C.S. Lewis: Put Up or Shut Up

The influence of C. S. Lewis on modern Christians in the West is hard to overestimate. Few stories of apologists coming to faith don’t include a mention of Lewis’s Mere Christianity.

Lewis was a student of Norse, Greek, and Irish mythology since his youth. He knew mythology and, he felt, knew reality by contrast. Here’s his critique of the overall feel of Christianity as he compares it to the two possibilities, myth and reality.

Reality, in fact, is usually something you could not have guessed. That is one of the reasons I believe Christianity. It is a religion you could not have guessed. If it offered us just the kind of universe we had always expected, I should feel we were making it up. But, in fact, it is not the sort of thing anyone would have made up. It has just that queer twist about it that real things have. So let us leave behind all these boys’ philosophies—these over simple answers. The problem is not simple and the answer is not going to be simple either.

Simple as a test for religion

Lewis is making several points here, one that simplicity isn’t what we should expect to find in Christianity. Lewis says earlier in the book, “It is no good asking for a simple religion. After all, real things are not simple.”

While it’s true that natural things are often messy and complicated, a supernatural God could answer, clearly and unambiguously, the big issues Christians fight over in a single page.

Christianity has much to be confused about. Look at the long list of Christian heresies about the nature of Jesus, the role of Mary, and so on. These have been resolved by mandate and tradition, not by objective evidence. Look at modern debates over morality (same-sex marriage, abortion, euthanasia). Look at the second coming, the Trinity, justification for God’s abominable actions in the Old Testament, and other murky issues. Look at the 45,000 denominations of Christianity that exist today. When Christianity can get its act together, get back to me.

No, complex is just what made-up religions look like. Religions, especially the old ones, are usually quite complicated. Simple is a reasonable thing to ask for.

Queer? That can be tested, too.

Let’s return to the point that I think is more interesting. Lewis said, “[Christianity] has just that queer twist about it that real things have.” It’s an instinctive reaction, so let’s label this argument Lewis’s Appeal to the Gut. Christianity just feels like reality rather than myth.

Let’s pursue this. Lewis says that myth feels one way, and reality feels another way. All right, Clive—formalize and quantify this “queer twist.” Give us an algorithm for reliably telling myth and reality apart in a document. Does it have to do with passive vs. active voice? Is it dynamic vs. passive action? Male vs. female characters? A direct storyline vs. one with tangents? Word choice or subject matter or archaic language or sentence length? Turn this feeling into something that can be tested.

Challenge 1. Let’s take this powerful tool on the road. Test your algorithm on biographies, hagiographies (a biography written to flatter), legend, mythology, and so on. See if it accurately separates Myth and Reality.

Challenge 2. See how it does with religious writings. Does it put the Bible (and only the Bible) into the Reality bin?

Challenge 3. Now use your algorithm to invent a supernatural story that has the traits of Reality. This is a supernatural story that you know is false (because you made it up), and yet you are compelled by your genre argument to declare it true (because that’s how you know Christianity is true). You’re obliged to believe this story as strongly as Christianity by your own argument.

But if you reject this invented story, you’ll need to reject your test as well. Maybe “if the genre feels right, then the story is believable” isn’t so useful after all.

Lewis has company

Early church father Tertullian (died ca. 240) said about the resurrection, “it is wholly believable because it is absurd.” The New Testament says, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).

That’s right—it is both foolish and absurd, but that’s not something to celebrate.

That’s not how the adults to it

Instead of the feel test, may I suggest that we follow the lead of the experts? We already have a scholarly discipline devoted to deciding what happened in the past. It’s called History. It uses principles shaped over centuries that do a good job of synthesizing what actually happened from what is invariably insufficient or contradictory evidence. Spoiler: history is no friend of the supernatural. The consensus view of historians scrubs the supernatural from the record.

The resurrection, the Trinity, hell—there’s plenty of nonsense within Christian dogma that has just that queer twist about it that legend has. Only by inverting Lewis’s argument does it make sense.

For more rebuttals to nonsense from C. S. Lewis, check out these posts:

When we remove all the unevidenced beliefs
[from supernatural thinking]
we are left with naturalism.
And when we remove all the unevidenced beliefs

from naturalism,
we are left with naturalism.
— commenter Greg G.

Image via KMW2700, CC license

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  • ThaneOfDrones

    The problem is not simple and the answer is not going to be simple either.

    Ironically, “God is simple” is a common argument that has been invoked by many apologists, including Alvin Plantinga. This is to evade certain lines of argumentation by nontheists. But the apologists are totally inconsistent about it, as the God they describe in other arguments is frequently not simple.

    • Pofarmer

      I’ve tried to get theists to present the arguement to get from the “perfectly simple” foundational God to the God of the Bible, and I’ve never seen it successfully pulled off. Even attempted to be pulled off. They simply argue whatever they need to disable whatever dreaded atheist argument they’ve come up against God can be literally anything.

    • They’re a moving target. God is simple; God isn’t simple. It’s still fish in a barrel, but they won’t sit still.

  • skl

    If there is a stranger, queerer religion than Christianity,
    especially Catholicism, I haven’t heard of it.

    • Kodie

      Can you leave? You blurt out the most irrelevant things!

      • Pofarmer

        I don’t think skl gets out much.

      • Kevin K

        The “block user” function works really well.

      • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

        He’s just hinting, once again, that he’s not just a Christian, but he’s a Catholic.

    • Otto

      Ritual symbolic cannibalism is pretty weird…I don’t think they were the first though.

      • Ctharrot

        “Masturbation is gross!”

        “I know, right? And gay sex is so disgusting!”

        “You said it! Well, see you when we eat the savior’s flesh and drink his blood from a not-washed-between-sips cup on Sunday morning.”

      • (((Mikey goes to Hollywood)))

        Cannibalism is integral to the Dionysian cult. Various legends, sometimes conflicting, revolve around Dionysus’s death, torn apart by his enemies, then his rebirth, via the unusual mechanism of his mother, Semele, eating his heart and falling pregnant once again as a result.

    • epicurus

      How ‘bout Mormonism. It’s pretty weird. You could say it’s just a bizarre spinoff of Christianity, but then Christianity is just a bizarre spinoff of Judaism

    • Put Christianity up against any of the other Abrahamic religions, throw in Hinduism, and which one is “queerer” is an even toss-up.

      • (((Mikey goes to Hollywood)))

        My god has more arms than your god!

    • Ignorant Amos
  • InnerFish

    In my experience, real things are pretty simple. In the 1950s and 69s, the number of new particles physicists were finding increased almost daily. Everyone knew things had to be simpler than that, and eventually they were proven right when everything reduced down to 4 quarks and the gluons that held them together.

  • Kodie

    I don’t get it, what’s this “twist”? People are always making up nonsense reasons to justify believing this bullshit. And then bullshit reasons to deny – evolution, climate change, whatever else they think is not queer enough to be real.

    • Bob Jase

      I refuse to worship M. Night Shyamalan despite his twist endings.

      • Kodie

        I see dead people.

        • heleninedinburgh

          It’s just pareidolia, mate.

        • se habla espol

          Gee, I haven’t seen any dead people since the last funeral I went to.

        • heleninedinburgh

          What, not even on toast? You must be queer!
          No, hang on, not queer.
          No, I mean –
          Look, I’ll get back to you.

  • ArtK

    Complexity is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for something to be real; there is no correlation. I haven’t read much Lewis other than his fantasies, but to think that a supposedly great Christian writer could make such a basic mistake is disappointing.

  • Otto

    Like a lot of apologetics CS Lewis creates false dichotomies and argues against the view he doesn’t like, and therefore thinks it leaves the other option as the only plausible one.

    Additionally I know quite a few scholars have pointed out the connections of Christianity to older myth stories, I have a hard time believing Lewis had no knowledge of those.

    • Pofarmer

      I dunno. The knowledge of the Sumerian and Babylonian stories is fairly recent. Also the translating of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, etc. I’m not saying he wouldn’t have simply discounted them, but there has been a lot discovered in the last 60 years.

      • Otto

        What about the connections to Homer, etc.? I also know Carrier does quite a bit about the Gospels being written in Ring structure, etc., was that concept unknown to Lewis?

        • Pofarmer

          Honestly, I don’t think the connections to Homer were really made until the late 20th Century, either. And, yes, the Gospels have a very “Greek” structure. Remember, Christianity pretty much had complete control of the plot until fairly recently. It took some fairly brave scholars to start pointing all this stuff out. With that said, it might be possible that the German School in the late 19th Century was working on some of that stuff, but, certainly, C.S. Lewis, not actually being a biblical scholar of any kind, may very well not have been aware of it if it were. A search of Vridar.org might turn up some stuff.

        • Otto

          Ok, good information. So Lewis basically is arguing he doesn’t recognize the writing as being of the myth type, and therefore it’s not.

        • Pofarmer

          Yes. I mean, Lewis knew what he knew. But he certainly isn’t that last word by any reasonable standard. I personally don’t think he would have been that persuasive in his day, whatever.

        • JP415

          As I recall, the Babylonian version of the Great Flood was translated in the 1870s by a scholar named George Smith. Also, Lewis made some allusions to the “dying-and-rising god” meme described by George Frazer in the 1890s (although ironically, some modern scholars think that the entire category is based on a misreading of the ancient sources).

        • Pofarmer

          Any idea how widely spread that translation was?

          some modern scholars think that the entire category is based on a misreading of the ancient sources).

          Eh?

        • JP415

          Not sure how widespread the translation was, but Lewis studied at Oxford. I’m sure he would have heard about it from one of his teachers or classmates at some point. It got some newspaper coverage when it was first discovered in the 1870s.

          As for dying-and-rising gods: as I understand it, the idea is still controversial in academia. For instance, a scholar named Jonathan Z. Smith wrote that the whole concept was “largely a misnomer based on imaginative reconstructions and exceedingly late or highly ambiguous texts.” (He was a professor of comparative religion at the University of Chicago for most of his career and not a Christian apologist, as far as I know.) On the other side, a Swedish academic named Tryggve Mettinger has written a book called The Riddle of the Resurrection that defends the concept of the dying-and-rising god. And of course, Robert M. Price is a proponent as well.

          The problem is that even professional scholars have difficulty interpreting old semitic languages like Sumerian and Akkadian, and since the texts are often damaged and fragmentary, there’s still a lot of room for interpretation.

          A Wikipedia article sums up the controversy:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dying-and-rising_deity

        • Pofarmer

          Thanks.

        • watcher_b

          I’ve heard, but I’ve never read it detailed out, that CS Lewis was a fairly “liberal” Christian (theologically). That he didn’t believe in a literal hell and he didn’t believe in the infallibility of the bible. The argument around that being that if CS Lewis were alive today most modern Evangelicals would reject him for being out of step with their own doctrines.

        • Pofarmer

          He’s presented as this amazing intellect who wouldn t have embraced Christianity if it weren’t true. Personally. I don’t get it.

        • Otto

          He seems better than most…but that isn’t saying much

        • watcher_b

          I’d be interested in reading some of his stuff again. I remember really liking his stuff when I was a Christian. And not just because he was a Christian. If I remember it correctly, “The Great Divorce” and “Screwtape Letters” were masterfully written. He had a book where it was like his published journals that was an amazing read, he wrote it all after his wife had died and it was really honest (I can’t remember the name of it).

          Mere Christianity, I can’t remember at all. I know that is where the whole “Lord, Liar, or Lunatic” argument was popularized, and it is a bull shit argument. I remember thinking his explanation for why he left atheism and became a Christian was kind of bullshit (although I can’t remember it now).

          All I’m saying, there is a lot of shit writers in the Christian world. They are all about making you “feel” a certain way. Because if they can stir up those feelings in you, then they have improved your connection to God in some way. I never got the impression that CS Lewis was doing that. He was just a writer who was a Christian and was just sharing his opinion about the world.

          Chronicles of Narnia are WAY overrated, though.

        • Raging Bee

          I think Lewis was scared by his wife’s death by cancer, and converted for that reason. Then he wrote all his apologetics stuff to rationalize that purely emotional (as in, fear-driven) decision.

          I loved the Narnia books when I first read them around the age of 13. It was pretty cool to re-cast Jesus as a lion — it gave the whole story more oomph. Lots of kids liked it for similar reasons, and that’s why so many other Christians HATED IT: it took the basic story out of the authoritarians’ hands and made it popular in a form they didn’t approve of. And all that fighting is why the books are “overrated.” I’d never reread them, or recommend them to anyone else; but it was nice to see Christians’ heads exploding when they saw someone else making THEIR story more interesting without their control.

        • You’ve seen Bodybuilder Jesus? I suppose that drawing would have the same kind of appeal as Jesus as lion (instead of some scrawny dude hanging limp and bloody on a cross).

          http://i0.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/newsfeed/000/880/743/719.jpg

        • Kodie

          I had only read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe and probably saw a movie of it (maybe at school?) when I was .. maybe in 6th grade. Do you have to already be a Christian or have to read the whole series to get that the lion is Jesus? I was always captivated by stories of children finding secret passage to some other place. I didn’t read any Oz books because they used to show it on tv every year, but anyway, stories like that, I never really got too hung up on the endings, where going off from your family wasn’t a terrific idea.

          It was so much later in my life that I found out the lion was supposed to be Jesus. That’s just weird to me.

        • I now think Lion, Witch and Wardrobe pretty explicit, but I don’t think I saw the connection as a child.
          Perhaps the most telling line is in Dawn Treader, where he returns some of the protagonists to earth with the comment:

          But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason you were brought into Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you might know me better there.

          When in the same scene he is presented as both a lion and a lamb, it’s not hard now to see what Lewis was hinting at. But again, I’m not sure I actually noticed it as a child.

        • Raging Bee

          I was a Marxist and an atheist when I read it, so probably not. I saw some parallels, and had others pointed out to me, simply because we’d all heard the Bible stories already. It didn’t make me more of a believer, but it did kinda show some examples of good vs. bad behavior.

        • Pofarmer

          Same here. I was a Christian kid and still didn’t get it.

        • I think Lewis was scared by his wife’s death by cancer, and converted for that reason. Then he wrote all his apologetics stuff to rationalize that purely emotional (as in, fear-driven) decision.

          Not really. He converted to Christianity ~1930, made the Mere Christianity broadcasts 1941 – 1944, married in 1956, and his wife died in 1960.
          There may well have been emotional reasons in the decision, but that wasn’t one of them (arguably, his grief as a child at the loss of his mother drove him away from Christianity for many years).

          I find this one of his more fascinating apologetics quotes:

          At a 1945 lecture on Christian apologetics, according to McGrath, Lewis said, “Nothing is more dangerous to one’s own faith than the work of an apologist. No doctrine of that faith seems to me so spectral, so unreal as one that I have just successfully defended in a public debate.”

        • Steven Watson

          And having written that, he failed to see he was deluding himself? What a humoungous dickbrain.

        • He converted before meeting his wife.

        • Ohtobide

          Since Lewis converted to Christianity around 1930 and his wife died of cancer in 1960 I think you are wrong.

        • Pofarmer

          He was never totally an atheist, I don’t think. More of a deist for a while, maybe. I kind of tried to read the screwtape letters but didn’t care for it. I dunno, if categorize most of his arguments as appeals too I credulity if not appeals to emotion. I’ve only dealt with them in chunks. I can’t take sustained doses.

        • I listened to the audio version of Screwtape Letters narrated by John Cleese.

          On the topic of God’s hiddenness, it had the line “God cannot ravish; he can only woo,” which is so ridiculous as to sink the entire project in my mind.

        • Pofarmer

          Well, something is woo.

        • Raging Bee

          “God cannot ravish; he can only woo,” which is why all of his evangelists and apologists are such manipulative assholes.

        • Kevin K

          Which must be meant to understand that Yahweh is not omnipotent.

        • I ALWAYS get the impression that Lewis is stirring feelings in lieu of credible arguments. Especially in melodramatic dramatizations such as The Screwtape Letters and The Great Divorce.

        • I suppose it supports their preconceptions, so they’re eager to amp up Lewis’s stature.

        • Kodie

          Well, the people who present that aren’t too sharp.

        • eric

          He was. He believed nonbelievers get a chance to convert and go to heaven after they died, learned the truth, and experienced hell – i.e., he believed God offered a fully informed choice and didn’t require belief or acceptance of Jesus during ones’ life to be saved. I’d say that that’s very liberal compared to modern RCC, modern mainstream US Protestantism, and modern Evangelical sects. To me that sounds more like Unitarianism. I’m not sure, however, what the Anglican church says about hell. Maybe he wasn’t outside the mainstream of his sect and time.

        • Brian Curtis

          He alluded to that idea (posthumous conversion) with the character of Emeth, the righteous Calormene soldier, in “The Last Battle.”

        • He was of the “hell is barred from the inside” thinking, I believe. It’s hard to find that justified by the Bible.

        • hrurahaalm

          Eh, they reject a lot of people. Give ’em long enough, they’ll reject each other.

        • Ohtobide

          He certainly did not believe in the infallibility of the bible. He did, however, believe in a literal hell, although he detested the doctrine.

        • I’ve heard “the gates of hell are barred from the inside” attributed to Lewis, but I don’t know how he justifies that theology. The NT doesn’t say that.

        • Greg G.

          I’m not sure what month the Trinity Term of 1929 was but that was when he became a theist. His father died in September of that year.

          http://www.cslewis.org/resource/chronocsl/

        • Bob Jase

          Just offhand, what evidence is there that Lewis was an atheist before his ‘conversion’? Any atheistic writings that pre-date it? Because I’d rather not just take his word for it, too many believers claim they were ‘atheists’ just because they didn’t attend church three times a week.

        • Greg G.

          Most of what I know about CS Lewis is the Narnia books, what I learned from comments about him in various forums, and what I looked up to verify what I read in the comments. Mostly, the Liar, Lunatic, or Lord trilemma that omits the most obvious option: Legend,

        • Bob Jase
        • epeeist

          Just offhand, what evidence is there that Lewis was an atheist before his ‘conversion’?

          It’s arguable, but I don’t see any reason for atheists to get their knickers in a twist about it. Will some atheists become religious? Sure. But seemingly a much smaller percentage than those who are religious becoming non-religious.

        • epeeist

          I’m not sure what month the Trinity Term of 1929

          It is the last term of the year at Oxford and runs from April to June (yeah, terms are short but intense at Oxford and Cambridge). If his father died in September then this would have been too early for Michaelmas term which starts in October.

      • Interesting point. As another example, the libraries at Ugarit might have post-dated Mere Christianity.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ugarit#Archaeology

        • Pofarmer

          It would have been discovered when Lewis was working, but how much of it was translated?

    • Raging Bee

      I’m sure he did, but (like a lot of other Christians, IMO), he didn’t let himself see the similarities, because that would have blown his whole spiel about how different and unique his religion is from all the others. He just added stuff from other mythologies into his Narnia books. Sort of like how earlier Christians poached bits of other beliefs and pretended they’d invented it all themselves.

    • Ficino

      To the liar, lunatic, lord trilemma: was Jesus a lunatic, on the order of, as Lewis said, a man who thinks he’s a poached egg?

      Yes!

      Unless he was a legend … um

      • Otto

        And considering Jesus didn’t write anything himself, he didn’t actually make any claims. The writers could have lied about any or all of it, Jesus himself didn’t need to lie for Liar to still apply.

        • Pofarmer

          Or for him to be a fictional character. It’s not like people didn’t write about Dionysus or Hercules.

      • Kevin K

        A quadlemma, then. Personally, I think there is a Venn diagram that could explain the probabilities of each, with some amount of overlap between some of them … a “liar-lunatic-legend” is certainly within the realm of possibility. The “lord” circle would be all by its lonesome to the right, tiny and sad.

        Of course, if you’re going to do that, you’d have to have an additional non-overlapping circle of “complete fabrication”.

      • JP415

        I would like to meet a man who thinks he’s a poached egg! That might make for some interesting conversations.

        • heleninedinburgh

          Depends how interested you are in egg issues. I can actually see it being quite dull.
          “So, what do you think about Brexit?”
          “Don’t know, mate. I’m just a poached egg.”

        • Steven Watson

          Thinking on the issue of Brexit. Now there’s a novelty. 🙂

    • Great point. If Lewis was such an expert on myths, he ought to have known about how myths get propagated plus all the precursors to those in the Bible. Not very honest if he conveniently forgot about those.

      • That frustrates me about both Lewis and Tolkien, because they both knew a lot about myths and the development of myths (much more than I do…)

        • And in skeptical minds, they would have chuckled along with the rest of us how myths are as seductive to moderns as well as ancient people. But since they had an emotional desire to fulfill, they put their intellects behind that project instead and shoehorned the evidence into a box where it didn’t fit.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Why should that frustrate you about Tolkien?

        • Because, like Lewis, he kept a firm faith in Christianity in spite of knowing enough to see other examples of myths growing over time (though maybe he took Christianity less literally? I’m not sure, but believe he took his Catholic faith fairly seriously).

          He was also one of those who helped persuade Lewis that Christianity was the “True Myth”.

        • Paul B. Lot

          I think from their p.o.v., there’s nothing about the study of/knowledge of the mechanics (or maybe taxonomy?) of myth evolution which is dissonant with their ideas about “God”/Christianity/Catholicism.

          The data, in other words, fits both models – no?

        • epeeist

          I’m not sure, but believe he took his Catholic faith fairly seriously

          It isn’t as blatant as Lewis’ works but there is a lot of Catholic allegory in the LoTR and associated books.

          The other thing to note is that according to Jill Patton Walsh Tolkien refused to tutor women at Oxford.

    • He also loved the strawman fallacy. Plus begging the question. Really, so many fallacies in general.

      He knew about the earlier myths, but explained them as “good dreams” from God of the coming Christ.

      • heleninedinburgh

        The official position used to be (and AFAIK still is) that the devil counterfeited them so that when Jesus came he would look like just another dying-and-rising god. So oops to Lewis again.

        • I guess he took another tack. Lewis rejected a lot of traditional doctrine. I wonder whether his modern fundamentalist fans realize that.

        • heleninedinburgh

          He said a lot of things they’d be surprised at, in which respect he’s much like Jesus.

        • True. In reading the Bible, I became disturbed at how much of Jesus they never quoted.

    • Jim Dailey

      Lewis was at one point in his life an atheist. Nothing against the people here, but I would say he had the best reasons for being an atheist – he fought in the trenches in WW1.
      Since his preoccupation with myth and legend started in his teen years, and since he was still an atheist when he became a professor at Oxford, it is highly likely he knew all about the similarities of Christianity and pre-Christian myths and legends.

      • heleninedinburgh

        Just out of interest, why would you think that seeing people inflict suffering on each other is a better reason to be an atheist than seeing ‘god/s’ inflict suffering on, say, victims of a tsunami?

        • Jim Dailey

          People inflicting suffering on each other eradicates hope. It says we are merely self-interested, savage beings, might makes right, and other humans are merely a means to an end.
          A natural disaster calls for a human response to perfect the world as much as possible for the victims, and to work to assure that this type of pain is not inflicted again through our adaptation to the disaster.
          I do not begrudge anyone their conclusions on the existence of God. I guess my point is that anyone who has actually experienced terrible suffering has a unique claim to their beliefs – as opposed to armchair philosophers anyway.

        • How does terrible suffering (something that many of us have experienced) provide a greater standing for philosophical claims?

        • Jim Dailey

          I did not say suffering provides a “greater standing for philosophical claims”. I said it provides a “unique claim”.
          I realize that everyone is entitled to their opinion, and that every opinion is unique. Still, someone who has formed an opinion on these intangible matters through the experiential filter of terrible suffering has I think, a special knowledge more worth considering on how that opinion was formed.

        • heleninedinburgh

          How terrible does the suffering have to be? Just trying to get some perspective.

        • Kodie

          You don’t think their emotions might have steered them in the wrong direction?

        • Jim Dailey

          If they came through the experience and it informed their atheism, I would say that they had a unique claim to that belief (or lack of belief) as well. Is that what you are looking for?

        • “Special knowledge” that has “more worth”?

          You’re still just begging the question.

        • Jim Dailey

          What question????

        • heleninedinburgh

          This argument only really works if you take ‘God’ to mean ‘human decency.’ Not a supernatural being manifesting itself through things which include human decency, but – to use a huge cliché – ‘the human spirit.’ People certainly do work together to care for victims and rebuild society after natural disasters (except when they don’t), but that only demonstrates that people can be good; it doesn’t give us any clue as to whether or not there’s a god, although of course it does provide quite a strong argument against the existence of an omnipotent, all-loving god.

        • Pofarmer

          People do all the work. God gets all the credit.

        • heleninedinburgh

          It’s discreetly overlooked that God sent the natural disaster in the first place.

        • Pofarmer

          He just did it so people could shine.

        • Kevin K

          Actually, the first thing Noah did after the ark landed was to get blitz drunk and expose himself to his son.

        • Paul B. Lot

          There, but for the Grace of God, go we all.

        • heleninedinburgh

          But for the grace of god/s we would all feel, and succumb to, the urge to get massively drunk and expose ourselves?

          Er… ok.

        • Kevin K

          I usually wear clothing when I get blitz drunk, but you do you.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Shakin’ ass on gout.

        • Kodie

          I’m willing to bet most Christians are only familiar with the Sunday School version with the lions and giraffes, 40 days of rain, yadda yadda yadda, a rainbow. How does the ark museum cover this story?

        • Kevin K

          The Sunday School version, told to me in 3rd grade, is what prompted my instant “deconversion”. When the nice lady told us that story, my little proto-skeptical brain thought “no way that happened”. Viola! Instant atheist.

        • Kodie

          I don’t really remember what my impression of the story was. Cutting to the chase, you know when I was late teens or early twenties, I became horrified and stunned that people took any of it seriously, so I guess I always assumed it to be a cultural myth. I never really thought through how disgusting a cultural myth it was, and I never heard about the drunken nudity until pretty recently when people here bring it up from time to time.

        • epeeist

          There is a piece of advice supposedly given by Gandhi to his daughter: “There are two kinds of people in the world; those who do the work and those who take the credit. Be one of the former, there is less competition.”

        • Susan

          Tsunamis are a gift from Yahwehjesus?

        • Philmonomer

          People inflicting suffering on each other eradicates hope. It says we are merely self-interested, savage beings, might makes right, and other humans are merely a means to an end.

          It seems to me just as easily to teach that we are all “fallen,” and that our nature has been corrupted, so you need Jesus.

          A natural disaster calls for a human response to perfect the world as much as possible for the victims, and to work to assure that this type of pain is not inflicted again through our adaptation to the disaster.

          A natural disaster says (to me) “God didn’t make this world for humans.”

          I do not begrudge anyone their conclusions on the existence of God. I guess my point is that anyone who has actually experienced terrible suffering has a unique claim to their beliefs – as opposed to armchair philosophers anyway.

          You can find lots of Buddhists who have been through terrible suffering too. Do they have a unique claim to their beliefs?

        • Jim Dailey

          You can find lots of Buddhists who have been through terrible suffering too. Do they have a unique claim to their beliefs?

          Yes. I would find their insights on the matter far more informed and interesting than most. Particularly if they were professors at a preeminent university.

        • heleninedinburgh

          Their insights on the consequences of believing what they did would definitely be informed and interesting. What they would not be is evidence of the factual *truth* of their beliefs. However many letters they had after their names.

        • Jim Dailey

          Agreed.

        • Tommy

          Particularly if they were professors at a preeminent university.

          Why?

        • Jim Dailey

          I believe that to become a professor at a preeminent university, one would have to have demonstrated a profound knowledge of the subject matter. Thus, their opinions are more fully informed and interesting.

        • Pofarmer

          Have you actually known or worked for or with any university professors? Because I have.

        • heleninedinburgh

          Ouch.

        • epeeist

          He isn’t the only one, there are others of us here who have worked in academe.

        • epeeist

          I believe that to become a professor at a preeminent university, one would have to have demonstrated a profound knowledge of the subject matter.

          He was professor of medieval and renaissance literature, not philosophy and not theology.

        • Jim Dailey

          You lost the thread of the comment to which I was responding.
          Basically, if the person expressing his beliefs suffered terribly, AND was a professor (in anything) I am more inclined to consider their opinions as “unique”, insofar as they have a demonstrated ability to meaningfully advance knowledge. Certainly something as personally meaningful as their deepest beliefs is, at least, far better articulated.

        • Tommy

          This is simply an appeal to authority. “So-and-so is a professor of a subject at a prestigious university, therefore their opinions and beliefs on this other subject carries more weight.”

          If something’s wrong with my car, I would rather consult a car mechanic than a theologian.

        • epeeist

          You lost the thread of the comment to which I was responding.

          The point still stands, Lewis was a professor of English, not theology or philosophy.

          Basically, if the person expressing his beliefs suffered terribly

          Why should suffering increase the truth value of the beliefs that a person holds?

          AND was a professor (in anything) I am more inclined to consider their
          opinions as “unique”, insofar as they have a demonstrated ability to
          meaningfully advance knowledge.

          But if one is discussing advancing knowledge then “justification” is what counts rather than uniqueness. Linus Pauling was a Nobel laureate in Chemistry and had some unique views on large doses of vitamin C which he held contra the known evidence.

        • Philmonomer

          Yes. I would find their insights on the matter far more informed and
          interesting than most. Particularly if they were professors at a
          preeminent university.

          Sorry, I thought you were saying that Lewis had a unique claim to truth—as to why he was a Christian (given his unique experience of suffering in the trenches of WW1). If you are just saying that anyone who has undergone suffering, and then found meaning post suffering, then they too have a “unique claim,” then, well, sure. But that seems pretty trivial. (In fact, you can probably find, in every faith tradition, some professor at some preeminent university somewhere.)

          BTW, there’s a lot of literature out there on this (especially given the holocaust). I liked Victor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning”

        • BlackMamba44

          I know this comment is a bit old, but I just can’t help it. I keep thinking of this meme. I have to post it.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6c991c1d376d651d0e7a09cc76b5b8b224d4aee9bf3e5c706cda96504ee897c2.jpg

      • Otto

        Than he had no excuse

      • Argument from authority? There are atheists and believers among both scholars and war veterans; a single example offers little authority on the matter.

        • Jim Dailey

          I am not arguing anything. Merely pointing out salient details of Lewis life that effectively confirms Ottos assertion.
          Lewis knew all about mythology (he taught it at Oxford and Cambridge, btw), was – I imagine – fully informed about atheism, and had plenty of good experiential reason to conclude that atheism was “correct.”
          Since the post is about Lewis’ incorrect reasoning, I am merely pointing out that his reasoning was certainly not from ignorance of the subject matter.

        • I’d go a step farther and note that not only did Lewis know a bit about mythology: he was also fully aware of theological Christologies that posited Jesus as a rabbi with no notions of being divine, but about whom divine legends later emerged. This “legend” interpretation of biblical writings was certainly known to Lewis, but he chose to leave it out of his famous “liar, lunatic, or lord” trilemma – a deceptive move, given that it was the most direct answer to the trilemma, whether or not Lewis subscribed to it.

        • Pofarmer

          Lewis knew all about mythology

          That is a pretty broad claim. Especially since I can’t find any scholarly publications by Lewis on mythology, and it isn’t clear what branches of mythology he would be most associated with.

        • TheNuszAbides

          yep, there’s no such thing as “all about mythology” in any one person’s head, Campbell notwithstanding.

        • Jim Dailey

          From January 1919 until June 1924, he resumed his studies at University College, Oxford, where he received a First in Honour Moderations (Greek and Latin Literature) in 1920, a First in Greats (Philosophy and Ancient History) in 1922, and a First in English in 1923. His tutors during this time included A.B. Poynton for Honour Mods, E.F. Carritt for Philosophy, F.P. Wilson and George Gordon in the English School, and E.E. Wardale for Old English.

          I posted this above (you may have already seen it). Without doing any more research, I assume that the subject matter above, for which Lewis was given honors from Oxford, includes at least Greek mythology.

          I also assume that since he spent quite a bit of time with Tolkien, and since Lewis was interested in mythology, that he would have delved deeply into this area. Assumptions I know, but I think it’s safe to say he was an avid, accomplished student.

        • Pofarmer

          My question, is why didn’t he publish anything on these subjects if he was so great at it? The vast majority of what you find by him is fiction and Christian apologetics. No scholarly works on mythology or history at all. Just a little bit on midevil literature.

        • Tommy

          Just a little bit on midevil literature.

          I see what you did there. 😉

      • TheNuszAbides

        oops, homework time: Lewis’s ‘atheist phase’ began at age 15, about 5 years before he was sent to the trenches.

        • Jim Dailey

          He remained an atheist until he was 31.

        • Michael Neville

          And your point is?

        • Jim Dailey

          Nusz seemed to imply Lewis’ atheism was not fully informed. I am pointing out that he was atheist well into adulthood.

        • Jim Dailey

          He converted to Christianity at 31.

      • Ignorant Amos

        J R R Tolkien was influential in converting Lewis back to his Christianity, but got a bit upset when it was the Protestantism of his youth and not Tolkien’s Catholicism. The two argued the bit out over theological matters as far as I can remember.

      • Paul B. Lot

        Lewis was at one point in his life an atheist.

        I have heard this said before; do you have any *short* sources to help me learn more? (Lewis’ writing style is uninteresting enough to me that I wouldn’t read his autobiography to cure my ignorance, eg.)

      • Susan

        Nothing against the people here, but I would say he had the best reasons for being an atheist – he fought in the trenches in WW1.

        The best reason to be an atheist is that there is no evidence for any gods. The best reason to not be a christian is that the term “God” is so incoherent that I can’t imagine what evidence there would be for it.

        If you’re talking about the cruelty of war being evidence against a caring god, then it’s not special. Hundreds of millions of years of natural selection trumps it.

        Why would a caring god torture other living beings to death for hundreds of millions of years just so it could have a relationship with humans?

        None of it makes any sense.

        It’s just superstition.

    • LeekSoup

      He was massively into the Norse myths and said he fell in love with Baldur first. I think he felt the Jesus resurrection story was more believable than the Baldur story. He described it as “the myth that is true”. It’s all in his book Surprised by Joy. A lot of evangelicals who love CS Lewis would be rather surprised by Surprised by Joy.

  • Anthrotheist

    What I am hearing from this article is, “Christianity feels more true because it doesn’t describe the universe as we experience it, as opposed to older mythologies which existed in large part to try and provide some form of explanation for the universe as we experience it.”

    I’m thinking of Greek mythology: the sun is a flaming chariot wheel; the seasons exist because a goddess’s daughter is trapped in Hades for a number of months equal to the number of pomegranate seeds she ate when she was visiting there; lightning is the weapon of the king of gods; etc.

    Christianity: God poofed the world into existence, created man, realized he messed up and cloned another (wo)man from him, trapped them in a paradise prison with an evil tree and a talking snake, punished all of us for those two nit-wits listening to the snake and indulging in curiosity, then whiled away a few millennia letting humanity be cursed before planting himself in a virgin girl so he could be born into the world and sacrifice himself to himself to appease himself and save the few humans who both heard his message (passed by word-of-mouth for centuries from a tiny part of the Earth) and blindly accepted this entire story without reservation. Missing: any attempt to explain how the world works, at all. Instead, especially with Jesus, it provides lots of reasons to say, “fuck the living world, I’m only here until I die and go to heaven (or get raptured, apparently)”.

    • heleninedinburgh

      I’m pretty sure CSL didn’t believe in the rapture (I know that’s a bit of a backhanded compliment, but still). It was invented in the mid 19th century, and it’s been heresy in most Christian sects ever since. And if it’s too mad even for them…

      • Tommy

        Isn’t the rapture based on Paul’s parousia?

        • heleninedinburgh

          Sorry, I misinterpreted what Anthrotheist said because I took ‘rapture’ to mean only the bodily-zooming-up-into-the-ozone-layer-any-day-now-seriously bollocks you get from ‘Left Behind’ et al. It’s true to say that nearly everyone has a generalised ‘Jesus is coming back at some point’ thing.

  • eric

    I believe this is a variant of the ‘affirming the consequent’ fallacy. I.e., True things are [often] strange. Christianity is strange. Therefore it must be true.

    Another issue is that “a religion you could not have guessed” poses a moral issue: merely ignorant people go to hell. Because they could not have guessed the right salvation answer, right? Now there’s several ways to resolve this, but Lewis’ particular solution (set out in The Great Divorce) isn’t accepted by most modern Christians. Here’s some ways:

    1. Let them burn, we don’t care. Redefine ‘good’ to be a God that let’s the ignorant burn, if needed. Example…Calvinism?

    2. Put the merely ignorant in a nice part of hell: old RCC

    3. Say everyone gets another chance at accepting salvation after they’re dead, in hell, and fully informed. Example: Lewis. AFAIK this has never been mainstream church doctrine. Probably for the pragmatic reason that it eliminates the need for organized religion altogether. This solution saves Christ as the means to salvation, at the expense of giving up the need for a Christian faith or Christian church.

    4. Claim Lewis is just wrong, and claim instead that everyone knows Jesus but some reject him. Example: fundies of both Protestantism and Catholicism.

    5. Accept that it’s a conundrum, but say you have faith that God found a good and merciful answer to it anyway. Example: probably many believers who haven’t thought about this particular issue much.

    • Another option, which I believe was supported by Lewis, was “hell is barred from the inside.” I have no idea how he supports it with scripture.

      • Jack Baynes, Sandwichmaker

        Doesn’t that remove the need for Christ from salvation?

        • “Blessed are the sandwich makers”–isn’t that what Our Lord said in the sermon on the mount? You have a noble profession, sir.

          I’m not sure I see Christ here as much as the Holy Spirit. Isn’t it his job to create and encourage faith in the human bosom? If I have no belief in the unbelievable, I think we need to put the blame where it belongs.

        • Kevin K

          I’ve always wondered about why of the three, the Holy Spirit doesn’t seem to have a name. I mean, “god’s” name is Yahweh, Jesus is … Jesus, but the Holy Spirit is …? Surely, when Yahweh and Jesus are talking to him/themselves up in heaven, they call him something other than “Holy Spirit”, don’t they?

          Maybe it’s a really embarrassing name like Poindexter. I think I’ll go with that.

        • Bob Jase

          Yep, never been able to get a good answer to that from a believers Some have said the Spook is the Pneuma or breath of Yahweh but that would make it just hot air. Others have said its’ name is Sophia, aka wisdom, but I see no evidence for wisdom in bad and misleading mythology. A few have said it was the Logos or ‘word of Yahweh’ but that reduces it to hot air again and also that’s supposed to be Jesus’ alias.

          you may be right but it’s be a hoot if its name is Allah.

        • Kevin K

          Sophia is a goddess in her own right. Methinks they’re thinking of polytheism.

        • Pofarmer

          I wonder. Is there “divine spirit” in other religions? I mean, in the Hindu religion the world is said to be a dream of Vishnu. I seem to recall something from the Egyptian Book of the Dead about the world being spoken into existence. I don’t think this is necessarily unique to Christianity.

        • Pofarmer

          Search and ye shall find. Not sure about the accuracy of all this.

          Nu

          Nu was the “father of the gods” and originator of the “great company of
          gods”. He was the primeval watery mass out of which all things came. The
          creation myth of the ancient Egyptians began with a vast waste of water called
          Nu, similar to the creation story in Genesis where the Spirit of God
          “hovered over the waters.” According to the writings of the Egyptians, there was
          a time when neither heaven nor earth existed, and there was only the boundless
          primordial water which was shrouded in thick darkness. The primeval water
          remained in this condition for a considerable length of time; however, within it
          was the origin of all things that later came into existence. At length, Spirit
          felt the desire for creative activity and uttering the Word of Creation, the
          world sprang forth in the form depicted in the Mind of Spirit before the Word
          was ever spoken. This was the primary act of Creation.

          https://www.perankhgroup.com/legacy_of_the_egyptian_religion.htm

        • Pofarmer
        • Kevin K

          Oh my…that site talked about the “holy wind”…dear me…that’s…well…not “wind”…it’s “gas”.

        • Raging Bee

          A Mighty Wind will blow you!

        • I have a different name question. You’ve got God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit, but what do you call the unified thing? Don’t you need a fourth name?

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2016/07/what-does-god-mean-the-answer-undercuts-the-concept-of-the-trinity/

        • Bob Jase

          That would be the Living Tribunal according to Dr. Strange.

        • Kevin K

          Good point! Inquiring minds want to know!!

        • ThaneOfDrones

          I mean, “god’s” name is Yahweh

          It’s Jealous. Exodus 34:14

        • Tommy

          1 John 4:8: “God is love.”
          1 Corinthians 13:4: “Love is not jealous.”
          Exodus 34:14: “My name is Jealous. I am a jealous god.”

        • heleninedinburgh

          Exodus 34:14.5: “I only hit you because I love you so much.”

        • Jack Baynes, Sandwichmaker

          Jesus loved a good Meatball Parmigiana wedge.

        • eric

          Not necessarily, but it does remove the need to be Christian from salvation.

        • Jack Baynes, Sandwichmaker

          What role would Christ play in salvation if the people in hell could just lift the bar and walk out?

      • eric

        That’s a pithy version of one of his points from Great Divorce; the people who remain in hell are there because they chose to be there.

        Whether he had a cogent scriptural argument backing that position up or not, AFAIK it’s not and has never been the position of the RCC or any of the major Protestant sects. Though I’m certainly not an expert on Anglicism, which was IIRC Lewis’ sect.

    • Jim Dailey

      That is not at all the point of The Great Divorce. The souls in hell preferred hell to heaven. They were not “put” in hell, and periodically had an opportunity to go to Heaven, but would overwhelmingly choose to return to hell.
      Also, hell was not a burning lake of fire. Rather it was a bleak, gray suburban landscape with houses so far apart because nobody could stand their neighbors and the residents existence was a series of unpleasant arguments with whomever was nearby.
      Did you read it, or are you distilling a critique you read?

      • Greg G.

        I have not read it. Do the people in heaven get to periodically go to hell If not, it doesn’t say much for heaven if the people who have tried both prefer hell.

        • heleninedinburgh

          Eternity of anything would be torture, wouldn’t it?

        • Bob Jase

          nah, Jesus just mindwipes all memories every so often along with personality and desires and free will.

        • Jim Dailey

          I do not believe people in heaven went and tried hell in the story – although from what I recall they probably could have. The story is told from the perspective of a person going and trying out heaven.
          The story does say why hell is preferable for some.

          It’s a pretty short story (about 100 pages or so.) if you can get through the 1920s style of writing it is not bad.

      • Kevin K

        Gee, that sounds like Tuesday to me.

      • eric

        I have read it, and I don’t see anything you’ve said as contradicting my summary of it. The souls in hell do get a second chance at salvation, and they are fully informed when they make this choice. Yes?

        I agree with your description of Lewis’ hell. But that also supports my overall point, that Lewis’ theology isn’t really mainstream church doctrine. He’s the poster child apologist for a faith for which he had some radical, if not heretical, ideas.

        • Jim Dailey

          “mainstream church doctrine” on hell, as far as I understand it, involves souls which turn from Gods love.

          God does not put them there. They choose to go there and remain there.

          Purgatory – souls getting a second chance at salvation – is certainly part of Catholic doctrine – which I guess is “mainstream”

          Of the “ignorant” – one of the people exhalted in heaven that the main character comes across is a woman who had few material possessions during her life on earth and no education, but shared what she had. There was no guessing at the right rules required.

          Are Lewis ideas put forth in the Great Divorce deemed “heretical”? I really do not know. Can you find any formal charges of heresy lodged against Lewis by “mainstream” Christian religions?

        • LeekSoup

          What about Jesus’ warning to be afraid of the one who can destroy your body and soul in hell? Doesn’t sound like much of a choice there. God is the active agent in that.

          The reference is Matthew 10.28 if you want to look it up.

        • Jim Dailey

          I am no one to determine if Lewis was a heretic. I can offer an opinion on any formal heresy charges brought by a “mainstream” Christian religion, but that’s about it.

        • LeekSoup

          You said mainstream church doctrine says that people choose to go to hell. A big assertion and not true in many churches where it is clearly taught that God sends sinners to hell as per that Bible verse.

          Don’t be obtuse. You’re better than that.

        • Jim Dailey

          I am not being obtuse. I am not qualified to interpret scripture.
          Was Lewis accused of heresy by any “mainstream” churches?

        • Kodie

          I don’t know how anyone is unqualified to interpret scripture.

        • Cryny

          Uh…from what I’ve been reading of Jim, no, he’s not better than that. Not even close.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Are Lewis ideas put forth in the Great Divorce deemed “heretical”? I really do not know. Can you find any formal charges of heresy lodged against Lewis by “mainstream” Christian religions?

          Define “mainstream”?

          http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Wolves/cs_lewis-heretic.htm

          https://relevantmagazine.com/god/church/6-heretics-should-be-banned-evangelicalism

          What the holy rollers like about Lewis has nothing to do with his heresies. His views were heretical.

          http://yuriystasyuk.com/cs-lewis-the-most-beloved-heretic/

      • Tommy

        Also, hell was not a burning lake of fire. Rather it was a bleak, gray
        suburban landscape with houses so far apart because nobody could stand
        their neighbors and the residents existence was a series of unpleasant
        arguments with whomever was nearby.

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f632b7149e732da03b5d0bcb6e2e90b4a5d8726707fa81ecaa4661e22415504d.jpg

  • Kevin K

    Why would an all-powerful god be so limited in its ability to forgive “sins” that it would have to send itself down to Earth in order to get itself “killed” (albeit temporarily) so that it could then be allowed to forgive mankind?

    Makes zero sense whatsoever. That’s not a “weird twist”. That’s pure hokum.

    • heleninedinburgh

      You can know it’s true by the fact that it’s complete bollocks.

      • Kevin K

        That seems to be the argument…do people actually buy that? I mean, maybe Trump voters … but other than that?

        • heleninedinburgh

          I suppose people just try not to think about the logistics of it too much.

        • Unfortunately, there are a lot of Trump voters …

    • Agreed. The gospel story is a rework of a rework of a rework. It looks exactly like a human-made hodge podge, not a sensible godly plan.

      A human sacrifice? Seriously? God can’t figure out another way to undo the imperfection he made us with?

    • Good_Samaritan

      Idiot, it is because blood magic is the best magic. Duh.

  • watcher_b

    I can already hear the Christian response to your last paragraph about how History discounts the supernatural. They view that as an arbitrary distinction, a rule by fiat. But then the argument you make is applicable to this situation, they need to provide a test to determine myth from fact when it comes to the supernatural!

    And making an argument from history doesn’t even make any sense when it comes to the Evangelical view of who Jesus was. Why tell me about who other people thought Jesus was or who God was? Don’t they have a “personal relationship” with him and it? There is no need for me or the average Evangelical to appeal to historical experts (as neither of us are historical experts). The Evangelical is making quite the claim. If a friend of mine claims to have a personal relationship with Scarlett Johansson, I’m going to need to see material evidence of this relationship before I believe it. And not “I feel Scarlett’s presence”.

    If the argument that the supernatural, by definition, does not have “material” evidence; then that sounds like a pretty weak god that can’t interact with the material world. There also needs to be another test defined in which we determine what is true outside the material realm or not. Because as far as I can tell, we only have access to the material.

    • Zeropoint

      But I have this collection of love letters from her! Okay, they never mention me by name and many of them are clearly written to other people than me. And, none of them are in her handwriting or have her signature on them. Furthermore, the writer’s voice and attitude about various things changes from letter to letter. And I didn’t get them from her; I got them from some guy who told me that they were from her to me and I could definitely trust him.

      But they still totally prove that Scarlett Johansson is in love with me!

  • Raging Bee

    …Christianity…is a religion you could
    not have guessed.

    Um…says who? What makes Christianity less “guessable” than any other religion or set of folktales?

    If it offered us just the kind of universe we had
    always expected, I should feel we were making it up. But, in fact, it is
    not the sort of thing anyone would have made up.

    If a religion “offers us a universe” we don’t expect, doesn’t that means it’s offering a universe that isn’t what we observe? Why else would we not expect it, except that it’s not what we see as real?

    It has just that queer twist about it that real things have.

    A totally arbitrary and vacuous statement, well inside the “not even wrong”category.

    Seriously, the more I hear Lewis quoted, the harder it is for me to understand why he was ever a thing. Sort of like a less obnoxious Christian-apologist version of Ayn Rand.

    • Syzygy

      “It doesn’t make sense, so it must be truth.” – C. S. Lewis

      • Raging Bee

        “Unless it’s something that contradicts my beliefs, in which case it makes no sense and can’t possibly be truth.”

        • Syzygy

          But only if your beliefs are “sincerely held.”
          Right?
          =========
          I still believe, sincerely and fervently, that religion is one form of mental illness.

        • Raging Bee

          It’s not a FORM of mental illness, so much as a means of rationalizing certain irrational thought-patterns and pretending they’re not manifestations of mental illness.

    • TheNuszAbides

      the harder it is for me to understand why he was ever a thing.

      what was his competition?

  • Raging Bee

    So let us leave behind all these boys’
    philosophies—these over simple answers. The problem is not simple and
    the answer is not going to be simple either.

    Um…don’t Christians almost always insist that their simple religion is THE simple answer to everything? I can’t cite anything, but I seem to recall Lewis also saying Christianity was simple. That is, in fact, one of its greatest selling-points from day one: it’s simple and direct and cuts through all the fog and darkness and decadence and complexity and compromise of all the other false religions.

    • Otto

      It’s simple until you start asking some basic questions, then it becomes unbearably convoluted.

      • Raging Bee

        Then it becomes “theology.”

    • Bob Jase

      Christianity is obviously true, its just hard to see that.

      • TheNuszAbides

        the pleading is so special they don’t even know it’s special.

  • Bob Jase

    The secret is to redefine words to mean what you want them to when you want them to. Simple = complex, real = mythical, its all situational.

    • Otto

      Unconditional = most of the time

      • heleninedinburgh

        Merciful = just subjecting most people to eternal unbearable torture, not absolutely everyone.

        • Greg G.

          Subjective = Objective.

        • Raging Bee

          “Reality is subjective!” “But subjectivity is objective!”

    • Ficino

      Exactly. Another example: God determines and causes everything that happens. Including your freely willed acts. So anything you choose to do, you do out of free will, because God caused you to do it! Yay!

      • Kodie

        God only makes you do what you wanted to do anyway.

      • heleninedinburgh

        God wanted me to be an atheist, so it’s a sin on your part to try to convert me.

  • P Marshall

    So, the non-guessability of something is a rational, reliable methodology for determining what is real ?

    Are you drunk Mr Lewis ? Did you “inhale” something ?

    That’s a “D minus”, your analysis needs a little more work.

    • Raging Bee

      NOW you tell him!

  • Jack Baynes, Sandwichmaker

    How hard would it have been for God to see His followers fighting amongst themselves over who was “right” about His religion, and just come down and tell them to STOP IT? Then explain to them what the right answer was to the question they were fighting over.

    • Ficino

      St Thomas Aquinas wrote something like over 8000 pages explaining why God doesn’t roll the way you imagine. Master 7999 of those pages and then come back and tell us the answers.

      /s

      I agree. God doesn’t even make sandwiches in any noticeable way.

    • Greg G.

      Brother Thomas was a monk who saw things a little differently. He debated with three other monks daily. At the end, they would always say, “Sorry Brother Thomas, it is three to one against you.”

      One day of heated debate, they responded, “Sorry Brother Thomas, it is three to one against you.” The clouds opened up and a booming voice said, “BROTHER THOMAS IS RIGHT!

      The other brothers were amazed. They looked at one another and said, “OK, it’s three to two against you.”

      • Ficino

        Heh heh. I saw the same joke elsewhere but about three rabbis.

      • Otto

        And thus the Trinity was voted in.

  • ThaneOfDrones

    C.S. Lewis used his fiction writing to introduce readers to sophisticated theological topics, like talking animals.

    • Bob Jase

      As well as witches, satyrs and magic

  • Lewis is hugely overrated as a thinker. This is not even his worst argument, which says something. Ironically, his philosophy always struck me as childish itself.

    • Pofarmer

      How many people really know anything about philosophy?

      • Not many who aren’t professional philosophers, which he wasn’t.

        • Pofarmer

          Yeah, so basically anything that appears as philosophy and fits their preconceived notions is all “Gee Whiz.”

        • Yep.

      • Kevin K

        Does anyone really know what time it is? Does anybody really care? About time?

        • Otto

          If so I can’t imagine why

        • Kevin K

          You just aged yourself (as did I).

        • Otto

          Age can’t be avoided…but maturity is another matter

        • Michael Neville

          I’ve been avoiding maturity for 70 years now.

        • RichardSRussell

          I remember my dad often saying to me “It’s about time!”

      • quinsha

        If you can’t pin your philosophy to reality I don’t listen to it. That really annoys some peeps on some of the blogs that I have talked to. They keep trying to tell me that I am committing some sort of fallacy by doing that.

        • Pofarmer

          You just cut out a ton of metaphysics

  • Lewis tapped into an American audience for his books that was easily impressed by a genteel English voice providing apologetic ammunition for Christianity. But he is not, by any stretch of the imagination a great writer or philosopher. Even as a writer of fiction his work is highly over-rated and haphazardly derivative. He even tapped into Western racism in his Chronicles of Narnia collection, with it’s faux-Arabian/Islamic depiction of the evil Calormen – the age old Narnian enemy.

    • Jim Dailey

      From January 1919 until June 1924, he resumed his studies at University College, Oxford, where he received a First in Honour Moderations (Greek and Latin Literature) in 1920, a First in Greats (Philosophy and Ancient History) in 1922, and a First in English in 1923. His tutors during this time included A.B. Poynton for Honour Mods, E.F. Carritt for Philosophy, F.P. Wilson and George Gordon in the English School, and E.E. Wardale for Old English.

      Seems like he had philosophy credibility to me.

      • Kevin K

        He drank at Eagle and Child’s pub on St. Gile’s St.

      • heleninedinburgh

        Yes, yes, he had a fabulous CV. Fine. Whatever. Does it have any impact on the validity or originality of his arguments?

        • Jim Dailey

          Beau said CS Lewis was not a great philosopher.
          I am pointing out that C.S. Lewis’ take on philosophy is probably very valid, what with being “First in Greats” at Oxford.

        • Jan S

          Are you trying to say that /everyone/ with a philosophy first-class honours degree is automatically a great philosopher?

        • heleninedinburgh

          I’m sure it is as valid as those of everyone else who’s taken a First in Greats at Oxford. Taking a First in Greats does not make you a great philosopher.

        • Zeta

          Did Lewis study basic logic when he studied philosophy in Oxford? I presume he did. But then how could a philosopher, supposedly a good one too, blunder so badly when he argued for the so-called trilemma? This kind of reasoning would fail Logic 101. Or was he just being dishonest?

        • Pofarmer

          Do you know what a “First” is?

        • Jim Dailey

          No. I imagine it meant he was the best undergrad student in the class.
          Am I close?

        • heleninedinburgh

          No.

          ETA: Sorry, that sounds a bit rude. A ‘First’ just involves getting an excellent result in every, or most, class taken. Theoretically it would be possible for every student graduating in one year to take a First.

        • Jim Dailey

          So it is not impressive to get a First at Oxford?

        • Pofarmer

          It’s about equivalent to a Magna Cum Laude or Cum Laude. It would be interesting to know how many other students in those years had equal marks.

        • heleninedinburgh

          I wasn’t saying that, just correcting you when you had something wrong. I’m leaving the main point for everyone else to press.

        • Joe

          It’s impressive, but you aren’t mandated to carry on that impressiveness once you leave the halls of academia.

        • Pofarmer

          Nope.

        • Making top grades in a philosophy literature course does not make one a philosopher …

          … much less a great philosopher,

        • Kodie

          Tell us what you think “First in Greats” means.

      • Jim Jones

        > Seems like he had philosophy credibility to me.

        There’s an old rule: “philosophy plus religion == bullshit”

      • TheNuszAbides

        Seems like “not great” isn’t equivalent to “entirely lacking credibility”.

        • Jim Dailey

          Pretty sure they don’t give out honors at Oxford unless you demonstrate a facility with the subject matter.

        • Venavis

          I think we’ve thoroughly established that mediocre white men with religious leanings are quite good at failing upward.

        • Pofarmer

          I’m lookin’ at you, William Lane Craig.

        • JP415

          There’s a difference between studying philosophy at a top-tier university and making a lasting contribution to that field. Plenty of people studied philosophy at Oxford without becoming great philosophers.

        • Tommy

          They confuse education with practice.

        • Pofarmer

          I’ve always, well, since I noticed it, found it interesting that Lewis has 0 scholarly work in mythology or philosophy that I can find.

        • epeeist

          An author search on Google Scholar using his forename and his initials would seem to confirm this.

        • Pofarmer

          Thanks. I don’t think to use Google Scholar. I was mainly going by the list of published materials available on his website and places like Wikipedia. This is the exact thing that modern apologists fault someone like Richard Carrier for, although he certainly has more published scholarly work in his field.

        • epeeist

          Pretty sure they don’t give out honors at Oxford unless you demonstrate a facility with the subject matter

          As the current UK Foreign Secretary demonstrates…

        • Joe

          The subject matter in question being imaginary beings.

        • Suppose he was an expert in Harry Potter-ology. That wouldn’t mean much in the real world.

          To some extent, the same is true for philosophy.

        • Jim Dailey

          Well Bob, if one of the commenters dismissed CS Lewis’ knowledge of Harry Potterology as “not great”, I might feel like pointing out to the commenter that he is in error.

      • Raging Bee

        And all they got for their efforts were the Narnia and Silent Planet books?

      • epeeist

        Seems like he had philosophy credibility to me

        So why don’t you present us with what you think is his best philosophical argument and see what we think of it.

        • Jim Dailey

          I think you should probably ask that of the people that bestowed the academic awards on Lewis.

        • epeeist

          I think you should probably ask that of the people that bestowed the academic awards on Lewis.

          Ah, so you are unable to present hist best philosophical argument. Let’s reduce the stakes somewhat and ask for any of his philosophical arguments.

        • Jim Dailey

          I am basing Lewis philosophical credibility based on the fact that Oxford gave him honors. It demonstrates facility with the subject matter, and thus, some degree of credibility.
          If you do not think Lewis was a great philosopher, or that honors from Oxford are proof of his general knowledge of the subject matter, fine.

          To that end though, would you happen to know Bob Siedenstickers credentials in theology or philosophy? Any awards from academic institutions? Any papers?

        • heleninedinburgh

          Just convincing arguments, I’m afraid.

        • epeeist

          I am basing Lewis philosophical credibility based on the fact that Oxford gave him honors.

          But as others have noted, there is a difference between learning philosophy as an undergraduate and practising philosophy.

          If you do not think Lewis was a great philosopher, or that honors from
          Oxford are proof of his general knowledge of the subject matter, fine.

          To be blunt the stuff I have seen of his seems to be mediocre, but there again I am not a practising philosopher either.

          To that end though, would you happen to know Bob Siedenstickers credentials in theology or philosophy?

          Ah, the “Oh look, over there; squirrels” response.

        • Pofarmer

          Also correct me if I’m wrong. But Lewis never got anything beyond the equivalent of a bachelors in any of the things he studied? Is that correct?

        • epeeist

          I had a look but there is no mention I can find of him taking any postgraduate degree. He seems to have gone from his undergraduate degree to tutoring at Magdalen college.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s hard to believe he was given a chair at Cambridge.

        • Pofarmer

          Jim, just a note. You’ve been caught out not knowing what the hell you’re talking about. Being a belligerent dumbass about it isn’t helping.

        • Jim Dailey

          Helping what? I am not trying to prove anything.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Uh, you ARE aware that there’s a member of the ‘Discovery’ Institute who has a doctorate in microbiology who rejects evolution, right?

          Academic honors just mean somebody mastered the material, not that s/he can do anything creative with it.

        • Nick G

          Getting a degree with a significant philosophical component, even a first from Oxford, does not provide credibility in philosophy. “Honour Moderations” is just what other universities in Britain generally call “prelims” – exams taken early in the degree and not counting toward the final result. The philosophical component of “Greats” is limited to ancient philosophy. Lewis had genuine expertise in medieval and Renaissance literature, but not in philosophy.

        • JP415

          The false dilemma (trilemma) was his best argument! It’s all downhill from there.

        • epeeist

          The false dilemma (trilemma) was his best argument!

          That’s what I was expecting to get. The major problem is that it is plainly a piece of apologetics and not a philosophical argument.

        • Ignorant Amos
      • ThaneOfDrones

        How did he fare when an actual philosopher showed up to question him? Look up the Lewis – Anscombe debate

      • Paul B. Lot

        Seems like he had philosophy credibility to me.

        Indeed, I believe it does.

      • Well you clearly know how to copy/paste from websites. I do too, though I tend to credit my sources.

        How this translates as “philosophy credibility” is a stretch. He made good grades in philosophy literature at college. Wow.

      • Kevin K

        What you’re saying is that he wasn’t an indifferent undergraduate. Good for him.

      • Sure, let’s say that he had credibility in the area of philosophy. Where are you going with that? Are you defending his conclusions or marveling at how a smart guy could make such dumb ones?

        • Jim Dailey

          I am saying that dismissing his philosophy out of hand as “not great” is silly.

          His demonstrated knowledge of the matter was good enough to get him academically recognized at Oxford.

          To me, this is like people dismissing the guy who comes in fourth in the Olympic 100 yard dash as “not a great runner”. Particularly when it is apparent that the commenter couldn’t run to the bathroom.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Particularly when it is apparent that the commenter couldn’t run to the bathroom.

          This personal attack was both unsupported and unnecessary. Particularly when you yourself, using the same analogy, would be a character confined to an iron lung.

          To me, this is like people dismissing the guy who comes in fourth in the Olympic 100 yard dash as “not a great runner”.

          This is a poor analogy.

          Someone who [almost placed] in the [most prestigious global competition] would, hypothetically, be an apt comparison to [a member of academia who worked/published out of one of the not-top-three-post-graduate schools/institutions in the world].

          Lewis, then by comparison, would have been appropriately cast as…oh, I don’t know….say: [a student who graduated with credit for track and field participation at a posh high school]

        • Jim Dailey

          Never mind.

    • EquaYona

      He was influential in England as well. His apologetics were meant to be popularized, accessible arguments for why he believed. Can you think of any Christian apologetics that you wouldn’t consider a deluded simpleton? By it’s nature, apologetics for ANY religion is doomed to be deemed ludicrous in light of reason, science and logic. Lewis has been enormously popular because he is a gifted, engaging writer, and non-academics can understand him. Give credit where credit is due.

      • I didn’t call Lewis a “simpleton” for preaching his “liar, lunatic, or lord” apologetic to a lay audience.

        I called him a liar.

      • heleninedinburgh

        “[A]pologetics for ANY religion is doomed to be deemed ludicrous in light of reason, science and logic.”

        That doesn’t say much for the apologetics, then.

    • Raging Bee

      Well, yeah, gotta have dark-skinned heathen savages to keep it interesting…

    • Paul B. Lot

      In my undergrad days, I attended a talk by Professor Michael Ward which cast Lewis’s work in a new light for me.

      I’m not sure what the line is between a piece being merely “derivative” and reworking old ideas in an interesting way, but while I wholeheartedly echo Tolkien’s dislike of plain allegory (including/especially Lewis’), I think that if nothing else, viewing [The Narnia Chronicles] through this lens helped rehabilitate him a bit in my mind.

      His characterization/plot-points might well be insipid, but it seems clear to me that he was trying at something like a Marvel/DC crossover: blending ancient/medieval paganism/astrolog(nom)y with modern/mainstream/milquetoast protestant christianity in a way that I’ve seen few others attempt, outside of the RCC tradition.

      But yes….”calormen”? Men from the hot place….really?

      • Calling in Father Christmas to bolster a talking lion’s heroes with magical Christmas presents doesn’t strike me as reworking old ideas in an interesting way. Insipid is not a bad word for it.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Calling in Father Christmas to bolster a talking lion’s heroes with magical Christmas presents doesn’t strike me as reworking old ideas in an interesting way.

          Nor me, before I listened to the talk.

          I don’t suppose you had a chance? It is rather long – and I, personally, find few things as unengaging as random internet people throwing lengthy youtube videos at me about subjects for which I have already expressed distaste.

        • I would agree

        • Paul B. Lot

          The answer, I take it then, is “no”?

        • No, what? I really agree that few things are as unengaging as random internet people throwing lengthy YouTube videos at me.

        • Paul B. Lot

          No, what?

          Calling in Father Christmas to bolster a talking lion’s heroes with magical Christmas presents doesn’t strike me as reworking old ideas in an interesting way.

          Nor me, before I listened to the talk. I don’t suppose you had a chance?

        • A chance? I don’t even have an inclination. I’ve been known to read research articles proffered by people I’ve never met on the internet. Youtube videos? No, thank you.

        • Paul B. Lot

          A chance [that I listened to the talk]?

          Yep! That was the question! Third time was the charm.

          I don’t even have an inclination.

          I mean….that’s fair as far as it goes.

          Of course, one wonders why you felt the inclination to *keep commenting* on a topic….about which you were disinclined to research. ;D

        • Third time? No, I answered you the first time.

          Now you wonder why I “keep” answering your questions? Really? If getting an answer is such a cause for wonder, why did you ask in the first place?

          At least it takes less time than watching an hour long youtube from a Houston Baptist professor of apologetics.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Third time? No, I answered you the first time.

          Incorrect.

          First time.
          Second time.
          Third time.

          Do you have a Venmo account or GoFundMe set up to receive funds for new reading glasses? 😛

          Now you wonder why I “keep” answering your questions? Really?

          No, I don’t wonder that, and no, not “really?”.

          For the record you’ve answered one (thrice repeated) question of mine to-date, and [the thing that I’m wondering about] is: why do you chose to:

          *keep commenting* on a topic [the argument made by Ward in the lecture I linked to, about additional frameworks/layers to CSL’s tCoN]….about which you were disinclined to research

          At least it takes less time than watching an hour long youtube from a Houston Baptist professor of apologetics.

          At least I don’t smell as bad as you do. 😀

          No, but seriously – I asked about this almost 24 hours ago. I wonder how many comments you would have to write in-ignorance before you outstripped the modest length of the video you both reject viewing, but insist on commenting about.

          FWIW the point of the video isn’t apologetical, but rather historical/literary.

        • Correct – whether you liked or understood the answers (thanks for linking to them!) is a different matter. Bless you’re heart, your obsessed that I have no interest in your little video.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Oh jeez, there’s a bunch of wrong to unpack here. Unfortunately, I can’t address it right now, today’s going to be a busy day, but I’ll be back as soon as I can!

        • Forgive me if I don’t wait with baited breath …

        • Paul B. Lot

          No.

          😛

        • Greg G.

          baited breath

          The result of eating sushi.

        • Paul B. Lot

          First, the fluff:

          1)

          Correct

          Nope.

          2)

          thanks for linking to them [the “answers” you claim (incorrectly) to have provided]

          I didn’t link to them, I linked to the question I repeatedly asked you. Are you sure you don’t want help with those reading glasses? 😀

          3)

          whether you liked or understood the answers is a different matter

          Of course it is. It is possible that you answered the question “did you watch the video”, but I didn’t like it. Is that what the record shows, though? I don’t think so.

          My thrice-asked question (in green), together with your responses:

          a.
          b.
          c.

          In none of your responses to my farily clearly, if implicitly, stated question “have you watched the video”, did you answer it – save the last.

          In your first two responses, you seemed to fail to parse the question at all. You seemed to have entirely overlooked the existence of the question itself, and instead fixated on my misguided attempt at politely acknowledging that some find youtube links, even if short but especially if long, onerous/a waste of time.

          Indeed, your second response is particularly indicative of your failure to read properly: “No, what?”, in-context, bespeaks someone unaware that he’s been asked to answer a question. Your first response was merely a brusque agreement with my self-deprecation, but your second hints at someone confused – unsure of what else could possibly be wanted from him.

          Next, the meat:

          4)

          Bless you’re your* heart

          *Correction

          5)

          your you’re* obsessed

          a)*Correction.
          b) I don’t think that “obsessed” is the right descriptor. I think that it was perfectly fine for me to follow-up to [your response to my video-post in which you seemed to clearly demonstrate a lack of understanding of the material] by verifying that you, in fact, lacked an understanding of what you were talking about. It’s perfectly understandable that you didn’t feel inclined to watch the video, my dear, but you should probably then just keep your mouth shut, lest you look a fool.

          6)

          I have no interest in your little video.

          a) The video is not mine.
          b) Your whole, and sole, point is that you didn’t want to watch a long video, so “little” seems out of place.
          c) The [video] is of an [academic presentation] wherein [the main points of a Doctorate thesis] are condensed down for civian consumption. It wasn’t, like….a keyboard cat compilation. 😛

          7)

          I have no interest in your little video.

          You could’ve just said that, and been done with it. “No thanks, not interested” would’ve been fine, and would’ve prevented this longish tangent wherein you keep throwing eggs at your own face. Instead, you decided both that i) you didn’t want to watch the video, AND ii) that you wanted your commentary on it to be taken seriously.

          I don’t think it makes a whole lot of sense for you to expect that, though, and I’m confused as to why you apparently do.

          ¯_(ツ)_/¯

        • So many words … so little content.

          My very first response was to agree that videos thrown by random video people are unengaging. Pay attention.

        • Paul B. Lot

          … so little content.

          I know you are, but what am I?

          My very first response was to agree that videos thrown by random video people are unengaging. Pay attention.

          That wasn’t a question then, and it still isn’t now. How are you this stupid?

          Pay attention.

        • God, you’re boring.

        • Paul B. Lot

          God, you’re boring.

          Do you always run and hide to avoid admitting error?

        • Do you always display this much stupidity online?

        • Paul B. Lot

          Do you always display this much stupidity online?

          More projection? 😛

          Come on, Beau, walk the class through your understanding of why you missed the question here: https://disqus.com/home/discussion/crossexamined/cs_lewis_put_up_or_shut_up/#comment-3841230031

        • I’ve got better uses for my time than parsing out old conversations. Unless you have a topic of substance, I’m not interested.

        • Paul B. Lot

          I’ve got better uses for my time than parsing out old conversations

          Understood: a) you’re a coward, b) you’re an asshole, and c) you don’t mind that being public knowledge.

          Unless you have a topic of substance, I’m not interested.

          I provided you one to begin with, my dear, don’t you recall?

          You accused, as do many others and as did I before being presented with this theory, Lewis of being “haphazard”. Now, I’m not a Lewis scholar by any stretch, so I was only focusing on [The Narnia Chronicles] – but Ward’s theory seems to me to give us good reason to think that Lewis was being much less haphazardly than previously thought.

          Should you like to go back to it and discuss? 😀

        • Asshole? Coward? You do like meaningless insults.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Asshole? Coward? You do like meaningless superlatives.

          Er…I don’t think “superlatives” was the right word, but: yes.

          Yes I do think that your responses to my input, which I believe can fairly described as being quite polite at the outset, was asshole-ish:
          a) choosing to comment on something you didn’t even take the time to examine
          b) being snarky while doing a)
          c) failing to read-for-comprehension, repeatedly, the follow-on responses to a)
          d) accusing your interlocutor of your the very incompetence of which you were guilty
          e) ignoring all the evidence of a)-d), and just asserting that your interlocutor was a big, boring, dumb dumb head.

          As to cowardice, see e) above.

          😛

        • Continued childishness and lack of substance. Waste of my time.

        • Paul B. Lot
        • … and more unsolicited videos …

        • Kodie

          I can’t believe this is a fight. You posted a video, Beau said he wasn’t going to watch it.

        • Paul B. Lot

          You posted a video, Beau said he wasn’t going to watch it.

          At what point did he state this?

        • Kodie

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2018/04/c-s-lewis-put-up-or-shut-up-queer-twist/#comment-3841414252

          Then you asked again, he said no, then you asked him why he keeps commenting on a topic… I mean there were other comments beside the video that he was answering, and you did say it was long, and didn’t sound like you expected him or anyone else to watch it if it was too long.

          I don’t really understand how it escalated beyond, “fair enough, good day,” “good day to you as well”.

        • Paul B. Lot

          I don’t really understand how it escalated beyond

          I believe you. I also think, and forgive me for saying this, that you’re not paying very close attention: you’ve got your chronology a bit goofed up.

          You posted a video, Beau said he wasn’t going to watch it.

          At what point did he state this?

          http://disq.us/url?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.patheos.com%2Fblogs%2Fcrossexamined%2F2018%2F04%2Fc-s-lewis-put-up-or-shut-up-queer-twist%2F%23comment-3841414252%3ApIfGamkG5R_cTEG3WDV7h-Yoa6c&cuid=2306652

          Then you asked again, he said no

          That link you provided wasn’t to his first response to my question, but rather his second.

          Further, the comment pointed to by that link, Beau doesn’t say what you claim he does. I explained the chronology in more detail in this comment.

          then you asked him why he keeps commenting on a topic… I mean there were other comments beside the video that he was answering

          No. I asked him why he felt the need to respond to a hypothetical predicated on premises he was unwilling to examine. Would those premises take too long to investigate? Fine. Don’t. Also: don’t see fit to give your opinion about the conclusion.

          Rather like what’s happening now, Kodie, with your comments to me about this sub-thread. :-/

          you did say it was long, and didn’t sound like you expected him or anyone else to watch it if it was too long

          Yes. Totally agree.

          It’s a long video describing an even longer argument about a still longer yet set of writings. No one is obligated, nor even likely, to dive in.

          I never said they were.

          What I did say, and which goes to your point about ‘escalated beyond, “fair enough, good day,” “good day to you as well”‘, is this:

          I have no interest in your little video.

          You could’ve just said that, and been done with it. “No thanks, not interested” would’ve been fine, and would’ve prevented this longish tangent wherein you keep throwing eggs at your own face. Instead, you decided both that i) you didn’t want to watch the video, AND ii) that you wanted your commentary on it to be taken seriously.

          I don’t think it makes a whole lot of sense for you to expect that, though, and I’m confused as to why you apparently do.

          ¯_(ツ)_/¯

        • Kodie

          I just didn’t see it getting this far. It didn’t seem like anything to get too worked up about.

  • Jim Jones

    When Osiris is said to bring his believers eternal life in Egyptian Heaven, contemplating the unutterable, indescribable glory of God, we understand that as a myth.
    When the sacred rites of Demeter at Eleusis are described as bringing believers happiness in their eternal life, we understand that as a myth.
    In fact, when ancient writers tell us that in general ancient people believed in eternal life, with the good going to the Elysian Fields and the not so good going to Hades, we understand that as a myth.
    When Vespatian’s spittle healed a blind man, we understand that as a myth.
    When Apollonius of Tyana raised a girl from death, we understand that as a myth.
    When the Pythia , the priestess at the Oracle at Delphi, in Greece, prophesied, and over and over again for a thousand years, the prophecies came true, we understand that as a myth.
    When Dionysus turned water into wine, we understand that as a myth.
    When Dionysus believers are filled with atay, the Spirit of God, we understand that as a myth.
    When Romulus is described as the Son of God, born of a virgin, we understand that as a myth.
    When Alexander the Great is described as the Son of God, born of a mortal woman, we understand that as a myth.
    When Augustus is described as the Son of God, born of a mortal woman, we understand that as a myth.
    When Dionysus is described as the Son of God, born of a mortal woman, we understand that as a myth.
    When Scipio Africanus (Scipio Africanus, for Christ’s sake) is described as the Son of God, born of a mortal woman, we understand that as a myth.
    So how come when Jesus is described as the Son of God, born of a mortal woman, according to prophecy, turning water into wine, raising girls from the dead, and healing blind men with his spittle, and setting it up so His believers got eternal life in Heaven contemplating the unutterable, indescribable glory of God, and off to Hades—er, I mean Hell—for the bad folks … how come that’s not a myth?
    And how come, in a culture with all those Sons of God, where miracles were science, where Heaven and Hell and God and eternal life and salvation were in the temples, in the philosophies, in the books, were dancing and howling in street festivals, how come we imagine Jesus and the stories about him developed all on their own, all by themselves, without picking up any of their stuff from the culture they sprang from, the culture full of the same sort of stuff?

    http://pocm.info

    • Kevin K

      I might copy-pasta that entire thing, with attribution, of course.

    • heleninedinburgh

      Pascal’s Wager says we’re being very foolish…

      • Jim Jones

        In ignoring Zeus? Yes.

        • heleninedinburgh

          Not only in ignoring him when writing stuff like that, but in neglecting our duty (assuming you’re over the age of twelve-and-a-half) to spend every Tuesday morning sitting at the crossroads in our pyjamas eating marshmallows.
          No, it’s not written down, but any idiot should be able to guess.

        • TheNuszAbides

          No, it’s not written down, but any idiot should be able to guess.

          and boy, have they over the years!

      • Raging Bee

        Why? Did Pascal win the bet?

    • JP415

      I’d give this two upvotes if I could!

    • skl

      Someone needs to conduct in-depth interviews of today’s followers of these gods.

      • epeeist

        Still pushing the argument from popularity I see.

        Here is an argument from the list Jim Jones gives – the religions he names have disappeared, as have countless others. Given this then one could conclude that all religions have a finite lifetime. Why should Christianity be any different?

        • Halbe

          Come on, you know very well why Christianity is very different and unique compared to all other worldviews: because reasons! The eternal kingdom of Jesus will come any time soon, probably in our lifetime! Oh, and I also have a bridge to sell.

        • Pofarmer

          OH, oh, oh. Is it a long bridge? Where is it located? Is there decent income potential? Any Trolls hanging about?

        • mrvball72

          Trolls abound aplenty.

          Oh wait, you meant old school trolls.

        • skl

          Many religions may have disappeared but religion has not.

          We learn about a thing not just by studying the thing itself in isolation
          but also by comparing and contrasting it with similar things.

          “Popularity” could be just one of the variables studied. Perhaps Jim Jones could list for each of the above gods how many worshipped it and how many years they worshipped. Then speculate on the reasons for the differences, and on why Christianity may or may not have exceeded those numbers.

        • JP415

          “Popularity” could be just one of the variables studied.

          Durability could be another one. Hinduisim has been around for at least 3,000 years, maybe longer; Buddhism for about 2,500; Taoism for 2,300. And the Egyptian gods were worshipped for over 3,000 years before they finally faded away. Christianity is very much the new kid on the block.

        • Kevin K

          You’ll find that Christians love the “progressive revelation” argument when faced with those facts…until you bring up Islam, Mormonism, and $cientology.

        • skl

          I was talking specifically about the gods Jim Jones listed above.

        • JP415

          Well, Osiris, Dionysus, Zeus et. al had a pretty good run; their cults lasted for as long or longer than Christianity has.

        • skl

          “Well, Osiris, Dionysus, Zeus et. al had a pretty good run;
          their cults lasted for as long or longer than Christianity has.”

          If that’s so, then perhaps the populations of their followers
          grew by over 2,000 times after 2,000 years. In which case, they’d be much like Christianity.

        • JP415

          they’d be much like Christianity.

          Or Mormonism. Or Islam. Or Buddhism.

        • skl

          Mormonism is arguably a flavor of the resurrection religion of Christianity. Islam and Buddhism
          are not resurrection religions, as far as I know.

        • JP415

          Yes? And what bearing does that have on the truth of Christianity?

        • skl

          “And what bearing does that have on the truth of Christianity?”

          We’re not discussing the truth or untruth of Christianity.
          We’re comparing different “resurrection religions.”

          As I said earlier, many religions may have disappeared but
          religion has not. And at least one resurrection religion is still around. We learn about a thing not just by studying the thing itself in isolation
          but also by comparing and contrasting it with similar things. “Popularity” could be just one of the variables studied. Perhaps Jim Jones could list for each of the above gods how many worshipped it and how many years they worshipped. Then speculate on the reasons for the differences, and on why Christianity may or may not have exceeded those numbers.

        • JP415

          Then speculate on the reasons for the differences, and on why Christianity may or may not have exceeded those numbers.

          Sure, that would be an interesting academic study. A lot of it would involve guesswork, since we don’t have census records for ancient Egypt, Syria, or Greece.

          Are you just a history enthusiast, or are you aiming at a more general point? It seems as though you’re hinting at something but not saying it outright.

        • Kodie

          You want to know why delusions endure? And you want someone else to do all your homework for you?

          I don’t know why your useless lazy ass isn’t banned yet.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          They were in multigod configs, and didn’t spread by flame and sword by an effective empire builder.

          It’s the empire building that spread xtianity, not its inherent ‘truth’ or ‘goodness’.

        • JP415

          Then speculate on the reasons for the differences, and on why Christianity may or may not have exceeded those numbers.

          Another thought: the population of the earth was far lower when people were worshipping Osiris, Baal, and Zeus, so of course the number of people worshipping those gods would be smaller than the number of Christians today. Christianity and several other religions got a major boost in membership after the industrial revolution.

        • skl

          “Another thought: the population of the earth was far lower
          when people were worshipping Osiris, Baal, and Zeus, so of course the number of people worshipping those gods would be smaller than the number of Christians today.”

          But not necessarily smaller than the number of Jews
          worshipping Jesus in 30-33 A.D. and the few years following.

          Also, the far lower world population back in the days of,
          say, Osiris, meant the number of people needing Osirian evangelization would be smaller. In other words, easier to get the whole world to follow along.

        • Kodie

          War, what is it good for, absolutely nothing but spreading religion.

        • JP415

          In other words, easier to get the whole world to follow along.

          Christianity hasn’t done that either; the majority of the world’s population is still non-Christian—they practice some of those crazy other religions.

        • sandy

          Jews didn’t worship Jesus and still don’t.

        • Pofarmer

          And Christianity didn’t grow among the Jews. It grew among the surrounding Pagans who were always ripe for a new god.

        • skl

          I thought all of his apostles were Jews, as were the first converts of the apostles.

        • Apostle of Jesus ≠ someone who worships Jesus

        • skl

          That’s true. For example, Judas Iscariot.

        • Judas only? Not the other apostles?

          I don’t know the gospels as well as you may. So tell me: in Mark, do the apostles ever worship Jesus as God? I thought they just saw him as a leader or teacher.

        • skl

          I’m confident you know the gospels far better than me, and I am largely just assuming that most or all of the other apostles worshipped him, at least eventually.

          But I did a word search of “worship” and found this in Matthew chapter 28:

          “Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the
          mountain to which Jesus had directed them.
          And when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted.”

        • That’s why I identified Mark. You see the evolution of Jesus through the chronological listing of the books of the NT.

        • skl

          Although Mark apparently doesn’t use the word “worship”, he ends with these words:

          “Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they sat at table; and he upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.
          And he said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.
          He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned…
          So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.

          And they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it. Amen.”

          I very much doubt they didn’t worship him.

        • Kodie

          Do you think that’s important for some reason?

        • You do know that Mark 16:9-20 aren’t original, right?

        • skl

          Perhaps it was like an amendment to the Constitution. It’s
          still the Constitution.

          I guess the larger issue is that if you consider the Constitution
          bogus, it doesn’t matter when parts of it were written.

        • No, that isn’t a valid analogy. The long ending of Mark is like you stapling an extra amendment to the Constitution. Sure, it is an extra amendment, but no one cares, since it’s just what skl wrote. It didn’t go through the proper channels.

          Similarly, some knucklehead added stuff to Mark–so what, since it’s not part of the original?

        • skl

          Put another way, if you consider the original bogus and
          amendment(s) to it bogus, it doesn’t much matter when any of
          it was written.

        • OK. Thanks for sharing.

        • sandy

          I’m referring about reality and not about the story book made up shit. The jews today and always saw jesus (yes the storybook dude…is there any other?.) as the false messiah …not the real deal… hence they don’t but in. No way you’re fooling the jews.. you know what Ive intended.

        • skl

          No, I don’t know what you’ve intended.

        • Pofarmer

          This is Dunning/Kruger in full effect right here. You’re not even informed enough to know what you don’t know.

        • Nick G

          The layers of ignorance in that comment would require a full-scale archeological dig to uncover!

        • JP415

          meant the number of people needing Osirian evangelization would be smaller.

          What makes you think that they were interested in evangelizing anyone? You’re projecting Christian practices backward onto older religions. Most countries in ancient times (including the Israelites) had their own national religions and expected that other nations would have their own.

        • skl

          “What makes you think that they were interested in evangelizing anyone?”

          Because they had followers (plural).

        • JP415

          Because they had followers (plural).

          Mostly in their countries of origin—meaning that the followers were raised in that religion. I’ve never heard any stories of Osiris worshippers going door to door to spread the gospel of Osiris.

        • skl

          The religion of Osiris did not appear out of nowhere and
          suddenly settle simultaneously on virtually all the households of the country. It spread by “evangelization.”

        • JP415

          The religion of Osiris did not appear out of nowhere

          True. It probably evolved out of some earlier religion in prehistoric times.

          It spread by “evangelization.”

          You don’t really know that. Maybe it simply spread by imitation, in the same way that other social customs do. Maybe it was created collaboratively as part of a collective delusion. Maybe some of the first cult members persuaded other people in their tribe to adopt the religion, but that’s not necessarily the same thing as a campaign of evangelization in which believers try to “win souls.”

          To explain the origin of Osiris and other resurrected gods, you have to explain the origin of religion itself. Which is a tall order.

        • Pofarmer

          The Egyptian worship of Horus lasted for over 3000 years. Christianity can get back to us in another Millennia.

        • Joe

          Then speculate on the reasons for the differences, and on why Christianity may or may not have exceeded those numbers.

          Why speculate, when we can conduct in-depth interviews with followers of the original Christianities? Oh wait……..

        • Kodie

          Why don’t you do your own fucking homework?

        • Otto

          What EXACTLY does any of that have to do with the point Jim Jones made?

          Oh wait…I forgot, you will do almost anything to derail a discussion by NOT addressing points people make…it is literally your MO.

        • epeeist

          Many religions may have disappeared but religion has not.

          It is a good job that I didn’t say that it had then.

          Perhaps Jim Jones could list for each of the above gods how many worshipped it and how many years they worshipped.

          Why should he do that when it has already been done.

          I note that you have avoided the two major points that I made, namely that religions seem to have a finite lifetime and the question as to whether Christianity is any different in this respect. Perhaps you could actually attempt to answer these questions rather than evading the issue.

        • skl

          “I note that you have avoided the two major points that I made, namely that religions seem to have a finite lifetime and the question as to whether Christianity is any different in this respect. Perhaps you could actually attempt to answer these questions rather than evading the issue.”

          As to what you say are your two major points, I say

          1) Yes, many past resurrection religions have had a finite lifetime.

          2) The resurrection religion of Christianity may be different in that the number of its followers has grown by over 2,000 times over 2,000 years. (If the other resurrection religions have or had similar stats,
          then we can dismiss this #2.)

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Was that increase in size BEFORE or AFTER it became the state-sponsored religion that was spread by flame, sword, and torture?

        • JP415

          The resurrection religion of Christianity may be different in that the number of its followers has grown by over 2,000 times over 2,000 years.

          Is truth a popularity contest? If Islam or some other religion overtakes Christianity in the future—which is possible, given demographic trends—and gains more followers, does that make it true?

          In any case, religions spread because of a combination of social, psychological, and economic factors—just like other belief systems. We can’t necessarily explain every single one of them, but that doesn’t mean we should invoke some supernatural explanation before we’ve exhausted all the mundane explanations first.

        • skl

          “Is truth a popularity contest?”

          Of course not.

          “In any case, religions spread because of a combination of social, psychological, and economic factors—just like other belief systems.”

          No doubt social, psychological, and economic factors have varied greatly over the thousands of years of human history. I’m just curious why one resurrection religion has continued through the changes while others haven’t.

        • JP415

          I’m just curious why one resurrection religion has continued through the changes while others haven’t.

          Why is Batman more popular than Superman? What made Harry Potter a bestseller? Why do people still watch Star Trek but not Lost in Space?

          Maybe Jesus was just a more likable character than Osiris or Baal.

        • skl

          “Maybe Jesus was just a more likable character than Osiris
          or Baal.”

          Possibly.

          But I don’t think Jesus would likeable to many people, and certainly not to anyone on this blog. Jesus had some hard sayings,
          including that many would spend an eternity in hell.

        • JP415

          Jesus had some hard sayings, including that many would spend an eternity in hell.

          There you go! Fear is a powerful motivator. If you brainstorm, I’m sure you could come up with more explanations for the success of Christianity.

        • skl

          So then you could revise your earlier speculation to

          ‘Maybe Jesus was just a more likable character than Osiris or Baal
          and Jesus was less likeable than Osiris or Baal.’

        • JP415

          “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.”
          — Proverbs 1:7

          “Love the Lord your God with all your heart . . . . ”
          — Luke 10:27

          So the Bible tells us that we must love and fear the Lord. I didn’t invent the idea. In any case, I think it’s possible to love someone at times and fear him at other times. Regardless, I don’t know how the first readers of the Gospels would have responded to the character of Jesus. My main point is that certain trends catch on while others fizzle out. Sometimes the reasons are mysterious, but there’s no reason to assume a supernatural explanation.

        • skl

          “My main point is that certain trends catch on while others
          fizzle out. Sometimes the reasons are mysterious, but there’s no reason to assume a supernatural explanation.”

          I guess I’m of the mind that, if the reasons are mysterious,
          there’s no reason to exclude absolutely a supernatural explanation.

        • JP415

          I guess I’m of the mind that, if the reasons are mysterious, there’s no reason to exclude absolutely a supernatural explanation.

          A lot of things that once seemed to have a supernatural origin turned out, on closer inspection, to have natural causes. For example, the ancient Greeks believed that epilepsy was caused by divine possession, but we now know that epilepsy is a neurological disorder. It’s not wise to invoke a supernatural explanation until all possible naturalistic explanations have been ruled out—and nobody has come even remotely close to doing that in terms of explaining the growth of early Christianity.

        • skl

          “It’s not wise to invoke a supernatural explanation until all possible naturalistic explanations have been ruled out…”

          Which probably means, in effect, supernatural explanations will always be ruled out.

          Because there’s always more time to keep searching for the naturalistic one.

        • JP415

          You could just as easily error in the opposite direction and attribute every mysterious phenomenon to God or some other supernatural force. “Hey, I don’t understand it, therefore God did it.” It’s a lazy way out. But of course, an explanation that explains everything really explains nothing.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’s how it has worked out so far.

          The natural has a 100% batting average.

          The supernatural strikes out everything.

          But believers will keep swinging blindly in the hope of hitting something one day.

        • skl

          “The natural has a 100% batting average.
          The supernatural strikes out everything.”

          It’s easy to bat 100% when you get an unlimited number of strikes and outs.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s easy to bat 100% when you get an unlimited number of strikes and outs.

          Fuckwit.

          You don’t do analogy very well, do ya?

          If the natural thumps everything out of the park that it hits, and the supernatural misses everything it swings at…can’t you see the difference?

          Tell me one thing throughout human history that was believed to be the result of the supernatural and after an investigation, or an increase in our understanding of the world, still turned out to be that supernatural explanation?

          While I can point to copious amounts of examples that the natural explains, can you point to something that the supernatural explains better?

          Supernatural is just what dumbfucks say instead of I don’t know. It’s because they are too stupid to realise that ignorance is not a failing, but making shite up really is a flaw.

          You are fooling no one around here with your “I’m a skeptic song and dance routine”. Your just too stupid to realise no one is buying it.

        • skl

          “Fuckwit.
          You don’t do analogy very well, do ya?
          If the natural thumps everything out of thepark that it hits, and the supernatural misses everything it swings at…can’t you see the difference?”

          You not only seem to think that making contact after an unlimited number of swings is batting 100%, but you think making
          contact is the equivalent of thumping it out of the park.

          I don’t.

        • Greg G.

          You seem to think making contact is a hit. Some pitchers are great at strikeouts and some are great at inducing ground balls that can be fielded for outs.

        • skl

          “You seem to think making contact is a hit.”

          No. I don’t.

          Also, you can skip the attempts at describing baseball
          realities to me. I’ve played a lot of baseball. I’ve even been a starter and co-captain on a couple championship baseball teams.

        • Greg G.

          Did you wear a batting helmet?

        • Kodie

          Lol.

        • Ignorant Amos

          skl is a helmet.

          See definition 6… https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=dumbass

        • Ignorant Amos

          The analogy is that every time there is a swing, there is a hit. Not only is there a hit, but the ball is hit for six. Now, like all analogies, it isn’t perfect. There are still some hits that are still in the air. But for the purpose of this conversation. The point stands, Dime Bar.

          It’s an analogy ya fucking moron. Deal with it rather than pick it apart, like if ya can find a fault in the analogy, you’ve then got a point. YOU HAVEN’T.

          Demonstrate a single explanation for anything has been a verified supernatural explanation…EVER…or fuck off and take your head for a shite.

          As for the analogy itself…

          Following from usage in cricket and baseball, batting average has come to be used for other statistical measures of performance and in the general usage on how a [explanation] did in a wide variety of actions.

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

        • Kodie

          Going back to the original comment:

          “The natural has a 100% batting average.
          The supernatural strikes out everything.”

          It’s easy to bat 100% when you get an unlimited number of strikes and outs.

          I mean, yeah, why not. The analogy is for sure fucked up, but science doesn’t quit when it whiffs the ball. You get crowd-sourcing, in a way, seeking answers. Lots of wrong guesses narrow things down to the right couple of hunches which all can be tested. The supernatural can’t be tested.

        • skl

          “The analogy is that every time there is a swing, there is a hit. Not only is there a hit, but the ball is hit for six.”

          Maybe @Kevin K can translate that for me.

          “Demonstrate a single explanation for anything has been a verified supernatural explanation…EVER…or fuck off and take your head for a shite.”

          Every explanation is ultimately supernatural, at least for many if not all religious people. That is, the supernatural
          (i.e. god) is considered the ultimate cause of all the more immediate and obvious causes.

          But I’ve spent too much time already with your foul-mouthed ad hominem mindset. This ends our conversation.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Maybe @Kevin K can translate that for me.

          The “batting average” analogy is derived from sports that employ a bat. Try and keep up. One of those sports is cricket. In cricket, hitting the ball to the furthest boundary is the equivalent of scoring six runs, hence the phrase, “hit for six”. Google is your friend.

          Every explanation is ultimately supernatural, at least for many if not all religious people. That is, the supernatural (i.e. god) is considered the ultimate cause of all the more immediate and obvious causes.

          Imbecilic Moron.

          But I’ve spent too much time already with your foul-mouthed ad hominem mindset.

          Tone troll and haven’t a clue as to what the ad hominem fallacy is either…Dumbass.

          This ends our conversation.

          Fucking off to take yer head for a shite it is then…why is that no surprise then?

        • Raging Bee

          Every explanation is ultimately supernatural…

          How so?

        • BlackMamba44
        • Greg G.

          It’s easy to bat 100% when you get an unlimited number of strikes and outs.

          People who do not understand sports shouldn’t use sports analogies. The term would be “batting a thousand.” But if you hit a single fly out or a single ground out, it counts against your average and just one eliminates the possibility of batting “100%”. If you reach safely because the fielder muffed the catch or threw wildly, it doesn’t count as a hit but does count against the batting average. Even an infinite number of strikes requires at least one ball hit safely in fair territory.

          I don’t think you have ever reached first base.

        • Ignorant Amos

          My knowledge of baseball is miniscule…I was using the analogy in the more general sense.

          Following from usage in cricket and baseball, batting average has come to be used for other statistical measures of performance and in the general usage on how a person did in a wide variety of actions.

          Regardless…it flew right over skl’s head in any case.

        • skl

          “People who do not understand sports shouldn’t use sports analogies. The term would be “batting a thousand.””

          I was using @IgnorantAmos’ language (“The natural has a 100% batting average”) so that he could follow along better.

          “Even an infinite number of strikes requires
          at least one ball hit safely in fair territory.”

          Ignorant thinks just making contact (after unlimited swings) is the equivalent of ‘thumping it out of the park.’
          (Ignorant has quite a slugging percentage, in his mind.)

        • Ignorant Amos

          I was using @IgnorantAmos’ language (“The natural has a 100% batting average”) so that he could follow along better.

          Oh fer fuck sake wise up.

          You do know what an analogy is…right? Try and keep up.

          Ignorant thinks just making contact (after unlimited swings) is the equivalent of ‘thumping it out of the park.’

          Nope. Why are you such a dumbass?

          A 100% batting average is merely an idiom that describes a 100% success rate. Americans would use the idiom “batting 1000”, but it means the same thing.

          http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/1000

          Try and stay focused.

        • A 100% batting average is merely an idiom that describes a 100% success rate. Americans would use the idiom “batting 1000”, but it means the same thing.

          Yep. Instead of 1000, they really mean “1.000”. You might say, “Ty Cobb had a career batting average of 367”, but that should of course be “.367”.

          It’s like caliber for guns. A 45 caliber gun should properly be written “.45 caliber” since 1 caliber = 1 inch of barrel diameter.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Indeed.

          A Lee Enfield 303 is actually a .303 calibre rifle.

          Though the metric system means the NATO rounds are 9 mm. 7.62 mm and 5.56 mm…as used by NATO forces including the US as a standardisation.

        • I visited a slate quarry in Scotland last year, and the guide said that he was delighted to see Americans in the tour because they use “God’s own units.”

          Yep, we stand strong with Liberia and Myanmar as the three countries left who haven’t standardized on metric.

        • Greg G.

          I remember back in the early 80s, they were trying to phase in the metric system. I was in a grocery store and there was a WWII vet complaining to everybody within earshot that the French were making us put two different weights on the labels of peanut butter.

          But I thought they were overdoing some things. A road sign would have the miles in integers and the kilometers in with decimals. The miles weren’t that precise, so why were the kilometers? 29 kilometers is close enough for 18 miles. 28.8 makes the metric system look more difficult than it is.

          Maybe we should bring in more immigrants to help us with the conversions.

        • Road signs in miles use fractions. Wouldn’t it be more precise and easier to use decimals? Having the whole thing in positional notation (3.5 instead of 3 1/2) would seem to be less computationally taxing. And would use less space.

          One crack in the not-metric edifice is food packaging. Soda is in liters, and nutrition is in grams.

          https://robertkaplinsky.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/freeway_cover.jpg

        • Paul B. Lot

          We are metric, we just pretend we’re not:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmSJXC6_qQ8

        • Agreed. An inch is 2.54cm by definition.

          And the US was a decimal pioneer when it created a decimal currency.

        • Greg G.

          How about the distance signs to Antelope Freeway?

          https://youtu.be/MHtPgfVgg0M?t=4m56s

        • Ignorant Amos

          “This video is not available”….}8O(~

        • Ignorant Amos

          Road signs in miles use fractions.

          We are not that pernickety…nearest mile is close enough for jazz.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Paul B. Lot

          Hmmm….seems like maybe they should’ve picked a monospaced font (or tabular).

        • Greg G.

          Now that makes more sense. Why round one off to the nearest integer but not the other? They make each unit comparably precise.

        • Looks like Hawaii (specifically, Kauai).

          In the early 70s in Research Triangle Park (a science-y part of North Carolina), I remember ordinary road signs with mile indications with an (obviously) added metric equivalent on the right side. A noble effort–I guess they hoped that in 10 years, people would adapt so that metric could win out–but that was eventually dropped without apparent fanfare.

        • MR

          It’s a slippery slope. One moment you’re looking at 3.5, the next thing you know it’s 3.14159265358979…, I mean, where does it end?

        • Where it ends is in the Bible, my brother, where pi = 3, not this “pi is transcendental” bullshit.

        • Michael Neville

          The problem with decimals is they can be missed by a driver who’s only taking a quick glance at a sign. In the example, it could be easy to miss a decimal in the distance to Temperance Ave and think it was 15 miles away so there’s no need to move into the right lane any time soon.

        • Stop raining on my perfect metric paradise!!

        • Ignorant Amos

          Or it could make the journey fly in….to which “are we there yet?” is yes.

        • Ignorant Amos

          We aren’t fully standardised yet either.

          Some measurements are still done in feet and inches, weighing is still done in ounces, pounds and stones.

          Depth is in fathoms.

          We still travel in miles per hour to places miles away too.

        • You’ll have to pry furlongs, pottles, and acres out of my cold, dead hands.

        • Greg G.

          I am partial to the peck because when I was 4 or 5, my friends’ mother called me “Gregory Peck”. I found out who he was a few years later.

        • I like “pottle” because it’s actually useful. A pottle is a half-gallon.

          (Count up by 2s starting with cups: 2 cups in a pint, 2 pints in a quart … 4 quarts in a gallon. That something that’s missing is the pottle.)

        • Michael Neville

          There’s a story about a Canadian who went to a lumber yard shortly after Canada went to the metric system. He told the salesman “I need 12 pieces of lumber 10 centimetres by 20 centemetres by 2 metres long.” The salesman said: “Yes sir. Hey Charlie, this guy wants a dozen six foot two by fours.”

        • Ignorant Amos

          A pain in the arse was the need to carry another set of spanners.

          Whitworth, British Imperial…and then a metric set…a bag of spanners if ya ask me.

        • Pofarmer

          I can’t decide if I like the NATO system more or less than the U.S. system. .308 is 7.62 x something or other. AK 47 is 7.62 x 39? All of which are left over .30 caliber WWII rds, basically.

          Then in the U.S. system, you have 6MM Remington, 6 MM Creedmore, .243 Remington, ete etc, which are all just variations of the .243 Winchester cartridge.

        • Ignorant Amos

          When I joined up the small arms were the 7.62mm Self Loading Rifle which was a modified Belgian Fabrique Nationale, but I also was issued the 9 mm SMG basically the old Sterling Sub-machine gun. The Browning 9mm pistol was the issue of the day and the section weapon was the 7.62 Light Machine Gun…a modified WW2 303 Bren. The 7.62 General Purpose Machine Gun was also issued.

          Then in the later part of the 80’s the SLR and LMG were replaced with the 5.56mm SA80…a piece of shit that was in development since the end of the second world war and was still not right when rushed into service.

          The standardisation of ammo was to enable every member of NATO, regardless of weapon systems, to utilise each others bullets.

          The shorter Eastern Block 7.62mm used in the Kalashnikov weapons systems could be used in the NATO weapons, but the longer NATO 7.62mm ammo was useless to the Soviets.

          As for ammo left over from the war…never used any of that stuff.

          A bit of useless information, I know.

        • Pofarmer

          As for ammo left over from the war…never used any of that stuff.

          Nah. What I meant was that the whole 30 caliber thing was left over from WWII. The U.S. M1903, M1 Garand, BAR, and M 1919 all utilized 30-06. Seems like the British had the Lee Enfield .303 and variants using that cartridge. In the Vietnam era we transitioned over to .223, obviously, and then standardized that to 5.56 with NATO.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ah…right, a see what ya mean now.

        • Kodie

          Why don’t you just admit you’re a Christian.

        • epeeist

          1) Yes, many past resurrection religions have had a finite lifetime.

          Not sure it is restricted to “resurrection religions”.

          2) The resurrection religion of Christianity may be different in that the number of its followers has grown by over 2,000 times over 2,000 years.

          And in that time they have reached approximately 30% of the world’s population. Not too impressive if this is the One True Religion™.

          Meanwhile Islam has reached over 24% of the world’s population in 600 years or so less than Christianity and is set to overtake Christianity later this century.

          It looks as though your argument from numbers fails once more.

        • skl

          I wasn’t focusing here on Islam or on religions in general.
          I was focusing on religions claimed to be founded on miraculous/supernatural events, especially on the resurrection of their gods.

          I’m interested in explanations, even scientific explanations, for how/why they came into being and how/why they went extinct.

        • epeeist

          I’m interested in explanations, even scientific explanations, for how/why they came into being and how/why they went extinct.

          Then you are going to have to get your arse in gear and do some actual research. JAQing off here isn’t going to get you the explanations that you are purportedly searching for.

        • skl

          I thought some here had already done the actual research or knew of it enough to present it.

        • Kodie

          How do you suppose people learn things they want to know?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Religion hasn’t disappeared, but it’s been radically reduced in importance and influence.

          Give it time.

      • Susan

        Someone needs to conduct in-depth interviews of today’s followers of these gods.

        Well, then get on it.

        Once you do and boil the results down to something relevant to this discussion, get back to us.

    • Phil

      His noodliness isn’t mentioned, therefore is the one true god. May the sauce be with him.

      • al kimeea

        rAmen

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        Then cometh the Sauce Schism: Tomato, Dairy, or aglio e olio ??

        • Phil

          I think we are meant to be all inclusive, even welcoming to the mayonnaisists who stick to their bland, minimalist way of life and reject spice.

  • JP415

    George Orwell’s review of Beyond Personality, by C.S. Lewis:

    A kind of book that has been endemic in England for quite sixty years is the silly-clever religious book

    , which goes on the principle not of threatening the unbeliever with Hell, but of showing him up as an illogical ass, incapable of clear thought and unaware that everything he says has been said and refuted before. . . . The line of attack is always the same. Every heresy has been uttered before (with the implication that it has also been refuted before); and theology is only understood by theologians (with the implication that you should leave your thinking to the priests). Along these lines one can, of course, have a lot of clean fun by ‘correcting loose thinking’ and pointing out that so-and-so is only saying what Pelagius said in A.D. 400 (or whenever it was), and has in any case used the word transubstantiation in the wrong sense. The special targets of these people have been T. H. Huxley, H. G. Wells, Bertrand Russell, Professor Joad, and others who are associated in the popular mind with Science and Rationalism. They have never had much difficulty in demolishing them—though I notice that most of the demolished ones are still there, while some of the Christian apologists themselves begin to look rather faded.One reason for the extravagant boosting that these people always get in the press is that their political affiliations are invariably reactionary. Some of them were frank admirers of Fascism as long as it was safe to be so. That is why I draw attention to Mr. C. S. Lewis and his chummy little wireless talks, of which no doubt there will be more. Tribune, 1944

    • Joe

      I notice that most of the demolished ones are still there, while some of the Christian apologists themselves begin to look rather faded.

      That was written in 1944 and is equally true today.

      • JP415

        Yes! It’s always fun to see a great critic shoot down a puffed up blimp.

    • Raging Bee

      Thanks for that cite. Funny how NONE of Orwell’s present-day fanboys ever mention that bit of his work.

      • JP415

        As I recall, he took a few potshots at Lewis in some of his other reviews (Orwell wrote dozens of book reviews and opinion pieces during his career.). He clearly had a low opinion of Lewis and his works.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s interesting that Chesterton wrote “The Everlasting Man” in response to Orwell. I tried to read it and couldn’t get past the fallacious thinking in the forward.

        • JP415

          Chesterson is pretty long-winded. Take him in small doses!

        • Pofarmer

          My typical rule is that I quit reading an author after two fallacies or an outright lie. Like I said, I didn’t make it out of the forward with Chesterton. I tried reading Mathew Kelly’s first book, and I let the pulpit glurge intro go. However, the appeal to revelation. At the beginning of the first chapter was strike one. I just went to the center of the boom and he was lying about this is that ancient tablet decrying Jesus as unusually healthy and if light complexion or whatever that has been a known forgery for centuries. At that point I put it down. What’s the point of reading someone who has either no problem with lying or is so ignorant as to pass lies along?

        • Ignorant Amos

          What’s the point of reading someone who has either no problem with lying or is so ignorant as to pass lies along?

          Certainly a very good reason to proceed with caution. And the reason I went off Ehrman for a while. But I decided not to throw the baby out with the bath water. Even arch enemy, Richard Carrier recommends his better researched and more academic works.

          Take the example, and look at the lies, fallacies and inaccuracies we had to endure over at Strange Notions ffs.

          I think that in reading the bullshit, that is how we learn just how much bullshit that it all really is in the end. As hard as it is to do. We had Paula Kirby on RDFRS who volunteered to read all the flea nonsense and report back in order to save the rest of us to endure the drudge…she deserved a medal for volunteering that undertaking for sure.

          But each to their own of course.

    • heleninedinburgh

      The whole thing’s worth reading (what am I saying, it’s Orwell, of course it’s worth reading).

  • RichardSRussell

    “Mere Christianity” [is] more popular than it deserves to be.

    You know what else fits that description? The Bible. It’s the world’s longest-running, most widely respected, and least reliable Rorschach Test. You can look in it and see anything you want to see, find anything you want to find, justify any pre-ordained conclusion you prefer, or validate any prejudice — because the Bible has it all: love, hate; revenge, redemption; war, peace; slavery, freedom; humility, arrogance; kindness, cruelty; and, as Mark Twain observed, “upwards of a thousand lies”!

    • ThaneOfDrones

      and, as Mark Twain observed, “upwards of a thousand lies”!

      Is that per chapter?

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        per verse (in all possible senses 😉 )

  • Dan Jensen

    Hey Bob, this is Dan, we were going back and forth over at Alisa Childers website. I was looking for a general contact for you on the website and didn’t find it, but it’s late and I’m pretty beat, so if I’m missing that please forgive me as I gave up and am just commenting here in the hopes you see this. She deleted your last comment believing that you were getting a bit too testy, but she emailed it to me. I would be happy to respond somewhere if you want me to. Also, I think you know what I meant about debating face to face. I would love to engage you in a public formal debate. Just let me know on both fronts if you see this comment if you so desire. Thanks man.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Why waste time with a face to face debate? That’s all about scoring points, not discovering the truth about reality.

      A text conversation is MUCH better suited to revealing reality, and can be referenced to ensure accuracy upon all participants.

      • Pofarmer

        And can be enjoyed and commented on! This is the innerwebs, after all.

      • Nick G

        I think you answered your own question!

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          😉

        • Kevin K

          Rhetorical question is rhetorical!

      • Dan Jensen

        I am down to debate with Bob or anyone else for that matter in any format any time. And I agree that text is by far the best way to debate if by text you mean in a book or long article format as that is when the most material can be presented and all points can be carefully covered and responded to. However, blogs are certainly not the best place to debate because of the small format and it is far, far easier for people to be evasive over certain points. In a face to face debate it isn’t about scoring points. In a cross examination section you can really show the weaknesses of one’s opponent and that can be very helpful to an audience. So I would be happy to debate Bob face to face in a formal and public setting and then we can set something up where we can continue the debate in a lengthy written format so each person can hit on points that were not able to be fully addressed in the public debate. I am up for the challenge, let’s see if Bob is.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Why exactly is a blog the wrong format?

          It’s public, and corrections can be offered from any and sundry, often in realtime.

          If a position is strong enough, it will stand no matter how it’s assailed, no?

        • Dan Jensen

          I’m fine to debate Bob in a blog format, that’s precisely what I was doing on Childers’ website. But blogs are simply too short. Short blog articles and even shorter comments do not allow for the full breadth of relevant material to be covered. I get that the new generation believes things can be summed up in a tweet and anything that can’t isn’t worth listening to, but that is just shallow nonsense.

        • Pofarmer

          A blog post, or a comment section for that matter, can be as long or as short as you want to make it. Neil Godfrey regularly has posts over 1500 words long. Adam Lee, on his blog, did a series of posts with a Catholic, I think, that were interesting, but ultimately probably pointless. The nice thing about this comment format, is that you can take ideas apart point by point, and it’s kind of the ultimate crowd sourcing. If you can’t express your ideas in the format, perhaps it’s the ideas that are the problem, and not the format?

        • Dan Jensen

          As for the last comment I’ve said a bunch of times that I’m down to debate in any format, so maybe you should read more carefully. And I just don’t agree. I’m all for long articles, but I have a blog myself and even among my supporters the most common criticism is that they are too long. And I’ve repeatedly been reprimanded on blogs for posting comments that are too long, even ones that are in basic agreement with me. Blogs by their nature are intended to be concise, which is fine, concise is often good, but sometimes certain arguments cannot be satisfactorily answered in a concise fashion, that’s just a fact. Therefore, because of all these reasons, many apologists will only debate in a blog format precisely because they know they can be evasive. So when an apologist refuses to debate outside of a blog I find that very telling. So if Bob can’t present his worldview in a formal, public, verbal debate, maybe it’s not the format, it’s the bankrupt worldview.

        • Kevin K

          Starting out with a “poisoning the well” logical fallacy, are you?

          Perhaps it’s just as well that you retreat in ignominious defeat.

        • Dan Jensen

          What logical fallacy did I use. And I’m not going anywhere. I’ve been debating atheists for almost twenty years and my brother is a militant atheist, although far smarter and more polite than most I’ve encountered and certainly than what I’ve encountered here so far.

        • Kevin K

          Your arrogance smells like fear. So far, all you’ve done is bluster and declare yourself the victor. And if you don’t know what the well-poisoning fallacy is (hint: “bankrupt worldview”), perhaps you’re a card carrying member of the Dunning-Kruger Club.

        • Dan Jensen

          I am well aware of it, but I do apologize for reading that particular comment too fast as I would have seen what you were referring to, my bad. But I’ve not been arrogant, simply made a challenge to Bob, a challenge that’s been refused. And I wasn’t poisoning the well, I was simply responding to a jab that was made to me. If I had started out with that, you’d have a point.

        • Kodie

          Calling atheism a “bankrupt worldview” was a ton harsher in response to “perhaps it’s the ideas that are the problem”.

          We’ve gone on this merry-go-round before, and quite a few people don’t mind getting into it with someone new. You’re judging everyone here for your reasons why you don’t think a blog comments debate will work for you. If Bob doesn’t like you enough to debate you in person, get over it.

        • Dan Jensen

          And I’m not afraid of you or any other atheist, that’s not arrogance, just not. And why do you have a heart with an American flag?

        • Aram

          Um, that’s the flag of Puerto Rico.

        • Kodie

          While I often have a tendency to run on and on, and rarely go back over to clean up anything but typos, and sometimes think of even more stuff to cram in, maybe if you are blogging things yourself and can’t get to the point, you should learn how to before you begin this task. Bob has debated publicly before. It looks to me like you can’t keep it in focus, and blame the medium.

        • Kodie

          Oh, and “bankrupt worldview”? Is that your concisest argument, because it stinks. If you’re only going to ramble on and on in that direction, better shut the fuck up before you start, coward.

        • Kevin K

          Yeah, poisoning the well is not a good way to win friends and influence people, is it? It’s Pascal’s Wager’s annoying little brother.

        • Dan Jensen

          That was simply a legit shot back at a shot toward me. If I had started out with an argument of that nature you would have a point. You are very cool, you use the F word, I’m very impressed (no not scared or offended). And how exactly am I being a coward?

        • Kodie

          “If you can’t express your ideas in the format, perhaps it’s the ideas that are the problem, and not the format?” ????

          That’s why you can’t engage on the topic and changed the topic to why you can’t engage on the topic on a blog? And then you turn around and call atheism a “bankrupt worldview”? That implies judgment that was not implied in pofarmer’s comment. We’ve met you before, the guy who can’t debate in a combox, the guy who thinks nobody is up to his intellectual capacity to blather on and on about a figment of his imagination, and rather than leaving without comment, decides to judge everyone because blogs have never been a successful format for him before, mostly because you get your ass handed to you, so you take the bible’s advice, call us stupid pigs who can’t see what’s good for us even when so patiently explained, reject anyone who curses as someone without an argument without having the patience or fortitude to read through the content, and shake the dust off his feet. Like any of that’s our fault.

          Why start? If you can’t comment on a blog, why comment on a blog about how you can’t or won’t or aren’t successful at commenting on a blog? That’s boring. Shit or get off the pot. Well, you start by calling atheism a bankrupt worldview, and we know how it will probably go from here. You know it too, that’s why you won’t. But you’re still here for some reason.

        • Pofarmer

          Dan, if you’re normally this difficult, I wouldn t debate you, I’d ban your sorry ass.

        • Dan Jensen

          You guys are the ones that are being difficult. I’ve challenged Bob to a formal debate, he’s not accepting, and you guys are making excuses for him. If it must be in a blog format, fine, I’ve said that a bunch of times. How’s that being difficult? And if I really can present extremely long comments as you guys are promising, that will genuinely be a first for me, whether you guys want to believe that or not, but that’s even better. Ban me all you want, it wouldn’t be the first time, but all that proves is that the opponent is a fascist as I’m always respectful (albeit very firm) and therefore there is no reason to ban me.

        • Pofarmer

          Did you get kicked off the Atheist Experience?

        • Dan Jensen

          Nope. I usually get kicked off progressive Christian websites cuz if you don’t fawn over them they get weally weally upset.

        • Pofarmer

          Don’t suppose you’ve ever read “The True Beleivers.”

        • Dan Jensen

          Nope and it’s spelled “believers.”

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          Wow. what an asshole. Why would anyone want to debate someone who’s so pedantic? Your fingers have never fumbled a word on a keyboard?

        • Well, Dan did say that he had made a substantive point. Perhaps that was it.

        • I haven’t noticed this for progressive vs. evangelical sites, but I have noticed that the more evangelical sites either don’t allow comments or moderate comments and are quick to ban anyone who rains on their parade. I realize that blog comments have a downside, but I take this as a sign that their arguments don’t withstand critique.

        • Kodie

          Bob can and has debated in public face-to-face. I don’t know what his answer was to you, but why do you think you’re special?

        • Susan

          And if I really can present extremely long comments as you guys are promising, that will genuinely be a first for me,

          Of course you can. Most of us have at some point or another.

          But they should be substantial.

          Making sure that the first part of your comment is supported before you move on to the second is generally a good idea. Use clear language.

          Use clearly defined terms and support them as you go.

          So…

          What are you claiming and how do you support it?

          “Atheism” just refers to the state of not believing god claims.

          Are you claiming a god exists? If so, be specific. There are so many. Then support your claims that it exists.

        • Dan Jensen

          Hey thanks Susan, I will definitely do all of these things. I am not going to do all of them here right now as my focus has been on my challenge and I’m not going to get distracted from that despite how hard people have been trying to get me sidetracked. But if I respond to later posts I am sure many of these things will be addressed at certain points.

        • Susan

          I will definitely do all of these things.

          K.

        • Kodie

          Sorry, nobody here buys that excuse. You can write long comments and someone will respond with a breakdown and go back and forth, about everything you want to bring up, sometimes for months on end. The question is, can you be honest? Are you the first honest Christian? Are you going to go all over the map, ask everyone else to do your homework for you, get all pissy when someone uses a curse word? Make excuses not to talk to people who bring up very good points you should address, make unsupported claims, use fallacious reasoning, lean heavily on long videos and links to long articles or advise someone read a book you like instead of summing it up or bringing out the relevant parts? Because we’ve seen all that, and it’s not that impressive. If you’ve tried those tricks before and they “didn’t work” so you can’t deal with a blog debate, then back out now, no harm.

        • Kevin K

          You forgot “dead ending” … the practice of engaging in a topic until your point has been thoroughly refuted and then disappearing from the conversation, only to appear again elsewhere offering the same refuted points. That’s a Christian favorite.

        • Kodie

          I was racking my brain, but of course I missed a few.

        • Dan Jensen

          If I can honestly write super long comments, great, it would honestly just be a first, whether you believe that or not. The rest of your comment was just ad hominem.

        • Sure, you can write super long comments, but they’re unlikely to get read. The ordinary rules of communication apply.

          To make it likelier that I’ll see your comment, either reply to one of my previous comments or write a comment that’s solo (that is, not in reply to anyone). I take note of those in particular.

          There are 6 years of posts here, so you’re likely to find whatever jumping-off point you want. Use the Search box.

        • Kodie

          No, it was not ad hominem, it’s an accurate description of the Christians who come here, and the failing tactics they think means they’re winning the debate.

        • Kevin K

          Blah blah blah.

          An hour’s worth of speaking contains far fewer words than a handful of blog posts. Why do think it takes more time to read a book than to listen to a sermon?

          Plus, there are no word limits on a blog post. Blather away if you’d like. No one’s stopping you. Of course, no one’s probably reading you, either.

        • Kodie

          Watch out before he blames our modern short attention span, sounds like Luke Breuer, except he’d dive right in without regard.

        • Kevin K

          I read actual-and-real books all the time.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I’m still trying to work through On Liberty. It’s delicious language, but the sentences nest and subcomment in a fashion that I’ve lost practice in reading.

        • Kevin K

          I finished reading Suetonius’ Twelve Emperors a couple of weeks ago. Of course, he gives no context, so you have to fill in a lot of blanks; but it’s amazing how different their lives were than ours.

          FWIW: The business about “Chrestus”, when you look at it in context, has absolutely nothing to do with Jesus. The entire book is fascinating; I want to learn a lot more.

          Right now, I’m picking my way through Brian Greene’s latest on string theory. And my mother gave me a novel that’s set in India detailing the tea industry.

          So many books, so little time.

        • it’s amazing how different their lives were than ours.

          I’m guessing it was because they were Romans long ago, not because they were Emperors. Correct?

        • Kevin K

          You really should pick it up — I got it through my online library. It’s like being dropped into a fantasy universe, where the author gives you no back story whatsoever and contextualizes nothing.

        • Aram
        • Pofarmer

          Good Lord.

        • Kevin K

          Beats binge watching zombie TV shows.

        • Pofarmer

          I’m more on awe than Any thing.

        • Dan Jensen

          I’ve already admitted that text is better, just not blogs and I’ve given good reasons for that. If I can truly write super long comments here as repeatedly promised by you guys, awesome, it would just be a first and that’s the honest truth. The rest of your comment is just ad hominem.

        • Kevin K

          Everything you’ve posted so far is nothing but ad hom…so…perhaps you have an actual point to make? Now would be the time to offer one.

        • Dan Jensen

          I’ve not used ad hominem once. I challenged Bob to a formal debate, he has refused, I think that’s very telling and I’ve explained why, you guys have made excuses for him, Bob said he’d be willing to email back and forth and I agreed, he also said I should comment on his blog and I agreed.

        • Kevin K

          As far as I can tell, Bob is completely ignoring you. The rest of us find you amusing in the way that an untrained house pet is amusing.

          Since you can’t be bothered to actually…well…make a point, I’ll take that as a signal that you have none to offer. Have a nice day.

        • Dan Jensen

          I’ve made a substantial point numerous times, you’re just not listening. And I just said that Bob emailed me, so he’s not ignoring me. And just more ad hominem, so who’s the amusing one? You have a nice day as well.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Uh, no.

          You’ve been beating on your chest and demanding a fight.

          I haven’t seen a substantial, supported point from you yet.

        • Jim Dailey

          They should at least give you syrup with all these waffles.

        • Kodie

          Hey Jim, what was the point that Dan made.

        • Pofarmer

          The only point I’ve gotten is that, apparently, Dan loves to hear himself talk, oh, and pisses off progressive Christians, and apparently doesn’t understand what an Ad Hominem is.

        • Kodie

          Seriously, you’re setting up to be the typical dishonest Christian we get here. Do any of you know anything else? Haven’t seen a point from you. Would you like to start making a choice to be topical, or are you going to be like Luke Breuer, “why people don’t like me”.

        • I challenged Bob to a formal debate, he has refused, I think that’s very telling and I’ve explained why

          Is this the 10th “I challenged Bob to a formal debate, and he refused” that I’ve seen from you? I don’t think portraying me as a coward is accurate.

          What could you possibly have in mind? I’ve told you I live in Seattle. Do you live here, too? Then tell me so, and maybe we can meet for coffee and you could outline what you have in mind for the debate.

          And if you don’t live here, what could you possibly have in mind? Explain the venue, organizer, cost of transportation, and so on. Do you have a proposal, or is this just a random “wouldn’t it be cool if” thought?

          You seem to have gone from “We should have a debate” to “Bob is a pussy” rather quickly.

        • Kodie

          Did you ever think Bob doesn’t think you’re worth it? He’s talked to you enough that you’re not worth it? He’s made posts on here about his debates. What kind of audience would there be for a debate between you and Bob? I don’t know exactly what he said, why he refused. So much hearsay from you, and then a lot of whining. You’ve judged all of us as not worth your time, you only want Bob, and you only want to talk, and who is going to benefit from that?

        • Kodie

          See, it’s already starting. Everything is ad hominem!

          I am not at all curious what Dan has to bring.

        • Kevin K

          I was just baiting him. I have zero interest in what he has to say, either. Because if it’s not just PRATTs, it’ll be PRATTs on steroids.

          But you’ll notice that he completely and utterly failed to bring anything other than invective. Boring. And so I’m freed from any constraints (if there ever were any) to be nice.

        • What Kevin said.

          You’re doing a lot throat clearing and enemy making. Why not just make a point? Surely we don’t have to suggest a topic (Coffee Talk comes to mind: “suggested topic, ‘egg cream, neither cream nor egg–discuss'”).

        • Dan Jensen

          Hey Bob, it’s late and I had to work a long shift today and I have to work a very long shift tomorrow. Hence, I am going to respond to all that you’ve said and all that others have said here to the best that I can in one comment and hopefully everyone will see it. First and foremost, I want to say that while I of course as everyone can tell have my vehement disagreements with atheism, I genuinely don’t hate atheists. My brother is a militant atheist and I love him to death. He is a war hero and he is extremely intelligent, talented, and is a great family man. And I have a lot of respect for most atheists in certain areas. Most are passionate about objectivity and logic and this is something I am so grateful for against so much of the postmodernism that pervades our society today. And atheists in my experience are fighters. And I super respect and appreciate that. I come from a long line of boxers and veterans, I myself served this country. Jensen’s are fighters, we can’t help it. Often as a Christian I have to be very careful here. And any time I’ve debated atheists they almost seem like they want a good fight and so I try my best to maintain the balance between being respectful and at the same time jabbing back. If at any point in my exchanges today I did a poor job of maintaining this balance I do sincerely apologize. I do think it a bit silly though (I mean come on guys, I think you can maybe grant me this point a little bit) to constantly accuse me of being harsh for some of the things I’ve said when I was called an ahole, told to f off, that I was a coward, etc. But whether that is granted or not, I was genuinely just trying to jab back and if I ever took things too far I am sorry.
          As far as my basic point, I’m still convinced I’ve basically made it regardless of how many times people here want to say otherwise. People keep saying that the reason I don’t want to debate on a blog is because of the weakness of my position, but I’ve said about ten times that I’m more than willing to debate in any capacity, so this just plain rings hollow. And Bob kind of substantiated my point when he said that I can present long comments but they probably won’t be read and the usual rules of communication still apply. That certainly sounds like an admission that blogs really aren’t the place for lengthy discussions, which is precisely what I’ve been saying. And I was more than willing to give up the point about blogs not being conducive to lengthy conversations if in fact I am allowed to make those lengthy comments, I was simply saying that would be a first and so my initial point that in my experience blogs aren’t conducive to lengthy conversations still stands.
          And I don’t buy that you really didn’t understand me Bob or that you still don’t understand me. Just about everyone who has responded to me here has understood exactly what I meant about debating in a formal public setting. I am challenging you to such a debate. You in my opinion have implicitly refused by being evasive and saying that you are glad to continue the convo in email format and saying things like we can chat in Seattle. I’m fine to chat in Seattle, I’d love to come visit that city, but I don’t buy that you didn’t understand what I meant. I’m challenging you to a formal public debate. The venue is up to you or I can take care of that if you would like. I would secure all funds and make sure all of your travel expenses were covered and that you were paid for your time. As far as me thinking I’m special, I certainly don’t, I’m a nobody and I’m perfectly fine with that. But I am qualified to debate and so it makes no sense to me why someone like yourself who runs an apologetics website for atheism (you can call it counter-apologetics all you like, but I think that’s just semantics) and is also certainly qualified would say no. Again, if you continue to do so I think that is very telling and all of your adoring followers can continue to call me names, cuss at me, and blather on all they want, but that will still be my position. If you did just genuinely misunderstand, I apologize and I hope this comment clears things up.
          As far as my alleged lack of making a point, my initial comment was simply to reiterate my challenge that was initially made on Childers’ website and then people came after me and I’ve been defending myself against a lot of nonsense ever since. In future posts I’m happy to critique the actual article itself. As far as other conservative evangelicals banning people, I can’t speak to what others have done unless you point me to specific examples. All I can say is that anyone here is welcome on my website any time (dan-j-jensen.com) and no one will ever be banned or silenced for expressing their ideas. However, if people want to get nasty and cuss the way they have done here, yeah I won’t tolerate that and if that is the reason other fellow conservative evangelicals have banned certain atheists I don’t fault them for it.

        • Kodie

          Ok, I can kind of see why writing might not be your favorite way to debate. I can’t say for sure it indicates a talking style as well, but I wouldn’t want to debate you, not because I’m scared, either.

        • Dan Jensen

          Hey Kodie, first and foremost I am glad the tone between us is much better. I do think though that you guys in your zeal are not reading me very carefully. I actually very much enjoy debating through writing and actually much prefer it to verbal debating as one can really think through one’s responses very carefully, I said yesterday at a couple points that I am in agreement that text debating is superior. I was simply focusing on my experience in blog formats, and to be honest, I feel that Bob sort of vindicated my concerns yesterday a little bit when he said that long comments really aren’t the best. I was simply trying to make the case that blogs in my experience have grave limitations, as stated, and also to say that verbal debates have their strengths, most notably the cross-examination section. I would like to debate Bob in that capacity as well as in a written format, I made that very clear yesterday early on. And I haven’t challenged you to a debate because I don’t know if you are qualified. You very well may be, but I don’t know that. And as far as not wanting to debate me, that’s fine, but I can’t see why. I really wasn’t that disrespectful yesterday at any point, people were pretty fierce with me (which is fine), and to whatever extent I jabbed back too hard or unfairly I have explained myself on that front and apologized for it.

        • Kodie

          I don’t like really long comments because … I think other people are better at breaking them down and responding point by point, but you seem to have a hard time editing. I do too, but sometimes, I have more clarity than other times. If you’re following Bob over here from another blog, then he is more familiar with your writing than most of us, and might think you can’t focus. People tell me once in a while, but – paragraphs are awesome. Getting to the point is awesome. Being redundant is not awesome.

          If you write long comments, I am more likely to notice one thing out of a bunch of things, and maybe later, notice something else because someone’s response quoted you on something I missed. There are things I don’t know enough about and let others get in there, like Ignorant Amos, Greg G., epeeist, Paul B. Lot, and Susan, and sometimes, Bob will break it down when he feels like it. There are others who have the knowledge, patience, and writing ability to say what they want to say to respond that I know I can’t do. I could take a short comment and go off on a diatribe sometimes, but I can’t do all the nesting and blockquoting 30 times in one post to address each sentence or point.

          But first, you have to say SOMETHING. You aren’t defending your religious beliefs so far, other than to call atheism a bankrupt worldview and crying ad hominem because (like many typical Christians) you can’t tell what is an insult and what is ad hom, because there is a difference. All you have done for maybe dozens of comments is make excuses. I responded to a rather long-winded post in response to Bob about what you prefer and why and how you’re willing to pay for his trip and still not getting started on the task, as if you can’t get what you want and you’re just stalling. No need any more to explain, just fucking start already.

        • Quick thought: paragraphs are your friend. (With whatever editor you’re using, your text has line breaks rather than paragraph breaks, so you might want to hit Return twice.)

          any time I’ve debated atheists they almost seem like they want a good fight and so I try my best to maintain the balance between being respectful and at the same time jabbing back.

          OK. I think you got off on the wrong foot with many comments about approach and attitude rather than jumping right in with a question or a substantive comment on the topic of atheism (or something related).

          As far as my basic point, I’m still convinced I’ve basically made it regardless of how many times people here want to say otherwise.

          More on protocol. Next time, just repeat what your point is.

          I’ve said about ten times that I’m more than willing to debate in any capacity, so this just plain rings hollow. And Bob kind of substantiated my point when he said that I can present long comments but they probably won’t be read and the usual rules of communication still apply. That certainly sounds like an admission that blogs really aren’t the place for lengthy discussions, which is precisely what I’ve been saying.

          (1) Yes, there are limitations with blogs. Don’t blame me/us.

          (2) And you think a formal debate is better?? A 20-minute opening statement has about 3000 words. You’ve already used a third of them in this comment alone. If you love formal debates then you must know the limitations of that format at least as well as I do.

          And I was more than willing to give up the point about blogs not being conducive to lengthy conversations if in fact I am allowed to make those lengthy comments

          Do you have a point to make? I don’t know how much more welcome I can make you feel.

          Just about everyone who has responded to me here has understood exactly what I meant about debating in a formal public setting. I am challenging you to such a debate.

          Yeah?

          Where? When? What venue? What’s the debate question? What’s the debate format? Who’s the moderator? What advertising plans do you have? Will there be travel or lodging costs?

          There’s a bit more to this than slapping someone with a glove. Until you show that you’ve thought of any of this, I don’t take you seriously.

          I don’t buy that you didn’t understand what I meant.

          Must be that I’m stupid.

          “Hey, you know what’d be fun? A debate!” is easy to say, and since you didn’t take it any further than that, neither did I.

          That’s problem 1. Problem 2 is that I’ve had public debates, and they’re a lot of work for little reward. You think this would be a positive project? Convince me. You can start by showing me that you are a formidable intellect who has a lot to offer. Tip: whining about what an intellectual pussy I am is the wrong tack.

          I am qualified to debate

          Are you? I think we’ve discovered your first task.

          it makes no sense to me why someone like yourself who runs an apologetics website for atheism . . . and is also certainly qualified would say no.

          Then let me educate you. Doing a debate means a lot of work on my part. I could be convinced, but you have done absolutely nothing to show that you have any ideas worth debating.

          If you fail to convince me that a public debate is a worthwhile way for me to spend considerable time and effort, you can always look up the two or three debate videos here and respond to my opening statements. Or, easier still, scan through the 1000+ posts here and dive in to a conversation.

          if you continue to do so I think that is very telling

          And I care about what an unpleasant stranger thinks? Make me care first.

          But explain to me what’s “very telling.” I’ve put out lots of material—it’s probably close to a million words in the posts alone, not counting comments—so I’m not sure how I’m the coward here. I make posts, and I invite friends and enemies alike to respond with (unmoderated) comments. I’m far too slow to ban asshole commenters, so IMO I’m bending over backwards to allow naysayers their say.

          In future posts I’m happy to critique the actual article itself.

          You mean . . . actually talk about the topic of this blog? Well, OK, if you think you’re up for it.

        • Jim Dailey

          That guy is really big on ad hominem. Actually the majority of the posters here delight in it.

        • Pofarmer

          So, you don’t know what a first is, and can’t recognize an ad hominem fallacy when you see one either, apparently.

        • Pofarmer

          I’d have to say I’ve learned 10 times as much, probably 100 times as much, in the comments sections of these blogs as I ever had watching any debates.

  • Linguagroover

    If I may precis… CS Lewis, like all religious apologists, was full of crap.

  • Daniel Niehoff

    “If it offered us just the kind of universe we had always expected, I should feel we were making it up.”

    Our collective understanding of the earth, it’s lifeforms, and the universe shows us that things are indeed the way one would expect them to be if there was no god directing things. The wastefulness and coldness of Evolution on our planet alone points to a world in which no god is creating things. One would expect a god supposedly as great and loving as the Christian god to produce life on our planet in a much more elegant and less wasteful way. C.S. Lewis and Christians work backwards from the premise that the Christian god is real and then they try to fit existence into that view. Of course they can’t understand how things appeared and evolved the way they have; they think they already have all the answers and won’t entertain other explanations with an open mind. They won’t let themselves understand what a world without their god in it would look like.

    • Jim Dailey

      Actually, CS Lewis was an atheist at one point in his life, earning academic honors at Oxford during this time.
      So, I think he demonstrated what you consider an open mind.

      • Tommy

        Another appeal to an authority.

        • Jim Dailey

          No. It is a fact.

        • Nick G

          No it isn’t.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Of course it is an appeal to authority.

          By your logic, you should then mark the words of every atheist that was once a believer, or non-Christian for that matter, and has honours up the kazoo, would qualify as being astute.

        • Pofarmer

          But that would be rather inconvenient.

        • Kevin K

          Tommy is right. What you’ve been offering here, throughout this discussion, is the argument that we should listen to Lewis because he studied philosophy and therefore is some sort of expert. Sorry, that is the classic definition of “argument from authority”. It’s not his credentials that are at issue, it’s his ideas.

          Do you have any defense of his ideas to offer? Now’s the time to bring them. Because continuing to try to puff up the guy just because he got As and not Bs in college does fuck-all to advance the subject.

        • Tommy

          Not only is it not a fact, it’s also a logical fallacy.

        • epeeist

          No. It is a fact

          As others have noted it is an argumentum ad verecundiam, which should really be translated as an argument from improper authority.

          Lewis may have taken honour mods in philosophy (which is a preliminary examination and doesn’t count towards the final degree) but he never worked within the philosophy department of any university, never produced any papers on philosophy and, as far as I know wasn’t recognised by working philosophers. Hence he was not a proper authority.

        • Jim Dailey

          The threads here are getting all screwed up.

          You are responding to my comment that Lewis was both an atheist and an honors student at Oxford at the same time. Those are facts.

          This demonstrates both that Lewis was “open minded” (something the original poster said he was not) and fully cognizant of what it meant to say he was an atheist.

        • Kevin K

          Except his definition of “atheist” was a person who is mad at god…that’s muddle-headed thinking at best.

          In any event, it still doesn’t address Lewis’ ideas. We don’t care whether or not he was or was not an atheist or an anti-theist, or an apatheist, or an agnostic, nor an ignostic, or any other label of belief and/or knowing. It’s irrelevant.

          What is relevant is that his apologetics are tired, shopworn, and unconvincing. The fact that Christians believe he has something to offer without demonstrating what that “something” is, frankly, annoying as all get-out

          Post about his ideas. His IDEAS!!!! Or show yourself the door.

        • Kodie

          I think anyone who thinks they are an atheist can call themselves an atheist. Their reasons don’t have to be deep to be legitimate. However, I would say the arguments against theism are in a kind of particular way that, if you know them, I don’t know what could persuade you to believe outside of traumatic experience or injury.

          That said, I think people who become believers also rewrite their conversion, and Christians and other theists like to pretend that god is obvious and atheists are angry at god. I don’t know too much about Lewis, but it seems to be when people say they used to be atheists, I usually believe they thought they were.

        • Pofarmer

          My middle son calls it taking the Red Pill. Once it’s seen it can’t be unseen.

        • Kodie

          When I was young, I thought I was an atheist, mostly because I didn’t have a religion, and my grandfather made it so we weren’t taught in a church. I didn’t know any arguments, and didn’t know a whole lot about atheism, but I did have the idea that atheists were loud-mouthed and obnoxious, where did I get the idea? I was an atheist who was determined not to be that way (like “co-exist” bumper sticker before they had those). My grandfather was loud-mouthed and obnoxious about everything, but didn’t teach us atheism or argue or such. He’d have some random observation once in a while, and rant kinda, and then let it drop. My exposure to religion was pretty much cultural, lateral, nothing direct. When I talk about how I really became an atheist, it pretty much started when I realized people took their religion damn serious.

          So, when I think of people who say they used to be an atheist, I think of me “before”. I didn’t have solid reasons, I didn’t reject god, I didn’t hate religion that had been forced on me or rules I didn’t want to follow, but I considered that’s what I was. I guess my upbringing and schooling filtered in what a myth was, and issues like separation of church and state, things that might sound different to kids being raised with a religion.

          I became interested once I approached adulthood and found out what theism really was, and that theists separated what they believed sincerely and what a myth was. I imagine it’s around the same time many children raised with a religion kind of passively (I assume most of the kids I knew) and have no good reason to believe their religions or go through a rejection phase dive back in hard. That thing about becoming an adult, and needing something nostalgic to become more solid and traditional so you can cope.

        • Kevin K

          Well, at the risk of getting my kilt dirty, I think that the notion of “atheism” has to first start with the idea that gods do not exist. To be “angry” at a god is to work from the underlying principle that the god is something that has some sort of quality of being “there”.

          I too no nothing of Lewis — Narnia was not my childhood realm; for me, it was Dr. Doolittle. But I’ve seen way too many Christian apologists start with the phony-baloney “I was an eh-thiests too” gambit. No, they weren’t. At best, they were “wrong church” atheists. You have to remember that lying liars lie.

        • Greg G.

          I am an Atheist because I got an A in my theism class. That makes my sister a Btheist.

        • Kevin K

          Which makes most Christians Dtheists?

        • Greg G.

          Creationists would be the Ftheists.

        • Kodie

          I’m not sure how theists teach their kids about god… I’m thinking it’s quite basic, i.e. god is good, Jesus loves you, he’s watching you all the time, and you’re going to hell if you sin. The stories sound like historical fairy tales, and kids can’t tell they’re exactly fiction, and they trust adults. But then everyone reaches an age where authority over them is the last thing they want. God doesn’t seem to exist, life can be crummy and painful, and kind of just throw it out as an adolescent impulse. Life doesn’t get any better or easier in adulthood, and, looking for security in the swirling complexities of adulthood, they reexamine their beliefs with the uh, so-called maturity of an adult, able to “better” comprehend why god can’t give you everything you want, and somehow find comfort in these crumbs because it’s better and somehow more meaningful to them than “nothing”.

          That’s my impression. We get to the part where they also make sure everybody knows that atheism is bad and atheists are bad, and you’ll really be sorry if you give up god. I don’t think they are defining it honestly, of course, but if you go through a stage where you really don’t find god exists, I would say you’re an atheist. The reasons don’t have to be honest, or substantial. I think that most theists coming here call us rebellious and childish because that’s probably the reason many theists give up god. They don’t like authority, and they don’t notice any reconciliation between reality and the stories they’ve been force-fed their whole life, but they don’t support that impulse with any research, so the idea of god nags them back.

          For those like me, raised without a religion, not as an atheist but really a nothing (or possibly nominally a Christian as taken for granted but not overly discussed), but in a culture that sweats religion all over society and the media without realizing how much, one might take for granted, because life is hard, but wanting something warm and fuzzy like that, or to feel worthless and self-destructive for other reasons and be “saved” by some charity. I wouldn’t say I was 100% prepared to argue or dismiss a lot of the arguments that we’ve heard over here on this blog until I found such places on the internet. They would tell their stories, and I would say, no, that doesn’t sound right to me, move on. That’s still primarily the basis for me. The stories get more elaborate and more disguised as legitimate fields of study, and I did learn about evolution in school, but really not enough. I just keep saying no, that doesn’t sound right to me, move on.

        • epeeist

          I think anyone who thinks they are an atheist can call themselves an atheist.

          How about the other way around? Is someone who reports themselves to be a Catholic an actual Catholic?

        • Kodie

          If someone says they’re a Catholic, I think so. Most of the Catholics I grew up with and know now aren’t doing what they should (I’m talking premarital sex, bed-hopping, abortions, divorce, and not going to church unless it’s a big holiday), but challenge them and they will still think satan is real and atheists are horrible, terrible people, don’t think atheists should interfere in school prayer or other separation of church and state issues, revere whoever the pope is, and don’t think their church let down the human species over child rape allegations. They still find some sentimental reason to cling to their beliefs and their beliefs are the church. It’s a lot of water and beads and chanting and candles.

        • epicurus

          They remain respecters of religion but shrink away from actually practicing it .

          That’s the one idea/quote I remember from reading Owen Chadwick’s “The Secularization of The European Mind in The Nineteenth Century” many years ago.

          https://www.amazon.com/Secularization-European-Nineteenth-Century-original/dp/0521398290

        • epeeist

          If someone says they’re a Catholic, I think so

          This is always a fun one with conservative Catholics.

          1. If people who report themselves to be Catholic are to be accepted as Catholic then it has to be accepted that people like Hitler, Franco and Pinochet were Catholics

          2. If the claim is that Hitler wasn’t Catholic because he never took the sacrament after the age of 16 then one also has to exclude all others who haven’t taken the sacrament. This means, at a minimum, that the statistics that the church puts out on its membership are unreliable. Given that only about 20% of the people here in the UK who identify as Catholics actually attend mass each week and over 50% never attend services then the actual membership is probably a lot lower.

          They still find some sentimental reason to cling to their beliefs and their beliefs are the church.

          Yeah, the “smells and bells” brigade. The Church of England here in England (not the UK, each country has its own national church) has a lot of people who are “cultural Christians” who either don’t attend or maybe just go to midnight mass at Christmas and an Easter service.

        • Kodie

          You and IA describe a religious idea that I grew up thinking about, that’s a tradition, and you like to go through the rituals.

          In the US, these people sincerely believe it, but compartmentalize it from their daily life. They live 99% secular lives, and you think, well this person isn’t so bad, not a bible thumper, and then you get that one percent. It’s a bloated 1%. I once made a mistake on another blog to call it weak beliefs, no no, it’s very very strong and how dare I, it’s very real, god is real. This triggers anti-atheism, and who knows what else. People living their whole lives out in the open where you can see them don’t seem to have anything religious at all about them, but get defensive if you assume they’re not immersed in worship of their lord every minute of the day.

          Deep down, they hide a lot of wrong ideas that come from starting with superstition. I’m not saying they should advertise themselves more honestly, because I think they don’t really want to change. Secular living means you get to bend a lot of rules, act selfishly, behave as an animal in competition for resources instead of with intentionality and mindfulness, guided by spirituality – which I think is the fucking failure of religion, actually. It has a lot of potential to give people tools for living a better life, except for the mumbo jumbo of it, but I don’t see it. I don’t see crosses or fishes or behaviors letting me know religious people are better. I guess that’s better than people with their crosses and bibles acting the same as everyone else but then wanting an exception because they sincerely believe gay people shouldn’t marry, therefore don’t force me to bake a cake. I guarantee there’s not that much Christian about those people other than they don’t want to bake a cake because that would piss off god.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Many a Church of Ireland Protestant would punch ya in the gob for calling them a Catholic, even though the Church of Ireland make that self same determination.

          In keeping with Anglican theology, our beliefs and practices derive from Scripture, reason and tradition. We are Catholic in holding all the Christian faith in its fullness and being part of the one worldwide Church of God. We are Reformed in believing that the Church’s life should be aligned with Scripture and that the Church should only require its members to believe those doctrines to which Scripture bears witness.

          Now a “True Catholic”…whatever one of those are…would call a Church of Ireland “Catholic” who is really a Protestant, that they aren’t really a “Catholic” Protestant, but just a “Protestant”, meaning a heretic. If ya get what a mean?

          Everyone is a NTS to everyone else. The thing is, they are all NTS.

        • Kodie

          Then, and I’m not entirely sure about this, but I think if you were christened (might be the first communion or confirmation), the church still thinks you’re Catholic even if you say you’re something else. When I first started hanging out on atheist blogs or where the blogger occasionally brought up atheism, there was this trend to file something with the Vatican to get your name removed, but they started to catch on and closed up that avenue, so I don’t know how you un-Catholic yourself now. They don’t care what kind of filthy sinner you are, or even if you’ve never tithed in your whole life, they aren’t excommunicating anyone if they can help it. You’re still Catholic if you ever were one.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I was baptised at an age where I could hardly define shapes and light.

          By confirmation time, i was out, so didn’t go through that ritual shite.

          I know the Roman Catholic church had a period where one could do the paperwork, see the bishop for an interview without coffee, then get struck off. A few of the regulars at RDFRS went through the process. The Church closed that down. Losing too much. Some countries, like Germany, tithed believers at source vis a religion tax. So declaring no religion means no tithe, but having no religion needs demonstrated.

          I know they don’t care about the sins…except marrying a Protestant. That was a no-no…gassing 6 million Jews, not a problem though.

          I’m not a Catholic, I never was one. The CoI are not “real Catholic”, they’re heretics…or used to be.

        • Kodie

          So there’s Catholics and then they consider the Protestants Catholics?

          Is it confirmation when one gets on the Catholic for life list? I was thinking how I’m probably a Mormon or I will be. Anyway, another reason to distrust the church – if they need you more than you need them.

          I’m not a Catholic, but I’m sure it has a lot of influence over me, as in lineage, culture, etc. When some old guy used to be Catholic has a lot of influence over your family, you think that’s not going to rub off, even if he rejected the church?

        • Ignorant Amos

          So there’s Catholics and then they consider the Protestants Catholics?

          Catholic just means “universal”. Relating to all men. Inclusive.

          Luther believed he was the True Catholic when he nailed his Ninety Five Theses to the door. Because he was a better read theologian.

          Anglicans believe they have a claim to the title too. Catholic and Reformed.

          Is it confirmation when one gets on the Catholic for life list?

          Baptism. Confirmation, or First Communion is a rite of passage ritual whereupon one is old enough to partake in the Eucharist. Though that rule has slackened.

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

          Confirmation is like getting yer first stripe.

          I was thinking how I’m probably a Mormon or I will be.

          We’ll all be if they can find our names on a list somewhere.

          Anyway, another reason to distrust the church – if they need you more than you need them.

          It’s a numbers game when it suits them. Fudgery is the name of the game. We witness it regularly here.

        • epeeist

          Those are facts.

          This demonstrates both that Lewis was “open minded”

          No, it demonstrates that he was a student at Oxford and possibly an atheist. It says nothing about whether he was open minded or not.

        • Paul B. Lot

          my comment that Lewis was both an atheist and an honors student at Oxford at the same time. Those are facts.

          No.

          The second is a fact.

          The first is a claim, made by Lewis himself, which doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

          By the term “atheist”, most of us (now) mean “someone who does not believe in god(s)/the supernatural.”

          At times in the past, people often used the term to describe the condition of “not believing in [an accepted version of] the christian ‘god'”.

          Being enamoured of paganism/the occult =/= “atheism”.

          This demonstrates both that Lewis was “open minded” (something the original poster said he was not) and fully cognizant of what it meant to say he was an atheist.

          Disagree, for the reasons stated above.

        • Jim Dailey

          “Doesn’t stand up to scrutiny”
          Hah!
          No true Scotsman.

        • Kodie

          You havin’ fun, chief?

        • Paul B. Lot

          No true Scotsman.

          Disagree.

          I think you’re failing to understand the definitional problem here.

          Throughout history, eg. Socrates, the word/accusation of “atheist/ism” has been leveled at [people who merely refused to affirm local/mainstream supernatural beliefs].

          It has not always/uniquely been used for [people who refused to affirm all supernatural beliefs].

          By the former definition, atheism[local, l], I agree that Lewis was, at one time, an “atheist[l]”.

          By the latter definition, atheism[all, a], I have yet to see evidence that Lewis was, at any time, an “atheist[a]”.

          Unfortunately, people like you seem unaware that there could exist a problem like atheism[l] vs. atheism[a], let alone have any sense that atheism[a] is probably the better definition to choose for productive dialogue.

          *shrug emoji*

        • Kodie

          I explained a few days ago that I think people who convert to Christianity from atheism also might have a tendency to revise their terms once they “understand” what that was before they converted. Someone can think they are an atheist because look around, there’s no god anywhere, he doesn’t do anything, doesn’t interfere, etc., and when their new religion tells them they were stubborn and wanted to be their own god, they turn that into their conversion story about why they waited so long to figure it out. I maintain you don’t need deep reasons to be an atheist, you just have to be unconvinced of theistic claims.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Agreed.

      • Zeta

        Edward T. Babinski has written some articles on CS Lewis. Besides what he posted on his own website
        https://etb-agnosticism.blogspot.com/2012/03/have-any-famous-atheists-ever-converted.html
        also see
        http://www.debunking-christianity.com/2014/07/edward-babinski-on-conversions-of-cs.html

        I quote from the latter (emphasis mine):

        Lewis’ “atheism” and “conversion” to Christianity is not very difficult to fathom. His mother was the daughter of a Church of Ireland (Anglican) priest who baptized Lewis. Lewis was raised in a church-going family in the Church of Ireland. And from boyhood, Lewis immersed himself firstly in Norse, Greek, and, later, in Irish mythology and literature, then became a professor of medieval literature. Lewis says he became an atheist at 15, though he later described his young self as being paradoxically “very angry with God for not existing.” His early separation from Christianity began when he started to view his religion as a chore and as a duty; around this time, he also gained an interest in the occult.

        So Lewis was a Christian up till age 14, than became an “atheist” at the age of 15, which consisted of a dislike of church and too much God talk, but he was also included in the occult. Merely two years after becoming an “atheist” he discovered an amazing book that baptized his imagination and that he admits played a large role in his decision 15 years later to rejoin the fold. One might note that Lewis’ brother rejoined the fold just prior to him and was with him at the zoo the day Lewis decided to also rejoin the fold.

        A 15-year old “atheist” who was “very angry with God for not existing.” could not have been a serious atheist. “So, I think he demonstrated what you consider an open mind.” You seriously think so?

        I am not aware of any substantial atheistic writings from him. Do you have any such references?

        • Jim Dailey

          Is this an example of “No true Scotsman”?

        • Zeta

          No. It shows that the claim is a very weak one, blown out of proportions by many Christians.

        • Pofarmer

          Christians exaggerating? The hell you say.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Being “angry at ‘god'” is difficult if one doesn’t believe ‘god’ exists.

          So he wasn’t an atheist, who doesn’t believe, but merely unhappy with the attributes of his superstition.

        • Pofarmer

          That’s what I kind of get out of it too. He seems to have never really regressed past deism.

        • epeeist

          So he wasn’t an atheist

          Agreed, more like an anti-theist.

        • Nick G

          More like an example of a Scot who defiantly starts putting sugar on his porridge, but is still very angry with the Scottish rugby team when they lose to England at Murrayfield :-p

        • Pofarmer

          Do I sense some resentment?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Always.

        • Pofarmer

          See, this is what I get from Lewis. If his thinking as an “atheist” was as muddleheaded as his thinking as a Christian, then it’s no real surprise he returned to the fold. He went back to what he knew and never really seems to have embraced many of the arguments that would support him being an atheist. Are there any writings of his during this time? Because I’m not aware of any. This is the same kind of thinking you see in folks like Leah Libresco.

        • Ignorant Amos

          And that Muppet Lee Strobel.

        • Pofarmer

          There’s a dude who fell right off the credulity scale.

        • heleninedinburgh

          Oh Christ, Lee fucking Strobel. Lee Strobel is what Kirk Cameron would be if he knew which way up to hold a pen.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Church of Ireland (Anglican) is a spit away from Catholicism with similar rituals. In fact they claim to be Catholic and apostolic. Church of Ireland was the woo woo I was baptised into.

          The amount of Christian sectarian violence Lewis would’ve been privy to must’ve played a part in propagating his earlier negative view on God and Christianity, along with his war experience. Although I read somewhere that that might have been influential in his adopting a wishy-washy liberal ecumenical Christianity, in spite of his pal Tolkien.

          My experience of growing up in the 60’s-70’s of Christian sectarian violence of Belfast, and the things I’ve witnessed during my military career, certainly had a part to play in my non-belief for me.

          Religious Belfast is purgatory. Growing up and being forced to endure church and Sunday school every week was a nightmare. As soon as I was old enough to realise I could refuse, I did. And it didn’t go down well at all. Did I believe the bullshit while I was sitting in a pew? No. Did I pay lip service? Yes. Was I an atheist? I suppose I was, though didn’t know it at the time. Nor did I know of any of the “soofistikared” apologetics and the counter apologetics used in the debates to counter them. All that came later. In the interim, I guess I was sort of playing cafeteria Christian, attending hatch, match, and despatch rituals, but not really listening to the drivel being spewed from the pulpit to the captive audience. Sighing at the more ridiculous statements. Not believing in God, but not really knowing why, just that I thought the whole charade was a bunch of fuckwittery.

          Had I been born a quarter of a mile, I’d have been one of those “Fenian” bastards despising the ground us “Orange” bastards walked on. As it was, I was being brought up an “Orange” bastard being taught to despise those “Fenian” fuckers with vehement hatred in every bone in my body. It’s not nice.

          Lewis was fortunate enough to see a different life early on, when he visited England and could see that all Christians don’t want to rip each other apart because of the church they attend. So am pretty sure that too would play a part in his thinking. But that is all conjecture.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          hatch, match, and despatch rituals

          I am SO stealing this

          😉

        • Ignorant Amos

          Steal away…that’s how I got it…many years ago on RDFRS…off epeeist who comments here, as far as I can remember.

        • Michael Neville

          A friend of mine describes himself as a hatch, match and dispatch churchgoer. He goes to baptisms, weddings and funerals.

        • epicurus

          While backpacking across Europe in 1994 I spent a weekend in Belfast and loved it, mainly due to the friendly people who, when they saw us reading a map on the street corner, would walk to us and ask if we needed any help or directions and would tell us things to see in the city, and then invite us over to their house for sandwiches. I know that may sound naive in light of the problems, which we were of course aware of (pretty hard to miss the 5 fully armed British soliders who stood beside us while we we waiting to cross the street on a Saturday night) and we were pretty much in the central area seeing tourist things.

        • I’m missing the thing with the soldiers. Were you (as obvious tourists) marks for thieves? Or were you likely to have run afoul of the Catholic/Protestant protocols somehow? Or were they just curious about these interesting Yanks on their beat?

        • epicurus

          They were just on patrol, walking a beat like a cop would here. Or at least that’s how I interpreted it. We were just waiting for a long light to change to cross the street and they were going the same way. This wasn’t one of thoses times when we were looking at a map or being touristy. They came up and waited beside us, didn’t look at us, no words were spoken, and then we all went our separate ways when the light changed.

        • Ah, gotcha. I’ve been to Ireland, not Northern Ireland, and that was after the Troubles.

        • epicurus

          We drove up to Belfast from Dublin with a Dubliner who was related to my travel partner and was dropping us off. That was actually the tense part when I asked if Ulster was a city. He got ticked that I didn’t know what Ulster was (hey, it was 1994, I couldn’t just google it). I was going to retaliate with a bunch of questions about Canada and the US that he wouldn’t know, but decided to just let it be.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Aye, we tend love everyone else, but ourselves…}8O)~

        • Sandra

          I am very angry at unicorns… for not existing.

        • Michael Neville

          So you’re not inviting any unicorns to your next soirée?

        • Sandra

          Nope. They’re on my shit list. I’m inviting all leprechauns and fairies though… just to piss the nonexistent unicorns off.

        • Kodie

          They’d probably be hunted to extinction anyway.

          https://www.thinkgeek.com/images/products/zoom/e5a7_canned_unicorn_meat.jpg

        • Jim Dailey

          Hmmm… Edward T. Babinski. Who could argue with the much admired Edward T. Babinski? Especially since Edward T. Babinski is writing well after Lewis’ death from secondary sources? (Although that seems to be a much-ballyhooed strike against the Gospels… whatever).
          But let’s see what Lewis himself said about his atheism:

          My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. Just how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. (Mere Christianity, 45-46)

          Thus, Lewis convinced himself of atheism using the very same objection to God I have seen repeated ad-nauseum on this very blog.

          Do you people have some sort of test for “true” atheists? Perhaps you could set up your own little series of examinations so you don’t have to face the embarrassment of having people claim they are atheists, who subsequently convert and explain to the world exactly what is wrongheaded in your thinking in a series of best-selling books.

          I suggest you administer the first test to Edward T. Babinski. He looks just like the kind of brilliant mind getting ready to throw you under the bus (metaphorically speaking).

        • heleninedinburgh

          Edward T. Babinski. Who could argue with the much admired Edward T. Babinski?

          [Sighs] Are we going to have the argument from authority again? We’re going to have the argument from authority again, aren’t we?

          Especially since Edward T. Babinski is writing well after Lewis’ death from secondary sources?

          Secondary sources? Lewis’s own letters and books are secondary sources?

          (Although that seems to be a much-ballyhooed strike against the Gospels… whatever).

          But let’s see what Lewis himself said about his atheism:
          What he said about his atheism years later when he was a Christian. He doesn’t seem to have written anything about his atheism while he was an atheist.

          My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. Just how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. (Mere Christianity, 45-46)

          Thus, Lewis convinced himself of atheism using the very same objection to God I have seen repeated ad-nauseum on this very blog.

          It’s repeated as one of many arguments against the existence of a god like the Christians.’ It is not an argument against the existence of gods as such.

          Do you people have some sort of test for “true” atheists?
          The “do you believe in any gods?” one seems to be working so far.
          Perhaps you could set up your own little series of examinations
          Q: do you believe in any gods?
          A Yes
          B No
          so you don’t have to face the embarrassment of having people claim they are atheists, who subsequently convert and explain to the world exactly what is wrongheaded in your thinking in a series of best-selling books.

          And as we all know, the better-selling the book, the more valid the arguments in it. Apart from ‘The God Delusion.’ That doesn’t count.

          I suggest you administer the first test to Edward T. Babinski. He looks just like the kind of brilliant mind getting ready to throw you under the bus (metaphorically speaking).


          You think Edward Babinski looks like he’s going to become a Christian? Do you have, like, Christian gaydar or something?

        • Jim Dailey

          YOU are the people floundering around to prove Lewis was not a “true” atheist.
          Needless to say, if the esteemed Edward T. Babinski ever does convert, he will not have been a “true” atheist.

        • I attempt to confront this issue head-on with this post. You might find it interesting.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2012/10/i-used-to-be-an-atheist-just-like-you-2/

        • Jim Dailey

          Meh.
          You need two groups of Christians as well.

          You can’t tell me that Leah Libresco and CS Lewis were not fully informed.

          Your characterization of “strong” or “weak”
          Arguments for converting is subjective.

          If a Christian made the same blog, just flipping Christians and atheists, you would condemn it.

        • You can’t tell me that Leah Libresco and CS Lewis were not fully informed.

          You can’t tell me that they converted for intellectual reasons.

          Your characterization of “strong” or “weak”
          Arguments for converting is subjective.

          First off, I’m not sure what you’re saying here. But this may be relevant: I’ve got plenty of caveats in my argument. Nevertheless, if I became a Christian for intellectual reasons, you can bet that I would spend my first few months carefully itemizing the evidence and arguments that show that the majority of my arguments (all of which I think argue strongly for atheism) are wrong. Where is this guy?

          If a Christian made the same blog, just flipping Christians and atheists, you would condemn it.

          Nope.

          Let’s flip the argument. “No well-informed atheist becomes a Christian for intellectual reasons” becomes “No well-informed Christian becomes an atheist for intellectual reasons.” And yet, of course, they do. That’s how Christians become atheists—they drop the emotional pretense and follow the evidence.

        • Jim Dailey

          Bob
          You can explain heat to a human all you want. You can tell them why they should not touch items over (say) 130 F all you want.
          However, as we both know, actually touching something hot is the most powerful reason not to touch something hot.

        • I was expecting, “OK, I see your point.” I’m not sure what your lesson about safety has to do with the subject.

        • Jim Dailey

          My lesson has to do with the fact that once you have felt something, you have a far better understanding of it, and would cite it as the most important lesson, than any pile of words could come close to imparting.

        • epeeist

          My lesson has to do with the fact that once you have felt something, you have a far better understanding of it

          How much of an understanding do you think Stephen Hawking had of the thermal behaviour of black holes?

        • I agree that words can be less convincing that experience.

          You seem to have backed off from your objection to the argument in my post. Do I read that correctly?

        • Jim Dailey

          I had three objections.

          I agree that ultimately the overwhelming factor is personal experience in conversion.

          The other two objections I still maintain. That is, you should have a couple of different categories of Christians (not just one – we both know their are plenty of blow hard Christians walking around), and the subjective classification of “strong” or “weak” arguments should be more of an “intellectual/ emotional” scale.

        • ultimately the overwhelming factor is personal experience in conversion.

          You’re saying that a personal religious experience is the key factor in conversion to Christianity? That sounds right to me.

          I don’t find that a compelling argument for Christian belief, though.

          you should have a couple of different categories of Christians (not just one

          I agree that there are lots of different kinds of Christians, but I don’t see how getting more fine grained is necessary. How does that change the fact that sometimes Christians become atheists? How or why they become atheists isn’t interesting; what’s interesting is that more than zero Christians become atheists. The whole point of the argument is that, by contrast, zero group 3 atheists become Christian.

          and the subjective classification of “strong ” or “weak” arguments should be more of an “intellectual/ emotional” scale.

          I’m missing your point. I don’t use “strong” or “weak” in the argument.

        • Jim Dailey

          I agree that there are lots of different kinds of Christians, but I don’t see how getting more fine grained is necessary. How does that change the fact that sometimes Christians become atheists?

          In this very post is the story of (Ignorant Amos?) who was in Church of Ireland in Belfast. You read his summation of his Christian experience. He says he converted to atheism, but may have been an atheist all along. Would you count that as a conversion? Frankly, his story regarding this experience is not unusual. Certainly there should be more than one classification of Christian “believers” if you are going to have more than one classification of atheists. And you would find that there is some sub-population of Christian believers for whom there are zero conversions.

          You use the “strong” / “weak” descriptor in your assessment of the types of arguments. I could find plenty of examples of people who converted to atheism for what I deemed “weak” reasons. However that would not be fair, and besides, who am I to judge?

        • Kodie

          Hi Jim,

          I differ from (I think) most of the atheists here because I accept that atheists might not have any good reason to reject theism. The issue is that there happen to be plenty of very good reasons to reject theism. Theism makes no supported claims.

        • Be sure to quote what you’re responding to.

          you would find that there is some sub-population of Christian believers for whom there are zero conversions.

          You mean the subset that you define after the fact? That’s cheating. Identify a subset right now and predict that none of them will become atheists. I’ve already done that for atheists. You say that there is such a subset for Christians? Show us.

          You use the “strong” / “weak” descriptor in your assessment of the types of arguments. I could find plenty of examples of people who converted to atheism for what I deemed “weak” reasons.

          Which has nothing to do with the argument. You’re confusing enough to talk to without bringing in tangents. One topic at a time, please.

        • Jim Dailey

          Bob
          I think my observations are best encapsulated in arguments put forward in a comments discussion started by Spiritual Anthropologist in JT Pearce’s “ATippling Philosopher” – one True God post.

          In it, anthropologist cites the following study conducted by Sam Harris – http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0007272

          The study is intended to document, via fmri, the brain centers used in processing challenges to people who have deeply held religous or atheistic beliefs. It concludes that the brain acts in exactly the same way across both groups.

          The salient part relating to our discussion is the screening of the subjects. That is, although several subjects were entered as either “atheist” or “religous” after initial screen, their fmri data was excluded when the responses they gave to their belief challenges while in the fmri did not correlate to their initial screen answers. Both Christians and Atheists were excluded at a fairly high rate.

          Thus we see that Harris recognizes there are gradients of conviction across both study groups.

          Anthropologist suggests that those with strongly held Atheist views can actually be considered to be religous.

          If you are saying that Lewis, may have been excluded from the study as a prospective atheist, I agree. But perhaps that simply means that Lewis brain would not have used the same emotional defense mechanism you demand of “highly rational” Atheists.

          However, it also suggests that a certain portion of Atheists are, as far as this mechanism is concerned, “religous”.

          You go ahead and have the last word (if you want). Hopefully however we will both agree that there is a spectrum of belief across both populations (Atheist and religous) and perhaps that atheists who permanently and absolutely reject the existence of God are not necessarily relying completely on “rational thought”.

        • None of this challenges the conclusion I made in that post.
          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2012/10/i-used-to-be-an-atheist-just-like-you-2/

        • Jim Dailey

          Hi Bob,

          “I never see an “ex-atheist” who hits me where I live, who explains why my arguments are wrong from my perspective.”

          That conclusion?

          I think you could have been included in the fmri study as an atheist. The fmri data would have shown your brain activating the exact same defense mechanism – an emotional mechanism – when contemplating challenges to your belief system. This mechanism prevents you from being bowled over by ANY arguments, rational or otherwise. Thus the fact that you have never found a compelling rationale that overcomes your belief is not surprising.

          This is in no way an insult. On the contrary, as I understand it, this mechanism ultimately drives people to determine “truth”.

        • The fMRI data is a tangent.

        • Jim Dailey

          Am I making your ventromedial prefrontal
          cortex hurt?

          Apologies.

        • I’m looking for a response to my post. If you don’t have one, that’s OK. No need to apologize.

        • Jim Dailey

          I’m confused. Did I get the conclusion of your post wrong? I copied it into my comment. Was that not the conclusion?

        • You got the conclusion right. It’s just that you didn’t respond to it.

          The fMRI study is interesting. Thanks for sharing that. However, that doesn’t rebut the point of the post.

        • Susan

          Am I making your ventromedial prefrontal cortex hurt?

          Would it make your ventromedial prefrontal cortex hurt if you had to say “Yes” to “The universe was created by Immaterial Snowflake Fairies”.

          I see nothing about that study that means “I can just spout unevidenced crap and you can just accept unevidenced crap and it’s equal.”

          The study does not seem to lead where you want it to lead.

          That you brought it up,, and that you point at ex-“atheists” (who you consider very clever people) who now believe unevidenced crap is interesting.

          Shifting the burden. And pointing at squirrels.

          This is not how people who have clearly defined positions which are supported by evidence behave.

        • Jim Dailey

          I am suggesting to Bob that he is hard wired to reject theistic arguments, thus he has never been “bowled over” by them.
          The study shows that the brain reacts exactly the same way when deeply held beliefs are challenged, and the mechanism is independent of content. Thus Bobs assertion that atheists do not convert because they are the true holders of pure reason is suspect.

          The study showed, btw, that people with deeply held religous beliefs exercised the same mechanism when their beliefs were challenged.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I am suggesting to Bob that he is hard wired to reject theistic arguments, thus he has never been “bowled over” by them.

          Suggest whatever ya want…you are still talking bubbles.

          Are those that were once die hard believers, but for whom the evidence became so overwhelming, they had no option to turn to disbelief?

          People such as Bart Ehrman or Richard Carrier for example. Both evangelical Christians at one time.

          What would the fMRI scan display in a before and after of such a conversion, and what is it that you think it would signify?

          When a persons beliefs change, it’s not a Pascal’s Wager type choice…like deciding which flavour of ice-cream to have.

        • Jim Dailey

          Talking bubbles? Did you read the study? It was sponsored by Sam Harris.

          What would the study have shown on Ehrman or Carrier (or Lewis or Libresco?)

          They may have been excluded from the study.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Talking bubbles? Did you read the study? It was sponsored by Sam Harris.

          Argument from authority. It doesn’t matter who sponsored it. What matters is the studies relevance to this debate.

          What would the study have shown on Ehrman or Carrier (or Lewis or Libresco?)

          I don’t know, that’s the point.

          They may have been excluded from the study.

          Exactly.

          Explain what relevance the study has here.

          I am suggesting to Bob that he is hard wired to reject theistic arguments, thus he has never been “bowled over” by them.

          Is talking bubbles, because the study doesn’t present data for a hard core Christian turned hard core atheist and vice versa…or even an ill informed Christian turned atheist and vice versa…and even if it did, what would that tell us vis a vis this discussion?

        • Jim Dailey

          Bob sent me back to his previous post saying that if ex-atheists had been “true” atheists, they would have been able, through their intimate knowledge of atheism, been able to present a logically sound argument that Bob would have found irresistible and caused his conversion. No ex-atheist has done this, so clearly the ex-atheist never really knew atheism, or the logical argument does not exist.
          The study I posted shows that the brain utilized an emotional response in processing challenges to deeply held beliefs the same way in both deeply religous and deeply atheistic people.
          The study, as a control, showed that both groups also processed challenges to unemotive facts (“Alexander the Great was a fabulous General”) using a different mechanism that was the same across groups.
          Perhaps all the examples of crossovers we came up with process religous/atheist claims in the “fact-based” mechanism. Who knows? And why does that matter? Bob wanted an explanation for why HE was singularly unimpressed by religous arguments.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Bob sent me back to his previous post saying that if ex-atheists had been “true” atheists, they would have been able, through their intimate knowledge of atheism, been able to present a logically sound argument that Bob would have found irresistible and caused his conversion. No ex-atheist has done this, so clearly the ex-atheist never really knew atheism, or the logical argument does not exist.

          Where does Bob make that comment?

          You do know what the definition of “atheist” is…right?

          The study I posted shows that the brain utilized an emotional response in processing challenges to deeply held beliefs the same way in both deeply religous and deeply atheistic people.

          Does the study show that?

          A comparison of both stimulus categories suggests that religious thinking is more associated with brain regions that govern emotion, self-representation, and cognitive conflict, while thinking about ordinary facts is more reliant upon memory retrieval networks.

          The study, as a control, showed that both groups also processed challenges to unemotive facts (“Alexander the Great was a fabulous General”) using a different mechanism that was the same across groups.

          And what?

          Perhaps all the examples of crossovers we came up with process religous/atheist claims in the “fact-based” mechanism. Who knows? And why does that matter? Bob wanted an explanation for why HE was singularly unimpressed by religous arguments.

          Then explain how the study explains what you think it does, because I don’t see it.

          While religious and nonreligious thinking differentially engage broad regions of the frontal, parietal, and medial temporal lobes, the difference between belief and disbelief appears to be content-independent.

          https://samharris.org/the-neural-correlates-of-religious-and-nonreligious-belief/

          Neural Correlates of Religious Belief

          We can see, then, that there are various ways to interpret brain research on religious experience and belief. While researchers may be able to predict and observe religious experience and a felt sense of belief, the empirical data is insufficient for making judgements about God’s, reality or non-reality. We can say that there is a very strong, tight correlation between religious practices and experiences and specific patterns in the brains, but how this correlation is to be interpreted is another question all together. Neuroscience can explain what is happening in the brain when one is experiencing God in some way but it cannot determine whether or not those neural correlates are actual responses to spiritual realities. We must look beyond neuroscience to answer our questions about the relationship between physical instantiations of belief and their possible correlation with supernatural entities.

          https://www.coursera.org/learn/philosophy-science-religion-2/lecture/mldLn/lecture-1-3-neural-correlates-of-religious-belief

          Like Bob says…you are punting towards a tangent that does nothing to support your position in this debate.

        • Pofarmer

          So, basically, you’re saying that people can be sure of things that are wrong. That’s not new news.

        • Jim Dailey

          It shows more that people are unwilling to process challenges to deeply held beliefs.

          It was “news” for atheists, who thought the fact processing center would be the mechanism used.

        • Nick G

          Would you say the same of aleprechaunists who permanently and absolutely reject the existence of leprechauns?

        • Jim Dailey

          Yes.

        • Nick G

          Fair enough. I’m fine with placing (dis)belief in God and (dis)belief in leprechauns on an equal epistemological footing.

        • Greg G.

          If there are no leprechauns, why are Lucky Charms magically delicious? Checkmate, aleprechaunists!

        • Paul B. Lot

          A gross cereal – 27 seconds after pouring on the milk, it becomes a bowl of soggy phlegm and confectioners sugar.

        • Greg G.

          Really? A bowl of Lucky Charms can last 27 seconds without being devoured?

        • Paul B. Lot

          There’s your trouble, right there: you never ran a control group!

        • Ignorant Amos

          Only a complete arsehole thinks that Leprechaun’s don ‘t exit.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Conversion is the wrong word. Most Christian’s around me are not Christian’s at all. That is just a label they use because of the place they were born and the religion of their parent’s. Those that take any interest, do so for sectarian reasons. Nobody I know has read the Bible cover to cover. They are shocked at the bits I pull out that are not fit for Sunday School consumption. I wasn’t an atheist because I was ignorant on the subject and on the subject of other religions. In 60’s and 70’s Belfast it was all about indoctrination into the green side of Christianity, or the Orange side, and the nonsense made very little sense to me as a child. But knowing about, or even understanding apologetics only happened after l picked up The God Delusion, setting me on the path of learning the argument’s for belief and the counter argument’s for the opposite viewpoint. Oh, and reading the Bible. Prior to that, I knew nothing about the subject outside that I was meant to be part of the in-group who was right. But what sense did that even make?

          These days I’m igtheist. The whole idea of religious speak is meaningless word salad.

          It behoves those making the claim to define what it is exactly they are proposing and explain what method they use to support the claim…oh, and evidence…got evidence?

          Lewis could just as easily been like me. A Sunday School attending CoI Christian, then at 15, thinking, hey, this is a pile of bullshit, but not knowing the reason why from a position of information. Then at 31, being convinced by those around him that he wasn’t really an atheist, just pissed at God.

          What people here are claiming is that there is no evidence to support the claim that he was a fully informed atheist at 15, knowledgeable enough on all the argument’s for and against believe. That it is pure conjecture that his position was anything other than emotional. It is Bob’s position that it is highly unlikely that if he was an informed atheist, as opposed to someone who just thought belief didn’t make sense on the face of it, as we see in conversion stories all the time, he would have been less susceptible to return to Christianity. Albeit, a wishy washy, liberal ecumenical version.

        • Jim Dailey

          The post Bob referenced was in regard to people that convert from Christianity to Atheism, or from Atheism to Christianity.
          Bob contends in his post that there is one type of Christian, but there are multiple kinds of atheists, and only “weak” (for lack of a better term) atheists convert to Christianity.

          I posited to Bob that he should have had gradations of Christians who convert to Atheism as well.

          I cited your particular story as a person who was nominally/culturally Christian, but then converted. I indicated that you are a prime example of the gradations of Christian belief, and therefore an example of different subsets of Christians who convert. Therefore, not all Christian conversions should be lumped together.

          As to Lewis, I cited the fact that he was an honors student at Oxford while an atheist. I cite that as evidence he was a fully informed atheist, and had heard all of the atheist arguments.

          I find your particular story interesting on a personal level. I am an Irish-American Catholic whose family fled Ireland during the famine, but who left several relatives behind who starved to death.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Bob contends in his post that there is one type of Christian, but there are multiple kinds of atheists, and only “weak” (for lack of a better term) atheists convert to Christianity.

          As I read it, Bob contends nothing of the sort. I’ve been here a few years now, read Bob’s books, and seen him engage with a variety of Christians, so it seems you’ve misunderstood him if you believe he contends there is only one kind of Christian. We tend to say around here that there are as many kinds of Christianity’s as there are Christians.

          A lot of Christians, or those who thought they were Christians, might say they no longer follow their faith and are therefore atheist. They didn’t know much about Christianity, a position of most “Christians” I find. So claiming to be atheist is just a result of them turning their back on the religion they were labelled.

          There are atheists and there are atheists. As I pointed out in the original comment. I was atheist in that belief in gods seemed silly. But I knew none of the apologetics for Christianity, nor the counter arguments from the atheist side. Ergo I was an uniformed non-believer in gods…atheist if you like. That spanned from about the age of 8 or 9 until about 20 years ago when I started to think about the subject. But it was picking up a copy of TGD and the subsequent library of literature, that got me learning all the stuff that puts one into the informed bracket.

          The point is, weak Christians and weak atheists, convert. But while informed Christians, Ehrman and Carrier, et al, convert to non-believe, it is a rarity indeed to find an informed atheist convert to belief. I’m not saying they don’t exist, I just haven’t heard of any, and the atheist conversions that Christians trot out as an example, fall short of that category.

          I cited your particular story as a person who was nominally/culturally Christian, but then converted.

          Jim, we get religion here pumped down our throat from an early age. We get it as part of the educational curriculum. We get it at the weekend in church and Sunday School. We get it in extra curricular groups such as the Boys Brigade, Scouts, Orange Order, and other youth groups. Our school system is segregated along Christian sectarian lines. My disbelief as a youngster was the exception to the rule. But I didn’t know, or even care, what the term atheist meant until I bothered to look into it. I was atheist by definition, even though I was ignorant of the fact.

          I indicated that you are a prime example of the gradations of Christian belief, and therefore an example of different subsets of Christians who convert.

          Of course, but that hasn’t got the importance you want it to have in this debate. The two groups that are important are informed and uninformed. Uninformed Christians become non-believers, because they realise that the story is silly. They don’t consciously decide they are atheist. They just are by default. Informed Christians also become non-believers, but they do it because they are informed about Christianity, about atheism, or both. This makes their belief untenable and they know they have become atheist. The list of these guys is a long one.

          Now the counter doesn’t hold for atheists taking on a belief. That’s Bob’s point.

          Therefore, not all Christian conversions should be lumped together.

          No, but for the purpose of this argument, it is academic. It matters not a jot.

          As to Lewis, I cited the fact that he was an honors student at Oxford while an atheist. I cite that as evidence he was a fully informed atheist, and had heard all of the atheist arguments.

          The point is, you have produced no evidence to support what is purely conjecture.

          Lewis claims he was an atheist at 15, but when does he make that claim? Because we have nothing to support the claim that he was an atheist at 15, and even if he was, what did he know about atheism from aged 15 to whenever he claimed it? And that he knew all the arguments for atheism and was an informed atheist?

          Conjecture, while perhaps correct, requires evidence.

          Now the flip side, that we assert, is that informed atheists don’t convert to believe…unless for emotional reasons.

          We need to see an example of an informed atheist that started to believe for a well argued rational reason employing critical thinking. When you can produce either or both, you’ll get a chip at the table. Your wishful thinking won’t cut it, ya need evidence…got evidence?

          I find your particular story interesting on a personal level. I am an Irish-American Catholic whose family fled Ireland during the famine, but who left several relatives behind who starved to death.

          A bad time all round. The have’s and the have not’s. The fact was the majority of the have’s were the rich Protestant minority, while the have not’s were the poor Catholic majority. Though there were poor Protestants on the poor side, and rich Catholics on the rich side too.

          “The Irish case is unique, but that misery and human toll was not unique to one part of the community,” said Dr Costello.

          http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-30898074

        • Bob contends in his post that there is one type of Christian, but there are multiple kinds of atheists, and only “weak” (for lack of a better term) atheists convert to Christianity.

          Or, you could use the terms that I used: I said that atheists who were (1) well informed didn’t convert to Christianity for (2) intellectual reasons.

          I posited to Bob that he should have had gradations of Christians who convert to Atheism as well.

          I omitted something important? Then tell us what it is. If I missed a symmetry, you should be able to identify a subset of Christians who would never convert to atheism for intellectual reasons to parallel the atheists that I identified who would never convert to Christianity.

          As to Lewis, I cited the fact that he was an honors student at Oxford while an atheist. I cite that as evidence he was a fully informed atheist, and had heard all of the atheist arguments.

          Are you just passing the time of day, or do you have a point to make? If Lewis is a counterexample to my point, then explain that. If he’s not, then why bring him up?

        • Jim Dailey

          I was responding to comments Ignorant made regarding both questions IA had regarding our discussion, as well as an aside IA made about Lewis.

          I think my characterizations of your post regarding this particular conversation are contextually accurate.

        • Ignorant Amos

          A non-answer to the questions.

          I omitted something important? Then tell us what it is. If I missed a symmetry, you should be able to identify a subset of Christians who would never convert to atheism for intellectual reasons to parallel the atheists that I identified who would never convert to Christianity.

          Are you just passing the time of day, or do you have a point to make? If Lewis is a counterexample to my point, then explain that. If he’s not, then why bring him up?

          And the following is still not an accurate assessment of Bob’s position.

          Bob contends in his post that there is one type of Christian, but there are multiple kinds of atheists, and only “weak” (for lack of a better term) atheists convert to Christianity.

          As can be seen clearly in the following comment.

          I agree that there are lots of different kinds of Christians, but I don’t see how getting more fine grained is necessary. How does that change the fact that sometimes Christians become atheists? How or why they become atheists isn’t interesting; what’s interesting is that more than zero Christians become atheists. The whole point of the argument is that, by contrast, zero group 3 atheists become Christian.

          I think my characterizations of your post regarding this particular conversation are contextually accurate.

          Nope. Not even nearly right.

        • As I read your comments, you thought that you had made a rebuttal to my argument. The fMRI factoid might’ve been interesting to some, but it does nothing to respond to the argument. If you never intended to respond to it, then I guess we’re in agreement.

        • Kodie

          So sorry, but humans can be pretty suggestible, and putting too much emphasis on emotions can often steer someone towards joining a cult. Or how do you think the rest of the planet that has a different religion so vehemently disagrees with yours?

        • Jim Dailey

          That goes both ways Kodie. People become atheists for bad reasons as well. As you noted (I think it was you) that your atheism in your youth was not the same as your adult atheism.

          People may become atheists to fix a broken brain as well.

        • Kodie

          Tu quoque. First you have to come to grips that people are suggestible instead of weighing emotional reasons as good indicator that Christianity is correct.

        • Jim Dailey

          I wish I had tu quoque! It is a dissonance I have with either evolution or Gods design. (Sorry)

          Over on ATippling Philosopher – one True Religion a guy in the comment boxes is citing fmri studies from Sam Harris showing differences in brain processing for believers and non believers.

          I am going to go focus on that, as it looks like a logical extension of what we have discussed – including what constitutes a true belief and how it is processed in ones brain. However, it is pretty dense stuff (for me anyway)

        • Kodie

          Who becomes convinced of evolution by appeals to their emotions?

        • Pofarmer

          What the hell are you talking about Jim?

        • Pofarmer

          I wonder if he feels the same about those who have felt the love of Vishnu?

        • Pofarmer

          So you’re giving us a lesson. Good to know.

        • Jim Dailey

          Bob characterized it as a lesson. I would call it an example. However, for the sake of the convo, I just used his description.

        • Pofarmer

          I don’t know that Leah LIbresco was “Fully informed” as I don’t even know what that would mean. I do know that she converted because she decided that “Objective morality” was a thing, and then went full on woo Catholic.

        • Jim Dailey

          Leah Libresco posted a blog for a long time on Patheos Atheist. Also, she is a graduate of Yale – I think the divinity school (and was an atheist when graduating).

        • Pofarmer

          Pretty sure she was a math major.

        • Jim Dailey

          Political science. I stand corrected.

        • Her blog was “Unequally Yoked,” because she was an atheist, and her boyfriend was a Christian. (Obviously, she changed.)

          I don’t think her degree was in religion.

        • Pofarmer

          And even the idea of “Unequally yoked” is a Christian one.

        • epeeist

          You can’t tell me that Leah Libresco and CS Lewis were not fully informed

          The fact that some who were atheist become religious is hardly surprising, but one has to ask what proportion of those brought up without religion convert. Here in the UK it is about 6%. On the other hand some 44% of those brought up within the Church of England become non-religious as do 32% of those brought up as Catholic (Source).

          Your characterization of “strong” or “weak”
          Arguments for converting is subjective.

          Francis Collins became Catholic because he saw a waterfall frozen into three sections, is this a weak or a strong reason for converting?

        • Jim Dailey

          I think you are likely misrepresenting Collins conversion, but don’t feel like looking it up.

        • No, the frozen waterfall thing was indeed the trigger for Collins.

        • Jim Dailey

          I just read the story of Francis Collins. Thank you for advising me of this!
          I still think you mischaracterized his conversion story, but I thank you nonetheless.

          You know, I often wonder why I interact with atheists here, particularly since there are many nasty, inarticulate, asinine ones. However, it does force me to think, and to research, and for that I am grateful.

        • Kodie

          You can’t just say something without making a dig? You may have no idea how offensive, presumptuous, or illiterate you come off, and seems like you get offended easily, can’t understand what people are saying, and knee-jerk lump them into categories you can discard instead of paying attention to those you need to pay the most attention to.

        • Pofarmer

          Ignorant arrogance rears its ugly head.

        • epeeist

          My lesson has to do with the fact that once you have felt something, you have a far better understanding of it

          So was it a “weak” or “strong” reason for converting?

          You know, I often wonder why I interact with atheists here, particularly since there are many nasty, inarticulate, asinine ones.

          I don’t know why I still interact with Christians even though I have been called a nihilist by them, accused of having no morals, threatened with eternal damnation and burning in hell, and in one particular post called “ugly, wretched atheist scum”.

          See, I can make hasty generalisations as well.

        • Jim Dailey

          My apologies for my “brethren”. For what it is worth, I generally find your comments and questions thought provoking and challenging and your demeanor patient and respectful. I have seen you get salty, but as someone who engages in sophism myself, I fully understand the limits of patience when discussing irreconcialable differences. Frankly, I think your tolerance is higher than mine, and I respect that.

          I still disagree with your characterization of the frozen waterfall having read Colins’ account of his conversion. He clearly took the time to consider both Christian and atheist arguments and was moving toward Christianity at the time of his conversion.

          I think if a guy on a hike converts to Christianity after looking at a waterfall, with no other thought process, it would be a weak conversion. What would his ultimate conclusion be if he had chosen to hike in a desert?

          However, given the efforts Collins put into it, I would call it a strong conversion.

        • epeeist

          My apologies for my “brethren”

          Besides Christianity the other thing that seems to be common with those who throw such insults is that they are on the conservative or right wing side of the political spectrum.

          He clearly took the time to consider both Christian and atheist
          arguments and was moving toward Christianity at the time of his
          conversion.

          One rarely gets a single cause when it comes to human beings, there is usually a mix of proximate and distal causes. Nevertheless the frozen waterfall was the trigger for Collin’s conversion. One has to wonder what would have happened if he had seen a waterfall divided into two parts. Would he have ignored since it didn’t fit with his direction of travel, interpreted as something else (the division into good and evil?) or possibly become a Zorastrian.

        • Jim Dailey

          One rarely gets a single cause when it comes to human beings, there is usually a mix of proximate and distal causes. Nevertheless the frozen waterfall was the trigger for Collin’s conversion. One has to wonder what would have happened if he had seen a waterfall divided into two parts.

          His proximate and distal causes seemed pretty impressive to me.

          As I said to Bob S. below, I would look askance at his conversion if the extent of it was seeing God in a pretty ice formation. But that was not how he converted. It looks and sounds like he did a grueling review of the data before reaching his decision.

        • Kodie
        • Jim Dailey
        • Susan

          Where is the grueling review of “the data”?

        • Jim Dailey

          That was a concept I was really unprepared to hear. Until then, I don’t think anyone had ever suggested to me that faith was a conclusion that one could arrive at on the basis of rational thought. I, and I suspect, many other scientists who’ve never really looked at the evidence, had kind of assumed that faith was something that you arrived at, either because it was drummed into your head when you were a little kid or by some emotional experience, or some sort of cultural pressure. The idea that you would arrive at faith because it made sense, because it was rational, because it was the most appropriate choice when presented with the data, that was a new concept. And yet, reading through the pages of Lewis’s book, I came to that conclusion over the course of several very painful weeks

        • The idea that you would arrive at faith because it made sense, because it was rational, because it was the most appropriate choice when presented with the data, that was a new concept.

          And it’s become popular among some apologists. I still find this unbelievable. I think that most people who subscribe to this are using it as cover to allow them to accept Christianity for emotional reasons, not intellectual.

        • Kodie

          Or, you think maybe an author of fiction may be particularly skilled at making an emotional reason come off as intellectual, and they can’t tell the difference? Francis Collins (according to the article Jim posted) couldn’t tell the difference. He even called it “data”. It’s marketing. It hit him where he wants to be hit.

        • Jim Dailey

          Why do you have an issue with accepting that emotional inputs are crucial to all virtually every important decision a human makes?

        • Because that’s a tangent to the actual discussion? Or was that a trick question?

          Yes, I have read that the part of the brain that deals with emotions also deals with decisions. Not what we’re talking about.

          Do you understand the difference between “It looks safe to cross the street now” and “I really don’t want to die”? One is an intellectual statement and one is an emotional statement. That’s what we’re talking about.

          And why even bring this up when I was responding to your claim that Christian belief is firmly grounded in rationality?? Have you lost faith in your statement?

        • Kodie

          How do you assume that emotions are in any way reliable? I’m not saying emotions are always unreliable or are unnecessary function of humanity, but theists tend to put a larger emphasis on “other ways of knowing” when they mean emotions. The arguments for god’s existence just don’t reconcile with reality, but people who are already rationally suppressed by their emotions are vulnerable to terrible arguments because they wish it to be true.

          For all the crap you’ve been trying, do you ever even consider the other side, or have you planted yourself on one side, and try anything, because it means too much to you emotionally?

        • Kodie

          Yeah, he was raised the kind of shallow atheist like I was. When confronted with the emotionally (to him) satisfying arguments for theism, he says he felt unsettled. He hadn’t heard those before and wasn’t prepared with any sort of counter-arguments why they’re bullshit. “This is something I have really longed for all my life without realizing it,” sounds pretty emotional to me.

        • Pofarmer

          Not to mention his Christian wife.

        • Jim Dailey

          I make the case with Bob below that the type of atheism you describe is actually an emotive “religous”
          Type of atheism.

          http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0007272

          The study was sponsored Sam Harris. It concludes that the exact same brain mechanism is used in processing challenges to beliefs in both atheists and religionists with strongly held convictions.

          The interesting part to me was the screening process for the study, and the reasons for excluding the data from a fairly large number of the subjects.

        • Zeta

          I posted some information on the change of Lewis’s religious/atheistic belief because many Christians like to trot out fairly well-known Christians (CS Lewis, Lee Strobel, Josh McDowell, Francis Collins, etc.) as being former atheists. Their intention was often to show the world that “See! These intelligent people saw the light and abandoned their previous mistaken atheistic beliefs” trying to show the superiority and truth of Christianity over atheism.

          However, on closer examination, many were very weak cases that do not merit the implications of the claim. Some of these people are best described as “apatheists”; some simply made empty claims with almost nothing to show. I would be impressed if people like Richard Dawkins, Christopher Higgins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, Bob Seidensticker, John Loftus and others who have numerous atheistic writings, articles, books, etc to their credit converted to Christianity.

          It really does not matter that some people claim that they were former atheists. What I am irked about is they are being paraded as model examples of the superiority of Christianity when these former atheists frequently have little to show other than their fame and claim.

          Needless to say, if the esteemed Edward T. Babinski ever does convert, he will not have been a “true” atheist.

          Your are totally wrong on this. Ed Babinski was a former fundamentalist Christian. With all his writings on Christianity and atheism available for all to read, contrary to what you said, I would consider him a former atheist even if he converted back to Christianity. No doubt about it. The main criterion is that a former atheist who is paraded to convince others must have something solid to show.

        • Jim Dailey

          “Something solid to show”.
          What a nice standard to have at your beck and call.
          Sorry, I smell bullshit.

        • Zeta

          What is wrong with asking for some solid evidence to back up a claim? Yeah, without such evidence, most probably you only have bullshit.

        • Jim Dailey

          Except you can, and will and do move the goalposts as to what constitutes “solid evidence” in every instance.
          You make it up as you go along.

        • epeeist

          Except you can, and will and do move the goalposts as to what constitutes “solid evidence” in every instance.

          Ah, a preemptive strike made to undermine any argument before it is made, also known as “poisoning the well”.

        • Jim Dailey

          “a preemptive strike made to undermine any argument before it is made, also known as “poisoning the well”.

          No. Simply an observation that atheists do not have a codified, documented, recognized, agreed upon basis for their claims.

          Look at the string.

          I ask one of you
          “What makes one an atheist?”

          Answer: A lack of belief in god”. Ok, simple enough. Clear.

          CS Lewis certainly could inderstand this. He says, in the midst of obtaining high honors at Oxford “I am an atheist”

          Then, he converts.

          Now there are several requests for “solid evidence” that Lewis was really an atheist.

          What kind of bullshit argument style is that?

        • Zeta

          “CS Lewis certainly could inderstand this. He says, in the midst of obtaining high honors at Oxford “I am an atheist””

          Either you have a comprehension problem or you pretend not to understand. I stated clearly that I would ask for solid evidence if a former atheist is trotted out as a model example to serve some apologetic ends. If this is not the case, I couldn’t care less whether a convert such as Lewis was a former atheist or a former Buddhist, Muslim or Hindu.

        • Jim Dailey

          Zeta
          You or some other atheist said the only requirement for being an atheist was that one does not believe in the existence of God.
          Lewis clearly understood this requirement. Lewis professed to being an atheist.
          Now you are demanding evidence that fulfills some undefined subjective standard that Lewis was a “true” atheist.

        • Zeta

          “Now you are demanding evidence that fulfills some undefined subjective standard that Lewis was a “true” atheist.”

          You really have a comprehension problem. I have just stated my position on this issue in the very comment that you responded to. Is there a need for me to repeat it?
          Lewis has often been trotted out as a former atheist by Christian apologists as one of their poster boys, so it is reasonable to ask for evidence (articles, books, discussions, debates, etc.) so as to examine this claim more closely. Is that so hard to understand?

        • epeeist

          I ask one of you
          “What makes one an atheist?”

          You can write this in one statement of doxastic logic:

          ~p:G

          Now there are several requests for “solid evidence” that Lewis was really an atheist.

          What kind of bullshit argument style is that?

          You are happy to accept unjustified assertions?

        • Kodie

          I believe he was an atheist if he says so. What were his reasons for rejecting religious belief? That makes a difference in how one can become convinced that god exists, on emotional appeal. The arguments for theism do not make sense unless you really really want to ignore that the don’t make sense. Pumping them up with philosophical arguments that assume whatever conclusion you wish do not make them any more solid as a basis for converting. You have to understand how weak it is for a Christian or other theist to claim they used to be an atheist. I used to be an atheist too, when I was a kid. I’m an atheist now in a substantially different way, now that I have learned why religious claims don’t stand up to scrutiny or reality. It’s not so much a matter of looking how cruel the world is after witnessing war, and doubting a god, but knowing the claims that theists make and knowing why they are invented and not coherent or compatible with reality, in a thorough way. Are you going to produce the evidence of how Lewis substantiated his claim to be an atheist? Is it just because he couldn’t at one time reconcile a good god with war, and then he broke his brain as some sort of coping mechanism, as it seems to me?

        • Susan

          No. Simply an observation that atheists do not have a codified, documented, recognized, agreed upon basis for their claims.

          All I’m claiming is that I don’t believe people when they say (apparently) imaginary deities actually exist.

          Do you believe my immaterial snowflake fairies don’t exist? Or do you simply not believe they do?

          You continue to shift the burden.

          Are you claiming a deity exists? If so, how do you support that claim?

          The main point is that Lewis, Libresco, Collins et al don’t support that claim.

          Any more than believers in psychic ability, faith healing, astrology, scientology, fairies, etc. support their claims.

          What goal posts can we move? I don’t care about labels. They are only a problem when a christian points at someone like Lewis and says “Look. There’s a clever fellow who used to be an atheist but now he’s a believer.”

          Talk about bullshit argument style.

          I can only note that no one has ever provided substantial support for the existence of a deity.

          Can you?

        • Zeta

          Are you the Christian god and you have foreknowledge that I “will and do move the goalposts and make up evidence as I go along”? You don’t even know me and I believe this is the first time I interacted with you.
          You have been backed into a corner and to save face, you resort to lying.

        • Jim Dailey

          Zeta – I am using “you” in the collective of “you new atheists”.
          I am presuming that you belong to this group.
          I apologize if I gave offense. Not my intention. Merely a criticism of discussion style.

        • Zeta

          Okay. Thanks for the clarification.

        • Kodie

          Nothing any Christian has ever said constitutes solid evidence. It is all wishful thinking, emotional appeals, theological fancy bullshit, and of course, begging the question.

        • Susan

          What a nice standard to have at your beck and call.

          It seems to be a reasonable standard.

          Neither Lewis nor Libresco have something solid to show. That’s the problem.

          If one is claiming that an agent exists, they have to provide something solid to support that claim. Neither Lewis nor Libresco do.

          If you think they do, you’ll need to provide that.

          If I claimed that I was mad at leprechauns for not existing but then attempted Lewis’s trilemma to explain why I finally accepted they do, would you see that as something solid?

        • Knowledgeable atheists do (rarely) convert to Christianity. What they don’t do is convert for intellectual reasons.

        • Nick G

          I have absolutely no problem in admitting that undoubted, no-quibbles atheists do convert to Christianity (and other religions). But C.S. Lewis was, if we take at face value what he said of himself (about being “angry at God for not existing”), not among them.

        • Susan

          Lewis convinced himself of atheism

          It doesn’t work that way. Any more than once convinces oneself that alien abductions haven’t happened.

          If someone claims that extraterrestrials exist and are popping down to earth from time to time, conducting probes, not believing the person who provides no support for that claim doesn’t require convincing oneself that it is impossible.

          You are shifting the burden.

          using the very same argument I have seen repeated ad nauseum on this very blog

          It’s an incredibly cruel old planet that doesn’t seem consistent in any way with the claims of ancient myths?

          You call that ad nauseum? Any agent that created life out of metaphysical nothingness is morally responsible for the cruelty. Hundreds of millions of years of it.

          Or we can just say it’s a mythology. Superstition.

          If you are calling it something else, then show that it is something else.

          Pointing at clever people who play along with this myth is not support for that myth.

          Clever people are capable of believing in non-eixstent things.

          That no christian ever clearly defines their claim and supports it is a problem.

          That they begin by shifting the burden is a bgger problem.

        • Clever people are capable of believing in non-eixstent things.

          That can be a lot less taxing than admitting that you’ve been wrong your entire adult life about your worldview.

      • Kevin K

        Nietzsche studied to be a minister. I think you should totally agree with everything Nietzsche had to say because he studied to be a minister.

      • Daniel Niehoff

        CS Lewis did change his mind about there being a god, but he was wrong in thinking that the universe we have exists differently than we would have expected. Christianity’s explanation for how we came to exist sounds precisely like someone made it up. It claims “god did it,” which is a very easy answer that can only be used less and less as we find natural answers to more and more of the questions that were previously answered simplistically by “god did it.” Things attributed to the supernatural and/or god are becoming less frequent as science uncovers more of the answers. God and the supernatural are slowly disappearing as our knowledge grows. Perhaps C.S. Lewis would have a different view regarding this subject if he were around today and had access to the knowledge we now collectively posses.

        • Jim Dailey

          I cannot really comment on the rightness or wrongness of Lewis’ assertions. I would want to read his body of work before pronouncing that a single quote posted on a website accurately reflects his complete aspect on the matter. Frankly, I have no idea what he means when he says the universe exists differently than we would expect.
          All I am trying to say is that Lewis agreed at some point that atheism was the proper world view, that we can assume he understood fully the implications of that worldview. How much
          More open-minded can you get about something?

        • Pofarmer

          All I am trying to say is that Lewis agreed at some point that atheism
          was the proper world view, that we can assume he understood fully the
          implications of that worldview

          We don’t have any writings from Lewis during that time period, only from after. And all we have are biographies now. Given that historically, as has already been pointed out, the term “Atheism” was used just to mean non-christian, and it’s known that Lewis dabbled in “the occult” and possibly some kind of paganism, it’s unclear what worldview Lewis did or didn’t understand the implications of. In other words, there isn’t any clear indication just exactly what he believed. If you can find it, great.

        • Ignorant Amos

          All I am trying to say is that Lewis agreed at some point that atheism was the proper world view, that we can assume he understood fully the implications of that worldview.

          And the point is, we can assume fuck all of the sort. That is the bit you are refusing to grasp. To ass-u-me is to make an ass out of U and me.

          How much More open-minded can you get about something?

          No one here is against open mindedness, but not so open that whatever brains on has, falls out.

          It might well be that Lewis was well read on the atheist arguments and made that rare thing of converting from atheism to Christianity via an informed rational choice. It might be that he converted to atheism and then set about his investigation on why it was the rational position until his reconversion to Christianity later. But you are asserting that common sense should lead us here all to the position that because he was highly educated in philosophy at an esteemed seat of learning and that makes him somehow special, that he must have been privy to the details required for informed choices, and as such, was an informed atheist. This is pure conjecture until it can be supported with evidence. Common sense isn’t all that sensible, or common for that matter.

          Without the evidence, you have no better an hypothesis than anyone else…got evidence?

        • It’s the continual reboots that are the best evidence for me. First it’s Abraham. No … hold on, it’s actually Moses. And then *God smacks forehead* we’ve forgotten to put Jesus in! He should’ve been there from Day 1. In fact, let’s reinterpret Genesis so that he is.

        • Pofarmer

          I kind of wonder how the whole Moses thing got incorporated into the story when there’s no evidence for it? I mean, they already had the perfectly good Garden of Eden story. And then the perfectly good Abraham story. Why add the Moses story and the Exodus? There is a theory that what would be the Septuagint was actually written by committee during the Babylonian exile when a group of Hebrew priests/scholars were allowed to go to the library at Alexandria. It makes about as much sense as anything else, and explains why the Bible starts getting some of it’s history right around 600 BC or so.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The entire thing is a concoction of political propagandists and religious exiles grafted onto the origin myth and tribal genealogies of a band of Bronze-Age Canaanite hill farmers, shepherds and goat-herders with delusions of grandeur.

          http://rosarubicondior.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/origins-of-exodus-myth.html

        • Greg G.

          I read the theory that they got the annihilation of the Canaanites from the old stories of the Habiru, which they transliterated to “Hebrew”.

          Habiru (sometimes written as Hapiru, and more accurately ‘Apiru, meaning “dusty, dirty”) is a term used in 2nd millennium BCE texts throughout the Fertile Crescent for people variously described as rebels, outlaws, raiders, mercenaries, bowmen, servants, slaves, and laborers.[1] [2] [3][4][5] The discovery of the Amarna letters (diplomatic correspondence between the Egyptian court and subordinate kings in Canaan), which frequently mention them, gave rise to the idea that they could be identified with the Biblical Hebrews, but as more texts were discovered from wider areas and times, it became clear that the term had no ethnic affiliations.[6]

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

          Genesis has some accounts of large storehouses for grain. Were they talking about the pyramids not knowing that they were not warehouses? Then they could come up with slaves building and filling those storehouses. Then they were slaves leaving Egypt. I think they could have taken many gods and turned them into humans, scaling down some of their stories. Moses having a fistfight with God, Jacob wrestling with God and God had to cheat to win, Samson and Elijah were sun gods, Elisha was either a sun good or a moon god.

        • Jim Dailey

          “Give us one miracle and we’ll explain the rest.”

          I.e. the Big Bang.

          The whole universe exists from …. nothing?

          Also, I am no young earth creationist by any means, but the scientific explanations for not only replicating DNA and the entirety of evolution boiling down to a series of atoms bumping into each other in just such a way seems to me to require a far greater leap of faith than the idea that there is an as yet undetectable force influencing the development of our existence.

        • Michael Neville

          Your “series of atoms bumping into each other” just shows ignorance of chemistry and evolution. It takes zero faith to accept chemical reactions and evolutionary change, just an understanding how each of them works.

        • Paul B. Lot

          It takes zero faith to accept chemical reactions and evolutionary change, just an understanding how each of them works.

          Yeah, but if you lack the latter, to do the former you have to trust the conclusions of your betters*.

          In anti-intellectual America, where DunningKruger is the national passtime – nothing says “gutless weenie” like accepting that you might not know/be able to judge.

        • Jim Dailey

          Also nothing says pompous windbag like falsely claiming you have all the answers.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Indeed.

          How fortunate for me, then, that I never claimed such a thing.

        • Kevin K

          Also nothing says pompous windbag like falsely claiming you have all the answers.

          See section on “projection”.

          https://psychcentral.com/lib/15-common-defense-mechanisms/

        • Jim Dailey

          It takes a shitload of faith to believe that replicating DNA just formed out of the primordial soup.

          It takes another shitload of faith to believe that something like eyesight came about because some gamma ray came down and randomly knocked a gene sequence out of order.

          Whatever, this is an argument for a different post. If you want to call me a Luddite fine, get it over with, you can have last word.

        • If you want to focus on crazy science, focus on quantum physics. That’s truly baffling. It’s true, of course, but it’s still annoying, and I don’t like having my common sense insulted so violently. Please focus on that instead of evolution.

          What’s baffling about the Creationist position is that they accept the fundamental mechanisms–mutation and natural selection–that biologists propose. That’s how they accept antibiotic resistance, for example. Just take that and add more time, and there’s evolution.

        • It takes a shitload of faith to believe that replicating DNA just formed out of the primordial soup.

          You’re saying that this is abiogenesis? Not that I’ve heard. Show us.

          My suggestion: wait until there’s a scientific consensus to disbelieve in. Abiogenesis isn’t quite there yet.

        • Michael Neville

          You’re even ignorant about what Luddism is. Somehow you seem proud of your ignorance and unwilling to change it.

        • Pofarmer

          Somehow you seem proud of your ignorance and unwilling to change it.

          This is rather a common Christian trait. They’re proud of it, even.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The thing is…it is no longer ignorance once it has been pointed out. When they continually wallow in what was once excusable as ignorance, it then becomes asininity.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Luddite?

          You are not as intellectually astute as you imagine.

        • Pofarmer

          Dammit, you beat me to it. Add Luddite to another one of the things that Jim doesn’t understand. Fer fucks sake.

        • Ignorant Amos

          MN is way ahead of us both.

        • Zeta

          Jim Dailey: “It takes a shitload of faith to believe that…

          What do you mean by the word “faith” here? Any connection with faith as used in Christianity?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Only if ya don’t know shit. As it appears by all the confusion in that very short comment.

          Try something a bit more entry level to get you started.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=370&v=9lRGp5JHLJk

        • Kevin K

          It takes a shitload of faith to believe that replicating DNA just formed out of the primordial soup.

          That’s why nobody believes that. Strawman arguments are made of straw.

        • So you’re an old-earth Creationist?

          If evolution just seems incredible to you, I’m sure you can figure out a way to work on that. But to address your example directly, imagine grains of sand/dirt being pushed by a river that, after thousands of years, creates a particular meander in the river. And then, with more time, that meander moves and changes.

          You can zoom in to the sand-grain level and say, “Wow! These little movements, multiplied by millions, creates a river meander? I just won’t believe it.” And yet simple physics explains it. I’m not sure why evolution is trickier, but there are textbooks.

          https://geographyiseasy.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/meanders-2.png

        • Jim Dailey

          Bob

          Do the math. Humans have been around for 200 k years give or take.

          There has been no appreciable physical change in mankind – no additions of senses, appendages, nervous system structure in 200 k years.

          Life on earth showed up 3 billion years ago.

          To the extent we have seen no significant physical change over 200k years, that gives 15,000 iterations if change to go from single celled animals to fully developed humans – with a couple of mass extinctions thrown in along the way!

          Listen, I’m not saying there is not some as yet undiscovered mechanism that can be comprehended by science involved. In fact, I think that is likely the case.

          All I am saying is that all you folks running around yelling that random change coupled with natural selection got us from amoeba to splitting the atom in this time frame sound like you are making some pretty desperate assertions.

        • Susan

          Do the math. Humans have been around for 200 k years give or take.

          You never explained why a (so far imaginary) deity would torture life forms to death for hundreds of millions of years just ’cause “humans”.

          Life on earth showed up 3 billions years ago.

          Indeed. Not very long ago in the history of the universe.

          Hmmmm…..

          To the extent we have seen no significant physical change over 200k years,

          Yes. This species has survived and reproduced for a long time. Not very long compared to other species. No “significant” change seems to go hand in hand with what a species is. That is, it survives and reproduces. Although, “significant” is a vague enough term that I find it uninteresting. Suffice it to say that a species that continues does so by surviving and reproducing.

          This species is also closely related to all the other species of hominid that died out. That’s how natural selection works. Surviving and reproducing is what makes a species a species. If you think our particular species of hominid is special in the history of life on earth, you haven’t showed it.

          All I am saying is that all you folks running around yelling that random change coupled with natural selection got us from amoeba to splitting the atom in this time frame sound like you are making some pretty desperate assertions.

          No one is “running around yelling it. Mountains of evidence supports it in model after model across scientific disciplines.

          No one is “running around yelling” that germs, viruses, bacteria and genetic mutations cause disease either.

          They can show it.

          That they can’t show every model of every route to every disease doesn’t mean that it takes faith not to believe in demon theory.

          So, after shifting the burden (pointing at clever people who used to be atheists), shifting the burden again (by linking to a study that doesn’t show that wrong and right positions are necessarily equal, although that seems to be what you are trying to squeeze out of it), you revert to basic fallacious christian apologetics.

          Why not just begin with that in the first place?

          What are you claiming and how do you support it?

        • Pofarmer

          I think I need to ban myself for a while. These idiots are getting to me.

        • Susan

          I think I need to ban myself for a while.

          I understand.

          These idiots are getting to me.

          That their claims are incoherent, that the claims that are remotely coherent are logically flawed, that they don’t have evidence and special plead their way out of evidential requirements and that their moral arguments are appalling (prima facie) and have not escaped Euthyphro’s Dilemma since it was put forward is bad enough.

          They might as well be selling magic beans.

          And blaming us for not buying them.

          All they have is burden shifting and special pleading.

          And other fallacies.

          Oh… and… nothing.

        • Greg G.

          Just block them for a while. Banning yourself will only reduce the signal-to-noise ratio for the rest of us. Stop thinking about yourself so much and think about ME!

        • No one is “running around yelling it”. Mountains of evidence supports it in model after model across scientific disciplines.

          Churches have to have weekly meetings where Christians sing and pray and convince each other that their beliefs are true. Science uses evidence.

          I think I’ll go with the one with the track record.

        • epeeist

          So, after shifting the burden (pointing at clever people who used to be atheists), shifting the burden again

          You forgot the “argument from personal incredulity”.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Jim started off a wee bit high brow. He associated himself with scientists in one comment afaicr…but he has gone done hill rapidly in the last loada comments.

          I was away from Thursday. Stranglers concert in Belfast Friday…Glasgow for the football on Saturday, back home on Sunday for a function in the club. Woke up to an in box with over 600 notifications that are degrading in rationality as I wade through them.

          Just another Dime Bar at the end of the day methinks.

        • Kevin K

          I want your life!

        • Greg G.

          He didn’t invite any of us. Now he is rubbing our noses in it.

        • Kevin K

          It’s the opposite of a “humblebrag”, isn’t it?

        • Ignorant Amos

          You boys are taking it bad…//s

          A see you are having a set to with Kendall Fields? It’s no wonder ya want my life ffs.

        • Kevin K

          Ha. I’m finally getting to use memes that I’ve been collecting. It’s kinda fun!

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ha…The Stranglers gig was a reschedule from the 3 March because of the weather.

          Someone on here once asked me had I seen “Therapy?” before? I hadn’t, though I knew they were a local band made good…it might have been MNb…I’ve seen them now, they were the support band.

          A bit of a jaunt from the new world for a weekend don’t ya think?

        • Ignorant Amos

          LoL

        • Ignorant Amos

          This one is just taking a bit longer to demonstrate he’s a run-of-the-mill Dime Bar.

        • There has been no appreciable physical change in mankind – no additions of senses, appendages, nervous system structure in 200 k years.

          Yeah, good point. We should have 3 arms by now.

          Evolution is bunk.

          Life on earth showed up 3 billion years ago.
          To the extent we have seen no significant physical change over 200k years, that gives 15,000 iterations if change to go from single celled animals to fully developed humans – with a couple of mass extinctions thrown in along the way!

          15,000 what??

          All I am saying is that all you folks running around yelling that random change coupled with natural selection got us from amoeba to splitting the atom in this time frame sound like you are making some pretty desperate assertions.

          It’s the scientific consensus. You think I’m going to say, “Well, the people who actually understand the issue tell us that evolution is the explanation, but that Jim Dailey—he’s a nice guy, and he’s asked questions I can’t answer, so I think I’ll follow his thinking”?

          That would be idiotic.

          (And, small thing, but your use of “amoeba” as the starting point makes clear how little you understand of the relevant biology. My advice, which you’ll doubtless ignore, is to not talk about evolution until you’re well educated–and I mean educated not by reading stuff at Answers in Genesis or the Disco Institute.)

        • Jim Dailey

          I never said evolution was bunk. I am saying that the idea that random mutation and natural selection are the only causes of evolution smells like desperation.
          I go on to say that the yet undiscovered influence will likely be scientifically verifiable. I am not putting God anywhere in my proposition.

        • Greg G.

          The way to have a lot of good ideas is to have a lot of ideas and eliminate the bad ideas. Random mutation produces a lot of changes and natural selection eliminates the worse of them. The worst are eliminated faster.

        • Kevin K

          The first rule of Dunning-Kruger Club is that you don’t know you’re in Dunning-Kruger Club.

        • There’s a slightly cruel edge to that observation, but a deserved one, I think!

        • Greg G.

          There are two divisions to that club: the below average over-estimators and the above average under-estimators.

          Except for driving ability. Most people seem to think they are above average drivers while those who think they are worse than average drivers are probably correct.

        • Paul B. Lot
        • I never said evolution was bunk. I am saying that the idea that random mutation and natural selection are the only causes of evolution smells like desperation.

          And biologists don’t say that those are the only two elements of evolution (not that your evaluation of their desperation is relevant to anything).

          I am not putting God anywhere in my proposition.

          What’s that supposed to mean? That you like Intelligent Design?

        • One other suggestion: look up “nylonase,” then tell us what that has to do with evolution.

        • epeeist

          Life on earth showed up 3 billion years ago

          A bit longer than that apparently, but close enough.

          To the extent we have seen no significant physical change over 200k years, that gives 15,000 iterations if change to go from single celled animals to fully
          developed humans – with a couple of mass extinctions thrown in along the way!

          This is nonsense. Firstly you can’t simply divide the time that humans have been around into the time that life has been around and claim that is the number of iterations to go from the initial replicator to human beings, if you look at a bacterium like e coli for instance you get a new generation every 20 minutes in optimal conditions. Secondly a generation in terms of current humans is 25 years, if primitive humans follow the same patterns as our closest relative Bonobo Pan paniscus then a generation would have been half of this value and possibly even shorter. You also neglect the time of generation for all our other precursors. And just another point, I am not aware of anybody who claims that the initial form of life on earth was a “single celled animal”.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You’ve no idea, have ya?

          The classic analogy for illustrating the relative durations of parts of the geologic time scale is the yardstick: Imagine that all the earth’s history is laid out on a yardstick. Recall that the original measure of the yard was the distance from the king’s nose to the tip of his fingers. If one yard represents all of geologic time, then one swipe of a nail file across the tip of king’s finger will remove all of human history…

          Here’s a tool that can assist you with the concept.

          Imagine that the entire history of the earth is 1m long.

          The history of the earth would look like this:

          Recorded Human History: 0.0021739130434 mm.

          First Homo sapiens: 0.0004347826089 mm.

          http://www.athro.com/geo/hgfr1.html

        • Ignorant Amos

          All I am saying is that all you folks running around yelling that random change coupled with natural selection got us from amoeba to splitting the atom in this time frame sound like you are making some pretty desperate assertions.

          At the beginning of the last century powered manned flight was but a dream.

          Where are we now?

          Do you think that just over a hundred years ago, if you’d said we had stood on the moon and planning to send folk to Mars, you’d have been taken seriously?

          Evolution is not a linear process…like the development of flight as an analogy.

        • Jim Dailey

          “Evolution is not a linear process…like the development of flight as an analogy.”

          Precisely the point I am making regarding my “unknown mechanism”. That is, we have all seen birds flap their wings to fly. We initially thought that the flapping caused the flight. We invented machines that flapped wings under that premise.
          When lift was discovered is when man finally took off.

          All I am saying is that while we all recognize that mutation and selection play a part in evolution (much as birds flap their wings to fly) we do not yet appreciate the true nature of what it is or how it works.

          I even stipulated that whatever this unknown mechanism is, it is likely to be scientifically verifiable. I am not sure why my proposition pisses off atheists.

          Thus, while today we look at old movies of machines with flapping wings and point and laugh, I am cautioning all the people vested in the idea that mutation and selectivity are the be-all and end all of evolution may end up on history’s blooper reel.

        • Kevin K

          All I am saying is that while we all recognize that mutation and selection play a part in evolution (much as birds flap their wings to fly) we do not yet appreciate the true nature of what it is or how it works.

          Here you go.

          https://www.amazon.com/What-Evolution-Science-Masters-Ernst/dp/0465044263

        • Kevin K

          Here’s one on speciation, which is something you definitely have zero clue as to what it is…

          https://www.amazon.com/Speciation-Jerry-Coyne/dp/0878930892

          The author is something of a dick … but his science is solid.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Precisely the point I am making regarding my “unknown mechanism”. That is, we have all seen birds flap their wings to fly. We initially thought that the flapping caused the flight. We invented machines that flapped wings under that premise.

          But the discovery of lift was just one branch of the tree. As it happens, control was every bit as important as lift. The Wright brothers were developing control, while at the same time reworking the existing aeronautical data from a number of sources…and at the same time developing a workable drive train.

          The like I said, it is not a linear process.

          All I am saying is that while we all recognize that mutation and selection play a part in evolution (much as birds flap their wings to fly) we do not yet appreciate the true nature of what it is or how it works.

          We appreciate enough of the true nature of what it is and how it works than you appear to demonstrate knowledge of, whether you have that knowledge or not, or choose to hand wave it away, is another issue.

          For the second time this week I find myself citing the essay “The Relativity of Wrong” by Isaac Asimov.

          http://chem.tufts.edu/AnswersInScience/RelativityofWrong.htm

          I even stipulated that whatever this unknown mechanism is, it is likely to be scientifically verifiable.

          What’s wrong with the current scientific mechanism? Why do you need another unknown mechanism?

          I am not sure why my proposition pisses off atheists.

          Your proposition doesn’t piss atheists off. It’s just stupid. It’s stupid because you offer no hypothesis as to what the unknown mechanism might be, or how it would improve what we have. We all here agree that science is provisional. That a theory that does everything the current theory does and more, is to be favoured. But just saying you don’t like the current position because it doesn’t answer everything to your personal satisfaction, but you can’t come up with the alternative, doesn’t mean that the current theory is equal to early flight pioneers putting on feather suits and jumping off castle walls while flapping furiously. The Theory of Evolution is a highly developed one covering many disciplines. It has moved on from Darwin’s day.

          Thus, while today we look at old movies of machines with flapping wings and point and laugh, I am cautioning all the people vested in the idea that mutation and selectivity are the be-all and end all of evolution may end up on history’s blooper reel.

          Yeah…hindsight is great. Wasn’t the idea of the four humor’s very naively quaint. The homunculus theory of foetal development crazy. The demon theory of disease is ludicrous. What you seem to be inferring is that there will be some breakthrough yet unknown mechanism that will null and void what we know today and usurp the ToE, you’ve just no idea what it will be. But that logic could apply to just about anything. It is the you not knowing what it will be, but it’ll not be what we think it is, is the bit that is puzzling. Aliens did it works too…though Dawkins states that whatever alternate mechanism is discovered, it will follow a similar blue print of the ToE.

        • Greg G.

          To the extent we have seen no significant physical change over 200k years,

          The size of the human brain increased by 200 cc from 1.25 million years ago to 250,000 years ago. That goes for Neanderthals, too, before and after their line diverged from ours. From 250k years until 50k years ago, the size of the brains of each increased by 250 cc, which corresponds to the time when Neanderthals went extinct and our line went through a genetic bottleneck, which shows how close our line was to extinction.

          The brain size of humans has shown a decrease over the last 20k years, since the last ice age. Domesticated animals have smaller brains than their wild ancestors. Perhaps we domesticated ourselves. But it does show extensive physical change over the past 200k years, especially the physical part that makes us different than other animals.

        • Greg G.

          Do the math.

          Life on earth showed up 3 billion years ago.

          To the extent we have seen no significant physical change over 200k years, that gives 15,000 iterations if change to go from single celled animals to fully developed humans – with a couple of mass extinctions thrown in along the way!

          That’s one iteration every 200,000 years, using your figures.

        • epeeist

          That’s one iteration every 200,000 years, using your figures.

          Why is it that all creationists seem to be innumerate?

        • Greg G.

          Especially the Trinitarians.

        • epeeist

          Especially the Trinitarians.

          Jim is somewhat different but the other thing with many of the creationists that we get here is that they also seem to be functionally illiterate, unable to form sentences that are anywhere near grammatically correct or to realise that posting a 23 line long single paragraph doesn’t improve the readability of your post.

        • Kevin K

          There has been no appreciable physical change in mankind – no additions of senses, appendages, nervous system structure in 200 k years.

          Wrong:

          https://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/news/070401_lactose

          And

          http://genetics.thetech.org/original_news/news66

        • BlackMamba44

          If I had only scrolled just a little more. 🙂

          But I got curious on skin color and hair when looking for my above pics so reading it now. Thanks!

        • Kevin K

          When someone starts using the tired Arguments from Ignorance/Incredulity, I am starting to use this as my strategy. Links to either books (texts are best) or peer-review articles on the subject. Credible secondary sources also are acceptable.

          Especially when discussing settled science, like the ToE.

        • Kevin K

          Here’s another…peer reviewed journal. RECENT evolutionary changes in humans.

          http://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.2002458

        • BlackMamba44

          “no appreciable physical change in mankind”

          Really? Lemme guess. You don’t consider a change in skin tone as modern humans headed north after the Ice Age a “physical” change.

          A change in the amount of melanin in the skin is a physical change.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c56831382f9c67cff5519566a04e47422089057da7340f8f4378b72e3f61a1e4.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bb0ab7c088a89f7c02185d5f4e618b76dcb4d770db640aba116f05f8892a34ba.jpg

        • Eye color, hair color, ability to process alcohol and lactose, ability to pull oxygen from low air pressure (two different adaptations, I understand, for Andean and Himalayan peoples), blood shedding adaptation for malaria (that can produce sickle-cell anemia), body shape of Kenyans vs. Inuit.

          And I suspect there are many more.

        • Greg G.

          ability to pull oxygen from low air pressure (two different adaptations, I understand, for Andean and Himalayan peoples)

          I wonder if there are Tibetans and Peruvians having children together. Would the two adaptations enhance one another or be detrimental. I read long ago that Great Danes and St, Bernards cannot reproduce because the allele that makes the Great Dane’s leg bones long and the allele that makes the St. Bernard’s leg bones thick is a lethal combination.

        • Interesting question!

        • Ignorant Amos

          Oriental eye shape.

        • Jim Dailey

          Do you consider a difference in skin tone an “appreciable” difference in human beings? Hope not.

        • BlackMamba44

          Did I say “difference”? Did you say “difference”? No, you said “appreciable physical change”, not “appreciable difference”. So, you can fuck right off with this comment.

          Typical Christian.

          Edits.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That sounds suspiciously like an accusation of racism…a hope not.

          It was an answer to your assertion…“There has been no appreciable physical change in mankind “.

          If you think the evolutionary change in skin colour isn’t “appreciable” then you are a clown.

          This full kaleidoscope of skin colors was a relatively recent evolutionary development, according to biologists, occuring alongside the migration of modern humans out of Africa between 100,000 and 50,000 years ago.

          https://www.livescience.com/7863-people-white.html

          Unless you believe it to be the mark of Cain?

        • epeeist

          Total aside, there is an article in the Guardian to which a compatriot of yours, Old Bathrobe is commenting. It is quite amusing to see the theists trying to tackle an atheist who has studied theology and can read the bible in ancient Greek…

        • Pofarmer

          Best line of his so far.

          “Reality is not a prejudice”.

        • Pofarmer

          O.K.

          This person is a treasure.

          it was a specific reply to the claim that Dawkins doesn’t know anything
          about theology (which is like saying you can’t say there’s no such
          thing as a dragon if you don’t know the scale density of a Hungarian
          Horntail).

          https://discussion.theguardian.com/comment-permalink/114597776

        • epeeist

          He is good isn’t he. He is especially good at spiking people who cherry-pick the nice Jesus bits from the bible given that he knows the book at least as well as Greg G..

        • Pofarmer

          I see theists commenting at the Guardian don’t understand what a fallacy is either. I think they mist get accused of it so often that it’s just any argument or point they don’t like.

        • Ignorant Amos

          In the lingo too…ma chest is puffed.

        • epeeist

          To go in the opposite direction have a glance at a poster by the name of everchanging (referred to as “everwibbling” by Old Bathrobe). He is my own personal stalker, I can be reasonably certain of him turning up in order to make what he obviously consider as cutting responses to posts of mine only to disappear when challenged. Not only is he anti-atheist but he is also a member of the Society for Psychical Research, a fan of Eben Alexander and Rupert Sheldrake and a conspiracy theorist when it comes to UFOs.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Seems to be a bit of a tit for sure…that beckythatcher is a right rhubarb too.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That was an entertaining read. Old Bathrobe can fairly handle himself.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Do you think skin cancer has an “appreciable” effect on a human’s health?

        • Looks like a big difference to me. Getting the right amount of sun is important. Pale skin in the Sudan in primitive times would be a death sentence. Dark skin in the Arctic might not be fatal but would reduce vitamin D production.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Try being fair skinned and falling asleep on the beach in Magaluf after getting stoned to see how that big shinny disc in the sky thing works out…..early 90’s I may add.

        • Nick G

          I’m afraid you’re just showing the vast extent of your ignorance – and astounding arrogance – here. First, there certainly have been significant physical changes in human populations over the past 200,000 years. Modern human skeletons are significantly less robust than those of “early AMH” (anatomically Modern Humans), for a start; in particular, teeth are a lot smaller. Genetic research indicates quite clearly that the ability of many adults to digest milk has evolved over the past few thousand years – since the domestication of cattle; mutations giving improved resistance to various diseases such as malaria and bubonic plague are also recent. Second, there is absolutely no reason evolution has to proceed at a constant rate, and indeed, very good reasons to expect it not to. For example, following the mass extinctions we know of (there have been at least five, not two) evolution appears to have speeded up considerably, presumably as a result of many unoccupied ecological niches becoming available. Third, your ignorance persists even when it would, given your line of argument, appear to help your case (although in fact it doesn’t, because that “case” is so utterly vacuous). There is, in modern taxonomic parlance, no such thing as a “single celled animal”. Animals are organisms that develop from a blastula – a multi-celled structure that appears early in embryonic development, and the earliest animal fossils date from around 650 million years ago. The most important change in evolutionary history long preceded the appearance of animals: that of eukaryotic cells (we are eukaryotes, as are trees, fungi, algae, amoebae…). This change appears to have taken place as a result of symbiosis between different kinds of simpler cells.

          I said your case is utterly vacuous. This is so because you present no evidence, and nothing worthy of the name of argument. You have done no research, and you are clearly ignorant of facts you could easily learn if you could be bothered. Yet you have the impudence to dismiss the work of tens of thousands of scientists over a century and a half, resulting in literally millions of research papers, as “all you folks running around yelling that random change coupled with natural selection got us from amoeba to splitting the atom in this time frame”. All you have succeeded in doing is demonstrating that you, like many but certainly not all Christians, are intellectually and morally contemptible.

        • Paul B. Lot
        • Jim Dailey

          Yes, modern mans little teeth are obviously a significant genetic advantage! What could I have been thinking? If mankind had started out with little teeth, the savings on toothpaste alone over the millennia could have eradicated poverty! I stand corrected!

        • Michael Neville

          A couple of days ago, after I pointed out your appalling ignorance concerning evolution, you blew me off with:

          Whatever, this is an argument for a different post. If you want to call me a Luddite fine, get it over with, you can have last word.

          Yet here you are, continuing to show your appalling ignorance about evolution. May I make the suggestion that you learn something about a subject before you rant on it? Of course, it’s your call if you want everyone to see just how ignorant you are or not.

        • Jim Dailey

          Appalling ignorance twice in the same comment? Say, I bet your ancestors had larger than average teeth.
          If you don’t like me blowing you off, start writing intelligent comments.

        • Michael Neville

          You’re ignorant and somehow that’s my fault. Does the expression Dunning-Krueger mean anything to your ignorant ass?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ignorance is no longer an excuse…just another asinine knuckle-dragging ass-hat at this stage.

        • Ignorant Amos

          When your ignorance is at least appalling that of the average appallingly ignorant…then it is worth pointing out.

          It’s something only can have the gumption to fix….mocking those trying to help, makes you out to be a feckin’ eejit.

        • Paul B. Lot

          1) For someone who waves around his [Wand of No True Scotsman +5] with abandon, as you do, you have ironically failed to grasp what that fallacy refers to.

          2) You betray yet more ignorance with this comment: clearly you haven’t the faintest idea how important dentition is to various organisms. How make-or-break [teeth] are in the wild.

          https://i.imgur.com/dCaM1oM_d.jpg?maxwidth=640&shape=thumb&fidelity=medium

        • BlackMamba44
        • Ignorant Amos

          And to think that I had high hopes that you were more than the usual run-of-the-mill imbecilic knuckle-dragging bug nutty bat shit crazy moronic Dime Bar fuckwit, that we are well used to around here…what a major let down.

          I yearn for a decent argument, once, just once…bwahahahahahaaaaa!

        • Susan

          I yearn for a decent argument, once, just once…

          *Sigh*

          Such a simple request.

          If there aren’t any by now, there probably just aren’t any.

          This is the problem with trying to prop up imaginary beings.

        • epeeist

          If there aren’t any by now, there probably just aren’t any.

          Nope, just PRATTs. It wouldn’t be so bad if the points were made by different people but we seem to get those who simply keep pressing the reset button and making the same point over and over again.

        • MR

          Nope, just PRATTs. It wouldn’t be so bad if the points were made by different people but we seem to get encourage those who simply keep pressing the reset button and making the same point over and over again

          ftfy

        • Pofarmer

          And we’ve seen so many times, that there’s some point past which all theists won’t go. Sometimes it takes a while to get there. “I love science, but that evolution stuff is crrrraaaaazzzzzyyyyyy.” Oh, and Jesus totally rose from the dead because who would make that up?

        • They’re science fans, but evolution is the theory that’s hard to swallow? Creationists already accept what they call “microevolution,” which includes mutation and natural selection. They’re 99% of the way there–just realize that there’s no force field that keeps each species’ changes within a fixed domain.

          If they’re the guardians against crazy, they should focus on quantum physics. It’s almost like they have a religious agenda driving their claims.

        • You’re celebrating your ignorance? In public? Hmm … that seems an odd ploy, but I’ve got popcorn and am enjoying the show.

          Ever had impacted wisdom teeth removed or heard of someone who did? If so, you can appreciate the problem of a jaw shrinking over time that holds too-big teeth. Imagine the problem before modern dentistry.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It was a major cause of death ffs.

          But we’ve evolved to sort it out.

          One would’ve thought an omnipotence could’ve sorted that out.

          Tooth decay alone is an excellent argument for no godz….at least decent ones….anyone whose ever experience tooth decay knows prayers are not answered fer Jaysus sake.

        • I read about dental care just a couple hundred years ago (and before). Apparently, tooth pain was a significant problem for Europeans back then. And, of course, there was little you could do about it except remove the offending tooth.

          I’m guessing that doesn’t bother Jim. He doesn’t have any tooth pain, you see.

        • Susan

          Apparently, tooth pain was a significant problem for Europeans back then.

          Yes. It’s been a significant problem for all earthlings since they developed teeth.

          Jim still hasn’t explained to me why Yahwehjesus tortured earthlings to death for hundreds of millions of years before he ensouled humans.

          I’m guessing that doesn’t bother Jim. He doesn’t have any tooth pain, you see.

          Exactly. Nice, eh?

        • Jim Dailey

          Yes – we know we are evolving … because now we need dentists!

          This really is quite entertaining.

        • Willful stupidity–it suits you.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You are a cretinous Dime Bar.

          One of the most noticeable changes in the evolution of the genus Homo (which includes ourselves and our extinct close relatives) have been in the dentition and the jaws which support them. In general, living people have smaller teeth and less robust jaws than people living 25,000 years ago.

          http://www.ucl.ac.uk/archaeology/research/directory/teeth_hillson

        • BlackMamba44

          So, at this point you’re just trolling?

        • Jim Dailey

          Basically, yes.

          I do have rationale for my objections to the evolutionary timeline, and see a fairly fundamental logical flaw in the discussion regarding shrinking teeth, but am too tired to articulate all this.

        • BlackMamba44

          I do have rationale for my objections to the evolutionary timeline, and see a fairly fundamental logical flaw in the discussion regarding shrinking teeth, but am too tired to articulate all this.

          How convenient.

        • Greg G.

          He really does. It has nothing to do with agriculture nor cooking nor better articulation of language, though.

        • BlackMamba44

          I started a comment about agriculture and cooking but then got too tired to articulate all of it.

        • Greg G.

          I know what that’s lik zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

        • Ignorant Amos

          Thank fuck he was too tired to articulate all this, because if his attempt at articulation is as ill informed as the rest of his knowledge, he’d put the rest of us unconscious ffs.

        • I just got a Zen-like epiphany, and I now know the meaning of life. I probably should pass it on, but it’s more than a paragraph.

          Ah, screw it.

        • epeeist

          I do have rationale for my objections to the evolutionary timeline, and see a fairly fundamental logical flaw in the discussion regarding shrinking teeth, but am too tired to articulate all this.

          I have discovered a truly remarkable proof disproof of this theorem the theory of evolution which this margin is too small to contain.

        • Ah, if that edition of Diophantus had only been printed with larger margins …

        • Greg G.

          If only he hadn’t been such a cheapskate with the page.

        • “am too tired to articulate all this.”

          Or perhaps you’ve just been backed into a corner and want to hit the reset button instead of arguing your way out.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Croydon beckons.

        • Paul B. Lot

          [I] see a fairly fundamental logical flaw in the discussion regarding shrinking teeth

          We await your elucidation of it with bated, and small-tooth-guarded, breath.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Of course ya have…get your paper written up and published…there could be a prize in it for ya.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Too stupid to be doing much of anything else don’t ya think?

        • BlackMamba44

          I had to have my wisdom teeth cut out before they came in because I had no room for them.

          I’ve had to get mouth guards due to nighttime teeth grinding. I am a full grown adult. To get impressions to make the guards they had to use the child size insert because my dental arch is so small.

        • Prepare for Jim Dailey making an irrelevant comment. He has some sort of thing for small teeth.

        • BlackMamba44

          I’m having a good laugh at this thread as I’m getting fitted for braces next week. To straighten my crooked teeth because there wasn’t enough room for them to come in straight.

        • I curse Jim Dailey with his large jaw and perfect teeth.

        • Susan

          Yes, modern mans little teeth are obviously a significant genetic advantage! What could I have been thinking?

          As I suspected when you first talked about “appreciable physical changes”, you disregard all of them.

          =====

          Edit to add:

          So far, you have provided

          1)”some very clever people who used to be atheists”.

          2) A study which you want to use to imply that even if christians have good arguments, atheists will reject them because emotions (while disregarding the lack of arguments and evidence and completely overlooking that many people you’re talking to here were christians and slowly began to see that it looks exactly like make-believe…. because no evidence and fallacious arguments.

          3) After a great deal of hemming and hawing (See 1 and 2) you started to attack strawman versions of scientific models while showing no knowledge on the subject. And have ignored respectful, educated responses.

          So, all that blathering about clever arguments and atheist bias and you trot out the same crappy tropes we’ve heard a gazillion times.

        • Kodie

          You’re the missing link.

        • Greg G.

          I didn’t come from no Dailey.

        • Nick G

          Yes, modern mans little teeth are obviously a significant genetic advantage! What could I have been thinking? If mankind had started out with little teeth, the savings on toothpaste alone over the millennia could have eradicated poverty! I stand corrected!

          You’re clearly determined to demonstrate that you are invincibly ignorant. Have you never heard of impacted wisdom teeth? They were a fairly common cause of death before modern dentistry, because they can cause serious infection – that’s why their removal is often carried out today. Many modern people still have too many or too large teeth for their mouths, because the evolutionary shrinkage of the teeth has not kept pace with that of the jaws – a demonstration that random variation and natural selection generally do not achieve perfect adaptation.

          ETA: I see my response here has been anticipated by Bob Seidensticker and Ignorant Amos, but I’ll leave it up. It will probably elicit another piece of proud ignorance and arrogant stupidity from Jim Dailey, which can be shown to anyone doubting that these are the typical features of the kind of Christian who comes to argue at an atheist blog.

        • BlackMamba44

          You didn’t say “significant genetic advantage”. You said “appreciable physical change”.

          Why do you keep changing words?

        • I have a vague memory of an article that said that some humans have some resistance to prion disease. Why would they have that? Perhaps it evolved in response to cannibalism (a good way to spread prion disease).

        • Nick G

          I haven’t heard that. There is evidence of cannibalism among ancient human populations (although this has been questioned). But the prion disease kuru was supposedly spread as recently as the 1950s by cannibalism among the Fore people of New Guinea. I say “supposedly” because the prevalence of cannibalism among the Fore has been questioned. The main source of the cannibalism-spread-kuru hypothesis, Daniel Gajdusek, was later convicted of serious crimes of child sexual abuse. Of course that does not in itself mean his research was dishonest, but doubt has been cast on his accounts of initiation rituals involving sex between men and boys, given his obvious motive for normalising such behaviour.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I love to read the words of the more articulate and better informed clever folk.

        • Ignorant Amos

          When was there “nothing”?

        • epeeist

          the entirety of evolution boiling down to a series of atoms bumping into each other

          This is a complete straw man of course.

          However, for the moment let us assume that the theory of evolution is false, what are you going to replace it with? Bear in mind that your replacement must have at least the same level of explanatory power and empirical fit as the theory of evolution (in its modern synthesis). On top of that what ever your put in place must make testable predictions, must be consonant with other theories for which we have considerable evidential support (thermodynamics and chemical kinetics are ones that immediately come to mind), it must also not include ad hoc features and be parsimonious.

          So there you go, what have you got that will allow you to replace the theory of evolution, or current, best explanation for the state of the biosphere?

        • Jim Dailey

          I think it is more of reductio ad absurdim, but ok with straw man.

          How does adaptive mutation sound?

        • Michael Neville

          No, you’ve been giving us a strawman. You don’t understand chemistry or evolution and think your ignorance and incredulity are evidence against evolution.

        • Greg G.

          You don’t understand chemistry or evolution and think your ignorance and incredulity are evidence against evolution.

          His australopithecene level of understanding of chemistry and evolution might be evidence in favor of evolution. I think Kodie called him a missing link.

        • epeeist

          How does adaptive mutation sound?

          Like a pair of words that fulfil none of the attributes I listed.

        • Jim Dailey

          https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/science/2010/mar/19/evolution-darwin-natural-selection-genes-wrong

          The article delves more into epigenetics.

          Following is a paper which hopefully describes more of the science you want to see:

          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2929355/

          Finally, below I have posted a couple of references to renowned atheist scientists – one of whom – Lynn Margulis – was a National Academy of Sciences biologist who won the Darwin-Wallace medal who have deep skepticism about Darwinian gradualism, and who describe academic ostracism for voicing their skepticism.

        • epeeist

          https://www.google.com/amp/

          You really ought to read the article by Adam Rutherford in response to your article. You might care to look at the background of both Oliver Burkeman and Adam Rutherford.

          The article delves more into epigenetics.

          You are positing epigenetics as a replacement for the modern synthesis? Even though the large majority of biologists think it fits within the current theory?

          Finally, below I have posted a couple of references to renowned atheist scientists – one of whom – Lynn Margulis

          Sorry, can’t see your references and I am not going to try wading through the oubliette that is Disqus in order to find them.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Jim is a bit like Luke Breuer in that he cites stuff that is largely irrelevant to his case.

        • You are positing epigenetics as a replacement for the modern synthesis?

          An even more fundamental question: “You’re imagining that the natural explanation will be overturned, to be replaced by a supernatural one?”

          The idea that epigenetics and other cool new ideas within evolution are going to overturn evolution somehow seems popular within some Christian circles.

        • Good_Samaritan

          “boiling down to a series of atoms bumping into each other in just such a way”
          Have you never heard of chemistry?

        • Paul B. Lot

          the entirety of evolution boiling down to a series of atoms* bumping into each other in just such a way seems to me to require a far greater leap of faith

          It seems that way…to you.
          Here’s Feynman explaining it:

          RF: It’s hard to believe, it’s incredible….in fact…uh, most people don’t believe that the behavior of, say…

          me: one yak yak, and
          you: nodding,

          …and all this stuff, is the result of: lots and lots of atoms* all obeying these very simple rules…come out that it evolves into such a creature that a billion years of life with it’s experiences has produced a thing with prongs, that stick out like this, and so on.

          https://www.fs.blog/2013/11/richard-feynman-curiosity/

          Dunning and Kruger gave us good frameworks to try to understand why it seems that way to you.

          PS. * It’s not “atoms”, it’s waves.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ebPaz6XGdA

        • Jim Dailey

          LYNN MARGULIS
          A member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and once the wife of Carl Sagan, biologist Lynn Margulis (1938–2011) is not the first person one might expect to critique neo- Darwinian theory vocally. But that’s exactly what she did. In an interview shortly before her death, Margulis explained, “Neo-Darwinists say that new species emerge when mutations occur and modify an organism. I was taught over and over again that the accumulation of random mutations led to evolutionary change—led to new species. I believed it until I looked for evidence.” Echoing the arguments of many ID proponents, Margulis maintains that “new mutations don’t create new species; they create offspring that are impaired.”9 In a 2003 book co-authored with Dorion Sagan (the son of Carl), she elaborates:
          This Darwinian claim to explain all of evolution is a popular half-truth whose lack of explicative power is compensated for only by the religious ferocity of its rhetoric. Although random mutations influenced the course of evolution, their influence was mainly by loss, alteration, and refinement….Mutations, in summary, tend to induce sickness, death, or deficiencies. No evidence in the vast literature of heredity changes shows unambiguous evidence that random mutation itself, even with geographical isolation of populations, leads to speciation.10
          Some Darwin defenders have cited Margulis’s eminence as evidence that critics have freedom to express their views. Margulis doesn’t agree, noting that “anyone who is overtly critical of the foundations of his science is persona non grata.”11 Other atheists who challenge Darwin have made similar observations.

        • Paul B. Lot

          A: Lynn Margulis ….In a 2003 book co-authored with B: Dorion Sagan

          A:

          It has been suggested that initial rejection of Margulis’ work on the endosymbiotic theory, and the controversial nature of it as well as Gaia theory, made her identify throughout her career with scientific mavericks, outsiders and unaccepted theories generally.[5] In the last decade of her life, while key components of her life’s work began to be understood as fundamental to a modern scientific viewpoint – the widespread adoption of Earth System Science and the incorporation of key parts of endosymbiotic theory into biology curricula worldwide – Margulis if anything became more embroiled in controversy, not less. Journalist John Wilson explained this by saying that Lynn Margulis “defined herself by oppositional science,”[42] and in the commemorative collection of essays Lynn Margulis: The Life and Legacy of a Scientific Rebel, commentators again and again depict her as a modern embodiment of the “scientific rebel”,[5] akin to Freeman Dyson’s 1995 essay, The Scientist as Rebel, a tradition Dyson saw embodied in Benjamin Franklin, and which he believed to be essential to good science.[43] At times, Margulis could make highly provocative comments in interviews that appeared to support her most strident critics’ condemnation.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynn_Margulis#Controversies

          B:

          Dorion Sagan (born 1959) is an American author, essayist, fiction writer, and theorist …First place, Silent Mora Ring 122 International Brotherhood of Magicians

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

        • Jim Dailey

          A: from your Wikipedia link:

          Throughout her career, Margulis’ work could arouse intense objection (one grant application elicited the response, “Your research is crap, do not bother to apply again”,[5]) and her formative paper, “On the Origin of Mitosing Cells,” appeared in 1967 after being rejected by about fifteen journals.[7] Still a junior faculty member at Boston University at the time, her theory that cell organelles such as mitochondria and chloroplasts were once independent bacteria was largely ignored for another decade, becoming widely accepted only after it was powerfully substantiated through genetic evidence. Margulis was elected a member of the US National Academy of Sciences in 1983. President Bill Clinton presented her the National Medal of Science in 1999. The Linnean Society of London awarded her the Darwin-Wallace Medal in 2008.

          B: who cares?

        • Paul B. Lot

          A: from your Wikipedia link: Throughout her career, Margulis’ work could arouse intense objection

          Indeed. It’s a shame. Both that some of her [good science] was rejected, and that [that experience] biased her towards supporting [junk science].

          It’s the latter fact which is more important in this context, I think.

          B: who cares?

          YOU brought him up in your argument from authority, not me. 😛

        • Thanks, but it seems smarter to accept the consensus of the people who actually understand the evidence. I think I’ll take that route.

        • Jim Dailey

          Yeah – a biologist who won the Darwin-Wallace medal wouldn’t have a clue.
          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwin–Wallace_Medal

        • Ignorant Amos

          Because expert’s can never be wrong about anything, right?

          Except when they do. Otherwise anyone who has credentials and awards that is holding a contradictory position on any issue would be right. And that is just pure nonsense.

          Wise up.

          Do you know how many awards Dawkins holds? Does that mean he is never wrong?

          I greatly admire Lynn Margulis’s sheer courage and stamina in sticking by the endosymbiosis theory, and carrying it through from being an unorthodoxy to an orthodoxy. I’m referring to the theory that the eukaryotic cell is a symbiotic union of primitive prokaryotic cells. This is one of the great achievements of twentieth-century evolutionary biology, and I greatly admire her for it.

          I first met Lynn some years ago at a conference in the South of France, and I think we got on rather well together. I have since, when I’ve met her, found her extremely obstinate in argument. I have the feeling that she’s the kind of person who just knows she’s right and doesn’t listen to argument. Whereas I think I actually do listen — and perhaps change my mind if someone presents a convincing argument — I get the feeling that she does not. That may be unfair, and in the case of the theory of the origin of the eukaryotic cell, she was right to be obstinate. She’s turned out, probably, to be right, but that doesn’t mean she’s always right. And I suspect that she isn’t always right.

          The Gaia hypothesis is a good example of that. I don’t think Lovelock was clear — in his first book, at least — on the kind of natural-selection process that was supposed to put together the adaptive unit, which in his case was the whole world. If you’re going to talk about a unit at any level in the hierarchy of life as being adaptive, then there has to be some sort of selection going on among self-replicating information. And we have to ask, What is the equivalent of DNA? What are the units of code? What are the units of copy-me code which are being replicated?

          I don’t think for a moment that it occurred to Lovelock to ask himself that question. And so I’m skeptical of the rhetoric of the Gaia hypothesis, when it comes down to particular applications of it, like explaining the amount of methane there is in the atmosphere, or saying there will be some gas produced by bacteria which is good for the world at large and so the bacteria go to the trouble of producing it, for the good of the world. That can’t happen in a Darwinian world, as long as we think that natural selection is going on at the level of individual bacterial genes. Because those individual bacteria who don’t put themselves to the trouble of manufacturing this gas for the good of the world will do better. Of course, if the individual bacteria who manufacture the gas are really doing themselves better by doing so, and the gas is just an incidental consequence, obviously I have no problem with that, but in that case you don’t need a Gaia hypothesis to explain it. You explain it at the level of what’s good for the individual bacteria and their genes. ~Richard Dawkins

          https://www.edge.org/conversation/lynn_margulis-lynn-margulis-1938-2011-gaia-is-a-tough-bitch

          Here’s the thing, an hypothesis holds no value until it can be demonstrated sound….when that happens, you’ll have backed the winner.

        • epeeist

          Yeah – a biologist who won the Darwin-Wallace medal wouldn’t have a clue.

          Do you know the motto of the Royal Society? It is Nullius in verba.

          You pick a single person from nearly 50 who have won the Darwin-Wallace medal and ignore the rest. <a href="http://fallacyfiles.org/onesided.html"Cherry picking is one of the standard fallacies we have come to expect from cdesign proponentsists.

        • An Appeal to Authority fallacy? I would’ve thought you’d be above that.

          I crowdsource: I accept the scientific consensus. Try it sometime.

        • epeeist

          You know if you are going to copy-paste from an article in the Christian Research Journal then you really ought to cite it. Or did you avoid doing this because it was written by Casey Luskin, who is a lawyer not a biologist and the “research coordinator” at the “Discovery Institute”?

        • Zeta

          Thanks for the info. Quoting large chunks of text without citing the source is certainly dishonesty.

          What Luskin said of Antony Flew’s book in the article once again confirms my point that there is a disproportionately higher number of dishonest individuals among apologists.

          His subsequent book, There Is No a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind, elaborates on his deconversion from atheism.

          Although Flew is listed as the first author, the book was actually written by businessman apologist Roy Abraham Varghese and preacher Bob Hostetler. Many apologists have made the same dishonest claim of authorship of the book.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Richard Carrier does a good job of showing the extent of the dishonesty in the Flew book affair.

          http://richardcarrier.blogspot.co.uk/2007/11/antony-flew-bogus-book.html

        • epeeist

          Although Flew is listed as the first author, the book was actually written by businessman apologist Roy Abraham Varghese and preacher Bob Hostetler.

          You are aware of the review of the book by Mark Oppenheimer?

        • Zeta

          Yes, Mark Oppenheimer’s article in the NYTimes was how I got to know this so-called “World’s Most Notorious Atheist”. Before that I had never heard of him. Then a follow-up article “Antony Flew’s Bogus Book” by Richard Carrier provides more details:

          http://richardcarrier.blogspot.com/2007/11/antony-flew-bogus-book.html

          BobS also has an article on Flew: “The Curious Case of Atheist Philosopher Antony Flew”.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2016/03/the-curious-case-of-atheist-philosopher-antony-flew/

        • Jim Dailey

          I wanted to paste the stories one at a time since each of the atheists had a different take on the questionable aspects inherent in gradualism. It is easier to have it right there than to flip through the references.

          Are the stories factually incorrect? If not, what do you care?

        • Ignorant Amos

          What is the purpose of those citations?

        • Susan

          What is the purpose of those citations?

          Crickets.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’m watching the documentary series based on Dr. Neil Shubin’s book “Your Inner Fish” as we speak. It’s absolutely fascinating and any moron that pooh-pooh’s Darwinian Evolution needs their head examined.

          Eejits like JD would do well to watch it.

          I’m watching it on satellite, but it is on YouTube for anyone interested.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkJ16tkMKqs

        • epeeist

          If not, what do you care?

          I care for a number of reasons, firstly because you tried to pass it off as some kind of true and authoritative description (it isn’t, try reading an actual biography of Margulis and a description of her work by a biologist). Secondly, you chose to hide the fact that it was the production of a shill for the Discovery Institute, from someone who has no background in biology who is writing with a strong bias.

          Lastly, copying screeds of material with citation is essentially theft, I thought there were commandments against that?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Lastly, copying screeds of material without citation is essentially theft, I thought there were commandments against that?

          Ftfy.

          Minor, but important typo.

          At the very least the cited wording should be demarked by blockquoting, italicising, bolding, quotation marks, underlining…or whatever, so the reader can tell what’s supposed to be the commenters wording and what’s not.

        • epeeist

          Yeah, thanks for that. Though somehow I don’t think it is going to matter to Jim.

        • Ignorant Amos

          And I think you are right.

        • Jim Dailey

          Ok, I added the internet source of the stories to the comments.

          I also added the synopsis regarding the significance of the stories.

          I am not sure what passes for “true and authoritative” around here.

        • epeeist

          I am not sure what passes for “true and authoritative” around here

          One has to ask whether the person making the claim is credible. Things that contribute to credibility include background in the domain of discourse, a track record on the subject in hand, acceptance by other domain experts, a lack of bias or vested interest.

          Luskin fails on all of these.

        • Jim Dailey

          Interesting. So you are saying Luskins assertions that Margulis proposed alternatives to neo-Darwinism are invalid because Luskin is not a biologist, and because Luskin obviously has a bias.

          Got it. Good argument!

        • epeeist

          So you are saying Luskins assertions that Margulis proposed alternatives to neo-Darwinism are invalid because Luskin is not a biologist, and because Luskin obviously has a bias.

          Nope, I am saying that Luskin has no credibility and therefore that his claims should be closely inspected before being accepted. Especially when he does the standard creationist trick (and let’s admit it “intelligent design” is just creationism in clown shoes) of quote mining the article.

          Read the whole article and you will find that she accepts the idea of common descent with modification, what she disputes is the mechanism.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Read the whole article and you will find that she accepts the idea of common descent with modification, what she disputes is the mechanism.

          Cherry-picking creationists what a surprised. Jim doesn’t care about important details like that though…it kills his argument stone dead.

          She [Margulis] emphasized that she had no problem with the basic premise of Darwinism. “Evolution no doubts occurs, and it’s been seen to occur, and it’s occurring now. Everyone who’s scientific-minded agrees with that. The question is, how does it occur? And that’s where everyone parts company.” Ultra-Darwinians, by focusing on the gene as the unit of selection, had failed to explain how speciation occurs. Only a much broader theory that incorporates symbiosis and higher-level selection could account for the diversity of the fossil record and of life today, according to Margulis.

          Like you say…it is the mechanism that she had issues with.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I am not sure what passes for “true and authoritative” around here.

          Oh we know that okay…you make it so patently obvious.

        • Jim Dailey

          Yes. Since CS Lewis was deemed unable to understand what he meant when he said he was an atheist, the “true and authoritative” standard around here is pretty bizarre.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Jim, you just don’t get it. We don’t know what Lewis meant when he claimed atheism. We have nothing in writing that tells us. We don’t even know he was atheist from age 15 because other than his own later claim, there is nothing to demonstrate it.

          What he did say was that he was angry at God…that is not the position of an informed atheist. As an atheist he can be no more angry at God than you being angry at Thor for a thunderstorm. It is nonsense.

          The “true and authoritative” standard just requires you to demonstrate that he knew what it meant to be an informed atheist. You have failed miserably. All you’ve provided so far is that he was an intellectual…studied philosophy…and a self claim to the label.

          My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. Just how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? … Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist—in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless—I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality—namely my idea of justice—was full of sense. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning. (Mere Christianity, 45-46)

          Lewis doesn’t outlay the Problem of Evil and Suffering here. He is preaching to the converted. He displays no knowledge of the PoE&S which is actually one of the strongest arguments against the Christian God.

        • Jim Dailey

          Proof of a lack of belief in gods. Hah!

        • epeeist

          Proof of a lack of belief in gods

          Proof is for mathematics, logic and whisky. What is being pointed out here is that Lewis didn’t claim to have a lack of belief in the existence of gods or a belief in the non-existence of gods (both of which are considered as atheism in the various dictionaries and encyclopedias that discuss the term). What he claimed to be was “angry at God”, which you must admit is a slightly odd position for an atheist.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Do you train to be so stupid?

          Evidence of the claim he lacked belief in gods. Dumbass.

          Let me explain in dufus terms.

          I claim to have been a de facto atheist, albeit an uninformed one. Since childhood. Can I demonstrate that with evidence? No I can’t.

          I claim to be an informed atheist since reading The God Delusion. Can I demonstrate that? Absolutely. I’ve got the original book I bought when it was published. Witnessed by others.

          Furthermore. There is internet history of my interacting on atheist websites and engaging in arguments on the subject. Witnesses on this very site who can attest that I interacted with them up to ten years ago.

          So, my claim that I was atheist as a youngster, can be disregarded as I have no way of proving the claim. But my claim that I was an informed atheist from reading The God Delusion some 12 years ago, I can demonstrate.

          If you don’t get the difference, then you are way beyond help.

        • Jim Dailey

          If I find Lewis claiming to be an atheist in his writings at the time of his atheism – not that he is “mad at God” – rather that one of his reasons for not believing in Gods existence is that no loving God could be so capriciously cruel – well, what then?

        • Paul B. Lot

          If I find Lewis claiming to be an atheist…[because] no loving God could be so capriciously cruel – well, what then?

          Presuming that he *also* explicitly states that he does not believe in *any*:

          supernatural entities/
          beings/
          powers/
          forces/
          pneumas/
          spirits/
          specters/
          ghosts/
          demons/
          magical powers,

          then I think no one here will be able to object to that categorization.

          Should you find evidence that Lewis disclaimed any and all belief in each and every one of the above concepts, then Lewis would be well-described by our modern term “atheist”.

          Of course, you should * have linked to such evidence before a) aggressively advancing the claim to begin with, and b) subsequently attacking us here, those of us who pushed back on your ineptitude/bad-faith from a), as having evinced the [No True Scotstman] fallacy.

          * (That “should” obviously presupposes your aptitude, eh? We don’t berate toddlers for failing to check both sides of the street before they cross – that sort of forethought/problem solving/risk management strategy is out of their range of ability. Perhaps [good-faith-dialogue] is for you, too?)

          Edits for wc/flow/style. 2:20pm cst

        • Ignorant Amos

          What then?

          We know Lewis made such claims. That is not in question.

          What is in question is to what degree he was an informed atheist between the time he claims to have been an atheist at 15 years of age and the age at which he claimed to be Christian again.

          What did he write about his atheism during the time he claims to have been an atheist, that demonstrates he was in fact and atheist…and an informed one at that?

          Although raised as a Christian, Lewis was an atheist for much of his youth. When he later wrote an account of his adult reconversion to Christianity, under the title Surprised By Joy, he said that he had been “very angry with God for not existing.” Some interpret this to mean that he did not so much reject the existence of God as harbour anger at God for the unfairnesses in life. This interpretation appears to be contradicted by a letter to a friend, in which he said, “all religions, no, mythologies to give them their proper name, have no proof whatsoever!” The indifferent God is just as easily tested as the personal God of childhood, however, and in Lewis’ considerations of an inadequate God within his own suffering, he began to believe in a deeper experience of some fundamentals of Western thought.

          https://biblio.co.uk/c-s-lewis/author/16

          The fact of the matter is, what Lewis’ atheism entailed is ambiguous at best. If it was a slam dunk, the question would be moot and the evidence would crowed from the rooftops…not least by you.

          Also, what PBL said.

        • Kodie

          I really don’t see what difference it makes. He talked himself into a terrible argument for god’s existence. He wanted to believe and his shitty argument seems to be persuasive to lots of Christians. I think he’s kind of a liar!

        • Ignorant Amos

          Not even kind of.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Found it yet?

        • Jim Dailey

          Getting Lewis’ letters from the library. Going to take a few days.

        • Susan

          Proof of a lack of belief in gods. Hah!

          You are the one who claims Lewis had a lack of belief in gods. And that subsequently, he had good reasons to believe that Yawhehjesus exists.

          You haven’t supported either point.

          All this hemming and hawing is frustrating.

          If there is a good reason to believe Yahwehjesus exists, why not provide it?

          Your ignorance about evolutionary theory is all you’ve provided.

          That you copy/pasted it from someone intent on lying about the evidence for evolutionary theory looks worse for your position..

          That EVEN IF evolutionary theory were shown to be wrong, that is not the same as support for Yahwehjesus is even worse.

          Please stop dodging, hemming and hawing. I was hoping for better from you.

          What are you claiming and how do you support it?

        • Ignorant Amos

          What are you claiming and how do you support it?

          That C.S. Lewis was an educated guy. He was an atheist that converted to theism, then Christianity. Because such clever guy, with qualifications and everything, Christian God exists. Game over atheists.

          So simple.

          But, but, but, what about the educated guys and dolls that have qualifications up their kazoo and were once Christian, but seen that it was complete and utter fuckwittery, so became atheist? Oh they don’t count against Lewis, because Lewis wrote books and stuff.

          Wait a wee minute…

          http://www.kwdaniels.com/

          http://www.bartdehrman.com/gods-problem/

          https://www.amazon.com/Why-Became-Atheist-Preacher-Christianity/dp/1616145773/ref=as_sl_pc_ss_til?tag=wwwdebunkingc-20&linkCode=w00&linkId=I2TRP7CTXIOSKIPB&creativeASIN=1616145773

          https://www.amazon.co.uk/Why-Am-Not-Christian-Conclusive-ebook/dp/B004Q3RIFW

          https://www.amazon.com/Christian-More-Christianity-Debunking-Freethinking/dp/0981631304

          I’ll stop there. Jim needs to take his head out of his arse for a minute. By his own petard he is hoist.

        • Pofarmer

          Don’t forget the Clergy Project, which is soley dedicated to helping religious professionals(aka Clergy) who have lost their faith.

          http://clergyproject.org/

        • Ignorant Amos

          Indeed. I was punting more to the writers of books written by full on Christians that knew the Christian position back to front, then were convinced by the counter position. And who are well qualified to comment.

          But the Clergy Project is also a good source for those with seminary training and know the whole thing is a pile of pish.

          I wonder what JD makes of all those well informed Christians becoming well informed atheists using critical and rational thinking skills?

        • Kodie

          Mmmm… dunno. I don’t think it sounds like he went around railing against god like he thought he existed. He sounds like any one of us, finding an argument against (the claims of) god’s existence, namely that the world was too cruel for there to be a god. Once he made some sort of epiphany or whatever you want to call it, some reason to follow his nose, his rationale for his atheism took on a theist color – he was merely angry – for after all doesn’t god exist, he thinks, so he must have only been mad at god before, but now he understands.

          I mean, if you started believing in a god, wouldn’t you describe your atheism differently from that perspective than you do now?

        • Ignorant Amos

          The problem for Jim is there is no definitive comment from Lewis that supports his claim that Lewis was an atheist that was informed and understood the arguments for and against believe in gods. What was left is ambiguous at best. When Lewis did start about his disbelieve, it was from the apologetic position. And from that place we can see he didn’t appear to understand the counter apologetics. The Problem of Evil and Suffering that Greg has been at pains to explain elsewhere just can’t be defended, yet Lewis’ apologetic against it is pathetic. He doesn’t lay out the PoE&S argument from the counter apologetic position, he just says what he thinks it is and states why, in his opinion, it doesn’t play in his belief in his version of Christianity. His book is aimed at the already converted.

          Now what can we infer from that? Either he knows the Problem of Evil and Suffering as explained the way someone who knows it is a good counter to the YahwehJesus god of Christianity, making him dishonest and presenting a strawman in his writings? Or he is ignorant of the argument and therefore ill-informed on the atheist arguments?

          We have no way of knowing because we have next to nothing from his atheist years to demonstrate exactly what his atheism entailed.

          Jim’s argument is that he must have been a well informed atheist who fully understood the counter apologetics used by atheists we see today in blogs such as this one. So when he went back to Christianity, it was critical thinking reasons, not the emotional reasons that we usually witness as laid out by Bob. That can only be conjecture. I am not saying Jim’s wrong and Bob is right, but there is no definitive evidence either way.

          Of course Lewis could have been a dishonest bastard like plenty of others out to sell books and make money. We all know how easy it would be. There are plenty of examples of it as evidence.

          “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? If the whole show was bad and senseless from A to Z, so to speak, why did I, who was supposed to be part of the show, find myself in such violent reaction against it? A man feels wet when he falls into water, because man is not a water animal: a fish would not feel wet. Of course, I could have given up my idea of justice by saying that it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too–for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my private fancies. Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist–in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless–I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality–namely my idea of justice–was full of sense. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.” ~Lewis, Mere Christianity

          That passage show’s wilful ignorance of the arguments…or lying to oneself…or lying to the audience.

        • Pofarmer

          That “argument” is just so incredibly bad. Appeal to ignorance. Appeal to personal incredulity. Appeal to consequences. It’s one long fallacy. Granted, in the 1940’s the Naturalistic answers hadn’t really been formulated yet. But, damn.

        • Kodie

          They are terrible arguments, to be sure. I have another post open that you wrote. Christians have some kind of idea that atheists only have straw man arguments, but if you really think about it, those Christian arguments sure are comforting and convincing! I am in no way saying what C.S. Lewis actually thought as an atheist, but what a Christian might make of their former atheism. It is actually frustrating, because theists really believe atheists can’t comprehend the rationalizations they have to go through. To them, we have an immature idea of god, who is alleged to be good, and someone like Lewis rationalizes that it’s god who subtly tiptoes like a ballerina, who has to be described by a scholar, I mean, you have to be an adult to accept god isn’t as good or as capable as advertised, but not quite an adult to accept god has mysterious reasons that a competent rational adult would just laugh at.

          Atheism is not “too” simple. It’s just simple. These arguments and rejections of rational thought are idiotic. How would we have any idea that there might be perfect and imperfect? Straight and crooked? Unjust and just? Well, fuck, we have brains. This isn’t the same as that. Are we such fucking morons that we need god to compare straight vs. crooked? Fallacious as the day is long, Lewis really could have but doesn’t have to have been any kind of atheist. He is known as a Christian who apparently convinced himself of Christianity because he couldn’t figure out anything about human experience being as it was without the soil of mysterious reasons from a deity.

          I just don’t think there is any conflict between having been an atheist and finding some reason to believe, and then describing one’s past atheism in religious terms like “mad at god”. As a Christian would possibly describe their atheism, it would have to be from the perspective of, and deluded narrative of, someone who found some reason to believe Christianity was true, and the lies and rationalizations they tend to incorporate into their true beliefs.

        • Jim Dailey

          RAYMOND TALLIS
          Raymond Tallis is a professor of medicine at the University of Manchester, a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, and a self-described “atheist humanist.”1 His 2011 book, Aping Mankind: Neuromania, Darwinitis, and the Misrepresentation of Humanity critiques the scientism that has invaded the study of consciousness, as well as Darwinian explanations for the origin of the human mind.
          Tallis coins the term “neuromania” to describe an ongoing media crusade telling the public that each “new discovery” has finally demonstrated a purely material explanation for consciousness. “Part of the attraction of Neuromania,” he writes, “comes from the belief that it is brand new and that it has grown out of the latest discoveries in the laboratory.”2 But Tallis calls the view that “there must be an organ in the body where the soul or mind or consciousness is to be found” an “enduring myth.”3
          Darwinitis
          Tallis believes that evolutionary psychologists also overextend their arguments. Though he maintains he has “no quarrel with Darwinism,”4 he critiques those who have “Darwinitis”—the tendency to explain everything in Darwinian terms. Tallis illustrates how Darwinitis leads evolutionary psychologists to propose plausible-sounding hypotheses that are completely false:
          Consider the recent claim that evolutionary psychology can explain why pink is associated with femininity and blue with masculinity. Women in prehistory were the principal gatherers of fruit and would have been sensitive to the colours of ripeness: deepening shades of pink. Men, on the other hand, would have looked for good hunting weather and sources of water, both of which are connected with blue. In fact, in Victorian Britain blue was regarded as the appropriate colour for girls (being associated with the Virgin Mary) and pink for boys (being a watered down version of the “fierce” colour red). Colour preferences are therefore scarcely rooted in the properties of brain shaped in the Pleistocene epoch. They are historically, not biologically, determined; but don’t expect an evolutionary psychologist to spot that.5
          As a self-described “good Darwinian,”6 Tallis understands natural selection to be a “blind watchmaker,” that cannot select for future goals. But he acknowledges what few Darwinians will admit—that blind selection cannot explain the goal-directed nature of human consciousness: “Darwinism, therefore, leaves something unaccounted for: the emergence of people like you and me who are indubitably sighted watchmakers….Isn’t there a problem in explaining how the blind forces of physics brought about (cognitively) sighted humans who are able to see, and identify, and comment on, the ‘blind’ forces of physics…?”7
          Tallis recognizes “the failure to explain any form of consciousness, never mind human consciousness, in evolutionary terms.”8 But he is hardly the only atheist who questions Darwinian explanations

        • Giauz Ragnarock
        • Jim Dailey

          SYNOPSIS
          Honest truth seekers and agenda-driven atheists rarely pose the same questions, but both ask whether any nonreligious scientists and scholars challenge neo-Darwinism and/or support intelligent design (ID).
          A logical response explains that an argument holds merit apart from the religious (or nonreligious) beliefs of the person arguing. Darwinism may be flawed regardless of whether its critics are religious. Rejecting an argument because of the personal religious beliefs of the arguer commits the genetic fallacy.
          Nonetheless, many find it rhetorically persuasive to learn about atheists and agnostics who challenge materialistic accounts of origins. These nonreligious scientists and scholars who doubt modern Darwinian theory.

          http://www.equip.org/article/non-religious-skeptics-darwinian-evolution-proponents-intelligent-design/

        • Ignorant Amos

          So who here claimed there were no non-religious doubters of Darwinian Evolution?

          Do these doubters support your “…as yet undetectable force influencing the development of our existence”?
          If not, then pah!

          What is it that you believe is the “undetectable force”?

          The spectrum of non-believers and what they believe is as wide and varied as it gets. Perhaps you need to learn a thing or two.

          The only common thread that ties all atheists together is a lack of belief in gods. Some of the best debates we have ever had have been with fellow atheists. This is because atheists do not have a common belief system, sacred scripture or atheist Pope. This means atheists often disagree on many issues and ideas. Atheists come in a variety of shapes, colors, beliefs, convictions, and backgrounds. We are as unique as our fingerprints.

          https://www.atheists.org/activism/resources/about-atheism/

          You seem to think that finding an oddity in scholarly thinking as to what is considered the norm, gives you carte blanche assert your pet thesis into the equation. Nope, that’s not how it works.

          We all know that the Theory of Evolution has developed from the ideas of Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace. The field has expanded as knowledge, builds upon knowledge. Some previous ideas have been superseded as newer ideas and information is produced. But the theory at the root of Evolution is to-date very sound.

          There are atheists that believe in alien abduction, some are anti-global warming kooks, Bill Maher is an anti-vaxer…your point is no more supported by trooping out a few atheists that you think totally reject Darwin, even intellectuals…anymore than someone citing Bill Maher is anti-vaccination, supports the anti-vaccination position as rational.

          From your citation…

          Tallis believes that evolutionary psychologists also overextend their arguments. Though he maintains he has “no quarrel with Darwinism,”4 he critiques those who have “Darwinitis”—the tendency to explain everything in Darwinian terms.

          From Scientific America…

          She [Margulis] emphasized that she had no problem with the basic premise of Darwinism. “Evolution no doubts occurs, and it’s been seen to occur, and it’s occurring now. Everyone who’s scientific-minded agrees with that. The question is, how does it occur? And that’s where everyone parts company.” Ultra-Darwinians, by focusing on the gene as the unit of selection, had failed to explain how speciation occurs. Only a much broader theory that incorporates symbiosis and higher-level selection could account for the diversity of the fossil record and of life today, according to Margulis.

          Again, your sources don’t actually support what you think they do…you are buying into the lies and propaganda the fuckwit creationist websites you cite want you to.

          The others on that list you cite are philosophers as far as I can see.

    • sandy

      Exactly. Why would a god need 5 major extinctions?

      • Pofarmer

        Practice.

      • Ignorant Amos

        Dementia? God is very old don’t forget…past eternal apparently.

      • Kevin K

        6 if you count the one we’re currently causing experiencing.

  • al kimeea

    “…the kind of universe we had always expected…”

    Why would this universe be “expected” any more than the Spanish Inquisition?

    I would expect LOVEY to create a universe a soupcon less hostile to the creations IT so loves.

    • sandy

      LOVEY….from Gilligans Island?

      • al kimeea

        bingo

  • Gary Whittenberger

    This is an excellent essay, Bob. Thanks for writing it.

    • Eddie Gateway

      Really! ….and I’ve read a few responses and am delighted that the article and the responses I’ve read seem to be from PEOPLE WHO ARE REALLY THINKING ABOUT THINGS! I was just getting fed up with ‘Jesus-haters’, or Christianity-haters, or whoever that has had painful or idiotic experiences with different churches (I understand…and empathize), but are now on a personal crusade of hateful rants against the religion. I don’t think this site was set up for folks to purge themselves. Thanks for THINKING and challenging each other, no matter WHAT you believe.

      • My departure from Christianity was gradual and uneventful. I basically became an apatheist before I realized that I was an atheist. Still, I can sympathize with those who had much more trauma along that journey. They do vent every now and then.

        Are you an atheist?

  • Sandra

    ““it is wholly believable because it is absurd.”
    -Pastafarianism is absurd, so Lewis SURELY must believe in The Flying Spaghetti Monster, right?

  • Clement Agonistes

    I just finished reading Surprised By Joy, and I think it adds depth to what Lewis is talking about in MC. Lewis went through a deconversion similar to what many atheists describe. The joy that he experienced in myths, sex, nature, and intellectual pursuits was a joy in the pursuit, not in the discovery of the joy, itself. I don’t think he is arguing that there are statistics and data points that led him to Theism (his first step) and later to Christianity. Most (exceptions noted) atheist converts that I have run across do not cite science as bringing them to their conclusion. Their rationales have been subjective and individually unique. They describe it as the work of the Holy Spirit – a supernatural act.

    After studying the flavors theism, Lewis concluded that only Christianity and Hinduism were not derivative (one presumes he views Judaism as a part of Christianity). His study of myths gave him a feel for what myth would look like. He concluded that the NT did not have that feel. Yes, that implies an intellectual understanding of myth – a science, if you will. One cannot argue that he was unfamiliar with the subject matter (myths).

    His “surprise” was that God was not as he had expected. Lewis had determined that if God existed, then God would be a particular thing, and seeing no evidence of that, concluded that there was no God. The surprise was that God was not as he had defined God must be.

    • Aram

      So…you’re saying you don’t believe in God?

    • Nick G

      Lewis went through a deconversion similar to what many atheists describe.

      No, he didn’t, if we take him at his word that he was “Angry at God for not existing”. If there’s any strong emotion attached to deconversion (often, there isn’t), it seems usually to be relief.

      ETA:

      The joy that he experienced in myths, sex, nature, and intellectual pursuits was a joy in the pursuit, not in the discovery of the joy, itself.

      This sentence doesn’t seem to make sense. Can you rephrase it?

      • Kodie

        Here’s what I get from his explanation: Christians have to largely accept that the world kind of sucks, and they yearn for god. Their idea of atheists is people who think god has to clean up this bullshit mess, and Lewis called himself an atheist because the best argument he had was “if god existed, he would clean up this bullshit mess”. Christians use the character of god for other things. God supplies hope, dreams, promises, and reasons, and an occasional statistical probability. “He’s not a vending machine, I get that now!” seems to be how Lewis converted, plus apparently an emotional overwhelming episode where he gave in to accepting god wouldn’t give him what he wished for, but the story of a more substantial promise.

        I tend not to get into “what god would be like if he existed” arguments except for morality and suffering. I think Christians tend to be incapable of understanding this is “for argument’s sake” and not “what selfish atheists demand of their lord”.

        • Joe

          I for one couldn’t worship a deity that was less reliable than a vending machine.

        • Kodie

          I can somewhat agree that sometimes what’s in the vending machine isn’t the thing we really need right now, and it’s frustrating when the chips bag gets stuck, but if you pray to not want what you really really want because you know it’s not what you need, god should give you what you want, a stronger will.

        • Greg G.

          god should give you what you want, a stronger will.

          When I see a vending machine item that is hanging precariously, I can’t resist the temptation to select it to see if I can get two, but it depends on whether I can figure out why it is hung up. I saw two regular, potato-chip-flavored potato chips hung up on the barbeque-flavored potato chips, so I bought the BBQ ones and got three bags of chips. I was really hankering for the artificial cheese-flavored popcorn but I was more than satisfied. Who is the Vending Machine Saint? I should thank him or her.

          I can resist everything but temptation. –Oscar Wilde

        • TS (unami)

          “…but if you pray to not want what you really really want because you know it’s not what you need, god should give you what you want…”

          Huh??

        • Kodie

          A STRONGER WILL.

        • TS (unami)

          Is that what you originally ASKED FOR, what you WANTED?

        • Kodie

          If you can’t get what you shouldn’t have and don’t need, and you ask for a stronger will…. then god doesn’t give you that. I think that’s cruel.

        • Even the vending machine where the bag of chips lean against the glass and won’t drop down so you can get them delivers a lot more reliably than God.

        • Joe

          Exactly. You either get your snacks, or you don’t. Petition god, and any one of an infinite number of options may or may not happen.

      • Clement Agonistes

        Lewis went through a deconversion similar to what many atheists describe.

        No, he didn’t, if we take him at his word that he was “Angry at God for not existing”. If there’s any strong emotion attached to deconversion (often, there isn’t), it seems usually to be relief.

        He embellishes on that topic at length in SBJ. He talks about going through the motions in his childhood, having it forced on him in private school, and his father’s lack of depth. By his early teens, the whole thing was just silly and intellectually lazy. The “angry” part may have been more like a feeling of having been conned into believing, only to find out later it wasn’t real. He mentioned how not believing freed him to engage in behaviors he thought would lead him to joy.

        This sentence doesn’t seem to make sense. Can you rephrase it?

        It might be comparable to saying you are in love with a particular person, but once you are actually in a relationship with them, you discover they aren’t all that great. He enjoyed the hunt, thinking it would lead to something wonderful, but once the hunt was successful, he didn’t find what he thought he would find (joy). He enjoyed the hunt, but not the success. The joy was in the hunt, itself, but not in the success of the hunt.

    • Kodie

      Wow. That sounds like he talked himself into it, and rationalized a whole lot. All I knew of myth was what I learned in grade school about myths, including every trip we ever took to the planetarium, and some of the stuff we learned about the Algonquin Indians, and some of the stuff we learned (barely) about world religions – mostly what other religions exist. I recognized Christianity as a myth instantly. It resembles myths very much. Nothing has to be “derivative”. I would tend to believe Christianity is more derivative than Lewis wanted to admit, but your account of this book sounds very much like he had that proverbial “god-shaped hole” and defined god to fit into it, rather than reject god that he couldn’t believe in. I see posters on the bus whenever I have to take the bus of some church meeting held in a strip mall, sharing space with a shoe store or karate dojo or some bullshit, that quotes Lewis, and they are so fucking bullshit. I get that he didn’t have an intellectual conversion, as you were pretty openly admitting, but having some emotional seizure of “spirit” still doesn’t mean god exists. It means C.S. Lewis invented a god he could believe in because he really wanted to. He had zero arguments against god, and wished god into existence one day. I guess you’ve never had a powerful experience you didn’t attribute to the supernatural interference of a deity, but that’s still not evidence, nor convincing. That’s explainable.

  • Mr. A

    In Jainism, Karma refers to a substance that permates the universe and are attracted to souls emitting certain vibrations. It is only when Karma reacts with our human soul that we can experience present reality.

    Did anyone forsee that? No? Is it strange? Yes?

    Then I guess I proved Jainism is the one true religion. All hail the godliness in all of us!

  • Greg G.

    This xkcd comic should be somewhat on-topic under a C. S. Lewis article:

    https://xkcd.com/1980/

    • Giauz Ragnarock

      I love Turkish delight, but I would splurge a little to buy some (I remember I even made it myself once) not betray my family over it!

      • Greg G.

        Now I am wanting to try it. I have been curious about the Istanbul restaurant I have been noticing for a month. Maybe they have some.