25 Reasons We Don’t Live in a World with a God (Part 5)

25 Reasons We Don’t Live in a World with a God (Part 5) March 5, 2018

Do we live in a world with a god? There are many reasons to reject that idea (part 1 here).

Let’s continue our survey with the next clue that we live in a godless world:

11. Because God is absent from where we’d expect him

Victor Stenger makes the Argument from Absence, which observes that we don’t find God where we’d expect to. This is a direct response to a popular Christian argument that goes something like this: “You say God doesn’t exist? Well let me ask you this: have you looked everywhere in the universe? How do you know he doesn’t exist if you haven’t looked everywhere?”

This is simply the “You can’t prove God doesn’t exist” argument, which is off topic because I’m not trying to prove God doesn’t exist. However, when you look in places where you’d expect to find evidence of God, and you find none, that is evidence against God.

Stenger explores eight areas.

1. Cosmology. We should find evidence for God in cosmology, but natural laws are sufficient. We find no data that needs a miraculous violation of laws. “Well established cosmological knowledge indicates that the universe began with maximum entropy, that is, total chaos with the absence of structure. Thus the universe bears no imprint of a creator.”

2. Evolution. We should find God in the structure of living things, but evolution is sufficient. Complex organisms evolved from simpler ones in a variations-on-a-theme way. Life forms are marvelously complex, but elegance is what we’d expect to find in a designed lifeform, not mere complexity. Far from being evidence of a Creator, the junk in DNA argues for the opposite conclusion.

3. Souls. We should find evidence that God gave humans souls, but the supernatural isn’t necessary to explain consciousness, memory, or personality (more). There is no evidence that souls are anything more than wishful thinking.

4. Revelation. The Bible claims that God gives communicates through revelations, but we can’t verify this. Even many of the un-supernatural claims like the Exodus and David’s empire now appear to be false.

5. Prayers. Jesus in the Bible claimed that prayers are reliably answered (more here and here). The Bible has no qualifiers like “if you’re worthy” or “if your prayer happens to line up with God’s plan.” Christians make billions of prayers, but there is no convincing evidence that God answers any. Prayer is easy to study scientifically, but the comprehensive Templeton Study found no evidence of the value of prayer.

6. Inhospitable universe. The Bible makes clear that the universe was created with man in mind, but the vast majority of the universe (and the majority of the earth) is inhospitable to man. The universe has 200 billion galaxies, but earth was the actual purpose? Nope.

7. New information. If God communicates with people through prayer or revelation, there should be evidence of people having information they could only have gotten supernaturally. Instead, no such claim has checked out, and the Bible has no information that wouldn’t have already been available to the people who wrote it (more here and here).

8. Morality. Is God the source of morality? Given the barbaric morality God displays in the Old Testament, it’s clear that he is no moral authority. For example, God said that slavery was fine, but we say that it’s abhorrent. Both can’t both be right. Christians must pick.

This relates to Hitchens’ Moral Challenge: identify a moral action taken or a moral sentiment uttered by a believer that couldn’t be taken or uttered by an unbeliever—something that only a believer could do and an atheist couldn’t. There is nothing.

But now think of the reverse: something terrible that only a believer would do or say. Examples from the Bible easily come to mind—Abraham being willing to sacrifice Isaac, for example. Today, Christians justify lots of things, from Westboro Baptist Church’s “God hates fags” to any hateful or selfish conclusion justified by “because God (or the Bible) says” such as condemning homosexuality, blocking civil rights, prohibiting stem cell research, and so on.

Could God be hiding under a rock somewhere that we haven’t peeked under? Sure, but this secretive god isn’t the Christian god who’s eager for a relationship. These are eight places where we would expect a god to be, and our searches have come up empty.

12. Because physics rules out the soul or the afterlife

This is a related argument by another physicist, Sean Carroll. He notes that there is plenty of physics we don’t understand, but the physics of the everyday world is very well understood. If a soul exists, it would need to exist in particles, and it would need particles to convey it into the afterlife. No such particles exist. Unlike “Have you looked everywhere in the universe?” we have looked everywhere for particles that interact in our daily lives. We’ve found them all, and none could explain the soul.

Here’s his critique of hiding places for the soul particle(s):

Could new particles hide from our view? Sure, but only if they were (1) very weakly interacting or (2) too heavy to create or (3) too short-lived to detect. In any of those cases, the new particle would be irrelevant to our everyday lives. (Source)

The Christian god needs physics to build a soul, but physics isn’t cooperating. This doesn’t offer much hope for the afterlife, either. (More)

Continue with part 6.

It ain’t supposed to make sense; it’s faith.
Faith is something that you believe
that nobody in his right mind would believe.
— Archie Bunker, All in the Family

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Image via John D, CC license

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  • Kevin K

    With regard to evolution, the strongest piece of evidence against a teleological god that built this universe to be inhabited by humans is the vitamin C pseudogene. All great apes, including humans have a gene that would make vitamin C, were it not borked in a specific place shared by all ape species.

    Even Michael Behe, creationist biochemist, acknowledges that the presence of this gene, broken at that exact spot in all of the ape species, is evidence of common descent. Behe sees gods in smaller things.

    • Greg G.

      Guinea pigs also have a broken gene for Vitamin C but it is broken in a different place.

      • Kevin K

        Yes, which argues against common ancestry.

        • Lark62

          It means primate ancestors split from guinea pig ancestors before their respective vitamin C genes stopped working.

          They do have a common ancestor, but very distant.

        • Find the age of the common ancestor between any two animals (Genuses) here:
          http://timetree.org/search/pairwise/homo/cavia

          For humans and guinea pigs, 90M years.

    • And every single cell in every human has that gene for vitamin C. Which doesn’t work.

      So much for a supernatural Designer.

      • Otto

        It would work fine if it wasn’t for our Original sin.

        • Damn you and your irrefutable logic!

        • Pofarmer

          Oh, don’t you even.

        • Kevin K

          Did chimps eat the IQ-raising sin-fruit as well? I wasn’t aware of that. Or is that all backsplash from the hairless apes?

        • Greg G.

          All New World and Old World monkeys got screwed regarding Vitamin C by that Original Sin. How did lemurs get out of it?

        • Kevin K
        • Pact with the devil, obviously.

        • Otto

          Backlash…have to be backlash. Everything bad in the universe is humanities fault.

        • Kevin K

          Fucking humans…

        • Otto

          I get such a kick out of this argument. Christians always talk of how arrogant humans are (and they are not really wrong), but then they go and make a completely arrogant argument that we are the cause of everything evil. A little self awareness might be in order.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          I had a discussion with someone who, within a single sentence, accused me of arrogance for dismissing Fine Tuning and claimed that the universe was designed with us in mind.

        • Otto

          I assume you pointed out the obvious contradiction…and how did that go?

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          As well as you might expect.

        • Otto

          Gaslighting would be top of my list

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          I got the sense that his block was legitimate. The idea that someone created an entire universe out of love for us can feel humbling, which causes the theist to not recognize how egocentric the idea really is.

        • Otto

          While I see your point…to me that is like hearing the spoiled 16 yr old kid declare he is ‘humbled’ his father bought him a Porsche.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          To be fair, I didn’t say the argument was legitimate, just the block.

        • TheNuszAbides

          armchair analysis: anyone who buys into the supernatural guilt/redemption scheme is far more likely to end up (a) breezing through poor decisions because they anticipate the omnibenevolent boss’s bottomless forgiveness or (b) castigating themselves for anything that ever goes wrong or (c) overthinking potential consequences to the point of decision-paralysis, rather than (d) balancing their empathy, compassion and self-interest in a way that benefits the individual and those around them. a lot of my habits are still stuck on (b) and (c). my quest for self-awareness was hobbled by major self-absorption and self-loathing. i’ve spent most of my life being hypersensitive about the definition of arrogance that i took home, which for about 20 years basically amounted to eradicating/rejecting as corrupt any attitude or expression of confidence under any circumstances. (i blame religion only partially for this because there really was nobody drilling the particulars into me – i sort of mixed and matched principles from other stories i read.)

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          …have a LOT of fun…

        • TheNuszAbides

          sins of the father clade?

        • Kevin K

          Exactly! The IQ-raising sin-fruit was an ORANGE!!

        • TheNuszAbides

          *head explodes*

      • Kevin K

        The answer, of course, is obvious. Yahweh hates sailors.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          But yahweh is *obsessed* with semen…

        • al kimeea

          “Women and seamen don’t mix sir.” – Smithers

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        Nahhh, the *boss* ‘Intelligent Designer’ told the coder to comment out that gene.

        Happens all the time with asshole bosses.

        /s

        • You’ve got some code that will add a cool feature, but it’s not critical, time is getting short, and you’ve got a pile of bug reports, so you say, “Screw it” and comment out that whole block of code and move on. We’ve all been there.

        • Halbe

          Yeah, I guess that even omnipotent programmers sometimes succumb to the stress of deadlines and competing requirements…

        • Ignorant Amos

          We’ve all been there.

          Ah…nah…we all haven’t been there at all. You Gnostic computer whiz kid coders sticking together…think yer better than the rest of us. because you really understand the hidden message….pffft!

      • Kodie

        Big Pharma.

    • Far from being evidence of a Creator, the junk in DNA argues for the opposite conclusion.

  • Why must a soul be particles? They say it’s immaterial.

    • Greg G.

      It’s the age old problem with how an immaterial spiritual being like God can interact with the material world. Plato wrote about the Logos being an intermediary. Philo tried to apply that concept to Judaism. The New Testament makes references to God working through Jesus.

      • Yes, it’s an old problem, though I’m not sure how an immaterial, incorporeal being became a man. Oh well, that’s their problem, not ours.

        • Kevin K

          The answer is easy. He didn’t. It’s a fiction. There never was a “Jesus”. The accounts written about his life and times are wholly fictional. There was no census. There was no slaughter of innocents in Bethlehem, either. There was no ministry, no miracles, no riding into Jerusalem as a king, no arrest, no show trial, no execution, no thieves alongside, no entombment, no rock, no guards, no angels, no zombie with holes in his hands and feet, nothing rose bodily into heaven.

          None of that happened.

          Once you understand that … everything else comes together.

        • I agree with all that of course, this was just referring to it logically as a problem with their concepts.

        • Pofarmer

          Whadda ya mean? God impregnated a virgin with himself to give birth to himself in order to make himself a sacrifice to himself. It’s perfectly clear.

        • Yeah, right.

    • Kevin K

      If it interacts with the material world, as is claimed by theists, then it must-must-must be detectable by our currently available instruments. It not only would be detectable, it would already have been detected with our current level of knowledge and understanding of the Standard Model of Particle Physics.

      It ain’t there. It doesn’t exist.

      • Are you sure? Why would an immaterial thing by detectable that way? Of course there is also the option of there being no immaterial soul, but rather we would just be resurrected materially at the end of time by God, in improved bodies.

        • Otto

          Can you give me an example of an immaterial thing that is not a concept?

        • I don’t know, but since concepts are mental, it leaves things open for minds to be immaterial, at least partly. Of course that doesn’t necessarily mean the mind survives brain death (assuming they are even different). This is complicated, that’s what it comes down to.

        • Otto

          I agree it is complicated. I just find the phrase ‘immaterial thing’ to be an oxymoron, though I am not knowledgeable enough to say it is for certain. I just can’t wrap my head around being able to say that such a thing could be said to exist.

        • I understand. To imagine something immaterial that is not just a concept is difficult. I mean, it can imagined, though that doesn’t mean such things really exist.

        • Otto

          Difficult?…I am not sure it is coherent.

        • Yes, that’s what I mean.

        • Susan

          Just a thought. You might find the ideas discussed in this conference useful. I did.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ju4C_ITlBsU

          They take on the terms you are worried about one by one and thoughtfully.

        • Okay. I’m not worried though, simply curious about this.

        • Susan

          I’m not worried though, simply curious about this.

          If you’re truly curious, you have to learn an awful lot about how an awful lot of things work, and understand the implications of all the terms you use.

          I understand that it’s exhausting and why most of us aren’t up to it. Time is a constraint, for instance.

          In the meantime, the suggestion that lots of people believe it (without showing that any of them understand the implications of the terms they use, nor knowledge of how things work) doesn’t make it very interesting.

          It’s a vague curiosity that you don’t want to follow all the way down.

          Which means you don’t find it that interesting.

        • Susan

          since concepts are mental, it leaves things open for minds to be immaterial

          Not sure how.

          Not even sure what you mean by “immaterial”.

          “Running” is a concept.

          Does that make it immaterial?

          Or just a concept about a specific material behaviour?

        • Well, it hinges upon what a concept even is. I’ve been discussing that in some other comments.

        • Susan

          Well, it hinges upon what a concept even is.

          It does. That;s why I asked you what you mean by “immaterial”.

          I’ve been discussing that in other comments.

          But not very clearly. That’s why I asked you what you mean by “immaterial”.

        • Sorry. Not made up of particles, to start with. Possibly not even bound by time and space. It really depends upon what “material” means, so it’s difficult to answer.

        • Susan

          Not made up of particles to start with.

          What’s is made up of?

          Possibly not even bound by time and space.

          What is it bound by?

          It really depends up what “material” means

          Yes. If you mean by “immaterial”, not “material”, then yes.

          If you just mean concepts, then no.

          This is why a defining terms is so important.

          Running is a concept.

          Does that make it immaterial?

        • See eepist’s comments.

          I don’t know.

          Yes, that’s what I mean.

          The question was whether concepts are material. I don’t know for sure.

        • Kodie

          Nouns that are not material usually tend to deal with relationships, labels we have invented in language to describe situations we observe or experience. If I describe an experience, my brain is physically remembering having that experience even if it is not occurring now, or my brain can imagine having an experience that it isn’t having or never has had, like being buried alive or living in the 1800s. Another noun such as justice might have more than one angle. Can I experience justice? Justice is a relationship no only of laws but of wishes. A survivor may think justice is served if the perpetrator is sentenced to death. Another person may think justice can only be served if the perpetrator suffers a painful death. Another person may think justice can only be served if the perpetrator is rehabilitated and returned to society. What is rehabilitation? What is sanity? Those are nouns that are rooted in some physical transformation or status, but are also related to what is acceptable in the culture. A person who has committed a crime they felt was righteous would need to be faux-rehabilitated, aka brainwashed to the values of another culture. A person who was at war would only be considered not righteous by the opposition, i.e. kill the guy who tries to kill me because our respective governments said so. The guy who tries to kill me or my team is “wrong”, even if his own government has ordered it and told him it was ok. What is violence? What is education, what is war, what is society? There are labels that describe physical relationships but the nouns aren’t physical like car or apple or chair.

        • epeeist

          Not made up of particles, to start with

          What are these “particles” of which you speak? The current ontology in physics is space-time and quantum fields, and if you accept what someone like Carlo Rovelli is proposing even space-time is not basic. His ontology consists of one kind of entity, covariant quantum fields.

          Particles are simply excitations of these fields.

        • Okay, that aligns with my impression of current physical evidence. I feel vindicated, thanks.

        • Pofarmer

          This is complicated, that’s what it comes down to.

          it’s much less complicated if you’re a philosophical naturalist.

        • Kevin K

          Yes. I’m sure. More to the point, the smart guys with the cyclotrons and such are sure.

        • Pofarmer

          If an immaterial thing caused an effect, we should be able to detect it’s effect. That’s how we found things like ultraviolet light and radiation, after all.

        • Perhaps there is an effect that isn’t detectable the way we usually work. I think “immaterial” may be the wrong term however. “Nonphysical” is probably better. Our understanding of physics has gone beyond matter.

        • Pofarmer

          Our understanding of physics has gone beyond matter.

          I’m not sure that’s true. I wish @epeeist would weigh in. To my knowledge everything that physics deals with either makes up matter or affects it.

          Perhaps there is an effect that isn’t detectable the way we usually work.

          So what? Now we’re doing apologetics for ancient religious beliefs. If it weren’t for that, would we even think such things?

        • That was my understanding, but it would be good to have a physicist’s insight.

          Well, so it would mean there is more to the universe than matter. If that supports religious beliefs or not is another issue.

        • Pofarmer

          Yeah, but we weren’t talking about “the Universe” we were talking about minds.

        • Are they not part of the universe? You’re right though. Anyway, it’s a really big debate.

        • Pofarmer

          Well, it’s actually only a real debate if it’s not total crap.

          I think it’s Deepak Chopra or somebody like that who says that “Quantum tunneling” or some such could explain why some people supposedly get weird vibes when someone dies or whatever. So, anyway, I asked Sean Carroll about it on his blog. His answer was that any quantum effects were many multiples of powers too small to actually act on the human brain. The universe just doesn’t work that way.

        • Obviously.

          That one I haven’t heard before.

        • al kimeea

          Yes, the quantum scale is far too small for people to interact with directly in any way including thoughts. Choprawoo includes the idea of the moon disappearing when you look away from it.

          “Emotional intelligence is a modality of universal bliss”

        • epeeist

          <blockquote.Our understanding of physics has gone beyond matter.

          Has it? You are away from the subject a few days and look what happens. Since you seem to be more au fait with this why don’t you tell us what this “beyond matter” is.

        • I don’t claim that. You laid out the current physics in another comment-that where was my impression comes from here.

        • epeeist

          I don’t claim that

          It is in your comment above. Are you trying to repudiate your own post?

        • I mean I’m not claiming to be more knowledgeable of this.

        • Kevin K

          Matter is congealed energy. Surely you’ve heard about it. It was in all the papers.

  • Why must a soul be particles? They say it’s immaterial usually.

    • Michael Neville

      You’re right. Imaginary, fictitious, non-existent things are not made up of particles. However everything real is made up of particles. Why should the soul be different?

      • In what way do imaginary things exist? Are they collections of neurons in our brains, if not given tangible form (written word, etc.)? You beg the question about everything which is real being made up of particles.

        • eric

          Sure, concepts of imaginary things exist as patterns or flows of real particles in our brains. How does this support any notion of a soul that is more than an imagined concept?

          The problem with an ‘immaterial’ soul is interaction. A soul that doesn’t interact with matter can’t do anything; it would be at best a rider/recorder. Maybe some religions are okay with that, but Christianity…usually not. A soul that is the seat of our consciousness or will and which thus controls our body must interact with our body through the four known forces and force carriers, since our bodies function using those. Ergo, the soul must interact with those forces. And that means its particles.

        • That was just a question. I don’t claim it would support an immaterial soul.

          That’s true, the interaction problem has been a long-standing one. It seems nowadays a lot of more sophisticated Christians are embracing a materialist view of human personality, claiming we’re going to be resurrected bodily in the future, not that there is an immaterial soul that exists separate from the body.

        • Kevin K

          That’s not “sophisticated” Christianity. That’s as old as Christianity itself. It’s in the Nicene Creed — written in the year 381 CE. And it’s patent nonsense. How in the world is Yahweh The Magnificent™ going to bodily resurrect the victims of the Titanic or other sea disasters without … well … drowning them in the process? Would the people turned into a fine mist at Hiroshima or Nagasaki glow in the dark? What about all those people who are just bones and bone shards in the catacombs of Paris?

          It’s a lunatic, inane, anti-logical concept. Not. Sophisticated.

        • You’re right, it’s old. By “sophisticated” I mean more aligned with modern scientific thinking (though that is a relative concept). Once you bring in an all-knowing and all-powerful God, it isn’t so hard. They can just say that God will transport them somewhere else so they’re not going to drown. Or that they’ve been made immortal and thus can’t die again at all. As for the rest, since he knows all then he’d just reconstitute their bodies in the improved form. Not that any of this makes it true.

        • Kevin K

          No. No. No. Not “aligned with modern scientific thinking.” Modern scientific thinking says that’s pure fantasy. Idiotic. A non-starter from the jump.

          What part of “wrong” do you not understand?

        • I said more aligned, as in acknowledging that an immaterial soul isn’t plausible.

          I understand it fine. Where have I said they were right?

        • Kevin K

          I’m sorry, but you’re talking idiocy. You have one completely and utterly discounted hypothesis … that a “soul” transports itself into some otherwordly realm. That’s 100% counter to everything we can discern about reality…”supernatural” or otherwise.

          And then you have a SECOND completely and utterly discounted hypothesis. That 100 BILLION people (everyone who ever lived) are going to magically be turned into new humans. Using … what, Star Trek transporter beams? It’s 100% pure bullshit.

          One is not “more” aligned. Both are fractally wrong. Not even wrong wrong. Not. Happening.

        • I’m not endorsing them, just discussing what people think. One option can still be “less wrong” than another.

        • Kevin K

          “People” are morons. And you can’t get any wronger than either of those options.

          Fantasies of magic genies performing great feats should be consigned to picture books.

        • I guess that includes us then-we’re people. Wrongness is a spectrum.

          They aren’t though, and we have to address that.

        • Kevin K
        • I’m not sure what this meme has to do with anything (although I agree with it). Strictly speaking of course we don’t have to do anything. That assumed we wish to change what people think. Then it’s useful to discuss and critique ideas.

        • Kevin K
        • Okay… Not seeing the point.

        • Kevin K
        • So you’re saying I’m a sea lion?

        • Kevin K
        • Kodie

          When a religious person points out a discrepancy with reality in scripture, and the religion responds by trying to package up some “sophisticated” answer, that’s not sophisticated, more right, or whatever, it’s marketing, it’s a tap dance. They don’t want to lose believers, and they want believers to be just uneducated enough to swallow something that pretends to sound scientific. An awful lot of people will go ” oh, all right then” and forget about the conflict they presented.

        • Kodie

          They’re not more aligned, they are desperate, just like ID, trying to “explain” to believers in some language that seems scientific enough to pass the low bar of educated people. This isn’t meant to help believers in any way other than to distract them from realizing their religion is a crock.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Listen to yerself making all sorts of excuses and reason for the nonsense.

          Energise at the point of death and beam them all up to their mansions in the sky?

          Which body will they get? The one they had at the point of death? Or do they get to choose a new skin? Will a person who lives to 100 be fine with their mother who died at 27? Where will all these physical bodies be? Is heaven a physical place? This whole physical resurrection nonsense opens up more questions than it answers. Not a problem for the spiritual resurectionists, but then when fudging stuff as ya go along, things don’t get thought through properly…hence the centuries ans centuries of bickering over these concepts. It’s patent nonsense.

        • Bob Jase

          the bickering over nonsense was exclusively for the ‘sophisticated’ theologians unitl fairly recently. Anyone else who did so was dispatched in whatever horrible way was in fashion at the time.

        • I was explaining.

          I never said that.

          Good questions. I don’t know what the answer. My reply was just because the previous critique didn’t seem valid. I don’t think it’s true of course.

        • Kodie

          A long time ago, even though I called myself an atheist, I still believed in ghosts (technically, I was agnostic about, but fearful of, ghosts). I didn’t know if ghosts were real, and, not having any background in religion and barely any in science, I decided, IF GHOSTS WERE REAL, there would be a scientific explanation for how a spirit was separated from the body at death. I think I remember reading something or seeing it on tv that (as a fact) ghosts were people who were killed violently and didn’t accept that they were dead, and therefore trapped in between earth and the afterlife. I never once thought of souls or spirits or ghosts were some religious concept. Since I didn’t have a religious upbringing, but was brought up in a culture where religion was overt and expressed, and ghosts weren’t particularly religious to me, I just decided since I didn’t know, it could have a scientific explanation, and the question was unanswered. It was answered a while later – how could something immaterial make sounds, move objects, appear as people – appear as people wearing clothes, the idea just felt stupid. If human dead people leave their bodies on earth to be buried, decomposed, cremated, donated to science, what other material bodies are waiting empty until their spirits show up? It’s a very simple and unsophisticated idea. Relgions try to appeal to people who are educated by pretending to have a smarter answer than some other religion. I mean, relatively “sophisticated” with regard to their own or other beliefs, but still way behind reality of those with a basic education.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’s as old as Christianity itself. It’s in the Nicene Creed — written in the year 381 CE. And it’s patent nonsense.

          Indeed it is.

          And that bodily resurrected nonsense was invented mindwankery to combat the Gnostic Christians who had no need for a bodily resurrection in their other mindwankery world of a purely spiritual raising up. And so the groups on both sides fought the piece out until the bodily resurrectionists won and declared the others heretics.

        • Bob Jase

          And then killed them off as good Christians do.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yep…once the Empire got behind the fuckwittery, it was full steam ahead with all guns blazing. Heretics and pagans were fair game.

        • Pofarmer

          Pretty sure bodily ressurection goes back to the Ancient Jews.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Certainly. It’s found in the OT in a number of places…1 & 2 Kings, 2 Maccabees, etc. The Pharisees held to it, and the Sadducees didn’t.

          What I should have said was employed. Mea culpa. Fixed it.

          The dying and rising god is certainly found in other cultures well before Christianity.

          I’m not sure how widely held it was for every commoner Tom, Dick, and Harry though.

        • Pofarmer

          Dying and rising God’s were very, very common in Ancient Egypt, which is where I bet the Ancient Hebrews more or less got it from. It certainly wasn’t unheard of in Ancient Greece, either. Witness Hercules going to the underworld, etc, etc. The truth of the matter is that we simply don’t know what the depth and breadth of Pagan beliefs were, most of them are lost to us, but the solar cycle’s and moon cycles are all basically related to dying and rising God’s.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Aye…that’s roughly what Wiki says about the practice too. It certainly wasn’t a Christian invention that’s for sure. My bad for misrepresenting it as a Christian “invention”, like everything else about Christianity it’s another bit of old hat plagiarised and seconded for purpose.

        • TheNuszAbides

          right – there may have been a pseudo-creative element around the development, but (for those not pushing/craving apologia) it should be obvious that innovation was not rampant.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I read someplace that the dying-resurrecting idea in Egypt was a product of the Nile’s annual floods.

        • Michael Neville

          You’re really grasping to try to ensoul particles. There are no “imaginetons” and not all imagined whatevers are given tangible forms. Daydreams are imaginary but exist only within our minds.

          You beg the question about everything which is real being made up of particles.

          Please give me an example of a real thing not made up of particles. Or admit that I’m not begging any questions.

        • I’m not trying to “ensoul” them-what does that even mean? So how do they exist? As neurons?

          You made the claim-I’m under no burden here.

        • So how do they exist? As neurons?

          Yes, that’s a crazy question. Ditto the claim that souls exist.

        • If all things are particles, then why is it crazy to ask if ideas could be made of neurons?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Because we already have experimental evidence showing that ideas are patterns of electrical force carried on networks of neurons.

          You’re mistaking the road for the journey upon it.

        • Michael Neville

          You the one trying to make the argument that there are soul particles. That’s your burden.

        • Kevin K

          You’ve found the sea lion.

        • I’m not doing that. Rather my challenge was to justify the idea everything is particles.

        • Michael Neville

          So you’re making a point that has no point. That seems pretty pointless.

        • It’s hardly pointless.

        • Michael Neville

          So what is your point? That souls which have no evidence to support their existence may not be made of particles? I fail to understand why anyone with half a brain would spend more than half a nano-second contemplating that pointless point.

        • My point was asking how sure we can be that everything is made of particles.

        • Otto

          What would it mean to say something is ‘made’ of non-material? It would therefore be made of nothing, and then would be nothing itself. Nothing is not something. I can’t be absolutely certain of anything, but that is as incomprehensible as can be imo.

        • Michael Neville

          Who gives a damn, besides you? It’s still a pointless question when we’re talking about a soul, an imaginary, fictitious, unreal concept without a shred of evidence to support it’s existence.

        • I guess no one does here. So best to drop this then.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          We have no EVIDENCE of anything other than mass/energy, and nothing in current theory suggests anything else exists.

          SHOW me…don’t just JAQ off here in the comments.

        • Kevin K
        • Ignorant Amos

          What do you mean by “everything”?

          All stuff, is made of particles.

          http://www.umich.edu/~lowbrows/reflections/2000/dsnyder.5.html

        • Susan

          imagenetons

          Great word.

          🙂

        • Pofarmer

          Let’s think about this for a moment. Let’s say I make up a story in my head, doesn’t matter if I tell anyone or not. Does that story then “exist” in some way? Well, it would seem to exist in the thought patterns in my brain. Is there a way for someone to access it “out there” without me telling them the story? Well, it certainly doesn’t seem so. So, yes, I’d say imaginary things “exist” only as parts of material brains. Think of it this way. If you wiped out all knowledge since the 12 th century. A cataclysmic event where only aboriginee’s and a few primitive tribes somewhere were left. All technology gone, all books, etc, etc. Would the knowledge that has accumulated be somehow accessible to the people that were left? I’d think obviously not. They’d have to rediscover everything, not just re learn it. That’s why the invention of language and tablets and books was such a big deal. Now knowledge wasn’t just passed from teacher to student to student to student. Now it could be recorded, and carried great distances so someone else could learn it, and copy it and send it on again. So, yes, I’d say that knowledge is material, and is transmitted by material means.

        • Yes, that does make sense.

        • Len

          So, yes, I’d say that knowledge is material, and is transmitted by material means.

          Knowledge can indeed be carried or transmitted by material means – but the knowledge itself is not material. Unless you count the arrangement of atoms, electrical charge, and whatever else is involved in someone’s memory – eg, the person who reads the written word and gains (ownership of?) that knowledge. But we don’t yet know enough about that process to really say how that works.

          (I say “ownership of” because that person owns their version of that knowledge.)

          Imaginary things and real things (and things which are imaginary but someone believes they are real – eg, because they’ve been given that info by someone they trust) all exist equally in someone’s mind. Existing in the mind does not make something real – other than by being a real, material arrangement of stuff in someone’s brain in the real world.

          Not sure whether that helps 🙂 but we know so little about how memory works in our brains.

        • Pofarmer

          but the knowledge itself is not material.

          The knowledge does not exist without the material brains that develop it or transmit it or the material methods to save and distribute it. Think about this for a moment, and these numbers aren’t going to be exactly correct. At the turn of the 20th century, knowledge doubled once a century. In the very near future It will be doubling once a year and then faster than that. Is that due to some immaterial process spreading knowledge? No.

          Unless you count the arrangement of atoms, electrical charge, and
          whatever else is involved in someone’s memory – eg, the person who reads
          the written word and gains (ownership of?) that knowledge.

          Why wouldn’t you?

          But we don’t yet know enough about that process to really say how that works.

          Argument from ignorance. To paraphrase Tim Minchin “In the history of the world, every solution, to every problem, has turned out to be – not magic.” You could substitute not immaterial.

          Existing in the mind does not make something real – other than by being a
          real, material arrangement of stuff in someone’s brain in the real
          world.

          I’d say it’s absolutely a “real” thing inside that someones brain. Are you saying that the material arrangements that make thoughts and patterns aren’t real? Thing is though. We have no evidence that those sorts of things have any sort of existence “outside” of minds. I know, this gets into some thorny philosophical problem about whether things like rocks exist or if they only exist as images in minds, blah, blah, blah.

        • Greg G.

          AISI, most visitors to this blog have a concept of Charles Darwin, Frodo Baggins, and Pofarmer. Those mental constructs are not completely accurate models of those people and have more in common with the other concepts than with the people represented. The fundamental difference is what they correlate to in real life.

          The information that is represented inside the cranium is just like the concepts of the characters. What makes the difference is how useful the information is. Some information may be true but not all that useful. It may be true that struggling in quicksand may make you go under faster, but it is not the existential threat I was led to believe it was from movies and TV shows.

        • Len

          The knowledge does not exist without the material brains that develop it or transmit it or the material methods to save and distribute it.

          I think we should differentiate between knowledge and information (and data as well while we’re at it).

          How about this: data is or can be represented by numbers (ie, raw, unprocessed); information is processed data (ie, ordered, made understandable); knowledge is assimilated information (ie, understood by a brain).

          If someone records some piece of knowledge that they have assimilated (eg, they write it down), then it becomes information – waiting to be assimilated by someone else as knowledge.

          I’d say it’s absolutely a “real” thing inside that someones brain.

          So religion is therefore a real thing because it exists in the believer’s brain. For them it’s really real. Which is why it can be so dangerous.

          Sounds like this topic needs lot more tequila.

        • Pofarmer

          I don’t think there’s any question that religion is a real thing. The question is do the claims made agree with our observations of the world around us.

        • Pofarmer

          I think we should differentiate between knowledge and information (and data as well while we’re at it).

          How
          about this: data is or can be represented by numbers (ie, raw,
          unprocessed); information is processed data (ie, ordered, made
          understandable); knowledge is assimilated information (ie, understood by
          a brain).

          If someone records some piece of knowledge that they
          have assimilated (eg, they write it down), then it becomes information –
          waiting to be assimilated by someone else as knowledge.

          Ok.

        • Susan

          Sounds like this topic needs a lot more tequila

          Mas tequila. Que bueno.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i like where you were going, but as Len indicated, it kinda jumped tracks in the last three sentences; the comparison to when knowledge was “just passed from teacher to student to student to student” … showing that the improved method relies on material doesn’t show that ‘the old-fashioned way’ does, therefore doesn’t demonstrate an overarching ‘nature of knowledge’. so “knowledge is material” is a leap, or an overstatement of the very defensible case, “knowledge depends on (or requires) material”.

        • Pofarmer

          Gimmee a break. It is just a comment box.

        • TheNuszAbides

          ??? that’s just as valid an excuse to simply ignore the criticism, as to suggest that it was somehow unnecessary or gratuitous or going too far. moreso, really.

        • Pofarmer

          Apparently I needed a sarc tag. Lol. I wondered how it would be taken after I wrote it, but I left it anyway.

        • TheNuszAbides

          hah, fair enough!

        • Greg G.

          My concepts of Harry Potter and Harry Truman are equivalent constructions within my brain. What the concepts correspond to in real life is qualitatively different.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You know what abstraction is, right?

        • Ignorant Amos

          You know what abstraction is, right?

        • Yes.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You don’t show it.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Imaginary things exist as patterns of electrical impulses, as part of minds that are likewise patterns of electrical impulses.

    • RichardSRussell

      Ya got the cart before the horse here, Michael. We atheists (plus physicists, biologists, cosmologists, psychologists, etc.) aren’t the ones saying the soul is real, it’s the theists. It’s up to them to trot out the evidence for it. Otherwise what they’ve got isn’t anything better than Harry Potter’s expelliarmus spell — a moderately entertaining fiction.

      • It’s true they have a burden of proof. However people saying everything is matter have that as well.

        • RichardSRussell

          They’re not saying everything is matter, they’re saying everything is particles. Photons are the most common form of energy (not matter), but they’re particles, too.

          As with God, if you think there’s something out there other than what we’ve been able to observe, it’s up to you to demonstrate it. If it’s not particles, what then?

        • What is the distinction? Are particles not the particular form matter takes? The idea photons aren’t matter is new to me.

          It’s up their burden to show that these are everything.

        • RichardSRussell

          It’s everything we’ve been able to detect so far. You got something else? Trot it out. Really, we’d all like to see it. You could start with a description of what it is you’re looking for.

        • I don’t know exactly. Something like abstract objects or irreducible minds. I’m not sure they exist, though the idea is intriguing.

        • RichardSRussell

          Well, if you’re not sure they exist, how would you go about looking for them? As I said, a good place to start would be to describe what it is you’re looking for. What would that be?

        • I don’t know yet, but I’ve already said what intrigues me in the last comment.

        • RichardSRussell

          Well, ghosts, leprechauns, unicorns, fairies, genies, and magic wishing stones intrigue me, too, but I don’t spend a whole lot of time looking for them. I guess you have way more time on your hands than I do. But be warned: Wishing doesn’t make it so.

        • I’m not intrigued by those, mainly because very few people seem to believe in them. The same isn’t the case for this stuff. I don’t actually have that much free time, but these issues interest me nonetheless. As for your warning, I’m aware, thanks.

        • Ignorant Amos

          So it is all about the popularity of a phenomena before it piques your inquisitive interest?

          If enough gullible individuals think a particular bit of nonsense exists, more time should be expended investigating said?

          Isn’t that fallacious reasoning?

        • Ignorant Amos

          So it is all about the popularity of a phenomena before it piques your inquisitive interest?

          If enough gullible individuals think a particular bit of nonsense exists, more time should be expended investigating said?

          Isn’t that fallacious reasoning?

        • Not only that, but partly.

          It affects others when so many believe something. Thus it does seem to merit some investigation and critique.

        • RichardSRussell

          Well, if the main reason you’re interested in the putative existence of the soul is that lots of people seem to believe in them, why don’t you ask them what it looks like, how to find one, how you’d recognize it if you did, etc.? My guess is that you’ll come up with the same answer you’ll find here: zipparoonie! If anyone had actually found a soul — and knew how to demonstrate it — they would’ve figured out a way to monetize it by now.

        • I’ll do that. As for making money, well, there are plenty of sects that do.

        • TheNuszAbides

          they’re not directly monetizing the soul, because that would be easier for even the proverbial rube to see through. he’s saying that anything like verification of the existence of souls could be monetized at the expense of an even more skeptical audience than those fleeced by “plenty of sects” you mention.

        • Right, okay. I’d agree.

        • Bob Jase

          Very few people??? Genies is just a western term for demons in the Muslim relgion.

          Islam (/ˈɪslɑːm/)[note 1] is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion teaching that there is only one God (Allah)[1] and that Muhammad is a messenger of God.[2][3] It is the world’s second-largest religion[4] and the fastest-growing major religion in the world,[5][6][7] with over 1.8 billion followers or 24.1% of the global population,

          That’s more than a very few.

        • I forgot. You’re right.

        • Pofarmer

          Abstract objects are the products of material minds. Irreducible minds, I don’t know what you mean.

        • Well, some disagree. I mean not reducible to brains.

        • Pofarmer

          Show me something a brain hasn’t thought of? Or demonstrate what you mean.

        • Pofarmer

          Show me something a brain hasn’t thought of? Or demonstrate what you mean.

        • Well, some disagree. I mean not reducible to brains.

  • skl

    “Because physics rules out the soul or the afterlife…
    there is plenty of physics we don’t understand, but the physics of the everyday world is very well understood.
    If a soul exists, it would need to exist in particles, and it would need particles to convey it
    into the afterlife. No such particles exist.”

    I think there may be some problems with the above.

    1.)
    I think theists would say that although the soul is part of the “everyday world”, it’s
    also part of a supernatural world. As such, it would not be subject to the
    natural world’s physics the way “normal” “everyday world” things are.

    2.)

    I also don’t see how you can say that physics rules out the soul in that physics says ‘No such soul particles exist.’
    Of course, science says no such thing.
    What science would say is that ‘No such soul particles have been discovered.’
    But science says the very same thing about what they say makes up about 95% of the universe (i.e. “Dark Energy” and “Dark Matter”). They haven’t discovered what makes up Dark Energy and Dark Matter.
    So, a scientist could believe in the soul as much a scientist believes in Dark Energy and Dark Matter.

    • epeeist

      So, a scientist could believe in the soul as much a scientist believes in Dark Energy and Dark Matter

      False equivalence and equivocation.

      There is plenty of actual evidence for the existence of dark energy and dark matter. Evidence for the soul? Not so much.

      But cosmologists don’t “believe” in the existence of dark matter and energy, they provisionally accept the existence of such entities based on the evidence for them.

      • Anri

        Yeah, this.
        Dark Matter and Dark Energy are not things we believe exist that we are looking for (and failing to find) evidence for their existence, they are placeholder labels we have slapped on subtle but massive influences that we can detect and to some extent quantify, but haven’t gotten better specifics on yet.
        Acceptance of DM and DE isn’t faith – it’s the opposite. It’s not “something might be out there we can’t detect”, it’s “we’re detecting something out there we don’t have a firm grasp on yet”.

        It’s the difference between understanding that our grasp of flow dynamics over airfoils is still imperfect in detail versus assuming birds fly because god holds them up.

        • RichardSRussell

          What, you’re saying “evidence first, hypothesis second”? Blasphemer!

      • skl

        “There is plenty of actual evidence for the existence of
        dark energy and dark matter. Evidence for the soul? Not so much.”

        There sure better be plenty of actual evidence for the existence of dark energy and dark matter, given that they’re said to comprise 95% of reality.

        But so far, no particles for 95% of reality.

        • Halbe

          This tired old “Ha! Science cannot fully explain , so my pet delusion should totally be taken seriously!” trope is a steaming pile of shit, not worthy of any meaningful reply. Make your case and provide evidence for it, or stfu.

        • TheNuszAbides

          skl doesn’t make cases, she just pantomimes skepticism.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          dark energy & dark matter are emerging properties (AGAIN!) of the mathematics that describe the Universe.

          Show me ANY damn thing about your ‘god’ that is mathematically demonstrable.

        • Otto

          skl is not a theist silly…he just constantly argues that side for no apparent reason.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          “if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck…”

          😉

        • Kevin K

          Is it still insisting that it’s an atheist? I thought it gave up that bit of fiction.

          There must be a Liars for Jesus Club™ somewhere that has set this place up as some sort of proving ground. There’s another guy…calls himself “Michael”, who is doing the sea lion JAQ-off thing. I wonder if he and skl are related somehow.

        • Otto

          Michael has been around quite a while, he is genuine to my knowledge though I don’t agree with the position he took most recently.

        • Kevin K

          We’ve also directly observed dark matter — so it’s not just a mathematical construct. We just don’t know what it consists of. Not so with “gods”, demons, angels, souls, huldenfolke, and the invisible dragon in my garage.

        • epeeist

          There sure better be plenty of actual evidence for the existence of dark energy and dark matter, given that they’re said to comprise 95% of reality.

          As others have intimated there are solid physical and evidential reasons why we postulate dark matter and dark energy. They do work in our theories, in that they increase both the explanatory power and empirical fit of these theories (there are other more technical reasons, but these two are sufficient).

          While “the soul” does no work, it provides nothing in terms of an increase in either explanatory power or empirical fit. This so we invoke the principle credited to the good friar of Occam and declare it to be unnecessary. Or to put it another way:

          “If an entity X is postulated to exist, and no substantive
          evidence capable of withstanding intense critical scrutiny is present to support the postulated existence of entity X the default position is to regard entity X as not existing, until said substantive evidence supporting the postulated existence of entity X becomes present.”

        • skl

          The solid physical and evidential reasons why one could postulate the soul are all around, including the how and why for you writing your comment.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          The solid physical and evidential reasons why one could postulate the soul are all around, including the how and why for you writing your comment.

          Nope. That’s evidence of a PHYSICAL being with a consciousness. Neither require any supernatural mumbo-jumbo.

        • skl

          “Nope. That’s evidence of a PHYSICAL being with a
          consciousness. Neither require any supernatural mumbo-jumbo.”

          I’m not sure about your consciousness particles.

        • Otto

          Define ‘soul’.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I asked the same question….*crickets*…I’ve an idea why.

        • Ignorant Amos

          And so the verbal diarrhoea continues.

          Did you even read epeeists comment?

        • skl

          Every word.

        • Ignorant Amos

          For comprehension I meant.

          There is no solid physical and evidential reasons for souls…anywhere. They are as solid physical and evidential as fairies, demons and ghosts.

          The solid physical and evidential reasons for souls are exactly the same for no souls. Souls add as much to our understanding as no souls.

          Folk that have no truck with the concept of a soul, get along every bit as fabulously as those eejits that think they have an immaterial soul.

          Given that point, as epeeist asserts, Billy Ockham’s Razor applies.

        • skl

          “There is no solid physical and evidential reasons for souls…anywhere.”

          I think there’s solid physical and evidential effects for souls…everywhere.
          Including every thought and conscious action of human beings.

          But I’m not sure what you mean by the “reasons” part.

          “Folk that have no truck with the concept of a soul, get along every bit as fabulously as those eejits that think they have an immaterial soul.”

          And all folks got along for thousands of years without any of them having any belief in or concept of dark matter/dark energy.

        • Halbe

          skl: “The soul explains thought and consciousness”
          intelligent persons: “Thinking and consciousness can easily be explained without introducing this ‘soul’ concept, whatever that might be.”
          skl: “But there is evidence of for souls everywhere”
          intelligent persons: “Really? What evidence would that be?”
          skl: “Every human thought and conscious action is evidence for the existence of souls.”
          intelligent persons: “Did you even read what we just said: Thinking and consciousness can easily be explained without introducing this ‘soul’ concept, whatever it is.”
          skl: “You typing that comment is evidence for the soul, since it requires thinking and consciousness, which cannot be explained without souls.”
          intelligent persons: “That sounds a bit circular. What are souls? What properties do they have? And why are souls needed to explain thinking and consciousness?”
          skl: “See? Look at this conversation! Clearly solid physical and evidential effects for souls!”
          intelligent persons: “That does not answer our questions. At all. What are souls? What properties do they have? And why are thinking and consciousness evidence for souls?”
          skl: “Souls are the patterns that give matter life”.
          intelligent persons (losing patience): “WTF is that supposed to mean?”.
          skl: “Now you are being mean to me.”
          intelligent persons: “We would be less mean if you would at least give the impression of trying to understand what we are saying, and if you would contribute with meaningful comments.”
          skl: “Now you are super mean to me. Goodbye!”
          intelligent persons: “Good riddance.”

        • skl

          This could all be just an irreconcilable difference of
          opinion between your particles and mine.

          So, yes, better that we end this particle clash.

        • Damien Priestly

          No, there is no evidence at all! — Me, writing this, is the same evidence for a soul as it is evidence for Karma, pixies or spirits.

          -> “..are all around…” is not evidence — it is just you pulling stuff out of your ass.

        • skl

          Our conversation has come to an end.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          How exactly do you expect people to respond to you when you so often say stupid things, and then when it’s shown how stupid the things you say are, you drill down even harder? People only have so much patience for such things before they get completely exasperated.

        • skl

          “People only have so much patience for such things before they get completely exasperated.”

          That’s essentially why I ended our conversation.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          I just reached my limit.

        • Damien Priestly

          My case closed !

        • epeeist

          The solid physical and evidential reasons why one could postulate the soul are all around

          Behind the sofa cushions? In the fridge drip tray? As ever we get a claim with no specificity or actual evidence.

          including the how and why for you writing your comment

          And of course neither do we get any definitions of what the soul is, what properties it has or how it interacts with the physical. Instead just vague (one might say vacuous) intimations of what it might possibly be involved with. Of course we aren’t going to get anything to fill out these intimations or provide evidence for them.

          But it that is the limit of your idea on the “soul” then it sounds to be little different to Aristotle’s “rational soul”.

        • Kodie

          To be fair, skl said reasons, not evidence. I feel like my “self”, my thoughts, ideas, memories, etc. are separate from the vessel, my body. What is the self, it feels like it is contained in a body but something other than the physical body. If a person becomes paralyzed, or even born paralyzed, what the parent loves is the self itself of that born. What you still are after you lose physical faculty, what you know, your jokes, your essence of personality. I can certainly understand why people believe souls exist. I know it’s the brain, in the brain, in the physical body, and the brain itself can be damaged, altered, or ill. Even if your thoughts change or memories leave, you are still you, you still have identity to others as yourself, no matter what changes. I mean, maybe they do whatever they can to “restore” you, medicate you, institutionalize you, etc. Loved ones definitely grieve the apparent loss of who you are, especially if you can’t recognize them, or can no longer function especially mentally. If you become paralyzed, they can still carry on a conversation and have a good time, but if that is not possible due to illness, they still care about the you you are, and try to get you treatment. Or, say, teenagers. Holy hell. If you’re a parent raising a sweet little child who suddenly turns into a crazy fucking monster, you love them because they are them, not because they are the same or different. So, even if the brain changes, people still consider you the same person, so I can see why people think there’s a soul that is the “real” you that people try to get you rehabilitated or treated or don’t get a wink of sleep during adolescence, but yeah, the body… they may care to support your physical inabilities with treatment, some ableist strangers may treat you as less than a real person, but people who know you still consider you as the same person.

          Evidence for souls is a totally different thing. There is none.

        • Ignorant Amos

          To be fair, skl said reasons, not evidence.

          To be fair, what skl actually said was “evidential reasons”. Which are something a bit grander than just his silly reasons.

        • Kodie

          Somehow missed the part where he said evidential. But you see what I mean.

        • Ignorant Amos

          But you see what I mean.

          Oh I do indeed…evidence, if ever any was needed, that atheists can be as irrational as the next arse-hat.

        • TheNuszAbides

          even worse, the mouthful of salad “solid physical and evidential reasons”.

        • skl

          “And of course neither do we get any definitions of what the soul is, what properties it has or how it interacts with the physical.”

          One might speculate that your soul interacted with the physical when you chose, and then decided, to type those words on your device and hit send. And now I’m looking at a physical representation of you, in the sense of your soul thoughts.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’s finally it…you’re a bug nutty, bat shit crazy, barking at the moon, away with the fairies, Dime Bar.

          There’s a pin somewhere, with your name on it, that needs the number of angel’s dancing on it’s point counting.

        • skl

          That ends our conversation.

          You can chalk it up to a difference of opinion of our particles.
          Or maybe of our electrical charges.

        • Halbe

          One might also speculate that people that believe that “souls” exist are able to type grammatically correct sentences that are void of any meaning whatsoever.

        • skl

          You actually got an up vote for your comment.

        • Kodie

          Do you know nobody fucking gives a shit about your opinion?

        • Halbe

          Don’t blame me, or the upvoters. We obviously got bestowed with a faulty soul by the omnipotent creator of the universe. However, if you’re desperate for soul that actually exists I can recommend James Brown and Aretha Franklin.

        • Greg G.

          R-E-S-P-E-C-T!

        • Kodie

          One might speculate, but they would be so fucking ignorant and useless to this conversation.

        • epeeist

          One might speculate

          Yeah, one might speculate that there is no such thing as “dark matter”, it is an extremely large number of invisible leprechauns that make up the missing mass in the universe.

          Unfounded speculation from theists like skl is all we ever get, for some reason they never substantiate their speculations nor even manage to define them adequately.

        • epeeist

          One might speculate that your soul interacted with the physical when you chose, and then decided, to type those words on your device and hit
          send. And now I’m looking at a physical representation of you, in the sense of your soul thoughts.

          Your comment is analogous to the one Chomsky formulated, namely “Colorless green ideas sleep furiously”. It is grammatically correct but says absolutely nothing. In particular it answers none of the points I raised in my previous post to you.

          In other words it is the kind of hand waving we get when someone (almost always a theist) thinks they need to make a rejoinder even though they have no actual counter (or possibly understanding) of the points they are responding to.

        • skl

          Perhaps this is just a difference of opinion between your particles
          and mine.

        • epeeist

          Perhaps this is just a difference of opinion between your particles and mine.

          Ah, an attempt at wit. A pity then it was only half-successful.

          Do you know the Hávamál, there are some interesting verses in it:

          The fool who fancies he is full of wisdom
          While he sits by his hearth at home.
          Quickly finds when questioned by others .
          That he knows nothing at all.

          The ignorant booby had best be silent
          When he moves among other men,
          No one will know what a nit-wit he is
          until he begins to talk;
          No one knows less what a nit-wit he is
          Than the man who talks too much.

          To ask well, to answer rightly,
          Are the marks of a wise man:
          Men must speak of men’s deeds,
          What happens may not be hidden.

          Wise is he not who is never silent,
          Mouthing meaningless words:
          A glib tongue that goes on chattering
          Sings to its own harm.

        • Damien Priestly

          And that was exactly the case for antimatter, neutrinos, several mesons and the Higgs boson…The effects of these particles were seen first or mathematically derived sometimes decades earlier by Dirac, Pauli and Higgs himself (his team, he unfairly gets all the credit). So Dark matter and dark energy are following exactly along that same path — of detection and mathematics — then particle or matter discovery. Science works.

          We have seen no effect associated with a “soul” and religious leaders have no mathematic or scientific description of what a “soul” is…just dogma and speculation at best. Religion just doesn’t work.

        • skl

          “And that was exactly the case for antimatter, neutrinos, several mesons and the Higgs boson…The effects of these particles were seen first or mathematically derived sometimes decades earlier…”

          In other words, particles conceived of by particles.

          More expansively, particles (inanimate) conceived of by particles (life) in the life form’s particles (i.e. thoughts).

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Matter evolved to have consciousness as a pattern IN that matter examining the phenomenological world.

          No supernatural anything required.

        • skl

          “Matter evolved to have consciousness as a pattern IN that matter examining the phenomenological world.”

          Maybe the soul is the pattern.
          And maybe also the pattern that gives the matter life.

        • Damien Priestly

          Sounds incoherent. — The real world is this…Dark matter’s effect is known, but specific dark matter particles have not (yet) been discovered. However, the “Soul” — that is NOT known, just idiotic speculation and religious BS.

          Prove a soul or it’s effects, regardless what it is made of, can be detected first…or stop wasting everybody’s time.

        • skl

          Prove a soul or it’s effects, regardless what it is made of, can be detected first…or stop wasting everybody’s time.”

          Such talk of proof. You’re obviously not a scientist.

          Anyway, for about the fifth time now, the effects of the
          soul could be said to be seen all over the place, including in the comments in this thread.

        • Michael Neville

          Has anyone else noticed that skl neatly sidestepped the question of evidence that souls exist?

        • Susan

          Has anyone else noticed that skl neatly sidestepped the question of evidence that souls exist?

          Yes.

          Except for the “neatly” bit.

        • epeeist

          Has anyone else noticed that skl neatly sidestepped the question of evidence that souls exist?

          Surely it is the converse “has anyone not noticed”. As ever evasion and obfuscation are the watchwords when it comes to theists like skl.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The rhubarb thinks you typing a message on this forum and he reading it is that evidence. He’s one utter dopey twat. Or Poe.

        • Or even an attempt at squarely responding to the reasons cosmologists say that dark matter and dark energy exist.

      • skl

        “There is plenty of actual evidence for the existence of
        dark energy and dark matter. Evidence for the soul? Not so much.”

        There sure better be plenty of actual evidence for the existence of dark energy and dark matter, given that they’re said to comprise 95% of reality.

        But so far, no particles for 95% of reality.

    • Lark62

      begin edit …

      If a soul unicorn exists, it would need to exist in particles, and it would need particles to convey it into the afterlife. No such particles exist.”

      I think there may be some problems with the above.

      1.) I think theists would say that although the soul unicorn is part of the “everyday world”, it’s also part of a supernatural world. As such, it would not be subject to the natural world’s physics the way “normal” “everyday world” things are.

      2.) I also don’t see how you can say that physics rules out the soul unicorn in that physics says ‘No such soul unicorn particles exist.’ Of course, science says no such thing. What science would say is that ‘No such soul unicorn particles have been discovered.’ But science says the very same thing about what they say makes up about 95% of the universe (i.e. “Dark Energy” and “Dark Matter”). They haven’t discovered what makes up Dark Energy and Dark Matter. So, a scientist could believe in the soul unicorn as much a scientist believes in Dark Energy and Dark Matter.

      … end edit

      • Kevin K

        skl is on my blocked list. It is an idiot. However. In the interests …

        Not only does “science” say “No such particles exist”, it says “No such particles CAN exist.” A soul particle or a soul field is positively disproven. If it interacts with matter on the ‘normal’ every day level, like being part of a human body, carrying thoughts and experiences permanently (without an energy source, FWIW, also impossible), then it would have already been detected by “science”.

        The Higgs field (and the Higgs boson) completed the Standard Model of Particle Physics. And with that went any suggestion that there is something else out there that could possibly fit the bill for what a “soul” is or does. It ain’t there. It ain’t ever gonna be there. There is no “provisional” needed.

    • RichardSRussell

      You know what would’ve helped the case for Biblical inerrancy? If the Bible had said something along the lines of “There are hundreds of billions of galaxies out there, and even all of those represent only 5% of the combined matter and energy in the universe, the vast bulk of which is invisible to you and will remain that way until 3000 years from now, when you’ll finally have the instruments to be able to detect it.” How hard would that have been for an omniscient being to dictate in the form of revelation to one of his prophets? But nooooooo! We had to go and discover it on our own.

      • Kevin K

        FFS: “Jesus” did away with ritual hand-washing before meals!! If that isn’t “Opposite Day”, I don’t know what is.

      • Lark62

        Whoa. This omniscient being didn’t realize he created bats and whales as mammals not birds or fish. And he tots forgot to mention microbes. And you expect him to discuss galaxies?

        Next you will expect him to have mentioned that owning people is bad.

        Be real. Just because there is not one item of knowledge or one ounce of moral guidance outside the immediate knowledge of the humans who wrote it down doesn’t mean that it wasn’t dictated by a perfect, omniscient being.

        And I can give you a great price on some ocean front property in Kansas.

        • RichardSRussell

          And I can give you a great price on some ocean front property in Kansas.

          It’s evidence of the moral superiority of atheists that we know how easy it would be to suck loot out of the gullible sheep thru schemes such as these, yet we forbear. Not so the evangelical hucksters (some of whom, to be fair, may actually believe the bullshit they promote … but are perfectly willing to keep the loot all the same).

      • skl

        And maybe also a Genesis chapter on the ins and outs of deoxyribonucleic
        acid.

        And perhaps another on photosynthesis, although, ideally,
        something shorter than this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photosynthesis

        … etc.

        • Bob Jase

          Don’t shoot yourself in the foot, we’ll gladly do it for you.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’s how skl rolls.

          Pitches up here periodically with the same tired bullcrap. Lays a lot of turds. Then pisses off to Croydon to press the big reset button. Rinse and repeat.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Photosynthesis?

          Yeah, about that…those inspired to write God’s word were not best inspired…scientifically I mean.

          11 And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, seed yielding herbs and fruit trees producing fruit according to its kind in which its seed is found, on the earth,” and it was so.

          And a day later…or a thousand years in Buybull speak…

          16 And God made the two great luminaries: the great luminary to rule the day and the lesser luminary to rule the night, and the stars.

          Now as far as I was aware…doing secondary school biology…plants need the Sun for photosynthesis. Not to mention there was three days of light before the daytime luminary.

        • skl

          “Photosynthesis?
          Yeah, about that…those inspired to write God’s word were not best inspired…scientifically I mean.”

          Tell that to RichardSRussell above.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I don’t need to, he knows.

          The point is not that stuff like photosynthesis is absent in your omnisciently inspired buybull…it’s not a science book after all…it’s the fact that there are numerous fuck ups that any god worth their salt should not have made, or inspired the later prophets to put right.

          It’s sorta like YahwehJesuses knowledge of how things work, was no better than the ignorant author writing the story at the time. Ya can’t have light without a source, and ya can’t have plants without photosynthesis, which requires sunlight…which, according to the story, wasn’t created until a day (1,000 years) later.

        • skl

          “The point is not that stuff like photosynthesis is absent in your omnisciently inspired buybull…it’s not a science book after all..”

          Then you got my point. (Except it’s not my “omnisciently
          inspired buybull”.)

        • Ignorant Amos

          Then you got my point.

          And yet the unscientifically based concept of the soul from the exact same nonsense source is what you want to argue on scientific terms. Why?

          (Except it’s not my “omnisciently inspired buybull”.)

          Well, I gather from most here that the jury is still out on that one, but however…

          your…used to denote someone or something that is familiar or typical of its kind: “I’m just your average man in the street”

          Perhaps “the” or “our” omnisciently inspired buybull would have been better.

        • skl

          “And yet the unscientifically based concept of the soul from the exact same nonsense source is what you want to argue on scientific terms. Why?”

          Because you don’t need no “omnisciently inspired buybull” to infer common sensically, and even scientifically, the likely existence of the soul.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        I still say a recipe for SOAP would have been a biggie.

        • Kodie

          Soap was invented or discovered eventually, so I wouldn’t really be that impressed if ancient people figured something out. Advanced technology bursting out of nowhere in the ancient world would seem weird because we have history to look at, like if we knew what life was like in biblical times, but they started talking about a town with telephone poles and people being able to talk to people who weren’t in the same room using a speaker they held up to their face. That would seem weird, but what if that’s when telephones had been invented? I would not see that as a significant indicator that the god they spoke of was real any more than modern articles referencing a real god and telephones, but excludes some future marvel of innovation. It’s just called “the bible”, it’s a bunch of stories/articles at a particular time, and the god they talk about is no more real than he is now or ever was before the bible was written down.

    • 1. To avoid physics, something could be 100% supernatural. But then it wouldn’t interact with the physical world.

      2. Carroll addresses that. We don’t know everything, but we know enough to say that we’d know about any particles that would support/convey/whatever a soul. They don’t exist.

      • skl

        I don’t see how either of your two propositions is scientifically demonstrable.

        • Halbe

          I don’t see how either of your two propositions is scientifically demonstrable.

          FIFY. We know. Not our problem.

        • eric

          On the first proposition: this is simply the recognition that anything altering brain function would be detectable as an alteration of brain function. There’s simply no way around it: “affecting” and “detectable” are two sides of the same coin. Thus any theological claim that the soul affects the brain but can’t be detected is philosophical nonsense, a logical contradiction.

          The second is demonstrable by showing that biological interactions happen within a certain energy range; it takes on the order of eV to make electrons move in molecules, bonds to change, etc. eV-scale forces are trivial to detect; we regularly detect forces tens of orders of magnitude lower. Thus Carroll is making the point that while there may be undiscovered forces out there, they’d have to be too small in effect to change our understanding of biology. And yes, this is absolutely true for dark matter and dark energy. No mainstream physicist thinks these things will have any affect at all on biology, because their interactions with the molecules in your body and their influence on the molecular forces that ‘run’ your body are negligible. Dark energy can never pull apart bonded atoms, for example, because it’s force grows with distance between objects and only reaches eV levels when things are astronomical distances apart. Dark matter can’t have some undiscovered yet everyday effect on brain chemistry, because dark matter passes right through normal matter with even less interactions than neutrinos, and we already know neutrinos don’t interact enough to significantly affect our bodies.

          A good analogy might be Newtonian Mechanics, cannonballs, and Relativity and QM. NM is sufficient to describe cannonballs. But after it was discovered to be wrong, we still use it to calculate cannonball trajectory. QM and Relativity are only different from NM in certain regimes: high gravity fields, high velocities, etc… Under human-normal circumstances, they do not predict anything substantially different than NM does. Well, our understanding of the four forces of physics may turn out to be like NM. It may turn out to just be a wrong approximation. Maybe there are really five. Or six. Or a hundred. Or only two. But even if our model changes, the new part of it will only be relevant to specific energy regimes far different from the one in which human biology operates. So long as you’re talking about regular biology on regular old Earth, the current model of four forces will continue to work just fine to describe it’s workings – even if that model turns out to be wrong in other respects. Just like if I fling that body of yours over a parapet wall on regular old Earth, NM will work just fine to describe what happens to it.

        • skl

          “Some new future physics will only change our understanding of what happens outside the boundaries of where the current model
          doesn’t work well.”

          Perhaps you will weigh in on how the current model works well to explain the advent of human rationality (See J.B.S. Haldane
          quote above).

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Read up on fMRI, then.

        • TheNuszAbides

          not holding my breath for that! skl appears to think/pretend that skepticism is nitpicking potshots rather than substantive engagement (or that the only substantive engagement should be with thoroughly irrational stances).

        • epeeist

          <blockquote.And maybe they share this ignorance with philosophers who have read too much Kuhn.

          In the past I have seen Kuhn used to argue that religion is a different paradigm to science and the two are therefore incommensurable. This allows the claim that science cannot therefore be used to judge the “truths” of religion. Mind you I have also seen similar appeals to Wittgenstein’s language games and Nietzsche’s perspectives.

          No scientific revolution is going to alter that fact that NM works really, really, well within certain boundary conditions

          And this is where it can be argued that Kuhn got it seriously wrong, in the main you don’t get enormous incommensurable paradigm shifts.What you get is inter-theoretic reductions where the old theory becomes a special case of the new one.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      I think theists would say that although the soul is part of the “everyday world”, it’s
      also part of a supernatural world.

      BZZZZZZZTTTT!!! YOU LOSE!

      *Demonstrate* this so-called supernatural you speak of before you try to conjure fell and evil magicks with it.

    • Max Doubt

      “So, a scientist could believe in the soul as much a scientist believes in Dark Energy and Dark Matter.”

      Maybe a shitty scientist could. Pretty much every scientist remotely well informed about astrophysics accepts dark matter and dark energy as terms to describe effects we actually measure. But a soul? It’s a word to describe something that doesn’t do anything. A soul hasn’t ever been observed, so we have no way to measure one. In science, when a thing’s alleged existence is indistinguishable from it not existing at all, it might just as well not exist. Quite a different thing from dark energy and dark matter.

      • skl

        “Pretty much every scientist remotely well informed about
        astrophysics accepts dark matter and dark energy as terms to describe effects we actually measure. But a soul? It’s a word to describe something that doesn’t do anything.”

        Maybe it’s a word that describes how and why you posted this comment.

        • Max Doubt

          “Maybe it’s a word that describes how and why you posted this comment.”

          Well, no, your immature insolence notwithstanding.

          Dark matter and dark energy have been discovered. We observe their effects. That’s why we describe them as existing. Souls, on the other hand, have not been discovered. As far as we know there is no way to objectively differentiate between the existence and non-existence of souls. Unless that distinction can be made, there’s no reason to include souls in the set of things that exist.

        • skl

          You may be right. Maybe it wasn’t your soul, but rather the particles in your brain, which posted your comments.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          the mind is a pattern of electrical impulses flowing through the neurons of the brain.

          Just like a journey is taken ON a path.

          The path is NOT the journey.

        • skl

          Perhaps it would help if you’d identify the particles of
          both the path and the journey.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Matter makes the path, electrical impulses IN that matter make the journey.

          Next question?

        • skl

          “Matter makes the path, electrical impulses IN that matter make the journey. Next question?”

          Perhaps it would help if you’d identify
          the particles of the goal/destination of the electrical journey.

        • al kimeea

          “The nerve impulse is transported across the synaptic cleft by a similar method used to transport the impulse along the length of the axon, that is by the propagation of action potentials. Calcium ions, Ca2+ and Sodium ions, Na+ together with acetylcholine play vital roles in this process. <- Link"

          acetylcholine looks like this:

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/87ac056e9e9288f76bbcf6b9584b387cb5fc05421368031ad24871d863e9fe27.gif

          As soon as acetylcholine depolarises the post-synaptic membrane, it must be removed from its surface to allow for the transmission of another impulse. This is achieved with assistance of water and a suitable biological enzyme. The acetylcholine molecule is hydrolysed by water.

          This reaction breaks the acetylcholine to make two products. An ethanoate ion CH3COO-, combines chemically with the H+ from the water to produce ethanoic acid, CH3COOH. The hydroxyl ion OH- portion from the water, combines chemically to the remaining portion of the molecule producing choline, HOCH2CH2N+(CH3)3.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          An acknowledgement that you at least understand your earlier error would be nice.

        • skl

          “An acknowledgement that you at least understand your
          earlier error would be nice.”

          Now if you would just identify the particular particles, and/or
          arrangement thereof, which constituted the genesis of your post.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Nice dodge. Whether consciousness is sourced in the material or the immaterial, you still engaged in equivocation, as epeeist illustrated below.

          So, will you acknowledge your error? Or are you a dishonest prick?

        • skl

          “So, will you acknowledge your error?”

          You’ll need to be explicit about what you think my error is.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          I was explicit, so dishonest prick it is.
          Goodbye.

        • TheNuszAbides

          fat chance. and the best excuse to ban the tenth-rate contrarian.

        • Max Doubt

          “You may be right.”

          I am.

        • skl

          But you’re unable to demonstrate scientifically that you are.

        • Max Doubt

          “But you’re unable to demonstrate scientifically that you are.”

          Scientifically, if there is a claim that the alleged existence of souls can be objectively distinguished from their non-existence, the burden of proof falls to those making the claim. Scientifically. It seems you’re trying to defend the possibility that claims of souls’ existence are true, or at least scientifically plausible, but you’re too much of a pussy to outright say it. So how ’bout you put on your big boy trousers and participate in this conversation with a modicum of honesty? Do you accept claims that souls exist?

  • Greg G.

    Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal
    https://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/dear-science

    • RichardSRussell

      SMBC is an absolutely terrific webcomic, and I highly recommend it to all my rationalist, skeptical, atheistic, humanistic, empiricist, SF-nerd friends. It comes out much more often than every Saturday morning and is always worth the visit. You should bookmark it.

      I also highly recommend the recent book from SMBC’s author, Zach Weinersmith, co-written with his wife Kelly, a bioscientist. It’s called Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything!, and it’s an easy, entertaining, and informative read, replete with some enjoyable SMBC-style illustrations.

      • TheNuszAbides

        All seconded. Trial of the Clone is also an excellent specimen (which, admittedly, is not necessarily saying much) of the ‘gamebook’ genre.

  • skl

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere byproduct of
    matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of
    atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They
    may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence
    I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.”

    – J.B.S. Haldane, rationalist and evolutionary biologist

    • RichardSRussell

      Indeed, his beliefs may not be true. And, as an example, this is one of them.

    • Otto

      How about the reason that if enough atoms are removed or altered the brain is also altered or ceases to function. Is that enough of a reason?

      • skl

        I would think you have the same number of atoms when you’re
        alive and thinking as you do a second later when you’re dead and not thinking.

        • Otto

          Not always…and that is the point.

        • Ignorant Amos

          As HEWBT has pointed out, there may be the same amount of atoms in you computer when switched on, as when switched off, but good luck sending an e-mail when it is switched off. And as long as it remains switched off you’ll never be able to send e-mails on it. No electricity, no worky.

        • skl

          Maybe the soul in the body is similar to (but not the same as) electricity in the computer.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Whoooosh!

          We can measure the electricity in a computer. We can see what it does.

          We can even measure the electricity in the human body. We can see what it does.

          Can you measure the soul and see what it does? If you think you can, please share your method and how you test its veracity.

        • al kimeea

          ‘Similar to, but not the same’ is a vague dodge. We must accept that it is beyond our ken and methods.

        • Ignorant Amos

          We must accept that it is beyond our ken and methods.

          Not as much as it was in J.B.S. Haldane’s day, and he was astute to mention that it was beyond his ken and methods.

          And until such an investigation is possible a man who is honest with himself can only answer, ‘I do not know.’ ~ J.B.S. Haldane

        • al kimeea

          Yep. Strange how difficult that is for some people.

        • skl

          It was only, and explicitly, an analogy.

          But regarding your “Can you measure the soul and see what it does?”

          playing devil’s advocate, I would think Yes.
          In a lab you could apply an electric charge to particles and see if they’ll generate a thought, or better yet, a post to this blog.

        • Greg G.

          Scientists have been able to detect the firings of neurons from outside the cranium and track them with a computer. They can predict the decision a person will make with a high degree of accuracy about twenty seconds before the person has made the decision. They are not measuring the soul, they measure brain activity and can identify the part of the brain that is active before the person knows it. It is not a soul making the decision.

        • skl

          “Scientists have been able to detect the firings of neurons
          from outside the cranium and track them with a computer.”

          I agree.

          “They can predict the decision a person will make with a
          high degree of accuracy about twenty seconds before the person has made the decision.”

          I’m not familiar with such experiments and don’t know if
          they’ve been widely confirmed. But regardless, when you say
          “They are not measuring the soul, they measure brain
          activity and can identify the part of the brain that is active before the person knows it. It is not a soul making the decision” ,

          I have to feel for convicts. For our judicial systems unfairly
          sentence convicts to jail, when they should be sentencing only certain chemicals/cells/neurons of the convict.

        • Greg G.

          BRAIN SCANNERS CAN SEE YOUR DECISIONS BEFORE YOU MAKE THEM
          https://www.wired.com/2008/04/mind-decision/

          This article is about a study done on people who already had electrodes in their brains:
          Brain imaging spots our abstract choices before we do
          https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn23367-brain-imaging-spots-our-abstract-choices-before-we-do/

          Where I said “20 seconds”, I may have misremembered. These articles indicate 5 and 7 seconds. I didn’t find any that had more than 10 seconds so I must scale back the 20 seconds before claim.

          I have to feel for convicts. For our judicial systems unfairly
          sentence convicts to jail, when they should be sentencing only certain chemicals/cells/neurons of the convict.

          There are drugs a person can take to prevent the bad behaviors. IIRC, there are release programs that are contingent on taking the drugs. Some sex offenders can take a treatment that chemically castrates them by reducng all sexual desire. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemical_castration

        • Ignorant Amos

          I seem to remember reading an article about professional tennis player’s having to have worked out their next hit of the ball before consciously thinking about it, due to the speeds they are playing at…or something along those lines.

        • epeeist

          I seem to remember reading an article about professional tennis player’s having to have worked out their next hit of the ball before consciously thinking about it

          We have a similar thing in fencing, called “second intention”. The idea is to make an action in order to provoke a specific reaction from your opponent to which you have a pre-prepared counter-action. Of course the fact that your opponent is attempting to do the same to you doesn’t make it as easy as it sounds…

        • Kevin K

          Baseball players as well. Batters have to decide whether or not to swing at a pitch unconsciously (subconsciously). It’s still the brain doing the work — but the conscious part of the brain only finds out about it after the fact (or mid-swing at the earliest).

        • Greg G.

          Batters facing a pitcher, too.

          I think I mentioned before how fast things happen in sports. I was dribbling a basketball when a teammate broke toward the basket and a passing lane opened and closed very quickly. I decided it was too late to throw the pass but then I realized that I had already thrown it. The guy made an easy layup.

        • Ignorant Amos

          playing devil’s advocate, I would think Yes.

          Why Devil’s Advocate?

          In a lab you could apply an electric charge to particles and see if they’ll generate a thought,…

          Why the need for a lab? What do you think is going on in the human brain?

          The biology of a thought…

          A neuron (also known as a neurone or nerve cell) is an excitable cell in the nervous system that processes and transmits information by electrochemical signaling. Neurons are the core components of the brain, the vertebrate spinal cord, the invertebrate ventral nerve cord and the peripheral nerves. A number of specialized types of neurons exist: sensory neurons respond to touch, sound, light and numerous other stimuli affecting cells of the sensory organs that then send signals to the spinal cord and brain. Motor neurons receive signals from the brain and spinal cord that cause muscle contractions and affect glands. Interneurons connect neurons to other neurons within the brain and spinal cord. Neurons respond to stimuli, and communicate the presence of stimuli to the central nervous system, which processes that information and sends responses to other parts of the body for action. Neurons do not go through mitosis and usually cannot be replaced after being destroyed, although astrocytes have been observed to turn into neurons, as they are sometimes pluripotent.

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

          It’s charged particles that already generate thoughts, did you not get that?

          electricity:- a form of energy resulting from the existence of charged particles (such as electrons or protons), either statically as an accumulation of charge or dynamically as a current.

          …or better yet, a post to this blog.

          I don’t see how it would be “better yet”, but regardless, how do you think a post gets to this blog? That’s right, it’s charged particles all the way down.

        • skl

          As someone here said recently,

          “And so the verbal diarrhoea continues.”

        • Ignorant Amos

          The Biology of Thought suggests a new molecular mechanism by which sensory neurons can convert external sensory stimuli into internal thoughts. The book presents an evidence-based analysis of current neurobiological concepts which leads us into some inescapable conclusions – ultimately proposing a novel molecular model for generation of thought right at the level of the neurons.

          This work demonstrates how electrochemical events occurring at the neuron may interact with the molecular mechanisms to generate thoughts. In other words, the book lays out biological foundations to the generation of thought – for this reason titled, The Biology of Thought; the hitherto abstract thought is finally shown to have a solid physical origin in the neurons.

          http://scitechconnect.elsevier.com/biology-thought/

        • skl

          “The Biology of Thought suggests…
          This work demonstrates how electrochemical events occurring at the neuron may interact…”

          That’s a lot cleaner.

          I can tolerate only so much “verbal diarrhea.”

        • Kevin K

          We can measure the action potential of single neurons.

          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21668/

        • Ignorant Amos

          Cheers for that…of course we need to be careful though. Fuckwits will claim that’s the soul we are measuring.

          Of course that’s not a problem so much if they left it at that, anymore than using the term god to describe physics, as per nature…and I’m thinking Einstein. But there is no necessary reason for it and those pushing such agendas are not content to leave it at that. They then proceed to tack on a stack lots more of mumbo jumbo onto such labels.

        • Ignorant Amos

          So what happens to the electricity in a computer when it is switched off then?

        • skl

          “So what happens to the electricity in a computer when it is
          switched off then?”

          Again, it was only, and explicitly, an analogy. They almost always
          fall short.

          Here’s another:
          What happens to the river driving the water wheel when it is
          directed away from the water wheel?

          Answer: The water wheel stops but the river keeps on
          flowing.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Again, it was only, and explicitly, an analogy. They almost always fall short.

          Of course. Some fall far shorter than others and it depends what the analogy is inferring. So what happens to the electricity in a computer when it is switched off?

          If you want to call what the electricity does in the human body a soul, knock yerself out. But if you want to add nonsense on by extension, then you need to get yer sleeves rolled up and demonstrate with real, coherent evidence.

          Perhaps defining what you mean by the “soul” would be a great place to begin.

          If you are using the word as a synonym for psyche or mind, then fine. But those words work just fine on their own.

          Here’s another:
          What happens to the river driving the water wheel when it is
          directed away from the water wheel?

          Answer: The water wheel stops but the river keeps on
          flowing.

          You felt the need to replace an analogy that you think falls short with an analogy that doesn’t even get off the ground.

          Is the river an integral part of the water wheel? Does the waterwheel internally produce the water? I don’t think so.

          If, in your analogy the river represents the soul and the waterwheel the human body, the river by-passing the waterwheel is analogous to the soul not entering the body in the first place.

        • skl

          “Perhaps defining what you mean by the “soul” would be a great place to begin.”

          I’m not sure, but I think I would go with what the M-W dictionary says:

          1: the immaterial essence, animating principle, or
          actuating cause of an individual life
          2 a : the spiritual principle embodied in human beings, all rational and spiritual beings, or the universe

          “Is the river an integral part of the water wheel?”

          Yes. That’s why they call it a water wheel.

          “Does the waterwheel internally produce the water?”

          No, just as the dead body doesn’t internally produce the immaterial essence/ animating principle to make it get up and walk and think again.

          “If, in your analogy the river represents the soul and the waterwheel the human body, the river by-passing the waterwheel is analogous to the soul not entering the body in the first place.”

          And then the water wheel would be “dead.”

          But the river did enter the water wheel at one time, bringing it to “life”. But now that water has passed on. Down stream it goes.

        • TheNuszAbides

          skl seems to imagine that tediously reminding us “yeah, but theists will just say _____” is some kind of Gotcha!

        • Kodie

          Maybe you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about but for some reason feel compelled to blurt out whatever.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      You’re looking at *chemistry*, but mind and personality are emergent *electrical* patterns of the chemistry.

      So it’s a moot point, not looking in the right place.

    • Ignorant Amos

      Hahahahahaaa…you think Haldane, writing in 1927 and a dyed in the wool atheist, was alluding to an immaterial soul in that quote, ya Muppet?

      “My practice as a scientist is atheistic. That is to say, when I set up an experiment I assume that no god, angel, or devil is going to interfere with its course; and this assumption has been justified by such success as I have achieved in my professional career. I should therefore be intellectually dishonest if I were not also atheistic in the affairs of the world.” ~ J.B.S. Haldane, Fact and Faith (1934) Preface.

      Creationist love to quote Haldane erroneously.

      Try reading for comprehension and in context.

      “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere byproduct of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.”

      Of course Haldane knew brains are composed of atoms, so what else could he possibly mean?

      Punting towards Solipsism perhaps?

      Of course we know there is more to the brain than the sum of it’s parts. The brain is the hardware and the mind is the software. Like any machine, it requires energy to operate the hardware/brain in order to do what the software/mind does.

      So what are “mental processes”?

      Mental process or mental function are all the things that individuals can do with their minds. These include perception, memory, thinking (such as ideation, imagination, belief, reasoning, etc.), volition, and emotion.

      So what did Haldane know about brain function? Certainly, he should’ve known enough to better express that quote if it was meant to mean what you think it does. But not as much as we know today about brain function.

      The functions of the brain depend on the ability of neurons to transmit electrochemical signals to other cells, and their ability to respond appropriately to electrochemical signals received from other cells. The electrical properties of neurons are controlled by a wide variety of biochemical and metabolic processes, most notably the interactions between neurotransmitters and receptors that take place at synapses.

      Quoting Haldane? You’re a Dime Bar.

      • Kevin K

        1927? Maybe not. I’m reading a sort of history of physics (fascinating stuff), and there’s still a LOT being worked out with regard to atoms, even then.

        Of course, it’s 89 years later and we know a lot more about things than we did then. Quoting someone long-dead on the current state of knowledge of science is a fool’s game. But then, considering the source, you knew that.

        • Ignorant Amos

          1927?

          Haldane was clued up on what was going on in the brain, but he was hypothesising with that quote, not making a factual statement.

          skl would’ve done well to read the whole essay from where that the quote was lifted from…it’s not all that long…just long enough to make an eejit outta skl though.

          “When I am Dead” in Possible Worlds (1927)

          http://jbshaldane.org/books/1927-Possible-Worlds/index.html

          Christians love to quote mine and make a pigs arse of themselves, they just can’t help it.

          J.B.S. Haldane was a Materialist.

          Why I am a Materialist by J.B.S. Haldane

          WHEN I SAY that I am a materialist I mean that I believe in the following statements:

          1. Events occur which are not perceived by any mind.

          2. There were unperceived events before there were any minds.

          And I also believe, though this is not a necessary logical deduction from the former two, that:

          3. When a man has died he is dead.

          https://www.marxists.org/archive/haldane/works/1940s/materialist.htm

          But Haldane was a clever man…

          In so far as I set my heart on things that will not perish with me, I automatically remove the sting from my death. I am far more interested in the problems of biochemistry than in the question of what, if anything, will happen to me when I am dead.

          Until this attitude is more general the latter question will remain too charged with emotion to make a scientific investigation of it possible. And until such an investigation is possible a man who is honest with himself can only answer, ‘I do not know.’ ~ J.B.S. Haldane

        • Kevin K

          True. I’m just saying that Haldane, as a biologist, might not have been on top of the latest physics. And the latest physics was in flux at the time mentioned.

          Today, though? Substance dualism is dead as a doornail. Thoughts are emergent properties of things with brains. Nothing more required. Nothing less will do.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Without a doubt.

          It is strange to me why skl punts to Haldane’s musings in the first place.

          Haldane was a very clever man, but in his time he was restricted in knowledge later attained, especially in the field of neuroscience.

          And whatever it was that Haldane was considering, it was not anything like a soul as described by religion, and Christianity in particular.

        • Kevin K

          Certainly not a ghost in the machine.

        • Greg G.

          it’s 89 years later

          Closer to 91 years later.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          I don’t know about anyone else, but in my head I still keep thinking that the 1990s were about ten years ago.

        • Greg G.

          And the 1980s were eleven years ago.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          Nah, now you’re just being silly. It’s more like fifteen.

        • Michael Neville

          A while ago I made a fool of myself by saying the 1960s were thirty or so years ago.

        • TheNuszAbides

          depends on how long “a while ago” denotes!

        • Doubting Thomas

          I remember it like it was yesterday…..the 1980s ended in May of 2004.

        • Kevin K

          I totes did 2018 – 1927 = 89. I iz am idiit.

        • Kodie

          Since after 2000, I can’t subtract years that happened before 2000. Subtracting, borrowing… I have to count on my fingers, 1985, 1995, 2005, 2015 + …. 3.

        • Max Doubt

          “I don’t know about anyone else, but in my head I still keep thinking that the 1990s were about ten years ago.”

          And I keep thinking my nieces and nephews are around eight years old even though they have children of their own who are around eight years old.

        • Kevin K

          HA! Math fail.

      • skl

        “Hahahahahaaa…”

        I don’t see what you’re “Hahahahahaaa”ing about.
        You’re not addressing the issue in any meaningful way.
        The proposition of the original post is that
        ‘X exists only if particles of X exist.’

        This apparently seemed ludicrous to Haldane, but also to many others including me.

        Perhaps though, you can clear this up by identifiying the particles of “logic” or of “truth.”
        Also, if you would identify the difference in particles between the person alive right now and the same person who is dead a second later.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I don’t see what you’re “Hahahahahaaa”ing about.

          I’m laughing at your asininity.

          You’re not addressing the issue in any meaningful way.

          In your opinion. I was pointing out that whatever you think Haldane was referring too, it was not what you think he was referring too.

          The proposition of the original post is that ‘X exists only if particles of X exist.’

          Nope…it was a bit more precise than that. The difference might not be all that obvious to you. Here, let me help…

          If a soul exists, it would need to exist in particles, and it would need particles to convey it into the afterlife. No such particles exist. Unlike “Have you looked everywhere in the universe?” we have looked everywhere for particles that interact in our daily lives. We’ve found them all, and none could explain the soul.

          So, ‘souls exist only if particles exist’ is the proposition of the original post. Where is the soul particle? Who has found it? Where can I read the peer reviewed paper on the discovery?

          This apparently seemed ludicrous to Haldane, but also to many others including me.

          Now your lying. Where does Haldane declare it is so foolish, unreasonable, or out of place as to be amusing? You need to read the whole of Haldane’s essay from where your quote has been mined.

          Haldane had an excuse, he didn’t know any better, but he still wasn’t positing a soul particle whichever way you want to interpret his quote.

          I don’t care what many others think is ludicrous, it isn’t a popularity contest where the nonsense with the most votes wins.

          And finally as to you thinking it is ludicrous, your incredulity is quaint, but until you can demonstrate that a particles soul exists, write your paper, and collect your prize. Your engaging in omphaloskepsis is all you have.

          Perhaps though, you can clear this up by identifiying the particles of “logic” or of “truth.”

          Really? Abstract nouns? Seriously? Are you comparing the soul with an abstract concept?

          Also, if you would identify the difference in particles between the person alive right now and the same person who is dead a second later.

          Lifeless…i.e. with no charge.

        • skl

          “So, ‘souls exist only if particles exist’ is the proposition of the original post.”

          Nope…it was a bit more precise than that. It was
          ‘Souls exist only if particles of souls exist’.

          “Where is the soul particle? Who has found it? Where can I read the peer reviewed paper on the discovery?”

          Where is the dark matter/dark energy particle? Who has found it? Where can I read the peer reviewed paper on the discovery?

          “Really? Abstract nouns? Seriously? Are you comparing the soul with an abstract concept?”

          By your reasoning, neither 1) abstract concepts nor 2) the conception of what an abstract concept is, exist.
          Unless you can show me the particles.

    • Kodie

      There is no guarantee that mental processes are logical. Are you fucking kidding me with this bullshit?

  • RichardSRussell

    You may have heard the phrase “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” And that’s true, to a limited extent. However, next time you encounter a Christian apologist using it, ask “Is there an elephant in your bathtub? Are you sure?”

    • JustAnotherAtheist2

      It is true, it’s just that most people misuse the term. A true absence is like being shown a picture of a box and being asked if it contains a cat now. You might be able to gauge whether a cat could fit in the box, but the evidence required to say anything further just isn’t available. And it will never be available so long as your investigation is limited to the picture.

      By contrast, most theist claims result in negative evidence, i.e. an absence where a presence would be expected. They try to get around this by positing an undetectable god, but this just makes the question a philosophical circle jerk. Sure, maybe there’s an immaterial cat in the box, but why should I give a shit? How do I discern between a box with an immaterial cat in it and an empty box?

      I suspect you know this already, you just hit on one of my pet peeves.

      • RichardSRussell

        Philosophy is like searching in a dark room for a black cat.

        Metaphysics is like searching in a dark room for a black cat that isn’t there.

        Theology is like searching in a dark room for a black cat that isn’t there — and claiming to have found it.

        Science is like searching in a dark room for a black cat by using a flashlight.

        — anonymous

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Funny, but theology is actually much worse than that. A more accurate analogy, would be something like this:

          Theology is like standing in a dark room, claiming there is an invisible, immaterial black cat with you, deciding in advance that the cat exists and interpreting all search results as offering insight into the other attributes of the cat.

        • Otto

          We can’t know the mind of the cat, but we know it does not like dogs.

        • Kodie

          I recently read an article about how cats do communicate with humans and manipulate us effectively. They also don’t ‘meow’ to other cats, which I noticed when I used to have a pair of cats. They vocalize to us because we vocalize to them.

        • Michael Neville

          I believe that while humans domesticated dogs, cats domesticated themselves and us. Genghis Khat is not my cat, I am her human.

        • epeeist

          “Dogs have masters, cats have staff”

        • BlackMamba44
        • Ignorant Amos

          Don’t now if ya seen this and thought it not worth the effort…

          Our understanding of physics has gone beyond matter.

          I’m not sure that’s true. I wish @epeeist would weigh in. To my knowledge everything that physics deals with either makes up matter or affects it.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2018/03/25-reasons-dont-live-world-god-part-5/#comment-3789301196

        • epeeist

          Yeah, I responded to that one.

        • Michael Neville

          So first your memory I’ll jog
          And say a cat is not a dog.
          –T.S. Eliot “The Addressing of Cats”

        • Philmonomer

          The night before last my family and I had to euthanize our cat of 14 years. The house feels like it’s missing a member.

        • Michael Neville

          The hardest thing a pet owner has to do is to “put down” a pet.

          Yes, your family is missing a member. You have my sympathy and empathy.

        • BlackMamba44

          I had to let go of my 14 1/2 year old buddy, my big lug, Snickers, on 12/21/17. I’m still having a very hard time with it. He was a laid back, chilled out kitty that loved to greet anybody that came through the door. He was always by my side. I was his human.

          I am still getting lots of kitty love from my others but it’s not the same. His sister has CKD and I’m doing my best to treat her and keep her stable. She’s doing well.

          It’s hard to lose a loved pet. My heart goes out to you.
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/858b788d209e75597f33698f858ebb35c1dce8eff53f9a41555018d19d2c2577.jpg

        • Best wishes.

        • RichardSRussell

          Years ago, when I was on the union bargaining team, we were trying to negotiate away the schedule of how many days an employee could take off for bereavement leave. It counted against your vacation time, so it wasn’t as if the employer were granting any extra days, it was more a matter of when you could take them, and with how little notice. The schedule in place allowed something like 3 days for a spouse, parent, or child, 2 days for grandparents or grandchildren, and 1 day for other relatives; nothing for friends. We asked that employees be able to take as many days as they wanted for any death. One bargainer for the employer’s team scoffed that this would lead to all sorts of abuses. “Why,” he snorted, “last year one guy wanted to take time off because his dog had died! Can you believe it?” And we all just goggled, pretty much speechless, until one member of our team finally managed to get out “What, you mean you can’t believe it?”

        • Kodie

          Dead grandmother is a pretty old trope. Dead pet… you can tell. If a person talked about their pet can no longer glow or brag about their pet when they return to work, but I’ve lost pets, it’s a sick day maybe.

      • Kodie

        What is the box made of? Why hasn’t the cat scratched its way out yet?

    • Kevin K

      The dragon living in my garage agrees with you.

    • Doubting Thomas

      What kind of evidence would be left by something that doesn’t exist? At some point, absence of evidence is evidence of absence.

      • RichardSRussell

        You’d think that a being that’s omnipresent and eternal would be anywhere you look any time you look, wouldn’t you?

      • Kodie

        Duh, creation.

      • Ignorant Amos

        I was reading The Jesus Puzzle again last night and I’m reminded of the “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence” retort given to the assertion that the earliest Christian writings know fuck all about the gospel Jesus. Earl Docherty claims that while the missing in action Jesus of the epistles is a part of the mythicist argument, the stuff that is in the epistles, and the extra canonical Christian scriptures too, are actual evidence that the early Christian sects knew nothing of the Jesus of the gospels.

        • sandy

          good book!

        • Greg G.

          But Paul loved to talk about Jesus. He mentions “Jesus”, “Christ”, or either combination of those about once for every five verses, not counting the ambiguous “Lord” and pronouns. Yet all he tells us about Jesus is what can be found in the old scriptures that were already centuries. How could he not mention recent information? That is, if there was any recent information about Jesus…

        • sandy

          Exactly. Paul talks a lot about a Jesus Christ. Like talking about “the great one” but not Gretzky

        • Greg G.

          Jesus saves but Gretzky scores on the rebound!

        • sandy

          Makes more sense than the bible bs……that’s funny Greg, you win the internet blog tonight!!

        • Greg G.

          I retrieved that one from the memory banks of when the Great One was playing.

        • Tommy

          Off topic, but have you heard of Berossus and Genesis, Manetho and Exodus: Hellenistic Histories and the Date of the Pentateuch by Russel Gmirkin? He theorizes that the Pentateuch (Torah) was first written in Greek by scholars in the Alexandrian library in Egypt. If you heard of it, what are your thoughts?

        • Greg G.

          I have heard of the theory but I have not seen the argument or the evidence for it. I have heard that the Septuagint was written first and the Hebrew books were based on that. I have it in my mind whenever I compare the Septuagint with the Hebrew versions.

          Most recently I was comparing the verses about the Nazirite to see what Matthew 2:23 means by “was fulfilled”. The NT authors usually used the Septuagint and I think that is what Matthew referred to.

          I have found two different online versions of the Septuagint that have some variations. I used blueletterbible.com for one of them but I cannot find the website I used for the other. I tried searching for a chunk of text that included the bolded text for each and got plenty of hits for both.

          Judges 13:5 (LXX)
          ὅτι ἰδοὺ σὺ ἐν γαστρὶ ἕξεις καὶ τέξῃ υἱόν καὶ οὐκ ἀναβήσεται σίδηρος ἐπὶ τὴν κεφαλὴν αὐτοῦ ὅτι ἡγιασμένον ναζιραῖον ἔσται τῷ θεῷ τὸ παιδάριον ἐκ τῆς γαστρός καὶ αὐτὸς ἄρξεται σῴζειν τὸν Ισραηλ ἐκ χειρὸς ἀλλοφύλων

          ὅτι ἰδοὺ σὺ ἐν γαστρὶ ἔχεις καὶ τέξῃ υἱόν καὶ σίδηρος οὐκ ἀναβήσεται ἐπὶ τὴν κεφαλὴν αὐτοῦ ὅτι ναζιρ θεοῦ ἔσται τὸ παιδάριον ἀπὸ τῆς κοιλίας καὶ αὐτὸς ἄρξεται τοῦ σῶσαι τὸν Ισραηλ ἐκ χειρὸς Φυλιστιιμ

          That is two different versions of the LXX. The spelling Matthew used is very similar to the upper version of “ναζιραῖον”. It has a translation and a transliteration. Judges 13:7 and Judges 16:7 both have the transliteration but not the translation in the upper version but a different translation in the one that follows the lower one. Lamentations 4:7 has a slightly different transliteration while Numbers 6 doesn’t have either a translation nor a transliteration.

          My conclusion was that Matthew used a version of Judges 13:5 that was like the upper one and referred to that.

          But it seems odd that a primary author writing Greek would be using a transliteration for the word. That seems like a thing a translator would do. OTOH, those variants show there was some redacting going on.

          ETA a “not” so my writing better reflects my opinion.

        • Tommy

          But it seems odd that a primary author writing Greek would be using a
          transliteration for the word. That seems like a thing a translator would
          do. OTOH, those variants show there was some redacting going on.

          But the author of Mark (a primary author writing in Greek) transliterates Latin and Aramaic words, the latter also translating them. So it is possible for a document initially written in Greek to have both transliterations and translations in it.

        • Greg G.

          Mark usually explains the Aramaic words he uses but never explains the Latin words. He gives the value of a Palestinian coin in terms of a Roman coin. That is a clue that he was writing to Romans who didn’t know Aramaic. He explains the name Bartimaeus and has Jesus open the Gethsemane prayer with “Abba, Father” so the reader will know that Barabbas means “Son of the Father,” too. He only leaves words like “rabbi” and “hosanna” unexplained.

          The LXX has variants at the spot I point out which is proof positive of some redaction so we cannot know what the original was. But if the original had the translation and a transliteration, it wouldn’t need so much fixing. So I lean a little more to the a minimal version in the original on that thin evidence.

          But I am open to more evidence.

        • Tommy

          Mark usually explains the Aramaic words he uses but never explains the
          Latin words. He gives the value of a Palestinian coin in terms of a
          Roman coin. That is a clue that he was writing to Romans who didn’t know
          Aramaic. He explains the name Bartimaeus and has Jesus open the
          Gethsemane prayer with “Abba, Father” so the reader will know that
          Barabbas means “Son of the Father,” too. He only leaves words like
          “rabbi” and “hosanna” unexplained.

          I agree.

        • Pofarmer

          Ok.

          Whut?

          When?

        • Tommy

          Gmirken theorizes it was written in the early 3rd century B.C.E. (273-272 B.C.E.). A couple of pieces of evidence he cites is that Genesis 1-11 contain text that parallels text of a Greek book Babyloniaca written by Berossus (278 B.C.E.) and claims that the Exodus story is a response to a book Aegyptica by Manetho, also written in the late 3rd century B.C.E. (c. 285-280 BCE). Gmirken theorizes that the scholars who wrote the Pentateuch drew their sources from books that were only available at the Alexandria library and claims that the Documentary Hypothesis of different authors is explained by diverse theological perspectives of the scholars contributing to the work together. Here’s the amazon summary: https://www.amazon.com/Berossus-Genesis-Manetho-Exodus-Hellenistic/dp/0567025926

        • Greg G.

          I got to questioning whether the one in five verses was correct. I had seen a Bible scholar/apologist make the claim but his version of the authentic Pauline epistles included 2 Thessalonians and excluded Philippians or Philemon. So I did a search using an English translation and came up with a similar number. But lately I have been noticing that the English uses a name where the Greek has a pronoun or an implied pronoun. The Greek conjugations indicate who the pronoun refers to but it is ambiguous when translated. It turns out that Paul used “Jesus”, “Christ” or a combination of the two about once for every 6 verses, or once for every 5.9 verses to be a little more precise.

        • Pofarmer

          That’s riding into Jerusalem on TWO Donkeys.

        • sandy

          Ya you’re right about the two donkeys and the whole story stinks

        • Greg G.
        • Bob Jase

          Jesus never had so much style.

        • Michael Neville

          This is my mental picture of Jesus riding two donkeys:

          https://i.ytimg.com/vi/f354rBARH2U/maxresdefault.jpg

        • Yee-ha!

          During the missing years of Jesus’s life, he trained as a circus acrobat. He went into the ministry after an injury.

          Ah, what might’ve been, eh?

        • Greg G.

          But Jesus rode a mare and her foal, so they wouldn’t be the same size, so I add the stance to that.

        • Kodie
        • Ignorant Amos

          I’ve the most recent rendering of it… “Jesus: Neither God Nor Man – The Case for a Mythical Jesus”.

    • Tommy

      Absence of evidence is evidence of absence. But absence of proof isn’t proof of absence. Apologists conflate evidence with proof.

  • Tommy

    Ignorance is not evidence of supernaturalism. Supernaturalism, however, is evidence of ignorance.

    • Greg G.

      I confess. I just stole that.

      • Tommy

        All my comments are royalty-free. 😉