Christians Who Just Don’t Get It

Christians who attack atheists need to know their opponent. Sometimes, though, it’s clear they haven’t been paying attention.

I’ve written several posts (here and here) about supposed atheists who want the atheist community to acknowledge the benefits Christianity has provided to society and the powerful arguments in favor of Christianity. I won’t revisit those arguments (read the posts if you want my response), but this category of atheist argument is interesting. Let’s look at another example, this time from an atheist attacking the consequences of the atheist worldview.

There are dozens of Christian articles gushing about this atheist attacking atheism, but the first was “The Inevitable Consequence of An Atheistic Worldview” (2014) at the Cold-Case Christianity blog. I’ll first respond to the atheist’s points and then consider Christian apologists’ reactions.

The atheist speaks

I’ll use a masculine pronoun for this anonymous atheist because he was dubbed “John” in the original article. He begins by stating the atheist’s position, with a goal of showing that we’re all alone.

We believe that the Universe is a great uncaused, random accident. All life in the Universe past and future are the results of random chance acting on itself.

Not exactly. It’s an accident in that there’s no evidence for it being intentional, but there are scientific laws which govern the formation of universes and the creation and evolution of life. That’s a lot more than “random chance.”

While we acknowledge concepts like morality, politeness, [and] civility seem to exist, we know they do not.

Someone needs a dictionary. These words are clearly defined, and, as defined, they exist. What I think he means is that there are no objective or transcendental forms of these traits, just the human-created ones.

This error is widespread among Christians, but et tu, Brute? Sure, atheists aren’t necessarily any wiser or smarter than Christians, but it’s hard to imagine an experienced atheist not seeing this error from the Christian side.

But make no mistake: all our dreams, loves, opinions, and desires are figments of our primordial imagination. They are fleeting electrical signals that fire across our synapses for a moment in time. They served some purpose in the past. They got us here. That’s it.

I imagine John Nihilist sitting alone in a corner of a café, wearing a beret and a black turtleneck sweater, reading Sartre or maybe Nietzsche, and smoking cigarettes as he sips coffee and muses about the utter meaninglessness of it all. It’s a shame that only objective meaning would satisfy him, because the regular kind works well for the rest of us.

One could wonder if this is a parody (and it gets worse), but since the Christian community has taken it as an honest statement, I’ll interpret it that way, too.


See also: Does This Atheist Have a Point? Or Is This a Sycophantic Poe?


John describes those “dreams, loves, opinions, and desires” as “fleeting electrical signals that fire across our synapses . . . that’s it.” Humans nurture children, create, and build only because out genes tell us to. We’re just bags of DNA. “Eat, sleep, reproduce, die. That is our bible.”

He says this as if it’s a dark, embarrassing truth, but he’s simply approaching the effect at the wrong level. Let me illustrate with another example. You could talk about love at the chemical level or worse, at the quantum level, but why would you? Not much poetry about love is written at this low level—you should focus instead at the personal level. We don’t disprove that love exists when we can explain the biology behind it.

Are you marveling about the importance of love, or are you interested in neurobiology? Pick one.

Or another example: you can talk about how evolution works with the different species as game pieces that mindless Evolution pushes around like pebbles pushed by mindless waves, but there is no human emotion or meaning at that level. Return to the level of the individual if you want to talk about laws, civility, and morals.

And back to John’s approach: yes, you can look under the hood to see how synapses, genes, and DNA work, but why then add dreams, love, creativity, and family to the same sentence? It’s like a magic show: you can enjoy the show in the audience, or you can peek behind the curtain to see how it all works, but these two approaches don’t mix.

This reminds me of Christian apologist William Lane Craig in anguish when, as a child, he learned that we all die. Yes, Dr. Craig, we all die, but that provides no evidence for Christianity. And yes, John, we can focus on synapses and DNA, but that doesn’t mean we can’t also focus on love, meaning, and morality.

John really jumps the shark when he moves on to morality.

Outside of my greedy little gene’s need to reproduce, there is nothing in my world that stops me from killing you and reproducing with your wife. Only the fear that I might be incarcerated and thus be deprived of the opportunity to do the same with the next guy’s wife stops me.

Nothing in your world stops you from raping and murdering? There is in mine. Penn Jillette has already slapped this one down:

The question I get asked by religious people all the time is, without God, what’s to stop me from raping all I want? And my answer is: I do rape all I want. And the amount I want is zero. And I do murder all I want, and the amount I want is zero.

Humans are social animals, and evolution has favored pro-social behavior—trust, empathy, compassion, and so on. According to John, however, atheists like me who don’t ’fess up as sociopaths are “inferior” and “just a little bit less evolved.”

He’s so out of touch that I do wonder if this guy’s for real, but let’s set that aside. What’s more interesting is how he’s been received within the Christian community.

Continued in part 2.

Study one religion, and you’ll be hooked for life.
Study two religions, and you’re done in an hour.
— Anon.

Image credit: Paul Harbath, flickr, CC

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Max Doubt

    “Christians who attack atheists need to know their opponent. Sometimes, though, it’s clear they haven’t been paying attention.”

    I’m not so sure they haven’t been paying attention. The claim that gods exist cannot be defended with honesty. Christians who attack atheism are simply pursuing a necessary course of action, a strategy required to maintain their belief in an utterly ridiculous and otherwise indefensible claim.

    • Chuck Johnson

      I think that they are practicing “Distributed Dishonesty”.
      Each Christian contributes just a little dishonesty, not enough to feel guilty about.
      But in aggregate, it’s enough to get the job done.

    • Kevin K

      Yes, it does seem that this exercise is designed to zoom past the idea that gods exist completely, isn’t it? Almost as if the only defense of Christianity (and other religions) is in its usefulness as a method of behavior control among a species that would otherwise run amok.

  • RichardSRussell

    So the original author, “John”, claimed to be an atheist? But there’s no way to check up for sure, right? Boy, does that ever sound like the way religion works in general!

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

      We apparently have “John” on good authority, according to one Christian blogger.

      I don’t know if you remember Adam the atheist from a few years back, who also wrote a pro-Christian document (praise of WLC), but he came by here to discuss his position. That was a potential Poe that might have been authentic. I don’t know what to make of John–I suppose he’s authentic, too–but what may be more interesting is Christian’s enthusiastic embrace of his “argument.” That’s next time.

      • Chuck Johnson

        –but what may be more interesting is Christian’s enthusiastic embrace of his “argument.”-Bob

        I have the same feeling about the existence or non-existence of the Jesus character.
        The Christians’ reactions are the interesting thing.

  • Herald Newman

    “John” sounds more like a sociopath who happens to be an atheist, if he’s even an atheist at all, and not some sock puppet.

    • Chuck Johnson

      He might have escaped from a Chick Tract.

  • skl

    “You could talk about love at the chemical level or worse,
    at the quantum level, but why would you? Not much poetry about love is written
    at this low level—you should focus instead at the personal level. We don’t
    disprove that love exists when we can explain the biology behind it…
    And back to John’s approach: yes, you can look under the
    hood to see how synapses, genes, and DNA work, but why then add dreams, love,
    creativity, and family to the same sentence? It’s like a magic show: you can
    enjoy the show in the audience, or you can peek behind the curtain to see how
    it all works, but these two approaches don’t mix.”

    I think the above may relate to the post I made yesterday on “What Good Is Philosophy? (2 of 2)”:

    “Philosophy could be seen as both the driving force and the
    value of science. If science were just data and observations, it would be
    useless. The data and observations become meaningful and/or useful
    only through the exercise of rational faculties (e.g. logic; discernment
    of cause and effect).
    Philosophy – as in a conceiving of the idea of truth and a valuing of
    truth and a quest for it – is what causes the scientific endeavor to begin with.
    Finally, it is philosophy which decides whether the scientific findings,
    and the potential uses of those findings, are good or bad or indifferent.
    Philosophy could be seen as the beginning, middle, and end
    of science, with some data and observations in-between.”

    • adam
      • Michael Neville

        Some years ago I was with a group of people at the top of a cliff overlooking the ocean. It was a beautiful summer day, the cloudless sky was a deep blue which was reflected by the water. A woman said: “What a beautiful sky. What makes it so blue?” Me being me, I explained about Rayleigh scattering [link].

        A man said: “Hearing that has taken all the joy out of the scene.” I told him I couldn’t understand that sentiment, knowing why the sky was blue enhanced the beauty for me.

        I then said: “Why the day sky is blue is trivial compared to why the night sky is black. But I will refrain from discussing Olber’s Paradox [link] even though it tells us some basic things about the universe.”

  • https://disqus.com/home/channel/atheismftw/ Ian Cooper

    “The question I get asked by religious people all the time is, without God, what’s to stop me from raping all I want? And my answer is: I do rape all I want. And the amount I want is zero. And I do murder all I want, and the amount I want is zero.”

    Christians do bring this up a lot, which makes me wonder why they seem to think that people like the idea of raping and killing. Projection?

    • Blanche Quizno

      We all hope THOSE Christians never stop believing in a vindictive, unspeakably cruel God who’s eager to torture everyone who puts a toe out of line.

    • Chuck Johnson

      Their religion contains an external moral control system.
      Internal moral control systems do not occur to them.

  • Blanche Quizno

    Aw, isn’t “John the atheist” adorbs?? He’s a walking, talking strawman! Alas, if he only had a brain…

  • Scooter

    “It’s an accident in that there’s no evidence for it being intentional, but there are scientific laws which govern the formation of universes and the creation and evolution of life.”

    This idea is espoused by Hawking in “The Grand Design.” He states that the laws of physics explain how life began. He argues that inevitably the Big Bang came about because of these laws. Incredibly this very intelligent man says, “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.” Hawking and Mlodinow, The Grand design, p.180.

    Dr. John Lennox points out that Hawking “assumes that gravity (or perhaps only the law of gravity?) exists. That is not nothing. So the universe is not created from nothing.”

    Lennox also points out how the idea that “the universe can and will create itself from nothing” is self-contradictory. He states, “If I say X creates Y, this presupposes the existence of X in the first place in order to bring Y into existence. If I say X creates X in order to account for the existence of X.” So Lennox points out this logical incoherence. Nonsense remains nonsense even when talked about by world-famous scientists.

    • https://disqus.com/home/channel/atheismftw/ Ian Cooper

      Even if all science’s theories were proven wrong tomorrow and science was suddenly in the dark about everything, theists would be no closer to having a viable hypothesis for the existence of any god, and they would not have even taken the first step towards developing a theory that supports the existence of such a being. “We don’t know” does not equate to “God did it”. So how do you account for the existence of your god? Nonsense remains nonsense even when it’s defended by world-famous Christian apologists.

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

      Lennox isn’t much of an authority in my book.

      “Nothing” has lots of definitions. It can mean no matter but just a vacuum, no vacuum but space, no space but the laws of science, and so on. Lennox points out a different definition of “nothing” than Hawking used? Very clever.

      • Joe

        I seem to remember in your previous column that two philosophers were chiding me that ‘Christians don’t make this argument’.

        They should spend some more time here.

        • Susan

          I seem to remember in your previous column that two philosophers were chiding me that ‘Christians don’t make this argument’.

          That stunned me too. I’ve heard it so often.

          I agreed with them about the need to understand what is meant by “philosophy” when one criticizes it, that clearly laid out thinking models are necessary and a lot of other things.

          I was glad they participated. I don’t think it’s necessarily reasonable to dis “philosophy” when most of us are only familiar with the way apologists use it (which isn’t very impressive).

          I can think of all sorts of things philosophy has to handle that science can’t. “What do we mean by person?”, for instance.
          Or what do we mean when we say something is alive? Or what is nature?”

          I’m glad we have philosophy. It is a tool that requires us to be consistent in our thinking and to examine our assumptions about our thinking. And it’s so much more.

          So, I was glad they came and hope they come back. I appreciated their time and effort.

          But I was stunned that they haven’t encountered theists who equivocate between metaphysical nothing and physical nothing.

          It seems to be a standard part of the repertoire.

        • Joe

          So, I was glad they came and hope they come back. I appreciated their time and effort.

          Me too, they’re great thinkers and I enjoy the blog they usually hang out on (The Secular Outpost). They argue very well against some of the claims of theism.

          I just think that philosophers don’t necessarily relate to the type of thinking most of us use in our everyday lives. Our brains handle simple questions of ontology and epistemology on a subconscious level most of the time.

          A great example is the Monty Python sketch about the Philosophers playing football.

        • Susan

          I just think that philosophers don’t necessarily relate to the type of thinking most of use in our everyday lives.

          That sort of thinking has been referred to as “common sense” and can be dreadfully wrong.

          Our brains handle simple questions of ontology and epistemology on a subconscious level most of the time

          Then, why so many faith-based systems? Beliefs in various deities, global-warming hoaxes, fairies, psychic powers and on and on.

          A great example is the Monty Python sketch about Philsophers playing football

          You mean this one?

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6nI1v7mwwA

          I love: “One surprise is the inclusion of Archimedes”.

        • Pofarmer

          Ah, yes, the Secular outpost. I kind of gave up on it when a couple of the philosophers there were telling me that someone arguing for something was evidence for that thing. Ie, people arguing for the resurrection is evidence for it, etc, etc. I don’t remember the specific topic. I remember thinking that, from a scientific standpoint, this is so obviously false that it’s a waste of time.

        • Pofarmer

          My understanding is that theists are very, very under represented as actual philosophers, and that religious philosophy isn’t really taught.

        • epeeist

          My understanding is that theists are very, very under represented as actual philosophers

          The majority of philosophers are either atheist or tend towards atheism (Source).

          and that religious philosophy isn’t really taught

          Philosophy of religion is taught within undergraduate degrees in philosophy here in the UK, however it isn’t offered by all universities and where it is offered it is as an optional module.

      • Max Doubt

        “”Nothing” has lots of definitions.”

        Equivocation is one of the Christians’ most frequently used tools. You believe in science, so my belief (by a different definition) in god is reasonable. You have faith that the sun will rise tomorrow, so my faith (by a different definition) in god is reasonable. It’s an implied admission on their part that their claims for gods’ existences is indefensible. Sadly it seems to be such an ingrained habit with them that most of them, on matters of religion, don’t even realize they’re being dishonest, pretty much all… the… time.

      • JustAnotherAtheist2

        Lennox is an anti-authority when it comes to religion. If he says it, it is most certainly wrong.

      • koseighty

        This equivocation fallacy is common on this point. William Lane Craig uses science to ‘prove’ the universe came from nothing, but then demands scientist use his philosophical definition of ‘nothing’ rather than their own.

        It is dishonest at its core.

    • Max Doubt

      “Nonsense remains nonsense even when talked about by world-famous scientists.”

      Your misunderstanding of science does not constitute a reasonable criticism of it.

      But thanks for providing an example to illustrate the theme of this article by presenting yourself as one of the “Christians Who Just Don’t Get It”.

    • Joe

      Dr. John Lennox points out that Hawking “assumes that gravity (or perhaps only the law of gravity?) exists. That is not nothing. So the universe is not created from nothing.”

      Nothing MATERIAL.

      He states, “If I say X creates Y, this presupposes the existence of X in the first place in order to bring Y into existence.

      Yes, so what?

      If I say X creates X in order to account for the existence of X.

      Who is saying that?

      Nonsense remains nonsense even when talked about by world-famous scientists.

      Nonsense becomes nonsense when a semi-famous mathematician misrepresents scientists.

    • Chuck Johnson

      Do not worry about the philosophizing of these Big Shots.
      The story that makes sense is that our universe goes through changes, but it has always done so, and it will always do so.

      • Scooter

        “The story that makes sense is that our universe goes through changes, but it has always done so, and it will always do so.”
        Isn’t this statement a grand bit of philosophizing itself?

        • Chuck Johnson

          Isn’t this statement a grand bit of philosophizing itself?-Scooter

          Nothing grand about it. – – – It’s mundane.
          It’s what we observe. It’s empirical.

          Also, it’s the story that eliminates the absurdities and paradoxes.
          Where did God come from?
          Where did the Big Bang come from?
          etc.

          Our universe comes from earlier versions of our universe.

    • JustAnotherAtheist2

      The only time Lennox illustrates incoherence is when he espouses it.

    • GubbaBumpkin

      Dr. John Lennox points out that Hawking “assumes that gravity (or
      perhaps only the law of gravity?) exists. That is not nothing. So the
      universe is not created from nothing.”

      Does it? Gravity is a property of matter. If matter doesn’t exist, how can its property exist?

      What Lennox is stupidly imagining is not nothing, it is empty space. What if space itself didn’t exist?

      So Lennox points out this logical incoherence.

      Demonstrating that he does not understand the subject is not the same thing as proving it to be logically incoherent.

  • skl

    Scooter highlighted a sentence from the OP that I may have initially read to quickly:
    “It’s an accident in that there’s no evidence for it
    being intentional, but there are scientific laws which govern the formation of
    universes and the creation and evolution of life.”

    I was wondering what the law is that governs the creation of life.
    Is this supposed to be the law of abiogenesis?

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

      I didn’t know there was such a law. I’m simply stating that scientific laws govern things, not that we understand all scientific laws.

      • skl

        You mean then that there is a law that governs
        the creation of life, but you just don’t know what it is.

        • Susan

          You mean that there is a law that governs the creation of life.

          There are laws that can be demonstrated across many scientific disciplines that don’t preclude what we call “non-life” from being “life”.

          but you just don’t know what it is.

          Nope. No law. Bob spoke loosely.

          I’m assuming that what he meant is that there is no reason whatsoever (without a viable, better model) to not provisionally assume that physics produces chemistry which produces biochemistry which produces things which we call “life” from things we call “non-life”.

          I’ll let Bob answer for himself.

          But unless you mean to do something other than tweak his language, (perfectly aceptable and useful), I’m not sure what your point is.

          If that’s all you intend, I’m all for it.

        • Jeff Bingham

          Hmmm, let’s see … which “creation of life” are you talking about?

          If by “creation of life” you mean a process of molecular replication resulting in abiogenesis, then – yes – it would have to be governed by the same laws that govern all physical processes in the universe.

          However, if by “creation of life” you mean such things as God forming man from the dust of the earth and Eve from his rib, why then, no, of course not. That sort of creation is only governed by the laws of fairies, magical beans, and pixie dust.

        • skl

          “If by “creation of life” you mean a process of molecular replication resulting in abiogenesis, then – yes – it would have to
          be governed by the same laws that govern all physical processes in the universe.”

          Yes, that’s what I mean. And you mean that you don’t know what
          that particular law is.

        • Chuck Johnson

          Yes, that’s what I mean. And you mean that you don’t know what
          that particular law is.-skl

          Do not assume that natural laws existed before humans existed.
          Nature follows all sorts of patterns and needs no humans to do so.

          And you should reserve the word “law” for the human perception and understanding of such patterns of nature.
          Saying the the “laws of nature” existed before humans existed leads to confusion and paradox.

          It’s a semantic thing. Follow this rule to avoid confusion.

          For example, don’t say that the “law of gravity” existed a billion years ago.
          Say that “gravity” existed a billion years ago.

        • skl

          “Saying the the “laws of nature” existed before humans existed
          leads to confusion and paradox. It’s a semantic thing. Follow this rule to avoid confusion. For example, don’t say that the “law of gravity” existed a billion years ago. Say that “gravity” existed a billion years ago.”

          I don’t think I agree. Maybe Bob S., Jeff B. and others here would.

        • epeeist

          I don’t think I agree.

          It wouldn’t be quite the way I would put it but he is correct. Laws and theories are descriptive of how nature works, not prescriptive.

        • Kevin K

          The laws of physics have been in place ever since about 1×10^-24th second after the Big Bang. After the Planck Epoch. Humans have just come along and identified and codified them 14 billion years later. We didn’t invent them … they were already there.

        • Pofarmer

          I think that’s a good point. “laws” are the way we understand things. They are a human invention to help us make sense of the Universe, they are not something that exist independently of us.

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

          Particular law? There are many …

          the law of conservation of energy, the law of conservation of mass, the laws of thermodynamics, the laws of electromagnetism, Newton’s laws of motion, the laws of radiation … the list is long.

          Did you attend high school science?

        • skl

          In short, abiogenesis because laws.

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

          No …

        • adam

          Shorter, ski has a short attention span.

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

          I’ve noticed.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Abiogenesis because it’s the statistically FAR most likely explanation.

        • Jeff Bingham

          Oh, bless you’re heart, I see why you’re so confused. No one is proposing that there is a special “law of abiogenesis” here. Only that whatever processes are a part of abiogenesis would have to be governed by all the known and unknown laws of science that govern all other processes in the universe.

          Try reading more slowly, and reading for context.

        • skl

          whatever processes are a part of abiogenesis”

          Whatever. Bless you’re heart.

        • adam
        • Jeff Bingham

          Oh, I get it! You actually think it’s somehow amusing that there are things scientists have yet to work out.

          You’re the guy who would have told Kepler to give up on elliptical orbits and trust the angels to move the planets around.

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

          Is that what this was all about? You were pointing out that science doesn’t understand every law governing nature?

          Next time, just come out and say it. Everyone agrees.

        • skl

          “Is that what this was all about? You were pointing out that
          science doesn’t understand every law governing nature? Next time, just come out and say it. Everyone agrees.”

          I think it may be more than that. When we observe
          X to the extent that we can quantify X/formula-ize
          X and accurately predict X’s behavior, then
          we can call X “a law.” You would not say a law Z exists, or might exist, if you had never observed Z. I don’t think it correct to say ‘We don’t understand every law governing nature.’ If we don’t understand a “law” then it’s not a law. It would be better to say “We don’t understand. (period)’

        • GubbaBumpkin

          If you had admitted your own lack of understanding, this entire issue would not have arise.

        • epeeist

          When we observe X to the extent that we can quantify X/formula-ize X and accurately predict X’s behavior, then we can call X “a law.”

          No, that would be a theory, or at least the beginnings of a theory. To use Marc Lange’s definition:

          [scientific laws] underwrite various facts expressed by subjunctive (conter-factual) conditionals, i.e. statements of the form “Had p been the case then q would have been the case

          Incidentally, would it be too much to ask for you to learn how to use the comment box properly, you don’t need to insert line breaks within paragraphs for example. It is a pain correcting your formatting.

    • Joe

      I was wondering what the law is that governs the creation of life

      The laws of chemistry and physics, mainly.

    • Susan

      I was wondering what the law is that governs the creation of life.
      Is this supposed to be the law of abiogenesis?

      Yes. Bob spoke loosely. Reasonable to ask him to tweak it.

      There is no “law” of abiogenesis. There is the field of abiogenesis.

      (Patheos Disqus really sucks lately.) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis

      Which seeks to define and examine the mechanisms that produced things we call “life” as distinguished from things we call “not life”.

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

        My point was that there are laws behind nature. I’m not suggesting that we know them all.

        • Susan

          My point was that there are laws behind nature.

          I understand your point. But we can refer to the “laws” of physics. Not to the “laws” of abiogenesis.

          Skl is trying to catch you here. That there are scientific “laws” that are reasonable pursuits in the field of abiogenesis is not something he’s going to charitably grant. He’s looking for a loophole.

          Technically, he’s found one.

          He’s provided no non-natural mechanism for life (nor has anyone else) but technically, he’s correct about the problems with the term “law” when applied to so many stages.

          That it is reasonable to study the origins of life through well established scientific laws seems to be your point. That there is no method to study it through other means is clear.

          But skl our resident “sceptical atheist” has made a reasonable point that there is no scientific “law” of abiogenesis.

          For the sake of clarity, he’s correct.

          This says nothing whatsoever for non-natural mechanisms in the field of abiogenesis.

          But I doubt skl cares about that. He is looking for loopholes.

          He found one.

        • Otto

          >>>”But skl our resident “sceptical atheist””

          and my son when he was 6 was our resident Batman…lol

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

          I never referred to the laws of abiogenesis; he did. I was only referring to the scientific laws (some known and some unknown) that define our world.

        • Susan

          I never referred to the laws of abiogenesis

          .

          I think he means this:

          there are scientific laws which govern the formation of
          universes and the creation and evolution of life.

          He’s not being charitable. He’s interpreting this as you saying there is a specific “law of abiogenesis”.

          That doesn’t seem to be what you’re saying but it’s loosely put.

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

          Right. He imagines that I was referring to specific law(s) that science knows about. I wasn’t. I imagine it was just chemistry that created the first life (and perhaps we even know all the basic laws that governed that process), but we don’t have a theory for how that happened yet.

        • Susan

          Excellent. That should clear up skl’s concerns.

          He’ll have to find something else now.

        • Otto

          I have seen some interesting information on Chaos theory that shows how things can become ordered from disorder through natural processes.

        • Kevin K

          He’s a wolf in wolf’s clothing.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          He did not find a loophole. Bob did not say everything in nature is driven by laws, only that some of it is.

        • Susan

          Bob did not say everything in nature is driven by laws, only that some of it is.

          I agree.

        • Pofarmer

          To quibble, I don’t think that there are “laws behind Nature” that’s Aristotlean thinking. Rather, I think that laws are the way that we Humans understand nature.

        • koseighty

          Your quibble is massively important.

          People like Billy Bob Craig, will use Platonic forms as ‘proof’ that immaterial things exist. ‘Who created the laws of physics?” It’s interesting the WLC has always used terms like ‘some believe,’ ‘many believe,’ etc. when he talks about it. Leaving me to doubt that he believes that numbers, laws and formulas exist outside the universe. But he’s willing to use it as a selling point for his god, even if it is nonsense.

          I’ve found it very difficult to get people to understand that numbers, laws of physics, and the laws of logic don’t actually exist. They are models created by humans to describe the world (universe) they find themselves in. There is no immutable plane where Two will sit down with Not P for tea and crackers.

        • Greg G.

          Thanks. That clarifies a rumbling in my mind that I had never been able to articulate.

        • TheNuszAbides

          it’s a lot like the morality kerfuffle:

          we can agree that “morality exists” to pre-empt one of apologetics’ straw-atheisms, but that doesn’t mean they get to smuggle in the fantasy that morality is a fixed-form-thing that existed independent of interacting creatures and our minds, that was then [drawn upon]/[distributed to us by divinity]/etc.

          likewise, we can agree that there are “laws of nature” and hopefully pre-empt the bogus “faith in random chance?!?” talking point, but that doesn’t mean the apologists get to smuggle in the fantasy that these “laws” are a product of divine fiat and are literally “obeyed” as though there is any Free Will in the matter, that Order can only be the product of Authoritative Will-Working, etc.

    • Otto

      Is there any reason to think a non-natural process had anything to do with the origination of life skl?

      • skl

        Sometimes I wonder where nature and the natural came from.

        • Michael Neville

          About 13.8 billion years ago (give or take a couple of million years or so) the universe started. There are several hypotheses about how it came about (the sneezing of Great Green Arkleseizure is a low probability hypothesis) but most cosmologists tend towards something called the Big Bang (this name was coined by an opponent of the Big Bang theory). Regardless, about 1×10^-43 seconds after something happened the universe became reasonably understandable. Once that occurred then nature came about.

        • koseighty

          Once that occurred then nature came about.

          There’s no reason to believe ‘nature’ didn’t exist before then. It’s just that’s when the universe, and nature, as we know it began and the physics we understand now began to apply. But there is nothing saying the universe didn’t exist in another state with different rules of physics ‘prior’ to the Big Bang. A different reality, with a different nature. But nature still.

        • Pofarmer

          Now you’re going to confuse skl even more.

        • Otto

          Sometimes I do to…but that does not answer my question.

        • skl

          I think there might be a reason to think a non-natural
          process had anything to do with the origination of life, just as I think there might be a reason to think a non-natural process had anything to do with the origination of the universe.

        • adam

          “I think there might be a reason to think a non-natural process had anything to do with the origination of life, ”

          that’s not thinking, that is faith

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b2871e45178499b600dccea941482f2d96c635ccd3f958a6022dfc73f11f5d87.jpg

        • Susan

          I think there might be a reason…

          What reason is that?

        • Otto

          Yes it seems to be obvious that you think there might be a reason “to think a non-natural process had anything to do with the origination of life,… there might be a reason to think a non-natural process had anything to do with the origination of the universe”…

          but you seem really evasive as to what those reasons are. Are you going to lay out what reasons you have for thinking that might be the case?

        • skl

          “… you seem really evasive as to what those reasons are. Are you going to lay out what reasons you have for thinking that might be the case?”

          I said there might be a reason, as in, there could
          be
          a reason, there is a possibility there is a
          reason. Science has not said No to that might/could/possibility.
          Are you?

        • Otto

          You said … “I think there might be a reason to think a non-natural process had anything to do with the origination of life”

          I am just wondering why you think that.

          And you are right science has not ruled out a non-natural cause…but at the same time I find no reason to think there is a non-natural cause.

        • Susan

          at the same time I find no reason to think thee is a non-natural cause.

          But you know… there might.

          Skl doesn’t even attempt to explain where nature ends and non-nature begins.

          Just that you can’t rule out an incoherent possibility.

        • Susan

          I said there might be a reason.

          And there MIGHT be immaterial snowflake fairies. Science hasn’t ruled them out, either. It can’t.

          That’s a pretty weak point from a person who tried to condense an entire field of science into sneery little points like:

          “In short, ’cause laws?”, “In short, ’cause chemistry?” and “In short, ’cause biochemistry?”

          The laws of physics are extremely well-established and are extremely good at describing the reality we live in. Same with chemistry and biochemistry.

          You really like to stretch this God-of-the-Gaps thing out without admitting that that’s what you’re up to.

          Combine that with a “science can’t disprove” (i.e. hasn’t ruled it out) and you have nothing.

          Yet, you denigrate fields about which you seem to know little and for which you show no curiosity. .

          Physics, chemistry, biochemistry on one side.

          There might be a reason that you can’t provide on the other.

          Hmmm…. where should I place my bet?

        • Joe

          Such as?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Then demonstrate it.

        • TheNuszAbides

          which raises at least two questions:
          1) whether or not this reason that ‘might be’ is actually a good reason;
          2) what “non-natural” could even mean or look like.

        • adam
        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Good…*wonder*.

          Just don’t accept answers without evidence.

    • Chuck Johnson

      Is this supposed to be the law of abiogenesis?-skl

      There is no such law. Ideas which can be simply stated and obviously true lend themselves to being a “law”.
      Sir Isaac Newton’s laws of motion are an example.

      Abiogenesis is more complicated and it’s a work in progress.
      In the future, when more is known about abiogenesis, people might start calling it a “law”.

    • Kevin K

      There is no “law” of abiogenesis. The term “abiogenesis” refers to a highly specific moment when self-sustaining chemical reactions became what we colloquially refer to as “life”. Before that, chemical reactions but no life. After, chemical reactions including “life”. This moment happened about 4 billion years ago on Earth, and has continued apace ever since.

      The “laws” of abiogenesis are the laws of chemical reactions. Nothing added, nothing subtracted –just chemistry.

      • skl

        In short, abiogenesis because chemical reactions.

        • adam

          As opposed to Magical Sky Daddy wills it?

        • Joe

          Speaking of “Christians who just don’t get it”, here’s skl!

        • epeeist

          What do you think biological processes are?

        • skl

          In short, abiogenesis because biological processes.

        • Joe

          You can’t stop biology or chemistry under the right conditions.

        • epeeist

          In short, abiogenesis because biological processes.

          I was going to try and use shorter words and sentences in that you seem to be having difficulty with posts both from me and other people. Then I thought, why should I.

          Biological processes supervene upon chemical processes (here is the citric acid cycle as an example). In turn chemistry supervenes upon physics.

          Now if you want to point out where your imaginary friend and supernatural fit in all of this, be my guest.

        • skl

          In short, abiogenesis because supervention.

        • adam

          As opposed to Magical Sky Daddy wills it?

        • epeeist

          In short, abiogenesis because supervention.

          I knew I should have used shorter words. You really don’t have a fucking clue as to what I and others here are telling you do you?

        • Joe

          I’m going to start to refer to this commentor as some have mistakenly done so in the past: ski.

          As in the singular of skis, because with just one ski you tend to end up going round in circles.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          abiogenesis because chemistry, the statistics of large sets, and a long time for those statistics to operate in an appropriate environment.

          Makes life pretty much inevitable naturally.

        • Kevin K

          BioCHEMISTRY. CHEMISTRY being the operative word.

          Chemistry is chemistry is chemistry. Every bit of it. We are just a particular collection of CHEMICAL reactions. Because humans are like that, we have decided to call those particular CHEMICAL reactions “biochemistry”. They are no different at their core, however, than any other chemical reaction. Fire is a chemical reaction — carbon and oxygen atoms are rearranged with heat as a byproduct. That’s an “exothermic” chemical reaction. WE are exothermic chemical reactions.

          Again, if you wish to claim something different, you’re going to have to start at the beginning and demonstrate that there is something uniquely different about one type of chemical reaction compared to a different type of chemical reaction.0

          Good luck with that–the Nobel Prize (several, actually) awaits.

        • Dannorth

          “WE are exothermic chemical reactions”

          Catabolism is, anabolism isn’t.

          /nitpicking.

        • skl

          Good luck with the abiogenesis. The Nobel Prizes await.

        • Kevin K

          I’m sure it will. But your pique suggests that you have no rejoinder to settled science.

          I suspect you’ll delete your account now that you’ve been thoroughly trounced and reappear as some other manifestation of an “atheist” who is “just asking questions.”.

        • skl

          “But your pique suggests that you have no rejoinder to settled science.”

          For those whose mind is settled that abiogenesis is settled science,
          rejoinders are ridiculous.

        • Kevin K

          Again, “abiogenesis” is just a placeholder term. Frankly, it’s not even used in the scientific community anymore. It’s a term that religious nutters like to trot out when they wish to engage in the “argument from incredulity” logical fallacy.

          Slink away.

        • skl

          I don’t think of “abiogenesis” as a placeholder term. Maybe “Dark
          Matter” and “Dark Energy”, but not “abiogenesis.” Abiogenesis means something very specific, something revealed by its name.

          Further, “abiogenesis” is settled science, in some eyes.

        • Kevin K

          Yes, the laws of chemistry that are in evidence everywhere around us were very much in place at the time when a certain set of chemical reactions became what we call “life”. Settled science.

          Prove otherwise, creationist.

        • Greg G.

          Either abiogenesis happened or it did not. The fact that we are here is evidence that it happened. The fact that chemistry happens and that all life processes are chemistry makes it probable that it happened through chemistry. There is no evidence that anything but chemistry was involved while the fact that the explanations that involved gods for other things have been knocked down by science reduces the credibility of the god explanations. Logic leads to the inference that it is probable that it happened while science has not settled the issue.

        • adam

          ‘”Further, “abiogenesis” is settled science, in some eyes.”

          You mean that chemistry and physics actually works in reality?

          As opposed to Magical Sky Daddy diddit

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2e7c85f83a051737489a88bbc6af7ae1f629a7c020304dd72287796458bc2580.jpg

        • epeeist

          For those whose mind is settled that abiogenesis is settled science,

          Abiogenesis is a work in progress rather than settled science. However things like reaction kinetics, reaction mechanisms and the thermodynamics of chemical and biological reactions is largely settled science (as an example, my wife’s doctorate was in the thermodynamics of methylation with vitamin B12 as substrate).

        • Jim Jones

          Indeed. Francis Crick, James Watson and Maurice Wilkins received theirs for discovering DNA with no help from ‘gods’. Sadly, Rosalind Franklin had died.

          And those who crack this puzzle will receive their prizes in turn.

        • eric

          No, abiogenises because atoms are observed to form autocatalytic molecules, and to form organic compounds, and to form lipid bilayers and spheres – all without any intelligence needed. The abiogenesis hypothesis is that these three naturally observed types of chemical interactions occurred at some point in combination, leading to an organic, autocatalytic molecule (i.e., replicator) with a cell wall barrier between it and its environment (and again, without any intelligence needed). To test that hypothesis, people research different combinations of atoms making organic molecules, molecules that replicate (show autocatalysis), and different sequences of the steps.

          At this point, because many of the steps needed to produce life have been observed to occur in nature separately, the folks claiming “it is impossible for this to happen” have a strong burden of proof to show why it’s impossible, before anyone will accept that abiogenesis is not possible.

        • skl

          “At this point, because many of the steps needed to
          produce life
          have been observed to occur in nature separately,”

          I think it would be more accurate to say ‘many of the characteristics of life have been observed to occur in nature separately’. Science won’t know that the characteristics are steps until such time they observe something stepping to the top of the staircase – life.

          “… the folks claiming “it is impossible for this to
          happen” have a strong burden of proof to show why it’s
          impossible, before anyone will accept that abiogenesis is not possible.”

          Likewise, the folks claiming ‘it is impossible for the
          origin of life to be non-natural’ have a strong burden of proof to show why it’s impossible.

          But as I understand it, science does not do proofs. Probably
          because proofs are practically impossible, in science.

          And proving a negative is even more impossible.

        • Jim Jones

          What will you say when we build a 3d printer that can create zygotes?

        • Susan

          Likewise, the folks claiming ‘it is impossible for the
          origin of life to be non-natural’ have a strong burden of proof to show why it’s impossible.

          I haven’t seen anyone here claim it is impossible. So, no burden of proof.

          It’s just you haven’t given anyone any reason to think it’s a worthwhile pursuit..

          You haven’t defined “natural” for the purposes of suggesting “non-natural” causes might be why things we call life exist in a world in which most things are what we call non-life.

          I assume by “non-natural”, you mean what most people refer to as “supernatural.” Neither are clear terms.

          It’s like someone standing around at a murder investigation saying “It could have been ghosts and by ghosts I mean… you know… ghosts.”

          No one would bother telling you it’s impossible. They’d just have security escort you out.

          Because you have no coherent model of ghosts, no way of demonstrating how ghosts did it and nothing but ignorance and incuriosity about how many fields of forensics work.

          You’d roll your eyes and mutter things like “In short… ’cause ballistics.”

          If you could provide more than it might be ghosts, then you would show it.

          You still haven’t disproven my Immaterial Sntowflake Fairies.

          Does that mean you hold the burden of proof?

        • Joe

          Yes.

        • Kevin K

          Exactly. And to argue differently, you’d have to demonstrate the existence of something that we have demonstrated with more than 200 unbroken years of evidence isn’t there — “quintessence” or “life force”.

        • epeeist

          200 unbroken years of evidence isn’t there — “quintessence” or “life force”.

          Not since Wohler synthesised urea.

        • skl

          I don’t understand what you mean.

        • TheNuszAbides

          research the demise of “vitalism” and you might.

    • GubbaBumpkin

      Just suppose naturalistic explanations of abiogenesis all failed, and the scientific world conceded that a god created life. We still live in a 13+ billion year old universe, on a planet in a solar system that is ~4.5 billion years old, on which the surface has been constantly reshaped by plate tectonics, on which all known life has shared ancestry.

      We know with sufficient certainty that the god which created that life is not YHWH the tribal god of the Jews, and that the accounts written in the Bible are totally false: the universe was not created in a week 6000 years ago, whales were not created before land mammals, man was not created from mud, woman was not created from rib, there was never a worldwide flood survived by 8 related humans and a large crate of animals, there was no earthquake and zombie invasion 2000 years ago. So we know that Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all false and you would need a fresh start identifying that god who created life 10 billion years into the history of the universe.

      • epeeist

        Just suppose naturalistic explanations of abiogenesis all failed

        It isn’t a zero sum game though. If all attempts to provide a naturalistic explanation failed then all this would show is that all naturalistic explanations had failed. It says nothing about alternative explanations. As I keep saying, all hypotheses stand on their own merits, not on “problems” with other hypotheses.

        Let’s look at the situation where someone actually does manage to demonstrate abiogenesis, does this refute the idea of a deity being involved in the creation of life? No, it does not. What it does do is refute the idea of god as a necessary being, leaving the theist to demonstrate why we should incorporate such an entity in our theories when it adds nothing to the explanatory power or empirical fit of such theories.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          <iIt isn't a zero sum game though.

          Learn to recognize an ad arguendo.

      • skl

        “Just suppose naturalistic explanations of abiogenesis all failed, and the
        scientific world conceded that a god created life.”

        That supposition is beyond my powers of imagination.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          That supposition is beyond my powers of imagination.

          Yes, your limited imagination has been clear to all fro some time now. And yet you still believe in the magical sky fairy and his unicorns.

        • koseighty

          And yet you still believe in the magical sky fairy and his unicorns.

          Someone else imagined those things. It takes little to no imagination to follow along.

        • Jim Jones

          We know.

  • Otto

    but since the Christian community has taken it as an honest statement, I’ll interpret it that way, too.

    I commend your willingness to do so Bob, but the arguments are so bad I have a hard time not seeing this as a sock puppet filled with straw. I am sure there are a few atheists out there that may hold some of these positions, but for a Christian site to supposedly have found one (I have never seen an atheist take these stances) and hold it out as if it is representative of the group is certainly disingenuous.

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

      Yep. That’s the punch line of my next post.

      • TheNuszAbides

        spoiler much?! 😛

  • Jeanette Norman

    That has absolutely got to be an atheist’s parody of the ridiculous arguments Christians make against atheists.

    Obviously, no atheist is stupid enough to reason that way. And I sure hope that even Christians are not stupid enough to think that atheists think that way.

    • Michael Neville

      Unfortunately many Christians are informed by their religious leaders that atheists are sociopathic nihilists. The quotes that Bob gives reinforce this idea. I doubt that “John” is a real atheist, certainly he doesn’t sound like any atheist I’ve ever talked to. But I have seen Christians promoting this caricature as propaganda to keep the faithful from straying. “See, if you start doubting then this is what you’ll become.”

      • epeeist

        I doubt that “John” is a real atheist, certainly he doesn’t sound like any atheist I’ve ever talked to.

        I wouldn’t be sure, he may of course just not be very bright or not have a good grasp of the things that he is putting forward.

        • Ann Kah

          He sounds as if he is deliberately trying to say things to offend and provoke. That may not be the “real John”, but the “Shock Jock John”.

      • Joe

        doubt that “John” is a real atheist, certainly he doesn’t sound like any atheist I’ve ever talked to.

        While John sounds like a straw man, there are a surprising amount of atheists that have absorbed parts of the Christian culture that we all live in. There was a recent survey (can’t remember exactly) where an alarming number of atheists thought Christians were, in general, more moral by default.

    • Greg G.

      And I sure hope that even Christians are not stupid enough to think that atheists think that way.

      It is amazing how often Christians begin their arguments against atheism with those presuppositions.

      • Jeanette Norman

        Yes, but this seems like those same arguments exaggerated out of their usual proportions, which is why this sounds like an atheist ridiculing those arguments rather than actually making them.

    • Joe

      And I sure hope that even Christians are not stupid enough to think that atheists think that way.

      Then you hope in vain. Not all Christians do, but I’ve been called a Nihilist more times than I care to mention.

      • Jeanette Norman

        So have I. But the arguments seem so exaggerated that this is either an atheist making fun of the stupidity of Christian assumptions, or a particularly addle-brained Christian. And the ability to spell and form sentences doesn’t seem in line with the quality of the arguments being made.

        So I’m still guessing that it’s an atheist imitating a Christian imitating an atheist, rather than a Christian imitating an atheist. (And it is of course not an atheist being sincere.)

        But whatever it is, it is hilarious.

    • Herald Newman

      Obviously, no atheist is stupid enough to reason that way.

      Never underestimate how stupid people can be. As the great Carlin said: “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.”

      Also, remember that while people can be theists for bad reasons, they can also be atheists for bad reasons. A lot of people have bad reasons for holding the positions that they do and atheists are not exempt from bad reasoning.

      • Jeanette Norman

        That is a fact, but I have never heard an atheist say things like that before. It sounds like he’s making fun of the arguments Christians make against atheists.

        • Herald Newman

          That is a fact, but I have never heard an atheist say things like that before.

          Well, there are a lot of atheists out there, and not all of them have exposure to the kinds of materials that we have. Some people are atheists simply because they were raised non-religious, and haven’t really considered any of these questions before. When I first started exposing my atheism to the world, my views were rather unpolished, and often quite poorly thought out. I’ve refined exactly what it is that I believe, but only because I’ve had exposure to others who have thought through these problems before. As Newton is reported to have said: If I’ve seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”

          All that said, I tend to agree that this probably didn’t come from an atheist. It definitely didn’t come from an atheist who’s been exposed to critics.

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

          There’s a newish atheist blog at Patheos, Laughing in Disbelief. All the articles are satire. I applaud the cleverness, but this is yet one more vehicle, like The Onion, that will create confused people. Yet more work for Snopes and the thoughtful ones here.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/laughingindisbelief/is-this-satire/

  • Kevin K

    That atheist is made of as much straw as the dancing companion of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.

    • Cozmo the Magician

      and has about as much brains.

  • http://musingsfromacorneroftheuniverse.blogspot.com/ Michael

    They aren’t “supposed” atheists. It’s enough to acknowledge disagreement with atheists who hold nihilist views such as the above. Anyway, he never even tries to justify the claims of there being “no meaning” or that our values are simply illusions. It is worth noting some of us atheists do think that objective meaning exists, or it’s possible. Unfortunate, though, how only fear of punishment seems to come up for people as a reason they don’t harm others. How about compassion? Whether innate, inculturated or both, it’s simply a fact that most people, atheists or theists, don’t go around harming others due to conscience, not simply fear they will be punished. Society couldn’t long exist it it wasn’t the case.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    There is currently a thread over at A Tippling Philosopher on abiogenesis. Feel free to make any contributions there.

  • Dannorth

    “You could talk about love at the chemical level or worse, at the quantum level, but why would you? Not much poetry about love is written at this low level”

    But at the mathematical level we get this gem from Stanislas Lem.

    Come, let us hasten to a higher plane,
    Where dyads tread the fairy fields of Venn,
    Their indices bedecked from one to n,
    Commingled in an endless Markov chain!

    Come, every frustum longs to be a cone,
    And every vector dreams of matrices.
    Hark to the gentle gradient of the breeze:
    It whispers of a more ergodic zone.

    In Riemann, Hilbert, or in Banach space
    Let superscripts and subscripts go their ways.
    Our asymptotes no longer out of phase,
    We shall encounter, counting, face to face.

    I’ll grant thee random access to my heart,
    Thou’lt tell me all the constants of thy love;
    And so we two shall all love’s lemmas prove,
    And in our bound partition never part.

    For what did Cauchy know, or Christoffel,
    Or Fourier, or any Boole or Euler,
    Wielding their compasses, their pens and rulers,
    Of thy supernal sinusoidal spell?

    Cancel me not — for what then shall remain?
    Abscissas, some mantissas, modules, modes,
    A root or two, a torus and a node:
    The inverse of my verse, a null domain.

    Ellipse of bliss, converge, O lips divine!
    The product of our scalars is defined!
    Cyberiad draws nigh, and the skew mind
    Cuts capers like a happy haversine.

    I see the eigenvalue in thine eye,
    I hear the tender tensor in thy sigh.
    Bernoulli would have been content to die,
    Had he but known such a2 cos 2 phi

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

      There once was a fencer named Fisk
      Whose fencing was exceedingly brisk.
      So fast was his action
      The Fitzgerald Contraction
      Reduced his rapier to a disk.

      (Oh, wait–that’s about physics. Never mind.)

      • Lark62

        And then there was the molecule that thought he had lost an electron.

        His buddy asked “Are you sure?”

        “Yes. I’m positive.”

      • Cozmo the Magician

        There was a young lady named WhiteWho traveled far faster than light.She ventured one dayin a relative way.And returned home the previous night.

  • Dys

    Outside of my greedy little gene’s need to reproduce, there is nothing in my world that stops me from killing you and reproducing with
    your wife. Only the fear that I might be incarcerated and thus be deprived of the opportunity to do the same with the next guy’s wife
    stops me.

    If John the so-called atheist was really being honest here, the issue isn’t really atheism, it’s that John is a sociopath. Attributing his sociopathy to atheism itself as Cold Case Christianity appears to is intellectually dishonest.

    • Joe

      John also knows very little about evolutionary biology.

      • Chuck Johnson

        John knows very little about genetic adaptive evolution, and very little about cultural adaptive evolution.
        But then, look at who his creators are.

      • GubbaBumpkin

        Right. If he had been an atheist and an evolutionist, he wouldn’t kill the next guy and rape his wife, he would have a secret affair with the next guy’s wife, and leave the next guy with the trouble and expense of raising any offspring produced!

    • Doubting Thomas

      Many Christians see discussions of morality as nothing more than a chance to demonstrate how truly reprehensible they are.

    • lady_black

      The wife might have something to say about it.

  • Pofarmer

    Outside of my greedy little gene’s need to
    reproduce, there is nothing in my world that stops me from killing you
    and reproducing with your wife. Only the fear that I might be
    incarcerated and thus be deprived of the opportunity to do the same with
    the next guy’s wife stops me.

    Except military types will tell you that it’s pretty dang hard to get someone to kill someone else, for any reason. This line of “thinking” is simply nonsense.

  • Ann Kah

    The necessity for primitive people (and their ancestors) to get along with each other, in order to band together for mutual support and protection, provides all the need for moral behavior that one requires, no god required. Small groups need to be able to trust one another, and transgressors faced the penalty of being ousted from the tribe to go solo into a harsh, dangerous world.

    • Greg G.

      That applies to chimpanzees, as well.

    • lady_black

      The social behavior present in humans is present in primates, generally. Monkeys will ‘help a brotha out.’

    • Jim Jones

      Being ousted was almost universally a death sentence. Robinson Crusoe was not typical.

  • rationalobservations?

    The annually published “Global Peace Index” has indicated for quite some time that the top ten most peaceful nations in the history of our very recently evolved species of ape are also the ten least religious nations in all human history while the ten most warlike, oppressive and least peaceful nations are all dominated by totalitarian religions.
    Chris Hitchens observed the history of religions and the conduct of religionists and concluded that “religion poisons everything”. It is most gratifying that the evidence proved that free, educated, secular democracy is the antidote to that vile poison.

    Millions of peaceful, charitable, law abiding, tax paying atheists are leading blameless humanitarian lives and proving that we are not only good without god…, we are better.

    • Kevin K

      You’d probably have to count the personality cult in North Korea as a religion for that to be totally correct … but I’m OK with that.

      • rationalobservations?

        You are not the first person to recognise the similarity between the extremism and totalitarianism of communism and the extremism and totalitarianism of religion, Kevin.

        “One strength of the Communist system …is that it has some of the characteristics of a religion and inspires the emotions of a religion.”

        – Albert Einstein, Out Of My Later Years

        Some christians attempt (but fail) to scare peaceful secularists into believing that without christianity the west will succumb to Islamic rule. The alternative to domination by another religion is not a return to christian totalitarian domination. The alternative to all religious domination is free, secular democracy and we must all guard that against any and all forms of religious and/or political totalitarianism.

  • De Ha

    I’m completely convinced “John” is made up by J. Warllace. I can’t prove J stands for John, but if it turns out his real name is John Wallace, I reserve the right to yell “Called it!”

    “John” not only makes the same mistakes Theist usually make when they strawman us, sometimes he sounds like a cartoon character pretending to infiltrate the enemy and doing a terrible job untill someone notices his rabbit tail, or so we Atheists claim as I am an Authentic Atheist and as an Atheist I must get back to Atheist City and eat babies as we Atheists do.

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

      J. Warner Wallace is Jim Wallace.

      This category of atheists apologizing for Christian arguments is pretty bizarre. The post has links to my commentary on a few other examples.