Do Atheists Borrow From the Christian Worldview? A Parable.

Consider this parable:

A certain mathematician, in a philosophical mood one day, wondered what grounded his mathematics. The math works, of course, but he wonders if he’s missing something foundational.

He consults a friend of his, a theologian. The theologian knows almost nothing about mathematics, but he knows his Christianity.

The mathematician says, “Mathematics is like an inverted triangle with the most advanced math along the wide top edge. The top layer is grounded on the math below it, which is grounded on what is below, and so on through the layers, down to arithmetic and logic at the point at the bottom. And that’s where it stops.”

The theologian nodded his head wisely. “I see the problem—what does the bottom rest on?”

The mathematician was silent.

“In your view, it rests on nothing,” said the theologian. “It just sits there in midair. But the problem is easily resolved—mathematics and logic comes from God. There’s your grounding.”

“Are you saying that I need to convert to Christianity to be a mathematician?”

“No, just realize that you are borrowing from the Christian worldview every time you make a computation or write an equation.”

Satisfied that this nagging problem has been resolved, the mathematician returns to his work and thinks no more of it.

The End.

So, is the mathematician any better off? Is he faster or more accurate or more creative? Do his proofs work now where they hadn’t before? In short, did he get anything of value from the whole episode? Not at all.

And note, of course, that the axioms at the bottom of the triangle aren’t taken on faith, they’re continually tested. “1 + 1 = 2” has worked on everything so far, but we’ll take notice if we find a situation where it doesn’t. Some mathematical claims are proven and some are tested, but each is reliable.

I’ve heard this “grounding” or “atheists borrow from the Christian worldview” idea many times, but I’ve yet to discover what this missing thing is that is being borrowed. And suppose the theologian friend had been a Hindu or Buddhist and gave a claim of grounding from that perspective. Would that answer be any less plausible than the Christian one? If they conflict, doesn’t that cast doubt on both of them?

(The Transcendental Argument is the usual form of this argument, and I respond to it here.)

If we imagine that 1 + 1 equals 2 only because God says so, that means that a universe is possible where 1 + 1 doesn’t equal 2. That’s a remarkable claim, and I’d like to see it supported by the theologian rather than simply asserted without evidence.

“God did it” is nothing more than a restatement of the problem. “God did it” is precisely as useful as “logic and arithmetic are simply properties of our reality” or “that’s just the way it is” or even “I don’t know.” An interesting question has been suppressed, not resolved. In fact, by the theologian’s own logic, his answer rests in midair because he provides no reason to conclude that God exists. His claim is no more believable than that of any other religion—that is, not at all. Worse, he proposes to replace the axioms at the lowest level—which continually provide evidence that they are valid—with a supernatural claim without evidence.

The person who stops at “God did it” has stated an opinion only—an opinion with no evidence to back it up. It doesn’t advance the cause of truth one bit.

Mathematics is tested, and it works. Scratch your head about what grounds it if you want, but God is an unnecessary and unedifying addition to the mix.

God is an ever-receding pocket
of scientific ignorance.
— Neil DeGrasse-Tyson

(This is an update of a post originally published 11/25/11.)

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  • Sheila Warner

    I’ve heard theists say we atheists “borrow” from the Christian worldview with our ethics. That they say atheists can be moral actually might mean that Christians are borrowing from the atheists, might it not? After all, it is a fact that atheists can be moral, Christians can also be moral, so which assertion is valid? Atheists have facts and evidence, while Christians do not.

    • Greg G.

      Long before God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses, Moses killed an Egyptian and became a fugitive for forty years. Apparently God stole “Thou shalt not kill” from the Egyptians.

    • MNb

      There is something more. Atheists typically examine the christian world critically. If something passes that examination they take it over. I personally like Matthew 7:1 very much. Doing so doesn’t imply accepting the rest.
      The argument is based on the incorrect assumption that we atheists should accept it all or accept nothing.

      • Sheila Warner

        Did you mean “take it over” or “agree with” part of it? I still think some aspects of cultural evolution can be expressed in both religious & non-religious ways. Protecting the vulnerable, for instance.

        • MNb

          That doesn’t really matter for my point. I didn’t mean to challenge “some aspects of ….”.

      • George Watson

        MNb,

        You say you like Matthew 7.1

        How you measure is how you shall be measured

        and so why do you insult me ?

  • Dannorth

    I’m not a mathemecian so the following is of course not to be taken ex cathedra.

    Mathematics is not science which is grounded in reality. It is based on axioms and these axioms are not tested against the natural world but for internal consistency.

    It does help us greatly to describe the natural world but to a mathematician this is not the objective.

    That doesn’t make the core of your argument untrue. Such an assertion is based on a god of gaps argument.

    IIRC the equations at the beginning are Maxwell’s equations for electromagnetic radiation, not a math problem.

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

      Yes, Maxwell’s equations describe electromagnetic phenomena. I just used them as a powerful example of the usefulness of math.

      Aren’t math’s axioms tested against the real world? 1 + 1 = 2 might be true or not; let’s try it out on apples. Now on sheep. Now on people. Now on rocks.

      Hmm … looks so far like it applies universally. Let’s call that a tentative truth.

      • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

        i’d say math is inspired by “real world problems”, the rest is abstraction, generalization and idealization. the number 1 is a common *abstraction* of “one apple” and so on, similiar for +. a mathematician would maybe raise an eyebrow, if you find a genuine counterexamples in the real world, but as long as you don’t find a contradiction in the arithmetic itself would “1+1=2” still be true as as it ever was (in peano arithmetic, say). btw.: try volumes of water and ethanol (“excess molar quantity”).

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

          try volumes of water and ethanol

          I know that water and alcohol are miscible, but does that mean that the result is denser?

          Similarly, 1 cup sugar + 1 cup water = 2 cups sugar solution doesn’t work out.

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          ethanol is less dense than water, the density of a mixture is somewhere between those two densities, but i guess more dense than you’d think. yes, sugar and water is maybe a better example.

        • Dannorth

          I would have to look at tables somewhere but because the strength of the intermolecular attraction could be different in the mix it might be the case that by mixing 1 l of water with 1 of ethanol you might get a volume different from 2 l.

          Don’t take my word for it.

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          yes, that’s why i mentioned it. if one thinks the volumes are additive in a simple manner would that be an example for “1+1 != 2” in my book.

        • MNb

          Be careful (Martin as well).
          Ethanol is a liquid. Sugar isn’t.
          Such analogies are very tricky.

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

          The exercise does help illustrate the cases where 1 + 1 = 2 may not follow, even though they may be strained.

          Another (silly) example comes to mind: 1 haystack + 1 haystack = 1 haystack (not two). The result is an extra-big haystack, to be sure, but it’s still just one haystack.

        • MNb

          In fact that’s a much better one, exactly because it’s so silly!

        • Greg G.

          If you split a crumb, you get two crumbs, not two half crumbs.

        • TheNuszAbides

          one mustn’t read too much into the + or one is cheating the ‘universal truth’ at base. one fertile female of species X +{nudge-nudge!} one fertile male of species X = ???

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

          This is more analysis than this question is worth, but I came across a web site that confirms that mixing alcohol and water makes a smaller result (1 + 1 < 2). The analogy they give is: mix 50 liters of basketballs with 50 liters of tennis balls. The result is < 100 liters.

          http://wikieducator.org/Chemistry/The_Density_and_Volume_of_a_Water-Alcohol_Mixture

        • Greg G.

          You adding apples and oranges with the example. If you add one foot and one meter you don’t get two feeters. We have to be sure the quantities are the same units. Chemical equations count the numbers of each of the atoms.

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          well, it’s of course not a genuine example. all you do is “add two volumes” (measured in cubic meters or cubic feet, whichever you like). the physical units are the same, volumes just are not always additive (and you get what’s called an “excess volume”, negative in the case of ethanol/water, and yes, moles come into play). at least i was surprised by that. similarly would it not change math if you find some weird physical reaction, where you don’t end up with two fruits (unit conversion?), if you add an apple and an orange.

      • MNb

        “Aren’t math’s axioms tested against the real world?”
        With a few exceptions not by mathematicians. It’s not important for your parable who does the testing.

      • George Watson

        Bob,
        You do know that Maxwell was a devout Christian,
        don’t you.

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

          Europe from 200 years ago? Yeah, pretty much everyone was. When Maxwell says, “God dun it!” then I’ll have little respect for that opinion. Otherwise, I’m good.

        • Michael Neville

          So the fuck what? You do know that Einstein was a non-observant Jew and Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar was a Hindu Brahmin.

    • MNb

      This point is a bit tricky. I also noticed. It’s largely correct that mathematicians do not test those axioms against the natural world. However the value of constants like pi – which totally belongs to math – actually is. Plus (other branches of) science indeed do test those axioms (or the conclusions derived from them).
      So I decided to let BobS’ remark go. It’s not relevant for the point he made.

  • RichardSRussell

    “God” is merely a hypothesis with a large marketing department.

  • Scooter

    “So, is the mathematician any better off? ” Not necessarily, but allow me to extend this story. Our esteemed atheist math guy goes home and begins to ponder the Christian’s assertion that God is the foundation of this aspect of reality . Then he begins to consider, as he nurses his glass of wine, that maybe that point that his theologian friend made about the possibility of all the laws of logic are founded not on a capricious Mind that just decides to make 1+1 =2 but that such an equation flows from the Mind of a rational Being. As he continues to think about it he realizes that the very foundations of science and scientific inquiry have been made possible by these universal laws. His train of thought reveals that to be able to do observational science in the present you have to assume that the laws of nature won’t change tomorrow. We can only do experiments, make predictions, and repeat those experiments and get the same results because the laws of nature don’t change from day to day. They are immaterial and constant throughout the universe. But why is this he asks? How can we be certain that tomorrow the law of gravity won’t just randomly change? If these natural laws are just the result of random, natural processes, then why should they remain consistent? And how do immaterial laws of nature come into being in a material, naturalistic universe? A light bulb goes off and he realizes that as a secularist he has no logical explanation for the existence of these laws and yet he has been assuming their existence all the time denying that God is the one who put them in place.
    As he pours himself another glass of wine, he thinks maybe drinking this cheap wine is causing him to go off the deep end. But he remembers another point his theologian buddy said, “It’s only in a biblical worldview that these things can exist. There is no explanation for these immaterial laws in a naturalistic worldview. And yet an atheist must assume these things in order to argue against the Christian worldview. This is like someone who doesn’t believe in air arguing against the existence of air. He must use air as he breathes and talks to make his argument, and he must use air for his argument to travel to the ears of his listeners. In order to argue against the existence of air he must assume the existence of air! It’s the same with those who argue against a Christian worldview. Whether they recognize it or not, they are assuming that Christianity is true in order to argue against it. The fact that they cannot sufficiently account for these and other ideas from their own worldview demonstrates that it is internally inconsistent and does not meet the test of being a rational foundation to stand upon. In the end, they use the very minds and air given them by God to argue against His existence.”

    In a sweat math guy wakes up and realizes it was all a bad dream but says to himself, “Maybe I’ll talk a little more to my Christian friend about this “grounding” idea.
    (My apologies to all the esteemed writers on this blog!)

    • Michael Neville

      …the possibility of all the laws of logic are founded not on a capricious Mind that just decides to make 1+1 =2 but that such an equation flows from the Mind of a rational Being.

      Logic was invented independently by the Greeks, the Indians and the Chinese. They were all looking for ways to determine which thoughts might be true and which might not be true. The “laws of thought” cannot be the empirical (or observable) regularities of actual human thinking as studied in psychology; they must be laws of correct reasoning, which are independent of the psychological idiosyncrasies of the thinker. Moreover, there is a parallelism between correct thinking and valid argumentation. Valid argumentation may be thought of as an expression of correct thinking, and the latter as an internalization of the former. In the sense of this parallelism, laws of correct thought will match those of
      correct argumentation.

      Whenever an argument that takes a reasoner from p to q is valid, it must hold independently of what they happen to know or believe about the subject matter of p and q. The only other source of the certainty of the connection between p and q, however, is presumably constituted by the meanings of the terms that the propositions p and q contain. These very same meanings will then also make the sentence “If p, then q” true irrespective of all contingent matters of fact. More generally, one can validly argue from p to q if and only if the implication “If p, then q” is logically true, i.e., true in virtue of the meanings of words occurring in p and q, independently of any matter of fact.

      This is a very rough description of very basic logic but you’ll notice that gods are not required for any of it.

      • Dannorth

        I think the argument is that a world without God would be a world without logic because … reason and that since logic comes from God logical arguments against the existence of God are illogical from the start.

        AFAICT that’s what presuppositionalism is. Its even got circular argument as its name.

        • Michael Neville

          So people claiming that God is the source of logic are using logical fallacies as evidence for their claim.

        • George Watson

          Dannorth and Michael,

          You two are very sly but not sly enough.

          If there is no God, there is nothing but matter and energy
          and how can matter and energy err ?

          Got’s to have Free Will and that means there is a God.

        • Dys

          Got’s to have Free Will and that means there is a God

          And now we must add the debate over Free Will onto the list of things you’re not equipped to discuss.

        • Michael Neville

          Actually philosophers and neurobiologists are having a debate as to whether or not free will exists. So your god may become even more unnecessary for anything. Besides imaginary critters have no effect on reality, no matter how hard you hope they do.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i’m sure that noxious weed is entirely content with the notion that Faith does (if indirectly), even if he were inclined to honestly entertain ‘blasphemy’-as-thought-experiment.

      • George Watson

        Michael,

        No one invented Logic.

        Humans attempt to discover formal ways of reasoning that can
        be generalised so that the Form of a Logical Argument can be
        recognised.

        Then there is the question of Soundness and Validity and then
        if a True conclusion has been reached.

        In terms of Soundness – are the Premises reasonable –
        [ The truth of the Premises may be unprovable but they may be
        reasonable so you settle for what you can get. ]

        Is every word used un-ambigious – do we know exactly what
        we are speaking of. [ Much of the debate between A/A’ and
        Believes is that A/A’s hold that God must meet their certain
        standards of rationality/proof or they will not sign off.]

        Logical Validity – does it follow what we consider to be correct
        Logical Form. [ There are disagreements concerning this.]
        That is: If the Premises are true, we cannot conceive of any
        situation where the Conclusion is not True.
        [ There is the problem for Secularists – how do you show that
        there is no conceivable situation – as the abilities of humans
        to conceive of alternatives is not Omniscient. ]

        The main problem anyone faces when attempting to prove
        by Logic their beliefs are correct and yours are incorrect is
        that there is rarely full agreement concerning the premises –
        if there were, few people would bother to argue via Logic,
        as most people can see how the premises follow to the conclusion
        without setting up a Formal Argument.

        • Michael Neville

          No one invented Logic.

          Nope, Greeks, Indians and Chinese all did it without relying on any gods to help them.

        • George Watson

          Michael,
          No, you don’t invent Logic.
          The mind is capable of thinking along Logical lines.

        • Michael Neville

          You are really good at argument by unevidenced assertion. How about showing some reason why logic wasn’t invented besides proclaiming “god are da reason fer logic.”

        • Michael Neville

          I agree with most of your post. You extended my post on logic with additional details. The only parts that I have a problem with are these bits of absolute bullshit:

          Much of the debate between A/A’ and Believes [sic] is that A/A’s hold that God must meet their certain standards of rationality/proof or they will not sign off.

          You don’t pay attention, do you asswipe? We haven’t been demanding proof, we’ve been demanding evidence. So far neither you nor your buddy Scooter nor any other theist has offered any evidence that ANY god exists, let alone your thug of a god.

          There is the problem for Secularists – how do you show that there is no conceivable situation – as the abilities of humans to conceive of alternatives is not Omniscient.

          There might be an omniscient something or other which could even perhaps maybe perchance be something slightly resembling your asshole of a god, weather permitting. The problem with this is there’s no evidence to support it.

        • George Watson

          Hi Michael,

          Another, rare though they are, agreement.

          As I said, and you affirmed, we do not agree on what
          counts as evidence/proof.

          Scooter and I believe that God has written the truth
          on every human heart and it is up to us to accept it or not.

          Thanks for admitting the possibility of God.

        • Michael Neville

          As I said, and you affirmed, we do not agree on what counts as evidence/proof.

          Exactly. You think that evidence consists of you making a statement which is supposed to be accepted solely because you made the statement. I think evidence consists of reasons, logic and observations supporting a statement. Also I think proof only exists in mathematics and alcohol.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Thanks for admitting the possibility of God.

          lest you imagine it’s any kind of concession, this is nothing new coming from any of the honest skeptics at this site–at best you merely haven’t been paying attention to how anything that doesn’t require Deity Hypothesis X has actually been worded.
          for the next level, you may run along and play with Hitch’s occasional ramble: “sure, there might be an afterlife and a god. there might be an afterlife and no god … there might be a god and no afterlife …”

        • MNb

          No one invented Logic.

          Humans attempt to discover formal ways of reasoning that can be generalised so that the Form of a Logical Argument can be recognized.”
          And thus invent logic.

          “If the Premises are true ….”
          And how again do you determine that your premises are true? Of course, wishful thinking and inferring whatever you like. Your words, not mine.

          “There is the problem for Secularists ”
          Not at all. You wrote it yourself already. We just deny the premises. And we continue to do so as long as you refuse to provide Objective Evidence to confirm them and instead rely on wishful thinking and inferring whatever you like.

          Stupid ignorant, that’s exactly why both Descartes (should have been Euclides though) and Hume are so important for science. The first demonstrated – unvoluntarily – that deduction alone can’t produce knowledge. The second demonstrated – grudgingly – the same for induction. A few decades later (Laplace already has been mentioned to you) science began to put the synthesis of both into practice.

          You reject Objective Evidence and hence induction. All that remains for you is deduction applied to unsubstantiated presuppositions.
          Science uses both deduction and induction. That’s how comes science has enabled us to communicate while living hundreds of miles apart. Your christianity has never been able to pull off something even remotely comparable. You confirm this every single time you comment on this blog.
          Now science doesn’t disprove god, before you start to fuck this strawman again. But when your belief system makes one claim about our natural reality and science another the choice is easy.
          Of course it’s easy for the lying fuckwit you are as well.

        • TheNuszAbides

          before you start to fuck this strawman again.

          hilariously evocative! thank you, sir, for that deluxe dose of antidote to GW’s ego circus.

    • Greg G.

      For evolution to work, there needs to be a constancy so that the same advantages that allow a lifeform to reproduce will be somewhat consistent for the next generation. So all that is needed for life to become more complex is the constancy but it doesn’t require a god.

      But a god could create life forms that could live in a universe without logic.

      Since we live in a universe where logic is possible, we live in a universe where a god is not necessary.

      • George Watson

        GG,

        Let’s try, and try being the operative word, to unpack what you wrote.

        No, evolution does not explain how life is on this world.

        As to you claim:
        Since massive changes, random changes could be met by massive random
        changes in DNA – life could sputter on on some wild Roller Coaster ride.

        Just because God could, does not mean He has to.

        Your conclusion does not even remotely follow.

        • Greg G.

          No, evolution does not explain how life is on this world.

          Chemistry explains how life works. Evolution explains how it came to be.

          As to you claim:
          Since massive changes, random changes could be met by massive random
          changes in DNA – life could sputter on on some wild Roller Coaster ride.

          Never said anything remotely like that. It sounds like something from someone who doesn’t understand evolution.

          Just because God could, does not mean He has to.

          This has nothing to do with my argument.

          An omnipotence could make life in any type of universe. A logical universe would not be necessary. A bird made of solid lead could still fly.

          Of all the types of universes that would require a god for life to exist, we happen to exist in a type of universe that doesn’t need a god to explain it.

        • George Watson

          GG,

          Chemistry describes but does not explain and there
          is so little understanding in Chemistry it is still closer
          to alchemy than what you claim it is.

          Evolution has not explained how life came to be.
          Show me one article that explains fully how inert matter
          came to be changed into life.

          You said Evolution requires constancy/consistency.
          Nope.
          Random change in the environment along with random
          change in DNA, some life forms may well be able to
          sputter through all the changes…but that is not the world
          we live in, so who has Their hand on the helm ?

          You second to the last paragraph is self-defeating.

        • MNb

          “Evolution has not explained how life came to be.”
          Strawman. Greg G didn’t claim that. He claimed

          “all that is needed for life to become more complex”
          which is not nearly the same as “came to be”.

          “You second to the last paragraph is self-defeating.”
          ” [ You always toss out names of
          fallacies yet never identify exactly where the fallacy lies. ]”
          Georgieboy is as usual not following Jesus’ teachings – in this case the thingy about the log and the splinter.

        • George Watson

          MNb,

          Since you know all things, please tell me how life
          arose in your Universe.

        • Greg G.

          Evolution is not about abiogenesis. The evidence is would be on the molecular scale but likely destroyed by 4 billion years of erosion. Still chemistry is something that can be tested and demonstrated so it is a far better bet than magic. Yet many Christians, probably most, accept that but pretend there was some hocus pour behind it.

        • George Watson

          GG,
          What ho ?!?

          Evidence…likely destroyed…imagine that.
          But the original Gospel manuscripts/Letters of Paul
          and others, no they cannot be lost or disintegrate
          – they must have never existed.

          If Evolution is not about abiogenesis, then wha is it about
          in the Final Analysis – you and the rest of the commentators
          that claim we KNOW that there is no need for God to
          explain the world have been doing some “fibbing”.

          Point,
          Game,
          Set
          and
          Match.

          Scooter and I thank you for your time.

        • Dys

          If Evolution is not about abiogenesis, then wha is it about in the Final Analysis

          This is like asking why Germ Theory doesn’t explain the Big Bang. Evolution explains how life changes, not where it originated. It’s not really that hard to understand.

          Point, Game, Set and Match. Scooter and I thank you for your time.

          You don’t actually get points for giving up, but good job on conceding anyway.

        • Greg G.

          Evolution is about differential rates of reproduction. Abiogenesis is about getting to the point where reproduction can happen. Why is that so difficult for creationists to understand?

          Oh, yeah, it’s because they rely on dishonest creationist arguments.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Evolution explains how it came to be.

          i would’ve stuck with your earlier “bec[a]me more complex”. do we actively want to confuse Georgie? surely he’s already at enough of a handicap. (as to MNb’s motives, of course, most bets are off!)

        • Greg G.

          Yes, I think I stopped typing too soon on that sentence. It should have had an “as it is”. Becoming more complex is not a constant in evolution as parasites often become less complex.

        • TheNuszAbides

          oh yes–i was just thinking in terms of continuity, but “became more [or less] complex” would do nicely as well. :) it’s just that my enjoyment of both verbosity and variation clashes with how apparent it is that so much effort is wasted on GW’s ilk.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Of all the types of universes that would require a god for life to exist, we happen to exist in a type of universe that doesn’t need a god to explain it.

          nicely put.

    • https://www.facebook.com/michael.carteron Michael

      What is “immaterial” about natural laws? They simply describe things which we observe in reality. It’s true they are assumed to remain constant and unchanging because thus far they appear to be so. Assuming that changes, they will have to be adjusted accordingly. The speed of light, for instance, was called into question (though ultimately upheld due it being merely an experimental mistake). Adjusting it would not “debunk natural laws” or something like that.

      • George Watson

        Michael,

        Who made these Laws…

        or are they just patterns that can and do change all the time.

        • https://www.facebook.com/michael.carteron Michael

          You seem to be assuming that if no one made them, they would change constantly. However, if someone made them, they might also be changed, constantly or otherwise. For instance, miracles could suspend or interrupt them. So this is a false choice. In any case as I said natural laws are simply what we observe to be the case, and that appears to remain constant thus far.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Who made these Laws…

          let us know if you’re ever able to approach ideas without anthropocentric/creationist blinders on. you know, for the sake of argument. instead of rattling off another own-goal that you pompously imagine we’re stumped by.

    • jh

      And this line of thinking would knock the christian god out of contention. You only have to start off with the creation of the world (the order/sequence as well as the nonsense of creating a complicated reality from nothing) and the creation of humanity to understand that this violates the logic of our natural laws. Creating complicated life out of mud, water and breathing in an instant (even a few thousand years) with no intermediate forms? How about defying the movement of the Earth to make the day longer by keeping one’s arms up? How about bringing the dead back to life by calling their name?

      A trickster God is far more likely or a pantheon of Gods with diverse competing purposes or no god and just a happy accident that we just happened to be in and recognize.

      • George Watson

        JH,
        It is God’s Universe, He can do as He sees fit.

        • Michael Neville

          How about some evidence for either one of these idiotic assertions? Besides, it’s still my universe. You haven’t given the slightest evidence that it’s not mine.

    • Susan

      Allow me to extend this story

      And then you made up a story. A strawman anecdote that has nothing to do with the math discussion.

      Math doesn’t do that.

      Problem for the christian 1:

      There is no reason to proceed from your axiom. It’s so vaguely defined as to be meaningless and it’s also special pleading all the way down.

      Problem for the christian 2:

      Your conclusions don’t proceed from your axioms.

      • quinsha

        Problem #3,even if it was proof, only proves deism,.

        • MNb

          Yeah, I particularly liked “It’s only in a biblical worldview that these things can exist.”
          Only a mathematician gone insane would accept that without any further do.

        • George Watson

          MNb,

          I guess James Clerk Maxwell,

          you know, his work is at the top of this site,

          must have gone insane.

        • Michael Neville

          Insanity is not a hindrance to being a genius.

        • George Watson

          Michael,

          Thank you.

        • Michael Neville

          In your case it isn’t a hindrance to not coming close to even approaching being a genius.

        • TheNuszAbides

          shudder to think at how many mutual ego-strokers this stooge was likely surrounded by all his water-carrying life.

        • MNb

          Provide Objective Evidence that he accepted that without any further do – like in Scoot’s extended parable. Or it is – your words, not mine – just the product of your wishful thinking and inferring whatever you wish.

        • George Watson

          MNb,

          Just read a biography on Maxwell.

          Point,
          Game
          Set
          Match.

          Thank you for playing.

        • George Watson

          Quinsha,

          A Deist god does not care if humans understand or not.
          The Universe just ticks along…

        • Greg G.

          A deist god is not the Christian god. Christians’ best arguments don’t approach the Christian god.

        • quinsha

          It is still a long jump from proving “Look, a god!”, and that god happening to be the Christian god or even a god worth worshiping.

        • quinsha

          Where in the story does it indicate that the god cares whether humans understand or not?

        • TheNuszAbides

          nailed it.

      • George Watson

        Susan,

        Sorry no.

        What secular humanist like you seem to forget is that:

        [Yes, back to Plato/Aristotle]

        That the Ancient Greeks taught and Christians confirmed
        that we can only know the Truth because the Soul is able
        to accept the “Thoughts of God” and so Truth is Coherent
        at all times and places.

        Now Secularists like you rely upon the Correspondence theory
        of truth, but due to failings in the purely biological explanation of
        how human sense – you can never know the truth even in the
        Correspondence approach. Descartes warned you all of this
        but you decided to follow Locke instead to your ruin.

        There is no straw-man in Scooter’s story, it accurately describes
        the limitations of secularism. [ You always toss out names of
        fallacies yet never identify exactly where the fallacy lies. ]

        • Michael Neville

          That the Ancient Greeks taught and Christians confirmed that we can only know the Truth because the Soul is able to accept the “Thoughts of God” and so Truth is Coherent at all times and places.

          Got any evidence besides Aristotle’s opinion and Aquinas’ love of Aristotelian philosophy to support this? Your god is contradictory and so not coherent, plus you Christians claim your god’s thoughts are unknowable, which shows that whole argument is drivel.

        • George Watson

          Michael,

          God’s thoughts are knowable whenever you grasp an
          eternal truth.

          God way of Salvation is a mystery.

          Why don’t you read Aristotle’s Metaphysics and de Anima
          and get back to me.

        • Michael Neville

          Why don’t you provide some evidence your magic sky pixie even exists? So far you’re completely lacking in the evidence department on any of your dumbshit assertions about your magic sky pixie.

        • Greg G.

          The Ancient Greeks were wrong about a lot of things. The Catholic Church adopted those errors via Aquinas.

        • George Watson

          GG,

          It interesting the range of your remarks.
          Sometimes you paste information in that is quite
          detailed and sometime you just make short remarks
          like above that show that you may know very little
          of what lies behind the history of the question at hand.

          The proofs that Plato/Aristotle provide still stand the
          test of time/scrutiny and what Augustine/Aquinas
          add to their thoughts only confirms that we have souls.

        • Greg G.

          I’m a busy man. For a detailed response, I need time, I have to be in the mood, and I have to have my computer booted and handy. Often I am responding with one finger or two thumbs on a cell phone screen. This week, I’m on the road for work and brought my wife so it’s phone time when my wife is shopping. It can be quite expensive.

        • TheNuszAbides

          stop taking his derail bait! he’s never once demonstrated “remarks [showing] that you may know very little of what lies behind the history of the question at hand”–it’s gross projection.

        • MNb

          “Descartes warned you all of this but you decided to follow Locke instead to your ruin.”
          Nope. You’re a couple of centuries behind. Science uses both deduction and induction.

          “you can never know the truth …..”
          Strawman.
          Nobody here has ever claimed that. You could point at Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution is True, but then only would demonstrate that you haven’t read the book. In the introduction he makes specifically clear that to him “true” doesn’t mean the same as to you.

          “That the Ancient Greeks taught and Christians confirmed
          that we can only know the Truth because”
          And you know that what the Ancient Greeks taught and the christians confirmed is true exactly how?
          Ah – you’re just presupposing what you want to demonstrate. Exactly what you reproach us for.

        • George Watson

          MNb,

          No, Science does not use Deduction, the soul alone
          can deduct.

          What does Jerry Coyne say what the ‘true’
          means to him.

          Just have to read your Plato/Aristotle now won’t you,
          even though you readily dismiss them.

        • Michael Neville

          No, Science does not use Deduction, the soul alone can deduct.

          How about some evidence the soul isn’t one more piece of bullshit you pulled out of your ass. After you’ve shown the soul exists then we can discuss your highly dubious claim that it’s required for real people to use deduction.

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          Hey Georgieboy, I read that you’re banned.
          Guess what? I’m cured.

        • Dys

          That the Ancient Greeks taught and Christians confirmed
          that we can only know the Truth because the Soul is able
          to accept the “Thoughts of God” and so Truth is Coherent
          at all times and places.

          Christians have confirmed no such thing. They’ve repeated it, of course, but that’s not the same thing as confirmation.

          The existence of the soul has never been confirmed, because there’s no good evidence supporting the contention, and plenty of good reasons to doubt it.

        • George Watson

          Dys,

          Charity is confirmation of the soul
          as are eternal truths.

        • Dys

          Oh dear…the sad thing is you probably think this is profound. Charity doesn’t confirm that souls exist. Charity doesn’t rely on souls. Sorry, but you’ve failed. Unless your purpose was to provide yet another deepity. In which case, congratulations.

        • TheNuszAbides

          perhaps he forgot (if he ever knew) that, while there is no essential difference between affirmation and Confirmation(TM), there are several differences between affirmation (i.e. the total statement-value of his comment) and confirmation (in any sense of the word dependent on intellectual rigor).

    • Giauz Ragnarock

      Christianity it would seem makes one more prone to love fallacy and tales to itch the ear versus sound reasoning and evidence.

      • George Watson

        GR,

        What is sound reasoning and evidence ?

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          The reasoning holds up to logical standards and is subject to confirmation or change by testing and observation of evidence by qualified people (scientists, etc).

    • presuppositionalism is bull

      to briefly reply to this presup nonsense

      1. On a secular worldview(cringe at the very word) consistency makes perfect sense. As it necessary for there to be anything at all and if there wasn’t no one would be around to talk about it.science and such are essential to survival and reasonable mind consistent with reality is just what evolution should have produced all things considered.

      2.But in theism consistency is mere whim there is no need for logic or reason or consistency nor a being who has these attributes . Things work because god has the power to make it work . Regardless if it’s consistent or logical . If god turns off gravity tomorrow he can just make it so we all don’t fly into space by miraculous intervention.The laws of logic are not essential god made nothing not nothing changing identity and causing a contradiction but hey he’s all powerful so it dons’t matter.

      3. There also no need for math or science in theism as were not suppose to use our minds to learn about the world. Were suppose to be bowing scrapping and brainlessly drooling robots that blindly praise said being. Science and such is merely a waste of time you could be spending apologizing for an existence that wasn’t your choice.

      Oh and not having an account of something is not an internal inconsistency you can be ignorant of something yet still be justified in using it without contradiction nor appealing to a contrary source for validation

      Nor is consistency evidence of a true worldview something can be internal consistent but still false or irrational

      And treating the laws as if there entities rather then descriptions of the world that always are and we have no justification to think they shouldn’t be. (which is just as valid as saying god done it) Is a clear rectification fallacy as there is no reason to treat them as such

      • George Watson

        PIB,

        Well put, unfortunately incorrect, but well put.

    • MNb

      “As he continues to think about it he realizes that the very foundations of science and scientific inquiry have been made possible by these universal laws”
      and stops to be rational, because this is gibberish.
      The very foundations of science and scientific inquiry have been made possible by some very clever people: some Greeks, some Indians, Descartes and Hume.

      “His train of thought reveals that to be able to do observational science”

      His train of thought reveals that he has jumped in the cesspool of irrationality, because rational people recognize that observational science is meaningless creacrap.

      “in the present you have to assume that the laws of nature won’t change tomorrow.”
      More evidence that our math has thrown rationality out of the window or he would have recognized that he just has rejected the possibility of miracles, which are the most radical change laws of nature can undergo – their total rejection.

      “And how do immaterial laws of nature come into being in a material, naturalistic universe?”
      After which the mathematician’s wife will call a shrink, because those laws of nature are totally material themselves and our mathematician threatens to become insane.

      “A light bulb goes off and he realizes that as a secularist he has no logical explanation for the existence of these laws”
      The need for a shrink increases, because our mathematician now begins to pathologically lie. Secularists do have such an explanation.

      “and yet he has been assuming their existence all the time denying that God is the one who put them in place.”
      After which it’s probably too late to bring our mathematician back to a mentally healthy state.
      And thus I stopped reading Scoot’s extended parable. Anything that follows, as usual, can only get worse.

      • George Watson

        MNb,

        Hume ?

        • Michael Neville

          George,

          Pilsudski?

        • George Watson

          Michael,

          The Polish leader ?

        • Michael Neville

          You threw out a name without explanation so I decided to throw out a different name without explanation. Now you know I feel when you drop something you feel might be meaningful without giving the meaning.

        • MNb

          No, humus.
          The stuff that you smell to get horny before fucking your mother’s corpse.

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

      Could God make 1 + 1 equal anything? Or was he bound by an external reality to make it 2? If the former, I breathlessly await the evidence that God could’ve made 1 + 1 = 5 (say).

      As I’ve said before, Christians can indeed explain away some of science’s puzzles, but so can a child or a madman. Are the explanations worth listening to?? Again, I await the evidence. Christianity has merely replaced one puzzle with God, who is just another puzzle, but a made-up one this time.

      • George Watson

        Bob,
        There are many instances in nature where 1 + 1 = 2.

        • Greg G.

          But is 1 + 1 necessarily equal to 2 is the discussion. Could God make 1 +1 = 5? If not, God is not the foundation of reality as Scooter claims.

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

          Your ignoring of my challenge forces me to repeat it:

          Could God make 1 + 1 equal anything? Or was he bound by an external reality to make it 2? If the former, I breathlessly await the evidence that God could’ve made 1 + 1 = 5 (say).

        • George Watson

          Bob,
          If you follow Voluntarist Theology –
          God could make it equal anything.
          Down below you speak of chemical mixtures where the
          volume of 1 and the volume of another 1
          chemically mix to produce less/more than 2.
          God likes to keep us on our toes.

    • 90Lew90

      That wasn’t wine, he was drinking Absinthe.

    • johzek

      So to insure the so called uniformity of nature you imagine a being exists who strangely enough also has the ability to destroy this uniformity when it suits him concerning his “plan” or even to a whim of his and in spite of this fact this is supposed to give us confidence and somehow allow us to know that these laws will not change abruptly. You seem to think that it is impossible for nature to be inherently uniform because you imagine (there’s that pesky word again) it would somehow exhibit randomness if acting without any imposed assistance. Such a claim basically denies the very identity of the things that exist as the actions a thing can perform are part of its properties and make it what it is.

      This mention of the axiomatic concept represented by the word “identity” leads to the topic of Bob’s post. IDENTITY EXISTS is an axiom which supports both logic and mathematics. The basic aim of logic is to identify a thing that exists for what it is and not for what it isn’t because to exist is to be something specific, to have identity (A=A). The terms of mathematics, and that includes numbers, are conceptual where a concept is understood to be a group of things sharing an essential distinguishing characteristic. A specific number simply represents the entire class of instances which can be put into a one to one correspondence with each other.

      That things have identity allows our minds to recognize essential similarities among the things we perceive and to then isolate those things from all other things which lack that similarity whereupon we can mentally integrate all those similar instances into the single mental unit known as a concept with a word representing both the entire class subsumed by the concept and also referring to the individual instances. An entirely natural process, no god required.

      By the way Scooter your parenthetical remark at the end was just oh so cute. You must think very highly of your argument, well good for you.

      • George Watson

        Johzek,

        You speak frequently of concept(s).

        What is a concept of a concept ?

    • George Watson

      Scooter,

      Yes, they have no answer for they presuppose what they need to show
      and they have no way to show it.

  • Dom Saunders

    I look at it from a literature perspective since I lean more towards that than math. Sure, the Bible may have a “few” decent ideas that would apply today for one to be moralistic (i.e. don’t kill people, don’t steal, etc.). But it’s not the only book out there that can convey those same values without the dogma. I got the same morals from reading adventure stories and all other kinds of fiction as a kid, even as I was reading the Bible. So the argument that we “borrow from their worldview” is BS, because they’re essentially trying to claim that their literature is the key to having a functioning morality. We know that not to be the case, so it fails on that point.

    Plus, many other fiction stories are just written better: they convey those same morals without taking themselves literally and without having to deal with the unnecessary baggage the Bible has. It’s the latter that has a morality watcher whose actions go contrary to everything he says, and he suffers from severe lack of self-awareness, which is a flaw for someone who is supposed to be omniscient.

    Just looking at Harry Potter, Dumbledore is the Big Good, but even he has his flaws and have made grave errors in the past. But unlike the Bible’s God, he takes accountability for the consequences of his past misdeeds and never holds himself above anyone, even those who lay their lives down for him.

    Basically, you could read most literature without ever having to read the Bible, and still be a functioning human being. Because that’s how literature has always worked; it has always given us a safe place to learn about the world and humanity. The appearance of the Bible didn’t suddenly make that a thing, and literature has, and will continue to do so, long after it.

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

      Right. We don’t borrow from the Christian worldview; Christianity simply “gives” us what we already had. It’s like the ending of The Wizard of Oz: the wizard doesn’t give the scarecrow brains; he only gives him an acknowledgement of what he already demonstrated that he had. Same with the tin woodsman’s heart or the lion’s courage.

      And after Christianity “gives” the Christian morality, the Christian says Thank you. Reminds me of an abused wife.

  • Texas Humanist

    I think many religions have borrowed from each other, but in Western countries in particular, a new morality has formed from a combination of religion and secularism that can only be possible with secularism in the mix. Now, I think in many respects, people like U.S. Christians borrow more from secular morality than they know.

    Take consent, for example. Christians who are against rape can’t cite the Bible for their moral objections. The Bible doesn’t condemn rape and in some cases, it condones it. The same can be said for slavery, child marriages, arranged marriages, and probably some other things I can’t think right now off the top of my head.

    I like to think of it as language. Now, I’m not a language expert, but from my brief study of Spanish and my briefer study of French shows some remarkable similarities between these two languages and my native English. I’m pretty sure there’s someone much smarter than me that can show you how these three languages, as well as many other languages, have evolved from others and continue to evolve into, inevitably, new languages.

    • Michael Neville

      The study of the relationships between languages is called philology and is quite interesting. Almost all European and Indian (India Indian) languages originally derived from a language called Proto-Indo-European or PIE.

      If you’d like to learn about it here’s a link to a discussion of PIE.

      • Greg G.

        Yes, it is not just that languages tend to have common words. It is the number of words that are common to all languages. Asian and European languages have words for mother that sound like “ma” or have that as the first syllable.

      • Dannorth

        Minor correction

        21 % of Indians speak Dravidians languages that are part of a different family.

        So “almost all” is exagerated for India.

        • Michael Neville

          Thank you, I didn’t know that.

          I do know that there are several hundred languages spoken in India with 22 of them officially recognized. I work with some Indians, three from Gujarat who speak Gujarati among themselves and two from Bengal who speak Bengali. When a Gujarati and a Bengali are speaking they use English because Swapan claims not to be able to understand Hetal’s or Jitendra’s accents in Hindi.

        • Greg G.

          I know two women from India at work. I had conversed with each of them many times and their accents sounded the same to me so I was taken aback when I heard them speaking English to one another because they didn’t speak each other’s native language.

    • MNb

      Oh, I’m not smarter than you. It’s not hard. Spanish and French (also Italian and Romanian) developed from Latin. English is a Germanic language (due to the invasions of the 5th Century) with so many influences (including French) that it’s hardly Germanic anymore.

    • MR

      Take consent, for example. Christians who are against rape can’t cite the Bible for their moral objections…. The same can be said for slavery, child marriages, arranged marriages, and probably some other things I can’t think right now off the top of my head.

      And abortion.

      • L.Long

        BuyBull says abortions are commanded, when the people are claimed to have pissed off the jew gawd!

    • Dannorth

      The relationship between French and English stem from the fact that England was conquered by the French speaking Normans and that from 1066 to the period of the Hundred Years war (1337-1453) the nobility of England was old French speaking while the rest spoke old English of Germanic origin.

      Because of that many words in English have a French origin with sometimes the Germanic word being used with both having related but different meaning.

      If the subject interests you, may I suggest the Power of Babel by John McWorther

      • Greg G.

        Since the French were wealthier than the English, the words for an animal the peasants could afford and the meat itself have the same word while animals that the peasants could not afford to eat have different words for the animal vs its meat, pork and beef, for instance, vs chicken and fish.

        • T-Paine

          Cool story, the Anglo-Saxon word for animal is “deorh” where we get the modern word “deer” from. Over time, the word “deer” starting being referred to a specific type of animal. So it would be: Swine vs. Pork, Deer vs. Animal, Cow vs. Beef, Chicken vs. Poultry, Lamb vs. Mutton etc.

  • L.Long

    Actually math is grounded on reality as it measures reality in a general way. People have a word ‘one’ which is the name of a single object in general. if we place one single object in our hand then do it again we have what we call two. From this we slowly build on it until we have math that describes reality in general. Example is the sides of a 3-4-5 right triangle are NOT 3-4-5 because C2=a2+b2(squared) but the formula shows the general relationships because we actually measured the sides and found the relationship is true! So shovel gawd up xtian butt! When they can show gawd as clearly as I can show 1+1=2 then they have something to talk about!
    eside when it comes to ‘borrowing’ BS nothing beats xtians! Their whole religion and so called morals are borrowed from everything around them. Show me anything in their book o’BS that is not common to everyone else?!?!? Hell they can’t even have original holey daze, they had to steal them!

    • MNb

      “Actually math is grounded on reality as it measures reality in a general way.”
      Not really. Non-Euclidean geometries were developed several decades before any human understood how they could be used to measure reality – as Relativity was not developed yet.
      This doesn’t affect you main point though. We decide to use a geometry or not exactly due to the accuracy it measures reality.

      • L.Long

        SOrry but I thought Non-Euclidean was used to deal with the surfaces of spheres??? Which is real.

        • MNb

          I don’t deny that surfaces of spheres are real. Neither do I deny that relativity is real. I dispute the suggestion that math is developed to measure reality in a general way.

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          you don’t need to use non-euclidean geometry to deal with “surfaces of spheres”, just use 3-dimensional euclidean geometry with spheres and great circles on spheres as geometrical figures in this space, and deal with it that way. i don’t think a lot of people then were ok with thinking of great circles as proper lines: this way you sometimes get infinitely many “lines” through two points (antipodal points), which is “absurd”. if you then suggest to “just identify antipodal points” to rectify that, someone back then might question your relationship to reality.

      • George Watson

        MNb,

        Error, error MNb,

        • MNb

          Oh? Did you put your dick in the wrong opening of your mother’s corpse today? Yeah, that’s an error.

    • George Watson

      LL,
      Trinity, The son of God dying for Humans, Grace.

      • Michael Neville

        Bullshit.

        • George Watson

          No, Michael, no.

          Just the mercy God has shown for and to us
          even though we were sinners.

    • Paul B. Lot

      ” People have a word ‘one’ which is the name of a single object in general. if we place one single object in our hand then do it again we have what we call two. From this we slowly build on it until we have math that describes reality in general.”

      Let me pick a nit and say that while some types of maths deal with discrete numbers like “one” – reality does not reflect this discreteness on some levels.

      The “one” apple you hold in your hand looks like “one” at our macro-scale, but the closer you look at it the more obvious it becomes that “the one apple” is an imprecise abstraction of a physical system which is dynamic.

      Every second you hold the apple, it is a different “thing” than it was the second before.

      [insert Ship of Theseus Here]

      TLDR:

      Math is and is not “grounded on reality” the way you claim.

      • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

        you don’t have to talk about apples. how many elements does {1,+1,1/1,1.0,1.0+0.0*i} have? in other words: is 1 (the natural number one) equal to +1 (the integer one)? the same for 1/1 (the rational number one), 1.0 (the real number one), and 1.0+0.0*i (the complex number one)?
        or simpler: is {1,2,3} equal to/the same as/identical to {3,2,1}, or not?

        • Paul B. Lot

          “you don’t have to talk about apples”

          “Have to”? No, I suppose I didn’t “have to”.

          But I chose to.

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          ok. it just wanted to show that you can already ask (or ignore) this kind of questions about identity or equality in a purely math. context, even in the case of “one”.

        • Paul B. Lot

          You’re absolutely correct, and as I am not a mathematician, I chose to nod my head towards some of the complexities in your field by saying:

          “while some types of maths deal with discrete numbers like “one””.

          “A purely math. context” is one which is a) interesting and b) out of my league – I chose to focus on the fact that even though we sometimes allow ourselves to talk about abstract “oneness” or discrete singularity, that abstract concept is not found in “reality.”*

          * I’m going to ignore the weirdness of particle/wave duality and QM – I’ve heard some very smart people say that energy packets exist as discrete phenomena, I’ve heard others say that packets don’t exist and everything is fields.

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          people (implicitly) use something called “equivalence relations” all the time. you, for example, usually don’t care if you buy a particular item, as long as it’s in the same “equivalence class”. similarly, do you often still consider one apple to be … one and the same apple, irrespective of changes in space coordinates or time coordinates, or if its physical state is, strictly speaking, different.

        • Paul B. Lot

          ‘you, for example, usually don’t care if you buy a particular item, as long as it’s in the same “equivalence class”.’

          I don’t follow. Can you help me out with concrete examples? I won’t be able to tell you whether or not I agree with your statement about my likes/dislikes/motivations without a better understanding of it.

          “do you often still consider one apple to be…one and the same apple, irrespective of changes…”

          Yes, indeed I do.

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          if buy a book, then it would be rather odd (most of the time), if you make a distinction on a molecular level. you don’t even have to talk about quantum physics. what for one person is one and the same book “makes a difference” for someone else (if it’s an e-book version or a physical book, say). the equivalence relations are different.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “if buy a book, then it would be rather odd (most of the time), if you make a distinction on a molecular level”

          I’m not sure what you mean by “make a distinction” or “on a molecular level.”

          Don’t get me wrong; I have an idea of what you’re trying to get at, but you’re not making it crystal clear for me.

          For example: I have a copy of The Silmarillion which has a cloth binding. When I was younger I thought it looked cool, but it was too pristine. I imagined the book should look old, so I scuffed and marked it up a bit to try to make it look as old as I thought it should.

          Now.

          The changes I made to the book cover were minute, from a distance you might not notice them. Clearly some changes had been made, at a “molecular level”, but the text of the book was unchanged – it would be the same as any other book from that run from that publisher.

          Is it “odd” then that I would be able to “make a distinction” and pick out my copy of the book amongst a pile of others from that run/publisher?

          In any case, I get the impression that you find something objectionable about the nit I picked with L.Long – is that accurate?

          Are you objecting to the observation that “discrete oneness” does not exist in our reality, if we choose to increase the resolution of our inquiries?

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          no, i don’t find anything objectionable about your nitpick (i added to it). and no it’s not odd that you are able to make a distinction. it just shows that a what is a correct (or useful) “count of books” might be different in different situations. it’s also more practical example. i don’t know why i’d count one apples as two apples, just because i saw it at two different times …

        • Paul B. Lot

          Hmm, reading your posts is tough for me.

          “i don’t know why i’d count one apples as two apples, just because i saw it at two different times …”

          Do the ellipses imply a question here? Are you trying to make a statement? I can imagine several concrete scenarios where I would “count” one apple as two…but if you’re not asking a question, then saying so seems tangential.

          You don’t seem to organize your thoughts into sentences which I find easy to parse.

          you eschew capitalization and use odd punctuation/sentence fragments

          Not that any of that is inherently bad, nor am I asking you to stop. But I’m not going to respond any further on this sub-thread: I’m not sure what you’re saying and it takes me some serious effort to try to guess as to the correct parsing/re-calibrate if I seem to have gotten it wrong.

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          if it’s though for you, then don’t read my comments, simple. english is obviously not my native language, and for a long time i didn’t wanted to learn the arbritary rules of natural languages. it’s nice that you can imagine “concrete scenarios”. for now it just looks like a game with vague language (one reason why i prefer math).

        • Paul B. Lot

          “english is obviously not my native language”

          Well, no; it’s not ‘obvious’. It was a possibility floating around in mind mind, as were others. I thank you for clarifying though.

          “it’s nice that you can imagine “concrete scenarios””

          Thanks, I agree. I often welcome the challenge to “cash out” abstract terms – I find it helps me to narrow down where disagreements lie, whether in reasoning or premises.

          “i didn’t wanted to learn the arbritary rules of natural languages…it just looks like a game with vague language (one reason why i prefer math)”

          Hmmm, this is an odd thing to say – to my mind at least. On the one hand, many branches of mathematics are quite ‘arbitrary’ in some senses. Other the other hand, the rules of structure/syntax/grammar/vocabulary to which I allude are anything but vague.

          Regardless, I’m not berating you for avoiding the structure/syntax/grammar which would help me understand your points better – merely pointing out that if you choose not to play by these rules, then I can’t play with you.

          “if it’s though for you, then don’t read my comments, simple.”

          Oh, I know.

          I just thought I’d be polite and explain what I’m doing.

          Cheers!

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          ” I often welcome the challenge to “cash out” abstract terms”
          yes, that’s what i often try to do. my old disregard of natural languages works against me.

          “many branches of mathematics are quite ‘arbitrary’ in some senses.”
          it sometimes seems arbitrary, especially if it’s only presented in abstract/formal terms without regard of the historical development (the original motivations to develop a theory, and so on), on the one hand. on the other hand, one can you view the particular historical development as the arbitrary bit, obscuring the overall “coherence” of mathematics. i think it’s ironic that i now value the history or cultural aspects of mathematics, given how i once thought about natural languages, art, literature, and so on.

  • Greg G.

    Isn’t 2 essentially defined as one thingy and another thingy?

    So 1 + 1 = 2 is saying it in a different language.

    • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

      essentially, yes. 2 is by definition the successor of 1, or 2 := s(1), and + is recursively defined, in part, by n+1 := s(n) for all natural n, for example, so 1+1 = s(1) = 2.

      • rascal barquecat

        I’m not fluent in maths so I appreciate your comments for further explanation and definition, but I have to admit that I more easily grok Greg’s. 😉

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          sure. i guess even for mathematicians that’s the case. the peano axioms are just an example of a formalization (it’s easy enough to do in this case), where one can introduce the concept of recursion or induction proofs, for example. it’s not really there to convince someone of 1+1=2 in particular.

      • Robert Templeton

        And that boils down to the inductive process: strong induction to show continuation of the proof.

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          yes, one uses induction proofs very often (and they are not always so easy). it is a bit more interesting to show things like commutativity and so on, a statement about all natural numbers in this case. to show something like 1+2 = 2+1 (commutativity for particular numbers*) you don’t need induction.

          *) not the most interesting thing …

  • ningen

    Mathematics of the number zero originated in India. So whenever I add 1+0, am I borrowing from an Indian worldview? This confuses the history of an idea with its meaning and use.

    • Michael Neville

      Not to mention the whole “Arabic” numbers thing which the Arabs got from the Indians. Those Indians have a lot to answer for.

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

      “Thursday” means “Thor’s Day.” Whenever we use that name, are we worshiping or even acknowledging the existence of Thor?

      • Greg G.

        Today is Sunday so we are acknowledging the existence of the sun, so of course we will acknowledging Norse theology most of the rest of the week. The sun is real so Thor must be real. </theist logic>

      • MNb

        Everytime I shout Thunder and Lightning I worship him without acknowledging his existence.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4q4mrWoXyI

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

          Sounds like Ramstein.

      • Michael Neville

        Don’t knock Thor. I saw a movie about him.

      • T-Paine

        And “Tuesday means “Tiw’s (Týr’s) day”, “Wednesday” means “Wodan’s (Odin’s) day”, and “Friday” means “Frige’s (Frjá’s) day.

        So you see, every time a presupp apologist says the days that are consecrated to the Germanic-Norse gods, he borrows from their pagan worldview.

      • Rex Jamesson

        Great point! So, any time any Christian uses ANY weekday name (and most month names, he is borrowing from a pagan worldview. Hey, let’s go to church on Sunday…. oops… the day after Satur…. oops, ok, how about six days from now? 😉

  • Robert Templeton

    At the bottom of mathematics (and ALL formal systems) are axioms. They are statements taken as obvious truth with regard to that system. Typically, axioms are based on some evidential truism or fact and are not simply hanging in mid-air. If we were to use God as an axiom then any incoherent anything could be used in the system.

    • George Watson

      RT,

      You can just accept axioms and see what sort of mathematical systems
      follows.

      Not quite.

      God, alone, provides for the Coherence of Truth.

  • groversyck

    In binary math, 1+1=10.

    • rg57

      In unary math 1+1=11.

      • primenumbers

        “It’s a language. We devised the language to be useful in describing the real world. ” – spot on.

        If it rested on the Christian god there’d be good math to show how the trinity works and 1+1+1 would equal 1. But there’s not.

        • Scooter

          How about 1x1x1=1?

        • primenumbers

          Thank you for demonstrating how nonsensical the trinity is and how you don’t understand math.

        • George Watson

          PN,

          Let us be honest, does anyone fully understand Maths ?

        • primenumbers

          I’m sure that some of us who use math professionally have a very good understanding.

        • George Watson

          PN,

          If you are a Mathematician, hats off to you
          but you know you can go to your local University and look
          at all the Journals of Mathematics.

          Can you, or anyone, open up any and all of them
          and begin reading then say you fully understand
          what the article is saying ?

        • Myna Alexanderson

          Let us be honest, does anyone fully understand Maths ?

          Just the simple fact that you even contemplated that thought, speaks volumes.

        • George Watson

          Hi Myna,

          Yes, yes it does.

          Profundity is my speciality.

          Glad you liked it.

        • Myna Alexanderson

          Such a cunning little troll, which merely adds to the balderdash of his dutiful nature.

        • George Watson

          Myna,

          How sweet of you.

        • Myna Alexanderson

          George,

          How droll of you.

          Shoemaker’s apprentice?

        • George Watson

          Myna,

          Not yet, would not mind learning how to make handmade
          shoes.

        • Myna Alexanderson

          Then why don’t you go and drive Daniel Day-Lewis insane? He knows how to make shoes. But I’m quite sure he’s an old friend of yours, so you would already know that.

          Crazy old troll.

        • George Watson

          Myna,

          Well if I knew him, I would , but I don’t,
          but if you would like to introduce us,
          I could.

          I think it probably very relaxing to make shoes.

        • Dys

          No, deepities are your speciality.

        • George Watson

          Dys,

          So hip, so urbane and yet so lacking in understanding.

        • Dys

          George, George, George

          You need other people to tell you you’re profound. As it stands, you’re just blowing smoke up your own ass by declaring it yourself. You’re simply not the fountain of profundity you imagine yourself to be. Hopefully your ego can take the blow…I suspect it’s over-inflated anyway.

        • George Watson

          Dys,

          I think you have described yourself perfectly.

        • Dys

          Except I didn’t claim that profundity was my specialty. You did. So thanks for establishing that you can’t read worth a damn either. Do you have anything of substance to contribute, or do you just act as a male cheerleader for piss poor Christian apologetics?

        • Michael Neville

          Do you think for a second that you understand anything? I haven’t seen a glimmer of anything at all reasonable or logical in any of your writing. You are not the person to tell anyone else they’re lacking in understanding.

        • Otto

          Not when the equation is 1+1+1=1

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          if + is the nim-addition you get 1+1+1=1.

        • George Watson

          Otto,
          Who said the equation was such ?

        • Otto

          What is the equation then George?

          If only you lacked trust in the answers you have been fed by your Church to the same level.

        • Scooter

          Well, I’m actually relieved that you find it nonsensical. You see, I wouldn’t say it was something that you nor I can comprehend and if you did then you would be the most enlightened individual who has ever lived. Now as an atheist you wouldn’t believe in the Trinity anyway since you are committed to a naturalistic/materialistic world view but if you’re interested in knowing what you don’t believe in here’s a quick explanation of the Trinity as understood in classic Christianity.

          Each word of the definition of the Trinity is important. Each term carries weight and cannot be ignored. These few words present the three great foundations of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity: monotheism, the existence of three divine Persons, and the equality of those Persons.The phrase “one Being” communicates the truth that there is only one true God, the Creator of all things. The Trinity is purely monotheistic. It is not, however, Unitarian. Monotheism speaks to the truth that there is only one Being of God, while Unitarianism asserts the heresy that only one Person is essential to the Being of God. The Being of God is what makes God, God. It is the substance
          of God. When we speak of such things, we are entering into the discussion of ontology, the study of “being.” God’s being is eternal (i.e., not limited by both time and omnipresent (not limited by space). In this matter God is utterly unique. Human beings are limited by both time and space. It is here that we encounter the vast chasm that separates the Creator from all creation. God is infinite in
          His being, while all creatures are, by nature, limited.

          It is vitally important that we recognize the difference between the words Being and Person. The failure to recognize that the definition given above is using these two terms in different ways is one of the prime reasons for confusion in regard to the Trinity. Being is what makes something what it is. Person is what makes someone who he or she is. We could say when speaking of the Trinity, we speak of one what (the Being of God) and three whos (the three divine Persons). Most cultic rejections of the Trinity focus on blurring this distinction.

        • primenumbers

          Sorry I made you waste your time writing that response.

        • Scooter

          No problem-if it goes over your head there may be someone else who may appreciate the knowledge.

        • primenumbers

          If you can’t comprehend it, “I wouldn’t say it was something that you nor I can comprehend” – it’s not knowledge.

        • Scooter

          If I can’t comprehend it I can still apprehend it.

        • primenumbers

          Isn’t that what police do to criminals?

        • Susan

          If I can’t comprehend it I can still apprehend it.

          What distinction are you making here? I can claim to “apprehend” any old incoherent nonsense.

        • George Watson

          Susan,

          If it were incoherent non-sense – it would be knowledge.

        • Dys

          It’s not knowledge.

        • George Watson

          Dys,

          What absolute knowledge do you have ?

        • Dys

          George, I’m not going to play games with you. If you can’t grasp that an incoherent, unexplainable, unfalsifiable, and incomprehensible concept doesn’t qualify as knowledge, then you’re not properly equipped to handle the conversation.

        • George Watson

          Scooter,

          I do.

        • Otto

          The Trinity is made up bullshit. Nothing more. It has no grounding in reality. Theologians made it up.

        • George Watson

          Otto,
          And you know this as an absolute fact ?

        • Otto

          George, where in the Bible is the Trinity mentioned? It’s not, it was an inferred concept. A concept that was arrived at by men.

        • Michael Neville

          The Trinity became Christian dogma because the Council of Chalcedon (450) was convened by Emperor Marcian who had a hair up his ass about the Monophysities, Nestorians and Docetites. After a lot of haggling, it was decided that Jesus was a co-god with Yahweh and, just to add confusion to an already muddled credo, the Holy Spirit was thrown into the mix.

          One of the lasting effects of Chalcedon was a schism between the Oriental Churches (Copts, Syrics, Armenians and Malankaras) on the one hand and the Roman and Eastern Orthodox Churches on the other. Not everyone was in love with the idea of the Trinity.

        • George Watson

          Michael,

          Docetites, or Docetists or both ?

          Chalcedon was 451 AD.

          Nicaea said that Christ Jesus was divine.
          325 AD.

          Constantinople made it clear the Holy Spirit was divine.
          360 AD

          I think you may be in error about the Oriental Churches
          you mention as they all believe in the Trinity, but have
          differences concerning how to express the Christological
          nature of Jesus

        • Dys

          The trinity concept is incoherent, and doesn’t actually make sense. As has been pointed out previously, the only attempts that even come close wind up being modalist in nature.

          In trying to explain the trinity, every apologist is eventually forced to resort to divine mystery, which is just a capitulation to the fact that it’s an incoherent concept and makes no sense. It’s an illogical, irrational belief, not knowledge.

        • Scooter

          Just because we don’t understand something doesn’t make it untrue. For example there are many things in the world of science that are not understood such as how does gravity work?
          Perhaps adding to this idea that it doesn’t make sense is the problem of language. Even before a definition of the Trinity is presented its important to point out that we face a real difficulty right from the beginning: language itself. Its been obvious that Christians have struggled for a long time to express, within the limitations of human language, the unique revelation God makes of His mode of existence. We struggle because language is a finite means of communication. Finite minds are trying to express in words infinite truths. Sometimes what we “say” doesn’t adequately express the grandeur that is God.

        • Dys

          Just because we don’t understand something doesn’t make it untrue. For example there are many things in the world of science that are not understood such as how does gravity work?

          It’s not about understanding – it’s that every attempt to explain the trinity reveals the incoherency of it. So comparing it to gravity doesn’t work in the slightest to alleviate the issue. We know that gravity exists, and can study its effects. You can do no such thing with the trinity concept. It’s just one particular interpretation of the bible, with no way of determining whether it’s actually a correct interpretation.

          Here’s the facts – the trinity concept is not mentioned in the bible. Instead, it’s a patchwork concept created through hermentuics, trying to harmonize specific verses in the bible. It’s an invention, not an infinite truth. So you’re stuck with “it’s a mystery” as an explanation of the trinity, not because of language limitations, but because the concept itself is incoherent, and resorting to divine mystery is the only escape from it. It doesn’t seem to amount to much more than eisegesis.

          You’re just trying to rationalize away the problems with the trinity, but you’re admitting that you a) can’t adequately explain it, and b) as a necessarily limited being, can’t comprehend it. That being the case, you’ve no real basis for stating that it’s a truth, since you’ve essentially admitted it’s not knowledge, but merely a belief.

        • Scooter

          I’ll try to clarify this a bit more for you. The problem as I’ve indicated is that God is completely unique. He is not comparable to anything. We’ve accumulated our knowledge over time by expanding our analogies. When we encounter new ideas, it is natural for us to fit them into preexisting categories by comparing them with past experiences or facts. This process works well for most things. But for unique things, it doesn’t. If something is truly unique (and I stress this) it can’t be compared to anything else. If we try to compare to an aspect of the truly unique our effort will be limited and if we push it too far it will be wrong. When we say, “God is like…” we are treading on dangerous ground.

          Here’s another problem in this. Our language is based on time-we speak of past, present and future. Since God is revealed as not existing in time as we are, we are forced to place misleading limitations upon his being. This causes real difficulty when discussing God’s triune nature

        • Myna Alexanderson

          The problem as I’ve indicated is that God is completely unique. He is not comparable to anything.

          But your deity is comparable. The concept isn’t unique, the story isn’t unique. The exploits of deities are designed to fit the foibles of human ego-centrism (ie: jealousy, aggression, conquer, slaughter, subjugation, favoritism, self-aggrandizement, etc.) and given the story of the greater rule…as the prince is to the fief is to the laborer. It’s all the same story, different cloak. So below, so in heaven. You, yourself, mirror the jealous god of your belief system simply by claiming your god’s unique place in the cosmos and all others being mere figments.

          When we say, “God is like…” we are treading on dangerous ground.

          Yet you are here as your deity’s self-appointed ambassador because that deity apparently cannot speak for itself. Why would any god need fallible human beings to represent itself?

        • George Watson

          Myna,

          Good question, why didn’t God just step aside and
          let you with your all comprehending brain, run the
          Universe.

        • MNb

          “The problem as I’ve indicated is that God is completely unique.”
          That it is a problem should raise suspicion in every critical mind. No god, no problem.

          “We’ve accumulated our knowledge over time by expanding our analogies.”
          Analogies don’t provide knowledge. They clarify and simplify, but don’t provide any new insight.

          “If something is truly unique (and I stress this) it can’t be compared to anything else.a”
          Still this is one of your main arguments for your god. You detect design and by comparing it to human design you jump to a supernatural designer.
          But we already know that your belief system is incoherent. Have you already figured out whether our natural reality is consistent (scientific laws) or inconsistent (miracles)?

          “Since God is revealed as not existing in time”
          A revelation that happened in time, so this is just more incoherence to explain away incoherence.
          You made a nice case for atheism. Thanks.

        • George Watson

          MNb,

          You never addressed the point of whether God is
          unique or not.

          All we have is analogous based knowledge claims.
          We do not understand anything fully, let alone
          what it is in itself. Please read up on your Kant
          if you struggle with this.

          There are no scientific laws, just patterns we notice,
          and patterns that may change at any time.
          Miracles are not necessarily un-natural, just unexpected.

        • Dys

          I didn’t need any more clarification – I understand the problem quite well. You have a belief about God, but you don’t actually know that it’s true; But you want to assert it as such. That being the case, the incoherency of the concept presents an insurmountable problem that you need to rationalize away.

          So you’re stuck with making paltry excuses for something you don’t even know is true or not because it’s a part of the dogma. You can’t explain it, admitted you can’t comprehend it, and it’s completely untestable and unfalsifiable. Ergo, you don’t actually know it’s true.

          You’re trying to turn the main weakness of the concept (it’s complete incoherency) into a strength by means of divine mystery, when in fact it’s an invented concept which doesn’t make sense. One could do the exact same thing to any nonsensical claim – insist it’s unique and incomparable, and that being so magically alleviates any issues of coherence or logic.

        • Scooter

          Well, I’ll leave you with a quote from C. S. Lewis.
          “Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, no one designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But, if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It’s like upsetting a milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map of London. But if I can’t trust my own thinking, of course I can’t trust the arguments leading to atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God.” C.S. Lewis, The Case For Christianity, p.32

          So my question to you would be, since you don’t accept an Intelligence behind the universe as Lewis says, are you confident that anything you’ve argued is valid?

        • Michael Neville

          All the C.S. Lewis quote shows is that Lewis didn’t understand how the brain works. An argument from ignorance is not convincing.

        • George Watson

          Michael,

          And how does the brain work ?

        • Michael Neville

          Listen up you worthless piece of shit, I don’t have to answer any of your fucking questions until you start answering mine. I’m still waiting for you to rebut my dismissal of Plantinga’s nonsense. Until you do that, I’m not going to answer any of your stupid questions. Got that, asswipe?

        • Myna Alexanderson

          ….a quote from C. S. Lewis.

          Well, if C. S. Lewis wrote it…

          It’s as though you think vicariously through the thoughts of those you quote.

          Do you not have any sustained thought of your own?

        • Scooter

          So if you can’t deal with the quote, you attack the messenger? Now how about a comment about Lewis’ idea? Do you think it’s valid?

        • Myna Alexanderson

          Deal with the quote? You are being childish and less than that, you are being ludicrous. What C.S. Lewis thought has nothing to do with any reality outside his own reasoning. No, I don’t think Lewis’s quote is valid. He’s writing that he cannot comprehend himself or the world without the existence of a deity he can identify with. But many people do comprehend themselves and the world without said deity. Therefore, he is merely thinking his thoughts and arriving at his own conclusions, and there rests the seed of his belief system. The brain does that.

        • Scooter

          Thanks Myna. All the best to you.

        • Myna Alexanderson

          Thanks Myna. All the best to you.

          And a pat on the head to you, too.

        • George Watson

          Myna,

          The Queen of Condescension – MYNA !!!

          A pat on the head to you, too ?

          Scooter was as kind to you as he could be.
          He does not believe what you believe.

          No wonder I make you angry when I destroy your
          statements…

        • George Watson

          Myna,

          You worship your brain – a bunch of neurons – by your
          admission somehow and someway assembled by the
          randomness that is evolution. – and you trust it to
          guide you to what ? Not Truth, because Truth is eternal,
          temporary theories about statistical claims ?

          You comprehend yourself – wow a claim greater than
          any I have ever heard. Please explain how and why.

        • Susan

          So if you can’t deal with the quote, you attack the messenger?

          Quoting C.S. Lewis is useless. I’ve read him as have so many others here. You haven’t thought about his quotes or confronted the myriad problems with his arguments.

          Your tendency to copy/paste apologetics is an issue. That was Myna’s point. Way to miss it.

          how about a comment about Lewis’ idea? Do you think it’s valid?

          If by valid, you mean that it is comprised of a reliable logical structure that if the premises are true would result in a sound argument, then I would say, no. I don’t accept its validity.

          Of course, it’s not up to Myna to demonstrate its invalidity, though she easily could. It’s up to you to demonstrate its validity.

          Valid wouldn’t get Lewis far, even if you could make a case for his argument being valid. It the premises aren’t necessarily true, you don’t have a sound argument. You have to show that they are or you have nothing but wishful thinking.

        • John Jones

          Could you further explain what you mean by:
          “reliable logical structure” ?

        • Susan

          Could you further explain what you mean by:
          “reliable logical structure” ?

          Well George, Scooter has to demonstrate that the copy/paste of the apologist argument he provided is valid.

          That is, that any brain, including and especially the human one is the same as spilt milk. It’s not just that Scooter can’t demonstrate that the premises are necessarily true. It’s that the structure of the argument doesn’t lead there either.

        • MR

          More trolling, I suspect, Susan. Probably GFL.

        • Susan

          More trolling, I suspect

          Yep.

          Probably GFL.

          I’m more inclined to say possibly. The trouble with apologists is that they start to look alike, even if they’re not the same person.

        • George Watson

          Scooter,

          Thank you and C.S. Lewis.

        • Scooter

          George, This and other quotes are why atheists find Lewis so troublesome, if I can put it rather delicately.

        • Pofarmer

          Uhm, no. . It’s because what he is saying is nonsense most of his arguments, like this one, are shit.

        • Scooter

          Empty rhetoric. Point out some examples of Lewis’ nonsense.

        • Pofarmer

          Let’s take the piece of Pablum that you quoted.

          ‘”Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative
          mind. In that case, no one designed my brain for the purpose of
          thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for
          physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way,
          this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But, if
          so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It’s like upsetting a
          milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map
          of London. But if I can’t trust my own thinking, of course I can’t trust
          the arguments leading to atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an
          atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in
          thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God.”

          The very first sign of any “intelligence” that we have is in single celled bacteria. They move towards good gradients, food, temperature, salinity, whatever, and away from bad gradients. Intelligence helps us understand the world around us and survive in it. It would actually be extremely more unlikely that intelligence wouldn’t help us understand it. In other words, if it were “untrue” we wouldn’t survive. And this goes for all species, not just humans. If we can’t have an accurate map of our surroundings, then we are less likely to survive in them. Now, sometimes this does go a little haywire. Our senses and cognitive processes work best on scales and at distances to which we are accustomed. We don’t really well grasp the extremely small, the extremely fast, or the extremely large or slow. Our senses and intelligence, in other words, developed as a survival mode in the habitat that we developed in. Luckily, we can also use it to help us understand other modes that aren’t so intuitive. We also know that our intelligence causes things like “hyperactive Agency Detection” or HAD. HAD confers a survival instinct because it is better to run from a predator that isn’t there than to miss one that is. It is also one of the things that causes us to see faces in clouds, or the actions of immaterial agents in the world around us. It is better to have a useful answer, even if it is wrong, the no answer at all. And having a wrong answer, if you believe it, feels exactly like having a correct answer. The way you feel about the answer you have tells you nothing about whether it is correct. So we get religion, deities, priests, etc, etc.

        • John Jones

          I am a tad unclear about some of your statements, perhaps you could help me understand them better. You say: The very first sign of “intelligence” we have is in single celled bacteria. How is the bacteria moving toward one chemical/temperature a sign of intelligence versus what
          we were taught when I was at school – “instinct”. Were
          I to be in an automobile wreck and my brain damaged to the extent that I was in a coma, so I breathe, perspire, eliminate
          by products, etc – am I showing signs of intelligence ? What
          if, while I was in the coma, my body moved away from the bitter cold, fire, intense pain – are those signs of intelligence or neural responses we seem to exhibit when we encounter immediate/intense pain ? ( I believe there are nerve clusters
          in the spine that cause these immediate reactions, versus
          conscious intentions of moving the body/body parts. )

          When you state that: “hyperactive agency detection” confers a survival instinct – surely you have not thought
          this all the way through, have you or am I missing something ? If I continually mistake shadows for a predator,
          won’t my brain, at some future time, begin to discount such
          “imaginary predators in the shadows” so that I don’t spend a great deal of time/energy running from what is not a threat ? But then, one day I could be too sure of my revised evaluative abilities and find myself in a “Tiger’s Belly” as my Indian grandmother used to tell me as a form of warning
          me not to be too sure of myself as a child. To stop chasing my own tail around a bush, why have “HAD” if it may cause
          more troubles than it is worth, should we not have evolved
          beyond it, or will modern humans, no longer threatened by
          predators in the shadow, soon evolve beyond it ?

          How can an answer be useful if it is wrong ? Do you mean
          to say it is better to have an answer that is closer to describing reality than not ? Yet, what makes an answer
          useful if we do not know how to recognise it and apply it
          in the appropriate manner ?

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          If that’s delicate I rather not learn what you mean with blunt.
          CSL is a piece of cake for many atheists, including BobS who has criticized him as well.

          Lovely to see how our two religious tools stroke each other’s tender parts.

        • Scooter

          With all due respect to Bob. he’s nowhere in the same league as Lewis. I suspect you’ve never read Lewis.

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          I never claimed that BobS is in the same league as CSL. I am not in the same league as Descartes but still can explain to you what exactly is wrong with Cogito Ergo Sum. In exactly the same way CSL is a piece of cake for many atheists, including BobS.

          “I suspect you’ve never read Lewis”
          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          I have never read Descartes and Newton either. Still I can tell you what exactly is wrong with Cogito Ergo Sum. Also I can explain you huge parts of kinematics.
          Religious tool indeed.

        • John Jones

          Could you please explain what is wrong, in your view, with Descartes “Cogito, ergo sum” ?

        • Paul B. Lot

          I’m curious as well!

        • MNb

          There is no reason to assume an “I”. If we adopt Descartes’ systematical doubt we only can say “there are thoughts”. And that’s the end – you cannot derive conclusions from that statement.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “If we adopt Descartes’ systematical doubt we only can say “there are thoughts”. And that’s the end – you cannot derive conclusions from that statement.”

          I disagree.

          “There are thoughts” is an observation which has implications – if thoughts exist, for example, a state of pure nothingness does not obtain.

          Further, whether or not an “I” exists in terms of an id/ego/superego or in terms of meat-ware brain electrochemically producing an emergent consciousness, some ‘thing’ is having this experience – a thing which I call “I”.

          Whether or not any of you exist.
          Whether or not my body exists.
          Whether or not I am just a simulation.
          Whether or not I am a Boltzman Brain.
          Whether or not the Universe came into existance last Thursday.
          Whether or not I am some segregated sub-process of a powerful AI or I am some demented demon who has forgotten what it was…..

          There exists some ‘thing’ which calls itself “I” (and Paul B. Lot).

        • MNb

          “some ‘thing’ is having this experience”
          Experience.
          Ie induction.
          Not deduction. Descartes’ method of systematical doubt uses deduction and only deduction. Deduction alone. Nothing but deduction.
          So I simply doubt and hence reject that some ‘thing’ is thinking. You can’t deduce that that is the case.
          This means that deduction on its own can’t provide knowledge. You actually confirmed that instead of disagreeing. Exactly this is why apologists like Scoot and Georgieboy with their disdain of empiricism are doomed to fail.

          Compare Euclides’ geometry. You cannot show by means of deduction and deduction alone that we should accept the five axiomata. Philosophers should have understood that long before Descartes. That they didn’t for 18 Centuries is another example of intellectual stagnation, not caused by christianity but certainly not remedied either.
          Had philosophers understood it and realized the importance of observation and experiment they might have hit on the scientific method long before.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “Compare Euclides’ geometry…”

          No.

          “Experience.
          Ie induction.
          Not deduction.”

          I’ll rely, for now, on wiki’s helpful distinctions.
          I take “deduction” to mean [following true premises, through logically valid steps, to a certain conclusion].
          I take “induction” to mean [following possibly true premises through strong arguments to a probably true conclusion].

          I don’t see how “experience” = induction.

          My stating that “I have an experience” is not an inductive argument.

          It is a statement of fact…albeit one whose truth-value is unknowable to anyone but me.

          Further, I can quite easily frame this deductively for you.

          P1: Pure nothingness obtains when there are no entities, fields, thoughts, energies, matter, potentialities, or nouns of any kind.
          P2: The thought “I exist”, exists.
          P3: Because P2 and P1, nothingness does not obtain: at least one of those nouns exist.
          P4: The noun which exists through P3 is what I call “I”.
          C: Therefore “I” exist.

        • Paul B. Lot

          My earlier reply was made to your original, unedited comment.

          “some ‘thing’ is having this experience”
          Experience.
          Ie induction.
          Not deduction.
          Compare Euclides’ geometry. You cannot show by means of deduction and deduction alone that we should accept the five axiomata.

          Since you’ve added to it, let me address those parts of your response, as-it-exists-now, I would have addressed in that previous reply i made.

          “So I simply doubt and hence reject that some ‘thing’ is thinking. You can’t deduce that that is the case.”

          I disagree.

          “You actually confirmed that instead of disagreeing.”

          I disagree.

        • John Jones

          Cogitans, ergo cogitationes

          ( If my fourth form Latin is remembered correctly )

          Thank You.

        • Moe Money

          why do you think “I” is an assumption?

          isn’t the perception of thought kinda like “I”

        • Ignatius Reilly

          Wow. Doesn’t read books then criticizes them poorly. You must be fun at parties.

        • MNb

          No. I never read books. Any. Don’t know what they are. How they look like. What they are good for.
          Oh – and I don’t discuss philosophy or physics at parties.

        • Michael Neville

          C.S. Lewis was not a good apologist for Christianity. He was a polished writer but when his Christian apologetics are examined they’re extremely shallow and quite unconvincing.

          Take his famous trilemma, Jesus is either liar, lunatic or lord. Lewis attempts rather poorly to show that Jesus was neither a liar nor a lunatic and, declaring by fiat that both of these alternatives have been disproven, proclaims that the sole choice is that Jesus is lord. But Lewis fails to dispose of other alternatives like what if Jesus was mistaken or what if Jesus was misquoted or what if Jesus didn’t exist and was made up by the gospel writers?

          Lewis is not the go-to guy you Christians like to think he is.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “George, This and other quotes are why atheists find Lewis so troublesome, if I can put it rather delicately.”

          I find Lewis logically “troublesome” in something like the way that a three year old running out onto an interstate freeway is “troublesome” – it’s best to remove him from the situation as soon as possible, since his presence is liable to cause himself and other lasting harm.

          Strong-willed men who speak confidently, regardless of their actual level of understanding, will often convince the inexperienced, stupid and/or shallow.

          Eg:
          -sales people
          -politicians
          -CEOs
          -con men
          -cult leaders

        • TheNuszAbides

          this is why suspension of disbelief (i.e. ‘faith’ either more or less dressed up, depending on starting point) is such a precious commodity, and to a large extent why the performing arts constituted the bulk of ‘my religion’ for so long.

        • Dys

          Ugh…I’m constantly reminded of the paucity of Christian apologetics. Presuppositionalism is mind-numbingly inept and circular in the extreme.

          But it hardly matters, since your silly attempt to insist that knowledge requires a cosmic magician isn’t really defensible. In short, Lewis is simply wrong. A trickster god could be filling your head with nonsense, and thus fooling you at every turn. And being a god, he’d have the ability to ensure you’d never know the difference.

        • MNb

          ” In that case, no one designed my brain for the purpose of thinking.”
          Correct. The brain causes thinking. And the brain is the result of the process called evolution.

          “But, if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true?”
          Nobody can. That’s why science and philosophy of science have developed methods to examine human thinking.

          “It’s like upsetting a milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map of London.”
          Tell this a neurobiologist and wait if he can stop laughing within 15 minutes at this totally false analogy. The atoms within a human brain are not at all arranged the same way as the atoms of milk. The atoms are even partly different. But it’s largely the arrangement that makes the difference.

          “But if I can’t trust my own thinking, of course I can’t trust the arguments leading to atheism,”
          See above. Method. A tested method.

          “and therefore have no reason to be an atheist”
          And shallow thinker CSL nicely ends with a non-sequitur – or rather the false dichotomy “I only accept something when we can be absolutely 100% sure about it and when it never will change – or I will reject it.” Never mind that CSL never shows how his imaginary sky daddy provides such eternal certainty.

          “are you confident that anything you’ve argued is valid?”
          Yes. Depending on that anything to a certain degree, but never absolutely eternally 100%.
          For instance I’m very confident (ie a probability very, very close to 100%) that our universe can’t be consistent (scientific laws) and inconsistent (miracles) according to your personal . What about you?
          Apparently not at all. Does your imaginary sky daddy fail to give you 100% certainty on this rather simple issue?

        • Scooter

          You’ve been after me to tackle this question about consistency vs inconsistency when it comes to science and religion (miracles). First let me clarify-I would be skeptical about most claimed miracles especially touted by those in what I consider to be false religions such as Hinduism, but also leery of supposed “miracles” that are claimed by televangelists such as the charlatan, Benny Hinn to name one example.
          So, I see a basic question in all of this: Has science disproved religion? An obvious assumption by the atheist is that the ‘discoveries’ of modern science have proved biblical religion to be indefensible. One such false belief is that the science method can actually ‘prove’ things. In fact, because empirical science rests on the inductive method, scientific conclusions never offer certainties in spite of your ‘confidence’ stated above. You are confident that scientific laws will remain consistent. However our senses can’t tell the future so predictions about natural processes in the future are based on philosophical assumptions or faith.

          Now some atheists says that there is no evidence for Christianity. (other atheists like Michael Shermer are embarrassed by such comments made by the likes of Dawkins) Faith is however, not a leap but rather a foundation. As you will agree, all science is based upon a faith of some kind for certain things have to be believed before one can speak of science. For example we must believe that a material world exists that is accessible and connects to our senses. And we must believe that our minds are giving us trustworthy information about the world. Indeed, the uniformity of nature-the most basic assumption of the sciences is believed by faith. Because we believe these things science is made meaningful.

          So all this to point out atheists should be cautious in understanding what science can and cannot do. Or can science rule out a miracle by 100% certainty? Strictly speaking, miracles concern events that are exceptions to recognized laws. So they presuppose the existence of normal events. As for the notion that miracles violate the laws of nature, I repeat, we need to keep in mind that these laws are simply generalizations about observable causes and effects. In other words, they are descriptions of what usually happens, and not what always happens. Therefore, they cannot be used as proofs against the possibility of miracles. (I’ve posted the deeply flawed view of miracles held by Hume before)

        • Michael Neville

          Has science disproved religion? An obvious assumption by the atheist is that the ‘discoveries’ of modern science have proved biblical religion to be indefensible.

          These are two different questions. Has science “disproved” all religion? No, it has not.

          Has science disproved biblical religion, by which you mean Christianity? Certain Christian claims have been disproved by science. For instance the Noachian Flood never happened because there’s no evidence (that word that you theists hate) for it. Geologists can explain how fossil clams are on the top of Mt. Everest without needing a world-wide flood as part of the explanation. In fact there’s massive amounts of evidence that such a flood didn’t happen. There are living bristlecone pines older than the period the flood supposedly happened, such pines would have died if they had been submerged in water for more than an hour or two.

        • MNb

          “You’ve been after me ….”
          How observant of you.

          “Has science disproved religion?”

          No. No atheist on this blog has ever made that claim. That question isn’t as nearly as basic as you claim.

          “An obvious assumption by the atheist is that the ‘discoveries’ of modern science have proved biblical religion to be indefensible.”
          No. It’s not an assumption. Plus it’s not what “the atheist” claims.
          Many atheists have noticed that the Bible claims X while science claims the exact opposite. So the christian who accepts X denies science. You are one of those. That’s all.

          “because empirical science rests on the inductive method, scientific conclusions never offer certainties in spite of your ‘confidence’ stated above.”
          Stupid, I specifically made clear that my confidence is never absolute. The “in spite of” you use is a lie, only excused by your blinded stupidity.

          “all science is based upon a faith of some kind”
          Nope. I don’t agree and many atheists disagree as well. Plus even several christian scientists. You’re conflating a method – and faith is a method like deduction and induction – and metaphysical assumptions. Scientific methaphysical assumptions are not faith based.

          “For example we must believe that a material world exists that is accessible and connects to our senses.”

          That’s a metaphysical assumption, not faith. The justification for this assumption is simple: science works. You’re free to show that the metaphysical assumptions that ground faith also work.

          “And we must believe that our minds are giving us trustworthy information about the world.”
          Repeating CS Lewis’ error doesn’t help you out. In fact it’s the opposite. Science recognizes that both deduction and induction are not absolutely trustworthy. That’s why every single branch of science compares the outcomes of both methods. It’s also why every branch of science has developed a detailed methodology – to increase trustworthiness.
          There is no equivalent for faith based approaches like your belief system.

          “In other words, they are descriptions of what usually happens, and not what always happens.”
          Ie our natural reality is inconsistent. Scientific laws then don’t come from god, because a perfect hence consistent god would not issue imperfect scientific laws. Remember that when you’re tempted to offer this as a god proof.
          Like you I don’t feel like discussing Hume here. Your discussion of Hume was nothing but a total failure. You didn’t even manage to stay on topic for more than one and a half comment. I’ll just repeat that neither Hume nor I nor any scientist excludes that miracles might be possible. Hume even explicitely wrote it in his On Miracles, something you totally ignored.
          The point is that your faith based belief doesn’t have a method to do research miracles. You are not even capable to decide which miracles are genuine and which ones are fake. As long as that’s the case Hume is totally right: any natural explanation is always better than any supernatural one.
          It’s more likely that Jesus’ was stolen from the tomb than that the guy was miraculously resurrected. Exactly because you don’t have a method, while science has.
          Pay close attention.
          Likely.
          Likely.
          Likely.
          Not absolutely certain.
          Nothing is.

        • Scooter

          Some further thoughts about New Testament miracles. Obviously one must understand regularity in nature in order to recognize some event seen as abnormal. There’s this wrong idea posited by some skeptics that miracles would be easily believed by the ancients of Bible days. This is nonsense. It is interesting that the historian Luke, who was a Dr. trained in the medicine of his day, begins his biography of Christ by raising this very matter. Zechariah and wife Elizabeth who was barren had sought God for a son for years. When he was old an angel told him that his wife would become pregnant and bear a son, he refused to believe it. he knew that old folks don’t have babies for this was against the law of nature. Now note-he was no atheist but a priest who believed in God and the existence of angels. However if the promise was going to involve a reversal of science laws he wasn’t believing it.
          Luke makes it clear-the early Christians weren’t prepared to believe any miraculous story, however absurd. Note well-if in the end they believed, it was because they were forced to by the sheer weight of the direct evidence before them not through their ignorance of scientific laws.

          Historian Tom Wright says: “Ancient paganism contains all kinds of theories, but whenever resurrection is mentioned, the answer is a firm negative: we know that doesn’t happen. This is worth stressing in today’s context. One sometimes hears it said or implied that prior to the rise of modern science people believed in all kinds of odd things like resurrection but that now, with 200 years of scientific research on our side, we know that dead people stay dead. This is ridiculous. The evidence, and the conclusion, was massive and massively drawn in the ancient world as it is today.”

          To suppose, then, that Christianity was born in a prescientific, ignorant world is simply false.

          One last point.- the laws of nature themselves don’t preclude something or someone outside of these laws from impacting these laws. If Newton’s apple tells me about the law of gravity, the law does not prevent someone from catching that apple as it descends. Thus, from my Christian theistic view, the laws of nature predict what is bound to happen if God doesn’t intervene.

          Dr. John lennox says, “It is totally wrong to argue that the laws of nature make it impossible for us to believe in God and His possible interventions. It would be like claiming that an understanding of the laws of the internal combustion engine makes it impossible to believe that the designer of a motor car, or one of his mechanics, could or would intervene and remove the cylinder head. Of course they could intervene. Moreover, this intervention would not destroy those laws. The very same laws that explained why the engine worked with the cylinder head on would now explain why it does not work with the head removed.”

          I rest my case!

        • MNb

          You didn’t make any case as almost everything in your comment is totally irrelevant for my claims. For instance I do not care whether people back then easily believed miracles or not.

          “To suppose, then, that Christianity was born in a prescientific, ignorant world is simply false.”
          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          Of course it was.
          Prescientific: before science. Modern science started around 1800 CE, well after christianity was invented.
          Ignorant: the people back then were ignorant about airplanes, nuclear bombs, internet, inflation, germs etc. etc.

          “the designer of a motor car”
          False analogy. The supposed designer of scientific laws is supernatural. Designers of motor cars belong to our natural reality.

          “this intervention would not destroy those laws”
          Cute! Double false analogy.
          The designer of a motor car works according to the very same scientific laws that describe how the motor car works. The designer doesn’t violate them.
          Your supernatural designer, when doing miracles, exactly does do that: violate scientific laws. Like in the case of the Resurrection.

          “The very same laws that explained why the engine worked with the cylinder head on would now explain why it does not work with the head removed.”
          Yup. And the very same laws that postulate that dead bodies don’t come alive also postulate that Jesus was not resurrected. Want a miracle? Show me an engine that works after the head is removed.
          Lennox demonstrates exactly the opposite of what he intended to. Thanks for pointing out that he isn’t capable of logic either as soon as the topic is the christian god.

        • Greg G.

          How do you rule out confirmation bias for what you believe are miracles?

        • John Jones

          What, precisely, if you do not mind my asking, do you mean
          by “confirmation bias” in this case ?

        • Greg G.

          Confirmation bias is when a stronger memory is formed for an event that confirms an expectation than one that does not. Also, a judgement may be more lenient for confirmation than a disconfirmation.

        • John Jones

          Mr. G,

          Thank you for your reply. Might we say, if we may, that those who look for religion for ultimate answers have a bias toward miracles ? Likewise, might we say that those who look “scientific explanations” in terms of ultimate answers, have
          a bias toward human rationality ?

        • Paul B. Lot

          “Might we say, if we may, that those who look for religion for ultimate answers have a bias toward miracles ?”

          I doubt this is true, although it would be hard to study with rigor.

          What person has a “bias toward miracles” … who was not indoctrinated to believe they occur?

          I imagine that the bias at play when people look towards religion for the ultimate answers is [trusting society/culture/parents/family] more than [their own critical faculties] coupled with [poor critical faculties].

        • John Jones

          Is there a method, by which we can be sure that we have eliminated all of our biases ?

          Thank you for your response.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “Is there a method, by which we can be sure that we have eliminated all of our biases ?”

          “Can be sure….eliminated all”: No. We can never be sure that we’ve eliminated them all.

          What we can know, however, is that certain methodologies help us remove some of the biases of which we are aware.

        • John Jones

          Could it be that are biases are not unlike trying to balance
          on a board in water that has unseen wood below the water-line and so one scurries to one side and then as one starts to tip toward the water, scurry back to the other side, all the while hoping to find a balance point – that may well lie outside the human-board system. [ I think some
          geometrical objects can have their centre of mass outside
          their perimeter.] Thus, we are forever seeking to remove biases but remain biased, possibly in ways we are blind to.

          Thank you for your response.

        • John Jones

          So biases may blind us no matter how hard we try to rid ourselves
          of them.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “So biases may blind us no matter how hard we try to rid ourselves of them.”

          Of course.

        • John Jones

          Paul B. Lot

          I agree.

        • Paul B. Lot

          That’s all? You agree?

          Hmmm…

          I thought you might have something interesting/non-trivial to say on the topic. :-/

        • TheNuszAbides

          yes–which is why some theists pray all the more for Revealed Wisdom, and why some scientists actually make themselves useful searching for adjustments, workarounds etc.

        • whg

          And so your biases reveal themselves to you.

        • TheNuszAbides

          referring to a singular influence on generalized subsets of specified subsets of people, it certainly didn’t escape my notice that picking’n’choosing was occurring. if you mean to suggest you’ve caught me out, you’re entirely mistaken, but of course i can’t change how good the notion may have already made you feel.

        • whg

          People are not members of sets.
          Please stop writing as if you are in Grad School – are you in Grad School ?
          I did not catch you out, you caught you own-self out.

        • TheNuszAbides

          yes, in keeping with my better habits, i did exactly that before i even composed the comment in the first place. again, your “gotcha” is purely imaginary.

          People are not members of sets.

          oh no, my worldview is rent asunder! how i wish i could only apply abstractions with your degree of vision and only when it’s perfectly appropriate!

          Please stop writing as if you are in Grad School

          i am so very sorry that i am not Finished Learning Stuff (like you?).

        • whg

          Are you in Grad School or not, or still in College, there must be some explanation
          for the form and lack of substance of your remarks – let us get to the bottom of this.

        • TheNuszAbides

          there remain numerous areas of study which i have not assayed in an academic, let alone grad-cert manner. ‘where i am’ could perhaps concern you slightly less, but it doesn’t seem likely. the bottom of my writing stylingz is similarly–though neither identically nor as completely–irrelevant, unless you can contrast the data with something else significant that you ‘know’ about me. (or are only interested in practicing your derail-fling.)

        • whg

          Grad student in Comp-Lit ?

        • TheNuszAbides

          do you ask from vocabulary envy?

        • whg

          No, your writing style is so tendentious.

        • Myna A.

          …style is so tendentious

          …the troll sayeth with a jaundiced eye.

        • whg

          I don’t think I have jaundice, but if think I do, well I will go and see a doctor.
          Your writing style, as long as you are not insulting commentators and unjustly accusing them of being a Troll, is rather nice.

        • Myna A.

          I don’t insult commenters, I only insult trolls, gnats, fleas, ticks and bot-flies.

          You might want to look up the word jaundice in the context it was used.

          As to any written style…Chuck U Farley.

        • whg

          I am a gad-fly to the Faux Rationalists.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i try to ramble in a style that suits the occasion. in this case, you repeatedly attempt to pass yourself off as erudite, wise, well-informed etc. without showing adequate substance to accompany the image. some of what you see is me trying to humor your pretensions, on the rapidly-shrinking off-chance that you are (a) as experienced in academia and various subjects as you attempt to present, (b) not significantly brain-damaged since acquiring said background, and (c) anything but a trolling narcissist.

        • Greg G.

          1. Yes.
          2. George, you speak as if rationality is a bad thing.

        • StevenK

          What would be the appropriate response to the miracle, if indeed it occurred?

        • Greg G.

          I don’t know. None has ever been known to have occurred. How does one distinguish between a miracle and an event blown out of proportion by religious liars?

        • StevenK

          I know you don’t know, but if you were to take a guess what do you think your response would be?

          The motive behind the question is I’m interested to know how your life would change, if at all. There’s no wrong answer. No tricks.

        • Greg G.

          You haven’t told me how I would know it was a miracle. It is very obvious that people who believe in miracles mistake obvious non-miracles for miracles.

        • StevenK

          I don’t know how, just that you would know.

        • Greg G.

          I would like to thank whoever was responsible for granting the miracle. How would I know who to thank?

        • Greg G.

          Look, you can’t tell a miracle from any other event. You don’t know how tell what being may have done it. You have no valid reason to believe in miracles. Why don’t you stop kidding yourself and grow up. Go away until you do. Buh-bye.

        • MNb

          Admitting that I was wrong.

        • Andy_Schueler

          Luke makes it clear-the early Christians weren’t prepared to believe any miraculous story, however absurd.
          ….
          To suppose, then, that Christianity was born in a prescientific, ignorant world is simply false.

          Yeah, right….

          “1 Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. 2The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold. 3 Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. 4 When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand,
          they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he
          escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live.” 5 But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. 6 The
          people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead; but after
          waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they
          changed their minds and said he was a god

          Acts 28:1-6

        • TheNuszAbides

          oh noes! did you, skeptic, just scrape a scrap of historical verisimilitude out of a holy text?! surely someone’s head shall now ‘splode!

        • Susan

          It is interesting that the historian Luke, who was a Dr. trained in the medicine of his day,

          Are you suggesting that Luke was a “historian” or a “doctor” by the standards we would use today? That is that reports about the claims of “doctors” and “historians” from around the 1st century in a land where demon possession was assumed and messiahs were abundant had anything to do with the methodology science uses today to treat diabetes and allow you to copy/paste apologists on the internet as though none of us had considered their claims?

          It’s not interesting at all. We don’t know who Luke is. He is a character in a story. Not a doctor nor a historian by modern terms, as far as I can tell. That is, that character does not represent the credibility of a modern doctor or historian (limited as it is) that you suggest the story about Luke does.

          After that, you told me the story about a barren wife. I could respond with a story about Paul Bunyan and his blue ox Babe.

          Luke makes it clear-the early Christians weren’t prepared to believe any miraculous story, however absurd

          Where?

          it was because they were forced to by the sheer weight of the direct evidence before them not through their ignorance of scientific laws.

          What “scientific laws” weren’t they ignorant about? What direct evidence persuaded them?

          What did John Lennox’s terrible argument have to do with stories about Luke?

        • Pofarmer

          FWIW, the anonymous author of Luke doesn’t even meet up to the standards of Historians of Antiquity.

        • John Jones

          In terms of the logical nature of your statements, and I realise that they are not presented as formal arguments, might I ask a few questions ?

          You say: “…never absolutely eternally 100 %”. How can you, as a fallible human, measure the percent of confidence you have, if you have never experienced absolute/100%
          certainty ? [ Is there a difference between absolute/eternally/ 100% confidence, for you ? ]
          I can say for myself, I could be mistaken about what is
          so, even in purely abstract fields of human thought – I dropped a number here, place the wrong modifier at the
          wrong position and forgot all about it…to my eternal error.

          Did we not once think that Mathematics, once placed on the
          proper and sure foundations of axiomatic set theory would
          be consistent, and yet found out that, alas, math can be
          consistent and inconsistent at the same time in a construed
          context ?

          So to your surprise and my surprise, but perhaps one not as great as yours, the Creator, who surely is wiser than all of us, if He exists, may have created a world where consistency and inconsistency – in our view – can co-exist in ways we do not, yet , understand.

        • Michael Neville

          So to your surprise and my surprise, but perhaps one not as great as yours, the Creator, who surely is wiser than all of us, if He exists, may have created a world where consistency and inconsistency – in our view – can co-exist in ways we do not, yet , understand.

          I’ve already given this Dara O’Briain quote but it deserves repeating:

          Just because science doesn’t know something doesn’t mean you can fill the hole with whatever fairy tale most appeals to you.

        • Myna Alexanderson

          Beware your step, Michael. I think a sock-puppet has just slid back under the door.

        • Michael Neville

          I hadn’t considered that. Thank you for the warning.

        • John Jones

          Mr. Neville,

          Thank you for your reply. Yes, I agree, if we do not have what we consider an adequate explanation as to why something in nature occurs with regularity, we would do better, if not best, to not fill in the “empty space of explanation” with what is commonly called a miracle.

          Can you explain what you mean when you say, or the
          quote says: “Just because science doesn’t know” ?

          What does it mean for “science” to know, as I thought it
          was humans who claim knowledge, in this case discovered via the “scientific method”.

        • MNb

          “In terms of the logical nature of your statements, and I realise that they are not presented as formal arguments, might I ask a few questions ?”
          Always, though I don’t answer all questions.

          “[ Is there a difference between absolute/eternally/ 100% confidence, for you ? ]”
          No. And if there is it’s irrelevant in this context. It’s a figure of speech, in Dutch called repetitio. I use it not only to stress the point but also to express my annoyance. Lewis, Plantinga, apparently also Lennox and finally Nagel imply a strawman when they argue against naturalism. Basically their argument is “naturalism claims to remove all possible doubt, cannot fulfil this claim, hence is not trustworthy hence must be rejected hence dualism is correct.” Nagel stops here; the other three add “hence god”. When I point out that naturalism is not only OK with doubt but that it’s actually an integral part of it they just neglect it.

          “You say: “…never absolutely eternally 100 %”. How can you, as a fallible human, measure the percent of confidence you have, if you have never experienced absolute/100% certainty ?”
          See above – this question is irrelevant for my point. But I’d like to remark that we are totally capable of measuring temperature while we cannot experience absolute zero and there isn’t even an absolute maximum.

          “Did we not once think that Mathematics, once placed on the proper and sure foundations of axiomatic set theory would be consistent, and yet found out that, alas, math can be consistent and inconsistent at the same time in a construed context ?”
          Not that I’m aware of. But I’ll be happy if you can give me an example. I like that kind of stuff.

          “So to your surprise and my surprise, but perhaps one not as great as yours, the Creator, who surely is wiser than all of us, if He exists,”
          If.

          “may have created a world where consistency and inconsistency – in our view – can co-exist in ways we do not, yet , understand.”
          Yeah – essentially anything goes. God is perfectly evil and perfectly good at the same time. God is omnipresent and nowhere at the same time. God is omniscient and knows nothing at the same time. That’s actually OK with me. It’s the perfect mystery. But then drop any pretension of apologetics. Reasonable Faith – the project of WL Craig – fails before it even has started. “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent” and “Make sure that your religion is a matter between you and God only.”
          Regarding Scoot I was actually not arguing against his god. I showed him that he had used two arguments for his god that contradict each other: consistent natural reality –> scientific laws –> god and inconsistent natural reality –> miracles –> god.
          It took him a while to make his choice.

        • John Jones

          I agree with you that the leap from Naturalism is inherently flawed to there must be a “God” seem to quick and large.

          When you say “we cannot even experience absolute zero” do you mean that we cannot reproduce it or even nature could never cool that far down ? As for an absolute highest temperature would that not be achieved if all particles were energised to the point where the quarks or other fundamental particles became independent ? ( Sure that is not the
          right way to put it – ionised but at a deeper level ? )

          I believe David Hilbert said, upon Cantor’s Set Theory being “completed” that “No one shall expel us from the paradise that Cantor
          has created”, a few years later the paradoxes of Set Theory began to pop up like mushrooms after a Spring rain.

          “If” – is problematic – it would be a lot easier if the Creator had just
          made matters far more clearer as to what is expected and what will become of us.

          Thank you for your response.

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          I believe David Hilbert said, upon Cantor’s Set Theory being “completed” that “No one shall expel us from the paradise that Cantor has created”, a few years later the paradoxes of Set Theory began to pop up like mushrooms after a Spring rain.

          not true, apparently. hilbert used this phrase in his article “on the infinite” (published in 1926, and in german of course). he even uses the word “paradoxes” shortly before he said that.

          wikipedia says
          “In an 1897 paper on an unrelated topic, Cesare Burali-Forti set out the first such paradox, the Burali-Forti paradox: the ordinal number of the set of all ordinals must be an ordinal and this leads to a contradiction. Cantor discovered this paradox in 1895, and described it in an 1896 letter to Hilbert.”

          so hilbert was very well aware of paradoxes in cantor’s set theory (as was cantor himself).

        • John Jones

          I did a little research for when Hilbert made the “Paradise” statement but could not find it, seems somewhat odd he would make it after the paradoxes had become well known.

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          i find it rather amusing that you think hilbert, who was a world-class mathematican, or cantor, who practically founded a whole new branch of mathematics with his set theory, were that naive. that’s not what is meant by “naive set theory”. paradoxes are not necessarily bad, and only contradictions in naive set theory. in hindsight, with axiomatic set theory look those parodoxes pretty tame.

        • John Jones

          No implication that naive thinking was going on.
          Do we know precisely when Hilbert made the statement ?
          Paradoxes can lead us to think more deeply and honestly.

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          Do we know precisely when Hilbert made the statement ?

          i already mentioned it: published 1926. at the beginning of hilbert’s text (see link) you find:
          “Delivered June 4, 1925, before a congress of the Westphalian Mathematical Society in Munster, in honor of Karl Weierstrass. Translated by Erna Putnam and Gerald J. Massey from Mathematische Annalen (Berlin) vol. 95 (1926), pp. 161-90.”

          it’s possible he used this phrase earlier, on another occasion.

          No implication that naive thinking was going on.

          maybe you didn’t mean this way, but that’s how it came across.

        • John Jones

          Martin,
          This is all very interesting.

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          yes, it is. it’s maybe a good idea to keep in mind that gödel published his incompleteness theorems a few years later (in 1931).

        • John Jones

          It seems that Hilbert was attending a Math conference at the same place where Godel was attending an Epistemology conference in 1931, when Godel first read a paper about his theorems.. Would it be correct to say that the Paradoxes in Set Theory and Logic did not deter Hilbert from his Formalistic goals and it took Godel’s Incompleteness Theorems to finally convince Hilbert that
          Formalism could not achieve all that he hoped ?

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          maybe your interested in the question “What was Hilbert’s view of Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems?” posed on mathoverflow. it seems to address your question.

          Would it be correct to say that the Paradoxes in Set Theory and Logic did not deter Hilbert from his Formalistic goals …

          no. again: how could “paradoxes in set theory and logic” deter him from his goals, when those paradoxes in *naive* (!) set theory were a/the reason for his goals? he wanted to prove consistency by “finitistic means”. gödel’s results about formal systems changed the kind of questions one asks, what you can expect from formal systems. now can you only expect *relative* consistency proofs, for example (like gentzen’s famous consistency proof), but no (consistent) formal system, which is “strong enough”, can prove its own consistency. hilbert’s formalism maybe is a thing of the past, but not formalism in the modern sense (based on ZFC, say).

        • John Jones

          Thank You for the link, that helped.

        • MNb

          “do you mean that we cannot reproduce it or even nature could never cool that far down ?”
          Both.

          “would that not be achieved if all particles were energised to the point.”
          No. You can always, theoretically, add more energy and hence raise the temperature.

          “I believe David Hilbert said …..”
          Sorry, I fail to see how this shows math can be consistent and inconsistent at the same time. But it might be simply too difficult for me.

          “”If” – is problematic”
          Not for me.
          You’re welcome.

        • John Jones

          Thank you for your reply.
          Can you explain how more and more energy can be added to a particle, if that is the way to speak of it – is there a limit to how much energy a photon can have ?

        • train

          you said…..”But I’d like to remark that we are totally capable of measuring temperature while we cannot experience absolute zero and there isn’t even an absolute maximum.”

          Not sure there is not maximum. isn’t there a limited amount of energy available to made temparature?

        • Paul B. Lot

          “Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, no one designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought.”

          This is an uninformed, and therefore incoherent, argument; Lewis unfortunately thought he understood what he was talking about here when, in fact, he did not.

          “But, if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It’s like upsetting a milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map of London.”

          This is a truly terrible analogy – “it’s like” nothing of the kind.

          “Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God.”

          Lewis has constructed an unsound argument here, and argued from false premises to boot: whether or not his “God” conclusion is true, we can not get there from here using Lewis’ map.

          A chaotic, confused mess of a thought process. :-/

        • Michael Neville

          God is a figment of the imagination, which is unbound by reality, So trying to fit a completely imaginary critter into reality is bound to fail because reality has limits while imagination doesn’t.

        • Scooter

          Certainly man-made gods of past and present cultures arise from questionable sources and yes-a lot of imagination. However the God of the Bible as described and revealed in the Bible could not be a product of imagination for finite minds cannot imagine infinity. As someone has said, “The Bible is not a compilation of 66 books that man would write if he could, nor could write if he would.” What the Bible reveals about man is beyond our ability to think up.

        • Myna Alexanderson

          What the Bible reveals about man is beyond our ability to think up.

          That is so beyond absurd. So beyond…

        • Scooter

          Can you explain?

        • Myna Alexanderson

          Can you explain?

          What is there to explain? You have but to look around you. There is more in this world than was ever dreamt of even 100 years ago, much less 2,000. The human brain is a marvelous machine with boundless capability! Intelligent, imaginative, industrious, curious, empathetic and on it goes. It is capable both of profound heights and of falling into its own horrendous abyss. It is fragile, yet strong. And it loves its stories; it’s explanations. You can turn to Jung to find more revelation about the mind of man than in any single letter of biblical text.

          You give an ancient desert people too much credit. It’s the story spun by ancient weavers and roaming Zoroastrians in one minuscule part of the world. That it blossomed into a colossal game of Eurocentric Dungeons & Dragons for over 1500 years is just the way it went.

          Even if, for the sake of argument, one was to speculate on the absolute existence of a conscious force in the universe, the ultimate question is not that existence, but the questioning of the stories spun around it. The damage is in the stories, not in the possibilities beyond them.

        • Scooter

          Thanks Myna. All the best to you.

        • Myna Alexanderson

          Thanks Myna. All the best to you.

          So it goes.

        • Susan

          Thanks Myna. All the best to you.

          You asked Myna to explain and she did quite eloquently. It’s possible that you’re taking some time to go away and check your own thinking against Myna’s honest and thoughtful response.

          It’s uncomfortably probable that you’ve just assumed that Satan is acting through Myna because you are emotionally committed to what is obviously an unsupported conclusion.

          Either way, your reply reeks of dishonesty.

        • Michael Neville

          As well as pomposity and condescension.

        • George Watson

          Myna,

          There are many wonders in the world but nothing is
          more wonderful than man.

          Granted that, do you think the human brain really
          has boundless capacity ?

          Jung, really, how much do you actually know about Jung ?

        • TheNuszAbides

          That it blossomed into a colossal game of Eurocentric Dungeons & Dragons for over 1500 years is just the way it went.

          i can probably never thank you enough for sharing that gem.

        • Michael Neville

          for finite minds cannot imagine infinity.

          The bronze age tribal god that you worship isn’t infinite.

          As someone has said,”The Bible is not a compilation of 66 books that man would write if he could, nor could write if he would.”

          Who ever that “someone” is (it’s actually someone named Lewis S. Chafer) all they’re showing is their lack of imagination. There are over 200 Vedas and Upanishads, each equivalent to a book of the Bible. So obviously Hinduism is greater than Christianity because their sacred works are over twice as imaginative.

          Also there’s the point that the Bible was written by people. I’m sure you’ve heard of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, who were only a few of the Biblical authors, most of whom are not known but were humans.

          Incidentally, it’s the Protestant Bible that has 66 books. The Catholic Bible has 73 books. The Eastern Orthodox Bible has 78 books and the Oriental Orthodox (Coptic, Ethiopian, Eritrean, Syriac, Armenian and Malankara churches) have 64 books but include some books not found in other Bibles and exclude some books other Christians consider canonical. So the Christian Bible is a more malleable book than you apparently think.

        • Scooter

          So Michael, could you provide some examples of this greater imagination?

          Of course the Bible was written by men but inspired (God-breathed if you will) by God the Holy Spirit. Its interesting to note that the writing styles and very human characteristics of the authors were woven into the writings. In other words the Bible is not like the Koran which supposedly the angel Gabriel took Mohammed by the throat and commanded him to write what was dictated to him like a robot.

          I’m aware of the different numbers included in the Bible in different Christian denominations. I referred to the Protestant Bible since it doesn’t include the books of the Apocrypha, a collection of uninspired, spurious books written by various individuals.

        • Michael Neville

          So Michael, could you provide some examples of this greater imagination?

          Since the Bible is fantasy I’ll just give a few fantasy authors with much greater imagination than the Biblical authors. J.R.R. Tolkien’s world is much better built than whoever cobbled together Genesis, Exodus and Joshua. The characters in George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones are recognizably human with understandable motivations, wants and desires, unlike most of the people inhabiting the Bible. (Ruth is one of the few books of the Bible whose main character is sympathetic and who acts in a reasonable manner.) Terry Pratchett’s books are both better written and more moral than the Bible, whose main character kills people just because he can.

          Of course the Bible was written by men but inspired (God-breathed if you will) by God the Holy Spirit.

          Give some evidence that this statement is anything more than bullshit pulled straight from the bovine rectum. First you have to show The Spook exists before you can claim it had anything to do with production of the Bible.

          Its interesting to note that the writing styles and very human characteristics of the authors were woven into the writings.

          If you remember high school English classes, you’d know this is common in most fiction. All you’ve done is said that the Bible is fiction, which is what atheists have been saying for centuries.

          In other words the Bible is not like the Koran which supposedly the angel Gabriel took Mohammed by the throat and commanded him to write what was dictated to him like a robot.

          I have as little regard for the Quran as I do for the Bible so I agree with your non sequitur.

          I referred to the Protestant Bible since it doesn’t include the books of the Apocrypha, a collection of uninspired, spurious books written by various individuals.

          You Christians just love the No True Scotsman fallacy. I’m sure a Jesuit or Orthodox monk could explain in great detail why the books in their Bibles belong there and would sneer at your small mindedness in calling them “Apocrypha”.

        • George Watson

          Michael,

          You really think the authors you cite

          write better tales of humans than Genesis or

          the Gospel of Luke ?

        • Michael Neville

          Yes, asswipe, that’s what I said. If you can’t keep up, then take fucking notes, you stupid moron.

        • Susan

          Of course the Bible was written by men

          What could be more obvious?

          but inspired… by the Holy Spirit

          What could be less defined and be buried in more white noise? That is, what could be more indistinguishable from making shit up?

          Islam? No. Elvis is alive? No. Mormonism? No. Transubstantiation? No.

          I referred to the Protestant Bible since it doesn’t include the books of the Apocrypha, a collection of uninspired, spurious books written by various individuals.

          Does that mean George is going to Protestant Hell?

          I think there should be an apologist Hell. A place where apologists special pleaders have to deal with each other and no one else ever has to deal with such B.S.

        • Andy_Schueler

          However the God of the Bible as described and revealed in the Bible
          could not be a product of imagination for finite minds cannot imagine
          infinity.

          Which is why thinkers from Indian and Greek antiquity like Zeno of Elea were actually Gods. No wait…

          As someone has said, “The Bible is not a compilation of 66 books that
          man would write if he could, nor could write if he would.” What the
          Bible reveals about man is beyond our ability to think up.

          Well, if someone said it, it must be true.

        • MNb

          The Bible is a compilation of 66 books that men could write and has written.

          “finite minds cannot imagine infinity.”
          Oh yes, you and I totally can. A simple example is a circle.

        • Scooter

          Thinking logically: We can’t comprehend infinity. We can comprehend a circle. Therefore, a circle is not infinite.

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          the cardinality of the set of points on a circle (over the real numbers) is uncountably infnite (technical term), the same cardinality as the set of real numbers. it’s easy to see with the help of a sterographic projection. this way you also get a “point at infinity” for free.

        • John Jones

          When you say the cardinality of the set of points on a circle
          over the real numbers is uncountably infinite – what do you mean ?

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))
        • John Jones

          Martin,

          Could you provide a proof that does not rely upon a use
          of “Proof by Contradiction”.

          Thank You.

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          which proof do you mean? the proof with the stereographic projction? i don’t have a problem with proof by contradiction, anyway.

        • John Jones

          Martin,
          Thank you for your reply.
          In terms of the stereographic projection, I am more inclined to label that a demonstration than a proof as you seem to have assumed that the real numbers are uncountable. Can you, without using a proof via Contradiction, show that the real numbers are uncountable.

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          with “stereographic projection” i just gave a hint for a proof, not a proof (or “demonstration”), you can also prove it differently, if you like. to actually prove it i leave as a simple exercise. btw: yes, you apparently can reformulate the usual proof (and yes it is a proof) for uncountability of reals so that it’s not a proof by contradiction. also: i don’t have to assume the uncountability of the reals, i now the proof, but you can simply assume it’s true, when proving something else (“if the reals are uncountable, then also the set of real points on a circle.”).

        • Andy_Schueler

          Thinking logically: We can’t comprehend infinity. We can comprehend a circle. Therefore, a circle is not infinite.

          Christian “math”: the decimal representation of the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter is not infinite and a circle can thus totally be squared!
          Why don´t you go full Bible on this matter and just claim that pi is equal to 3?

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          Tool, your argument just became circular and defeats itself.

          “finite minds cannot imagine infinity”.
          hence “a circle is not infinite”.
          hence “finite minds cannot imagine infinity”.
          Ad Nauseam.
          Infinitely.
          Which I just imagined.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “We can comprehend a circle.”

          I doubt you actually can.

        • George Watson

          Michael,

          Let me see if I got this straight:

          The Imagination is unbound by reality.

          Reality has limits.

          But Imagination has no limits.

          But from whence Imagination ?

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          God is not unique. I can say he is like space whales. I can even tell you that I made up the space whales. Can you prove they are not the creator of your God?

        • MNb

          “We know that gravity exists, and can study its effects.”
          Some nitpicking: no, we don’t know that gravity exists. Gravity is an abstract concept used to describe those concept. Which only reinforces your point, because the Trinity doesn’t do such thing. Scoot nicely confirms that himself with “Christians have struggled for a long time to express, within the limitations of human language, the unique revelation God makes of His mode of existence.

        • George Watson

          MNb,

          Shouldn’t you say there are effects which we attribute
          to Gravity, but we do not, yet, understand Gravity.

        • George Watson

          Dys,

          Error.

          There are no problems with the Trinity save you expect
          to be able to understand it.

        • Dys

          Great. Then explain it in a way that actually makes sense. You’d be the first. Even Scooter’s said it’s incomprehensible. Methinks you’re nothing more than a pompous blowhard.

        • MNb

          We understand the trinity. We understand it’s incoherent. And except when god is involved people conclude incoherent hence incorrect.
          Gravity is coherent. So are the provisional theories that describe it.

          “Sometimes what we “say” doesn’t adequately express the grandeur that is God.”
          Because there is no god. Including yours.

        • George Watson

          MNb,

          Gravity is coherent ?

          If so why is it taking so long to understand it ?

        • George Watson

          Dys,

          Just because you cannot grasp its implications
          don’t pout.

          And what is knowledge to you ?

        • Dys

          George, when the conversation is over your head, you should probably just stay out of it. All you’ll wind up doing is embarrassing yourself. Scooter’s already given lame excuses as to the problems with trying to define the trinity concept.

          If you can do a better job, go for it. But I think we both know you’re not going to.

          Knowledge is verified true belief. And if you can’t explain something, nor comprehend it, you don’t know it. Scooter’s admitted he can’t accurately describe the trinity, and being a finite being, can’t comprehend it. Ergo, he doesn’t know it.

        • John Jones

          When you say “knowledge is verified true belief” what do you mean ? I am aware that I have verified very little of what
          I am told is common knowledge, let alone what I might hold
          to be personal knowledge. What does verified mean to you ?
          What is the difference, if any, between verified belief and
          true belief and verified true belief. Is it possible to have a
          verified false belief ?

        • Dys

          “Verified” doesn’t necessarily mean personally verified by you (although it should be noted that what is often ‘common knowledge’ is frequently wrong). As for personal knowledge, it depends on what is being addressed. Generally speaking, however, if one is claiming to know something, being able to adequately describe what is meant would be a requisite. That doesn’t happen with the Trinity; every attempt I’ve ever witnessed resorts to modalism and then divine mystery. And once it’s hit the point of mystery, it’s faith, not knowledge.

          The difference between a true belief and a verified belief is that one could have a true belief, but if it’s not verified, then there’s no way to know whether it’s actually true or not. It would merely be a belief that just so happened to be true. Take the existence of intelligent alien life for example. One could have a belief that there exists such life. And they might be right. But until the existence of that life is verified, it’s not knowledge.

          Given a small enough sample size, it would be possible to have a verified false belief – we see this happen all the time with the formation of stereotypes. It’s also how so-called common knowledge is frequently wrong. Or when correlation/causation errors occur.

          So it has to be both true and verified to qualify as knowledge. Only having one or the other isn’t enough.

        • John Jones

          Dys,

          Thank you for your reply. It cleared up matters considerably.
          Two questions, how does one go about verifying and how does one know that the method or process used to verify
          is appropriate for the question at hand ?

        • Dys

          It depends on what is being verified, obviously. In some cases, expertise is useful for verification. Obviously not everything falls into this distinction, but it’s a starting point. Experimentation, repeatability, etc, would also be useful. It should be noted that knowledge is not the same thing as absolute knowledge, so absolute certainty is not a prerequisite.

          For things that touch the supernatural, however, I would say that there is no real verification process. Which is kind of the point when it comes to religion, which places an emphasis on faith.

          I do find it absurd when theists criticize atheists for declaring that god does not exist despite lacking omniscience, while failing to see the issue in declaring to “know” that a God does exist despite the lack of any real verification. Instead, the supposed verification is usually flawed logical arguments and the inane Gish gallop that amounts to “everything is evidence for God”, which is a de facto admittance that the concept is unfalsifiable.

        • John Jones

          How do we determine who is an expert and who may not be ?

        • Dys

          Do you actually have a point with this line of inquiry, or are you just playing 20 questions? Because if you’re trying to do the whole “knowledge requires god” nonsense, I’m not going to bother, as I don’t have the time nor patience to deal with that absurdity.

          Since it’s not possible to be an expert in every field, people specialize. You don’t ask your plumber to perform open-heart surgery.

        • John Jones

          Simple question:
          How do we decide who is an expert and who is not ?

        • Dys

          Already answered, read it again George. I’m not playing 20 questions with you.

        • John Jones

          Who is George ?

          So experts are assigned/agreed upon via credentials
          and experience and level of education.

          Is it not possible that some people are experts on God
          and some are not ?

        • Dys

          Is it not possible that some people are experts on invisible pink unicorns? You can be an expert on things that don’t exist. And since there’s really no verification system, anyone can claim to be an expert on God.

        • John Jones

          Dys.

          You assume that God does not exist.
          But if some people understand God and you do not
          to any degree whatsoever, is it their fault that you
          are not ?

          And how do you know there is no verification system ?

        • Dys

          You assume that God does not exist.

          And you assume he does.

          But if some people understand God and you do not
          to any degree whatsoever

          Or they just think they do, and are mistaken.

          is it their fault that you are not ?

          Only if they’re trying to convince me that they’re correct. Or make assertions to me that they can’t defend in any real sense. Like the typical “after you die” crap that you’ve put forth.

          And how do you know there is no verification system ?

          I’ve been asking for one for quite a while now, and all that’s ever offered are variations on just having faith. And the silliness of “believe first, evidence later”. If you have an actual verification method that holds up and isn’t just based on presuppositionalist assumptions or extremely generous ad hoc prophecy interpretations, let’s hear it.

        • John Jones

          Dys,

          How do you know that they are mistaken and it is
          not you who is tone-deaf to God’s existence.

        • Dys

          Sorry George, but you’ve used up all 20 questions for your game. You apparently have nothing to add, and are just going to continue your previous persona’s incessant questions without bothering to contribute anything meaningful.

          I admit fully that I could be wrong, but I don’t feel like providing you with the backstory of my realization that Christianity and theism itself are most likely wrong, as you don’t deserve it. You won’t even admit to your own sock-puppetry, even when it’s glaringly obvious, and seem to think you can propel yourself into some type of teaching role here even though you don’t appear to be qualified in any way. In short, you’re just as arrogant and full of yourself as John Jones as you were as George Watson.

          You haven’t demonstrated any expertise or authority, and haven’t managed to provide a compelling case for much of anything. So I’m rejecting your tactic of just sitting back and asking questions, as it seems to be a diversionary tactic to avoid defending your own beliefs.

          Now run along.

        • whg

          So you admit that much of what you claim to be knowledge for you, is not arrived at from personal experience, but only a form of trust, belief, that those “experts” are indeed experts thought study after study shows that experts – proclaimed on self-proclaimed are rarely more accurate than others at making predictions concerning the future…

          So if there are those who claim that they have all the evidence to believe there is a God, you have nothing to say to them that can refute them except stomp your fee, throw up dust in the air and say: But that is not evidence, as if you,
          and you alone were the arbiter of all that is and is not evidence.

          If something happened in your life or the trajedies of life strike in such a way that you just cannot believe in a loving
          Creator, do you think the Creator would hold you own honesty against you ?

        • Dys

          If you need someone to explain the value of expertise to you, then you need to go back to at least high school.

          Also, you really had to go and create another sock puppet account? Are you at least going to give up lying about it this time and just admit it?

          If something happened in your life or the trajedies of life strike in such a way that you just cannot believe in a loving Creator, do you think the Creator would hold you own honesty against you ?

          Ah…this sad attempt always tells more about the person asking it. It’s basically an admission that you don’t have a good intellectual reason for believing in a creator, just an emotional one.

        • whg

          There is no definition of what it is to be an “Expert”.

          Plato explained that a long time ago and recent studies have shown that
          experts are no better than others on predicting what will be soon be discovered by science or what the political/economic situation will be like in 6 months. So may anthropologists/archeologists have been show to be simply wrong that it makes you wonder if – ology – ought to be removed from the naming of the discipline.

          No, I provided an explanation as to why someone may have a deep emotional cause for why they do not believe in God. As for intellectual reason as to why the Creator exists – the Ontological Argument – 2nd version provides all you need.

        • Dys

          Great, so expertise is useless by your estimation. Which means that your constant attempts to portray yourself as any kind of authority or expert on logic are complete and utter dishonesty on your part, by your own admission.

          It’s hilarious that you believe that the capacity to be wrong somehow undermines the notion of expertise. Do they let garbagemen perform open heart surgery in your little land of unreality as well?

          2nd version provides all you need.

          As long as you just repeatedly ignore the problems people have pointed out with it, that you’ve basically either dismissed out of hand or ignored. The mistake you’re making is that you think the second ontological argument is a proof, when it’s not.

        • whg

          Expertise can be helpful, but you treat it as they cannot be mistaken.
          Have you noticed that you and G just repeat what you get off the web ?

          It is a proof, you just don’t comprehend it.

        • StevenK

          >> So it has to be both true and verified to qualify as knowledge.

          Suppose you’re at a party and see a man across the room drinking from a martini glass. You say something like “The guy in the black tux drinking a martini is well-dressed.” Suppose, however, that you got several things wrong even though you are confident that you saw things correctly. Namely, you are unaware that the man is not in fact drinking a martini, but water, not wearing a tux, but a fake shirt that looks like one – and it has stains and holes on the front which you did not see.

          Do you have knowledge of the man? Yes. Despite your errors you do know the man, albeit imperfectly. I think all knowledge is imperfect.

        • George Watson

          Scooter,

          Fine explanation.

        • Scooter

          Thanks George. I’m afraid for most this falls on deaf ears. Its God the Holy Spirit who has to open the understanding of the blind as he wills.

        • MNb

          “falls on deaf ears”
          How else could it be if you are not even capable of answering the simple question whether our natural reality is consistent (scientific laws) or inconsistent (miracles)?
          Let alone harder questions how a perfect god grounded an imperfect math (Gödel’s incompleteness theorem) and an imperfect logic (Russell’s barber paradox)?
          And then I save you the brainteaser how your imaginary sky daddy is supposed to interact with our natural reality without any natural means and procedures available to him/her/it.

        • John Jones

          Could you spare the time to explain just how it is that Professor Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem (Are you speaking of the first or second of his theorems on incompleteness – or both ? ) and Professor Russell’s Barber Paradox – is it not the case that Zermelo knew of the same type of paradox around the same time – are relevant to the question of God’s perfection ?

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          “God exists because mathematics is undoubtedly consistent, and the devil exists because we cannot prove the consistency.” – hermann weyl

        • John Jones

          And so what is there to dispute ?

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          oh, there is no real dispute, and people who take weyl’s quote (or quotes like it) literally and don’t see the humor, or think it resolves anything, have a problem.

        • John Jones

          With computers it does seem that we can work within areas where we are fairly sure we won’t come up with an incorrect answer, so why worry about proofs, let alone such deep one’s as Godel’s.

          Thank You for your reply.

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          well, people already try for quite a while to use formal reasoning to prove the correctness of software. some work with/on proof assistants and automated theorem provers. also: turing’s halting problem, a classic topic in computer science, has some similarties to gödel’s result. so, don’t worry, nobody forgets about proofs, especially gödel’s. this doesn’t change the fact that gödel’s result is not necessarily that important to mathematicians, who are not logicians, set theorists, or computer scientists, as far as their work is concerned.

        • John Jones

          Thank you.

        • whg

          Has anyone proved our natural world is consistent ?
          Is that not a hypothesis/axiom of modern science.
          As for miracles being inconsistent….hmm if you saw one and did not deny it – then it is natural in someway that you have yet to fathom.

          You misunderstand what Godel was up to in the IT’s.
          He is only speaking of human methods in Mathematics.
          Likewise for Logic.

          The Creator can do whatever He wishes with His creation,
          why is that so hard for you to accept. You and I and Scooter
          may not like what He does, but we have no grounds to deny Him the right to do with His creation as He sees fit.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          This is as bad if not worse than the dialogue of ‘Lady in the Water’. Just replace each instance of ‘God’ with ‘NARF!’

        • Max Doubt

          “How about 1x1x1=1? The mistake in thinking about the Trinity is that 3 separate Gods are presumed as the Jehovah Witnesses do. But each person of the godhead is complete in Himself so that there are 3 who’s (persons) and one what (the essence or being of God)”

          And once again you demonstrate how utterly rude, selfish, and childish you are about your god belief. You’re acting like a spoiled kid with an imaginary friend whose parent never taught him that other people aren’t playing the let’s-pretend-god game. Do you suppose your parents are embarrassed or proud that they raised you to be so willfully ignorant and so self absorbed?

        • Scooter

          Max, there are a couple of reasons why I choose not to reply to your comments. The first is your inability to present sound arguments to refute anything I’ve said. Secondly, your choice of mode of discussion is mockery which is not an argument but simply reveals your character and attitude which I will not add to for in the Bible which you despise it says do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him. Sorry Max, but I can’t answer when there is no worthwhile substance to your comments. (Also, don’t waste your time answering as I’ve decided not to read your comments further. Good day)

        • MNb

          Empty statement. Yoou don’t answer my comments either. But I’m all for second and third chances.
          Has your god already decided whether our naturality is consistent (scientific laws) or inconsistent (miracles)?
          Be sure that not answering me makes me happy as well.

        • George Watson

          MNb,

          There are no scientific laws.

          It is God’s Universe, He can do as He pleases.

        • Michael Neville

          It is God’s Universe, He can do as He pleases.

          Got any evidence for either one of these silly claims? Let’s start with the evidence that your god even exists. Then we can discuss whether or not he has the slightest claim to the least bit of ownership of my universe.

        • George Watson

          Michael,

          When did you Create the Universe to make it “yours” ?

          If you think the Universe is just the product of random
          events, you are welcome to it.

        • Michael Neville

          Who, besides you, claims the universe is “just the product of random events”? Friendly word of advice, asswipe, don’t talk about things you’re completely ignorant about.

          As for who owns the universe, I think my claim is a lot stronger than that of an imaginary, non-existent, fictitious critter. At least I exist in this universe.

        • George Watson

          Michael,

          Are DNA changes – predetermined ?
          Yes or No
          Is every thought you have – predetermined ?
          Yes or No
          Is every change in energy/momentum – predetermined ?
          Yes or No.

        • Michael Neville

          Like many of your co-religionists you fail to understand the difference between undetermined and random. If you ever do realize that there is a difference then we can discuss it, until then you can wallow in your ignorance.

        • whg

          Undetermined ?
          And what provides that anything is un-determined ?

        • MNb

          Stupid question of a dumb guy who thinks way too high of himself and hence lied when he claimed to follow Jesus’ teachings.
          “Our” Universe does not refer to ownership, let alone creating something.
          Though it wouldn’t be surprising to read that a racist homophobic bigot who defends slavery, ie you, actually claims that his children are his possession.

        • George Watson

          MNb,

          Wow – what, though they are false, have the accusations
          you lodge against me, have to do with God being the Creator
          of His universe ?

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          “When did you Create the Universe to make it “yours” ?”

          Michael created it at the beginning of time obviously (if pressed he will concede Max Doubt did most of the work).

          “If you think the Universe is just the product of random
          events”

          Being the creator, he KNOWS.

        • MNb

          Yeah, we already found out that he is a piece of shit.
          So according to you our natural reality is inconsistent?
          I bet you pray before switching a light bulb on.

        • George Watson

          MNb,

          I used to be paid by very devout Jews to turn on their lights
          and heat and all during the Sabbath, when I was a boy.

        • Dys

          It is God’s Universe, He can do as He pleases.

          Evidence is required to defend this assertion. You’ve provided none.

        • whg

          God need not provide evidence to you or anyone else.
          However, He does, but you seem to refuse to accept it.

        • Dys

          However, He does, but you seem to refuse to accept it.

          Only through meaningless assertions by his sycophants.

        • whg

          Nothing wrong with being a sycophant of the Creator.
          But what right do you say to anyone that there is no proof for God.
          The judgement of what is sufficient/compelling evidence is up to them,
          not you. No one forces you to believe or not believe – you have a free will
          and may use it as you see fit.

        • Dys

          Nothing wrong with being a sycophant of the Creator.

          If you’re content being a bootlicker to the monster portrayed in the bible, that’s your business.

          But what right do you say to anyone that there is no proof for God.

          What right do you have to say there is?

          The judgement of what is sufficient/compelling evidence is up to them,
          not you.

          My, you’re stupid…people are allowed to have whatever flimsy, nondemonstrable evidence for god they like. I haven’t said otherwise.

          No one forces you to believe or not believe

          I don’t recall ever saying otherwise.

          you have a free will and may use it as you see fit.

          Do I? Wait…don’t answer that…I don’t want you try having another philosophical argument you’re clearly not equipped to have.

        • whg

          Your difficulty is that you only want people to think like you think and believe like you believe, you really don’t want people to exercise their free will if they disagree with you.

          If people are wrong in their beliefs they are wrong. If you are wrong, you are wrong.
          Happens every day.

          If people voting for Hillary think she is really going to change anything they are beyond
          deluded – they ignore how much money Wall Street has paid her for speeches. They
          are being far, far more irrational than any Theists – who at least has the hope that the divinity they worship might provide for them in the next life.

          There is not one economist, political scientist, scientists who can honestly and accurately tell you what the state of the world will be in six months or what will or what will not be
          discovered. Anyone can be an “Expert” if you let them to constantly revise their theories when they are shown to be incorrect.

          You keep demanding rational proof for God’s Existence…and who would judge if it is rational or not ?

        • Dys

          Your difficulty is that you only want people to think like you think and believe like you believe

          I’ve never said nor implied this.

          you really don’t want people to exercise their free will if they disagree with you.

          I quite frequently admit to the possibility that I could be wrong. I’m also open to the fact that people can have a different opinion that me because they have more information. Granted, you’re not one of them, not because you don’t agree with me, but because you don’t actually defend your assertions and are apparently intentionally oblivious to your own flaws in argument.

          Anyone can be an “Expert” if you let them to constantly revise their theories when they are shown to be incorrect.

          Which translates to “I’m going to keep railing against the notion of expertise where it’s convenient”. Expertise is useful in gaining knowledge. Sure, it’s not always correct, but that doesn’t make automatically make everyone a layman with equal opinions.

          You keep demanding rational proof for God’s Existence…and who would judge if it is rational or not ?

          Not proof…evidence. You can’t prove god’s existence one way or the other.

        • whg

          How do you know you can’t prove God’s existence one way or the other.
          If so, are you an atheists and if so why ?

          There are no “Experts” there are those who have greater experience/well founded
          beliefs/accounts but no Experts.

          People could just happen to conjecture to the correct answer….

          What counts for evidence.

          Why are some people convinced and you are not…?

        • Dys

          How do you know you can’t prove God’s existence one way or the other.

          If it could be proved, faith would be irrelevant.

          If so, are you an atheists and if so why ?

          Yes, I am an atheist because I don’t see any support for the notion that any god or gods exist.

          There are no “Experts” there are those who have greater experience/well founded
          beliefs/accounts but no Experts.

          Unsubstantiated assertion on your part. You don’t like expertise…perhaps because you don’t have any?

          People could just happen to conjecture to the correct answer….

          The capacity to be wrong doesn’t make expertise non-existent, just as someone coming upon the correct answer by dumb luck doesn’t. Probability is not your friend at all on this issue.

          What counts for evidence.

          Different things for different people. Some have a higher standard for evidence. Some people have such a low standard that they can rightly be called gullible.

          Why are some people convinced and you are not…?

          Mostly due to childhood indoctrination.

        • whg

          When you say you have a higher standard of evidence than those you deem gullible. [ And you talk about my ego . ] Are you saying you are not gullible about anything ?

          Sounds more like you are an Agnostic with Atheistic leanings.

          Faith would not be ir-releavnt as you would still have to believe that your
          Creator is benevolent toward you.

          Again, go read Plato so you may understand better why there are no
          experts, just people who have more experience than you and have thought about it longer…

          What sort of childhood indoctrination – of the same type that leads people,
          though they finally seem to be getting over it, to believe their country is
          automatically great and the government has their best interest at heart ?

        • Paul B. Lot

          “There is not one economist, political scientist, scientists who can honestly and accurately tell you what the state of the world will be in six months or what will or what will not be discovered. Anyone can be an “Expert” if you let them to constantly revise their theories when they are shown to be incorrect.”

          http://chem.tufts.edu/answersinscience/relativityofwrong.htm

        • whg

          The question is whether experts can be incorrect.
          All too often people on this site quote some expert and expect that to the end of the discussion as if the expert is never incorrect.
          Thank you for the link to Asimov.

          Nice to see he quotes Aristotle to whom MNb seems to give little credence.

          I believe he may be in error about the first telescopic views of Jupiter and Saturn revealing they were not perfect spheres. I don’t believe that the first viewers could see the planets that well to make that claim.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “Thank you for the link to Asimov.”

          Very welcome!

          “The question is whether experts can be incorrect….I believe he may be in error”

          Of course they “can be incorrect” and of course “he may be” – that is part of the essence of science.

          Did you really never learn this? Perhaps your animus is better understood, now, given your gross misconceptions about what the words “science” and “expert” mean.

          “in error about the first telescopic views of Jupiter and Saturn revealing they were not perfect spheres. I don’t believe that the first viewers could see the planets that well to make that claim.”

          What is the evidence which backs up your claim, here? That is another part of the essence – giving good reasons for why you think what you think.

          “All too often people on this site quote some expert and expect that to the end of the discussion as if the expert is never incorrect.”

          I’ve never seen this happen, not once.

        • whg

          You are welcome.

          When people say: Science is self-correcting, how is that make it any
          different from Applied Mathematics ? Yes, you found out you were in error
          so you go back and calculate again.

          People act as if suddenly in the 17th century people became smarter.
          Technology/metallurgy/chemistry/mathematics made modern science possible not some sudden increase in intelligence. So when MNb dismisses
          Ancient Philosophy with a wave of his hand, save the Atomists, or people
          declare without any reservation, on other Bob’s site, that Christianity only hindered Modern Science or not – they reveal themselves as just not know much of the past.

          Yes, Greg G can pepper the site with quotes from various atheistic tracts,
          Dys claims he fully grasps all errors in reasoning, MNb can write as if
          he omniscient about all matters Modern, Ignorant Amos roll out long disproven pet theories of old time atheism, Myna, who writes very, well, can be dismissive as she does not understand where the discussion is going and Susan can still sound like she is hip college girl, though she seems to know next to nothing about philosophy/science. Michael mainly argues from points of view he found on the web, he has his points but they are not as well founded as he might believe.

          As pointed out:

          If a pristine copy of the Gospels and Acts and the Trial Records of Pilate were
          found buried beneath the Temple in Jerusalem by even a anti-Christian archeologist – no one at this site is willing to admit that they would then accept the validity that Jesus lived. People argue as if they know that it is impossible for the Creator to exist. [ Personally I think anyone who honestly says they cannot believe that an all powerful Creator would allow the horrors that gone on in this world to be carried out and thus they cannot fathom how there can be a loving Creator have God’s respect. Those who say that it is
          logically impossible for there to be a Creator, fail to understand how human logic is. Those who put their faith in Scientific Explanations that will, somehow, prove there is no need for a Creator, do not understand the limitations of Science and of human understanding.

          So I ask clarifying questions, yes the answers may seem obvious to you,
          but they serve their purpose. There is no need for insults due to my asking them. If I am the theistic gadfly of Bob’s Atheist blog is that so bad.

          I will get back to you about Evolution if I am allowed to post later tonight.

          Think back to how little power the first telescopes had.
          Think back to how fuzzy the first images were.
          What human could look through them and go:
          Hmm, you know Jupiter and Saturn…they look a little non-spherical to me…

          Never, not once…you might want to read them again.

        • Max Doubt

          “Max, there are a couple of reasons why I choose not to reply to your comments. The first is your inability to present sound arguments to refute anything I’ve said.”

          I’m not here to refute anything you say. I’m here asking you to support what you say. You continue to claim that some invisible magical all powerful being exists. I’m calling you out on that claim. And when you willfully ignore your responsibility to support the claims you make, I’m calling you out on your dishonesty and willful ignorance. If something about your ignorance makes you uncomfortable, you should own that. Trying to hold other people responsible for your ignorance makes you look like an asshole.

          “Secondly, your choice of mode of discussion is mockery which is not an argument but simply reveals your character and attitude which I will not add to for in the Bible which you despise it says do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him.”

          And you’re still acting like an insolent child. You’re talking about a book of tales as if they’re true, yet when asked to objectively demonstrate that they are true, you run like a coward. If you had a speck of honesty and human decency you’d admit you can’t support your claims. I think I understand why you’re so scared. It’s also pretty obvious that you don’t understand why you are.

          “Sorry Max, but I can’t answer when there is no worthwhile substance to your comments.”

          My comments are some of the most important, most germane, most substantive comments that you’ll ever encounter, because they speak directly to what you claim to know. You can stuff your fingers in your ears like a kid throwing a tantrum, but it won’t change reality. This, little fella, is true as far as we know and as far as you know, and it is true regardless of your fear of acknowledging it: There is no objective evidence to support any claims that gods are something other than figments of individuals’ imaginations.

          “(Also, don’t waste your time answering as I’ve decided not to read your comments further. Good day)”

          Your continued childish tantrums, willful ignorance, and abject dishonesty are noted.

        • George Watson

          Max,

          Where is the Objective Evidence that you exist ?

          You expect God to dance to your little tune.

          Scooter knows better and you are bitter toward him because
          he has the humbleness to trust in God while you trust in…

        • Michael Neville

          Bullshit. You and Scooter both know you have no evidence for the existence of any gods, let alone the sadistic thug you worship. Stop pretending that your inability to provide evidence is our fault because it isn’t. And stop whining. God hates a whiner.

        • George Watson

          Michael,

          God has to prove Himself to you.

          or is it that

          You have to prove yourself to God ?

        • Michael Neville

          No, asswipe, you have to provide evidence, not proof but fucking EVIDENCE, that your god exists. This is something that so far you have failed to do, which isn’t surprising because you’ve failed to provide evidence every time I’ve asked you to do so.

        • George Watson

          Michael,

          Insults, why ?

          If someone says:

          God provides evidence every day by the rising Sun,
          White Clouds, Blue Skies, smiles and laughter of children,
          Lemonade, Barbecued Ribs and the green grass so cool
          in between your toes and a kiss from a pretty girl that
          He exists.

          If you cannot turn that evidence into proof of the Creator’s
          existence – who is at fault ?

        • Dys

          If everything is evidence for God, then nothing is. But it seems you’re just a presuppositionalist at heart, so you’ll just keep making assertions you’ll refuse to defend.

        • whg

          Why do you say:
          If everything is evidence for God, then nothing is.
          Were you once a student of Popper ?

          You do know that he retracted that claim accepting that if
          everything in a system of thought Coheres to the Truth then there can it cannot be falsified.

          You seem somewhat non-up-to-date on your Philosophy of Science. If you would like some books to read, I can tell you of some.

        • Dys

          George, you’re not qualified to lecture anyone on philosophy of science or anything else. Stop pretending.

        • whg

          Why don’t you address the questions ?

        • Dys

          Because you’re just a sockpuppet, and a fundamentally dishonest one at that. I think we both know you’re unable to see past your own over-sized ego.

        • whg

          You still don’t answer the questions.

        • Dys

          The theist that asserts that everything is evidence for the existence of god is doing nothing more than reiterating a presupposition that they haven’t demonstrated to be true.

          It’s just a reiteration of an unneeded assumption. Additionally, there needs to be a concept of what would qualify as evidence against a supposition. Otherwise you’re not really doing anything more than just arguing via assertion, and not providing evidence for anything.

        • whg

          Sounds nice but does not hold water.

          The very existence of the world is convincing to some.
          They need no other arguments/proofs/evidence.

          You cannot judge their conclusion, only say it does not seem evidential enough to you.

          Why do you get to call their evidential proof – only suppositions…

        • Dys

          Sounds nice but does not hold water.

          Yet another of your pointless assertions. I provided the answer you asked for, and you’re doing nothing more than saying “nuh uh” on your own say-so.

          The very existence of the world is convincing to some.

          Which only demonstrates that ‘some’ have exceedingly low standards for what they’ll accept as evidence.

          They need no other arguments/proofs/evidence.

          Sorry, I don’t have the same soft spot for gullibility that you do.

          You cannot judge their conclusion

          Of course I can. I can also judge the method by which they arrived at that conclusion.

          Why do you get to call their evidential proof – only suppositions…

          Because that’s what it is – a presupposition that everything is evidence for god. I’m in favour of calling things what they are.

        • whg

          You make the error or all errors.
          You assume that you can judge what convinces people and what does not
          and act that you yourself are never in error.

          Everyone one has blind spots and we are blind to them.
          You call people “gullible” but who are you to say that they are mistaken,
          perhaps God speaks to them in ways He does not speak to you.

          It may be the case that you have exquisite taste buds or are very lacking.
          Someone says they taste something you cannot taste, are they inherently in error or gullible ?

          Perhaps you are tone deaf….

          Perhaps you just cannot follow a proof – it is just too complicated for you.
          Does that justify your saying those who accept it as true are gullible.

          By what metaphysical yardstick do you judge by and from when did you
          find it and how do you know yours and only yours can measure the truth ?

          If it is the case, and it is the case, that God created the Universe, then you are in error again by saying it is a presupposition.

          In either case you are old enough to know you must start with at least one presupposition to get traction in any argument…

        • Dys

          You assume that you can judge what convinces people and what does not

          Of course I can judge what convinces other people. Everyone can (and does) – it’s how we evaluate the claims people make.

          act that you yourself are never in error.

          Except I don’t. And then there’s that pesky part where I said this wasn’t true and admitted, quite clearly, that I could be wrong.

          You call people “gullible” but who are you to say that they are mistaken,
          perhaps God speaks to them in ways He does not speak to you.

          Great…first you foolishly dismiss the concept of expertise, and now you’re dismissing the notion of gullibility. I really hope you don’t think you deserve to be taken seriously. Do you just look at it and go “hmm…this concept is being used against my position. So I’ll just completely dismiss the concept out of hand”? So, by your account, there’s no such thing as gullibility. Do you accept tales of alien abductions as well?

          Perhaps you are tone deaf….

          Perhaps you’re projecting.

          Perhaps you just cannot follow a proof – it is just too complicated for you

          And perhaps you put more stock in the ontological argument than is warranted, and blinded by your own inflated ego, are unwilling to seriously consider the possibility. By your own silly standard, you’re incapable of saying otherwise. After all, who are you to say I’m wrong? Or do you only play that childish game when it suits your own position?

          By what metaphysical yardstick do you judge by and from when did you find it and how do you know yours and only yours can measure the truth ?

          Empiricism. And I don’t know if it’s the only way to measure truth. But it’s got a much better track record than supernaturalism.

          If it is the case, and it is the case, that God created the Universe, then you are in error again by saying it is a presupposition.

          Yes, yes….you keep pretending your beliefs are facts when such has never been demonstrated or proven. It’s a presupposition regardless of your belief in magical spirits. Oh, and you said I was wrong…I thought you weren’t allowed to do that to other people. At least try to be consistent.

          In either case you are old enough to know you must start with at least one presupposition to get traction in any argument…

          As well as old enough to know when unnecessary ones are introduced. Such as the magical spirit that created everything…it’s unnecessary.

        • whg

          You dismiss Supernaturalism when, by your own admission, you don’t believe in it,
          don’t know it and have never experienced it. Yet if God creates the World, and He did,
          you are surrounded by it..

          Error 10.
          No you cannot judge what convinces people in the sense of why they are convinced by it and you are not and whether their conviction is justified. [ You suppose there is some
          Universal Standard on what makes a Justifying Argument/Experience/Evidence…]
          If they are convinced, they are convinced. If you are not convinced, you are not convinced.
          They may, in time change their views or they may not. That is the human condition that
          you and others on this site think that you have risen above, but you have not as comments on this site and links and arguments make abundantly clear. [ If there is a God, and there is, you could not be more wrong at the ultimate foundation of understanding, but most of the commentators say they know there is no Creator and demean anyone who believe in the Creator – by what Justification ? ]

          Fine, as such you can see you have committed many errors on this site.

          What is interesting, though a bit startling, about the Faux Rationalists is that they refuse to admit there is any truth that they cannot resolve to their own satisfaction – that they have no blind spots, are not tone deaf to the beauty of the Universe. [ Many Theists seem blind/tone deaf to the horrors of this world. ] I sometime wonder if most of the commentators are just worshippers at the Altar of the god of Logic as if Logic does anything more than clarify concepts.

          The Second of Anselm’s Arguments is Valid/Sound and God knows it is True.
          Whether we can understand why it is true is the question. [ By the way you can look up the Valid/Soundness part as being shown by a computer programmed to detect those qualities of an argument. ] I am happy to just claim it shows that there is no Logical Reason why the Creator cannot exist.

          “Empiricism” now here is your problem and the key problem.
          What do you mean by Empiricism – what Locke speaks of, what Hume speaks of…
          or something else. Have you read your Kant on why pure Empiricism fails as way to
          obtaining knowledge ?

          If God created the Universe, and He did, there is no way to prove it, because it cannot
          be falsified, if you wish to Popperian about it. Or you can argue that since it is a necessary truth that the Universe is created by God, then, ala Descartes, you can never really proof it as all you have is evidence for God and nothing against it, so no dichotomy can be brought forth, so no doubt can exist, in the strictest and proper sense, and so no argument can be made to prove to you what you already innately knows to be true.

          Why is God un-necessary in your view ?

        • adam

          “You dismiss Supernaturalism when, by your own admission, you don’t believe in it,don’t know it and have never experienced it. ”

          Of course.

          Just demonstrate that “Supernaturalism” exists.

          “Yet if God creates the World”

          Just demonstrate that this ‘God’ you claim is not imaginary.

          “, and He did,”

          And you’ve FAILED to demonstrate this

          “you are surrounded by it..”

          Another FAILURE to demonstrate…

        • whg

          Poor N – look how he spent his last day, perhaps he should not have said what he said.

          You failed to understand the argument.

        • adam

          No I understand the argument.

        • Dys

          Yet if God creates the World, and He did, you are surrounded by it..

          Nah, that’s untrue.

          No you cannot judge what convinces people in the sense of why they are convinced by it and you are not and whether their conviction is justified.

          Ah…so likewise, you’re completely and utterly incapable of judging why someone’s rejected that same evidence as uncompelling and whether they’re justified in doing so. It’s nice that the same logic eviscerates your own behavior.

          I don’t get why you think I’m unable to judge other people’s convictions. I’m certain there are people out there absolutely convinced they were abducted by aliens. But I can likewise judge that their conviction is most likely unjustified. What I can’t judge is the fact of whether they were actually convinced or not.

          Fine, as such you can see you have committed many errors on this site.

          Oh, I’m sure I have. Not nearly as many as you, of course, but I’ve no doubt I’ve committed errors.

          What is interesting, though a bit startling, about the Faux Rationalists
          is that they refuse to admit there is any truth that they cannot
          resolve to their own satisfaction – that they have no blind spots, are
          not tone deaf to the beauty of the Universe.

          Huh…glad I’m not one. Of course, it doesn’t seem that you’re much of a rationalist of any stripe.

          I am happy to just claim it shows that there is no Logical Reason why the Creator cannot exist.

          And yet it doesn’t demonstrate that it is possible for a creator to exist.

          If God created the Universe, and He did, there is no way to prove it,

          But since he doesn’t exist, he didn’t.

          Or you can argue that since it is a necessary truth that the Universe is created by God

          Which also doesn’t really work.

          and so no argument can be made to prove to you what you already innately knows to be true.

          So as long as you profess something to be true, and you don’t have any doubts, you can pretend you don’t have to prove it?

          Why is God un-necessary in your view ?

          Because the proposition adds nothing. It doesn’t actually explain anything; you’d be much better off saying “I don’t know” as opposed to “God did it”.

        • whg

          You can’t prove it is untrue, millions upon millions are convince it is true and so you have no epistemological or mereological justification to dismiss their claims save your own prejudice, which is your choice, but at least be honest about it.

          I did not use logic, I used epistemology. Again you are free to accept/believe or not
          but you are justified in saying they must be inherently mistake because I am not convinced by the evidence they are convinced by.

          You may think it is highly unlikely that they were abducted by Aliens, but have you a way to show that it is impossible that they were abducted ? For yourself you can make the judgement that it is going to take a lot more evidence than you just saying Alien took you out to dinner or Saturn’s most inner ring last night…

          Proud not to be a member of the Rationalist Camp.

          You don’t know that God Exists adds nothing, if you are getting that from the
          “Predicate: And it exists” camp, you do not understand what they are saying.

        • Dys

          You can’t prove it is untrue, millions upon millions are convince it is
          true and so you have no epistemological or mereological justification
          to dismiss their claims save your own prejudice

          Ad populum. Nice to see you come back around to it. Also, your claim against my supposed epistemology is ludicrous.

          You may think it is highly unlikely that they were abducted by Aliens,
          but have you a way to show that it is impossible that they were abducted
          ?

          No wonder you attempted to dismiss gullibility.

          Proud not to be a member of the Rationalist Camp.

          Well at least you admit it. Now if only you would try to stop torturing logic…

          you do not understand what they are saying.

          Which might be an interesting accusation if you bothered defending it. Which you didn’t. Shocker.

        • MNb

          We dismiss supernaturalism because it doesn’t make sense, Georgieboy.
          Nice to see that you confirm, despite your lame attempt to contradict it, that according to you anything goes – you’re seeking the Truth by means of wishful thinking and inferring whatever you like.

          “Why is God un-necessary in your view ?”
          Because the concept is incoherent, there is no method to determine whether claims regarding god are correct or incorrect and because the concept doesn’t have any explanatory power.
          God only obfuscates.

          As for empiricism, science since about 200 years (indeed, since Hume – Kant is irrelevant for science) has recognized that on it’s own it’s insufficient. No scientist is an empiricist. It’s because the Problem of Induction by Simple Enumeration.
          Science uses both deduction and induction. If the outcomes are the same – and with Evolution Theory that’s totally the case – we can claim knowledge. Of course Popper has made clear that even then knowledge is temporary.
          One insurmountable problem with the concept of god is that claims about a supposed supernatural reality can’t be tested. You can only use deduction and since Euclides we should have known that we always can reject the axiomata/ presuppositions/ basic assumptions or whatever fancy term you prefer.

        • whg

          Just because it does not make sense to you…

          As for incoherency – and your proof is…?

          Kant is hardly irrelevant for Science, he did more for the foundational understanding of the Sciences than anyone else – you do need to read your Kant before you make your sweeping generalisations.

          The outcomes for Evolution are not the same – that is the problem facing any biologist –
          no living creature is the same as any other creature and none of them experience the exact same environment…so no you cannot claim knowledge – perhaps opinion based on statistics but not knowledge.

          Popper ?
          How out of date are you on the Philosophy of Science ?
          Is Falsification dependent upon being able to draw an exact line of demarcation between what is Science and what is not. And what if you just cannot think of an example that would falsify something claiming to be a science and what if what surely appears not to be a science allows for falsifiability ?
          The question of deductive invalidity is not as simple as you make it out to be, nor as
          Hume made it seem. It may be the case that we have found every possible instance and there are no others and thus there cannot be any counter-examples to be found. As to why counter examples cannot exist – is a question to be resolved.
          I find Feyerabend, my one time teacher, to have far more accurate understanding of what Scientists actually do

          Do you hold that all knowledge is temporary…?

          Do you hold that if a theory cannot be falsified it has no meaning ?

          It it not a insurmountable problem, if you allow for the evidence Pascal found convincing.
          Why you act, or at least seem to act, that only physical evidence counts as evidence is odd, as you admit above evidence tells you nothing – knowledge is always based upon interpretation and each person is free to interpret as they see fit.

        • MNb

          “and your proof is?”
          It’s not a proof and it’s not mine. As I don’t feel like having a serious discussion with a liar like you I refer to

          http://www.amazon.com/God-Age-Science-Critique-Religious/dp/0199697531

          “Kant … did more for the foundational understanding of the Sciences.”
          Given your thorough lack of scientific understanding and knowledge this is an empty statement.

          “How out of date are you …..”
          As out of date as Stephen Hawking, someone who understands science a lot more than you. After this howler I did not care to read any further, my dear stupid ignorant, except for one point.
          Feyerabend was a critic of Popper. Hence Feyerabend doesn’t make sense without Popper. That you need to understand Descartes, Hume and Popper to understand how science works doesn’t mean that the three were totally correct on everything.
          We atheists are not authoritarians who take over everything without further thinking like christian you.

        • adam

          “No you cannot judge what convinces people in the sense of why they are convinced by it and you are not and whether their conviction is justified.”

          Of course you can.

        • whg

          No, Adam, you cannot.
          You may judge the consequences of their belief in the public realm, but whatever
          convinces you, convinces you.

        • adam

          Yes, whg you can

        • MNb

          “If it is the case, and it is the case, that God created the Universe, then you are in error again by saying it is a presupposition.”
          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          You contradict it’s a presupposition by offering a presupposition. Brilliant.

        • whg

          Thank you.
          It was brilliant was it not.

        • Myna A.

          You still don’t answer the questions.

          You still don’t answer for your duplicity.

        • whg

          What duplicity ?

        • Myna A.

          What do you think, George, John, David, gw, whg…

        • Paul B. Lot

          Would smell as putrescent.

        • whg

          I was hoping for one of your very well written responses, you have a
          certain flair/style in your writing.

          I don’t think of them are trolls.

          Just people asking deep questions that need to be asked on this site.

        • Myna A.

          I don’t think them are trolls…Just people asking deep questions…

          They are larvae from the same tick.

        • whg

          Why the insults.

          Do Deep Questions bother you ?

        • Myna A.

          Your questions are as deep as half a teaspoon…and not even that. Sorry.

        • whg

          Then why the insults ?
          Why not just answer them ?

        • Myna A.

          Aside from the occasional insult, I’ve no wish to engage with you. Others have replied to your utterances with a good deal of intelligence and grace and you just prattle on. I’ve no patience for it.

        • whg

          Still not addressing the questions…

        • Myna A.

          Why don’t you address the questions ?

          Why don’t you address your duplicity?

        • whg

          Why don’t you, yours ?

        • Myna A.

          I’m not the one with the pathological need to change identities.

        • whg

          There is the flair !

          No, a gad-fly, one deeply needed and thus should be appreciated
          by those on this site.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “No, a gad-fly, one deeply needed and thus should be appreciated “

          First you’re willing to be crucified for Christ.

          Now you’re the reincarnation of Socrates.

          Nope, not a drama queen at all 😛

          The bottom line, for my part, is this Georgie-my-troll-boy:

          IF you asked tons of questions AND you had the tenacity and curiosity and humility to follow the logic ALL THE WAY DOWN the rabbit hole – THEN I would appreciate your presence here.

          But the problem is that you’re all talk.

          You can’t walk the walk.

          You’re a blustering, foolish coward.

          You start lines of questioning, and then run away when you feel like you are losing.

          You’re not a “gadfly”, Jones, you’re a pathetic old arrogant schlub. You’re yellow-bellied cur.

          That you’d compare yourself with a man whom we are told had the courage to die for truth is utterly disgusting.

        • whg

          Which man are you referring to, in terms of dying for the truth.

          Never said I was the re-incarnations of Socrates, just a gad-fly to Faux Rationalists.

          Perhaps you ascription says more about what is really going on here.

          You are realising that the claims of most on this site are hardly true, let alone justified.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “Which man are you referring to, in terms of dying for the truth.”

          So-crates.

          “You are realising that the claims of most on this site are hardly true, let alone justified.”

          Nope.

        • Dys

          thus should be appreciated by those on this site.

          ….And there’s the unwarranted arrogance and egotism.

          Sorry George, but you haven’t really given anyone a reason for why you should be taken seriously.

        • whg

          Dystopia,

          Just because I hold the un-true pet theories of Faux Rationalists to the fire
          is no reason to be bitter.

          Again show me where I have erred – be explicit and I will respond.

        • Dys

          I’ve already done so, as have others, and you’ve failed to do so. I don’t expect your behavior to change.

        • whg

          Where are their decisive answers…

        • Myna A.

          Troll, gad-fly, wood-tick…they all live in the weeds under the bridge.

        • whg

          I just buzz around Faux Rationalists.

        • Myna A.

          Nah, you just leave shite in their path and after having laid it, buzz around your own pile. It’s what trolls and the like do. I realize you can’t help yourself. ‘Tis in your nature.

        • whg

          Sounds more like Faux Rationalists which might explain why you came up with a metaphor like that in the first place.

          Why don’t you just address the questions.

        • Myna A.

          Why don’t you address your faux identity, George? Your redundancy and games of trollery bore me. Even insulting you has become boring and so I will return to just ignoring you.

        • Dys

          George is still trying to come up with a way to morally justify what amounts to trespassing. His current method is avoidance and lying by omission. Seems more than a bit un-Christian to me. I wonder what loophole he’s created to get around it.

          Given his behaviour, he must also find it acceptable to invade someone’s house after they’ve been dis-invited, as long as they wear a disguise next time.

          For all his talk of philosophy, his moral philosophy seems to be planted firmly in the shitter.

        • Michael Neville

          Insults, why ?

          Because you’re a fucking asswipe who refuses to give any evidence for the little turds you drop in this conversation. At your demand I wrote a long explanation as to why your hero Plantinga is wrong in his essay about naturalism. You dismiss it with airy handwaving and a suggestion that, like Plantinga, you don’t have a fucking clue about statistics.

          When you start debating like an adult, giving reasons and evidence to support your claims, then I’ll be polite to you. Until then, you’re a fucking childish asswipe and I’ll treat you as such. Your choice, asswipe.

          As for your use of the naturalistic fallacy to support your childish belief in a magic sky pixie, shove it up your rosy red rectum. There is no evidence for your god and you fucking know it, asswipe. Because if there was evidence you’d be shoving it at me at every opportunity. Instead you try to use lemonade and fucking barbecue to support your god’s pretend existence.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          But those things have only ever proved the Roman pantheon or was that the Greek pantheon or Brahma or Ra or Superman?

        • MNb

          There is no Objective Evidence that MD exists. He is the product of your wishful thinking and whatever you like to infer.
          Your words, not mine.

        • George Watson

          MNb,

          Thank you.

          Hey if you are free come up to Chicago this Summer
          and share some lemonade with me and MD.

        • Max Doubt

          “Where is the Objective Evidence that you exist ?”

          Whenever you get in the area of north-central Illinois, let me know, and I’ll get you my address so you can stop by. I’ll even treat you to a glass of lemonade if you like, and if you can stay a while I’ll show you some magic tricks.

          “You expect God to dance to your little tune.”

          I don’t expect any gods to do anything at all. Since the beginning of humanity there have been billions of people who believed that tens of thousands of gods have existed, no two of the people were in complete agreement, and no two of the alleged gods were ever defined in an unambiguous way. Millions of people have made a concerted effort to find objective evidence that gods exist, and in several thousands years, every single one of those people has failed. Given the amount of time, effort, money, and other resources that have been invested into the search, and given the history of failure — 100% failure — it would be not be reasonable to expect gods to do anything.

          “Scooter knows better…”

          Funny you should say that, when I’ve been asking Scooter for many months to show that he knows better. And every single time he eventually runs away and hides. He gets mouthy. He lies. He tries to deflect the burden of proof. And he tries to avoid responsibility for his continued failure. But the one thing he has never been able to do, no matter how frequently he’s been asked, is to demonstrate that he knows anything but copy-n-paste, much less that he knows better.

          “… and you are bitter toward him because he has the humbleness to trust in God while you trust in…”

          I’m not bitter. I’m pointing out that Scooter has failed to learn to be honest, fails to take responsibility for objectively backing claims he makes, and fails to have the courage to admit when he can’t. Rather than taking honest responsibility, he runs off whining like a spoiled kid who doesn’t get to make everyone else play his game of make believe. Don’t mistake my objective criticism of his failures, and yours too, for that matter, for bitterness.

        • George Watson

          Max,

          I may be in Chicago sometime this Summer.
          Probably fly into Midway as just taxing in at O’Hara
          takes hours.
          I like my Lemonade Ice cold and please add some
          lemon juice and sugar.

          As Scooter has pointed out what you consider evidence
          is not what he considers evidence.
          Christ has moved Scooter’s heart and that is sufficient
          for him.
          I have only seen Scooter’s comments for the last few
          days and I don’t see that he is condemning anyone,
          but is polite and patient even though he is attacked and
          insulted.

          What drives Faux Rationalists wild is that God won’t
          give them the evidence they want.

        • Max Doubt

          “I may be in Chicago sometime this Summer. Probably fly into Midway as just taxing in at O’Hara takes hours.”

          I’m two or three hours drive from Chicago. If you have the time and transportation, you let me know when you’re coming, and if for some reason you doubt my existence and objective evidence for that is important to you, I’ll let you know where you can meet me.

          “I like my Lemonade Ice cold and please add some lemon juice and sugar.”

          Easy enough.

          “As Scooter has pointed out what you consider evidence is not what he considers evidence.”

          I accept that Scooter imagines a god of some sort, as apparently you do, too. What you lack is objective evidence that those gods in your imaginations actually exist outside of your heads. There is no action, event, or occurrence that you might attribute to the agency of your god that can’t just as easily be explained as something I did, or MNb or Michael Neville or Greg G. Your gods have no power outside your imagination. You can’t objectively differentiate between that god in your head and the invisible fairy princess at a little kid’s make believe tea party. From out here, observing objectively, your god and her fairy princess are exactly the same thing.

          “Christ has moved Scooter’s heart and that is sufficient for him.”

          I’m not knocking him for his personal delusion. If he thinks stepping on the cracks will break his mother’s back, good for him. When he, or you, talk about your delusions as if they are part of reality, as if they have some effect on the rest of the universe, as if everyone else should somehow accept them as real, we’re going to ask you to objectively demonstrate that. Your 100% failure at meeting that responsibility is noted.

          “I have only seen Scooter’s comments for the last few days and I don’t see that he is condemning anyone, but is polite and patient even though he is attacked and insulted.”

          Scooter is a willfully ignorant god believer without the honesty or courage to acknowledge this, which as far as we all know is true: There is no objective evidence to support any claims that any gods exist outside of individual humans’ imaginations. Something about admitting that seems to scare the shit out of god believers. Once in a great while a god believer will acknowledge it, but typically they’ll go through all sorts of dishonest mental gymnastics to try to avoid the issue altogether.

          “What drives Faux Rationalists wild is that God won’t give them the evidence they want.”

          No god has ever made the claim that a god exists, so I wouldn’t ask or expect any gods to provide any evidence. The people who make that claim, however, are responsible for providing the objective evidence if they expect to be taken seriously. It’s notable that they never do.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          “What drives Faux Rationalists wild is that God won’t
          give them the evidence they want.”

          How do you see that as making sense? Can an imaginary garage dragon say, “Na Na Na! Boo boo!”, without any evidence to think that a garage dragon exists to say it?

        • Michael Neville

          Aw, poor littler Scooter doesn’t like his ridiculous beliefs being mocked. You’re jeered because you believe in a completely imaginary “god” that you can’t provide the slightest hint of evidence is no reason for. So either stop whining, provide evidence that your “god” is anything other than a figment of the imagination, or go away. Your choice, whiner.

        • George Watson

          Michael,

          You are now 68 years old, stop prattling like a 9 year old.

        • Michael Neville

          Tell that to the whiner, Scooter.

        • George Watson

          Is Scooter 68 years old ?

        • Michael Neville

          Are you older than 7? Your “I’m rubber you’re glue” rebuttal stops working after you reach 8.

        • whg

          Then why do you use it ?

        • Dys

          How do you characterize your own prattling? Because it’s hardly any better.

        • whg

          GW,
          Does not insult people, cuss at them.

        • Dys

          George, you’re full of shit, and a condescending ass.

        • whg

          And so you do what you do not need to do.

        • Dys

          Pointing out that you constantly don’t know what you’re talking about? You’re right, I don’t need to do that. But someone should, at least until you get banned once again. Good job on that by the way…how do you rationalize the inherent dishonesty with sockpuppetry with the commandment against lying?

        • whg

          Not referencing the arguments, just your choice of words.

          Why should anyone be banned on this site – just because they ask questions that you cannot answer ?

        • Dys

          Why should anyone be banned on this site – just because they ask questions that you cannot answer?

          Speaking of avoiding questions…nice dodge George. To answer your question…it’s Bob’s site, and he can ban who he pleases.

          It’s nice to see you don’t let your Christianity doesn’t stop you from constantly lying via the creation of sockpuppet accounts to remain where you’ve been clearly dis-invited. You must have fun making up excuses to get around cognitive dissonance.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “Why should anyone be banned on this site – just because they ask questions that you cannot answer ?”

          They shouldn’t!

          But, then again, not one person ever has been banned for that reason, afaik, so your question seems a bit fatuous.

        • whg

          Hardly.

        • whg

          You don’t understand what “Bearing False Witness” means.

        • Dys

          So that’s how you’re getting around lying via sockpuppetry? As long as you don’t outright say that you’re not George, lying by admission is morally acceptable to you. Interesting…

        • whg

          Have not said anything.

        • Dys

          So are you George or not?

        • whg

          You don’t seem to understand what a lie is.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “And so you do what you do not need to do.”

          I imagine that it is quite possible that a part of @DysDNA:disqus reacts to you like an normal person would react to ipecac – perhaps he does, in fact, “need” to “vomit” when you’re around.

          I know I feel the urge keenly.

        • whg

          Well don’t assume what you should not assume and you will be fine when around me.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Disagree.

          Strongly.

          You are a toxic, gross, silly person.

        • whg

          You want to assume what you should not assume – why ?

        • Paul B. Lot

          “You want to assume what you should not assume – why ?”

          You want to assume that I want to assume what I should not assume, why?

        • whg

          You are the one who writes out your assumptions.

        • Paul B. Lot

          No you are.

        • whg

          Prove it.

        • Paul B. Lot

          You first.

        • George Watson

          Max,

          You believe what you believe.

          Why can’t Scooter believe what he believes.

          Why do you insult him, did he insult you ?

        • Michael Neville

          Why do you insult him, did he insult you ?

          Because your and his beliefs are only worthy of ridicule and insult.

        • George Watson

          Michael,

          Really, you are omniscient and know all truths and why
          they are true and so are justified in dismissing Scooter’s
          points ?

        • Michael Neville

          Fuck off, asswipe. You know I don’t claim to be omniscient. Being smarter than you or Scooter is a very low bar to cross and doesn’t come close to demanding anything even remotely like omniscience.

        • George Watson

          Michael,

          And you KNOW you are smarter than either Scooter
          or myself – because ?

        • Dys

          Have you read your comments? Unless you’re intentionally being stupid, it’s fairly self-evident Michael’s got you beat on intelligence.

        • Scooter

          So, now we’re having an intelligence contest? There’s a couple of things I’d like to submit to you. First when you consider the history of philosophy we find that there have been brilliant thinkers on opposite ends of the pole. For example, atheists John Stuart Mill and Nietzsche vs. the brilliant Catholic priest Thomas Aquinas and Aurelius Augustine. There’s a lot of psychological baggage on both sides as well understanding that folks look at evidence through their own biases. Everyone who debates on these blog discussions brings psychological baggage to the table. A Christian must admit that its quite plausible to build prejudicial arguments. However the atheist too has a vested interest in his or her denial of God, because if God exists, then their autonomy is threatened. I’ve read how much superior Freud’s thinking is as he wrote of Christians as so weak as to be reduced to infantile helplessness. It’s ironic though that scriptures describe the the psychology of atheists in much the same way as Freud describes theists. Freud admitted a universal knowledge that the worst thing imaginable would be to fall into the hands of “the superior power of fate.” This fear is greatly enhanced, however, when that “fate” is viewed as a holy God. We can invent gods where none exist but we are also capable of doing everything possible to deny our guilt before a God who actually exists.

        • Dys

          Actually, I was referring to George Watson with my comment, who had displayed a dearth of intelligent comments prior to his dismissal while attempting to scrutinize and criticize posts on those terms himself. In short, George is a pompous, arrogant hypocrite far too self-assured of his own intellectual superiority and was to lazy to bother displaying or giving any evidence that he actually possessed it. Instead he spouted vacuous deepities and imagined he was being profound.

          If George is, in fact, intelligent, then he did a piss poor job of showing it, and was in no position to honestly criticize the intellectual value of anyone else’s comments.

          You actually seem intelligent enough, although I think your attempted defense of the Trinity was weak at best (but I don’t think there’s any such thing as a strong defense of the Trinity, given its limitations).

        • whg

          Perhaps GW was investigating the logical consequences of your and other’s claims.
          It seems you would not accept any evidence he may have provided as you dismiss the Gospels/Acts and any claims that there may be a divinity – so no evidence, evidently,
          would convince you, which given you attitude, why should he provide evidence.

        • Dys

          George, you didn’t provide any evidence. You did little more than pretend you’re qualified to lecture people on logic while blatantly committing plenty of logical fallacies yourself.

          George couldn’t back up his claims, so now he’s left pathetically resorting to creating sock puppetry to remain on websites where he’s been kicked off. And he has the unchristian tendency to lie about it. It’d be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

        • whg

          You accept no evidence from non-Atheists.
          The only other recourse is to show the logical flaws in your comments.
          Which has been done.

        • Dys

          You accept no evidence from non-Atheists.

          You haven’t offered any. And by your own admission, what counts as evidence to one doesn’t count as evidence to another. So you’re contradicting yourself.

          The only other recourse is to show the logical flaws in your comments.

          No, it really hasn’t. And certainly not by you, as you tend to argue by assertion. Poor George…you think philosophical questions regarding the existence of god have been settled, despite the fact that the debate still goes on with no end in sight.

          By all means, keep pretending your a logic/philosophy expert…it makes you’re incredibly basic mistakes at both even more amusing.

        • whg

          All sorts of people offer what they consider evidence and you refuse to accept it.
          That is your choice, but why demand it then ?

          Look back at your arguments and the flaws shown in them.

          You can bicker all you want about whether God existence has been proved or not.
          But you are not the one to judge as your biases clearly blind you.
          Anselsm’s Second Proof is Valid/Sound and True. That you cannot see that it is –
          let alone what the claim is – is your difficulty.

          Show the mistakes you are so sure exist.

        • Dys

          That is your choice, but why demand it then ?

          On the contrary, it’s not a choice whether I find some piece of evidence compelling or not. People don’t choose their beliefs.

          You can bicker all you want about whether God existence has been proved or not.

          There’s no bickering to be done. It hasn’t. That’s the reality.

          But you are not the one to judge as your biases clearly blind you.

          Yes, yes…I’m sure you subjectively consider yourself the height of objectivity.

          Anselsm’s Second Proof is Valid/Sound and True. That you cannot see that it is

          Argument, not proof. You don’t prove god by defining him into existence, which is what the ontological argument does.

          Show the mistakes you are so sure exist.

          This has already been done by myself and others. You ignored them before, you’ll ignore them again.

        • whg

          Dystopia,

          Can you prove God/Creator cannot exist ?
          Is so, please share it.

          Ah, you don’t believe in that assertion, as if beliefs mattered in proofs…
          but perhaps they do…

          You can choose to find evidence/proofs compelling or not.
          You may have more free will than you suppose.
          Remember Winston in Room 101 in 1984, look what he was able to believe…

          I would be willing to wager that I am actually more objective about matters than you are,
          to the degree that they approach objectivity.

          You have not show the Ontological Argument is flawed, just that you don’t like the
          conclusion.

        • Dys

          Can you prove God/Creator cannot exist ?

          Nope. But then again, you can’t prove that a God can exist. And the ontological argument doesn’t get you there.

          Ah, you don’t believe in that assertion, as if beliefs mattered in proofs…
          but perhaps they do…

          Since it’s one of the premises, it kind of matters whether the premise is true or not. You’re not very good at this.

          I would be willing to wager that I am actually more objective about matters than you are, to the degree that they approach objectivity.

          I don’t question you have a high opinion of yourself, no matter how unwarranted. Your egotism is unquestionable.

          You have not show the Ontological Argument is flawed, just that you don’t like the
          conclusion.

          Yes, I have. So have plenty of others. You just don’t like one of the premises not being accepted.

        • whg

          Winston in Room 101, address most if not all of your points.

          Nothing compels you to accept a proof or anything as evidence unless you wish to accept it. Most of us do not become that personally involved in a proof/evidence but some scientists do and ‘fudge” their data…by the way you do know that the data from the Solar Eclipse of 1919, the one that was supposed to prove General Relativity does not pass statistical muster but they wanted to believe that it would provide positive evidence for General Relativity so they let it slide…

          Actually I have a low opinion of myself which allows me to far more objective than you are about these matters. I am willing to admit we know very, very little and thus should not make sweeping statements and it is my duty to
          point out the little errors and big errors that are too quickly admitted into
          people’s pet theories.

          Back to the Ontological Argument.

          If God exists, He necessarily Exists.

          Since no contingent being can bring itself into creation nor can it
          bring another contingent being into creation there must be a necessary being.

          Thus God necessarily exists.

          You may not accept it but since God, necessarily exists, He knows it is
          Valid/Sound and True.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “it is Valid/Sound and True.”

          If it is, you have yet to show it.

          “Since no contingent being can bring itself into creation nor can it bring another contingent being into creation”

          The definition of “contingent being” has nothing whatsoever to say about whether or not a contingent being has the power to bring other “contingent beings” into existence.

        • whg

          Follow the implications

        • Dys

          Is this your version of “So what?”

        • whg

          No.
          Not at all.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “Follow the implications”

          Lol.

          Why don’t you try to show me where they lead.

          “Teacher”.

        • whg

          Alright I will, later today.

        • Paul B. Lot

          The wording of the 2nd version that I’m familiar with is:

          “1. By definition, God is a being than which none greater can be imagined”

          The phrase “a being than which none greater can be imagined” seems to be incoherent – like saying “a number larger than infinity”.

          “Gotcha”, then, the apologist might say, “God IS infinity – nothing greater than that!”

          Which is true only through irrationality.

          “Infinity” is not a “thing”, it is a process – it is [the acknowledgement of unendingness] reified. It is the understanding that 11 comes after 10, and 12 after that…..ad infinitum nauseam.

          Defining “God”, then, as something like “infinity” is to define “God” as a process. The concept is not susceptible to the language of comparison at all, contra Anselm’s formulation.

          [Mount Everest] is not “taller” than [the act of going hiking]. In the same way, it makes no sense to say that [no number is larger] than [the act of counting without end].

          Since this sort of “definition” renders the act of comparing things to “God” such that “God” is “greater than” irrational – I refuse to grant that Anselm’s first premise is even intelligible.

          PS. It doesn’t get better from there, Premise #2 is also full of problems.

        • Dys

          I think the whole “none greater can be imagined” is an indistinct concept, which rather defeats the whole argument before it gets off the ground anyway. I could (and have) imagined a more moral being than the one portrayed in the bible, which would ontologically eliminate the Christian god from consideration.

          I don’t think that George, in his zeal to define God into existence, quite understands that some definitions are inherently subjective.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Aye.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Anselsm’s Second Proof is Valid/Sound and True…Show the mistakes you are so sure exist.

          With such very great pleasure.

          Please to inform me, before we start your lesson, which is the exact wording which you prefer?

          Do you like IEP’s version?

          1. It is a conceptual truth (or, so to speak, true by definition) that God is a being than which none greater can be imagined (that is, the greatest possible being that can be imagined).

          2. God exists as an idea in the mind.

          3. A being that exists as an idea in the mind and in reality is, other things being equal, greater than a being that exists only as an idea in the mind.

          4. Thus, if God exists only as an idea in the mind, then we can imagine something that is greater than God (that is, a greatest possible being that does exist).

          5. But we cannot imagine something that is greater than God (for it is a contradiction to suppose that we can imagine a being greater than the greatest possible being that can be imagined.)

          6. Therefore, God exists.

        • whg

          I will get back to you on this.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          “However the atheist too has a vested interest in his or her denial of God, because if God exists, then their autonomy is threatened.”

          That makes no sense. We don’t even have a god asserting itself to deny (perhaps you think us powerful enough to beat the shit out of Jesus, and we’re holding him away from the public in our ant-magic field car trunk). We do however have real people stating their own views about how they want to encroach on other’s autonomy. God’s existence has no relevence for Christians as they act without god on their own loves and hates anyway.

          What “god actually exists”? The only “god” proclaimining this is your own self-consumed ass!

        • Michael Neville

          However the atheist too has a vested interest in his or her denial of God, because if God exists, then their autonomy is threatened.

          Thank you for showing that you don’t have a clue about what atheism is about. See, I said I was smarter than you and you’ve just shown I was right.

          I’ve read how much superior Freud’s thinking is as he wrote of Christians as so weak as to be reduced to infantile helplessness.

          You do know that Freud was a Jew living in anti-Semitic Austria.

          We can invent gods where none exist but we are also capable of doing everything possible to deny our guilt before a God who actually exists.

          You may feel guilty but I don’t. I have my faults which I’m trying to correct but I haven’t done anything that I feel guilty about. I certainly don’t feel guilty about not believing in magic sky pixies who don’t exist.

        • whg

          Is your autonomy threatened or not if God exist.
          Please answer Scooter’s question.

          Your response on Freud could use more explanation.

          You feel no guilt at all for what you done that you knew was wrong to do ?

          You should not feel guilty about not believe in magic sky pixies as no one else does.

        • Max Doubt

          “There’s a lot of psychological baggage on both sides as well understanding that folks look at evidence through their own biases.”

          Well golly gee. Someone should have thought of that and asked you to provide objective evidence that your god character is something other than a figment of your imagination, eh? Then you could have provided that evidence, irrelevant of any biases, or you could have admitted that you are unable to provide any such evidence. It’s a darn shame that someone didn’t ask you that a couple days ago, and several months ago, and…

          “Everyone who debates on these blog discussions brings psychological baggage to the table. A Christian must admit that its quite plausible to build prejudicial arguments. However the atheist too has a vested interest in his or her denial of God, because if God exists, then their autonomy is threatened.”

          You are simply wrong. Generally atheists aren’t denying gods. We are rejecting the wholly unsupported claims that gods exist. It’s quite a different thing, your abject dishonesty notwithstanding. Tell me, do you truly not realize that you’re being dishonest when you make these sorts of comments?

          “I’ve read how much superior Freud’s thinking is as he wrote of Christians as so weak as to be reduced to infantile helplessness.”

          Although Freud’s thinking on the issue may not have been totally on target, there is a valid comparison between Christians and infantile helplessness. There’s that notion that they need some sort of parent figure always watching out for them. There’s that imaginary friend thing that is common among young children. The comparison is not without some merit.

          “It’s ironic though that scriptures describe the the psychology of atheists in much the same way as Freud describes theists.”

          You’d have to demonstrate that your scriptures are something other than reworked and reassembled ancient myths for that comment to have any relevance to reality. It could be we’d find an opinion on non-belief in a Jules Verne classic, too, or an L. Frank Baum tale, but that would only make them relevant to other parts of those particular works of fiction.

          “Freud admitted a universal knowledge that the worst thing imaginable would be to fall into the hands of “the superior power of fate.” This fear is greatly enhanced, however, when that “fate” is viewed as a holy God. We can invent gods where none exist but we are also capable of doing everything possible to deny our guilt before a God who actually exists.”

          And you’re still putting the cart before the horse. You have yet to provide the objective evidence that any gods exist outside of individuals’ imaginations. God believers live the lie that their belief is supported by evidence. Atheists are just asking for objective evidence.

          God believers frequently use the strategy you commonly employ, which is to turn tail and run at the first request for the evidence. Then you sashay your happy little ass back in here a couple days later, all the while willfully ignoring that the request was even made, and you carry on talking about your gods as if everyone should just take it they’re real. Again it leads to the question, do you really not realize how dishonest it is for you to do that?

        • Michael Neville

          Because I don’t believe in a pretend magic sky pixie. I stopped having imaginary friends when I was a child, you and Scooter haven’t.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          I don’t think this makes one smarter but un-trapped, definitely.

        • Michael Neville

          You have a point. However I know I’m smarter than George Watson because I know how to support an argument with evidence, something he doesn’t or won’t do.

        • whg

          That is no indication of intelligence.

        • Dys

          When you’re forced to resort to explicitly using god of the gaps as a defense mechanism, you should probably just admit defeat.

          You don’t have to be omniscient to understand that irrational, illogical, and unfalsifiable are incredibly, fantastically unlikely to be true. Which is why Scooter’s claims (and most of yours) get rejected and mocked.

        • George Watson

          Dys,

          There are no gaps, save those between your ears.

          What are the odds that Scooter is incorrect ?

        • Dys

          George, the fact remains that you’re using a god of the gaps defense. It’s a bit sad that you pretend to wax intellectual but can’t even recognize basic facts. You quite obviously vastly over-estimate your own comprehensive abilities.

          As for probabilities, let’s see…the Trinity is incoherent, incomprehensible, illogical, and unfalsifiable. So on the probability scale, it’s precisely what I already said: incredible, fantastically unlikely. If you’re looking for a number, then you’re even more of an imbecile than I already thought. And then I’d demand a number for the probability that 1) a god exists and 2) that god is your particular god. And you’d have to show your work. I doubt you’re up to the challenge. You seem big on contradicting atheists, but extremely weak on substantive replies.

        • whg

          He did not use the “God of the Gap’s” defence,
          seems like you are strongly inclined to make that charge whenever anyone points out something science cannot or
          has not explained. Perhaps you have “Science will fill in the gaps” fallacy complex about you that you might do well to
          take under due consideration.

        • Dys

          George committed numerous fallacies, including God of the Gaps. But since we both know you’re George, you already know that.

        • whg

          Point out the formal fallacies and though you say he used “God of the Gaps”
          which is not a fallacy until you fully fill in the gaps, he did not.

        • Dys

          I already did George. You ignored it before, and you’ll ignore it again.

        • whg

          No, you make the claim that God of the Gaps is used but you never proved it.

        • Dys

          I made the claim, and pointed out where you committed it. You ignored it. I wouldn’t expect you to do otherwise at this point.

        • whg

          Reply in detail to your claims that “God of Gaps” was/is and you will receive a reply
          refuting your claims.

        • whg

          If he did, there must not have been any God of the Gaps actually being used.
          You have a tendency to paint with a very broad brush.

        • Dys

          If he did, there must not have been any God of the Gaps actually being used.

          So you’re taking your own word for it…that’s convenient. I thought you were poo-pooing expertise.

        • whg

          Dystopia,

          Not at all, I am a expert on not a thing, but I do ask questions that make atheists squirm.
          If you wish to provide what you consider evidence of the “God in the Gaps” arguments
          please do.

        • Dys

          Who’s squirming? You make assertions that you don’t adequately defend. You’re a minor amusement, and not worth taking seriously.

        • whg

          What is an adequate defence ?

        • Greg G.

          He did not use the “God of the Gap’s” defence, seems like you are strongly inclined to make that charge whenever anyone points out something science cannot or has not explained.

          The God of the Gaps fallacy is when you use God to explain something that science has not explained so Dys is absolutely right to make that charge because it is correct.

          You are not fooling anybody by referring to George in the third person.

        • whg

          Show where it is said that God must fill in the gaps in his comments.
          Dys throws things out there and assumes that they must be believed.

        • Greg G.

          The fallacy is when a human tries to fill a gap in scientific knowledge by sticking God in it without evidence of God having anything to do with it. Every thunder and lightning god ever conceived committed the fallacy. Scientific ignorance is not proof of God.

          But you are welcome to use it often as it makes religious apologists look silly.

        • whg

          Why do people assume that if they can trace out the physical interactions that they now
          have sufficient understanding as to why a physical event took place. When I was a boy they were still quite unsure why lightening happened, I believe the later discovered through photographs that many, always ?, a lightening bolt often flows first from the earth to the cloud and then a much stronger bolt descends from the cloud. You can say that
          two particles are attracted toward each other, via gravity, but no one knows why and
          does gravity become repulsive at extremely small distances – a Jesuit names Boscovich
          thought of this, perhaps he was the first to do so – who knows.

          If anything there is “Science of the Gaps” far more than any God of the Gaps…Science
          assumes that one day it will fill in the gaps but even if it does, it does not explain why
          particles do what they do – just describes what they do.

        • Philmonomer

          Eh, Your need for a “why” is almost certainly a construct of your brain.

          It’s just a different version of “why does God send lightening?”

        • whg

          Ah, no.
          Why is there lightening vs why did God allow lightening strike me – are two different questions.
          Are you saying we should not ask why in any context ?

        • Philmonomer

          Ah, I see (based on your other replies) that you are a waste of time.

        • whg

          If you don’t want to ask why – but just wish to describe “how”, then yes.

        • Greg G.

          Science assumes that one day it will fill in the gaps

          That is a lie.

        • whg

          I do not think people on this site seem to understand what a lie is.
          To be incorrect is not a lie.

          Yes, Biologists and Physicists dream of the day when they can fill in all the gaps and see no reason as to why they cannot.

        • Greg G.

          You made an incorrect statement that religious nuts tell each other with complete disregard for the truth.

          “Are you looking for the ultimate laws of physics?”

          No, I’m not. I’m just looking to find out more about the world and if it turns out there is a simple ultimate law which explains everything, so be it; that would be very nice to discover. If it turns out it’s like an onion with millions of layers and we’re just sick and tired of looking at the layers, then that’s the way it is. … My interest in science is to simply find out more about the world.
          Richard Feynman, No Ordinary Genius: The Illustrated Richard Feynman

          You can find videos of him saying this if you Google “Richard Feynman layers onion”.

        • whg

          If you read your Plato, you will find out that it is impossible for humans to ever discover an “Ultimate Law”, Godel’s IT’s bespeak of this.

          So Physicists are on a quest they will never complete.

          Whether there are onion layers that exhaust the effort of humanity is an
          interesting question.

          Feynman, whom I met and attended a few of his lectures, was very bright
          in his area, but not exceptionally wise.

        • adam

          “If you read your Plato, you will find out that it is impossible for humans to ever discover an “Ultimate Law”,”

          PLATO?

          Fucking Plato is THE AUTHORITY over physics?

          Even before the field was created?

          And OF COURSE, this is YOUR BEST effort…..

        • whg

          Adam,
          Have you read your Plato ?
          Physics existed before Plato.
          He just showed that there can never be a “Theory of Everything”.

        • adam

          Yes, I’ve read Plato.

          The field of physics did not exist during his time

          And no he showed his OPINION, not what you claim.

        • Greg G.

          There’s a story that Lord Kelvin, one of the top scientists of the 19th century, told an aspiring physics student to not enter the field as there were just a few things that needed to be ironed out. A few years later, Einstein came up with Relativity and Curie discovered radioactivity. It’s been about that long since anybody thought it would all be figured out.

        • whg

          It is not a matter of discovering anything new – it is that a Grand Unified Theory or the
          Theory of Everything, as Plato made clear, cannot exist in terms of what Humans can understand.

        • Greg G.

          Physicists like their jokes and this one is on you. The Theory of Everything is the unification of Relativity and Quantum Theory. It is no more about “everything” than the Big Bang is about noise.

          Do you have proof that this cannot be accomplished? Where did Plato ever discuss Relativity or Quantum Mechanics?

          You know less about physics than you know about evolution. Religion has destroyed your ability to learn by crippling your curiousity.

        • Myna A.

          I met…was very bright…but not exceptionally wise.

          Interesting. You wrote the same about Patricia Churchland. Seems no one is quite as wise as you, George. Too bad you’re not as bright. Metaphor and context is always somehow lost on you.

        • whg

          Feynman was three cuts above Churchland.

        • Myna A.

          You either honestly believe what you say…or hope others will. Either way, you are just an ordinary old troll doing what ordinary old trolls do.

        • adam

          “If anything there is “Science of the Gaps” far more than any God of the Gaps”

          Science of the Gaps does not posit a Magical Sky Daddy…

        • whg

          Science of the “Gaps” allows for all sorts of false theories to be brought forth and
          who knows how many are still accepted even though the evidence is lacking.

        • adam
        • adam
        • whg

          Sadly that is not what Scientists do, instead they fight for the theory like devils.
          Too many people on this site have a naive view of how Science works.

        • adam

          But that is exactly what science does.

        • Greg G.

          But when other theories lead to new discoveries, those devils become footnotes.

          Religion venerate their devils.

        • Greg G.

          Scientists don’t pretend to have knowledge. They can propose theories not knowing whether they are true or false but provide a way to falsify them. Then they can be tested against reality. There is nothing wrong with most of them being false. Some are confirmed by leading to new discoveries.

          Religionists have learned to avoid saying anything that is testable.

        • MNb

          As you don’t have a method to answer why questions, but are just fond of performing a salto mortale from our concrete world to a divine world (thanks, theologian and apostate Domela Nieuwenhuis) the provisional conclusion is that why questions are wrong questions.

        • adam

          ….

        • Greg G.

          Scooter can hold ridiculous beliefs if he wants. If he expresses his beliefs in a public forum, especially an atheist forum, he can expect ridicule.

        • George Watson

          GG,

          Why not just disprove him ?

        • Greg G.

          Can you disprove the existence of invisible pink unicorns? We know they are invisible because we cannot see them. We know they are pink by faith.

          One cannot disprove imaginary things that are contrived to be undisprovable. That doesn’t mean believing such a thing is not ridiculous.

        • George Watson

          GG,

          You are free to believe what you wish to believe.

          By the way are you willing to die for our IPU’s ?

        • Dys

          Other religions have martyrs. Being willing to die for a belief has no bearing whatsoever on whether that belief is true or not.

        • Greg G.

          Sure. Are you willing to die for Jesus? You go first.

          You must be conceding “One cannot disprove imaginary things that are contrived to be undisprovable. “

        • Myna Alexanderson

          Well, in a strange twist of irony, he did. The very real wizard just kind of waved his very real wand, and George went *Poof*.

        • Myna Alexanderson

          It may be a miracle, or a strange delusion, but methinks there has been a resurrection!

        • Greg G.

          Are you noticing the similar styles between George Watson and John Jones?

        • Pofarmer

          Yep.

        • Myna Alexanderson

          Yes.

        • Paul B. Lot

          They both write in English, for one.

          :p

        • Myna Alexanderson

          LoL!

        • whg

          I don’t know if anything was conceded there.
          If you want to believe in IPU that is up to you.

        • Greg G.

          You concede that the IPU, could not be disproved, George H. Watson.

          I am willing to be gored to death by a unicorn for the IPU. I am willing to die of natural causes for methodological naturalism. You should be willing to be crucified for Jesus. We are waiting.

        • whg

          Find the Unicorn, you will die one day, but it won’t be via Methodological Naturalism.

          If I am crucified for Christ, may God give me the strength to accept it.

        • Greg G.

          Good for you.

        • whg

          Thank You.

        • whg

          Please pray for anyone that happens to.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “If I am crucified for Christ, may God give me the strength to accept it.”

          My my, but aren’t we a drama queen?

          I don’t doubt that you have the strength to be “crucified for Christ” – I can easily see you being erected on some wood, and you don’t seem to mind being nailed.

          The question I have, though, is this: “Do you have the strength to accept being ignored ‘for Christ'”.

          My suspicion is that you do not.

        • whg

          If you wish to ignore the simple truth that I call Faux Rationalist out on their
          mistakes, you can.

        • Paul B. Lot

          If you want to ignore the simple truths that:
          a) you’re an attention whore
          b) you’re a faux christian
          c) you pretend to rational abilities far beyond your ken

          ….

          you can.

        • MNb

          Aha. According to you your god is a neutral element.

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

          When doing anything (math: an operation) the outcome remains the same.
          Yeah, I like your analogy.

        • George Watson

          MNb,

          Cute, but not applicable.

        • MNb

          No.
          Neither is Scoot’s stupid analogy.

        • Susan

          The mistake in thinking about the Trinity is that 3 separate Gods are presumed as the Jehovah Witnesses do.

          You haven’t shown that they made a mistake. They make a completely unsupported claim and so do you.

        • Michael Neville

          The Mormons also believe that Dad, JC and the Spook are three separate gods. Dad was the father of the other two (mother or mothers not identified in Mormon literature).

        • Susan

          The Mormons also believe that Dad, JC and the Spook are three separate gods. Dad was the father of the other two

          The mormons and the JWs?

          That’s two divinely revealed truths against one. Scooter must be wrong.

        • MR

          So…, God creates Adam, but has to impregnate Mary to bring Jesus into existence. Ew….

        • Susan

          Ew..

          Yeah. It makes no sense at all, accounts for nothing and it’s really creepy.

        • MR

          If I hadn’t been indoctrinated in it from birth, I’d have found it absurd–just as I do the claims of other religions.

        • Michael Neville

          Not just impregnate Mary but rape her. She didn’t give permission to be knocked up which means she was raped.

        • George Watson

          Michael,

          Incorrect.

        • Michael Neville

          Fuck you just like your pretend magic sky pixie fucked Mary.

        • whg

          Watch you language, sailor.

          Mary gave her permission to be the mother of Jesus.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “Mary gave her permission to be the mother of Jesus.”

          But @michaelneville:disqus didn’t say that your pretend magic sky pixie raped Mary – he said that your your pretend magic sky pixie fucked her.

        • whg

          Must you be vulgar ?

        • Susan

          Must you be vulgar?

          Must you be a lying troll sock puppet?

        • whg

          What lies have been told ?
          Still does not justify/explain why you seem compelled to be vulgar.

          What is it with Rational Atheist – why do most of you insult those whose arguments
          you cannot refute ?

        • Susan

          What lies have been told?

          You lied repeatedly about being a logic teacher. You lied about not knowing who George was in a previous manifestation.

          You lied repeatedly when you said people said things here that they never said.

          You lie when you put on a fake moustache and pretend not to be George but continue with the same dishonest tactics you’ve always used.

          What is it with Rational Atheists

          This has nothing to do with whether or not one believes in (a)god(s).

          You’ve been a disingenuous asshole since you first arrived. People tend to react negatively to that.

          Your behaviour is contemptuous. Insults are inevitable when you continue to act like a complete ass.

          Go away, George.

        • whg

          He taught Logic.

          I believe he offered to make you a bet about it, if you are so sure,
          why don’t you take him up on it ?

          I have found no lies by him, but purposive misconstruing on the part of those who either do not understand what he said or purposively dismiss what he said as they have no answers for it.

        • Susan

          I believe he offered to make a bet about it

          Nothing like an internet bet, George. You couldn’t even find a source and link to it to support your claim that a “formal fallacy” required a “formal argument”.

          Which is false. All I asked you to do was to find a single source that supported your false claim about a very basic category of logic and you couldn’t.

          I have found no lies by him, but purposive misconstruing on the part of those who either do not understand what he said or purposively dismiss what he said as they have no answers for it.

          (sigh)

          Then show it, George S.P. Logicprofessor.

          Until you do, your (continual presence) here remains pathetic.

        • whg

          So many links, so little time.
          Come on Susan, $ 100,000 or Loonies it us to you.
          GW has the evidence, have you got the money – honey ?

          No, to be a formal fallacy you have to have made a formal argument.
          [Where and what did you study in College – again ?]
          Arguments/Claims can appear to be false and resemble fallacies but still not be
          a fallacy in fact/truth or in form…

          Examples:
          Argumentum ad Populum – one of your faves, I do believe.
          Everyone I know says Hillary is going to win the election.
          Seems like a Fallacy, but if the person happens to know 2000 or so people of various
          political beliefs sufficiently broad enough to capture an accurate snapshot of the
          American Electorate – Bingo ! – she is right and it is not fallacy.

          Argumentum ad Verecundiam – another one of your faves, I do believe.
          See, you have no idea if I am an authority on Logic/Philosophy or not.
          Yes, you dismiss arguments made, mainly because they are not to your liking,
          but your apparent ignorance of Logic/Metaphysics/Philosophy shows that you
          fail to understand that such an appeal is quite valid if one is an authority.

          You look it up Susan, you seem to know everything, I am sure it would not be hard for you.

          “Sigh”, is correct, why the Faux Rationalist cannot back up their points, since they claim that they are all obviously true, remains a mystery.

          Prove what you claim Susan.

          Why are you so judgemental of those who disagree with you ?

        • Paul B. Lot

          “I have found no lies by him”

          Of course not – liars don’t often admit that they have lied.

          It’s easier on your ego to maintain you position than admit the truth.

        • whg

          Write out what you hold are lies, though technically they are not lies,
          but incorrect statements.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “technically they are not lies”

          Whatever floats your boat, Greg.

        • whg

          Just show me which lies and prove they are lies.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “Must” I?

          No.

          But I like to.

          Choke on a donkey cock, you silly little man. (Donkey- vs. Horse-cock: because you’re an intellectual midget, and I doubt you could reach.)

        • whg

          And still vulgarities.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Bite my poxy, pustulant posterior.

        • whg

          Even more vulgarities – why ?

        • Paul B. Lot

          Why?

          Because your mother is a whore, Greg, and your father smelt of elderberries.

        • whg

          And still you continue.

        • Paul B. Lot

          And still you feign surprise.

          Do you have dementia, you cheese-dicked mouldering has-been?

        • whg

          Better a Has-Been then a Never Was.

          Which is better than insulting people.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “Better a Has-Been then a Never Was.”

          I’m glad that I AM somewhat competent, I feel bad that your students were taught by someone who never was.

          “Which is better than insulting people.”

          Insulting people can be quite grand, you venerable venal venereal vulture.

        • George Watson

          Susan,

          Not unsupported, the Apostles report the words of Christ.

        • Dys

          The bible doesn’t mention the Trinity nor how it works. Also, the authors of the gospels are unknown, so presuming that they accurately recorded the words of Jesus is another leap of faith that might not be warranted. Unless one resorts to making unwarranted presuppositions.

        • whg

          From what I can tell you make unwarranted presuppositions all the time. The Bible does support the Trinity – see the
          three visitors to Abraham, John’s Gospel/Acts.

          We have very little support of who wrote which books on Ancient History – just a name on the manuscript and some
          claims made by other historians in some cases, so why do you distrust the naming of the authors of the Gospels so much ?

        • Dys

          From what I can tell you make unwarranted presuppositions all the time. The Bible does support the Trinity – see the three visitors to Abraham, John’s Gospel/Acts.

          Yes, yes…it’s well documented that just about any position can be supported by cherry-picking bible verses.

          so why do you distrust the naming of the authors of the Gospels so much ?

          The only reason for their claimed authorship is tradition. And considering the nature of the claims being made in the gospels, it matters.

        • whg

          Most of what you claim to know is just tradition handed down to you.
          There was no “Cherry Picking” there, no individual verses were cited.

          So just admit that you really have no compelling reason to say that the
          Gospels were not written by the attributed authors…save it is the Gospels.

        • Dys

          The fact of the matter is that the gospels are anonymously authored. It’s a shame you don’t like that fact, yet it remains the case nonetheless.

        • whg

          You don’t know that.
          Do you have the original manuscripts ?

          Why no say:
          I believe that the gospels were…

        • Dys

          You don’t know that.

          ‘Of’ is not ‘By’

          Do you have the original manuscripts ?

          Nope. Neither do you. That being the case, there’s no reason to accept traditional attribution.

        • whg

          Dystopia,

          No, most of what you accept is traditional knowledge handed down.
          You accept it, though you have not done the original experiments, were not there to
          observe historical events.

          Just admit you have a bias against the Gospels.

        • Dys

          No, most of what you accept is traditional knowledge handed down.
          You accept it, though you have not done the original experiments, were not there to
          observe historical events.

          You say no, then follow it with something I didn’t argue against. Please tell me you’re not going with the idiotic Ken Ham “where you there” defense for gospel authorship, as it undermines your own position.

          Just admit you have a bias against the Gospels.

          Sure…just as soon as you admit you don’t actually know who authored them, and are biased in their favour. Because in declaring actual authorship, you’d be pretending to knowledge you don’t actually possess.

        • whg

          You did/do argue against it.
          You refuse to believe that the Gospels should be attributed to those whom
          the Church says. You were not there. You have absolutely no knowledge of
          how the Gospels were written and handed down, you have absolutely no reason not to trust the ascriptions the Church has made. It is just a bias you
          have, just admit it.

          I am not biased in their favour, just that I trust oral traditions more than you do and have a far deeper understanding of history.

        • Otto
        • Myna Alexanderson

          That was great!

      • MNb

        Let’s assume the mathematician also assumes the theologian will get confused when he/she shuffles the triangle.
        Let’s assume that the mathematician feels the quite human need to satisfy his/her suspicion that “there should be more to it”.

        • Scooter

          “…suspicion that “there should be more to it”.”
          Kind of reminds me of a bumper sticker a few years ago that said, “As long as there are math tests there will be prayer in schools.”

        • MNb

          Let me correct that bumper sticker for you: “As long as there are math tests and believers who don’t learn their stuff there will be prayer in schools.”
          I admit I did some praying when I was a teen (no dice, never), but not for math tests.

        • George Watson

          MNb,

          Do all of your students get full marks on all their papers ?

        • MNb

          George Watson,

          did you think up this question before or after you fucked your mother’s corpse?

        • whg

          why so rude to gw ?

        • Otto

          Reminds me of another bumper sticker…

          “Nothing fails like prayer”

      • George Watson

        rg57,

        Mathematicians are more religious because they are:

        a) More intelligent
        b) See that the beauty of Mathematics speaks of the Creator
        c) Understand that Statistics is just approximation which shows that
        there are no Scientific Truths.

        • Michael Neville

          a) More intelligent

          Possibly. I’ll give this one a pass.

          b) See that the beauty of Mathematics speaks of the Creator

          What creator? Mathematics wasn’t created and if you’re talking about the sadistic bully you worship, there’s nothing beautiful about that fictitious character.

          c) Understand that Statistics is just approximation which shows that there are no Scientific Truths.

          Two things about this bit of silliness:

          1. You obviously have no clue about statistics (note the small letter, it’s not a proper noun).

          2. There are no Scientific Truths or even scientific truths. Science doesn’t do truth, something you’d know if you had the slightest knowledge about science.

        • George Watson

          Hi Michael,

          Glad we agree about Mathematicians.

          No Universe, No Mathematics.

          God used Beautiful Mathematics in Creating the World.

          Paul Dirac

          Mathematics is the language God used to create
          the World.
          Galileo Galilei

          God is a Geometrician.

          Euclid

          The Knowledge which Geometry aims

          is Knowledge of the Eternal.

          Plato

          If Science does not do “Truth”
          then it has nothing to say about God.

        • Michael Neville

          God used Beautiful Mathematics in Creating the World.

          God didn’t use jackshit to create anything because imaginary critters don’t create anything.

        • whg

          Many Mathematicians disagree with you.

        • MNb

          Incredible dumbass, nobody here ever claimed that science has anything to say about any god.
          Science has everything to say about religious claims about our natural reality.

        • whg

          Really, science bespeaks of religion ?

        • Michael Neville

          If Science does not do “Truth” then it has nothing to say about God.

          Why do I even bother to reply to your silly drivel? I’ve already explained to you that science doesn’t talk about gods because Ils n’ont pas besoin de cette hypothèse-là.

        • whg

          Oh but it does.
          Whether you like it or not, Science assumes two things:

          a) Nature is consistent – no particular reason why it should be.

          b) That the human mind can understand the Universe.

          Without a Creator to guarantee – b – who knows what we can and cannot know, and so you do need the hypothesis
          of the Creator.

          We cannot prove – a – and so science cannot prove it is –
          oddly – enough a science in the faux rationalist sense.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Science assumes two things:
          a) Nature is consistent – no particular reason why it should be.
          b) That the human mind can understand the Universe.

          What do you mean by “assumes”?

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          hm … so god just *used* “beautiful mathematics”, or as a language, and didn’t *create* it? if that’s the case is math more fundamental than god. also, if math itself is eternal “was there” math without a universe, in its own “platonic realm”.

        • John Jones

          Not sure if you understood what Erdos was speaking of when he called God a SF. Not sure why you say that “Maths is more fundamental than god”

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          i just said he called god the SF, not why (yes, not because of “The Book”). for me is math always more fundamental than god (especially because the latter doesn’t exist).

        • John Jones

          What is your stand on the status of numbers ? Are they just the products of human brains or do they exist independently of our brains ?

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          i started out as a platonist. i can still remember when i first made a distinction between an imperfectly drawn geometric figure (triangle, say) and an “ideal triangle”. this made quite an impression on me. math. statements, if they are about anything, then about those idealizations or abstractions. it’s clear that math is not necessarily about physics (or empirical stuff in general), or even a science, maybe. sometimes it’s more like an art. sometimes those abstractions are literally just about possibilities (the state of some physical system, say), even counting possibilities (in combinatorics, say). in this cases you (also) talk about counterfactual situations, which are maybe never “realized”, or which simply don’t exist physically in some way (now or ever). the fact that mathematical objects don’t change or are atemporal, a kind of resistance, does suggest something “more real” about them than even mountains, the earth, the solar system, or maybe the universe. if i think about it this way i’d say numbers have more “reason” to exist than the solar system, say. do they “actually exist”? i don’t know, but i sure as hell think they do.

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          God used Beautiful Mathematics in Creating the World.
          Paul Dirac

          interestingly, he also said (in 1927, according to wikiquote):

          “If we are honest – and scientists have to be – we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality. The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination. It is quite understandable why primitive people, who were so much more exposed to the overpowering forces of nature than we are today, should have personified these forces in fear and trembling. But nowadays, when we understand so many natural processes, we have no need for such solutions. I can’t for the life of me see how the postulate of an Almighty God helps us in any way.”

          but later he also said (in 1963, in a scientific american article):
          “One could perhaps describe the situation by saying that God is a mathematician of a very high order, and He used very advanced mathematics in constructing the universe. Our feeble attempts at mathematics enable us to understand a bit of the universe, and as we proceed to develop higher and higher mathematics we can hope to understand the universe better.”

          btw:

          God is a Geometrician.
          Euclid

          i can only find it attributed to plato, not euclid.

        • primenumbers

          Godel’s incompleteness theorem demonstrates math is imperfect and thus cannot be the product of a perfect creator. Math exists therefore god does not.

        • MNb

          That’s a nice one.
          Same applies to logic.

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

          Though I would make a more modest claim: math and logic cannot have been grounded by a perfect creator.

        • primenumbers

          Exactly! The existence of logical paradoxes prove logic is imperfect and the exact same argument applies.

        • whg

          These paradoxes that you speak of only apply to human thinking, they say nothing about the Creator.

        • John Jones

          PN,

          Might you say more of what you mean by citing Dr. Godel ?

        • whg

          Not correct.
          Godel’s IT’s show that humans cannot construct such a
          system, but as for the Creator…

        • whg

          You seem to be agreeing with gw.
          There is no truth in science.
          Is it not a proper noun as a collective of practices ?

          Many famous mathematicians say it is a sign of the creator/

        • Greg G.

          Many theists are so desperate for a sign of a god, they will accept most anything from a sunset to a crippled survivor of an earthquake.

        • Rex Jamesson

          I am a mathematician and computer scientist by day who USED TO believe in god. That is, until I started looking deeper at cosmology, anthropology, morality, ethics, paleontology, microbiology, etc. I dispute the claim that mathematicians are more intelligent as a causal agent to higher religiosity. I claim instead that many mathematicians, like me, can spend years devoted to theory and abstractions that can actually distract us from real-world problems with theism. Our science doesn’t take us immediately into stark contradiction with holy writ like that of cosmologists or biologists – and it’s easy to ignore what’s not on the day-to-day radar. But give a theistic mathematician a copy of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s “cosmos” series and let him chew on the many implications, and you might just see how quickly that intelligence takes him out of your ranks!

        • whg

          What gw’s ranks ?

        • Greg G.

          You aren’t fooling anybody, George.

        • Rex Jamesson

          Addendum to my previous response:

          b) bunk. Mathematics is beautiful AS A LANGUAGE and AS A REPRESENTATION – it speaks absolutely nothing of a creator.

          c) ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! What kind of conspiracy theory are you trying to pull?? Quantum physics itself is basically pure statistics. In ABSOLUTELY NO WAY has math EVER done anything but deepen my respect for the sciences and our knowledge acquired through the scientific method. That argument isn’t even worth the bits it’s written on!!!

        • MNb

          Let me warn you too. Georgieboy rejects Objective Evidence. He seeks the Truth via wishful thinking and inferring whatever he likes. His words, not mine.
          Not that I want to disencourage you, but I’d like you to know what’s waiting for you.

        • whg

          Not quite correct.
          He said that people can believe whatever they so wish.
          That if you were not there, you cannot make a eyewitness knowledge claim.

        • MNb

          Meh.
          Just another alias of lying Georgieboy.

        • whg

          You did not address the correcctions.

        • MNb

          No. And in my previous comment I told why.

        • whg

          Hardly satisfactory answer.

        • MNb

          That’s your problem, not mine.

        • whg

          Hardly a sufficient response.

        • whg

          Many Mathematicians speak of the Beauty of Mathematics
          revealing the wonderous hand of the Creator.

          Statistics only gives approximations.

        • Greg G.

          Every measurement, save for counting, is an approximation. Every calculation involving irrational numbers that don’t cancel out is an approximation.

        • Rex Jamesson

          whg – with statements like that I hesitate to even answer: you’re showing a lack of knowledge of even what statistics is – a beautiful branch of mathematics. Like all mathematics, it is both theoretical and practical. Calling it “approximations” shows ignorance of the discipline and of the compelling predictive power of this scientific branch. And if by “many mathematicians” you’re referring to Jason Lisle et al, I claim you’re looking at the theistic tip of the iceberg, people who I have seen to warp the truth of what others say – it’s shameful! I find that the best of mathematicians, like the best of ALL scientists, share an awe for the natural and the theoretical worlds – an awe that may express itself in terms such as “almost miraculous,” etc. But that is by and large an expression of childlike wonder, and very many times it is NOT accompanied by any implied or specific bow to the supernatural! In fact, these very disciplines are entirely natural!

        • Raging Bee

          a) Citation required.
          b) Citation required.
          c) Demonstrably false — statistics are not always approximate, and even if true, this does not disprove ANYTHING found by science to be true.

        • whg

          Studies done on the results of the GRE show that Mathematicians and Philosophy Majors do the best.
          Quotes have been provided in another comment.
          Statistics concerning anything in nature are approximate by their very nature so Science does not speak of Truth/True
          but only of approximations.

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

      yeah … but 2 base 10 = 10 base 2, so this is just like saying “two” in English vs. “deux” in French.

      • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

        the base is always 10 (if you use “0” and “1” as symbols). .

        • Greg G.

          Not when you do binary math.

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          2 (in base ten) is 10 in binary: 10 = 1*2+0 = 2. similiarly 10 = 1*b+0 = b for every base b>1, or you use IO, to make it less confusing.

  • MNb

    Philosophy did something useful for you today.
    +1.

  • 90Lew90

    Maths borrows from the Christian worldview? Ever tried to do long division with Roman numerals? Tssk…

    • Michael Neville

      Speaking as an accountant, the two greatest inventions in my profession were Arabic numerals and double-entry bookkeeping.

      Piece of trivia: Bookkeeping and related words are the only words in English with three sets of double letters in a row.

  • Raging Bee

    “No, just realize that you are borrowing from the Christian worldview every time you make a computation or write an equation.”

    Until you get to algebra, in which case you’re borrowing from the Muslim worldview.

    On a more serious note, all I can say is, seriously?! What mathematician is really dumb enough to believe a line like that? At the very least, he should know that drawings and graphs are supposed to illustrate, not inform. If he’d drawn that triangle connected to some other shape or line, the whole conversation would have been very different.

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

      It’s a Christian parable. I don’t think it has to be grounded in reality (y’know, like the “God’s Not Dead 2” movie).

  • StevenK

    >> So, is the mathematician any better off? Not at all.

    Knowing what is true does not leave anyone better off? That doesn’t seem correct at all.

    • Otto

      And how do they “know”?

      So no, asserting something to be true by just pulling it out of your ass does not leave anyone better off…if fact it leaves us demonstrably worse off.

      • StevenK

        Go back and read the OP rather than talk out of your ass.

        • Otto

          I read it…re-state your point if you think I am in error.

        • StevenK

          My point hasn’t changed. You’re talking out of your ass.

        • Otto

          Your point was not clear …Unless your point was (as I read it) that you agreed with the parable and it’s conclusion that God is the foundation for Math … which if that is the case you are talking out your brown star.

        • StevenK

          We are asked to consider the parable so that a point can be made regarding worldviews. That’s what Bob did.

          Bob considered the parable to be true so that he could make his point. You’re late to the party that Bob started and somehow think “how do they know” is even relevant.

        • Otto

          What are you slow or something? Bob didn’t consider the parable to be true…he related the parable to point out that the grounding of God as the foundation is actually worthless because injecting God there does absolutely nothing. In the Parable it isn’t “known” if God is the foundation, it is simply asserted.. nothing more. Having one mathematical worldview with God and one without.changes nothing. It is an empty claim about knowledge.

          Oh …and my “how do they know” was directed at you and YOUR comment of “Knowing what is true does not leave anyone better off? That doesn’t seem correct at all.”

        • StevenK

          I am not “they” so I’m not surprised we are at this point. I stand by my comment.

    • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

      well, what if the mathematician knows some math. statement is true, but never actually read the proof? he/she could use the truth to prove something else, at least. or he could read the proof and learn something new: a new method, an elegant concept or idea, or simply has a better understanding of mathematics. “mathematics and logic comes from God” isn’t useful for any of that.

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

      Die, zombie.

  • powellpower

    Damn…

    Too late in the game. I was hoping to see the madness that is SteveK.

    • StevenK

      Unfortunately, SteveK is no longer around.

      • Michael Neville

        His identical twin brother who has exactly the same attributes and attitudes, StevenK, is all too evident.

  • former expat

    I have read the article, agree with the author that the premise is utter piffle, and mostly worth ignoring.

    As for the OP, I’m not entirely convinced of the cost/benefit ratio of telling shaggy dog stories solely for the purpose of stirring some fleas.

  • De Ha

    The absolute most basic thing in maths, and by extension logic in general, is 1+1=2. Put an apple next to another Apple, you got 2 apples. Is a magic pixie necesary to explain how an apple and another Apple became 2 apples? No. A magic pixie would be necesary to explain 1+1=Fish.

  • Dr Sarah

    It is, in fact, possible to provide a mathematical proof that 1 + 1 = 2. I can’t remember it now as it’s been over twenty years since I read it, but I used to date a mathematics student who would put things like this in his letters to me. (He told me once that pure mathematics was the only thing that could be absolutely proved.)

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

      I believe Whitehead and Russell in their Principia Mathematica gave a proof for 1 + 1 = 2 (well into volume 2, as I recall).

    • MR

      I used to date a mathematics student who would put things like this in his letters to me.

      That is so oddly romantic!

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

        I’ll bet she even developed a love of mathematics, too.

      • Dr Sarah

        He also used to use mathematical sequences for the kisses at the end of his letters. The number of kisses in each letter would be the next number in the sequence, and I had to tell him when I’d worked it out. :)

        • MR

          Oof. That suddenly became less romantic. Sounds like too much work! 😀

        • Dr Sarah

          Yeah, but I’m a total nerd, so I loved it. I was smiling fondly as I posted the above :)