

          You seem to think of the building the way people thought of the Titanic a little more than a century ago, that it was indestructible.

          Actually, I haven’t looked into these conspiracy theories in years. I have an engineering degree and I draw on what I learned in some of my basic engineering classes and physics classes. I am trying to show you that the evidence for your conspiracy theories are your own misunderstandings. Likewise, your beliefs in the supernatural are based on your misunderstandings.

          You should move on to another topic that is on-topic.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          But Greg, what I have said is not wrong.

          If it were wrong, I would agree. But it is not wrong, so it would be wrong to forget it, or pretend that it was wrong.

          The physics of the towers’ collapse also clearly shows another energy source must have been present. However, since it would seem people struggle with more obvious Building 7 free fall, one suspects there is little that can draw people’s attention to how the towers’ collapse, or rather sudden explosive destruction, was not what we should have expected.

          Incidentally, it is very interesting that there is no official explanation for what was going on during the towers’
          destruction.

        • adam

          “If it were wrong, I would agree.”

          Too bad that you are such a psychopathic LIAR

          But we understand you have to be dishonest to properly represent this ‘god’ of yours…

          “I’m going to be straight with you. Unless you say, ‘GREEN BANANA at the top of one of your posts, I will never ever respond to anything you say again. You have to write it in capitals like that. I really mean it. If I do not see that at the top of your post I will act as if your post does not exist.

          This is a solemn promise, and you know I tell the truth.”
          Says Jame Raskalinikov Dean the Liar…

          So we KNOW what your ‘solemn promise’ is worth and that you DONT tell the truth…

        • Greg G.

          The physics of the towers’ collapse also clearly shows another energy source must have been present.

          No, it doesn’t.

          However, since it would seem people struggle with more obvious Building 7 free fall, one suspects there is little that can draw people’s attention to how the towers’ collapse, or rather sudden explosive destruction, was not what we should have expected.

          All it shows is catastrophic failure.

          However, since it would seem people struggle with more obvious Building 7 free fall, one suspects there is little that can draw people’s attention to how the towers’ collapse, or rather sudden explosive destruction, was not what we should have expected.

          There are other things that can cause catastrophic failure besides explosives. Several people have tried to point that out to you. The explosives explanation fails because it would require controlled explosions and there is no way to control explosives that have been in a fire for seven hours.

          Incidentally, it is very interesting that there is no official explanation for what was going on during the towers’
          destruction.

          Really? I heard that jet airliners crashed into two buildings that threw lower Manhattan into turmoil and confusion which took out many emergency responders and hampered many others. The fire and danger of collapse of Building 7 would have prevented an on-going inspection.

          Footage that kills the conspiracy theories: Unseen 9/11 footage shows WTC Building 7 consumed by fire (Updated: 08:59 EST, 2 November 2011)

          7 World Trade Center (Wikipedia)

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Consider for a moment the North Tower. Let’s imagine that suddenly, just below where the plane hit, the entire floor suddenly disappeared and the top part of the building dropped down, obviously at free fall acceleration. Do you think it possible that this top 15% of the tower would crush the bottom 85%?

          When I said there was no official explanation for what was going on during the destruction of the towers, this is what I meant. In the case of the north tower, when that top 15% was allegedly crushing the bottom 85%. No-one has explained how this is possible.

          We already talked about how high explosives do not get set off by fire, and the seven hours of fire is wrong anyway, because there was no one part of Building 7 that got seven hours of fire.

          You will notice the wikipedia article does not address the free fall acceleration.

          The footage you linked to is indeed very interesting, but you must admit does not show Building 7 ‘consumed by fire’. I may as well have put it up to show that Building 7 was not heavily involved in fire.

        • Greg G.

          The top 15% only has to crush the next 1%, then that 16% has to crush the next 1%, and so on. The falling mass will continue to accelerate and grow in mass, crushing each layer even more quickly. It is so simple that it shouldn’t have to be explained. If you are suggesting it needs to be explained to you, you are probably too ignorant to understand it anyway.

          Everybody is entitled to an opinion but most people should steal the opinions of people who are smarter than themselves. You should definitely not be stealing opinions from people who need to have that explained to them.

          We already talked about how high explosives do not get set off by fire,

          You have not said how they could be detonated in a controlled manner after they had been in a fire.

          and the seven hours of fire is wrong anyway, because there was no one part of Building 7 that got seven hours of fire.

          From the Wikipedia article:

          On September 11, 2001, 7 WTC was damaged by debris when the nearby North Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed. The debris also ignited fires, which continued to burn throughout the afternoon on lower floors of the building. The building’s internal fire suppression system lacked water pressure to fight the fires, and the building collapsed completely at 5:21:10 pm, according to FEMA, while the 2008 NIST study placed the final collapse time at 5:20:52 pm.

          You don’t read so good. Also from the article:

          The collapse began when a critical internal column buckled and triggered structural failure throughout, which was first visible from the exterior with the crumbling of a rooftop penthouse structure at 5:20:33 pm.

          That is what I was trying to explain to you without referring to any reports. Then there is something I had not thought of in World Trade Centre building seven not destroyed by explosives, says US study:

          Heat from uncontrolled fires caused thermal expansion of steel beams, according to the report. When the beams expanded, they pushed supportive beams and damaged flooring surrounding columns.

          Finally, a support column identified as No 79 buckled, triggering an “upward progression of floor system failure,” according to the report.

          “You have columns that’s not supported … and without something to hold them in place, they buckle,” and the building collapses, Sunder said.

          The footage you linked to is indeed very interesting, but you must admit does not show Building 7 ‘consumed by fire’. I may as well have put it up to show that Building 7 was not heavily involved in fire.

          Try reading the article for comprehension. From the article:

          In the video, viewers can see the glowing flames on what appears to be the sixth floor of the building, and as the camera zooms in, you can even see the metal bars of the exterior buckling.

          If the building was buckling shortly before it fell, there is no need to imagine explosives.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          About the explosives, why do you think it would not be possible to detonate them after a fire? Normal demolition companies were using wireless explosives in 2001. I think it was doable.

          I assume the ‘throughout the afternoon’ italics were yours. Fires creep around buildings. They burn everything up, always finding new material, but once they have burnt up what there is to burn up, there is no fire there. My point was that there was no one point in Building 7 that was exposed to fire for seven hours.

          Also, I am aware of the NIST report claiming that thermal expansion pushed a column of its resting place, and this made the entire building come down at free fall acceleration. But I do not have to believe impossible things because human authority is not my god.

          Regarding the article and the film – in your view which takes primacy, the description of the video in the article, or the video itself? In the video itself I do not see that the building looks as if it will suddenly and globally undergo complete destruction, and neither do you, I think.

        • Greg G.

          About the explosives, why do you think it would not be possible to detonate them after a fire? Normal demolition companies were using wireless explosives in 2001. I think it was doable.

          Wireless explosives require detonators with a radio receiver. What are radio receivers made of? They are made of things that melt.

          I assume the ‘throughout the afternoon’ italics were yours.

          Yes, all the HTML tags were added for emphasis.

          My point was that there was no one point in Building 7 that was exposed to fire for seven hours.

          You have been provided evidence that the building was buckling. The length of time it may have been exposed to heat is irrelevant. It shows that the fire was hot enough and lasted long enough to do the damage.

          But I do not have to believe impossible things because human authority is not my god.

          No, your god is human conspiracy nuts.

          In the video itself I do not see that the building looks as if it will suddenly and globally undergo complete destruction, and neither do you, I think.

          You have absolutely no understanding of what a catastrophic failure is. The buckling shows that the building was putting increased forces on other supports. I quoted text that identified the support column that failed and it is in the interior, so you wouldn’t see it. I think you are used to seeing movies that have buildings collapse in slow motion.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          About fire precluding the possibilty of explosives being used, we went from fire would set off explosives to radio receivers in the explosives would melt.

          Sorry Greg, like with the explosives, I do not have a list of radio receivers that would not melt or become otherwise unfunctional after being exposed to fire. However, I know enough to assume with great certainty that it is possible to make such things.

          Greg, even if the building were buckling, whatever this may mean, it would not explain how it came down at free fall acceleration for 2.25s.

          And knowing what we know about chemical reactions, we can be certain that fire, that is ordinary office sort of stuff burning, was not enough to do the job.

          When you say I am used to seeing building failing in movies, I should remind you that outside movies no steel framed high rise on earth has ever failed because of fire.

          And also, another interesting observation: no building that has failed and has come down in the manner of Building 7 has ever not been a controlled demolition. Earthquakes, subsidence etc have made high rise steel framed building come down, but never once like Building 7.

        • Greg G.

          About fire precluding the possibilty of explosives being used, we went from fire would set off explosives to radio receivers in the explosives would melt.

          I never said they would be set off. I said they would be rendered useless. Some would explode, some would chemically breakdown. I mentioned that the controls would also fail early on in the conversation.

          Sorry Greg, like with the explosives, I do not have a list of radio receivers that would not melt or become otherwise unfunctional after being exposed to fire. However, I know enough to assume with great certainty that it is possible to make such things.

          The space program can’t make electronics that won’t melt in the atmosphere of Venus. You are dreaming.

          Greg, even if the building were buckling, whatever this may mean, it would not explain how it came down at free fall acceleration for 2.25s.

          You have the memory of a goldfish. This has been explained to you over and over. A little failure here and a little failure there transfers stress to the unfailed supports. Eventually it is like the straw that breaks the camel’s back. The stress from one more failure puts enough stress on the remaining supports that exceeds their strenghth and they fail rapidly. Steel beams have more strenghth when the force is applied longitudinally but they are much weaker in torsion. When the building begins to go, they bend and are no longer supporting the weight vertically.

          And knowing what we know about chemical reactions, we can be certain that fire, that is ordinary office sort of stuff burning, was not enough to do the job.

          I provided evidence that metal on the outside was buckling. Apparently something was burning enough to buckle the building before your alleged explosions.

          When you say I am used to seeing building failing in movies, I should remind you that outside movies no steel framed high rise on earth has ever failed because of fire.

          Those large buildings have fire suppression systems. The fire suppression in this building had no water pressure. Can you figure out why there was no water pressure in that part of town?

          And also, another interesting observation: no building that has failed and has come down in the manner of Building 7 has ever not been a controlled demolition. Earthquakes, subsidence etc have made high rise steel framed building come down, but never once like Building 7.

          Other buildings were not on fire for extended periods of time because they had fire suppression systems with a working water supply. The building withstood to events earlier in the day that registered on the Richter scale.

          You have been refuted completely. Stop bringing up points that have already been refuted. You have demonstrated that physics to you means memorizing a few phrases you don’t understand. Do you know why computers have fans? It is because electronics fail when they get too hot. You haven’t a clue about anything. I don’t mind explaining things to someone who wants to learn but you are intent on maintaining your ignorance.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Greg, you are making the appearance of someone who knows nothing about science and who cares nothing about critical thinking. You and I are done, I think.

          God be with you, as they say.

        • Kodie

          However, I know enough to assume with great certainty that it is possible to make such things.

          You know zero things. You repeat what you’re told, but you have demonstrated knowledge of nothing. You obviously here start with your conclusion – that the Tower 7 was a controlled demolition – and go backwards to there “certainly” must be some kind of radio receiver that won’t melt. Obviously, you know that with “certainty” because it can’t have been any other way, as that would defeat your conclusion, and nothing, not even facts, can do any such thing.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          And also, is it not clear to you that authority and no science or truth is your god?

          You write: the support column that failed…is in the interior, so you wouldn’t see it.

          Why do you believe in this unseen, if not because your priest tells you it is so.

        • Greg G.

          I recall the basic design of the building from the blueprints I saw many years ago. The main supports were in the core of the building.

          If one is going to accept authority it has to be human because there is no other, but don’t accept the explanation of human nuts.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          But Greg, OK you saw the blueprints many years ago. But it is quite normal for high rise steel framed buildings to have interior columns.

          Even if you saw the blueprints, why do you believe that one of these columns failed?

          (leaving aside why you also seem to believe that such a failure would have caused the entire building to come down at free fall acceleration for 2.25s.)

        • Greg G.

          All of the columns failed. First they expanded which changed the structure of the building. Those near where the fire started would expand first, right? So that would upset the balance and overstress some of the other columns, right? One column would not be enough to support the building but however many they had would be more than enough. The expanded columns may have lifted the stress off the cooler columns, taking on their stress, doncha think? So some of the columns were not holding up their share of the weight. At some point there was exactly the minimum number of columns that would support the building. It was like a house of cards at that point. It was inevitable that one of the remaining would fail, too. When column 27 failed, there were not enough columns to support the building. The others failed rapidly and then the building fell rapidly.

          Now if you don’t understand something, go back and read where it has already explained it to you.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          God be with you Greg, as they say.

        • Greg G.

          I’d rather have a new computer than a god.

        • Greg G.

          “The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.” –Albert Einstein

          You are proving Einstein correct yet again. Probably not the way you think.

          Also, about the top 15% destroying the lower 85%, did you take into account that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction?

          The top 15% is going to meet an equal force hitting it when it hits the lower portion. Whatever it may destroy will also destroy and arrest it.

          When it falls, it is not hitting an equal force so it continues to fall. When it reaches the ground, it meets an equal and opposite force, so it stops there.

          If you lay on the floor with a 25 pound rock on your chest, you can support it without injury. It would be no worse than having a 6 month old child sitting on you. That’s how a floor can support the building above it. Now if I drop that rock from the ceiling onto your chest, it’s going to do some damage. The floor below is only going to offer a miniscule amount of resistance to the falling top of the building. It will slow it down very slightly but it will be falling even faster when it reaches the next floor which will falter faster.

          But in any case, in the video footage of the event it is quite clear that the tower is exploding.

          Have you never stood next to an elevator door as the car is traveling to your floor? You can feel the air being forced out of the shaft through the cracks in the door. A building falling at free fall speed is going to compress more air much faster than an elevator so the air will force out debris that might look like an explosion to someone who doesn’t get physics.

          I provided the link with the video because of the text. I haven’t seen the video for various reasons that are not in my control as I am not at home.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Greg, the for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction is what I have called a deep truth.

          When it falls, you say, it is not hitting an equal force, so it continues to fall.

          Greg, sorry, but this is too much. You really don’t get the physics I think – which is of course no problem, one has to learn this stuff.

          When you drop that rock on my chest it will indeed hit my chest with much more energy than it had been putting on my chest when it was merely resting there.

          But also, my chest will hit that rock with an equal amount of energy. That rock will stop.

          In addition, a building is not going to fall at free fall speed, unless perhaps it has been designed like an accordion.

        • Greg G.

          Greg, the for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction is what I have called a deep truth.

          Yes. But when a bug hits the windshield of a car, it is not with the equal force of the car. The car is slowed by the force of the bug but not that you would notice.

          But also, my chest will hit that rock with an equal amount of energy. That rock will stop.

          Yes, but if we drop it from ten stories the rock with go through you. The equal and opposite force produced by your rib cage will slow it down but it is not until the rock hits something solid that the equal and opposite force of the rock is applied.

          In addition, a building is not going to fall at free fall speed, unless perhaps it has been designed like an accordion.

          Now you are getting it. When the supports fail, they bend at the connection points like an accordion.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Greg your apparent grasp of reason is so shaky it makes me think you are an agent. Only messing of course.

        • Greg G.
        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Thanks Greg!

        • Kodie

          Your opinion of Greg G’s grasp of reason is so vital to this discussion!

        • MNb

          Yeah, says the guy who doesn’t know the difference between gravitational constant, gravitational acceleration and free fall speed and thinks “falling through gravity” is a meaningful expression.
          I begin to wonder if your stupidity has any bottom.

        • Kodie

          But also, my chest will hit that rock with an equal amount of energy. That rock will stop.

          Please show your work: will the rock stop on top of your unharmed chest, or will it break any ribs or your sternum or cause internal damage to your heart or other organs before it stops? If 25lbs is too little if an 8- or 10-foot ceiling is not far enough, show your calculations to the weight and distance the weight would have to be dropped to kill you. Show your work! Do the experiments!

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          With regard to Building 7, you might be interested to know that NIST do not ‘show their work’.

          They know that people will just accept what they say.

          They have said they will not ‘show their work’ because it would be a national security risk. Make of this what you will.

        • Greg G.

          Make of this what you will.

          I make of it that you are a conspiracy nut.

        • Kodie

          I make of it that he is expert at backpedaling when he realized he hadn’t worked out enough to meet the gravitational force of a falling 25lb. weight with equal resistance and will suffer some kind of injury only after I pointed it out to him. You know us socially engineered dummies who are too stupid to think things through for ourselves, and deny the reality of physics.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          But it wouldn’t mean I was wrong.

          And really, don’t you think it odd that they won’t show their work?

        • Greg G.

          Of course that doesn’t mean you are wrong. It would be the ad hominem fallacy to say that. You are wrong because everything you have said on the subject is wrong.

          You don’t understand physics. I try to simplify it as much as possible and you don’t understand what I’m saying. It seems to be over your head.

          I will try again. The equal and opposite reaction may be that the lower floor is driven down. It will not stop the rest of the building from falling even for a microsecond. It will slow the fall. A bug striking a windshield slows a car by a tiny amount but the bug goes the opposite direction.

          If the NIST divulged what brought down the building, people who are stupid enough to do it but too stupid to know how to bring down a tall building could do it. Do you see a problem there?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          You now seem to be saying that the equal and opposite reaction to, say one floor dropping and hitting another floor, would not actually be an opposite reaction, but would somehow go in the same direction as the original force.

          NIST have divulged what they think caused the building’s sudden utter destruction, they say normal office fires did it. They have not, however, shown their workings out, or explained how this could account for the period of free fall acceleration.

          There have been no changes in building codes since the NIST report.

        • Kodie

          A normal office fire is when someone puts foil in the microwave by accident. It’s not when a passenger jet full of fuel flies into the side of the building.

        • Greg G.

          You now seem to be saying that the equal and opposite reaction to, say one floor dropping and hitting another floor, would not actually be an opposite reaction, but would somehow go in the same direction as the original force.

          No, the equal and opposite reaction is the resistance the floor below offers the falling mass. It slows the fall very slightly. The gravity of Earth pulls you toward it. The equal and opposite reaction is that you pull the earth in your direction. When whatever is holding you up above the ground is removed, like a tall building, you are accelerated toward the Earth and the Earth is accelerated toward you. That is an equal and opposite reaction. The force of Earth’s gravity on you is significant enough to change your velocity a lot. The force of your gravity is so slight it is negligible, so it cannot be detected. When you hit the ground, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Your velocity changes greatly and rapidly and the velocity of the Earth changes neglibily. If you hit a passing butterfly during your descent, there would be an equal and opposite reaction. The reaction would be neglible on your fall. Likewise, the falling part of the building would be slowed very little. The floor below the falling part might collapse the bottom floor of the falling building but that would slow the fall of the upper part even less.

          You make a big deal of how fast it fell. The upper part was intact yet it’s structure didn’t slow the part of the building above. That means there would have to be several perfectly timed explosions for every floor. OTOH, your theory is bullshit.

          It would be crazy to think a building could be constructed to be indestructible. The building stood more than six hours while burning despite its fire suppression system being compromised because of external circumstances. It collapsed in its own footprint instead of toppling over onto other buildings. The building codes weren’t a problem. I’d ask you to think and be reasonable but that doesn’t seem to be within your capabilities.

        • Pofarmer

          Not only that, there were literally tons of Jet fuel dumped in those buildings.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          You seem to be saying that a steel framed building’s floor would offer the same resistance to a falling building as a butterfly.

        • Kodie

          You seem to have problems with reading comprehension and learning new things.

        • Greg G.

          Yes, I suppose it might seem that I was saying that if a person was stupid. It depends on the size of the butterfly. A butterelephant might stop your fall.

          A floor is designed to hold a static load. There are limits to the load it will bear. Forty floors of falling building with a 10 foot head start is way beyond what a steel building could withstand. It’s the difference between balancing a 25 lb rock on your head and dropping a 25 lb rock on your head from 8 to 10 feet above you. Once the supports buckled, the upper portion would travel at the same speed as the rock when dropped from the same height.

          EDIT: took out a phrase I forgot to move out. That’s the problem with a tiny screen.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          You seem to be saying that a steel framed building’s floor would offer the same resistance to a falling building as a butterfly. These are your own words. Buidling 7 came down at free fall acceleration for 2.25 seconds or eight stories worth of building.

          The top 15% of the north tower came down almost at free fall acceleration through the increasingly stronger bottom 85%.

          Surely your sense of for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction must be alerted here?

          These immensely strong buildings are not made out of butterflies, and fire will turn them into butterflies.

        • Greg G.

          No. Go back and read it again. I tried to simplify things for you using analogies. You don’t seem to be able to hold two thoughts at the same time and differentiate between the two.

          Maybe you should just concentrate on alternating your inhalations and exhalations. It could be dangerous for you to try anything more advanced than that.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Greg, why do you waste time being rude?

          I read it already a couple of times, more than that I think, trying to work out what you meant, and looking for the most generous interpretation.

          I guess we have no more to say to each other.

          Good luck with everything.

          Sincerely,

          James

        • Greg G.

          I gave you answers. You seem to try to misunderstand everything. It pissed me off when you bring up things that were already refuted. You refused to learn.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          I’m going to let it go Greg. All the best.

        • MR

          Wha’? He’s been rude from the moment he arrived!

        • Kodie

          It’s more of a waste of time explaining to you. You’re dense as fuck. It’s a total pleasure for me to tell you that again.

        • Kodie

          85 floors was not a solid piece, did you forget? Could the supports of the next floor hold up 15 floors above it? Only while the supports of the 15 floors above it held those floors up. You’re not thinking or reading things until you understand them, you are distracted by a butterfly. When 15 floors falls on 1 floor below it, the supports will fail on that floor, and then the next floor and the next. How can you really be this stupid to need it repeated for you and demonstrated? Do we have to make some jazzy video with charts and graphs for you to fucking think?

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Goodbye Kode, sincerely hope you all the best for the future. You seem really angry about stuff. But for sure, things will change. Hope you are well, really.

        • Kodie

          Don’t let the door hit you in the ass, Jimmy. You’re stupid, and I don’t see you have any plans to get smarter.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          Thank you for your gracious adieu.

        • MR

          Is he gone? Holy Christ there is a god!

        • Kodie

          I like that we’ve now moved the rock to fall on his head.

        • MNb

          Sorry, Greg G, but you are not doing very well. BQ did the job much better and he failed to hammer any reason and sense into JRD’s thick skull, so you are totally waisting your time. Unless of course you have a personal reason to have this discussion.
          Rather will Ken Ham accept evolution than JRD abandon his pet conspiracy theory.

        • Greg G.

          I know you’re right. JRD was the same way with his misreading of CSL, too. He would bring up points that he forgot were refuted three or four days. I took a break from him while BQ took over. He didn’t catch on when BQ was pulling his leg.

        • Kodie

          It could just be that you realized that 25lb. stone dropped from a height of about 9-10ft. on your chest will not meet with total resistance and will put a dent in you.

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          My point is though that whatever dent the mass puts in me i will put in it an equal and opposite dent.

          Greg originally said about a small kid sitting on your chest. It is easy to see that dropping the kid from ceiling height onto one’s chest would result in a serious injury for the kid.

        • Kodie

          You’ll not dent a rock, but another rock might. We were also just talking about 25lbs, and the difference between resting right on your chest, and falling from a height might feel on you, and how you’d be injured. We haven’t dropped an elephant or a piano on you yet, or anything that would push you through the floor. Yet.

        • MNb

          “My point is though that whatever dent the mass puts in me i will put in it an equal and opposite dent.”
          Thanks for confirming again you don’t understand zilch of physics by pulling off another blooper.
          Throw icecream against a wall. Tell me afterwards that the wall has “an equal and opposite dent”. You obviously never have heard of the inelastic collision.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collision#Types_of_collisions

        • James Raskalinikov Dean

          The point was that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Is what you are saying true? Is it meaningless to ask if something is true? Are you this much fun when giving your lessons?

        • MNb

          ” is what I have called a deep truth.”
          You can call it what you want. That doesn’t make “deep truth” meaningful. As a result you pull off goofs like

          “But also, my chest will hit that rock with an equal amount of energy.”
          Nope, it won’t. Your chest is in rest, so velocity is zero and so is kinetic energy. What happens is that all the kinetic energy of the rock is transformed in other forms of energy. For instance it’s used to create a bruise on your chest or even break some bones.

          “a building is not going to fall at free fall speed”
          Another major blunder. Free fall speed doesn’t apply here. It only applies when things fall over large heights, allowing the atmosphere to put up enough resistance that the acceleration becomes zero and the speed becomes constant. That speed – it’s a maximal value – is called free fall speed. This is what Newton’s Second Law mean: if the Resultant is zero (because atmospheric resistance and gravity are equal but opposite) the acceleration is also zero,
          I’m not particularly impressed by Greg G’s understanding of physics, but at least he doesn’t produce blunders like you do.
          That makes the arrogance – in total defiance of Jesus’ teachings, which you claim to hold so dear – with which you urge others to study physics highly amusing. You embarrass yourself over and over again.
          As I initially tend to give people some credit I assumed that you deliberately talked about gravitational