Interview with Ray Comfort

Ray Comfort is the man responsible for the recent distribution of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (with a 50-page introduction explaining why it’s all junk science and how Darwin is connected to Hitler) at college campuses across the country. He distributed the books a day earlier than he said he would. On Tuesday, he announced that his ministry will be giving away a million more copies of the book.

He’s also the man speaking alongside ministry partner Kirk Cameron in the infamous video about “the banana: an atheist’s worst nightmare.”

You asked questions and Ray responded.

A few notes:

  • This is uncut. I added in links when appropriate. I also fixed a couple grammatical things, with the goal to preserve the intended meaning at all times.
  • All emphases are his.
  • I did not ask Ray many questions about Creationism in general, because any Creationist could answer those. I tried to stick to questions which only he could answer.

And with that, here we go:

Hemant Mehta: Why did you distribute the books a day early? Do you think that was deceptive?

Ray Comfort: Whether or not it was “deceptive” depends on your point of view. We originally intended to give the books out on the 19th but because of the threats of book burnings, of “unilateral resistance,” and the many threats to tear out the Introduction, we changed our strategy. I believe it was a strategically good move. Many atheists had planned to disguise themselves as students and collect multiple copies themselves to stop students from getting the books. One atheist benevolently said, “I wish people would stop ragging on him distributing the books early. It’s a good strategic move to try to pre-empt our events, themselves intended to oppose his . . . it’s a legitimate tactic, no matter how frustrating.”

Hemant: Why did the first editions of your book not include four important chapters from Darwin’s book? (They are in the second printing, you have said, but why not the first?)

Ray: When laying out the book for the first print (30,000 copies), the publishers found that it was over 400 pages and a book that size was too expensive to be a free publication. I therefore randomly removed four chapters and Darwin’s Introduction, saying within the book that they could be freely downloaded at www.originextra.com. But for the second print (175,000 copies) we dropped the text-size, and that reduced the entire book to 304 pages, making it affordable as a giveaway. It was the second print that we made available to students.

Hemant: Similarly, why reprint a first edition of Darwin’s book and not the sixth edition (which contained corrections and an additional chapter)?

Ray: I published the first edition because that’s what we were celebrating — 150 years since the publication of the first edition of On the Origin of Species.

Hemant: The arguments you make in the introduction to the Darwin book have been stated before — and refuted repeatedly by scientists. So why repeat them? Are you interested in hearing atheists’ responses to your questions?

Ray: I don’t deny that the arguments I have used have been addressed many times. However, it’s only atheists that believe that they have been “refuted.” I don’t. I listen to arguments and if they don’t hold up, I don’t accept them.

Hemant: In your own words, how would you describe how evolution and natural selection are supposed to work according to the theory that is broadly accepted in the life sciences? (In other words, can you explain what evolution is before trying to debunk it?)

Ray: Someone who believes in the theory of evolution believes that life started simply and over millions of years evolved to the complex state we now see. The process of change is supposedly brought about by something Darwin called “natural selection.” Evolution has no explanation for the genesis of life, and it has never been “observed” to take place. Nor has it been scientifically proven — because it’s never been “tested” in a laboratory. Evolution, as you have conceded in your question, is simply a theory. Darwinian evolution is often confused by believers with a species adapting within its own kind. Transitions within a species (a kind) is not Darwinian evolution.

Hemant: What is the strongest evidence you can think of in support of evolution by natural selection?

Ray: There is no indisputable evidence for species to species evolution. All “evidence” comes down to faith — does the believer believe the dating process or the information given by other believers in evolution. The mantra is that there are millions of fossils that scientifically prove evolution. I am often sent long lists of missing links. But as I investigate each one, they are not true missing links between kinds. There are millions of fossils that reveal adaptation within kinds, but there are no undisputed fossils that show one species (kind) evolving into another species (kind). The links between kinds were missing in Darwin’s day, and 150 years later they are still missing. To date I have seen no evidence for the theory of evolution.

Hemant: What evidence would you need to see in order to accept evolution?

Ray: If you can think of something new that you think is credible, please let me know and I will be happy to consider it.

Hemant: Many atheists say you make a lot of errors when talking about science. If you heard us saying false things about Christianity, odds are you wouldn’t take us very seriously. Why should we take you seriously?

Ray: Many atheists believe that I make a lot of errors when talking about science. Let me correct them just a little. I have made errors about the beliefs of evolutionists. I am told that I am in error by using the phrase “the law of gravity.” If that’s unscientific, I’m not alone. Many scientists also use the phrase. I am told that I believe that the earth is 6,000 years old, when I have said many times I don’t have any idea about the age of the earth. Those who believe it’s 4.5 billion years old have to have faith in radioisotope dating techniques. I don’t have that sort of faith.

Hemant: What are the last few books about evolution which you’ve read (written by people who accept evolution, I mean)?

Ray: Evolution For Dummies (I’m sure some would say that that is an appropriate book for me). As usual, the explanation [as] to why we have 1.4 million kinds with both male and female was ignored. The Wild World of the Future talks about future evolution speculation, as opposed to the usual evolution speculation of past. The last book I read was On the Origin of Species. I read it from cover to cover and found it a difficult read because most of it is pretty boring. I have heard atheists say the same thing. However, thanks to our generous giveaway of a total of 205,000 copies, others can read for themselves what Darwin actually believed, and make up their own minds.

Hemant: The banana. Do you stand by the argument in your video? Do you regret saying what you did? Do you like when people associate that video with you? Was it a joke? Are you aware that the banana in your video is genetically modified while a “natural” banana would be virtually unrecognizable? (There are several other questions regarding the Banana, but these are the overall themes).

Ray: I deeply regret doing the banana routine on television without a live audience. I have been doing it for live audiences for more than 20 years, and it’s never failed to get a lot of laughs.

Regarding genetic modification. There isn’t any evidence that the banana has changed its shape in the last 2,000 years. The anonymous creator of the well-publicized YouTube clip used a picture of a modern banana that was shaped like a potato, to make me look like a fool (and he did a pretty good job). To see evidence that the banana hasn’t changed shape, go to the bottom of http://www.livingwaters.com/origin/presskit and click on the PDF of “The Banana Controversy.”

Humbling though it has been, the subject has worked in my favor. Being “The Banana Man” has left me with a very low bar to reach. People are quite amazed when I’m able to string a complete sentence together.

Hemant: Many countries with high numbers of non-religious people have lower rates of crime, spousal abuse, divorce, etc. Doesn’t this go against the idea that non-theism is dangerous?

Ray: Theism or non-theism isn’t the issue. For example, religion has caused terrible atrocities throughout history (and still does today). It comes in at the number two spot. Number one is atheistic communism, which has been responsible for an estimated 100 million deaths throughout history*. So the problem has little to do with religion or atheism. The root problem is people that use whatever means possible for their own evil agenda. Crime is all over this world, because sin dwells in every person.

[* Footnote: “Communism has been the greatest social engineering experiment we have ever seen. It failed utterly and in doing so it killed over 100,000,000 men, women, and children, not to mention the near 30,000,000 of its subjects that died in its often aggressive wars and the rebellions it provoked.”]

Hemant: You write on your website that “It is impossible for a Christian to convert to atheism because a Christian is someone who knows God.” People have sent me letters talking about how extremely devout and Christian they used to be, even though they are now atheists. What do you make of their testimonies? (Are they liars? Are they not really atheists? Were they never truly Christians?)

Ray: These people are the results of the horrible manipulative practices of modern Christianity. Many of these spurious converts fall away from the faith and (understandably) become very bitter. Some become atheists. Some stay in the church and give God lip-service (they play the hypocrite). If this doesn’t make sense, take the time to listen to the two free audios (“Hell’s Best Kept Secret” and “True and False Conversion”) on www.livingwaters.com. Hopefully they will help to shed light on what has been happening because of the practices of modern Christianity.

Hemant: Can you name some other Christians you believe are doing good work to spread Biblical word? (In other words, what other Christians do you respect and support?) What do you make of Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church? Are their actions and beliefs consistent with the God you believe in?

Ray: There are millions of Christians (and thousands of Christian organizations) that I love and wholeheartedly support.

I know that many atheists will disagree with me when I say that I love atheists. But if I didn’t, I would have paid for the meals of 40 atheists when they invited me to dinner, in Orange County. Why would I give Red Lobster meal vouchers to atheists on my blog? Why did I give away 120 hard cover books to atheists? I don’t hate anybody. I think that the people at Westboro Baptist church are terribly misguided and that they are misrepresenting Christianity.

There has been a lot of talk about Hitler using Christianity for his hate filled agenda. But he perverted the message of Christianity, which says to love your enemies, and to do good to those that hate you. But Hitler spoke about evolution in his autobiography and then used it correctly for his own ends. He took survival of the fittest to its logical conclusion. Richard Dawkins says that evolution is “survival of the fittest,” and that he is thankful that we don’t instigate Darwin’s theory in contemporary society, where we care for the elderly. You can see Dawkin’s saying this in an interview on the Press Kit on www.livingwaters.com

Hemant: When scientists uncover million-year-old fossils or discover evolutionary “missing links,” do you think they are lying to themselves or somehow misinterpreting the data?

Ray: The Theory of Evolution is like a puffy summer cloud. It changes almost daily. It is nebulous, and can be as large or as small as the imaginations of men. I have said many times that its language is the language of speculation — using words like “believe” “suppose,” “probably,” and “perhaps.” Nothing is sure, because “science” is forever changing its position as it searches for truth. Today’s “missing link” is discarded for tomorrow’s, and something that was 300 million [years old] years ago can become 400 million years [old] overnight. So much is based on faith in dating methods and unscientific beliefs of men who have an erroneous presupposition. I don’t have faith in the same things in which evolutions have faith.

Hemant: On your website, you’ve mentioned some nasty things people have been saying about you. But you never link back to the original postings. Is there a reason for this? Wouldn’t it be good practice, so readers could see the context of the quotations for themselves and judge the statements for themselves?

Ray: This question was asked by “Linzee Binzee,” who quoted someone saying that they hated me, and wished that I had a heart attack. Then Linzee said, “Quote-mining is a tactic Comfort is constantly guilty of, and in this instance he used it to defend his pathetic cowardice.” The quote in question was from the comments section of my own blog.

The general rule is that if it is a scientific claim, you will find “Notes” at the bottom of my posts (you can check on this by looking at previous posts). But when people say negative or hateful comments, it has no academic importance and it’s a simple thing to Google and find the source.

Hemant: You spend a lot of time talking to and writing about atheists. Yet, people of other faiths (Muslim, Hindu, etc.) also don’t believe in your god. Surely, they’re facing the same perilous future as the atheists. Why not spend energy on them as well? Why focus solely on the atheists?

Ray: I have preached open air more than 5,000 times. That took a lot of energy. Most of those times I was addressing people outside the atheist community. I have also written 60 or so books, most of them have nothing to do with atheism. If I seem to focus on atheists it’s because they won’t leave me alone. They hang around my blog like bugs at a camp fire, and when I go to give books out at universities, they are waiting for me. But I love and honor them, and count it a privilege to speak with them.

Hemant: Why have Christians like Francis Collins accepted evolution so wholeheartedly?

Ray: I will answer this by quoting from a recent entry on “Atheist Central” (note the “Note” at the end):

A Christian can believe in fairies, if he wishes. While I wouldn’t doubt the salvation of one who did, I may doubt his sanity. This is because Christianity doesn’t come from what you believe (although that is part of the equation), it comes from who you know.

Let me back up a little to explain what I mean. The Bible teaches the Jesus Christ was pre-existent before He was manifest in human form. He claimed to be the source of life, saying things like “I am the life” (see John 1:4, 11:25, 14:6). When someone repents and believes the gospel (that Jesus Christ died for his sin and rose on the third day), he places his trust in the Savior and comes to “know” God. Then God “seals” the believer with the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ “who is our life” dwells within the believer (see John 14:16-18). The Scriptures say “Christ, who is in you” (see Colossians 1:27). Jesus said that he would come to and would actually dwell within the Christian through the Holy Spirit (see John 14:21).

Here now is the bottom line. If you have Jesus Christ, you have life, irrespective of your denomination. God knows those that love Him. If you don’t have Jesus Christ (through the new birth of John 3:3), you don’t have life. You are still dead in your sins and justly under the condemnation of God (see John 3:17-18). Here’s the pivotal verses:

“He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life…”(1 John 5:12-13).

That said, if you have the Son of God, then the Holy Spirit will lead you into all truth (see John 16:13). Your theology in time will become “sound,” and you will align your beliefs with those truths revealed in Holy Scripture, because it is God’s revelation to mankind. If the Old Testament says there was a literal flood (Jesus did also), the Christian cannot believe otherwise. If the Bible says that the earth freely floats in space when “science” of the time said that it didn’t (see Job 26:7), the Christian quickly sides with the Bible.

In the case of evolution, Scripture is very clear that God made man in His image (not as a primate). He made him and all the animal kingdom as male and female (“Evolutionary biology is unable to reveal why animals would abandon asexual reproduction in favor of more costly and inefficient sexual reproduction.” [1]), and He gave them (and every living animal) the ability to reproduce “after their own kind,” and not to evolve in time into other “kinds” or species of animals. We see the truth of all of the above both in the fossil record and in the creation that surrounds us.


  • http://alessamendes.blogspot.com Alessa Mendes

    In regards to the 1st edition and 6th edition of On the Origin of Species, Dawkins makes reference to it in his latest book, THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH. He always quotes the 1st edition because it’s Charles Darwin’s real words, before he softened it up for the public on later editions.

    Sorry, Comfort said a lot of ‘typical’ things that are a lot more interesting to comment on, but I keep focusing on that one point, which was actually the question, not his reply.

  • A Johnson

    I very much appreciate this sort of dialogue. There is far too much shouting and impatience on opposing sides; people giving each other time to put forward their best arguments for others to then consider is far more constructive and persuasive. Well done.

  • Jerad

    What? He’s really standing by the banana thing?

  • Christophe Thill

    An interesting look into the mind of Ray Comfort.

    The guy is obviously not a moron. He can reason, although he’s used to lower standards of reasoning than those imposed by a scientific kind of thinking. His problem is that for him, as for many believers, faith trump reasons. You don’t need to learn much about science if (in Ken Ham’s words) “human reason” is worthless before “God’s word”. The religious dogma leads you to how you should interprete data, and what data you should consider or not.

    But there’s a good side to Ray Comfort, just as there is one to the “hackergate” (the stolen e-mails at CRU). What we learn is that sloppy wording must be banished. Every word that can be read, distorted, misinterpreted, quote-mined by deniers (be them creationists or global coolers) should be chosen, as much as possible, in order to make this kind of abuse impossible, or at least hard. “Survival of the fittest” is old-fashioned speak, not much better than “red in tooth and claw”.

    I think that we don’t really, fully know what we think until we’ve had to defend our views against an opponent. Even Ray Comfort can be useful in that regard: he jumps on ambiguities, inaccuracies, bad wordings etc, and obliges us to refine our thought and expression. That’s worth its weight in bananas!

  • http://alessamendes.blogspot.com Alessa Mendes

    I’m not buying these warm, fuzzy answers by Ray. “I love atheists” my foot! You should see what he says about atheists on his blog. Not a kind word.

    In any case, science strives to lead people to the truth, regardless of what the truth may be. Comfort (and those alike) strive to lead people to God, even if God is not the truth. Therefore, every word he says lacks credibility in my eyes.

  • http://pinkydead.blogspot.com pinkydead

    I often think that Ray Comfort is a “treasure” as far as atheism and evolution is concerned.

    His arguments are simple and presented in an accessible way. Equally, simple research and clear thinking can quickly show the errors of his statements.

    If this starts someone thinking, then they are on the right path.

  • http://www.bruinskeptics.org Roy Natian

    It’s clear to me that Ray Comfort is deluded or dishonest. His definition of evolution is ridiculous. He clearly doesn’t know what evolution is and restates misconceptions of evolution over and over even though people have repeatedly told him he is wrong.

    I don’t deny that the arguments I have used have been addressed many times. However, it’s only atheists that believe that they have been “refuted.” I don’t.

    WRONG.
    Kenneth Miller is a Catholic and he accepts many of the refutations Ray Comfort dismisses.

    Evolution has no explanation for the genesis of life, and it has never been “observed” to take place.

    WRONG.
    Evolution has nothing to say about how life began, only how we got all this diversity of life once life began.
    The long term e. coli evolutionary experiment has shown evolutionary adaptations in a lab.

    Ray has an agenda, an agenda that, based on his actions, is not affected by evidence or reason. I find him to be dishonest.

  • http://www.bruinskeptics.org Roy Natian

    Another instance of evolution being observed:

    Researchers from New Jersey’s Princeton University have observed a species of finch in Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands that evolved to have a smaller beak within a mere two decades.

    “Instant” Evolution Seen in Darwin’s Finches, Study Says

  • keddaw

    Without even googling or being an expert I came up with an entirely plausible explanation for how sexual reproduction came about and why it is beneficial to a species (and possibly organism).

    (I will skip the change from single celled to multi-celled)

    Asexual reproduction means that all the recessive genes remain recessive, even though they may be helpful. By splitting it’s own DNA a multi-celled organism can recombine, in multiple offspring, many versions of its own genes. Some offspring will have a combination that is reproductively beneficial and will crowd out those that aren’t. When multiple organisms of this type are close together they may accidentally reproduce with their neighbour rather than their own genes. This would be sexual reproduction and if this was shown to have even the slightest advantage (more combinations of genes would lead to a greater chance of one being hugely beneficial) natural selection would accellerate this process and make it become the norm.

    Ray seems fixated on animal sex, but what about plants? Most wind pollinated plants can easily fertilise themselves but they leave themselves open to cross pollination from other plants. There must be (and obviously is) an evolutionary reason for that otherwise it’d stick to self pollination. Also, aphids can asexually reproduce, one of the few animals that can, yet they choose to reproduce sexually whenever possible (Ray would explain that away by lust which is why I stuck to plants.)

    These may or may not be true – but if I can come up with them off the top of my head surely Ray and his people could work out how sex might be an advantage.

  • Sean Wills

    He’s still going on about the asexual reproduction thing? His ego is unbelievable – how can somebody who thinks they’re learned be so ignorant?

  • qwertyuiop

    I deeply regret doing the banana routine on television without a live audience. I have been doing it for live audiences for more than 20 years, and it’s never failed to get a lot of laughs.

    Here’s the thing, Ray. You may not like this but, they are laughing AT you, not with you.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    Ray quotes 1 John 5:12-13. Infinite reward for a finitely held belief. Not just.

    Ray talks about God creating man in His own image… and that man reproduces sexually. I wonder who Ray thinks God’s daddy is?

  • Quentin

    He is one fast-talking huckster, I’ll give him that. He has a talent for evasion and twisting arguments to suit his needs. He would have made a good politician.

  • Trace

    Is asexual reproduction among some “kinds” the work of the Devil?

  • Tony

    Reading his responses left me with a question I wish I’d asked: What is the definition of a “created kind”? It isn’t species obviously as speciation is dismissed as being “within a kind”. So… what’s a “kind”?

    That’s an answer we’ll never get. People with weak arguments tend not to like being pinned down.

  • Roger Hart

    Ray Comfort: Whether or not it was “deceptive” depends on your point of view. We originally intended to give the books out on the 19th but because of the threats of book burnings …

    Book burnings? Can’t agree with that. Why spoil a good fire.

  • llewelly

    But Hitler spoke about evolution in his autobiography and then used it correctly for his own ends. He took survival of the fittest to its logical conclusion.

    I see this, and I note that my question was not included in the interview. I would like to know why.

  • Claudia

    Funny, I find myself getting a lot angrier when I see him misrepresenting science than when I see him discussing religion. I guess it’s because I’m a scientist and seeing someone work so hard to lead people away from demonstrated facts in favor of delusional fantasies makes me want to scream.

    His short answer to his understanding of evolution has a remarkably large number of errors, misrepresentations and lies. He includes abiogenesis in half the answer despite the fact that I’ve personally seen it explained to him that abiogenesis and evolution are different things. This shows me that he is unable to define what evolution is rather than what it isn’t and more importantly it shows me that he is not simply deluded, he is dishonest. The fact that evolution does not explain abiogenesis (nor does it pretend to) has been explained to him, so the fact he brings it up as a weakness shows he is deceptive. Who would Jesus lie to, Ray?
    He also does the ridiculous “it’s just a theory” schtick that has ALSO been explained to him time and time again, so it is ALSO a lie. Pity my question regarding the scientific method and terminology didn’t make the cut.
    Finally, this stupidity about evolution “within kinds”. It’s a common creationist tactic. Since it is too much to believe (even for fundies) that God made, not only every species, but every breed of every animal (separate creations of Bulldogs and Golden Retrievers), especially since many varieties are recorded as having been engineered by man, they try to squeeze out of it saying that variation within species is possible, but change into a new species is not. This is also how they try to get out of the thousands of transitional fossils. The whole problem is of course that there is no magical “line” to cross. What constitutes different varieties and different species is a matter of degrees. In fact we can observe that sometimes Variety A can crossbreed with Variety B, and B with Variety C, but A and C can’t, making them different species. Speciation has been observed during the span of modern science and this barrier of “kinds” only exists within the minds of creationists.

    Every argument, every single one, has been patiently and repeatedly explained to Ray. So he is either psychotic and lacks the ability to distinguish reality from fiction, or (more likely) he is a dishonest worm who in pursuit of his religious ideology is perfectly willing to lie and decieve.

    Wrong place to do it Ray. We’ve all seen your lies before. You will convince no one here.

  • http://www.trainbiggermonkeys.com/blog YuriNalarm

    He’s a boob.

  • janetM

    I’m not sure how beneficial this was for this community. I think it will help Comfort immensely. He will quote from this interview (as he held his own with little challenge) to show how reasonable his point of view really is.

    Hemant: What evidence would you need to see in order to accept evolution?

    Ray: If you can think of something new that you think is credible, please let me know and I will be happy to consider it.

    Yet, there was no follow up comment or factual information from the questioner. There are many more places where he was let off the hook. No comment comes across as “Good point. I think you may be right.”

    I’m sorry, but I don’t think these Larry King-style interviews are of value, except to the interviewee.

  • Brit

    I’m not buying his whole, “I love atheists!” thing. It reminds me of when a blatant racist exclaims that he is not racist because he has black friends.

    Just because you give food away to someone doesn’t mean you love them. I fully expect my family to buy their own food, but it doesn’t mean I hate them, but to go along with more of Ray’s idea of “love,” I once bought a bottle of water for a guy who had just hit my sister’s car. I didn’t like him, but the situation was stressful for everyone, and the water helped in calming things down.

    You get someone something, and they’re more likely to be grateful and nice back. It doesn’t sound like he loves atheists; it sounds like he’s just trying to kill some with kindness. Perhaps atheists will just leave him alone, and will stop hanging around his blog “like bugs at a camp fire” if he gives them food.

  • Steve

    I have listened to Ray for a while now and listened to all of the scientific community explain to him why his positions are incorrect based on the scientific reasons. This particuar quote happens to disturb me more than most.

    All “evidence” comes down to faith — does the believer believe the dating process or the information given by other believers in evolution.

    To me, he is saying that all the advances that science has made comes down to “faith” in their method of development. Is he willing to apply this to other types of science? Are the medications and medical procedures that I am sure he has taken advantage of just a matter of “faith”. Does he believe in the scientific method when it comes to this aspect of science but not when that same method is applied to evolution? To me, the willingness to ignore the facts or disregard them when it does not suit their needs is what scares me about the religious community.

  • sc0tt

    Claudia Says:
    Wrong place to do it Ray. We’ve all seen your lies before. You will convince no one here.

    I doubt if it were his objective to convince anyone here. I suppose rather, that he intended to demonstrate that he could respond to interview questions from a hostile inquisitor with a degree of grace.

    It would be interesting to see how he portrays this event on his own site… but not interesting enough for me to go looking for it.

  • http://logofveritas.blogspot.com Veritas

    Sorry, Hemant, I only made it halfway through before the horseshit overwhelmed me. The old atheism kills hundreds of millions argument never ceases to drive me wild.

    I’m going to go punch things.

  • http://struckbyenlightning.wordpress.com LinzeeBinzee

    Haha I got a mention

    What a disappointment, he didn’t say anything new. He really sticks to his talking points. Did anyone see the segment on TMZ about this the other day? Hilarious, Kirk Cameron was trying to rattle off the talking points that I assume have been spoon-fed to him by Comfort and it was just sad to watch.

    He doesn’t even listen to corrections that wouldn’t force him to change his beliefs. He repeatedly talks about abiogenesis, give it up already! It’s not evolution, he has to know this by now.

    And he still doesn’t get it that the fact that evolution changes with new information is a strength, not a weakness.

    I actually hadn’t heard him say that the banana routine was a comedy act that he does in live shows before, but it’s not that that makes me set my expectations low with him, it’s his blatant lies about science and evolution.

  • http://selfra.blogspot.com dantresomi

    so atheists do buzz around his site like bees?

    I have never been to his site.

    oh well

  • Zoo

    Ehh. It was really difficult to continue reading after he (once again and not surprisingly) was completely wrong about what evolution is and, more importantly, what I “believe” it is.

    Ray: evolution is change in allele frequency over time, at the most basic. Given time, this, by natural selection, sexual selection, and kin selection, genetic drift (as well as potential yet undiscovered mechanisms), can account for the diversity in life we see. Evolutionary theory does not cover the origin of life. It is completely possible that some intelligent being (or God) got life started. The evidence we have (which is not part of evolutionary biology) does not point that way, but if you could give evidence (scientifically testable) of this and you could make your hypothesis falsifiable, and you could use that hypothesis to make predictions about what we should find in nature, I’d be fine with it being called science. It’s not about wanting god(s) out of the picture, it’s about needing what you give us to be scientifically rigorous.

    I do find it strange that you’re denying speciation (and that we’ve neither observed it nor tested it in a lab: we didn’t just make it up!). I assume you believe the ark story, and I see you’re equating “kind” with “species”. Noah put more than 1,000,000 species of animals in the ark?

    In science, a theory is “a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena” (Princeton WordNet). It is not conjecture or speculation. Evolutionary theory is not remotely “just” a theory.

    Just, start over. Learn what evolutionary theory actually says, and why it says that, and then we might be able to actually get somewhere.

  • bill

    Mr. Comfort, what you’ve just said are some of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent responses were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this blog is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may the Flying Spaghetti Monster have mercy on your soul.

  • AnonyMouse

    “Hitler perverted Christianity, but he got evolution right.”

    Boo-hoo, Ray. Like we really expect an evolution-denying Christian to have enough knowledge on the subject to know what would constitute a “perversion.”

    Nowhere in the theory of evolution does it say that members within a species must kill other members within the same species to survive. In fact, the entire human race has survived because “fitness,” for humans, includes members of the species cooperating with other members of their species for mutual benefit.

    But Comfort will never understand that, because he doesn’t have enough “faith” (read: time to actually do research.)

  • Pingback: Ray Comfort Interview at The Friendly Atheist « A.P. Fuchs – Zombie and Superhero Novelist

  • http://lyonlegal.blogspot.com/ Vincent

    what pissed me off most was his total flop evasion of the “what would it take” question.

  • Neon Genesis

    So does Ray side with science or the bible when the bible says that Noah fit all the animal species in the world on a boat that’s smaller than the Titanic? I also love how he says he loves atheists but turns around and calls atheists bugs. Comfort loves atheists in the same way an antisemetic loves Jews that they think are bugs. And I also love how he tries to dodge the question whether or not he thinks Francis Collins is going to hell for believing in evolution and he compares accepting evolution to believing in fairies yet it’s rational to believe in Noah’s ark?

  • http://makarios-makarios.blogspot.com makarios

    Thanks Hemant for doing this.

  • http://52songs52weeks.blogspot.com BH

    Steve called attention to this quote from Ray:

    All “evidence” comes down to faith — does the believer believe the dating process or the information given by other believers in evolution.

    I think this statement ends all meaningful discussion. Though I suppose it still might be useful to talk to him – just to see how such a belief leads someone to think.

    Thanks for asking my question and the one about what would be needed for Comfort to accept evolution, Hemant. This was a good idea, even if it’s made only me all the more convinced that Comfort should be allowed to simply fall off the radar.

  • Greg

    I hope someone asks him what the difference between abiogenesis and evolution is, sometime soon. That way he can be pinned down as either a liar or self-delusional.

  • Felix

    Ray: I don’t deny that the arguments I have used have been addressed many times. However, it’s only atheists that believe that they have been “refuted.” I don’t. I listen to arguments and if they don’t hold up, I don’t accept them.

    Priceless. Your standard for determining if they hold up appears to be ‘what I accept’.

    Evolution has no explanation for the genesis of life, and it has never been “observed” to take place.

    Therefore life doesn’t exist? What are you trying to say here, Ray? That neither abiogenesis, nor design, nor magical creation are credible ideas, since none of them have been observed?

    There are millions of fossils that reveal adaptation within kinds, but there are no undisputed fossils that show one species (kind) evolving into another species (kind).

    What, Ray, species or kind? In one statement you state that people confuse the two, the next statement you appear to say they’re equatable. Apparently you are quite confused about basic definitions that should be clear to someone who confidently makes claims about disputes in science.
    The species definition is not always the same for all clades and families in biology, because different animals reproduce differently, on vastly differently scales of time, quantity and method. I’ve seen various attempts at defining the term ‘kind’, and every one fails with regard to some group of animals. But where biology honestly states that the definition can break down in some cases, ‘baraminologists’ insist that their pseudoscience is useful and exact because the dogma says it must be.
    Then you ignore the stupendous problem of hyper-evolution that the idea of adaptation within kinds within about 6,000 years raises. At the same time, young earth creationists declare that billions of years are not enough time to produce the complexity we find. Make up your minds, will ya. The very notion of having a scientific discussion is ridiculous when one side’s arguments effectively refute themselves before even addressing anything but straw man version of the opposition.

    Ray: If you can think of something new that you think is credible, please let me know and I will be happy to consider it.

    In other words, you have no idea how to begin criticizing science, instead relying on your conviction to reject anything that doesn’t fit your uneducated idea of what science should be.

    Those who believe it’s 4.5 billion years old have to have faith in radioisotope dating techniques. I don’t have that sort of faith.

    There you go again Ray. You simply ignore that radiometric dating is deemed accurate enough because different isotopes that have different half-lives independently of each other yield compatible results. If you think that takes any amount of unreliable faith, by the same standard you must doubt that tasting and smelling a piece of roast turkey are enough to trust that you’re not eating a rock.
    Instead you base your disbelief upon completely untestable claims written down by men who knew even less about reality than you do.

    Recollecting which books on evolution you read last, you criticize that a claim that evolution does not make is not addressed. Why Ray, why does the Bible not tell us why Moses always wore pink clothes? Until any apologist or theologian explains that to me, I have no reason to trust Christianity. Apparently you deliberately choose to inform yourself about science by reading open-heartedly speculative fiction, partially outdated and comparatively incomplete material, and when you do find plausibility, you shrug it off by demanding explanations for nonsense you made up yourself. Ray, you’re a walking talking monument of intellectual dishonesty. You do not approach science in good faith.

    Regarding your account of the victim toll of Communism, you have not accounted for the technology gap between the 1920s-1950s and the time of, for example, the 17th century when the Thirty Years War raged in Europe, killing between a third and two-thirds of the population. Putting those two examples on a technological level would elevate the religious intra-Christian warfare, pillaging, raping, torturing and executing very far above Stalin’s atrocities. Just something that needs to be pointed out occasionally, not disputing your absolute numbers.

    Ray, I think you could do a great good if you challenged the Westboro people directly. They claim to know the Bible in all intricacies better than anyone else, and they have made more than a few theologians and apologists who took them on look pretty bad. If you really want to have people embrace Christ in a warm light and with open arms, it’s people like the ‘Boros who shove themselves in between and paint Christianity in the ugliest tones possible. If you managed to discredit them into shame and repentance, you’d have done a huge service to your Lord, making a clear path to Christ without coercing anyone. He could be working through you.

    No, Hitler did not understand or apply Darwin’s theory correctly – he had Darwin’s and any other Darwinian evolutionary science literature banned and burned. He is a prime example of why teaching children about evolution correctly is important. If a creationist developed a mean streak and wanted to vent his hate against a group of people he’d singled out for all wrongs done unto him, his skewed understanding of evolution would be a perfect instruction manual. Hitler was a creationist, which he stated explicitly in Mein Kampf, even reasoning about how life reproduces within kinds. Survival of the fittest is simply a description of what happens in unguided natural competition, not a prescription for intelligent planning. It does not mean breeding of the strongest. It does not mean killing off your own species for the short-term benefit of a deluded elite. The methods of selective breeding and culling have been known for millenia before Hitler. Claiming that Hitler used evolutionary principles is just a way of poisoning the well, of mixing multiple fallacies to slander an entire scientific discipline.

    [Atheists] hang around my blog like bugs at a camp fire…

    A cute picture, Ray. However, it would be more accurate to use the simile of ‘cleaning personnel at an overturned manure truck’.

    *note: I’ll submit this comment to Ray’s blog in two parts because of it’s length

  • Tizzle

    I appreciate this interview because it reminds me of what I was taught as a child studying Christianity.

    I appreciate the commenters because I have very little knowledge of evolution and could barely hold my own with a determined Christian such as Mr Comfort. I’m glad so many people do not find biology to be mind-numbingly tedious (with sides of gross!) like I do. :)

  • Richard Wade

    Well, Ray couldn’t answer my question, can he explain how evolution and natural selection work according to the theory.

    He said that evolution and natural selection is supposed to work by living things evolving through something Darwin called natural selection.

    Thank you Ray, very illuminating.

    I suppose that you’d explain the process of erosion as “things eroding.”

    Thank you for proving that you can repeat words like a parrot without understanding them. I don’t know why I expected better. You clearly have no idea what you are talking about.

    Any conversation with you is a complete waste of time.

  • Joe Agnost

    I was mostly just frustrated that Hemant didn’t follow up on some of Ray’s answers… Ray got off the hook far too easily here and he WILL use this interview to show that he can handle all the tough questions “atheists” ask him with grace.

  • Joffan

    Interesting interview, and good questions. Thanks.

    Hemant: In your own words, how would you describe how evolution and natural selection are supposed to work according to the theory that is broadly accepted in the life sciences? (In other words, can you explain what evolution is before trying to debunk it?)

    Ray: [paraphrased] No idea, but it’s bad. Especially at non-evolution stuff.

  • Sean

    Comfort has made me aware of a fact I never before realized: there are people in this world who want answers handed to them, whole and polished. These people regard the work of inquiry and investigation as unnecessary and demeaning, and will do anything to defend their right to avoid it. And they vote. I’m moving to Scotland. Give the colonies back to the Puritans, I can’t stand it here anymore.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant

    Hemant: What evidence would you need to see in order to accept evolution?

    What I’ve already seen/read about includes molecular evidence, which is the most convincing for me personally, and the fossil evidence. There are plenty of other reasons, but those clinch it for me.

    I was mostly just frustrated that Hemant didn’t follow up on some of Ray’s answers… Ray got off the hook far too easily here and he WILL use this interview to show that he can handle all the tough questions “atheists” ask him with grace.

    For what it’s worth, this interview was conducted via email and I sent Ray all the questions at once. There wasn’t an opportunity to follow-up.

    … my question was not included in the interview

    Between this site, Facebook, Twitter, and my email inbox, there were a *lot* of questions sent to me. I couldn’t get to them all, so I tried to stick to the major ones or the ones which were asked repeatedly. I also tried to stay away from questions Creationists typically get and focused on ones which only Ray could answer. Sorry if I couldn’t get to yours!

  • J Myers

    Slummin’ it, are we, Hemant?

    The Theory of Evolution God is like a puffy summer cloud. It changes almost daily. It is nebulous, and can be as large or as small as the imaginations of men. I have said many times that its language is the language of speculation — using words like “believe” “suppose,” “probably,” and “perhaps.” Nothing is sure, because “science” “theology” is forever changing its position as it searches for truth scrambles to cobble together ever-greater contrivances and absurdities in effort to preserve its existence amid perpetually shrinking gaps in human understanding. Today’s “missing link” fabricated nonsense is discarded for tomorrow’s, and something that was 300 million billions of [years old] years ago can become 400 million 6,000 years [old] overnight. So much Everything is based on faith in dating methods and unscientific beliefs of men who have an erroneous presupposition and an affinity for preposterous fairy tails. I don’t have faith in the same things in which evolutions Christians have faith.

    FTFY.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    You can lead a Ray Comfort to science, but you can’t make him think. (You can’t make him not be a douche, either. Seriously)

  • http://dubitoergo.blogspot.com Tom Foss

    Well, if nothing else, this confirmed for me that Ray isn’t just a moron. Certainly he’s dumb, but he’s dumb like a fox, coming across as much more intelligent here than in anything else I’ve ever heard or read from him.

    Which confirms my second point, that he is willfully dishonest. It’s not that he doesn’t understand what he’s doing is wrong (i.e., quote-mining, misrepresenting science, misrepresenting atheist views), it’s that he doesn’t care. And he knows his audience won’t care either.

  • J Myers

    That, of course, should have been tales, and, in case it wasn’t clear, it was Ray’s text I edited.

    (Where’s the 5-min edit option?)

  • Joe Agnost

    Hemant wrote: “For what it’s worth, this interview was conducted via email and I sent Ray all the questions at once. There wasn’t an opportunity to follow-up.”

    That’s kinda what I figured…. what a shame though. I guess you take what you can get though eh??

  • Claudia

    @Joffan LMAO, yeah, that about sums it up.

    The interview was useful though, for illuminating two points.

    1. For the fundamentalist, the fact that science is a dynamic body of knowledge is considered a weakness, not a strength.

    I have said many times that its language is the language of speculation — using words like “believe” “suppose,” “probably,” and “perhaps.” Nothing is sure, because “science” is forever changing its position as it searches for truth.

    For Ray, the fact that science is self-correcting, and that in science you must be willing to discard a faulty (or simply less good) explanation if another comes around that better explains existing data, this core of scientific thought, this is bad! This attacks the core of scientific thinking, the central pillar that has given us every modern convenience and medical advancement we see today. To him, truths must be Eternal and immune to new contradicting data.

    2. He his not just ignorant, he is dishonest. The arguments he gives have not only been refuted to him many times, he says things that I have personally seen him be corrected on. He says we’ve never seen speciation, and I’ve SEEN someone give him examples of them. He talks about abiogenesis and I’ve SEEN it explained that it is different from evolution. He talks about it being speculation and “just a theory” and I’ve SEEN the scientific meaning of theory explained to him.
    Simply put, it is no longer even slightly possible to think that he believes the things he is saying, or that he says them out of mere ignorance. Many of them he KNOWS are false as they are coming out of his mouth. He is a liar and a snake, and if he feels no shame in lying to people in pursuit of his fundamentalist goals, he has no conscious.

  • http://illbehonest.com Adiel O. Corchado

    @Roy Natian,

    In your example of the finches you perpetrated one of the Top Ten Myths About Creation. Check it out:

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/get-answers/top-ten/myths-about-creation

    By the way, I think Ray Comfort uses the word species wrong. However what he is saying is true. Animals reproduce after their own KIND!

    I think even you believe that evolution has limits, right? Is there a limit to the diversity of the animals that can evolve from say a bull and a cow? Or are the possibilities limitless eg can a bull and a cow evolve into a parakeet? No, right? There are limits. This is what the Bible says and Christians believe. That adaptation has limits. The limit is a the kind level.

    God bless you,
    Adiel

  • Claudia

    Adiel, please give a scientific definition of the word “kind”. Is it distinct from species or is the same exact concept?

    While you’re at it explain the mechanism by which species can vary while remaining within the same species but never become another species? Where is that limit placed and what is it’s mechanism, according to creationists?

  • http://illbehonest.com Adiel O. Corchado

    Roughly speaking I believe that kind is more analogous to the family biological classification, but not exactly. I refer to the link I posted above for detail information.

    Hey I have a question for you, do you believe that adaptation to an environment can result in limitless diversity? As I asked in my first post, if we were to leave a bull and a cow on an earthlike planet for 4 billion years. Do you think that the descendants of those cows can be as diverse as the life on earth is eg mosquitoes, parakeets, orangutans, octopus, apple trees, and scientists? Or are there limits to what can result from the adaptation of cattles to their environment?

    Bible believing Christians believe that there are limits to what can adapt from cattle. The Bible says that they will ultimately reproduce according to their own “kind”.

    What do you believe? Limitless or limited adaptation?

    Adiel

  • http://3harpiesltd.org/ocb Judith Bandsma

    One of the biggest things creationists miss is the concept of TIME. If they can’t see evolution, it can’t exist. (Gee, turn that around and replace evolution with ‘god’ and watch their heads spin.)

    They just don’t seem to get geological time.

  • Joe Agnost

    Adiel wrote: “Roughly speaking I believe that kind is more analogous to the family biological classification, but not exactly. I refer to the link I posted above for detail information.”

    So you don’t know. The link you provided doesn’t give the definition either, and certainly doesn’t give any “detail information”.

    Why would you think that would be sufficient? Why on earth would anyone take your rebuttal seriously when YOU can’t even define the words you’re using? I’m not surprised – I’ve never seen/heard a creationist define these vague terms they use to confuse the gullible.

    Come back to us when you can define “kind”…

  • http://illbehonest.com Adiel O. Corchado

    Do you agree that whatever “according to its kind” means it must bean something? Does not “according to its kind” include whatever is “according to its kind” and exclude whatever is not “according to its kind”? I think its silly to say, “Since we are not sure what exactly is modern biological classification of the ancient word baramin (translated as kind) it cannot be taken seriously. In saying this you are assuming that the Bible is not the Word of God. On what do you base this assumption?

  • http://illbehonest.com Adiel O. Corchado

    By the way, I do still refer the reader to check out this link which gives further detail as to what we have discovered about the classification of the biblical kinds:

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/get-answers/top-ten/myths-about-creation

  • Joe Agnost

    Adiel wrote: “In saying this you are assuming that the Bible is not the Word of God. On what do you base this assumption?”

    Oh dog… On what do I base this “assumption”? Let’s see… since there is no evidence that a god (or gods) exists I figure one probably didn’t pen a book full of contradictions, vile examples of morals, and silly talking snake stories.

    And I’m really sorry to break this to ya – but if you’re going to attempt to disprove evolution you’re going to have to define the words you use. I know that makes it tough when you’ve only got an ancient book to go by… but that’s the way it is. Saying a species cannot evolve outside of it’s own “kind” kinda means you have to define what “kind” means. It’s important.

    I did enjoy your little dance around the question in the first part of this comment though: “Does not ‘according to its kind’ include whatever is ‘according to its kind’ and exclude whatever is not ‘according to its kind’?”

    What does that even mean! Yikes! You creationists us such sloppy logic! I’m dizzy just trying to follow your train of “thought”!

  • J Krinkle

    He didn’t answer question 5. He gave a very vague description of evolution, but skipped Part 2: describing natural selection. That’s a pretty important thing to omit.

    That’s like being asked to describe cars, and never mentioning that they’re a form of transportation.

  • http://illbehonest.com Adiel O. Corchado

    All I was saying is that even if we have not found the EXACT equivalent to the modern biological classifcation (which we believe is roughly around the family class, though not exactly) does not render the Scripture meaningless as you suggest, as though we have no idea whatsoever what it is saying.

    You mentioned that you assume that the Bible is not the word of God because of the vile examples of morals. What is the standard that you are using to judge the morals of the Bible? And I’m really sorry to break this to ya – but if you’re going to attempt to judge the morals of the Bible you’re going to have to define the standard you use, so that we can see if it is absolute and objective or binding OR relative and subjective and not binding.

  • Claudia

    I’m afraid that without a proper definition of “kind” a discussion of whether or not they can reproduce is impossible.

    However if I am to take your “rough definition” that “kind” means any individual that is related to another within the family classification, then you are absolutely flat wrong. By the scientific definition only individuals within the same species can reproduce producing fertile offspring. If your definition held true, humans would be able to reproduce with orangutans.

    In fact, the very acknowledgment that there are hierarchical levels of relatedness between individuals is telling. You corrected me by saying that no, “kind” would not mean species but more family. Family is a scientific term, a taxonomic term that lacks ANY objective meaning in the absence of evolutionary theory.

    To briefly answer your question; given an infinite amount of time there is no set limit to the amount of diversity that can originate from a given common ancestor beyond that of the environment of the individuals. Of course, the smaller the amount of time, the less possibility there is for divergence as evolution occurs largely in small steps. The argument of creationists boils down to you can walk from one side of the street to the other, but there is no way to walk from one end of the city to the other. It’s the same exact mechanism, simply given a quantity of time hard to fathom for a human.

    One last thing about scientific debates. In order to have a scientific debate you must possess scientific knowledge. That includes being able, when asked, to define the concepts you are arguing for or against. It also includes, when objecting to an established scientific fact, showing exactly what evidence is in error and HOW it is in error, always basing your arguments in scientifically demonstrated concepts. Also, when offering an alternate hypothesis, it is not enough to break down a previous theory (if you are able), you must be able to show scientific evidence in favor of your claim.

    From what I’ve seen of your writing, you do not appear to be a Ray Comfort. You don’t seem to mean badly and I could easily believe you truly think there is merit in your stance. Unfortunately you appear to be deeply ignorant of the basic concepts of evolutionary biology as well as the nature of scientific inquiry. I do not say this to insult you, and I’m sorry if it comes across that way, but I sincerely hope that some day you understand that there’s a reason why every credible scientist in the world holds the opposite view on this subject than you, and that the champions of your view aren’t scientists in accredited universities. It’s not a conspiracy, the facts are simply not on your side.

    Cheers

  • http://illbehonest.com Adiel O. Corchado

    Charles,

    How do you define, “credible scientist” in the world? The ones who agree with you?

    While I would really enjoy continue this conversation I just can’t. But I will include in this post some closing thoughts…

    I did not say “exactly” the family kind but roughly. For example, even though secular modern biologists who presuppose naturalism as their starting point, classify humans as apes under the same family, the Bible distinctly reveals that humans are of a different kind than animal kingdom.

    As an answer to my question you stated, “To briefly answer your question; given an infinite amount of time there is no set limit to the amount of diversity that can originate from a given common ancestor beyond that of the environment of the individuals.” OK, so you believe LIMITLESS evolution, that is, a bull and a cow, given enough time can evolve into an apple tree or a flea or Einstein. Thanks for the clarification. However, I seriously cannot help but chuckle that you believe such a foolish thing. That is not what the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches that there are limits!

    I gotta get going. A final word on this great holiday that we are celebrating today:

    Let those who are thankful thank the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, the giver of every good gift! Every good gift you have came from His hand: your life, your family, your friends, everything! And the greatest gift of all? “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”. Praise the Lord!

  • Solitas

    @Adiel: a bull and a cow
    Wouldn’t last four billion years; even if they mated, there wouldn’t be enough genetic diversity. See why we want things defined, re: kind?

    So, about your question. Before we start, we should make sure we are on the same page, yes? Okay, so here goes:
    Define “cow”, please. Are we talking about the animal itself, excluding all the different kinds of bacteria that usually inhabit the body of a bovine? In your question, how many bovine animals are we talking about here? The stated two, or more? What will the animals eat? In your four billion year timeline, are we excluding ELEs?
    Or did you expect something simpler, like “yes” or “no”?

  • Solitas

    @Adiel: In saying this you are assuming that the Bible is not the Word of God. On what do you base this assumption?
    Oh, that’s an easy one: there are no gods.
    Slightly more detailed: Assuming an omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent being wrote that book, there would not be so many contradictions and outright errors in it. There would not be any.

  • Claudia

    My names is “Claudia” not “Charles”, though considering the subject matter, I find the error flattering ;)

    It is true that the definition of credible is relatively plastic. However I think that it is not a stretch to say that about 99% (I’m being conservative here) of biologists and biochemists accept evolutionary theory. That would include every single one working at the top 100 universities in the world and every single member of the National Academy of Sciences and equivalent elite institutions throughout the world. A rough estimate, but I’m fairly certain that not far off.

    I can’t help but be amused by the next part though. You find it impossible to believe that diversity, given enough time and proper circumstances, is not limited. Part of this probably stems from the fact that you do not understand the mechanisms of evolution in the slightest. However part of it could also be that it is quite understandable that such a thing strains credulity for a regular person.

    But your objection is not any of that. Your objection is “It’s not what the Bible teaches!” Well then, it can’t be true, can it? LMAO This is your slam dunk? The Bible. So what happens when I tell you that the Bible has the same scientific credibility as Harry Potter? You can’t use the Bible as a gambit against people who don’t believe it’s true! You can’t even use it against Christians who do believe in it’s god but don’t believe it’s literally true. Your reasoning only works, by definition, with people who already think the way you do!

  • BathTub

    Adiel, Human are apes, and were classified as such by a biblical creationist before Darwin was even born.

  • BathTub

    Typical Ray, he’s been given all the examples that he asks for, he just always ignores the examples and then says no gave him any.

    The same way he puts out press releases saying no one will debate him, while ignoring the dozen people lined up wanting to debate him.

  • Jack Gabriel

    That’s total bullshit about the missing chapters. I work in publishing and nobody, fucking no publisher would ever remove chapters to adjust the page count. There are countless alternatives, the least of which is reducing text size.

  • muggle

    I see you didn’t use my question? ;) (I’m joking you, Hemant, since mine were rather tongue in cheek. I doubt anyone’s had the nerve to ask it of either one of them but, if I ever have the displeasure of meeting either one of them, I’ll be sure to.)

    Sigh. I may be Atheist but I suck, suck, suck at science and only semi-”get” evolution. But even I know those answers were horseshit.

  • Chaz4jc

    The long term e. coli experiment still ended up with e. coli at the end. The Galapagos Islands finches’ beaks change back and forth from long to short in a regular cycle which corresponds to the availability of different foods. This cycle also closely follows the El Nino- La Nina weather cycles and again, at the end they are still finches. Most of these “icons” of evolutionary evidence have simple explanations when you don’t limit yourself to one biased viewpoint.

  • MarkP

    Chaz4jc said:

    The long term e. coli experiment still ended up with e. coli at the end. The Galapagos Islands finches’ beaks change back and forth from long to short in a regular cycle which corresponds to the availability of different foods. This cycle also closely follows the El Nino- La Nina weather cycles and again, at the end they are still finches

    Congratulations- you’ve established that speciation generally takes a long time. Unfortunately, the same mechanism that causes the small changes you mention, continue to operate and accumulate many small changes, until the result is no longer clearly within the old species definition.

    For a couple of examples of larger changes, check out the Grant’s latest paper in which they describe the formation of and isolated breeding group on Daphne Major formed following a hybridization event and a subsequent bottle neck. It looks like the early stages of a speciation event.

    Also, have a look at the Apple Maggot. The well documented Hawthorn Moth spun off populations which fed on apples following the widespread planting of orchards in the early 1800′s. The two groups no rarely interbreed and are beginning to diverge, again, it appears to be speciation in action- this time a little further along.

    Out of curiosity, what “simple explanations” do you believe explain the Galapagos Finches or Lenski’s E. coli without descent with modification by means of natural (or artificial) selection?

  • http://olasyreflexiones.blogspot.com/ deloceano

    Ray talks about loving atheists and everyone else, which doesn’t seem to gel with all of the vitriol that spew’s forth from his mouth on his own Blog site.

    It appears another of Monsieur Comfort’s little deceptions – trying in an atheist forum to appear to be something he is most definately not.

  • Brian Gregory

    I spent 15 years in a church listening to “we don’t hate , we love them”. Just because you say it, even if you believe what you say, doesn’t make it true. Ray and a great many like him are such experts at rationalization and self-delusion that they can motivate themselves with such obvious bullshit while convincing themselves they are fighting for a noble cause.

  • llewelly

    They just don’t seem to get geological time.

    On the part of professional creationists like Mr. Comfort, this is deliberate. The cartoons which show a wrecking ball labeled “millions of years” crashing into a church are not caused by ignorance. Quite the reverse. They know an accurate understanding of geological time shows Genesis is just another myth. That’s why garbage like “flood geology” is so important to them. In order to defend their lies, they must misunderstood geological time.

  • llewelly

    That is not what the Bible teaches.

    And that, thank you very much, is how we know the bible to be false.

  • Greg

    Adiel – if we were to leave the bovine family for 4 billion odd years they would indeed evolve into different beings – but only if there was also other life around to make the world habitable and allow them to eat (flora for example).

    But here you show your lack of understanding of evolution. As life evolves it becomes more complex. The first life on the planet was extremely simple, nowhere near as complex as a cow! Before I go any further, I am not a biologist, I freely admit – luckily the general theory of evolution is remarkably simple. However, the whole point of natural selection is that life evolves in one direction – to become more suited to their environment. In order for a complex organism like a cow to become a plant, it would have to devolve rather than evolve (or rather, devolve and then evolve in a different direction). Remember we are cousins (of some form or another) to every other living species currently on the planet, not parent or child.

    A pig at no point turned into a horse, rather if you go back far enough along their family tree (and it’s a long way back with our intuitive ‘understanding’ of what time is), you will find the same ancestor for the two of them. Likely, at this point, the ancestor will share very little obvious resemblance to today’s pigs or horses. (This is why Comfort’s crocoducks get roundly ridiculed in any scientific circle.)

  • sven

    And that, thank you very much, is how we know the bible to be false.

    Best Answer Ever!

  • MarkP

    Greg said:

    As life evolves it becomes more complex

    That is not actually inherently true. The processes which led to the current diversity of life included an increase in complexity, but it is not necessary that that be the case. You are, however, quite correct that it is unlikely for a bovine to evolve into a plant, largely because of how “plant” is defined and the fact that plants would already be filling plant niches in order for the bovines to survive (ie there would be no opening for selective pressure to become more plant like). If the bovines were, instead, present in a system which left many niches open (including those currently occupied by plants), it is possible for bovines to fill them given enough time and selective pressure.

  • Tony

    Roughly speaking I believe that kind is more analogous to the family biological classification, but not exactly.

    No, not good enough. No “roughly speaking I believe”. I want a detailed and specific definition that is widely accepted among creationists. Anything less is utterly worthless.

    As I asked in my first post, if we were to leave a bull and a cow on an earthlike planet for 4 billion years

    .

    What do you mean by “earthlike”? You mean already filled with diverse life like a modern earth? Or are you referring to a planet which is earthlike in temperature and composition but somehow devoid of life?

    What I’m getting at is what are the cows going to eat?

    Dropping off two members of a fully modern species in a new planet is not something addressed by evolution… That’s more the creationist explanation.

    You mentioned that you assume that the Bible is not the word of God because of the vile examples of morals.

    Actually I believe the person in question mentioned that the bible is not the word of god because of the lack of likelihood of the existence of god or gods, the amount of contradictions and the “silly talking snake stories”.

  • Ray

    Wow. Everything that most of you accuse Mr. Comfort of doing you do yourselves.

    Ray Comfort is mean-spirited . . . he is illogical . . . he misses the point or doesn’t understand etc. Have you read through what is posted here?

    You are no different in your approach. You laugh at his banana theory – consider the Bovine to Beetle theory – you’ll laugh til you cry!

  • Kiera

    A great example of someone being able to destroy his own arguments’ credibility by just opening his mouth. So glad you just moved from question to question and let him stand on his own. Or, rather, fall on his own.

    I <3 the part of about loving atheists. Apparently he thinks to love someone is to give them free stuff.

    Thanks, Hemant!

  • Mustafa Mond, FCD

    Mr. Comfort: Where is the $10,000 you owe me? You ran an offer of $10,000 for anyone producing evidence of transitional fossils. I sent in a convincing entry, but never even heard back from you. I must admit I have begun to question your sincerity in the matter.

  • Joe Agnost

    Kiera wrote: “Apparently he thinks to love someone is to give them free stuff.”

    No kidding! How funny is that?!

    Of course I’ve always found religious people’s definition of “love” to be rather odd and, um… evil. Jesus is tortured – that’s just god’s love at work. Sending my atheist ass to hell – again, that’s just god’s love.

    So Ray can insult atheists over and over and over again – give them a gift certificate to red lobster – and that’s Ray’s love in action! Nice…

    And thanks Tony for clearing up Adiel’s mistake about my position (“I believe the person in question mentioned that the bible is not the word of god because of the lack of likelihood of the existence of god or gods…”)… Exactly!

  • Parse

    Hemant: What evidence would you need to see in order to accept evolution?

    Ray: If you can think of something new that you think is credible, please let me know and I will be happy to consider it.

    This sounds like it was based off of my question, and I got the expected response from it. I’m not asking you to refute specific evidence; I am asking if there *could* exist evidence to convince you. There’s none so blind as those that refuse to see.

    Ray: I know that many atheists will disagree with me when I say that I love atheists. But if I didn’t, I would have paid for the meals of 40 atheists when they invited me to dinner, in Orange County. Why would I give Red Lobster meal vouchers to atheists on my blog? Why did I give away 120 hard cover books to atheists? I don’t hate anybody.

    In other words, you ‘love’ atheists as a potential converts, or as strawmen to box for your audience. If you truly loved us as you say you do, you wouldn’t lie about our arguments and our viewpoints.

  • http://blog.yogurtking.net Jeffrey Robinson

    Christophe Thill was commenting above on how Comfort et al keeps our (that is, us that adhere to science) vocabulary and our ideas sharp. I do believe there is some truth to this; it has been noted that creationism has only helped in regard to the theory, if not in practice than in education.

    However, I do not think we should water down the language. “Red in tooth and nail” is an evolutionary truism, painful as it may be. We are the children of a history of violence -> it is not in the theory that we will find salvation, but in our uniqueness as a species to reflect and recreate ourselves. For this we can thank evolution, but to capitalize on creating meaning, purpose and peace is an existential endeavor, not a scientific one.

    In short we must not capitulate to one of the mainstay arguments of creationism which is the fallacy of appeal to consequence. Evolution, nature herself, is violent to life, and life being nature, violent unto itself. And yet our other instincts of nurture and care prevail to now – were we can, via science, intelligence, and expression, extend this to beyond our immediate kin, to beyond our neighborhood block, for the first time in 3 billion years.

    Religion recognized this but couldn’t seem to get past the extended family without resorting to murder, in the past all-too-real, under the stay of secular ethics in the form of misinformation and psychological warfare (read: hell).

    We non-believers and scientists and artists now must take of the torch. And we too have failed (read: atomic bomb).

    Red in tooth and nail, indeed. But as Comfort is a living example, we can deny nature – we just need to do it in a way that does not subvert the truth and benefits the planet.

  • BathTub

    Make no mistake, Ray has said quite matter of factly that nothing could convince him that Evolution is real. This is despite the fact that he has said that a)species equals kind b) speciation is real c)there are millions of transitional fossils.

    But evolution is false!

  • TheBlackCat

    The long term e. coli experiment still ended up with e. coli at the end.

    That is debatable. One of the defining features of E. coli is the lack of citrate metabolism. This particular strain evolved the ability to metabolize citrate, so if you go by this definition then they are no longer E. coli.

  • Svlad Cjelli

    The word “baramin” is not interesting without a meaning. As long as it is presented without a known meaning, it has the same value in discussion as a word that really has no meaning.

    Knowing what one is trying to express is of informational value. Whether the letters used spell “kind”, “baramin” or “dalgmappc” is pure aesthetic.

  • Marcusbailius

    Curiously, until this Origin handout trick I had also never really come across Ray Comfort. I don’t think this is necessarily a loss.

    He misses the point that scientists don’t need to “have faith” in dating techniques or whatever. If we really have a doubt about a particular measurement technique, we can go and do an experiment or make more observations, to confirm the technique is valid. Then we can publish our findings. This is what science is about.

    Faith or belief, simply don’t come into it. I suspect this is where the overly religious just don’t get it – they can’t get their head around the complete lack of necessity for the word “believe” in scientific endeavour.

    The Earth is 4.55 (ish) billion years old: This is the result of what we call measurements. Faith not required.

    …Don’t suppose he’s read The Making of the Fittest, by Sean B. Carroll? That book looks at the question of evolution from the viewpoint of the genes. Darwin of course, didn’t know about genes. A rather good read; I recommend it.

  • Greg

    MarkP said:

    That is not actually inherently true. The processes which led to the current diversity of life included an increase in complexity, but it is not necessary that that be the case. You are, however, quite correct that it is unlikely for a bovine to evolve into a plant, largely because of how “plant” is defined and the fact that plants would already be filling plant niches in order for the bovines to survive (ie there would be no opening for selective pressure to become more plant like). If the bovines were, instead, present in a system which left many niches open (including those currently occupied by plants), it is possible for bovines to fill them given enough time and selective pressure

    I said I wasn’t a biologist! :)

    Having said that, I didn’t think it was my place to try to be precise, given that I would then get numerous things wrong… like that I guess (!). I think I probably got this misapprehension from one of Dawkins books/lectures where he talks about ‘Mount Improbable’ and how there can be multiple peaks at different levels. (He descibes evolution as a process that can only go uphill.)

    Thinking about it, it would only make sense that if ‘losing’ genetic information actually enhanced survivability after a change in conditions it would happen.

    This is why I love science – regardless of the level of scientific literacy it is always possible to learn something interesting. (As opposed to boring rote learning) Thanks for the correction! :)

  • TheBlackCat

    The word “baramin” is not interesting without a meaning.

    But it does have a meaning. It means “the level of difference that evolution cannot surpass” ;)

  • TheBlackCat

    Although I put a wink there, I have come to the conclusion that this is the actual definition most creationist have in their heads, they just don’t want to admit it.

  • Joe Agnost

    In what I still find to be one of the funniest lines written in these comments we have an idea of what creationists think we want when we ask for word definitions.

    Adiel wrote: “Does not ‘according to its kind’ include whatever is ‘according to its kind’ and exclude whatever is not ‘according to its kind’?”

    That seriously cracks me up every time I read it! Adiel thinks this is enough information for “kind”! :)

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org RBH

    LinzeeBinzee said

    And he still doesn’t get it that the fact that evolution changes with new information is a strength, not a weakness.

    That phenomenon occurs often enough that there’s a technical term for it. It’s called “learning.” Would that Ray would indulge in it.

  • MarkP

    @Greg

    I think I probably got this misapprehension from one of Dawkins books/lectures where he talks about ‘Mount Improbable’ and how there can be multiple peaks at different levels. (He descibes evolution as a process that can only go uphill.)

    Its an understandable and common misconception. The “uphill” Dawkins refers to does not need to be complexity, but can be any advantage. A good example are parasitic bacteria. Ancestral bacteria were all free living. Those populations that adapted to life has a parasite show a decrease in the number of genes and the size of their genomes. Quite simply, fewer genes are required in the controlled environment of the host, so there is a tendency to become less “complex.”

  • http://Thomasnma.wordpress.com ThomasNMA

    “(”Evolutionary biology is unable to reveal why animals would abandon asexual reproduction in favor of more costly and inefficient sexual reproduction.” [1])”

    Why would an omnipotent creator create an inefficient method of reproduction? Not very clever, eh? What’s up with that, Ray?

  • l.a.o.f

    OH man…
    Quite interesting comments here.
    There are many comments here that I’ll just cherish and keep for another day’s retorts.
    Things like:

    - Linzee-Binzee’s comments about Kirk Cameron being ‘spoon-fed’ information. (Sounds like Linzee’s been in a few of the spoon-feeding classes in some of the more liberal universities, herself).

    -Greg’s comment that “Having said that, I didn’t think it was my place to try to be precise, given that I would then get numerous things wrong…”
    (Greg please tell me – precisely – what you feel you are wrong and right about? Or do you not want to put that in print?)

    It’s interesting how much you can sometimes learn about a person from that person’s own (mis)statements.

    :-)

  • Twewi

    This is bizzare. He puts together cogent thoughts and reasonings that might seem logical to someone only slightly less informed, then goes on with the male/female thing. I can’t understand how someone who seems informed and well spoken can fail to grasp that sexual reproduction increases diversity and thus the “options” for natural selection to “choose” from.

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  • Claudia

    The long term e. coli experiment still ended up with e. coli at the end.

    That is debatable. One of the defining features of E. coli is the lack of citrate metabolism. This particular strain evolved the ability to metabolize citrate, so if you go by this definition then they are no longer E. coli.

    It’s also important to note that the term “species” in bacteria has a somewhat different definition than for other living beings as bacteria reproduce asexually and also acquire new properties from horizontal transfer of DNA. This makes classification of species trickier and more based on molecular analysis of DNA makeup.

    This would make speciation rather different for bacteria than for animals. Either way, both have been observed, and anyone who thinks otherwise needs to spend an afternoon with a fruit fly specialist.

  • Living4Him

    Ray,
    I speak for many Christians who love you and appreciate the stand you take for The Truth.

    Wow, this time they buzzed and flapped for two days straight. They do swarm to you. They know that you do have the Truth.
    May God continue to bless you

  • BathTub

    Yes o martyr, pointing out how stupid Ray is & his lies clearly proves how right he is.

    Damn you worked it out.

  • Wes McDaniel

    Just a comment for Roy Natian ONE: Kenneth Miller is a Catholic and he accepts many of the refutations Ray Comfort dismisses. Catholics are not Christians and do not share the same views or beliefs as Christians! They are mostly pagan. Bowing before statues and dressing up in some crazy out fit and think they are holy. TWO: Researchers from New Jersey’s Princeton University have observed a species of finch in Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands that evolved to have a smaller beak within a mere two decades. Well Duh!! It is still a bird!!! I have a dog (same breed) one is shorter than the other. Woop de Doo!
    All I want to say is way to go Ray Comfort good job as always. Love in Christ…<

  • BathTub

    Yeah no ‘True Christian’… that’s always convincing, right up there with Pascals Wager.

  • MadScientist

    “… in which evolutions have faith.”

    ‘evolutionists’ perhaps

    Ray Comfort gets the ideas of science all wrong (as he always does). Science is not based at all on belief but in challenging beliefs to see what withstands the scrutiny. Anything out of the bible simply does not withstand even the least scrutiny; this is by no means a new development. Ancient records survive and Augustine of Hippo, for example, (~1600 years ago, but his letters are by no means the oldest of surviving evidence) struggled with the relationship between the bible and natural philosophy (what we might call ‘ancient science’). Augustine’s solution was one popular with religious tyrants through the ages: demonize and murder the dissenters.

    As people test ideas, many ideas must necessarily be refined. It is outright ridiculous to believe that somehow people can simply come up with a “perfect” idea which does not need to be modified, but people who believe the bible is some sort of magically perfect book may be prone to such magic-thinking. Even the abstract and highly successful field of mathematics does not contain any magically perfect ideas; if anything Godel had demonstrated that no mathematical system can be complete – there will always be a mathematical question which can be asked which cannot be resolved by any specific mathematical system.

  • Matt

    Living4Him,

    What complete and utter nonsense. We did not “swarm” Ray Comfort. He participated in an interview, and we are now responding to his answers. Leave it to the deluded to simplify any challenges to their faith.

  • http://www.winganimation.com Christopher Wing

    I consider Christianity a “social experiment.” And while “communism” (let’s be honest – no country has ever really practiced communism – just because you call it “communism” does not make it so) may have killed many, Christians have killed far more people throughout the last 2000 years than any single government or theory.

  • Svlad Cjelli

    @ Living for him:
    Like flies, we swarm to shit.

  • Troy

    One thing I found interesting is that Ray read Origin of Species and found it boring. I have no doubt Ray read it as an exercise so he could justify putting an introduction into a book only if he had read it first. I attempted to read the Bible along for a similar strategy, and found it boring no doubt for similar reasons. If you’re reading out of curiosity and interest you’ll enjoy a reading, otherwise it is just a mindless endeavor and consequently boring.

  • Claudia

    @ Living for him:
    Like flies, we swarm to shit.

    LMAO, very nice. Still though, we aren’t particularly swarming to him. He came into our community and let fly a pile of BS and we are busily cleaning it up. Saying we are swarming to him would be like saying that a KKK member is being swarmed by black people if he entered Harlem in full cone-head regalia and started yelling “N****er!”.

  • Shrimps

    There’s really no point with these people, is there? Every comment is just a repetition of the same thing – no evidence, no facts – just evolution is nonsense and atheists are demons. I take some “comfort” in the fact that in a few generations people like this will just be sad anecdotes…shills for a dying propaganda, caught in an archaic trap of ignorance. You can see in his words just how trapped he is. It really can’t be easy to lie when you, yourself actually depend on Darwin when you eat your food, go to the doctor, and use any technology whatsoever for that matter (i.e. Darwin was one of the great innovators of the scientific method itself). It must be very, very difficult to be frantically patching a sinking ship with a million holes and new leaks springing every second.

  • Calladus

    Ray Comfort’s gloating over having sneakily paid for an Atheist group’s dinner is the reason why I have refused to allow Christians to pay for my own meals.

    Comfort made it very clear to me that there is an ulterior motive in such actions. They are not taken out of friendship, or mutual respect, but out of one-up-man-ship and a “holier than thou” attitude.

    It is a passive-aggressive move and is dishonest.

    It is also what I’ve come to expect from fundamentalists.

  • Kirk ComeMoron

    “Faith in radioisotope dating techniques”

    Oh please stop this nonsense. The next thing is that we should have (not) faith in gravity.

    Comfort is a con man. A criminal. Earning money from people who are scared and he knows that ‘happy to accept evidence’. He is scum.

  • Danny the Budding Ambitioner

    I have a question. As I read down the long list of comments (some mild, some over-the-top, and some passive-aggressive) I’ve noticed that most atheists restate the fact that Mr. Comfort has gotten the Theory of Evolution entirely wrong. Could someone kindly point out to me what the most recent ‘definition’ (if you will) of evolution is? I’m taking a Biology course at my school, and the things Mr. Comfort mention (about evolution, and its by-products, results, etc.) are very familiar to what I see in the textbook for the class. The textbook is pretty recent, as well (published somewhere in the 2000s). What’s missing?

  • BathTub

    Danny, just so you don’t think I am taking Ray out of context, you can go to the living waters site and see him say first hand what I am about to tell you. The video is called “Using common sense to debunk evolution”

    This is his standard example he’s given it many times.

    Now remember Ray has been corrected on this dozens and dozens of times, including quite publically on blogs like Pharyngula which he acknowledged! Before repeating it again and again like on that 700 club clip.

    ‘When the first dog after millions of years finally evolved eyes, after evolving lungs & heart etc it had to run around desperately to find an independently evolved female dog before it died to mate with and of course this had to happen over and over with every species’

    He’s also said that if evolution were true then you should find crosses of modern animals which of course leads to the now famous crocoduck.

    So while on one hand using the Crocoduck as his definition of a transitional fossil he says ‘there are no transitional fossils’ he also has said ‘there are millions of transitional fossils’, so it’s hard to keep clear exactly what his dogma is from day to day.

    His intro has pages and pages of flat out lies about evolution and related fields. If you can ‘name’ fossil he lists it as a fake. So Ida, Lucy, Java Man etc, all fake.

    He’s also said that Darwin said that Humans reproduced asexually before evolving sex.

    In fact here is a post I made on his blog in response to a person who thought his intro to Origin was 100% truth.

    I asked her

    what science journal was fooled by archeoraptor

    That’s it? This is your big evidence against Ray’s forward to the book? Can you give evidence that there was not one journal fooled by the Archaeoraptor hoax or is just another one of your opinions? Are you absolutely certain that every journal identified it as a hoax from the very beginning, that no journal reported it as a legitimate find? Please cite your sources.

    I was pointing out one specific example.

    Name one science journal that was fooled by “Archaeoraptor”.

    Ray lies by in the intro by pretending that ‘the scientific establishment’ was fooled’ then gives one example.

    National Geographic.

    Which is not a peer reviewed scientific journal. It’s a popular magazine.

    Why does Ray only give this example?

    Because they were the people fooled. The article was written by The Art Editor!

    Guess who uncovered the fraud? Clerics? Priests? Imams? No! Scientists!

    What Ray also doesn’t mention is that the fossil was a composite of 2 *unknown* species, so it was still a significant fossil discovery.

    So Ray gives this example of the scientific method working as an example of his attempts to disparage science.

    What’s more Ray knows all this. It’s been explained to him before.

    You can look this all up for yourself on wikipedia (with citations!).

    Want more?

    Ray says Neanderthal has been exposed as ‘fully human’. Neanderthal aren’t human, their genome has been partially sequenced, enough to show they were NOT the same species as us.

    Nebraska Man didn’t even fool the man who found it. It was a creation of a London Newspaper, actually it’s a very similar example to Archeoraptor in that regard, a story made up but magazine, not a scientist.

    Java Man refers to 1 individual among a group of representatives of Homo Erectus, again not Modern Man like Ray says.

    Ray says Heidelberg Man is a Jawbone. A Jawbone! This kind of ignores that from one pit excavation researchers have discovered the remains of approximately 28 individuals.

    That’s some of the deception from Ray covering about 1 page of his intro.

    Her response was to call me a liar and leave in a huff.

  • Svlad Cjelli

    @ Danny: In its most simplified from, change in allele frequency between generations of the same population, fueled by random mutation and directed by non-random selection.

    Various factors like niche-filling and isolation split populations and permit groups to develop differently.

    “Species” tend to emerge fluently like branches. Not in dramatic, abrupt flashes, as Ray often seems to say.

  • Svlad Cjelli

    I would also like to add that taxology is a human invention.
    A pelican and an ostrich are indeed still both birds, but “bird” is a just a name, and largely irrelevant. It is the actual differences between the animals we care about.

  • JupiterIsBig

    I too find Ray Comfort to be dishonest.

    The fact that I have had a cold most years indicates that viruses have “evolved” in that time to evade our bodies defences.

    Case closed. He has faith but not a wise mind. My “God” gave me a brain in order for me to know the glory of all of his creation in all of the billions of years it has been developing.
    On another topic.
    No “ism”, “ity” or “ology” killed millions of people. Deranged or Greedy or misled people killed people.
    Communism has never been truly implemented.
    “Capitilism” has government reins because it wouldn’t work either.
    Democracy is not implemented in present times. The closest we have is a quasi-democratically elected Oligarchy.

  • Svlad Cjelli

    Curses! This is spam, and I won’t be offended if it is deleted, but I must lament that I spelled “from” what was intended as “form”. xP

  • Qingwei Lew

    I can’t stand it when Comfort (among other people) whip out the “atheists are responsible for millions of death” trash. If he can find a group of people that killed, discriminated, persecuted and otherwise made life a living hell for other people that was not only explicitly atheist, but committed their atrocities explicitly in the name of atheism, he might have a point.

    His usual fallback on Mao and Stalin are completely irrelevant because they did what they did in the name of political idealism and in the pursuit of power, not to spread atheism or quash theism. On the other hand, one can name several historical and modern atrocities that WERE committed in the name of one God or another.

    Furthermore, Hitler may have been “perverting” the message of Christianity, but it still stands that Hitler believed that man was created by God and that he believed that no organism can deviate from its original form:

    “For it was by the Will of God that men were made of a certain bodily shape, were given their natures and their faculties” -Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol. ii, ch. x

    “The fox remains always a fox, the goose remains a goose, and the tiger will retain the character of a tiger.” -Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol. i, ch. xi

    “Looking at Nature tells us, that in the realm of plants and animals changes and developments happen. But nowhere inside a kind shows such a development as the breadth of the jump , as Man must supposedly have made, if he has developed from an ape-like state to what he is today.” -Adolf Hitler, Tischgesprache im Fuhrerhauptquartie

    I also want to comment on the banana issue. He says that there is no evidence that the banana has changed in the last 2000 years, as if that’s supposed to disprove evolution. But evolution has never purported that change occurs rapidly and suddenly (as is clearly what he believes a la crocoduck), or even occurs constantly overtime. Archaeological evidence suggests that initial wild banana domestication and cultivation occurred in Southeast Asia tens of thousands of years ago, and was later more widely introduced to other regions through the advent of Islam.

    I’ve gone on for quite a bit, but my point is that there is no doubt that Ray Comfort is, as Dawkins puts it, an ignorant fool. His career is frequently punctuated by faulty logic and wild, baseless assumptions, and he has made his lack of understanding of the theory of evolution grossly apparent many times. For me at least, the only question is whether he is willfully ignorant or not.

  • Claudia

    Qingwei I would contend that Hitler should be abandoned by both Christians and atheists as an example of anything. His personal religious beliefs were vague, at best. Certainly he drew on religious beliefs (not just Christian, also traditional Germanic) and exploited them to manipulate the masses, but I don’t think religion was what was responsible for the Holocaust, save for how it contributed to the anti-semitism that was so deftly exploited by the Nazis themselves.

    The Inquisition and the Crusades however, as well as modern Islamic terrorism, have clear religious links.

    Nazism and Stalinism are in fact examples that show us that the dangerous qualities of religion don’t necessarily need a supernatural premise. Absolute indoctrination, faith over rational thinking, an intolerance for dissent, deification of a human (or worship of a deity), can allow for the justification of any number of atrocities. Religion just happens to be the most common manifestation, but it’s not the only one.

  • Gabe

    “The long term e. coli evolutionary experiment has shown evolutionary adaptations in a lab”

    Very misleading “evidence”. The experiment, as I read it in the wikipedia article, resulted in specialized e.coli. This is nowhere near what Darwin claimed, which is that you’re going to go from bacteria to humans (if you step back and look at the big picture). It is also worth noting that the specimens went through “enough spontaneous mutations that every possible single point mutation in the E. coli genome should have occurred multiple times”. And even after that, the most notable adaptations were the ability to get energy from a new source and a rounder shape. How does this give credence to the bigger picture of evolution?

  • BathTub

    Not misleading, you are simply asserting something that no one was expecting. No one, least of all Lenski thought if he grew enough e.coli one might eventually mutate into a person.
    What most detractors have to ignore is this wasn’t ‘leave e.coli for a long time and see what happens’. Lenski put the e.coli under a harsh selective pressure (the availability of food) and he saw after so many generations multiple mutations that enabled the e.coli to use the food source that was previous unavailable to it.

    So you have multiple mutations over time adding up to a new feature that helped the e.coli peform better than e.coli which didn’t have the new feature.

    That’s pretty much evolution in a nutshell right there.

  • Claudia

    BathTub, I admire your persistence, but I don’t think it’s going to help much.

    The basic issue is that creationists are unwilling (or unable) to accept that the mechanism that allows E. coli to metabolize in new ways is the same one that eventually leads to speciation. The reaction is basically one of stamping their foot and yelling “No!”.

    It’s the same mechanism, it’s just a mere matter of time scale. There is no barrier that allows “this much variance” but not “THIS much variance”. The only barriers are selective pressures. Speciation has been observed and even provoked (in Drosophila, as I recall). Stop asking for a different mechanism for the “big changes”. There isn’t one.

    However just so I can smile a bit, any creationist willing to tell me when E. coli would cease to be E. coli and become another species is welcome to. I’d love reading your opinion.

  • Greg

    Roy Nation said:

    Another instance of evolution being observed:

    Researchers from New Jersey’s Princeton University have observed a species of finch in Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands that evolved to have a smaller beak within a mere two decades.

    “Instant” Evolution Seen in Darwin’s Finches, Study Says

    Roy…that’s just a finch with a longer beak…variation within a species as Ray said.

  • Svlad Cjelli

    An E. coli with teeth, six legs, and three layers of skin would still only be an E. coli with teeth, six legs, and three layers of skin, of course. ;)

    They expect the name itself to mutate, it seems.

  • http://www.chuckwolber.com Chuck Wolber

    First, please read this short little piece, I think I did a fairly good job laying out the difference between hypothesis, theory and law.

    Second, there is a *LAW* of gravity and a *THEORY* of gravity. Both terms are equally valid but have different meanings.

    The *LAW* of gravity says what happens when you are standing on the surface of the Earth and I drop a brick on your head. It has no power to explain *WHY*, it only explains what happens when I let go. The *THEORY* of gravity attempts to explain *WHY* gravity works the way it does to make that brick fall on your head (and is usually followed by a *LOT* of math).

    Laws are based on observation. Theory is based on hypotheses that have been proven and refined by experimental evidence. When Ray Comfort uses “theory” he really means “hypothesis”.

    If I were king of the world for one minute, I would spend that time educating people on the difference between hypothesis, law and theory.

    For the sake of science and reason, *PLEASE* educate yourself and use the proper terminology… and if you can do so politely, please correct improper uses of the terms.

    ..Ch:W..

  • Danny S

    @Ray Natian

    Another instance of evolution being observed:

    Researchers from New Jersey’s Princeton University have observed a species of finch in Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands that evolved to have a smaller beak within a mere two decades.

    “Instant” Evolution Seen in Darwin’s Finches, Study Says

    Ray said simply that adaptations have been observed “within a kind.” This still doesn’t prove Darwinian evolution…

  • Danny S

    Can anyone justify why the scientific method which has been used for at least 1,000 years is totally ignored by evolutionists?

  • BathTub

    Care to explain yourself Danny? Currently your post makes no sense at all.

    I’m sure the millions of scientists (of all religions) working on biology and related fields would be quite interested to learn they aren’t doing science.

    For example how is the discovery of Tiktaalik a not comprehensive use and validation of the Theory of Evolution & Geology and the Scientific Method?

  • Svlad Cjelli

    Ray said simply that adaptations have been observed “within a kind.”

    Make no mistake, adaptations “within a kind” (“kind” here obviously referring to a population of finches) is what the theory of evolution attempts to explain, as you would know had you read my previous response to you.

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  • Ohut

    I’d love to know what Ray comfort thinks about the new discovery that much of his touted introduction – those bits which are actual fact, are actually plagiarised from other histories and biographies of Darwin.

  • Custador

    “As usual, the explanation [as] to why we have 1.4 million kinds with both male and female was ignored.”

    ….Because it’s obvious to anybody with half a brain? Very early on in the evolutionary process, somewhere right down near the base of the evolutionary tree, gender evolved. And it worked so well for breeding that everything above that point on the tree (i.e. everything that came later) kept it. The same reason that the eye only had to have evolved once.

    Comfort is a retard, he really is.

  • AJ

    Why are so many of you pretending you don’t understand that Ray’s bannana monologue was anything but a joke. For all the bragging of reason and intelligence on here I see alot of people very confused even after Ray clearly explains it was meant as a joke but because he didnt have an audience for the laughs people took it seriously.

    I actually appreciated the way this interview was done. I respect Hemant for engaging in this type of dialogue. It allows people to truly hear both sides and make their own judgments.

  • Rationalist

    Folks, you can bash Ray all you want. And you can hold your hands over your ears, stamp your feet, and scream as loud as you want that God doesn’t exist, and that He didn’t create everything. You can do that and no really authentic Christian is going to try to twist your arm to make you believe. But God does love you – each and everyone of you posting here. He loves you so much that He verifiably hung on a cross 2000 years ago to pay for your sin so that you wouldn’t have to, and then verifiably rose from the dead – witnessed by secular historians – in order to prove it. You’re not hurting God by denying Him and hating Him – you’re hurting yourselves, but you just can’t see it yet. Your anger comes from not wanting to be wrong in something you so strongly believe in. You want your freedom to do as you wish without having to answer to anyone. And so you shall have it, in the here and now. But when your last breath comes, and you know that eternity will begin in the next few seconds, it still won’t be too late to cry out for mercy and forgiveness. All you have to do is ask – if you can get past your pride.

  • http://www.osakawayne.com Wayne

    As a Christian who believes in evolution, I have a hard time comprehending WHY he’s so intent on disproving evolution. He has good arguments against it, but even he says it doesn’t matter what you believe, but knowing God is more important.

    I agree with everything Ray says up until he talks about how if you’re a christian, you HAVE to accept EVERYTHING the bible says as true. Why? Jesus and the bible are separate things, it’s a trinity, not a quadernity! LOL

    I’d like to invite him to come over to a quaker meeting some time. There are many christians who do not follow the Luther doctrine of ‘sola scriptura’.

  • BathTub

    Custador, funnily enough it’s because Ray is lying.

    A quick look over at Amazon shows that there is a while chapter in the book on Evolution and Sex. Chapter 12.

    AJ, that is only Ray’s excuse now.

    The Evolution of Monty Comforts Banana Sketch.

    Enter The Banana Sketch.

    Enter the mockery.

    Ray Excuse 1. Oh I am being quoted out of context!

    Ray Excuse 2. Oh Actually I didn’t know Bananas were a bred from Plantains!

    Ray Excuse 3. Oh Actually it was a comedy routine all along. I just neglected to mention this fact the last 2 times I made an excuse for the routine.

    Oh an of course ignore all the times I present it with no humour on the Good Person/Athiest Test tracts, etc etc.

  • http://universalheretic.wordpress.com/ Victor

    to why we have 1.4 million kinds with both male and female was ignored.

    This just shows he is beyond all hope. I know some YEC at work, and none of them are confused by this.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    Wayne Says: …I’d like to invite him to come over to a quaker meeting some time. There are many christians who do not follow the Luther doctrine of ’sola scriptura’…

    I do say that of all the flavors of Christianity, I like the Quakers the best.

  • SG

    Ray Comfort is actually dumb. He’s not lying to preserve the message; he’s literally a moron. What he lacks in knowledge, he matches with an inability to reason. How embarrassing.

    Your questions and method revealed Ray to be a very stupid man, Hemant. Thank you.

  • matt

    I love how everyone is just slamming him. Obviously this is fight that no one will ever win. Get down off of your soap box and realize that evolution (or creation) is FAITH! You can’t prove it…period. You can’t even call it science. “Science” cannot prove or disprove evolution, creation, God, the absence of God, or anything like that. Why? because you can’t observe it.

    I agree with everything Ray says up until he talks about how if you’re a christian, you HAVE to accept EVERYTHING the bible says as true. Why? Jesus and the bible are separate things, it’s a trinity, not a quadernity! LOL

    This made me laugh…The Bible was given by God…who cannot lie (or He would cease to be God) That is why Christians accept the Bible as true. If they don’t, they are hypocrites. The Bible isn’t a book where you can pick and choose what you want.

  • SamDamnit

    This guy is an obvious con artist. He is eloquent and tactical enough to know that he is just fooling a bunch of buffoons in to buying his books or attending his appearances.

  • SG

    As an aside, I would encourage anyone impressed with Comfort’s understanding of evolution to pick up a good book on the subject. I am not a scientist, so the topic for me wasn’t exactly easy. But with mere hours of study on the topic, you will run circles around Comfort.

  • Felix

    Rationalist,
    I don’t think the word ‘verfifiable’ means what you think it means.

  • Joan

    Wait..Rationalist…
    You wrote that God “…verifiably rose from the dead – witnessed by secular historians…”?

    Could you elaborate on that please??

  • Joan

    Matt…
    Gotta disagree with you:
    Evolution isn’t faith. Faith is waking up in a room where all the shades are down so you can’t see what the weather is like, but you just believe it’s sunny or snowing or whatever.

    Science (in this case, evolution) is peeking through holes in the shades & trying to figure out what the weather is like, & having other hole-peekers do the same to see if you’re right or wrong.

  • Rationalist

    Well, Felix, I think it means the same thing as Webster does – capable of being verified, although he and I spell it a little differently from the way you do.

  • Rationalist

    Folks, when I said “verifiably”, I’m referring to the chain of witnesses’ testimonies as recorded by historians such as Josephus, Tertullian, and Justin Martyr (before he turned from Platonism) only decades after the resurrection. No, they weren’t sitting on the rocks watching as Christ came out of the tomb, but they most certainly talked to those that saw Him after He did – because for them to attempt to fabricate a false story into a historical event (unlike today’s modern media) or report an event without their utmost dedication to accuracy, would mean total discreditation of their work and an end to their reputable standings.

  • http://teachingsapiens.wordpress.com Robster, FCD

    People like Ray are one of the reasons I finally had to let go of the remnants of my faith and accept atheism. I finally realized that for me to be honest, I had to put my own beliefs under the same rigorous examination that I had creationism. So thanks, Ray, Lee, Ken, etc. The fact that you maintained your intentional and dishonest ignorance against all standards and levels of evidence led me away from superstition and into the light of reason.

    Oh, and the net deaths vs saved lives, even if you do dishonestly count communism against atheists, the count is still a couple billion lives saved due to atheist science from Borlaug or Salk.

  • edivimo

    You know, I live in Costa Rica, we were the first “banana republic”, I can take photos to prove him the existance of that wild bananas, the plantains, their hybrids and the commercial seedless triploids and the genetics behind them…
    What I’m doing?, I can show him the highest diversity of bananas in the world and is’nt going to make difference for him! They’re the same kind! They’re the same kind! He’s going to say.

  • Joe Sixpack

    The Friendly Athiest simply asked him questions-good to see actual dialogue. A couple of points in no particular order:
    I personally feel that science is, like many things we humans do, simply, and only, a way of thinking. Specifically, an organizational method suited very well to observation, and experimentation. And that’s ALL it is. A handy system. With a rather narrow margin of usage. Indeed, personal opinion here, I tend to view the veneration of alleged ‘rational’ thought as leading to athiesm, or whatever one wishes to call it, as seperate issues. As a non-Christian, non-pagan, non everything, I could care less what one thinks they might believe in, insofar as the nature of it all. Those two points have little to do with each other. said ‘em anyways.

    That being said, something I feel I must point out-in the dialogue about who did what. Fact: the monotheistic faiths have committed atrocities over two thousand years-very roughly 100,000 thousand or so-over 2000 years. Fact: Pol Pot, Chairman Mao, Stalin, the Jacobites, and quite a few of Hitlers henchmen, committed, in 100 years, murder to the tune of one hundred million, possibly more. I am not saying that anyone did this, BECAUSE they were religious or athiest-I am saying they did it while BEING athiest or monotheistic. And that those who self-identify as secularist, athiest, objective materialist and so on, simply massacred more, to the tune of tens of thousands a day, not including eugenics. In other words, for those who self-identify as athiests-you have a massive PR problem. And forgiveness will not come from anyone, by avoiding the issue. Whether through denial, by saying that was in the past, or through obfuscation on the issue. Face it, face it directly, with honesty, admit what was done, and the possibilty, inherent perhaps (this is my own personal opinion here)in the actual form athiesm itself takes, of further atrocities. After all-the father of the A-bomb, and Dawkin’s idol? A secularist-and we can now kill the planet dozens of times over. If such simple things are beyond an athiest, then yes, repetition of said atrocities will inevitably re-occur-or, more accurately, it would appear this is a major reason why many seem to be very un-open to athiesm. Come to us with clear dialogue and honesty, and a solution to these problems, from within your ranks, and then communication may be possible.

  • ironflange

    He’s truly amazing! How does he keep all that stupidity just coming and coming and coming. . .

  • Koz

    Ray Comfort loves atheists but thinks that God condemns them to eternal torment when they die…

    Wait, does that make Comfort a hypocrite? Or does it make him Jesus?

  • Observer

    I’ve not read one substantive objective rebuttal in this forum for the issue of why atheists don’t believe in God, or against Ray Comfort’s claims – all I’ve seen is a bunch of hate spewing from people with no real arguments and a whole lot of hot air. I wonder who the real fool is, Ray Comfort or the ones here throwing imaginary “rocks”?

  • http://www.Truth-Saves.com Truth-Saves

    After reading this interview I decided to write a full rebuttal to the PDF file “The Banana Controversy” which Ray mentions as “evidence the banana has not changed its shape.” You can read it at http://www.truth-saves.com/Ray_Comfort_Banana.php

  • Philip Tucker

    Ray,

    At its (sic) most abstract, the theory of evolution is an algorithm; that is, a recipe. Here it is:

    reproduce
    compete
    repeat

    I have implemented an evolutionary algorithm in C++, and it works. It solves problems in the real world.

    To paraphrase Laurie Anderson, This is not a story that my teachers tell. It is something that I wrote, myself.

    I’m interested in your response.

  • Mr. C

    Evolution postulates the following formula:

    [random mutations] x [random selection] = organisms that are increasingly more survivable, more complex, and more intelligent.

    Unfortunately, this formula cannot and does not work. Don’t believe it? Try this. Take any working computer program. Introduce random mutations to the code at any level. Then randomly select whether the new program survives. Repeat.

    I guarantee your “evolving” program will crash well before any new, useful, and working program is created. In fact, you will NEVER produce a new and useful program. Not even in 14 billion years.

    It’s the same with biological “evolution.” Random mutation of the genes in a given organism, plus “selection” by totally random and constantly changing forces cannot yield, over time, anything but degraded genetic information and, ultimately, a very handicapped and unfit organism. (Many genetic mutation experiments have produced nothing but horribly handicapped animals. None have produced a new animal with new organs and capabilities.)

    Of course, in a given environment, recessive traits contained in the (God-created) existing gene may become more prominent, leading to small variations which improve adaptability. However, actually mutating a set of genes over and over will produce nothing but a very sick and unfit animal that will eventually be unable to survive in any environment.

    Evolution simply cannot work.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    AJ “Why are so many of you pretending you don’t understand that Ray’s bannana monologue was anything but a joke. For all the bragging of reason and intelligence on here I see alot of people very confused even after Ray clearly explains it was meant as a joke but because he didnt have an audience for the laughs people took it seriously.”
    Sure, to us it was always a joke. It’s only been a joke to Ray since it sunk in to his thick head that, even for him, it’s a terrible argument. Of course, that’s not stopping him from pondering his other terrible arguments.
    “I actually appreciated the way this interview was done. I respect Hemant for engaging in this type of dialogue. It allows people to truly hear both sides and make their own judgments.”
    It’s like watching a boxing match where one side refuses lift his arms then, after getting pummeled, insists that the other guy never landed a punch.

    matt “I love how everyone is just slamming him.”
    Pointing out his willful ignorance (and trying to help spoonfeed him the facts) is not “slamming”. Any ire he receives, he’s earned.
    “Obviously this is fight that no one will ever win. Get down off of your soap box and realize that evolution (or creation) is FAITH!”
    Even if that’s true, which it’s not, evolution is backed up by the facts of the real world. Creationism is supported only by ignoring or distorting those facts.
    “You can’t prove it…period.”
    Proofs are for math. The rest deal in probabilities.
    “This made me laugh…The Bible was given by God…who cannot lie (or He would cease to be God) That is why Christians accept the Bible as true.”
    Really? Can you get Him to autograph my KJV?
    “If they don’t, they are hypocrites. The Bible isn’t a book where you can pick and choose what you want.”
    I assume you own slaves.

    Rationalist “Folks, when I said ‘verifiably’, I’m referring to the chain of witnesses’ testimonies as recorded by historians such as Josephus, Tertullian, and Justin Martyr (before he turned from Platonism) only decades after the resurrection.”
    Wow. So what you’re saying is that Elvis really is alive and John Frum will soon return!

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  • Lynn David

    People, who espouse such ignorance the likes of Ray Comfort, are why I lost my faith and am now an atheist.

  • Claudia

    Seeing as how we’ve apparently been linked from a creationist website I think it’s worth noting a few things about our tragically ignorant creationist commenters.

    Notice how they say that evolutionary theory (and presumably gravity and atomic theory too) requires faith just like religion, or that it’s “just a theory”, or that there is no “proof” etc.

    All of this points to a dearth of understanding, but it goes much deeper than merely understanding evolutionary theory. They lack a fundamental understanding of what science is and how it works. They don’t even know what the word “theory” means, or what qualifies as “evidence” or the concept of burden of proof, or any aspect of the scientific method, or the difference in the practical sense between knowledge and faith.

    We speak completely different languages. It’s very difficult if not outright impossible in some ways to discuss scientific issues with someone who doesn’t even know what science really is, let alone what the data is. To top it all off they are trained to think that there is no actual need for education in the field in order to opine on it. They don’t realize that evidence based knowledge is fundamentally different (and superior) to faith based beliefs, so they see themselves on equal ground to actual sciedntists on a subject they know nothing about.

    I suppose we should be thankful they don’t behave the same way about Oncology or Civil Engineering.

  • ElitistB

    Joe Sixpack:
    “Fact: Pol Pot, Chairman Mao, Stalin, the Jacobites, and quite a few of Hitlers henchmen, committed, in 100 years, murder to the tune of one hundred million, possibly more.”
    Godwin’d yourself immediately. You do realize that the vast majority of Hitler’s henchmen, and Hitler himself, were Christian, and Hitler was executing religious ideas? Evolution does not support genocide or artificial pressures. It does not support “master races” or “chosen people”. Those are religious artifices. Mao and Stalin were setting up huge cults of personality, basically they WERE their own religion.

    The “father of the A bomb and Dawkin’s personal idol”? Oppenheimer? He who regretted it and stated it should never be used? And yet who actually used it? Truman, who was a what? A Christian. Not that your post has any point beyond being a huge subterfuge of hiding historical facts. To lay a mere 100,000 deaths at the feet of religion, and Christianity in particular, is only touching the surface. This figure doesn’t include Hitler’s holocaust, as stated above. It doesn’t include the decimation of the native americans or other indigenous populations when christian “missionaries” moved in. The Spanish Inquisition alone had a an estimated death toll of somewhere between 43,000 to 80,000, and that is when the population of the world was a mere fraction of what it is today.

    I suggest you take your own advice:
    “Face it, face it directly, with honesty, admit what was done.”

    Do I expect you to take responsibility for these actions? Of course not, you didn’t perform them. But I do want you to realize that your “facts” are so erroneous as to be laughable. Please get an education, and stop mindlessly repeating figures you read on a Christian website. Expand your mind, learn to use skepticism, not dogma, as your filter for information.

  • http://doctorsilence.blogspot.com dr. dave

    Claudia above hit the nail on the head. In fact, some of his answers show such an impressively concise and well-phrased misunderstanding about how science works, that I’m considering clipping some quotes to use on the final exam for the philosophy of science class I’m teaching.

    “Read the quotes below from someone who denies the theory of evolution. What fundamental errors is he making in talking about the role of theories and evidence in science?”

  • A Hermit

    Comfort just can’t resist throwing out the Hitler nonsense, and the vile “atheist Communists killed 100 million people” smear.

    Why is it, when these evangelicals play body count, they always leave out the millions of victims of “godly” capitalist colonialism (like the ten million Congolese killed by the good Christian Belgians at the end of the 19th century, to give just one example…)

    Not only is this silly game of “body count” dishonest, vulgar, irrational and ugly it has nothing to do with whether or not the theory of evolution is true, or whether or not God exists.

    (The point here is not that religious belief is more destructive than atheism, by the way; I had the same of kind of reaction to parts of Sam Harris’s book. Attacking people’s personal beliefs, whatever they are, by falsely associating them with someone else’s atrocities (what I call “playing Body Count”) is a loser’s game and we atheists shouldn’t play it either…)

  • J

    If you all truly want the truth, you must be open to anything. God knocks at your door. He doesn’t force himself in. The truth is there; you just have to want to see it no matter what it is. I listened to my college professors speak all of the cliche evolution, atheist fallacy, but I have come to realize that philosophically, logically, and historically, Christianity is the best explaniation for all, and Atheism is the most intellectually empty “ism” there is.

  • Rob Bratcher

    As I introspect the reasoning’s in this blog, only one thought infiltrates my cerebellum, “pretentious”. Without exception when a person of faith has a point of view that diverges from an Atheist, the Atheist invariably attacks the intellect of the person of faith. Not all people of faith are deficient. Indeed I have accosted many people of faith and have been positively stimulated by their dialogue. However my recollection of discourse with Atheist has not been as favorable.

    People of faith have their “village idiots” as do Atheist. One may evaluate the Atheist acumen with an antagonistic composition if one were to communicate with the average “uneducated” Atheist. I know countless intellectual persons of faith (with PhD’s) and am intrigued by their intelligence. Often their scrutiny of my own “Faith” (or lack thereof) was reasonably disputed.

  • http://teachingsapiens.wordpress.com Robster, FCD

    Mr.C, the selection process is not random. It is based on which offspring survive long enough to reproduce successfully. In a cold environment, having enough insulation to stay warm is selected for, while wasting resources on having too much insulation is selected against. In fact, behaviors such as sharing body heat and altruistically working to take shifts protecting a peer group against the elements (as seen in emperor penguins) can be selected for.

  • Marconi

    Just one question:

    Why interview Ray Comfort? Exactly what is it that we need to know about him that merits giving him free, undeserved press of ANY kind?

    It is not as if his arguments and positions have not been soundly refuted.

    It is not as if he deserves to be heard.

    It is not as if he has ANY knowledge to impart.

    So I ask again, why give a useless, lying or ignorant (or both) individual, a platform and therefore even the appearance of credence?

  • Sarah TX.

    Two things: (1) He states that Christians can believe in evolution, but then he continually uses the word “atheists” to refer to “people who believe in Evolution”. It’s VERY confusing. (2) He continually harps on the idea of “species”, and that we’ve no evidence that one species evolves into another species. The problem is that Comfort doesn’t know what a species is. He talks about species like they are immutable classifications, almost divinely inspired. Of course he believes this because of his ridiculously strict reading of a mythological text, but that doesn’t excuse his ignorance of the history of science and taxonomic systems.

  • scmike

    Joan said,

    “”Matt…
    Gotta disagree with you:
    Evolution isn’t faith. Faith is waking up in a room where all the shades are down so you can’t see what the weather is like, but you just believe it’s sunny or snowing or whatever.

    Science (in this case, evolution) is peeking through holes in the shades & trying to figure out what the weather is like, & having other hole-peekers do the same to see if you’re right or wrong.””

    Problem is Joan, the foundation of all science is induction which presupposes the uniformity of nature (i.e. the future will be like the past). What is your basis for expecting the future to be like the past?

  • http://www.zazzle.com/invmog* Louis from Texas

    This was a good and thought provoking interview.

  • Svlad Cjelli

    :\ I see that it isn’t very fruitful to explain one’s position.
    They argue against “random selection” still.

    Do they really disagree, then? If I say “roses are red”, and I hear the objection that “roses are not blue”, can my opponent be anything but a troll? Is there really a disagreement about facts?

    It’s presented as a disagreement, but the presentation doesn’t ring true.

    :\

  • D R Lindberg

    In message No. 54, on November 26th, Adiel said:
    “I think its silly to say, “Since we are not sure what exactly is modern biological classification of the ancient word baramin (translated as kind) it cannot be taken seriously.”

    Baramin is NOT an ancient word. It is an abortion dreamed up on the basis of Hebrew words by someone who knew NOTHING about the Hebrew language. Surprising, since one would expect that people who claim to take the Bible so seriously might take the time to learn something about it, and the languages it was originally written in.

    It appears that evolution and science are not the only knowledge they have contempt for.

    “In saying this you are assuming that the Bible is not the Word of God. On what do you base this assumption?”

    On what do you base your own assumption? The Bible itself says that Jesus is the Word of God. You don’t seem to take it very seriously.

    Cheers

  • http://eckthelion.wordpress.com/ Russell

    I get the impression he regards a transitional fossil as a singular event, instead of a gradual process. He actually expects scientists to unearth a half T-rex/BlueJay.

  • ButchKitties

    Mr. C said: Evolution postulates the following formula:

    [random mutations] x [random selection] = organisms that are increasingly more survivable, more complex, and more intelligent.

    You made a critical error right in the beginning. Evolution does not postulate the formula [random mutations] x [random selection] = organisms that are increasingly more survivable, more complex, and more intelligent.

    Evolution postulates the formula [random mutations] x [NON-RANDOM selection] = organisms that are better adapted to their environments

    Garbage in, garbage out as they say. (And be assured, anything Ray has to say about evolution is garbage.) If you start with a completely incorrect definition of evolution, then of course it won’t work. Natural selection is the very antithesis of randomness.

    But here comes the real test: Now that your mistake has been pointed out and corrected, will you admit it? Or will you, like Ray, willfully ignore the truth and continue to use the incorrect definition because it’s more convenient to your agenda?

  • http://criticallyskeptic.blogspot.com Kevin

    Specifically addressing Ray’s point thus:

    Ray: These people are the results of the horrible manipulative practices of modern Christianity. Many of these spurious converts fall away from the faith and (understandably) become very bitter. Some become atheists. Some stay in the church and give God lip-service (they play the hypocrite).

    I am one of those Christians-turned-Atheist. I did not turn solely because of the poor quality of my Christianity, that was, fortunately for me, the start of my questioning. I looked back at my years of Christian thinking and realized that I was wrong about a lot of things. I love science, and I’ve tried for years to rationalize the teachings of the bible to fit a scientific mindset. It just didn’t work, and in the end, I began listening and reading smarter people than I.

    I don’t understand enough of evolution or biology to be able to talk in great detail about it, but I’ve learned. That’s the important part. Christianity is not about learning. It’s about keeping an ignorant look at society, fingers in your ears ‘la-la-I-can’t-hear-you.’ When I questioned “how can god fit into evolution?” I began to immediately learn. Through learning, through rational thought, and through listening, I’ve realized that belief in anything related to Christianity / Creationism / Intelligent Design requires belief in one thing – that the bible is true and literal – and I discarded that belief while still a Christian.

  • Rick Zard

    “Ray: Someone who believes in the theory of evolution believes that life started simply and over millions of years evolved to the complex state we now see. The process of change is supposedly brought about by something Darwin called “natural selection.” Evolution has no explanation for the genesis of life, and it has never been “observed” to take place. Nor has it been scientifically proven — because it’s never been “tested” in a laboratory. Evolution, as you have conceded in your question, is simply a theory. Darwinian evolution is often confused by believers with a species adapting within its own kind. Transitions within a species (a kind) is not Darwinian evolution.”

    Nope. He still doesn’t get it. In this short paragraph he managed to demonstrate that he doesn’t understand what the theory of evolution is, repeat the tired line that “evolution is just a theory” (thereby disqualifying himself from any sort of serious discussion about science), and ultimately dodge the question by focusing on instead on the completely unrelated field of abiogenesis (something I’m sure he’s been warned about a thousand times already).

  • scmike

    Kevin said,

    “”I am one of those Christians-turned-Atheist.””

    Hi Kevin, I have a question for you; Did you know the Lord?

    “”I did not turn solely because of the poor quality of my Christianity, that was, fortunately for me, the start of my questioning. I looked back at my years of Christian thinking and realized that I was wrong about a lot of things. I love science, and I’ve tried for years to rationalize the teachings of the bible to fit a scientific mindset.””

    I think perhaps you are mistaken as to what the definition of a Christian is, Kevin. A Christian is someone who holds God and His Word as their ultimate standard and the foundation of their reasoning. One cannot reason TO the truth of the Bible if it is their ultimate standard, they MUST reason FROM it as their basis for interpreting the world around them, not vice versa. One cannot be a Christian without having fully submitted themselves to Christ as Lord. This seems to be where you have erred.

    “”It just didn’t work, and in the end, I began listening and reading smarter people than I.””

    Sounds like you began to gravitate towards those who were willing to tell you what you had been wanting to hear all along.

    “”I don’t understand enough of evolution or biology to be able to talk in great detail about it, but I’ve learned. That’s the important part. Christianity is not about learning. It’s about keeping an ignorant look at society, fingers in your ears ‘la-la-I-can’t-hear-you.’””

    What you don’t realize though is that ONLY Christianity can provide us with the necessary preconditions for knowing anything, as one cannot account for knowledge apart from the God of the Bible.

    Those who deny the God of the Bible are merely suppressing the truth to avoid accountability to Him, choosing rather to be their own god than to submit to God. This is the very epitome of ‘sticking one’s fingers in their ears and saying la-la-I-can’t-hear-you’.

    “”When I questioned “how can god fit into evolution?” I began to immediately learn.””

    As I am sure you have found, God does not ‘fit into evolution’ as Christianity and evolution are totally incompatible with one another. In order to assume evolution to be true, one must reject the Biblical account of creation, and therefore the truth of the Bible. The result, of course, is sheer absurdity and foolishness.

    “”Through learning, through rational thought, and through listening, I’ve realized that belief in anything related to Christianity / Creationism / Intelligent Design requires belief in one thing – that the bible is true and literal – and I discarded that belief while still a Christian.””

    And unfortunately, in doing so you also discarded any foundation for truth, rationality, and knowledge. I sincerely recommend that you repent and surrender to God through Jesus Christ.

  • PAJOHN

    God Bless you Ray. Keep up the good work!!!

    Maybe the proof of evolution is directly within Richard Dawkins, afterall he “spontaneously evolved” into a chicken when he was challenged to a debate by the banana man!!!

    By the way … this message evolved on its own.

  • http://teachingsapiens.wordpress.com Robster, FCD

    scmike, Do you beat your slaves according to the bible’s directions? Require that your wife’s head be covered at the right times? Stone your children when they are disrespectful? Refuse to wear mixed fabrics? Play football with a regulation pigskin? Think it is right for small children to be killed by bears for laughing at a bald man? Do you believe that your god’s might is enough to defeat any nation as long as they do not have iron chariots? Either you accept and practice all parts of the bible or you aren’t really a Christian, right?

    This is the truth of your bible. It is the record of an often brutal group of tribes surrounded by often hostile neighbors, in a frightening world with earthquakes, fires and floods. It is how they explained the world around them through fables and tales, especially those that they borrowed from their Babylonian neighbors.

    The problem is, we aren’t the bronze age culture of ancient Israel or the iron age world of Roman Jerusalem, but we live in an age of science and reason, where questions and doubt should be welcomed, and when evidence based answers are given, you should gladly accept them after investigation, not continue to wallow in the ignorance of a bygone era.

    Ray Comfort knows that he is wrong. He has been corrected over and over, has admitted that he was wrong, and continues to say the same wrong things. He is a professional liar, a liar with a cause. If someone realizes that part of the bible is a faulty myth, they might begin to question the rest of it. By being so confidently dishonest, he helps people remain ignorant about the world around them. All while making a tidy profit from his confidence games.

    If the bible doesn’t fit the evidence, you really should admit that the evidence might not be wrong, but rather that the bible is in error.

  • Woody Tanaka

    “Or are the possibilities limitless eg can a bull and a cow evolve into a parakeet? No, right?”

    Yes, theoretically they can. They each evolved from a common ancestor, and each’s ancestor from that common ancestor was a viable species. Thus, there is at least one viable evolutionary path from one to the other. The odds of it happening are vanishingly small, but they are not zero.

  • Mr. C

    Dear Robster and Butchkitties,

    Thanks for your gracious comments. In reply, let me again suggest that you try the experiment: Take any working computer program, introduce random changes to the code at any level. Repeat.

    What do you think will happen first? A) The program will crash. B) A completely new and functioning program will be created.

    Selecting for features that tend to “improve” the program won’t help the theory of evolution, because that would be introducing intelligence into the equation (which evolution does not permit.)

    (In fact, this is the fatal flaw in the avida program.)

    Let us now look at your notion that selection is non-random. The phrase that encapsulates this idea is “survival of the fittest.” This phrase is well-known and often repeated, but it is a logical fallacy. A tautology: What organisms survive? The most fit. Which are the most fit? Those that survive. Well which ones survive…

    The fact is, environmental pressures are applied completely at random. They vary greatly in type, intensity, and duration. And there’s no way to predict the effect of any individual pressure on a given genetic mutation, let alone the combined effect of multiple pressures that are constantly changing.

    A species that is the “most fit” this year (because it “survived”) may suddenly become the least fit and go extinct, once the environment changes in some small way. There’s no way to predict what will actually happen to a given species, regardless of its mutations or its “fitness”, because such predictions are based on a static, pre-defined environment, something that does not exist in nature.

    It is in this sense that selection is completely random. It is not driven by “survival of the fittest” (a tautology). It does not preserve any particular mutation (a “fit” species that thrives in one environment can be wiped out with the first change to that environment.)

    As for the effect of gene mutation in actual living species, under controlled laboratory conditions…the results are convincing. Altering the genetic information of a perfectly good animal consistently produces diseased and freakish offspring that make the animal less fit, not more.

    There is no getting past the following fact: If you monkey with any amount of intelligent information–a book, a computer code, a DNA string–you will ultimately destroy the information and the viability of that information. You will never create a completely new and useful body of information.

  • Claudia

    Selecting for features that tend to “improve” the program won’t help the theory of evolution, because that would be introducing intelligence into the equation (which evolution does not permit.)

    Except this example has absolutely flat nothing to do with evolution. You are arguing against evolution happening through the mutation of a single individual and (shockingly!) come to the conclusion it wouldn’t. We agree. Now can we talk about evolution?

    In evolution variation happens within a population, and offspring have given chance to carry a mutation. If the mutation is deleterious, they will be negatively selected (be less likely to reproduce), if it is positive, they will be positively selected (be more likely to reproduce) and if is neutral it will have no effect on their reproductive ability but will be passed on to their offspring. Simulating evolution on a computer? Unheard of? Hardly .

    As for “selection is random”, this is so patently absurd that given the grammatically correct nature of your comment, I find it very hard to swallow that you actually believe what you are telling me. Conditions are so unpredictable that what favors one year is negative the next? On which Earth? So given the temperature at the North Pole you assert there would be no selective pressure for living beings to develop resistance to low temperatures because hey, you never know when it’ll be tropical in the tundra!

    As for the effect of gene mutation in actual living species, under controlled laboratory conditions…the results are convincing. Altering the genetic information of a perfectly good animal consistently produces diseased and freakish offspring that make the animal less fit, not more.

    Oh c’mon, seriously? When did you last eat corn? How about rice? Note that these are just to basic parts of our diet that have been genetically modified by modern biotechnology. I’m hoping (though not praying ;)) that you are aware that animal husbandry and the development of agricultural crops by humans is also genetic modification, with a significant amount of mutant selection, but done before knowledge of how phenotypes related to genotypes.

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  • BathTub

    PAJOHN that’s funny because Dawkins actually said “Yes” but Ray chickened out of the donation to the RDF.

    Meanwhile, Matt Dillahunty, Aron Ra, Abbie Smith, et al, are all waiting just to get a response from Ray.

    Ray sends out Press Releases when people who don’t want to debate him, don’t debate him. But he’s incredibly quiet when it comes to people who do want to debate him.

  • Mr. C

    Claudia,

    Thank you for your thoughtful response. Let’s review some of the points you mentioned…

    Corn and rice can be modified. So can animals. But have you ever read about scientists changing corn into rice? Or rice into an animal? Even with intelligently directed variations, corn is still corn. Rice is still rice. And neither will ever become a cow.

    Regarding mutations occurring in populations…an interesting concept. But resorting to “population evolution” will not solve the problem of [random mutation] x [random selection]. At best, it simply delays the inevitable downward spiral of genetic degradation produced by random mutations in individuals. (Again, try mutating any computer program and see what happens. As long as you do not introduce your own intelligence into the “selection” process, your program will ultimately crash. Even if you attempt “population evolution” by replicating numerous copies of the same program at each iteration. There is no computer program that demonstrates evolution without resorting to intelligent selection at some point.)

    As for environments… Environments have numerous components (not simply temperature). Each one of these factors is constantly changing. And it is impossible to gauge the composite effect of these factors on the “fitness” of a given mutation. There are constant changes to these factors’ duration, intensity, and kind. Thus, no mutation is guaranteed to be preserved by “selection.” A mutation which makes the organism “fit” in a given environment could easily make it “neutral” or “unfit,” if the environment should change in the least. Environments are highly complex and they’re ALWAYS in flux.

    Thus, there is no such thing as survival of the fittest. There is only survival of a particular organism in a particular (controlled and unchanging) environment. Once the environment changes, or the organism mutates (individual or population), all bets are off. The new circumstances of the environment and/or the organism may wipe out the new “species.” And even if it doesn’t do so immediately, the cumulative effects of random mutations will eventually doom the genetic sequence to a string of meaningless–and thus fatal–ACTGs.

  • Woody Tanaka

    Mr. C.,

    Your last two posts show that you have no idea what you are talking about, to a point that it is almost comical.

    First, your computer code example shows nothing but except that arguing evolution by analogy to computer code is exceedingly dumb. And false. Every person you’ve ever known (including yourself) has mutations in his or her genetic code. Most are neutral.

    Second, your assertion that “survival of the fittest” is a tautology: big deal. It’s not an accurate description of natural selection, anyway, as the key element of reproduction is missing.

    Third, your notion that selection is “random” because environmental pressures change is stupid. That merely shows that selective pressure changes, not that the selective pressure as a result of that environment is random. And the fact that, over time, this change will cause formerly fit species to be “unfit”: Congratulations. You’ve discovered one reason why 99% of the species that ever existed is extinct. This has been known for decades and decades.

    Fourth, your amazement that corn is not turned into rice and that rice is not turned into animals… How stupid. Rice and corn diverged millions of years ago; plants and animals, billions of years ago. No one in his right mind (which excuses Ray Comfort) would expect to see such changes after a few decades, even of artificial selection.

    Please read a book.

  • David

    If Man was made in God’s image,then why aren’t humans invisible too?

  • Mr. C

    David,

    Humans are invisible. You see a person’s body. But you never actually see them–their mind and their spirit.

    You can remove a person’s arms and legs. But that doesn’t decrease their personhood one bit, because the essence of a person is contained in his or her invisible nature (mind, spirit, consciousness).

  • http://teachingsapiens.wordpress.com Robster, FCD

    MrC, It has already been explained to you that selection is not random. What you are describing is genetic drift. Genetic drift does not produce adaptation. Natural selection does. Also, natural selection does not prepare the next generation for the future. The next generation will be (based on which individuals leave the most fertile offspring, the only real measure of fitness) better adapted to live in its parents environment. If the environment changes faster than the species can adapt, they will go extinct. It happens all the time. Also, natural selection and survival of the fittest is not a tautology because there is evidence to support it. They do not stand alone, but supported by the breadth of modern science.

    As for your corn is still corn, this isn’t correct. Teosinte is a different species than primitive maise, which is also a different species from modern corn. In fact, modern corn and teosinte look nothing alike.

    Your computer code concept has already been pointed out to you to be false. Please google evolutionary algorithm.

    Your population of cows offers an interesting thought exercise, should you be willing to think. Would we get modern canaries after a million years? No, but we might get something analagous to bats. Would we have whales? Not exactly, but it is certainly possible that we might get something similar. After all, we have excellent fossil and molecular evidence that the closest living relatives of the elephant are the pig-like hyrax and the manatee. Would you call these the same “kinds”?

    Your question, as clever as you think it might be, really only betrays that you have refused to learn about biology and natural history. Ignorance may be bliss, but it not a virtue.

  • Mr. C

    Dear Woody,

    I appreciate your comments and your passion. Let’s consider your points.

    ARGUING EVOLUTION BY COMPUTER CODE IS DUMB
    I’m sure you’re aware there are many computer-based models and demonstrations of evolution created by scientists who support evolution. Certainly you don’t mean to call them dumb.

    I’m simply critiquing the “selection” mechanism they use, because each of these computer models injects intelligent selection at some point in the process. The programs thereby fail to accurately model the theory of evolution and, in fact, prove that evolution cannot work without some measure of intelligent selection. If you find a computer model that succeeds in creating functioning code without the aid of intelligent selection, please let me know.

    NATURAL SELECTION, SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST, and REPRODUCTION

    The theory of natural selection is driven by survival of the fittest. Thus, if “survival of the fittest” is a tautology, then natural selection must be an illusion.

    Is this a big deal? Yes. Without survival of the fittest, Darwin’s theory falls apart. I have previously explained why “survival of the fittest” is a tautology, so I will say no more.

    As for the element of reproduction… I’m guessing that you mean repeated iterations of natural selection will yield completely new and functioning organs, limbs, bio-processes, and species. But multiplying an illusion (natural selection through survival of the fittest) by 1000 will still yield an illusion.

    RANDOM SELECTION v. CHANGES IN PRESSURES

    The same randomness that causes unpredictable mutations in the genetic code also produces unpredictable changes in the environment (both micro and macro) with unpredicatble and often deleterious impact on the preservation of any previous mutation.

    As a result of these random selection patterns, mutant gene pools that once appeared “fit” become “unfit” and rapidly go extinct. Thus, there is no overarching selection mechanism that inexorably drives species to higher levels. It’s all random. Certain mutants survive today. Tomorrow they die–along with their mutations that supposedly gave them more survivability.

    TURNING CORN INTO RICE

    You say that rice and corn diverged millions of years ago. This is a statement based on faith, since no witness was there to observe the event.

    What we have seen in the laboratory is that there are limits beyond which variation cannot proceed without seriously degrading the organism. You may believe that corn and rice descended from some common ancestor, but you cannot demonstrate it. What you are saying is based on faith, not observational science.

    As for whether 12 billion years is enough time for evolution to produce the genetic code of a human being, the answer is no. If typed in 10-pt. font, the DNA of a man or woman would literally stretch from the North Pole to the Equator, about 6000 miles. If we use the known rates of the occurrence of “beneficial” mutations, and the known rates of inheritance, and so on, there has not been enough time to produce a single strand of human DNA.

    If you’re truly interested in studying these figures, I recommend “Not By Chance,” by Dr. Lee Spetner.

    Regards!

  • Mr. C

    Robster,

    Very interesting comments. Let’s address some of them.

    NATURAL SELECTION PRODUCES ADAPTATION
    This is not what evolution says. Evolution says that random mutations produce physical changes in the organism. It is these changes that make it more adaptable. Natural selection simply preserves the adaptations in the individual (or the population.)

    Also, you acknowledge that mutant species go extinct all the time. I agree. But the thing you’re missing is that environmental pressures have no direction (they’re random). In a given scenario, certain pressures may “select” certain mutations for preservation. In another setting, those same pressures may eliminate the mutation. Or they may adversely affect another “beneficial” mutation. Bottom line: there is no direction, no overall upward selection. If anything, the predominant direction is downward. As you say 99% of species have gone extinct.

    EVOLUTIONARY ALGORITHMS
    I did as you suggested and googled the above phrase. The Wikipedia article that came up begins with this:

    “In artificial intelligence, an evolutionary algorithm (EA) is a subset of evolutionary computation…”

    Apparently, evolutionay algorithms require artificial intelligence (AI). AI is a complex set of instructions that is programmed into a computer by an intelligent programmer. The “selection function” which drives these sorts of programs is not “natural.” It is designed by an intelligent programmer, who installs a list of pre-determined criteria to achieve a desired outcome. This is not an accurate model of evolution.

    COWS, CORN, BATS, AND WHALES

    You apparently support evolution, but you seem to have trouble accepting its logical conclusions. If the theory of evolution is correct, then why can’t a cow turn into a whale? Why can’t corn turn into a bat or a canarie? (And is this what you really believe happened? That some bacteria eventually morphed into a beautiful man or woman?)

    FINALLY

    Aside from the problems of “survival of the fittest” and “natural selection,” there are also the problems of chirality, convergence, probability theory, information theory, and so on. Evolution just doesn’t work.

    Cheers!

  • http://teachingsapiens.wordpress.com Robster, FCD

    MrC, Reality does not need your consent to operate. Selection pressures are not random if you are living under them. Weather patterns, food sources, predators, etc, are not random, but are specific features of a habitat. A habitat is not a rain forest one day and a desert the next and a coral reef after that. They are continuous sets of potential pressures and ecological niches. I’m not sure why you persist in describing these as random.

    Species tend to produce more offspring than will survive to reproduce. Organisms pass on heritable information, of which, there is variation within a population. Those variations that support survival to adulthood and reproduction will be preserved in the next generation, and if one variation is better than another in the current locality, it will be more common in the next generation. That is evolution. With enough reproductive cycles, small changes can become large changes, and one population can become different enough from another to prevent interbreeding. At this point, speciation occurs.

    If all we had were some pretty turns of phrase, yes, it would be a tautology. But it isn’t. We have evidence. 150 years of evidence since Darwin. 200 if we go back to Lamark, Lyell, Bouffon and other naturalists who built the foundation on which Darwin, Bates and Wallace started evolutionary science as a field of biology.

    So yes, over 3.5 billion years, prokaryotes evolved into both more prokaryotes and into eukaryotes including beautiful men and women along with ugly ones. You may find this disturbing. I find it exhilarating. It means that there is so much to learn, describe and study, as opposed to the thought that the height of human understanding of biology was reached by plagiarizing bronze age tribes a few thousand years ago.

    Otherwise, why would we use the same genetic code? Why would the insulin gene of a beautiful woman or homely man, or even ignorant street preacher, when put into a bacterium, produce human insulin? Why would the gene that codes for the protein that makes a firefly glow, when put into a plant, leads to the production of the same protein and a glowing plant? Or is god just lazy? Are you calling god lazy? I’m sure that is just as bad as calling god non-existent.

    Why would the same protein regulate translation in yeast, fruit flies and humans, along with everything in between? Why do similar proteins regulate the cell cycle in all eukaryotes?

    Because we share a common ancestor, and whether you believe it or not, we all evolved from that common ancestor to endless forms most beautiful.

    As for why animals don’t become plants? Animals would have to develop a symbiotic relationship with photosynthetic prokaryotes as endosymbiotes. This would require many hoops to be jumped through, all of which would be much easier for a single celled eukaryote to perform instead of a large multicellular one. Probability is against it. Also, while the plant-cow would be in the process of becoming more plant like, it would be a pretty lousy cow and a pretty lousy plant. It would be out-competed by already existing plants and already existing cows. It is very improbable, but not impossible.

    It is much more likely for a plant to become fungus like, as the saprophytic orchids have done. They lost their chloroplasts and gain their nutrients entirely by absorbing decaying matter on the forest floor. You see, what you suggest is impossible is already happening! And I have already given you evidence that your concept of kinds doesn’t work. Land dwelling animals gave rise to piglike hyraxes, elephants and manatees! Your concept does not meet the standard of evidence and must be discarded.

    But lets just say, for the purpose of argument that evolution was completely wrong (very unlikely in light of the evidence), that does not mean that creationism, or even your brand of christian creationism, is correct by default. Disproving Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection would not make creationism correct, but would mean that perhaps Lamark or some other naturalistic explanation was better. There is no reason to resort to supernaturalism when natural explanations are sufficient.

    Evolution works, has worked and is continuing to work. A Gish gallop of claims that evolution does not explain chirality (if you mean amino acid chirality, it doesn’t actually need to. if you mean organismal chirality, it explains it beautifully), probability (fits nicely), information theory (this works as well, despite what creationists claim), and so on and so forth. You can say that it doesn’t, but you haven’t investigated it. You haven’t even done the work to find out if what people like Comfort, Ham, Behe and others tell you is correct. And it is so simple to do this. All that knowledge and discovery, but you prefer the iron and bronze age to the information age.

  • scmike

    Robster FCD said,

    “”scmike, Do you beat your slaves according to the bible’s directions? Require that your wife’s head be covered at the right times? Stone your children when they are disrespectful? Refuse to wear mixed fabrics? Play football with a regulation pigskin? Think it is right for small children to be killed by bears for laughing at a bald man? Do you believe that your god’s might is enough to defeat any nation as long as they do not have iron chariots? Either you accept and practice all parts of the bible or you aren’t really a Christian, right?””

    Hi Rob. I’m sure you won’t mind if I don’t take my Bible exegesis from you, no? I do appreciate, however, you helping to demonstrate the point that those who reject the authority of the Bible do so based on a built in bias and hostility against it and not for any valid intellectual reasons, as your gross misrepresentations of Scripture indicate.

    “”This is the truth of your bible.””

    I wholeheartedly disagree, but you do raise a good question–how do you account for the existence of ‘truth’ (which is certain by definition) in a worldview which denies the God of the Bible?

    “”It is the record of an often brutal group of tribes surrounded by often hostile neighbors, in a frightening world with earthquakes, fires and floods. It is how they explained the world around them through fables and tales, especially those that they borrowed from their Babylonian neighbors.””

    Problem is, you beg the question by assuming that the Bible is not inspired revelation from God. What is the basis for this assumption?

    “”The problem is, we aren’t the bronze age culture of ancient Israel or the iron age world of Roman Jerusalem, but we live in an age of science and reason,””

    What you fail to realize is though, is that neither the validity of science or one’s reason can be accounted for apart from the God of the Bible. I’ll show you what I mean:

    The foundation of science is induction which presupposes the uniformity of nature. On what grounds do you assume the uniformity of nature (i.e. the future will be like the past) ?

    On what basis do you proceed with the assumption that your reasoning is valid? Or do you?

    “”where questions and doubt should be welcomed, and when evidence based answers are given, you should gladly accept them after investigation, not continue to wallow in the ignorance of a bygone era.””

    Glad to see that you believe in the concept of evidence as well. Since evidence alludes to proof and proof of anything requires absolute laws of logic and reason as well as certainty, perhaps you’d be so kind as to tell how any of these things make sense in your worldview?

    “”Ray Comfort knows that he is wrong.””

    No, you just BELIEVE he is. By the way, since you no doubt believe in evolution, how can anyone be ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ in your worldview if our thoughts are just the byproducts of chemical reactions in our evolved brains? If evolution were true, each of us would only believe what we believe because our brain told us to, not because it is ‘right’ or ‘true’. In such a universe, it would be impossible to settle any conflict, in fact, there could be no ‘conflicts’ as right and wrong wouldn’t exist, only that which IS. The very fact that you are arguing as if you could change our minds reveals the inconsistency of your position.

    “”He has been corrected over and over, has admitted that he was wrong, and continues to say the same wrong things. He is a professional liar, a liar with a cause.””

    Again, I wholeheartedly disagree with you, nevertheless is lying absolutely morally wrong in your worldview? If so, why?

    “”If someone realizes that part of the bible is a faulty myth, they might begin to question the rest of it.””

    Perhaps you’d care to tell what standard of logic you use to call anything a ‘faulty myth’, how you account for that standard, and why it necessarily applies to anything in your worldview? I’m sure you’d agree that using logic to try and argue against the only possible source of logic is woefully self-refuting, no?

    “”If the bible doesn’t fit the evidence, you really should admit that the evidence might not be wrong, but rather that the bible is in error.””

    Actually, it is only because the Bible is true that you can even make sense of that statement. I’ll be glad to show you what I mean when (if) you respond to my questions above. I look forward to your responses!

  • Svlad Cjelli

    I would like to point out to y’all that tautologies are by definition true statements.
    That they are cheap does not make them incorrect.
    I would opine that “1 + 2 = 3″ isn’t a fallacious assertment.

  • Felix

    Rationalist,
    yeah, I typo’d at an inopportune moment :)
    I’m not a Jesus-Myther (someone who believes that everything about Christ is a complete fabrication), but I don’t think the people respectively their accounts are as watertight as you think they are.
    Josephus wrote about people who were around who believed that what they had heard about Christ was accurate, hence calling themselves Christians. However, the existence of people who believe something is obviously not equal to a verification of what they claim, especially not if it’s about miraculous occurences.
    Tertullian wrote, from the viewpoint of being a Christian, that the very absurdity of the gospel accounts was reason to believe them – for who would claim such things if they weren’t true. He’s also quick to point a finger at heretics who call themselves Christians but don’t believe the resurrection in the flesh, and claims that the suffering and deaths of martyrs alone is evidence of the truth of their beliefs. I can’t by any reasonable measure call Tertullian an objective writer with any reliable standard of accuracy or truth. Much of what he wrote can only be verified by his reference to yet other sources like (probably, as proper citations were not usual procedure back then) Tacitus and/or Suetonius.


    The Son of God was crucified; I am not ashamed because men must needs be ashamed of it. And the Son of God died; it is by all means to be believed, because it is absurd. And He was buried, and rose again; the fact is certain, because it is impossible.”

    -Tertullian, On the Flesh of Christ
    Justin Martyr was also an apologist, making many similar claims as Tertullian. These people are excellent sources to find out more about early Christianity, but they are not at all convincing when it comes to verifying the supernatural claims of Christianity themselves.

  • Woody Tanaka

    Mr. C.,
    I am dismayed by your passion, because it shows, yet again, that the ignorance that is religion has destroyed another mind. (see the irrational idiocy in scmike’s 12/3 1:06 am post, for another example.)

    COMPUTER CODE

    Your “critique” is misplaced because these computer programs are only designed to model certain aspects of evolution. You, however, base your argument not on that which they are designed to model, but on other things, such as the “selection mechanism.” That is dumb.

    NATURAL SELECTION, SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST, and REPRODUCTION

    “The theory of natural selection is driven by survival of the fittest.” No, it isn’t. “survival of the fittest” was a phrase coined by Herbert Spencer in comparing his economic policies to natural selection. Nevertheless, that this description of evolution is a tautology does not mean that the concept being described is false, it just means that the rhetoric is ill-fitting. This is first-grade level reasoning, for Pete’s sake.

    And as for reproduction, it is necessary because the “selection” in natural selection doesn’t just require surviving, but surviving and successful reproduction. Without the element of reproduction, any summary of natural selection is wrong.

    RANDOM SELECTION v. CHANGES IN PRESSURES

    This section here, you really do have no idea what you are talking about, because you assume that evolution must mean that there is a “inexorable drive” to “higher levels.” That’s dumb and about 100 years out of date. If you did any reading whatsoever in modern science, you might understand that.

    When a group of organisms in a population which were previously “fit” are made “unfit” by a change in the environment, that is natural selection at work. Nature (“the environment”) had selected (in a rhetorical sense, as there is no intentionality at work) the remaining organisms by having the now “unfit” die or fail to reproduce. Those that are now “unfit” are not that way by luck of the random draw, but by the fact that in any given environment, some organism are better at avoiding the death or failure to reproduce than others, based on inherited characteristics. This is all elementary stuff.

    That the environment changes from time to time doesn’t make natural selection random, but means that it is a dynamic process whereby the selection criteria change over time.

    Please do some actual reading and empty your head of silly myths.

    TURNING CORN INTO RICE

    “You say that rice and corn diverged millions of years ago. This is a statement based on faith, since no witness was there to observe the event.”

    LOL!! Wow. Going the ol’ “no witness” route, huh? Of all the lame arguments in the creationist quiver, this is the lamest. LOL. No, it isn’t based on faith (which is the most asinine way of thinking.) It is based on science. I could explain it to you in, but you’d just stick your fingers in your ears and say “blah, blah, blah” like a good little god-bot (don’t want learnin’ to interfere with the indoctrination…)

    “What we have seen in the laboratory is that there are limits beyond which variation cannot proceed without seriously degrading the organism.”

    No, we haven’t. What we’ve seen is that there are a lot of ways in which organisms can be made non-viable. That does not mean that there is an inherent limit beyond which variation cannot proceed. To use an analogy, if you were on a windy road and randomly steered the car, there are more ways that you could crash than that you could survive, but that does not mean that there is any inherent limit as to how far down the road you can go.

    “You may believe that corn and rice descended from some common ancestor, but you cannot demonstrate it. What you are saying is based on faith, not observational science.”

    LOL. Who feeds you this bullshit? The science which has established the relatedness of rice and corn is sound, based on observation and experimentation.

    Lee Spetner???!!!?? LMAO. Wow. You really are scraping the bottom of the barrel. Why not bring up Jack Chick or Phillip Johnson. Spetner’s a nut, but at least he’s an honest nut in saying that he wrote his silly book as an attempt to salvage his dopey religion from the fact that science shows it to be mostly nonsense. He’s got one over those who lie for Jesus (pretty much every Xian, in my experience…)

    Anyway, the error in this argument is that evolution does not occur by one strand of DNA mutating one mutation at a time in sequential order. Understand that simple concept and you see that Lee Spetner’s ideas are moronic. You really should be embarrassed by bringing that to the table. Lee Spetner…. LOL!!!

  • http://criticallyskeptic.blogspot.com Kevin

    @scmike:

    I actually wasn’t going to respond to you. My post wasn’t, exactly, up for debate. I was merely giving my ‘testimony.’

    Yes, I was ‘saved.’ I was baptized. I, for years, lived a good, Christian life; praying, reading the bible, studying its word.

    About the time I started going to college, I started questioning the legitimacy of the bible. It was a good read, I will give you that much. I took from its words a lot of good, moral lessons. “Love your neighbor.” “Love your enemy.” “Don’t criticize a brother for a speck if you have a giant flogging log stuck in your eye.”

    It’s a book, though. It’s a book that was written years ago, by scholars, by preachers, by kings. I do not think a single bit of the original text actually survives, today, in the bible you have on your living room coffee table.

    What one thing legitimizes the bible over every other religious text in history? Why is the Koran wrong? Why is god so special? Why don’t people worship Zeus, Thor, or Osiris anymore? If all your answers to those questions are either: a) the bible says so, or b) god says so, then you have faith and not proof.

    There is no proof in god. There is no proof that the bible is written by him. I am not going to go as far as to say there is no god, because I do not have proof of that, either. While there is no verifiable ‘proof’ in any scientific theory (one cannot legitimately say that evolution is truth,) there is at least enough testing and scientific progress to show that those are more likely true.

    I do not deny faith is a powerful tool. I, for years, used it to mold myself into a proper, moral human being. Others do this without faith. In the end, though, it’s all me, and not god that defines my life and what I do with it.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Rob Bratcher “As I introspect the reasoning’s in this blog, only one thought infiltrates my cerebellum, “pretentious”.”
    Saying to Ray or one of his followers “Your confidence that the Theory of Evolution is false greatly exceeds your knowledge of same” isn’t pretentious. It’s a fact. Crocoduck? C’mon!

    “Without exception when a person of faith has a point of view that diverges from an Atheist, the Atheist invariably attacks the intellect of the person of faith.”
    Pointing out that Ray Comfort is willfully ignorant isn’t attacking his intellect. It’s attacking the deliberate poor use of it. Pointing out that, even after he’s been corrected (repeatedly) on his, um, misknowledge that he continues to repeat the same story that that makes him no longer simply ignorant, but a liar isn’t even an “attack”. It’s a fact.

    “Not all people of faith are deficient.”
    Okay, but we’re talking about Ray and his followers here.

    “However my recollection of discourse with Atheist has not been as favorable.”
    Note: “Atheism” isn’t capitalized.

    “People of faith have their ‘village idiots’ as do Atheist.”
    There’s a major difference. We tend not to promote ours as experts.

    scmike “Problem is Joan, the foundation of all science is induction which presupposes the uniformity of nature (i.e. the future will be like the past). What is your basis for expecting the future to be like the past?”
    And what’s yours? (Keep in mind that if you were a Hindu or a Scientologist, you’d potentially be arguing that the universe was much older than it is.)

    “One cannot reason TO the truth of the Bible if it is their ultimate standard, they MUST reason FROM it as their basis for interpreting the world around them, not vice versa.”
    Phrase it as “interpretation” if you like, but you should realize that what you’re saying is that when the evidence of the universe and a book conflict, it’s the universe that’s wrong. That you have to misinterpret, ignore or mangle the evidence to make it fit the book should be a clue that you’re on the wrong path. That the sages of evolution-denial are (and have been for quite a while) lying to you should be another.

    “As I am sure you have found, God does not ‘fit into evolution’ as Christianity and evolution are totally incompatible with one another.”
    Except, of course, for the Christians that do reconcile them.

    “In order to assume evolution to be true, one must reject the Biblical account of creation, and therefore the truth of the Bible.”
    No. In order to “accept evolution” (and the many sciences that support it) one must take parts of Genesis as poetry and metaphor.

    “The result, of course, is sheer absurdity and foolishness.”
    Uh huh. Good luck with that.

    Mr. C “I’m sure you’re aware there are many computer-based models and demonstrations of evolution created by scientists who support evolution. Certainly you don’t mean to call them dumb.”
    I wouldn’t call them dumb. I’d call them “arguments from analogy”, which have limitations.

    “I’m simply critiquing the “selection” mechanism they use, because each of these computer models injects intelligent selection at some point in the process.”
    And that’s the limitation. When you’re programming a computer, you’re acting as the environment would in natural selection, but when people do it it’s artificial selection.
    Computer simulations of evolution are greatly simplified models of it. Arguing as though the man behind the model falsified the actuality of the real thing is daft.

    “The theory of natural selection is driven by survival of the fittest.”
    Practically, it’s not survival of the fittest. It’s survival of the fit enough.

    “Thus, if “survival of the fittest” is a tautology, then natural selection must be an illusion.”
    Except that it’s not.

    “You say that rice and corn diverged millions of years ago. This is a statement based on faith, since no witness was there to observe the event.”
    Well, it sure is a good thing that they left behind evidence, or we’d be screwed, wouldn’t we? We can dig both with a shovel or with a gene sequencing thingy. And the best part is that they come to pretty similar conclusions.

    “If you’re truly interested in studying these figures, I recommend “Not By Chance,” by Dr. Lee Spetner.”
    Oh boy! Fun with math! Try googling for a review from the side that knows what the hell its talking about.

  • scmike

    Kevin said,

    “”I actually wasn’t going to respond to you.””

    Couldn’t help yourself, eh? The truth does have a way of drawing people in. ;)

    “”Yes, I was ’saved.’ I was baptized. I, for years, lived a good, Christian life; praying, reading the bible, studying its word.””

    You didn’t answer my question from the previous post. No problem, I’ll ask again: Did you know the Lord, Kevin?

    “”About the time I started going to college, I started questioning the legitimacy of the bible. It was a good read, I will give you that much. I took from its words a lot of good, moral lessons. “Love your neighbor.” “Love your enemy.” “Don’t criticize a brother for a speck if you have a giant flogging log stuck in your eye.”

    It’s a book, though. It’s a book that was written years ago, by scholars, by preachers, by kings. I do not think a single bit of the original text actually survives, today, in the bible you have on your living room coffee table.””

    And again Kevin, there’s your problem. A Christian is someone who, in complete submission to God, holds Him and His word to be their ultimate authority. You, on the other hand, hold your own autonomous ability to reason above God and the Bible. As I said before, one must reason FROM the truth of the Bible as their starting point, not TO it. Otherwise the Bible is not your ultimate authority, you are. Again, I sincerely recommend that you repent and trust in Jesus Christ while you still can.

    “”What one thing legitimizes the bible over every other religious text in history? Why is the Koran wrong? Why is god so special?””

    Well, for starters, the Bible is the ONLY ‘Holy Book’ that makes sense of absolute, immaterial, universal entities such as laws of logic, etc., comports with reality, and is internally consistent.

    Those who reject the truth of the Bible do so because of their presupposition (assumption) that it is NOT the Word of God, and therefore not true. The problem is, if that assumption were true, they would have no basis for logic, reason, knowledge, truth, and a whole host of other things that cannot be accounted for apart from the Bible. Trying to use logic and reason to argue against the ONLY possible source of logic and reason is woefully self-refuting and absurd. It’s kind of like someone denying the existence of air while breathing it. What would you think of such a person?

    “”Why don’t people worship Zeus, Thor, or Osiris anymore?””

    What are you talking about? People profess belief in and worship all sorts of false gods as a means of suppressing the truth of God’s existence. Of course though, what people profess to believe has absolutely nothing to do with what is true. It is the Biblical position that God has revealed Himself to ALL people so that they can KNOW for certain who he is.

    “”If all your answers to those questions are either: a) the bible says so, or b) god says so, then you have faith and not proof.””

    Unless of course, God has revealed Himself to us through the Bible so that we can know for certain who He is. Do you deny the possibility that an omnipotent, omniscient Being could do this?

    “”There is no proof in god. There is no proof that the bible is written by him.””

    The very concept of ‘proof’ is proof of God’s existence and the truth of the Bible, as proof requires certainty and absolute laws of logic and reason. None of these things can be accounted for apart from the God of the Bible. If you dispute this, please tell me how you account for any of these concepts apart from God. How is it possible for you to prove anything in your worldview?

    “”I am not going to go as far as to say there is no god, because I do not have proof of that, either.””

    You’ve already said it in declaring yourself to be your own ultimate authority.
    Not very wise.

    “”While there is no verifiable ‘proof’ in any scientific theory (one cannot legitimately say that evolution is truth,) there is at least enough testing and scientific progress to show that those are more likely true.””

    I agree with you that those who deny God must accept science (and a whole host of other things) on blind faith alone, as they have zero foundation for the scientific method, knowledge, or proof in their worldview. I also agree that those who accept evolution do so on blind faith and primarily by default since they reject the true Creator of the universe. Why trust such a hopeless and circular position, Kevin?

    Note: Although there are some misguided Christians who believe in evolution, I would submit that they don’t truly understand either Christianity or evolution, as the two are completely incompatible with each other.

    “”I do not deny faith is a powerful tool.””

    Of course not, as this is what you are now basing your entire life upon–blind faith.
    I for one prefer the security of having certainty through God and His Word.

    “”I, for years, used it to mold myself into a proper, moral human being.””

    Here is another inconsistency Kevin. Apart from God, one cannot know what a ‘proper, moral human being’ is. Evolution cannot give us morality (i.e. that which ‘should’ be), it can only give us that which IS. Besides, didn’t terrorists and child molesters evolve too? How do you know that they didn’t evolve right and you didn’t evolve wrong?

    “”In the end, though, it’s all me, and not god that defines my life and what I do with it.””

    I pray that you do not carry that attitude to your grave (or even into tomorrow, for that matter), as the consequences are eternal.

  • Mr. C

    Dear Robster,

    Thanks for your reply.

    As you know, any given environment has numerous components, each of which can vary (in terms of intensity, duration, entry mechanism, presence, etc.) In addition, the slightest variation in any environmental component (pressure) has complex repercussions throughout the surrounding environment, with many unforeseen consequences. Thus, there’s no way to tell how a given change in any one of these factors will affect the survivability of a given mutant organism, UNLESS you hold all other factors perfectly constant–something which never happens in nature.

    Consequently, since there is no way to predict which pressures will change, or by how much, or in what direction, or to what cumulative effect on the rest of the environment and other species, there is no way to predict what mutations in a species will be preserved and which will be eliminated by these pressures. Some species will be eliminated by a change in temperature, or available diet, or predator presence. Others will not. In a complex, symbiotic, interdependent, multi-faceted environment, there’s no way to tell which species are going to survive until after the fact. (That’s why the appearance of certain species in hostile environments constantly surprises scientists.) If you cannot predict when and how these pressures will occur, and if you cannot predict whether the cumulative effect of these pressures will permit a given mutation to survive, then that which you call “natural selection” is random.

    What we are left with is:
    A) Pressures that MIGHT eliminate the mutant organism(s), or

    B) Pressures that MIGHT have no effect on the mutant organism’s survivability (ability to reproduce in comparison to competing organisms), or
    C) Pressures that MIGHT give the mutant organism an advantage in terms of its survivability (ability to reproduce…)

    In other words, evolution postulates the theory that [random mutations] x [random selection] = new species.

    Since the above equation cannot work, those who believe in evolution are compelled to ignore the fact that selection is completely random. Instead, they concentrate on the fact that some pressures actually favor a given mutation. What they forget is that the next change in the environment can–and often does–eliminate the mutant gene that supposedly gave the organism more “fitness.”

    Thus, the survivability of a given mutation, over the long term, is completely unpredictable, and the mutation is usually eliminated. Meanwhile, the organism is accumulating more and more mutations which negatively affect its acute survivability. (Think of all the inherited diseases in man that, sadly, destroy the health and survivability of their victims.)

    On a different note, you seem to equate variation with mutation. Evolution has nothing to do with existing (but recessive) DNA sequences (traits) becoming dominant; evolution is based on mutating the DNA sequence itself, i.e., introducing changes from outside the DNA, to alter, rearrange, add to, or subtract from the sequence.

    As for the ability of human DNA to be replicated by a bacterium, and the commonality of certain portions of DNA among disparate organisms, I don’t see any reason to conclude that it means we all share a common ancestor. It could also mean that evolution occurred simultaneously in several places, and that these isolated events just happened to produce identical cell structures and mechanisms. Or it could mean that an intelligent and efficient Creator used the same tools and methods to create all forms of life.

    Regarding the saprophytic orchids you mentioned, they have not become a fungus. They merely obtain most of their nutrients from the fungus that exists in their roots. This is an example of the innate ability of a species to adapt, not the mutation of one species into another. The plant is still an orchid.

    As for information theory… It is easy to demonstrate that introducing mutations into a perfectly good sequence of ACTGs cannot work. Take any full page of meaningful text (the practical equivalent of DNA) and introduce random changes. Add, subtract, re-arrange, duplicate, or reverse any letter, word, sentence, punctuation mark, space, or group thereof. If the text still makes sense, keep it and make 10B copies. Now take those 10B copies and introduce more random changes. Survey the results and keep only those which still make sense. Repeat. I can assure you on the basis of mathematics, probability, and information theory that you will never produce a new and meaningful page of text from this experiment. Similarly, evolution cannot produce new species from random mutations inserted into a perfectly good DNA sequence.

    Parenthetically, much of your response depends on the “That’s the way it is because I say so” technique. If you’re going to claim that information theory permits evolution to work, or that natural selection is not random, it would help if you could explain exactly HOW information theory permits this, and HOW pressures which are, by nature, unpredictable, cannot be random.

    Regards!

  • Mr. C

    Dear Woody,

    Your arguments would be a lot more effective if you would stop resorting to name calling, and instead provide rational discussion of exactly HOW my statements are incorrect, and HOW your statements are correct.

    COMPUTER CODES
    It was Robster who suggested I consider EAs as an example of digital models of evolution. I merely pointed out that the critical function of selection–you do understand that evolution absolutely depends on this?–is always designed by an intelligent programmer who commands it to select for pre-determined characteristics. Without intelligent design, these programs cannot perform their intended functions. Hence, they don’t prove evolution, they disprove it.

    NATURAL SELECTION AND REPRODUCTION
    I am not denying that reproduction is essential to the success of natural selection (at least, according to the theory). What I’m saying is that reproduction of the mutation in subsequent generations–even it’s 10,000 generations–does not rescue evolution from the fact that [random mutations] x [random selection] cannot produce new species.

    RANDOM SELECTION v. CHANGES IN PRESSURES
    See post to Robster above.

    CORN & RICE
    Again, arguments based on emotion and name calling are not effective. Nor do they deserve a thoughtful response. They do, however, reveal a certain weakness in one’s position, and in one’s character.

    Best!

  • joe agnost

    Mr C wrote: “Thus, there’s no way to tell how a given change in any one of these factors will affect the survivability of a given mutant organism, UNLESS you hold all other factors perfectly constant–something which never happens in nature.”

    What does that even mean? So what? Yes there are many factors which lead to the survivability of a species, how is this a problem for evolution?

    Mr C continues: “Consequently, since there is no way to predict which pressures will change, or by how much, or in what direction, or to what cumulative effect on the rest of the environment and other species, there is no way to predict what mutations in a species will be preserved and which will be eliminated by these pressures.”

    Again – so what? You are not providing anything remotely close to a flaw in the ToE.

    And finally: “if you cannot predict whether the cumulative effect of these pressures will permit a given mutation to survive, then that which you call ‘natural selection’ is random.”

    You have a seriously warped definition for “random” I’m afraid. To be random you claim you have to be able to predict the future?

    You have, in several posts now, shown beyond all doubt that you have no idea what “random” means, and have no idea how natural selection works.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com Anna

    I think people like Ray Comfort are best ignored, not given special attention and allowed to plead their case on blogs. All he wants is media exposure, and you’re playing right into his hands by giving him a forum to air his views. I don’t pretend that these sorts of fringe beliefs are going to go away anytime soon, but perhaps they will disappear faster if the scientific and rational communities simply ignore them. What possible purpose can this interview serve? It just makes Ray Comfort feel important and lets him continue to believe that he has important things to say.

  • http://criticallyskeptic.blogspot.com Kevin

    @scmike:

    In trying to respond to your question, I was given two thoughts.

    One) You argue the following, “god is real because the bible is real. The bible is correct because it’s the word of god.” If I do not believe the bible is the real word of god (I don’t) then, by consequence, I do not believe it is correct, and thus by reasoning, I do not believe god is real.

    I suppose you’re right, I may never have known ‘the lord.’ I may have been giving the church lip service for however many years as a teenager / young adult because my family went there. However, as I am now an adult of my own responsibilities, I do not believe in god.

    Two) You argue that morality, law, and reason cannot be found apart from god. If you think that is the case, then do you argue that if there was no god, then you would be a murderer / rapist / pedophile?

    I do not understand enough about the nuances of evolution to explain how society came up with morals, laws, and logical ideas – I am not a biologist. I know apart from god, though – even possibly never have truly been a Christian – I continue to live a moral life to the words of the very same book you argue is reality.

  • http://criticallyskeptic.blogspot.com Kevin

    Also, and apologies for the dual post:

    “Repent or go to Hell” is not a way to win someone over to your side.

  • scmike

    Modusoperandi,

    I said: “Problem is Joan, the foundation of all science is induction which presupposes the uniformity of nature (i.e. the future will be like the past). What is your basis for expecting the future to be like the past?”

    You replied: “”And what’s yours? (Keep in mind that if you were a Hindu or a Scientologist, you’d potentially be arguing that the universe was much older than it is.)””

    You seem to be forgetting that I asked first. Nevertheless I will answer your question. As a Christian, I can proceed with the assumption that nature will be uniform based on the promises of God. Now, your turn.

    I said: “One cannot reason TO the truth of the Bible if it is their ultimate standard, they MUST reason FROM it as their basis for interpreting the world around them, not vice versa.”

    You replied: “”Phrase it as “interpretation” if you like, but you should realize that what you’re saying is that when the evidence of the universe and a book conflict, it’s the universe that’s wrong.””

    What you fail to realize is that ALL evidence will be interpreted via our respective presuppositions. I presuppose that God exists and that the Bible is true, while you do not. The problem is, apart from the Bible, one cannot account for the validity of their senses and reasoning by which they observe any evidence or even account for the validity of the concept of evidence itself. Evidence alludes to the concept of proof, which requires absolute laws of logic, truth, and knowledge; none of which can be accounted for apart from the God of the Bible. If you dispute this, I challenge you to tell how you account for any of these things in your worldview.

    “”That you have to misinterpret, ignore or mangle the evidence to make it fit the book should be a clue that you’re on the wrong path.””

    I disagree with your baseless accusation, but one thing is for certain, you believe in an absolute standard of truth by which to determine ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. What is that standard and how do you account for it?

    “”That the sages of evolution-denial are (and have been for quite a while) lying to you should be another.””

    If evolution were true, you couldn’t even make sense of that statement. After all, what is a ‘lie’ in an evolutionary universe?

    I said: “As I am sure you have found, God does not ‘fit into evolution’ as Christianity and evolution are totally incompatible with one another.”

    You replied: “”Except, of course, for the Christians that do reconcile them.””

    Although some misguided Christians do accept evolution, I would argue that they don’t understand either Christianity or evolution, as the two are not compatible in the least.

    I said: “In order to assume evolution to be true, one must reject the Biblical account of creation, and therefore the truth of the Bible.”

    You said: “”No. In order to “accept evolution” (and the many sciences that support it) one must take parts of Genesis as poetry and metaphor.””

    Which they clearly are not meant to be taken as. Again, it is worth noting that this is why Christians should not take their Bible exegesis from those who deny the authority of Scripture. Too many misrepresentations.

    I said: “The result, of course, is sheer absurdity and foolishness.”

    You said: “”Uh huh. Good luck with that.””

    Nice argument. See what I mean! :)

  • joe agnost

    scmike wrote: “What is your basis for expecting the future to be like the past?”

    The fact that it has historically been this way. The fact that water can be used to extinguish certain flames is an apt example. Water has always, with %100 accuracy, been able to extinguish wood fires. I can make the assumption, with pretty solid evidence, that water will continue to behave this way in the future.

    The bible/god didn’t factor into it.

  • scmike

    Kevin said,

    “”In trying to respond to your question, I was given two thoughts.

    One) You argue the following, “god is real because the bible is real.””

    No. I am arguing that God is real AND the Bible is true by the impossibility of the contrary. The Bible is just one of the means that God has used to reveal Himself to us so that we can know for certain who He is and what He expects from us with regards to morality, logic, reason, and salvation through Jesus Christ.

    “”I suppose you’re right, I may never have known ‘the lord.’ I may have been giving the church lip service for however many years as a teenager / young adult because my family went there.””

    Kevin, despite our differences, I want to thank you for your honesty in admitting this, as this is the crux of the issue at hand.

    “”However, as I am now an adult of my own responsibilities, I do not believe in god.””

    As I have said before, it is my position that you KNOW that God exists, you simply choose to suppress this truth to avoid accountability to Him. I pray that will change.

    “”Two) You argue that morality, law, and reason cannot be found apart from god. If you think that is the case, then do you argue that if there was no god, then you would be a murderer / rapist / pedophile?””

    That is not my argument, but so what if I was? If evolution were true, you could never call any of these things ‘wrong’. They may be against your personal preference, but so what? Why should anyone care about your personal preference, least of all the person whose personal preference it is to murder/rape/molest you?

    You see Kevin I can say that all of the above are ABSOLUTELY morally wrong in my worldview, while you can’t. You are forced to admit that if enough people in society deemed any of the above evils as ‘acceptable’, then each of them could be ‘right’ according to your worldview (although I’m sure you’d feel differently if any of these acts were committed against you or a member of your own family).

    “”I do not understand enough about the nuances of evolution to explain how society came up with morals, laws, and logical ideas – I am not a biologist.””

    Society didn’t come up with them. The laws of logic and morality are prescribed by God upon his creation as the standards by which He intends for us to think, reason, and behave. Take the logical law of non-contradiction for example. This law states that something CANNOT be true and not true at the same time and in the same way. Without this law, it would be impossible to make sense of anything or to ever know anything. If it is your position that men invented this law, let me ask you this–do you believe that the universe could have existed and not existed at the same time and in the same way BEFORE men created the law of non-contradiction?

    “”I know apart from god, though – even possibly never have truly been a Christian – I continue to live a moral life to the words of the very same book you argue is reality.””

    That’s exactly my point Kevin. In order to appeal to any standard of morality or truth, you must first assume the truth of the Bible, yet you deny it’s truth in the same breath. Surely you can see the problem with THAT, no?

    If you doubt what I’m saying, here’s a test for you. Tell me one thing you know for certain apart from God and how you claim to know it. Take care.

  • joe agnost

    scmike asks: “Tell me one thing you know for certain apart from God and how you claim to know it.”

    How about my water/fire example from my previous comment?

  • scmike

    Kevin,

    “”Also, and apologies for the dual post:

    “Repent or go to Hell” is not a way to win someone over to your side.””

    If this is directed at me, please show me where I have said this.

    Just for clarification, I am not interested in ‘winning anyone over to my side’. My job is to simply present the truth. What you or anyone else chooses to do with it is up to you, as I know that truth does not always equal persuasion. You can’t convince those who do not want to be convinced.

  • Woody Tanaka

    Mr. C.,

    I’m not “resorting” to name-calling, I’m just doing it for fun. Further, I could provide ‘rational discussion” from now to next Tuesday, but would it do any good? You STILL refuse to understand why your notion that “selection is random” is wrong, even though it’s been explained to you in “rational discussion” a number of times.

    COMPUTER CODES

    The reason why your arguments are wrong and your conclusion that “they don’t prove evolution, they disprove it” is dopey is because these codes are not modeling the selection agent in nature, so any argument that is based on showing that the selection agent in the program is an intelligence, is asinine.

    NATURAL SELECTION AND REPRODUCTION

    Again, what is idiotic in your arguments in your idea that selection is random. It isn’t. If there is a strong selective agent for tallness in a certain animal, and, over the generations, the gene pool of a population of this animal becomes more and more dominated by alleles that produce morphological changes resulting in taller animals, due to the less successful reproduction of shorter animals, that is not random. The shorter animals were not unsuccessful at breeding at random, but because their genes did not contain alleles which produced the tallness that successful reproduction required. That is evolution by natural selection, with the selection (i.e., the more successful reproduction) based on the specific characteristic of tallness. That’s it. Nothing more. That’s all the statement “selection is not random” means.

    RANDOM SELECTION v. CHANGES IN PRESSURES

    In your post to Robster, you say:

    “If you cannot predict when and how these pressures will occur, and if you cannot predict whether the cumulative effect of these pressures will permit a given mutation to survive, then that which you call ‘natural selection’ is random.”

    This is the nut of your problem. What you are describing here is not selection. What you are saying is that there is no pattern to the history of life; that evolution has no inherent directionality. And that is correct as far as it goes, but not because “natural selection is random.” That’s just a stupid statement. The history of life does not equal the process of natural selection. Natural selection is not random because the alleles which survive do so because they provide an advantage in reproductive success other alternate alleles. The history of life has no directionality because it is a historically contingent process and the factors which generate mutation and which affect selective pressure are random, even though selection, itself, is non-random.

    CORN & RICE

    “Again, arguments based on emotion and name calling are not effective.”

    When reason is repeatedly rejected in favor of bronze-aged superstition, sometimes name calling is the only answer left.

    “They do, however, reveal a certain weakness in one’s position, and in one’s character.” LOL. I’m sure you believed it when you mommy told you that “all bullies are really scared”, too.

    I mean, seriously. You argue, “You weren’t there to witness it, so how do you know?” and cite to Lee Spetner and you then complain that I made fun of those things??? What on earth did you expect when you bring that nonsense to the argument. It’s like showing up in the Supreme Court in a clown costume, complete with floppy shoes and grease paint, and being shocked that the Justices don’t take you seriously.

  • joe agnost

    scmike wrote: “it is my position that you KNOW that God exists, you simply choose to suppress this truth to avoid accountability to Him.”

    This always kills me… this is so illogical (I know, without god logic doesn’t exist ;) ) that I wonder if theists ~really~ believe it!

    So, your contention is that Kevin “KNOW”s god exists but chooses to supress this knowledge to avoid accountability to him? But if Kevin KNOWS god exists then surely he KNOWS that you cannot “avoid accountability” right? What kind of a god would allow it’s peons to “avoid accountability to him”? If Kevin knew god existed would he not also know that he’ll answer to him in the afterlife? Doesn’t that come with it?

    It’s like when a theist says I should just let jesus into my heart – like I’ve “chosen” to be atheist! It’s not a “choice” people – I can’t just decide to believe something I find utterly unbelievable at the snap of my fingers!

  • scmike

    joe agnost,

    I asked: “What is your basis for expecting the future to be like the past?”

    You answered: “”The fact that it has historically been this way.””

    Problem is, saying that the future WILL be like the past because it HAS BEEN like the past is a viciously circular argument and boils down to blind faith (not to mention that apart from God, one cannot account for the validity of the senses and reasoning they use to make any observation—I’ll show you what I mean).

    “”The fact that water can be used to extinguish certain flames is an apt example.””

    How do you know that the senses and reasoning with which you have observed this are reliable?

    “”Water has always, with %100 accuracy, been able to extinguish wood fires.””

    Is that absolutely true? How do you know?

    You see, the most you could ever say, Joe, (if I granted you the validity of your senses and reasoning, which I don’t) is that based on your limited observations, it HAS been the case in the past that water has been able to extinguish wood fires.

    The moment you try to project this into the future, you enter into the realm of blind faith. As you have admitted, you have no logical justification for expecting the future to be like the past in your worldview. I am pleased with that.

    “”I can make the assumption, with pretty solid evidence, that water will continue to behave this way in the future.””

    Since when are viciously circular arguments considered ‘solid evidence’? According to that logic, I could just argue that God exists because He exists and that would constitute solid evidence that it is so (although I doubt anyone here would let me by with that one).

    “”The bible/god didn’t factor into it.””

    Perhaps we can see about that when you post your responses to the above questions.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    scmike “As a Christian, I can proceed with the assumption that nature will be uniform based on the promises of God. Now, your turn.”
    Hardly. All you can do is hope that neither God nor Satan are interfering in any way, which is the same thing real scientists do, and the kind of thing that the biblical tale broke with remarkable regularity.

    “What you fail to realize is that ALL evidence will be interpreted via our respective presuppositions.”
    “Things tend to appear to be what they are” is a presupposition? No, it’s a general rule that, at least above the subatomic scale, work pretty well.

    “The problem is, apart from the Bible, one cannot account for the validity of their senses and reasoning by which they observe any evidence or even account for the validity of the concept of evidence itself.”
    I can disbelieve that my eyes are telling me that there are stairs in front of me all I want, but that won’t save my rump from the ensuing stair-tumbled bruising.
    My senses aren’t perfect. When I close my eyes in the dark I see sparkles that aren’t there. Still, eyes have been pretty good at helping our ancestors not be eaten by lions (not perfectly, of course, as lions’ eyes help it get lunch).

    “Evidence alludes to the concept of proof, which requires absolute laws of logic, truth, and knowledge; none of which can be accounted for apart from the God of the Bible.”
    Oh boy! A Presuppositionalist. Perhaps you’d be better served talking to a philosopher than me. I can barely even tie my shoes in the morning. The afternoon, too. It’s hard enough debating philosophy with philosophers, much less ones that declare the supernatural axiomatic.

    “If you dispute this, I challenge you to tell how you account for any of these things in your worldview.”
    Reality works. Shit happens.

    “I disagree with your baseless accusation…”
    You do realize that you’re on a page about Ray Comfort, right?

    “…but one thing is for certain, you believe in an absolute standard of truth by which to determine ‘right’ and ‘wrong’.”
    Moral right and wrong? Nope (I can’t discount the possibility, but even then I’d lean towards an ethical branch like Utilitarianism over Special Revelation). Neither do you. That’s why you don’t own slaves…now
    What is your absolute standard for right and wrong? It can’t be God. That would put Him on the horns of Euthyphro’s Dilemma. That you don’t own slaves is, again, another indicator that it isn’t from Him, as He’s a fan and, even if you reinterpret NT passages to make Him be against it, it still leaves you stuck because being unchanging, He doesn’t change, and being perfect, He’s perfect, meaning that a perfect and unchanging center of absolute, unchanging morality commanded things that were, by His own absolute and unchanging standard, absolutely immoral. Further, if you’re under the spell of Divine Command Theory umbrella, that makes “absolute morality” relative and arbitrary, as it’s whatever God says it is at the time.
    Man is messy. Denying that mess by appealing to the writings of other people whose work is credited to a posited 3-O’d God doesn’t help. It just enshrines their messiness permanently, which requires reinterpretation to make its permanent mess fit with the mess of the day. Again, this is why you don’t own slaves.

    “What is that standard and how do you account for it?”
    If you aren’t talking about moral right and wrong (which would fall under Moral Philosophy) but rather “is” and “is not”, then scientific investigation is the single best tool we have for the latter. It’s not great at “is”, as its “is” is “a close enough model, for now, based on the data so far, pending an updated model or a new model entirely with new data”, but it’s fabulous on slowly and methodically weeding out “is not”.

    “If evolution were true, you couldn’t even make sense of that statement. After all, what is a ‘lie’ in an evolutionary universe?”
    A and not-A. If I say a square is a circle, knowing that it’s not, then by definition I’m a liar. Ray says that not only is his square a circle, but those nasty scientists say that it’s really an apple and, when he’s corrected, he says the same thing.

    “Although some misguided Christians do accept evolution, I would argue that they don’t understand either Christianity or evolution, as the two are not compatible in the least.”
    And they’d say the same thing about you. Kudos for sticking with the losing side of progress.

    “Which they clearly are not meant to be taken as.”
    Clearly. Your exegesis is superior to theirs. Also, your Holy Spirit is guiding you, while they’re only listening to the buzz of whatever in their hearts. You’re right and everybody else is wrong. You’re right, not because you’re actually correct, but because Theology is the only science where you’re never wrong.

    “Again, it is worth noting that this is why Christians should not take their Bible exegesis from those who deny the authority of Scripture. Too many misrepresentations.”
    I know, right? I mean, even most of the early members of the Enlightenment (and shortly before) thought that they were good Christians while they were looking at the evidence of the real world and they thought that they were figuring out His handiwork. Outrage! I, personally, can’t believe that believers like Linnaeus actually believed that God would order life as though the soon to be realized Theory of Evolution were true! And don’t even get me started on that bastard of a so-called “believer” Charles Lyell! “Things must be much older than we thought” indeed! Pah!

    “Nice argument. See what I mean!”
    Hey, you’re the one who, I assume, argues for a literal worldwide Flood on or around 2348BC that resulted in a geologic column that only works if, say, hydrodynamic sorting didn’t exist back then (if it did, the big, heavy things would be at the bottom), half-life worked radically differently than it does now (while still leaving evidence as though it didn’t) and, oddly, that flowering plants were better at outrunning a flood than the (to the reality-based community) earlier plants (while simultaneously growing in soil underwater during it) and you don’t mind the “Flood canopy” resulting in a pre-Deluge Earth having Venus-like temperature and pressure. And that’s just for starters. You aren’t against just the Theory of Evolution, you’re standing against all science. And if you aren’t arguing for that Flood, then why don’t you take that part literally?

  • scmike

    joe agnost,

    I said: “Tell me one thing you know for certain apart from God and how you claim to know it.”

    You said: “”How about my water/fire example from my previous comment?””

    You forgot to tell HOW you know it. Well?

  • scmike

    joe agnost,

    I said: “it is my position that you KNOW that God exists, you simply choose to suppress this truth to avoid accountability to Him.”

    You said: “”This always kills me…””

    I hope not for your sake. That would be very bad news for someone in your condition. :(

    “”this is so illogical (I know, without god logic doesn’t exist ) that I wonder if theists ~really~ believe it!””

    Nope. They know it for certain (as do you). :)

    “”So, your contention is that Kevin “KNOW”s god exists but chooses to supress this knowledge to avoid accountability to him?””

    Not just Kevin, but all who deny the God of the Bible.

    “”But if Kevin KNOWS god exists then surely he KNOWS that you cannot “avoid accountability” right?””

    No doubt this is why the Bible refers to those who deny God as ‘fools’.

    (Note: This is not name-calling, but a right description of those who deny God despite KNOWING He exists.)

    “”If Kevin knew god existed would he not also know that he’ll answer to him in the afterlife? Doesn’t that come with it?””

    Perhaps you can tell us, since you seem to be sharing his delusion?

    “”It’s like when a theist says I should just let jesus into my heart – like I’ve “chosen” to be atheist! It’s not a “choice” people””

    One either lives their life in submission to God, or they don’t. For whatever reason, you choose not to. However, you do so despite KNOWING better. If you’ll answer my previous question regarding certainty in full, you’ll see what I mean.

    “”I can’t just decide to believe something I find utterly unbelievable at the snap of my fingers!””

    While I do care about your beliefs Joe, for the sake of this discussion I am only interested in what you know and how you know it.

  • joe agnost

    scmike wrote: “Not just Kevin, but all who deny the God of the Bible.”

    So all of those really devout muslims (who pray 5 times a day, make the trek to Mecca, fast through Ramadan, etc.) know in their hearts that they’re wrong?

    I understand why you might (incorrectly) think atheists “KNOW” god exists, but why would the muslims spend so much time and energy appeasing a god they “KNOW” doesn’t exist? It doesn’t make sense (even from a creationist!)

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    scmike “You see Kevin I can say that all of the above are ABSOLUTELY morally wrong in my worldview, while you can’t.”
    Ahem

    “(although I’m sure you’d feel differently if any of these acts were committed against you or a member of your own family).”
    Well, you’re partway to a humanist system of morality…it’s remarkable what a little empathy can do.

    “This law states that something CANNOT be true and not true at the same time and in the same way. Without this law, it would be impossible to make sense of anything or to ever know anything. If it is your position that men invented this law, let me ask you this–do you believe that the universe could have existed and not existed at the same time and in the same way BEFORE men created the law of non-contradiction?”
    First of all, Laws reflect the universe. They’re descriptive. Secondly, false dicotomy; God declared it, Man “invented” it, it simply is.

    ”If this is directed at me, please show me where I have said this.“
    I pray that you do not carry that attitude to your grave (or even into tomorrow, for that matter), as the consequences are eternal.

    ”Not just Kevin, but all who deny the God of the Bible.”
    So, is that why General Revelation alone always results in the wrong answer? (that answer, historically speaking, being a bunch of spirits/gods)

  • Pingback: Two Meetings in One « Virtual Drinking Skeptically

  • PAJOHN

    Bathtub – The challenge was 10K direct to Dawkins, he refused saying he gets more than that for his lectures. Then Dawkins said tell him if he gives 100K to my charity (Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science)he’d do it. I believe he used his Personal Charity as a means of blocking an actual chance of getting it done because Ray probably wouldn’t want to put $ into such a charity). Ray offered Dawkins(not his charity) 20K and Dawkins said no again. Undoubtedly he refuses to debate out of fear of the absolute smack down he and every evolutionists would get in such a publically viewed debate.

    Hey HBO … PPV ratings would be off the hook … get these guys to agree and split the PPV $$ for a charity of each ones choice. I am sure it would exceed Dawkins 100K request, however he will weasel out of this one as well.

    God Bless you Ray!!!

  • scmike

    Modusoperandi,

    I said: “As a Christian, I can proceed with the assumption that nature will be uniform based on the promises of God. Now, your turn.”

    You said: “”Hardly. All you can do is hope that neither God nor Satan are interfering in any way, which is the same thing real scientists do, and the kind of thing that the biblical tale broke with remarkable regularity.””

    Tell you what, why don’t you provide your contrary claim as to why you expect nature to be uniform and let’s compare. If I am going to answer your questions, the least you can do is respond in kind.

    I said: “What you fail to realize is that ALL evidence will be interpreted via our respective presuppositions.”

    You said: “”Things tend to appear to be what they are” is a presupposition?””

    Yep. You must presuppose that the senses and reasoning with which you observe ‘things’ are themselves reliable. What is your basis for this assumption?

    “”No, it’s a general rule that, at least above the subatomic scale, work pretty well””

    Not that I grant you the validity of your senses and reasoning, but how do you know it ‘works’? To what end does it ‘work’?

    I said: “The problem is, apart from the Bible, one cannot account for the validity of their senses and reasoning by which they observe any evidence or even account for the validity of the concept of evidence itself.”

    You said: “”I can disbelieve that my eyes are telling me that there are stairs in front of me all I want, but that won’t save my rump from the ensuing stair-tumbled bruising.””

    True, but I want to know what basis you have for assuming that your senses and reasoning are reliable at all.

    “”My senses aren’t perfect. When I close my eyes in the dark I see sparkles that aren’t there. Still, eyes have been pretty good at helping our ancestors not be eaten by lions (not perfectly, of course, as lions’ eyes help it get lunch).””

    I don’t doubt that our senses are helpful, as I know they are a wonderful gift from God. I want to know on what basis you proceed with the assumption that your senses and the reasoning with which you interpret them are reliable. So far, no dice.

    I said: “Evidence alludes to the concept of proof, which requires absolute laws of logic, truth, and knowledge; none of which can be accounted for apart from the God of the Bible.”

    You said: “”Oh boy! A Presuppositionalist.””

    Took you that long, huh? ;)

    “”Perhaps you’d be better served talking to a philosopher than me.””

    Only if you can find one who actually cares to answer my questions. ;)

    I said: “If you dispute this, I challenge you to tell how you account for any of these things in your worldview.”

    You said: “”Reality works. S–t happens.””

    I’m sure you’d agree though, that if you can’t know that your senses and reasoning are reliable, then you certainly can’t know what reality is or that your observation of it are valid. Priceless!

    I said: “…but one thing is for certain, you believe in an absolute standard of truth by which to determine ‘right’ and ‘wrong’.”

    You said: “”Moral right and wrong? Nope (I can’t discount the possibility, but even then I’d lean towards an ethical branch like Utilitarianism over Special Revelation). Neither do you. That’s why you don’t own slaves…now””

    Nor am I an Israelite living under a Theocracy. What’s your point?

    (I do appreciate your admission, though, that slavery is NOT absolutely morally wrong in your worldview. Nice.)

    “”What is your absolute standard for right and wrong? It can’t be God.””

    ‘Can’t be God’, eh? Ever? Looks like you DO hold an absolute standard after all (knew it).

    “”That would put Him on the horns of Euthyphro’s Dilemma. That you don’t own slaves is, again, another indicator that it isn’t from Him, as He’s a fan and, even if you reinterpret NT passages to make Him be against it, it still leaves you stuck because being unchanging, He doesn’t change, and being perfect, He’s perfect, meaning that a perfect and unchanging center of absolute, unchanging morality commanded things that were, by His own absolute and unchanging standard, absolutely immoral.””

    I normally don’t make a habit of addressing strawman arguments such as these, but for the sake of those reading along, I will make an exception. Slavery = not absolutely morally wrong for the Israelites living under a Theocracy. Slavery = absolutely morally wrong for us today as non-Israelites who don’t live under a theocracy. Apples and oranges.

    I said: “What is that standard and how do you account for it?”

    You replied: “”If you aren’t talking about moral right and wrong (which would fall under Moral Philosophy) but rather “is” and “is not”, then scientific investigation is the single best tool we have for the latter.””

    While this doesn’t even come close to answering my original question which was in regards to truth, I will take what I can get from you at this point. How do you know that ‘scientific investigation’ is the single best tool we have? Where have you observed this?

    I said: “If evolution were true, you couldn’t even make sense of that statement. After all, what is a ‘lie’ in an evolutionary universe?”

    You said: “”A and not-A. If I say a square is a circle, knowing that it’s not, then by definition I’m a liar.””

    Is lying absolutely morally wrong in your worldview? If so, why? If not, who cares?

    Since you brought it up, why can’t a square be a circle in your worldview? Is it your position that anything is possible or that only certain things are possible?

    I said: “Although some misguided Christians do accept evolution, I would argue that they don’t understand either Christianity or evolution, as the two are not compatible in the least.”

    You said: “”And they’d say the same thing about you.””

    Can both of our positions be correct at the same time and in the same way? Why or why not?

    I said: “Which they clearly are not meant to be taken as.”

    You said: “”Clearly. Your exegesis is superior to theirs. Also, your Holy Spirit is guiding you, while they’re only listening to the buzz of whatever in their hearts. You’re right and everybody else is wrong. You’re right, not because you’re actually correct, but because Theology is the only science where you’re never wrong.””

    Nope. The laws of logic dictate that when two people hold two opposing views about the same thing, at least one of them is wrong. As Christians, though, we can study the Bible and appeal to an absolute standard of logic and reason in order to arrive at truth and settle disputes. The question is, how do you account for and arrive at truth (which is certain by definition) in a worldview which denies God?

    I said: “Again, it is worth noting that this is why Christians should not take their Bible exegesis from those who deny the authority of Scripture. Too many misrepresentations.”

    You said: “”I know, right? I mean, even most of the early members of the Enlightenment (and shortly before) thought that they were good Christians while they were looking at the evidence of the real world and they thought that they were figuring out His handiwork. Outrage! I, personally, can’t believe that believers like Linnaeus actually believed that God would order life as though the soon to be realized Theory of Evolution were true! And don’t even get me started on that bastard of a so-called “believer” Charles Lyell! “Things must be much older than we thought” indeed! Pah!””

    What people believe has nothing to do with what is true. It is not my position that Christians know everything, but that God has revealed some things to us so that we can know them for certain. It would take sheer intellectual dishonesty to deny such a possibility.

    I said: “Nice argument. See what I mean!”

    You said: “”Hey, you’re the one who, I assume, argues for a literal worldwide Flood on or around 2348BC that resulted in a geologic column that only works if, say, hydrodynamic sorting didn’t exist back then (if it did, the big, heavy things would be at the bottom), half-life worked radically differently than it does now (while still leaving evidence as though it didn’t) and, oddly, that flowering plants were better at outrunning a flood than the (to the reality-based community) earlier plants (while simultaneously growing in soil underwater during it) and you don’t mind the “Flood canopy” resulting in a pre-Deluge Earth having Venus-like temperature and pressure. And that’s just for starters. You aren’t against just the Theory of Evolution, you’re standing against all science. And if you aren’t arguing for that Flood, then why don’t you take that part literally?””

    I will be happy to discuss any evidence and proof you wish Modusoperandi as soon as you tell me how it is possible for you to know anything in your worldview. I’m sure you’d agree that discussing proof with someone who can’t account for the concepts of proof or knowledge would be a colossal waste of time, no?

  • scmike

    joe agnost said,

    “”So all of those really devout muslims (who pray 5 times a day, make the trek to Mecca, fast through Ramadan, etc.) know in their hearts that they’re wrong?””

    Yep.

    “”I understand why you might (incorrectly) think atheists “KNOW” god exists, but why would the muslims spend so much time and energy appeasing a god they “KNOW” doesn’t exist? It doesn’t make sense (even from a creationist!)””

    Beats me. People have many different motives for suppressing the truth. What’s yours?

  • scmike

    Modusoperandi,

    I said: “You see Kevin I can say that all of the above are ABSOLUTELY morally wrong in my worldview, while you can’t.”

    You said: “”Ahem””

    Cough drop? ;)

    (So, you’re not content with simply dodging my questions to you and feel the need to dodge everyone else’s for them too, eh?) :)

    I said: “(although I’m sure you’d feel differently if any of these acts were committed against you or a member of your own family).”

    You said: “”Well, you’re partway to a humanist system of morality…it’s remarkable what a little empathy can do.””

    So whose feelings should take precedence in a humanist system of morality? The rapist who really wants to rape or the person who really doesn’t want to be raped? What if you live in a society where the majority feels that rape is OK and sympathizes with that point of view, is it therefore ‘right’?

    I said: “This law states that something CANNOT be true and not true at the same time and in the same way. Without this law, it would be impossible to make sense of anything or to ever know anything. If it is your position that men invented this law, let me ask you this–do you believe that the universe could have existed and not existed at the same time and in the same way BEFORE men created the law of non-contradiction?”

    You said: “”First of all, Laws reflect the universe. They’re descriptive.””

    If the laws of logic are descriptive, why should they apply to anything other than that which is being described? Where have you observed that A CANNOT be not A at the same time and in the same way? Does the law of non-contradiction NECESSARILY apply to our discussion?

    “”Secondly, false dicotomy; God declared it, Man “invented” it, it simply is.””

    Really? Well then, God exists because he simply does. How’s that?

    I said: “If this is directed at me, please show me where I have said this.”

    You replied: “”I pray that you do not carry that attitude to your grave (or even into tomorrow, for that matter), as the consequences are eternal.””

    Not even close to what Kevin wrote. Thanks for the verification!

    I said: “Not just Kevin, but all who deny the God of the Bible.”

    You said: “”So, is that why General Revelation alone always results in the wrong answer? (that answer, historically speaking, being a bunch of spirits/gods)””

    Do you deny the possibility that an omniscient, omnipotent God could reveal some things to us so that we could be certain of them? If so, on what grounds?

  • Woody Tanaka

    “Undoubtedly he refuses to debate out of fear of the absolute smack down he and every evolutionists would get in such a publically viewed debate.”

    LOL… The only thing bible-believin’ retards smack are their wives.

  • Woody Tanaka

    “Slavery = not absolutely morally wrong for the Israelites living under a Theocracy. Slavery = absolutely morally wrong for us today as non-Israelites who don’t live under a theocracy. Apples and oranges.”

    LMAO. Let me guess, you don’t do the whole “applicable to Israelites then // not applicable for non-Israelites now” jive when it comes to the gays, right?

  • BathTub

    PAJOHN, Ray’s ministry made $100,000 a week last year, with the all publicity I guarentee that’s gone up, Ray’s salary is $120,000 plus benefits. It’s not like they are lacking the money. Ray is the one wanting the debate how about he contact HBO then and organize it?

    Richard Dawkins had a debate just this week. He’s not afraid of debate, he just not going to waste time on Creationists. He actually said so during the debate. That’s simply the point, Dawkins has always had this rule, Ray knew that before asking. So asking someone you know is going to say no? he’s just doing it for the publicity. Dawkins reply was ‘ok, I’ll do it, I’ll break the rule for a charitable donation to my science foundation’ and Ray blinked first.

    The ball is entirely in Ray’s court. He needs to make the next move.

  • BathTub

    Oh and of course Ray would be selling copies of the debate to the faithful through his website. Just like the Thunderf00t chat.

  • joe agnost

    scmike wrote: “People have many different motives for suppressing the truth. What’s yours?”

    ~Your~ “truth”? ~My~ reason? Simple really… it’s called REALITY!

    You don’t think our senses are particularly trustworthy. You don’t think historical data is worth anything when deciding how something will behave in the future.

    You write things like “I want to know what basis you have for assuming that your senses and reasoning are reliable at all.” and “You must presuppose that the senses and reasoning with which you observe ‘things’ are themselves reliable.”

    So if I understand you, you don’t think we’re justified in believing our senses UNLESS you’re reading a bible – then it’s OK. I mean, if you’re going to question our senses being “reliable” how can you know your senses aren’t failing you when you read the bible?

    You show just how difficult it is to be a theist – a bible literalist certainly – and NOT be a hypocrite. Nice job!

  • http://twitter.com/chrisbloom7 Chris Bloom

    I appreciate the candidness he took with his answers. It shows he is a fallible human being, and it wasn’t nearly as self-righteous as he routinely comes across.

    Thanks for sharing this with us.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    scmike “Tell you what, why don’t you provide your contrary claim as to why you expect nature to be uniform and let’s compare.”
    I think history backs me up. Sure, the sun might not come up tomorrow, but I doubt it.

    “Yep. You must presuppose that the senses and reasoning with which you observe ‘things’ are themselves reliable. What is your basis for this assumption?”
    That they’ve done a pretty good job so far. Would you like me to answer your questions a third time, later on?

    “Not that I grant you the validity of your senses and reasoning, but how do you know it ‘works’?”
    Because, over the entire course of my life, the chair that appears to be under me has consistently, indeed invariably, performed the functions expected of a chair. Except when I’ve been either drunk or really tired, but that’s not the fault of the chair. It’s the fault of reduced perceptual accuracy.

    “To what end does it ‘work’?”
    When I put on clothes in the morning, throughout the day nobody, and I mean nobody, gives any indication that I’m really naked.
    The “enter” key on my keyboard always makes
    the line on which I’m typing drop one line.

    “True, but I want to know what basis you have for assuming that your senses and reasoning are reliable at all.”
    Oh, hell. Because. They. Work. (again, not perfectly, but close enough.
    The body has a hard time with things outside of common experience, as with the very large or the very small, and with differences of less than 10%)

    “I don’t doubt that our senses are helpful, as I know they are a wonderful gift from God.”
    Really? Tell that to my tinitus.

    “I want to know on what basis you proceed with the assumption that your senses and the reasoning with which you interpret them are reliable.”
    Again, because they work (well enough, most of the time).

    “So far, no dice.”
    Only because you aren’t listening. And maybe because I’m not much of a speaker. I never learned real goodly.

    “Took you that long, huh?”
    Not really. From your second comment it was obvious, even to my imperfect senses.

    “I’m sure you’d agree though, that if you can’t know that your senses and reasoning are reliable, then you certainly can’t know what reality is or that your observation of it are valid. Priceless!”
    I can’t know X-rays without artificial help. I can’t know amoeba without artificial help. I can’t know more than about 90mph without help (and that 90mph on its own requires a probably fatal fall).
    Is what I see all? No. Is what I hear all? No. Is what I feel all? No.
    Does assuming that God did it help? No. It just replaces reasonable doubt with unearned confidence.

    “Nor am I an Israelite living under a Theocracy. What’s your point?”
    My point was perfectly obvious. That you ignore it shows that you’re not even attempting to argue in good faith.

    “(I do appreciate your admission, though, that slavery is NOT absolutely morally wrong in your worldview. Nice.)”
    I do appreciate your avoidance of the subject of slavery as it pertains to absolute morality, though.

    “I normally don’t make a habit of addressing strawman arguments such as these…”
    It’s not a strawman. Whether or not it was a theocracy, whether or not any variable whatsoever, if absolute morality is absolute, what’s wrong is always wrong.
    I’m dense, but you’re thick. If we were both liquids, you’d sink in me. Also, we’d make a terrible drink.

    “Slavery = not absolutely morally wrong for the Israelites living under a Theocracy. Slavery = absolutely morally wrong for us today as non-Israelites who don’t live under a theocracy. Apples and oranges.”
    No, no, Ten times no. It’s either absolute or it’s not. That’s the thing with absolute morality; it has no grey. “Well, it was okay for them but not for us” isn’t absolute morality, it’s cultural relativism.

    “While this doesn’t even come close to answering my original question which was in regards to truth, I will take what I can get from you at this point. How do you know that ‘scientific investigation’ is the single best tool we have? Where have you observed this?”
    Because. It. Works. You’re not even trying to grasp the point.

    “Is lying absolutely morally wrong in your worldview? If so, why? If not, who cares?”
    No. Sometimes the outcome of any decision is either “harm” or “less harm”. Lying to Nazis about hiding Jews in your home is justified. Lying “just because”, though, in the long run, benefits no one. Societal and familial unity, for lack of a better term, requires, on occasion, um, let’s say “diplomatic” use of language.

    “Since you brought it up, why can’t a square be a circle in your worldview?”
    Because a square, by definition is the word that represents an actual or ideal square.

    “Is it your position that anything is possible or that only certain things are possible?”
    It is theoretically possible that the atoms of me will move in between the atoms of this wall if I walk in to it but, statistically, it’s beyond doubtful.

    “Can both of our positions be correct at the same time and in the same way? Why or why not?”
    Can an apple simultaneously be an orange? I doubt it. One of you us wrong. I’m siding with the group that doesn’t declare the thing to be proved axiomatic.

    “As Christians, though, we can study the Bible and appeal to an absolute standard of logic and reason in order to arrive at truth and settle disputes.”
    So how’s that working out? Still schisming?

    “The question is, how do you account for and arrive at truth (which is certain by definition) in a worldview which denies God?”
    Repeated observation and the constant reappraisal for potential falsification. It works pretty well at getting at the truth, if not right on it.

    “What people believe has nothing to do with what is true.”
    …says the Presuppositionalist.

    “It is not my position that Christians know everything, but that God has revealed some things to us so that we can know them for certain.”
    We both believe in a rational universe. Congratulations.

    “It would take sheer intellectual dishonesty to deny such a possibility.”
    It would take sheer intellectual dishonesty to deny the actual history of the universe because it conflicts with a book that people wrote (eventually, after passing it orally for quite a while).

    “I will be happy to discuss any evidence and proof you wish Modusoperandi as soon as you tell me how it is possible for you to know anything in your worldview.”
    I. Don’t. Care. Presuppositionalists are like slightly better read YECs. Adding the sheen of philosophy to the tattered pages of theology doesn’t make Genesis any less wrong.

    “I’m sure you’d agree that discussing proof with someone who can’t account for the concepts of proof or knowledge would be a colossal waste of time, no?”
    Proofs are for math. Science deals in probabilities. I’d forgotten how irritating it is talking with Presuppositionalists. Thanks for reminding me. Enjoy wallowing in your zealous confidence. I’ll stick with doubt. It’s a better path to knowledge.

    “(So, you’re not content with simply dodging my questions to you and feel the need to dodge everyone else’s for them too, eh?) :)”
    Well, you’re the one who subsribes to absolute morality from divine sources, then switches to relative morality when it comes to slavery.

    “So whose feelings should take precedence in a humanist system of morality? The rapist who really wants to rape or the person who really doesn’t want to be raped? What if you live in a society where the majority feels that rape is OK and sympathizes with that point of view, is it therefore ‘right’?”
    Your Liberty to punch me in the nose ends where your fist ends and my nose begins. That, empathy and the Golden Rule form a pretty good basis for figuring out how to minimize misery.

    “Where have you observed that A CANNOT be not A at the same time and in the same way?”
    Where have you observed that it can?

    “Really? Well then, God exists because he simply does. How’s that?”
    Oh, tosh! With God, pending evidence to the contrary, the null hypothesis applies.

    “Not even close to what Kevin wrote. Thanks for the verification!”
    Again, you aren’t even trying to argue in good faith. You wrote a variant of the standard “lack of faith leads to…” threat and Kevin called you on it.

    “Do you deny the possibility that an omniscient, omnipotent God could reveal some things to us so that we could be certain of them?”
    No. When one does, be sure to call me. So far, all the various Special Revelations look like products of their time, with some parts that age well, and others poorly and some parts that were right and others wrong.

  • scmike

    Woody Tanaka,

    I said: “Slavery = not absolutely morally wrong for the Israelites living under a Theocracy. Slavery = absolutely morally wrong for us today as non-Israelites who don’t live under a theocracy. Apples and oranges.”

    You said: “”LMAO. Let me guess, you don’t do the whole “applicable to Israelites then // not applicable for non-Israelites now” jive when it comes to the gays, right?””

    Nope. Sexual immorality is absolutely morally wrong for everyone (which, by the way, is something you could never say).

    Watch, I’ll show you what I mean. Is molesting children absolutely wrong according to your worldview, or could it be right?

  • joe agnost

    scmike wrote: “Sexual immorality is absolutely morally wrong for everyone”

    Unlike slavery though right?

    I must say – I enjoyed modusoperandi’s comment above. He pretty much skewers your ideas. I love how you don’t know what “absolute morality” means! Too funny!

  • scmike

    joe agnost,

    I said: “People have many different motives for suppressing the truth. What’s yours?”

    You said: “”~Your~ “truth”? ~My~ reason? Simple really… it’s called REALITY!””

    And how do you know that yours or anyone else’s perceptions of ‘reality’ are valid or normal? If two people have two conflicting perceptions of reality, how do you know whose is correct, or are all perceptions of reality equally valid?

    “”You don’t think our senses are particularly trustworthy.””

    Sure I do, as they are a wonderful gift from God. My argument is that APART from God, one has no basis for assuming the validity of their senses and reasoning. I’ll show you what I mean. On what basis do you proceed with the assumption that your senses and reasoning are reliable, Joe?

    “”You don’t think historical data is worth anything when deciding how something will behave in the future.””

    Sure I do, as I have justification for assuming that the future will be like the past based on the promises of God. My argument is that APART from God, you have no logical justification for such an assumption (as you have previously demonstrated for us). :)

    “”You write things like “I want to know what basis you have for assuming that your senses and reasoning are reliable at all.”””

    And you continue to dodge the question because it is devastating to your worldview. Keep it up! ;)

    “”So if I understand you, you don’t think we’re justified in believing our senses UNLESS you’re reading a bible – then it’s OK.””

    Nope, you definitely don’t understand me. It is my position that apart from Divine revelation from a Being who knows everything, it is impossible for anyone to know anything (including that their senses and reasoning are valid).

    “”You show just how difficult it is to be a theist – a bible literalist certainly – and NOT be a hypocrite. Nice job!””

    I welcome any intellectually honest reader to examine our posts and see which of us has been consistent with their professed beliefs and who has not.

  • joe agnost

    scmike wrote: “My argument is that APART from God, one has no basis for assuming the validity of their senses and reasoning.”

    So it’s your contention that because you believe in god YOUR senses are trustworthy, but because I do not believe in god MINE are not?

    That is a seriously flawed proposal… our senses are the same regardless WHAT we believe in.

  • joe agnost

    scmike wrote: “On what basis do you proceed with the assumption that your senses and reasoning are reliable, Joe?”

    Oh. My. Dog. Are you seriously this thick? Did you even read modusoperandi’s replies? My replies? This has been pointed out to you many times…

    Let me quote Modus for this answer because it’s the exact same reason as mine: “That they’ve done a pretty good job so far.” or “Because. It. Works. You’re not even trying to grasp the point.”

    You really do ask this question a lot!

    Damn… I just read your next line: “And you continue to dodge the question because it is devastating to your worldview.”

    The question has been answered many many times – but like Ray Comfort your ears (eyes?) are plugged.

  • Woody Tanaka

    “Nope. Sexual immorality is absolutely morally wrong for everyone ”

    LMAO. I knew it, you hypocrite. The best part is that your thinking is so diseased from religion that you probably don’t see that you are using naked moral relativism in defending moral absolutism.

    “(which, by the way, is something you could never say).”

    I don’t believe the statement, because there is no such thing as “absolute morality,” nor, if there is even such a thing as “sexual immorality,” certainly consensual sex between adults of any kind or number, would certainly not be immoral. Morality is a social construct.

    “Watch, I’ll show you what I mean. Is molesting children absolutely wrong according to your worldview, or could it be right?””

    In my worldview, molesting children is morally wrong. (The word “absolute” in this context is unnecessary and meaningless.)

    Hey, I have a question for you, is ever morally right for infants and toddlers to be intentionally burned to death or drowned? Or are those things absolute, universal, moral wrongs?

  • scmike

    Modusoperandi,

    I said: “Tell you what, why don’t you provide your contrary claim as to why you expect nature to be uniform and let’s compare.”

    You said: “”I think history backs me up. Sure, the sun might not come up tomorrow, but I doubt it.””

    The problem is, I’m not asking you about the past, I’m asking you about the FUTURE. What basis do you have to assume that the future will even remotely be like the past other than the viciously circular argument “the future will be like the past because the future has been like the past in the past”? If you have none, just say so, as that is my point.

    I asked: “Yep. You must presuppose that the senses and reasoning with which you observe ‘things’ are themselves reliable.
    What is your basis for this assumption?””

    You said: “”That they’ve done a pretty good job so far.””

    Did you reason this? If so, you’re arguing that you have reasoned that your reasoning is valid. Nope, nothing illogical about that! :D

    I asked: “Not that I grant you the validity of your senses and reasoning, but how do you know it ‘works’?”

    You replied: “”Because, over the entire course of my life, the chair that appears to be under me has consistently, indeed invariably, performed the functions expected of a chair.””

    Let me guess, you made this observation using senses and reasoning that you sensed and reasoned were valid, right? Priceless!

    I said: “I want to know on what basis you proceed with the assumption that your senses and the reasoning with which you interpret them are reliable.”

    You said: “”Again, because they work (well enough, most of the time).””

    See above. ;)

    I said: “I’m sure you’d agree though, that if you can’t know that your senses and reasoning are reliable, then you certainly can’t know what reality is or that your observation of it are valid. Priceless!”

    You said: “”Is what I see all? No. Is what I hear all? No. Is what I feel all? No.
    Does assuming that God did it help? No. It just replaces reasonable doubt with unearned confidence.””

    Hey, I’ll take the confidence that comes from the certainty of God over the hopelessly circular position of atheism any day, Mr. ‘I sense and reason that my senses and reasoning are valid’. What a hoot!

    I said: “Slavery = not absolutely morally wrong for the Israelites living under a Theocracy. Slavery = absolutely morally wrong for us today as non-Israelites who don’t live under a theocracy. Apples and oranges.”

    You said: “”No, no, Ten times no. It’s either absolute or it’s not.””

    Is that absolutely true? How do you know?

    “”That’s the thing with absolute morality; it has no grey.””

    Is that absolutely true? How do you know (especially if you can’t know that your senses and reasoning are reliable)?

    Hey, I don’t know what all the fuss is about Modusoperandi. Biblical slavery for the Jews who lived under a Theocracy not being absolutely morally wrong has nothing to do with modern day slavery as we know it being absolutely morally wrong. Again, apples and oranges.

    Besides, if you’re honest, you’d be forced to admit that slavery is not absolutely morally wrong in your worldview, and in fact, could be right (Yes, I noticed you avoided this point last time).

    I said: “While this doesn’t even come close to answering my original question which was in regards to truth, I will take what I can get from you at this point. How do you know that ’scientific investigation’ is the single best tool we have? Where have you observed this?”

    You said: “”Because. It. Works. You’re not even trying to grasp the point.””

    Please tell us again how you know that the senses and reasoning you used to determine this are valid. It never gets old!

    I asked: “Is lying absolutely morally wrong in your worldview? If so, why? If not, who cares?”

    You asked: “”No. Sometimes the outcome of any decision is either “harm” or “less harm”. Lying to Nazis about hiding Jews in your home is justified.””

    The fact that something may be justifiable has nothing to do with it being absolutely right or wrong. Try again.

    “”Lying “just because”, though, in the long run, benefits no one.””

    Oh? Guess you’ve never heard of politics.

    Besides, who gets to determine what is ‘beneficial’ and what is not? If this is arbitrary, then anyone is free to determine what is ‘beneficial’ to them, including liars.

    I asked: “Since you brought it up, why can’t a square be a circle in your worldview?”

    You said: “”Because a square, by definition is the word that represents an actual or ideal square.””

    Can that change, or is it absolutely true?

    I asked: “Is it your position that anything is possible or that only certain things are possible?”

    You said: “”It is theoretically possible that the atoms of me will move in between the atoms of this wall if I walk in to it but, statistically, it’s beyond doubtful.””

    Problem is, if anything is possible, then you have zero basis for assuming any sort of uniformity in the universe. This means that any thing you claim to know to be true today could change tomorrow and become false (not to mention you have already admitted that you can’t know that your senses and reasoning are reliable). You therefore lose any foundation for truth or knowledge which makes any argument you level against me baseless and without merit. Nice worldview ya got there.

    I asked: “Can both of our positions be correct at the same time and in the same way? Why or why not?”

    You said: “”Can an apple simultaneously be an orange? I doubt it.””

    But you are forced to admit that it is possible in your worldview, which means you have no means of arriving at truth or knowledge. I am pleased with that.

    “”One of you us wrong.””

    But you could be wrong about that, right?

    I said: “The question is, how do you account for and arrive at truth (which is certain by definition) in a worldview which denies God?”

    You said: “”Repeated observation and the constant reappraisal for potential falsification.””

    And you do this using senses and reasoning that you sense and reason are valid, right? You’ve got to be kidding me.

    “”It works pretty well at getting at the truth, if not right on it.””

    How do you know that, especially if you don’t know that your senses and reasoning are valid?

    I said: “What people believe has nothing to do with what is true.”

    You said: “”…says the Presuppositionalist.””

    Hey, if you disagree, the floor is yours.

    “”We both believe in a rational universe. Congratulations.””

    Yet only one of us can logically account for an absolute standard by which to measure rationality (hint: it ain’t you). How odd.

    I said: “I’m sure you’d agree that discussing proof with someone who can’t account for the concepts of proof or knowledge would be a colossal waste of time, no?”

    You said: “”Proofs are for math. Science deals in probabilities.””

    If that’s the case, then your statement that ‘proofs are for math. Science deals in probabilities’ can never be proven true and is therefore meaningless. You’re too much!

    “”I’d forgotten how irritating it is talking with Presuppositionalists.””

    No doubt it is uncomfortable having your worldview exposed for what it is. Remember though, the truth only hurts when it should. ;)

    You said: “”Your Liberty to punch me in the nose ends where your fist ends and my nose begins. That, empathy and the Golden Rule form a pretty good basis for figuring out how to minimize misery.””

    Is ‘minimizing misery’ absolutely morally right? How do you know?

    I asked: “Where have you observed that A CANNOT be not A at the same time and in the same way?”

    You said: “”Where have you observed that it can?””

    So, the validity of the law of non-contradiction is based upon my observations? Didn’t realize I held that much sway in your life. :)

    How can logic be contingent upon our observations when we use logic to interpret our observations? Surely you’re not going to argue that logic validates logic, are you (although it wouldn’t suprise me at this point). :D

    I said: “Not even close to what Kevin wrote. Thanks for the verification!”

    You said: “”Again, you aren’t even trying to argue in good faith. You wrote a variant of the standard “lack of faith leads to…” threat and Kevin called you on it.””

    What Kevin listed was a quote, hence the quotation marks. Please show me where I stated what he quoted me as saying. Otherwise, apology accepted. ;)

    I said: “Do you deny the possibility that an omniscient, omnipotent God could reveal some things to us so that we could be certain of them?”

    You said: “”No.””

    Great, then you admit that I have a possible avenue to certainty, whereas you have none. I am pleased with that concession, as that has been my point all along.

    You see, the fact that those who deny God cannot live consistently with their professed beliefs confirms the reality that they are merely suppressing the truth of God’s existence despite knowing otherwise.

    Now that you have seen atheism exposed for what it really is, I pray that you will cease this charade Modusoperandi, and submit to the one true God through his son Jesus Christ before it’s too late. Take care.

  • scmike

    joe agnost,

    I said: “Sexual immorality is absolutely morally wrong for everyone”

    You said: “”Unlike slavery though right?””

    No. Slavery as we know it is absolutely morally wrong. Thought we already covered that. :D

    “”I must say – I enjoyed modusoperandi’s comment above.””

    I’m not surprised, he seems to be about your level. :D

    “”I love how you don’t know what “absolute morality” means! Too funny!””

    Since you keep bringing it up, is slavery, rape, murder, or child molestation absolutely wrong according to your worldview? (I know why you people don’t want to answer this. Keep it up!) :)

    P.S. You still haven’t told me how (or if) you can know anything for certain in your worldview. Well?

  • scmike

    joe agnost,

    I said: “My argument is that APART from God, one has no basis for assuming the validity of their senses and reasoning.”

    You said: “”So it’s your contention that because you believe in god YOUR senses are trustworthy, but because I do not believe in god MINE are not?””

    No, it’s my contention that apart from the God of the Bible, one cannot justify the validity of their senses and reasoning.

    For proof of this, see Modusoperandi’s post where he claims to validate his senses and reasoning WITH his senses and reasoning. Hilarious!!

    “”That is a seriously flawed proposal… our senses are the same regardless WHAT we believe in.””

    I would ask how you know your senses and reasoning are valid, but I think I’ve had enough humor for one day. :D

  • scmike

    I asked: “On what basis do you proceed with the assumption that your senses and reasoning are reliable, Joe?”

    You said: “”Oh. My. Dog. Are you seriously this thick? Did you even read modusoperandi’s replies?””

    Yep, and my sides are still hurting! :D

    “”Let me quote Modus for this answer because it’s the exact same reason as mine: “That they’ve done a pretty good job so far.” or “Because. It. Works.””

    Stop it! I can’t take anymore!! :D :D :D

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    scmike “Hey, I don’t know what all the fuss is about Modusoperandi. Biblical slavery for the Jews who lived under a Theocracy not being absolutely morally wrong has nothing to do with modern day slavery as we know it being absolutely morally wrong. Again, apples and oranges.”
    No. Again you’re wrong. Absolute morality that isn’t absolute is not absolute morality. It’s relative morality. If it was right for them but wrong for us then it, by definition, cannot be absolute morality. Note too, that, being absolute, this also applies to God (and if you can’t see where that leads, you’re not looking).

    “Besides, if you’re honest, you’d be forced to admit that slavery is not absolutely morally wrong in your worldview, and in fact, could be right (Yes, I noticed you avoided this point last time).”
    I view it as wrong now, but a solution to a real problem at the time. Call me a relativist. Now, again, deny that you aren’t, even though you’ve already said as much, while denying you were.

    “The fact that something may be justifiable has nothing to do with it being absolutely right or wrong. Try again.”
    Oh, heck. You’re not even listening. Lying is wrong, except in comparison when the alternative is more wrong. Life is greyer than black and white. Degrees of absolute, rather than absolute absolute, if you’re willing to let me mangle definitions as badly as you’ve been doing.

    “Can that change, or is it absolutely true?”
    Again, you’re not even listening. By definition a square is square. If it isn’t, it’s not a square.

    “Problem is, if anything is possible, then you have zero basis for assuming any sort of uniformity in the universe…”
    *Ding ding* I’ll take “the supernaturalist shoots himself in the foot” for two hundred, Alex (See my first comment from here, earlier). You see, knocking out my foundation (which is probabilistic) also knocks out yours (which is absolute), which hurts your argument more than it does mine, since mine is only “reasonably certain” and capable of change while yours is zealous and supposedly already perfect. Kudos for putting a dent in my flexible foundation while, again, shattering yours.

    “Science deals in probabilities’ can never be proven true and is therefore meaningless.”
    Does not follow. I should’ve started playing “logical fallacy bingo” earlier. I’d probably have a full card by now.

    “So, the validity of the law of non-contradiction is based upon my observations?”
    No. It’s based on what is. “There are no black swans” is correct until one is found (or secondary evidence of one is, much like black holes being theorized and reasonably proven before they were found because there were effects as though they were there), which only works for actual objects. If can imagine a square that’s not square, it’s not a square.

    “What Kevin listed was a quote, hence the quotation marks.”
    Oh boy! More games of semantics!

    “Great, then you admit that I have a possible avenue to certainty, whereas you have none. I am pleased with that concession, as that has been my point all along.”
    I’m not a zealot. There’s always room for doubt. Doubt leads to questions which leads to learning. Absolute certainty leads to an inability to grow (which, to be on-topic for a moment, is revealed quite clearly in Ray Comfort).

    “Now that you have seen atheism exposed for what it really is, I pray that you will cease this charade Modusoperandi, and submit to the one true God through his son Jesus Christ before it’s too late. Take care.”
    Uh huh. I’ve just seen you argue in bad faith while playing semantics and confusing definitions, with a dash of logical fallacies thrown in for flavour. In short, I’ve been talking to an apologist.
    It’s conversations like this that pretty much destroyed my ability to argue in good faith. Thanks for reminding me of that. Now go back to staring at your navel in perfect confidence in the Transcendental Argument for God (ignoring, of course, critiques of TAG, of which even a casual googling will come up with many fine examples).

  • joe agnost

    scmike wrote: “Slavery as we know it is absolutely morally wrong.”

    Except for “Israelites living under a Theocracy” though right? Of course since you don’t know what “absolute morality” means you can make that statement.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Joe agnost, I should warn you (if you haven’t already realized) that he’s now playing semantics with the term “slavery”:

    “Slavery as we know it…” (emphasis mine)

    …because owning people was different back then than owning people is now, which still digs him a hole, just a different one, as before it was:

    Slavery = not absolutely morally wrong for the Israelites living under a Theocracy. Slavery = absolutely morally wrong for us today as non-Israelites who don’t live under a theocracy

    …which, since he appeared to be using the same version of “slavery”, was (as he continues to do) misdefining “absolute”.
    Alternately, he is now equivocating between definitions of the same word, “slavery” (those being ancient middle east slavery and, most probably, antebellum chattel slavery), which would be another fallacy for my game of Logical Fallacy Bingo.

  • scmike

    Woody Tanaka,

    I said: “Nope. Sexual immorality is absolutely morally wrong for everyone”

    You said: “”LMAO. I knew it, you hypocrite. The best part is that your thinking is so diseased from religion that you probably don’t see that you are using naked moral relativism in defending moral absolutism.””

    What part of slavery as we know it is absolutely morally wrong did you not understand?

    I said: “(which, by the way, is something you could never say).”

    You said: “”I don’t believe the statement, because there is no such thing as “absolute morality,””

    Is it absolutely true that you don’t believe the statement and that there is no such thing as absolute morality? Surely you can see the absurdity of absolutely denying the existence of absolutes, no?

    “”nor, if there is even such a thing as “sexual immorality,” certainly consensual sex between adults of any kind or number, would certainly not be immoral.””

    Is that absolutely true, or could you be wrong?

    Is non-consensual sex between adults absolutely morally wrong, or could it be right in your worldview?

    “”Morality is a social construct.””

    If morality is arbitrarily stipulated, then anyone is free to stipulate their own morality, including murderers, rapists, thieves, and child molesters. In fact, if one society decided that these things were perfectly acceptable, no one would have the right to tell them differently or to interfere with them.

    In fact, if your worldview were true, no one had any right to condemn the actions of Hitler and the Nazi’s, much less put a stop to them. Nice worldview ya got there Woody, you should be real proud.

    I said: “Watch, I’ll show you what I mean. Is molesting children absolutely wrong according to your worldview, or could it be right?”

    You said: “”In my worldview, molesting children is morally wrong. (The word “absolute” in this context is unnecessary and meaningless.)””

    So then it is not morally wrong in all places and at all times, which means it is right in some places and at some times?! Who gets to decide, the molester or the child? Unbelievable.

    “”Hey, I have a question for you, is ever morally right for infants and toddlers to be intentionally burned to death or drowned?Or are those things absolute, universal, moral wrongs?””

    The murder of infants (or anyone for that matter) is absolutely, universally, morally wrong, which is something you could never say (as you have already demonstrated). I am pleased with that.

  • Woody Tanaka

    “What part of slavery as we know it is absolutely morally wrong did you not understand?”

    You made an exception to this supposed absolute moral wrong for certain people under a certain form of government. Thus, your supposed “absolute” moral wrong is not absolute.

    “Is it absolutely true that you don’t believe the statement and that there is no such thing as absolute morality?”

    There is no such thing as absolute truth, (outside of things that are defined as such, such as mathematics and logic.)

    “Surely you can see the absurdity of absolutely denying the existence of absolutes, no?”

    There is nothing absurd about it. Truth is relative and contingent.

    “Is that absolutely true, or could you be wrong?”

    I could be wrong. It is contingent.

    “Is non-consensual sex between adults absolutely morally wrong, or could it be right in your worldview?”

    In my worldview and in the morality of this society, it is wrong. (Not “absolutely” wrong, because the “absolute” part is unnecessary.) Sadly, it is not seen as wrong in other societies.

    “If morality is arbitrarily stipulated, then anyone is free to stipulate their own morality, including murderers, rapists, thieves, and child molesters. In fact, if one society decided that these things were perfectly acceptable, no one would have the right to tell them differently or to interfere with them.”

    You are making the false assumption that there are only two options: a wholly objective, absolute morality, and a wholly subjective, relative morality. There are other options.

    And further, you assume that if morality were wholly subjective, that part of that moral order would require, as a moral tenet, a “non-interference” belief, precluding one from imposing his or her beliefs on those that subjectively believe something else. Neither of these things is supportable.

    And, yes, a society of thieves would have different moral principles about theft than mine does. However, nothing requires me or the society of which I am a part to respect that morality. (And, indeed, every society does exactly that.)

    As morality is a social construct, it is constrained and shaped by the society in which it arises. As a result, although morality is not objective, it isn’t wholly subjective, either. It is biased.

    “In fact, if your worldview were true, no one had any right to condemn the actions of Hitler and the Nazi’s, much less put a stop to them.”

    Wrong. One of the moral principles of my worldview (and with most civilized people) is to condemn those who take the actions of a Hitler and the Nazis and to act to put a stop to them.

    “So then it is not morally wrong in all places and at all times, which means it is right in some places and at some times?! Who gets to decide, the molester or the child?”

    In my worldview, it is wrong. The child molester has a different view. Because most people agree with me, we impose our view of morality on him and punish him if he acts against our moral view. Again, recognizing that he has a different view of morality does not obligate me or the rest of society to respect his view one iota.

    “‘Hey, I have a question for you, is ever morally right for infants and toddlers to be intentionally burned to death or drowned? Or are those things absolute, universal, moral wrongs?’”

    “The murder of infants (or anyone for that matter) is absolutely, universally, morally wrong,”

    So then you must agree that when God burned to death all of those innocent babies and toddlers at Sodom and Gomorrah, shrieking in pain and agony, and when he drowned all of those infants and children, clawing and climbing, trying to keep their little heads above the water during the Noah flood, that an absolute, universal moral wrong was committed. Of course, you must, otherwise, it is not an “absolute, universal moral wrong” to intentionally burn babies to death and drown toddlers. If you are making an exception, even for your god, then it is not “absolute” and “universal” and you made abundantly clear that your view, these things are absolute and universal.

    So with that in mind, how can you live with yourself worshiping something that serially committed absolute, universal, moral wrongs of such horrific magnitude??

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Oh, and I should also note that, if he is equivocating between Ancient Middle East slavery and antebellum chattel slavery and he’s using “absolute morality” properly, it’s because he’s for the former-style of slavery now (being absolute, if it was good back then then it’s good now). It’s not uncommon for presuppositionalists to also be biblical theonomists, but admitting that you’re for biblical law now looks really, really bad as advocating, essentially, that living in 2009 as though it’s 600BC or so makes one look like a savage (that it makes a mockery of Jesus’ sometimes radical reinterpretations is another matter entirely). See subjects like Christian Reconstructionism for further insight (and notice that presuppositionalism is listed among the “characteristic beliefs” for them). When you’re done that, picture a tiny government that spends a disproportionate amount of its energy persecuting (and stoning) gays, atheists, Buddhists, Muslims, Mormons, Catholics…well, pretty much everyone is guilty of the theonomists view of “unrighteousness” in one form or another. It’s essentially the destruction of everything that “makes us more civilized” than, say, Iran, Saudi Arabia or Taliban-era Afghanistan. Note as well that biblical law is completely different than Sharia law, as the latter comes from a false prophet while the former comes from the real, genuine God, even though the stones are similar and are being thrown by roughly similar groups (swapping only “Muslim” for “The Right Kind of Protestant”) at everyone not in that group.

  • joe agnost

    It’s quite clear to me just how impossible it is reasoning with people like that… redefining words makes it rather difficult to continue a conversation!

    Ah well – thanks for the tips modusoperandi….

  • Svlad Cjelli

    For proof of this, see Modusoperandi’s post where he claims to validate his senses and reasoning WITH his senses and reasoning. Hilarious!!

    Why are you trying to explain and argue for your position at all? Why defend it as reasonable? Isn’t divine inspiration enough?
    Is your ability to reason necessary for your basic beliefs?

    If it is not, can your basic beliefs still be reasoned to, or is it impossible to reason there?

    If reason is necessary to reach your basic beliefs, can they be reasoned to without divine inspiration, or must the reasoning be inspired?

  • Svlad Cjelli

    If morality is arbitrarily stipulated, then anyone is free to stipulate their own morality, including murderers, rapists, thieves, and child molesters. In fact, if one society decided that these things were perfectly acceptable, no one would have the right to tell them differently or to interfere with them.

    I think I can clear this one up for you.
    War happens.

  • Pingback: I’m Not Bitter Or, Ray Comfort Is A Big Fat Tool « My One Particular Harbor

  • scmike

    Modusoperandi,

    You said: “”No. Again you’re wrong.””

    Are you absolutely sure I’m wrong, or could I, in fact, be right?

    “”Absolute morality that isn’t absolute is not absolute morality. It’s relative morality. If it was right for them but wrong for us then it, by definition, cannot be absolute morality. “”

    ‘Cannot be’, huh? Ever? Are you absolutely certain of this, or could you be wrong?

    You see, in order to know that something ‘cannot’ be, you would have to possess universal knowledge or have access to it. How is this possible in your worldview?

    I said: “Besides, if you’re honest, you’d be forced to admit that slavery is not absolutely orally wrong in your worldview, and in fact, could be right (Yes, I noticed you avoided this point last time).”

    You said: “”I view it as wrong now, but a solution to a real problem at the time.””

    Exactly my point! You have no basis for condemning slavery of any kind in your worldview, as your objection boils down to a purely subjective personal preference which doesn’t necessarily apply to anyone else. In fact, you are forced to admit that, based on the arbitrariness of your worldview, slavery could be ‘considered right’ (as could rape, murder, child molestation, cannabilism, etc.). Unbelievable.

    “”Call me a relativist.””

    Actually I’d rather just ask you if it is absolutely true that you are a relativist, or is it only ‘relatively’ true?

    I said: “The fact that something may be justifiable has nothing to do with it being absolutely right or wrong. Try again.”

    You said: “”Oh, heck. You’re not even listening. Lying is wrong, except in comparison when the alternative is more wrong.””

    Problem is, declaring one action to be ‘more wrong’ than another assumes an absolute standard by which to measure right and wrong. You see, if I say that the answer to ‘what is 2+2?’ is 26, and you say it’s 8, we’re both wrong, but your answer is ‘more right’ than mine because it is closer to the correct answer of 4 (in base 10 mathematics).

    What is the absolute standard by which you determine any action to be ‘more right’ than another? How do you account for that standard? Why does it necessarily apply?

    You said: “”Life is greyer than black and white. Degrees of absolute, rather than absolute absolute,””

    Is this absolutely true, or could it be false? How do you know?

    I asked: “Can that change, or is it absolutely true?”

    You said: “”Again, you’re not even listening. By definition a square is square. If it isn’t, it’s not a square.””

    And again I ask, is that absolutely true, or could it change? (I know why you don’t want to answer this, by the way) ;)

    I said: “Problem is, if anything is possible, then you have zero basis for assuming any sort of uniformity in the universe…”

    You said: “”You see, knocking out my foundation (which is probabilistic) also knocks out yours (which is absolute), which hurts your argument more than it does mine, since mine is only “reasonably certain” and capable of change while yours is zealous and supposedly already perfect.””

    Is this absolutely true, or only ‘probably’ true (in which case it could be false)? Let me know.

    (Thanks though for the admission that I have ‘knocked out’ the foundation for your arguments)

    “”Kudos for putting a dent in my flexible foundation while, again, shattering yours.””

    Are you absolutely certain I have done this, or only ‘reasonably certain’ (in which case you could be wrong)? Let me know.

    I said: “Science deals in probabilities’ can never be proven true and is therefore meaningless.”

    You said: “”Does not follow.””

    Sure it does. You stated that proof only applies to math, therefore the statement that ‘science deals in probabilities’ cannot be proven ( by your own admission), and is reduced to baseless assertion. Such is the inconsistency of a worldview which denies God.

    You said: “”I should’ve started playing “logical fallacy bingo” earlier. I’d probably have a full card by now.””

    Well, I haven’t been keeping count, but if I had to guess based solely on yours and Joe’s last few posts, I’d say you’re right. :D

    I said: “So, the validity of the law of non-contradiction is based upon my observations?”

    You said: “”No. It’s based on what is.””

    Problem is, how can you know what ‘is’ if you can’t know that your senses and reasoning are reliable? In fact, how can you know anything in your worldview?

    You said: ““There are no black swans” is correct until one is found””

    No, it is only BELIEVED to be ‘correct’, as one cannot know something that could be false. If you disagree, perhaps you can give me an example of something you know that could be false.

    Anyway, subjective belief has nothing to do with objective laws, unless you’re arguing that the laws of logic (including the law of non-contradiction) are subjective and don’t necessarily apply to anything. If that’s the case, this is about to get really fun!

    You said: “”If can imagine a square that’s not a square, then it isn’t a square.””

    Yet again, is this absolutely true? If so, how do you know?

    I said: “What Kevin listed was a quote, hence the quotation marks.”

    You said: “”Oh boy! More games of semantics!””

    Apology accepted! ;)

    I said: “Great, then you admit that I have a possible avenue to certainty, whereas you have none. I am pleased with that concession, as that has been my point all along.”

    You said: “”I’m not a zealot.””

    Uh, are you certain?

    “”There’s always room for doubt.””

    Are you certain? (Thanks for doing that by the way) :D

    “”Doubt leads to questions which leads to learning. Absolute certainty leads to an inability to grow (which, to be on-topic for a moment, is revealed quite clearly in Ray Comfort).””

    Are you absolutely certain of this? Sorry for the repitition, but you sure make a lot of knowledge claims for someone who has admitted that they can’t know anything. That SHOULD tell you something, by the way.

    I said: “Now that you have seen atheism exposed for what it really is, I pray that you will cease this charade Modusoperandi, and submit to the one true God through his son Jesus Christ before it’s too late. Take care.”

    You said: “”It’s conversations like this that pretty much destroyed my ability to argue in good faith. Thanks for reminding me of that.””

    Don’t be so hard on yourself Modusoperandi. Your arguments weren’t THAT bad. Oh wait, yes they were! (Sorry, couldn’t resist) :P

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    schmike “Are you absolutely sure I’m wrong, or could I, in fact, be right?”
    Adorable. Let’s run around in circles some more, shall we?

    No. Let’s not.

    “You see, in order to know that something ‘cannot’ be, you would have to possess universal knowledge or have access to it.”
    Are you seriously positing that a concept like absolute morality on, say, Mars or a few thousand years ago is relative?

    “Unbelievable.”
    No. “Unbelievable” is your persistent dodge around the concept of absolute morality, including your imaginative reimagining it as something else in a different time. Words mean things. If you aren’t going to use them properly then don’t bother.

    “Problem is, declaring one action to be ‘more wrong’ than another assumes an absolute standard by which to measure right and wrong.”
    No, it doesn’t. All it needs is for one action to be better or worse relative to another action. Now I’ll pause briefly so that you can side-track my statement over the definitions of “better” and “worse” (and good luck getting a perfect answer from anyone. People from philosophers to economists have been arguing over things like that for ages).

    “And again I ask, is that absolutely true, or could it change?”
    One possibility: the definition for the word “square” drifts (much as one of the definitions of “shrew” used to be a pejorative that applied to both sexes, but is now used only for women). Even then, though, a “square” (whatever its name is) is still a two dimensional object or ideal with four equal sides of two pairs of perpendicular lines, with the perpendices (not a real word) meeting at right angles internally.

    “(I know why you don’t want to answer this, by the way) ;)”
    Because no answer I give satisfies someone who [pause] still [pause] can’t use “absolute morality” as it’s defined, going so far as to equivocate between two variants of the same word to avoid using it properly?

    “(Thanks though for the admission that I have ‘knocked out’ the foundation for your arguments)”
    Okay. It shouldn’t come as a shock to you that belief (and scientific knowledge) works on a line of probabilities. And thank you for avoiding what it does to yours. Again.

    “Are you absolutely certain I have done this, or only ‘reasonably certain’ (in which case you could be wrong)? Let me know.”
    Reasonably certain. I assume your zealous refusal to give a straight answer indicates that you’ve correctly compartmentalized disparate or conflicting beliefs so that the dissonance doesn’t effect you.

    “You stated that proof only applies to math, therefore the statement that ‘science deals in probabilities’ cannot be proven ( by your own admission), and is reduced to baseless assertion.”
    Sigh. Just because something is more or less probable doesn’t make it useless. I’m reasonably sure that my car will start tomorrow. Time will tell if my reasonable faith is justified. Historically, it will be. Practically, I’ll take my cellphone with me, just in case.

    “Well, I haven’t been keeping count, but if I had to guess based solely on yours and Joe’s last few posts, I’d say you’re right. :D”
    A-frigging-dorable! I’m quite willing to admit my own verbal weaknesses. You, instead, ignore yours. Kudos, again, for being an apologist.

    “No, it is only BELIEVED to be ‘correct’, as one cannot know something that could be false.”
    Again you’re missing the concept of probability. It’s not mathematically “true”, it’s reasonably true.

    “If you disagree, perhaps you can give me an example of something you know that could be false.”
    Well, despite ample evidence that you are not arguing in good faith, you might be.

    “Apology accepted! ;)”
    Nope. You’re still arguing in bad faith.

    “Are you certain? (Thanks for doing that by the way) :D”
    I know, right?! I leave a hole in language and you pounce. Kudos.

    “Are you absolutely certain of this? Sorry for the repitition, but you sure make a lot of knowledge claims for someone who has admitted that they can’t know anything.”
    Hey, again with the bad faith…I don’t believe that I said that I can’t know anything. More likely it was along the lines of “can’t know most things with absolute certainty”.

    “That SHOULD tell you something, by the way.”
    That I’m people? That you still aren’t arguing in good faith? That you have no idea what “absolute morality” means (or that you do, but are studiously avoiding its implications vis-a-vis slavery and the bible)?

    “Don’t be so hard on yourself Modusoperandi. Your arguments weren’t THAT bad.”
    Again, kudos. I’ll be the first to admit that my arguments were far from good, but I’m the only half of this dialogue that’s trying to argue in good faith. If you are as well, my apologies for being mistaken, but you really should try to be better at it.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    And since you’re here, how do you get from simple presuppositionalism (where a Creator set up a rational universe. In essence, a deist position) to Christian Presuppositionalism?

  • scmike

    Modusoperandi said,

    “”Joe agnost, I should warn you (if you haven’t already realized) that he’s now playing semantics with the term “slavery”:””

    No, I just assumed that you folks could make the distinction between Biblical slavery and modern slavery as we understand it, without having to be spoon fed. My mistake. ;)

  • scmike

    Woody Tanaka,

    You said: “”You made an exception to this supposed absolute moral wrong for certain people under a certain form of government.””

    See my comment to Modusoperandi regarding this.

    “”Thus, your supposed “absolute” moral wrong is not absolute.””

    Sigh. Is this absolutely true? How do you know?

    I asked: “Is it absolutely true that you don’t believe the statement and that there is no such thing as absolute morality?”

    You said: “”There is no such thing as absolute truth, (outside of things that are defined as such, such as mathematics and logic.)””

    You crack me up Woody. Is it absolutely true that there is no such thing as absolute truth outside of things that are defined as such? If yes, you are refuted. If no, you are refuted.

    By the way, how do you account for the existence of ANY absolutes in your worldview?

    I said: “Surely you can see the absurdity of absolutely denying the existence of absolutes, no?”

    You said: “”There is nothing absurd about it. Truth is relative and contingent.””

    So, is it absolutely true that truth is relative and contingent, or only relatively true (in which case it could be false)? Let me know. :D :D

    You said: “”nor, if there is even such a thing as “sexual immorality,” certainly consensual sex between adults of any kind or number, would certainly not be immoral.””

    I asked: “Is that absolutely true, or could you be wrong?”

    You replied: “”I could be wrong.””

    Which means your argument is totally without merit, as it is a baseless assertion which places it in the realm of blind faith. Knew it! :)

    “”It is contingent.””

    Is THAT absolutely true, or could you be wrong about that too? Surely you can see the absurdity of your argument by now, no?

    I asked: “Is non-consensual sex between adults absolutely morally wrong, or could it be right in your worldview?”

    You said: “”In my worldview and in the morality of this society, it is wrong. (Not “absolutely” wrong, because the “absolute” part is unnecessary.) Sadly, it is not seen as wrong in other societies.””

    So who is right? This society or those other societies?

    I said: “If morality is arbitrarily stipulated, then anyone is free to stipulate their own morality, including murderers, rapists, thieves, and child molesters. In fact, if one society decided that these things were perfectly acceptable, no one would have the right to tell them differently or to interfere with them.”

    You said: “”You are making the false assumption that there are only two options: a wholly objective, absolute morality, and a wholly subjective, relative morality. There are other options.””

    Are you certain of this? If so, how?

    “”And further, you assume that if morality were wholly subjective, that part of that moral order would require, as a moral tenet, a “non-interference” belief, precluding one from imposing his or her beliefs on those that subjectively believe something else. Neither of these things is supportable.””

    What right does any individual or society have to impose their arbitrary standards upon anyone else, as no arbitrary standard can be said to be ‘more right’ than any other absent an absolute standard?

    If you are arguing that ‘might makes right’ then you again are forced to admit that if enough of society said that rape, murder, child molestation, cannabilism, etc. were OK, then these things could all be considered ‘right’ in your worldview, and you would be ‘wrong’ for believing differently. Yikes!!

    “”And, yes, a society of thieves would have different moral principles about theft than mine does.””

    Whose ‘principles’ would be right, theirs or yours?

    “”However, nothing requires me or the society of which I am a part to respect that morality. (And, indeed, every society does exactly that.)””

    What would be ‘wrong’ with a society of thieves (or any society for that matter) imposing their standard of morality upon you? Remember, you just stated that a ‘non-interference’ belief is not supportable with regards to subjective morality.

    Consider this statement Woody: “The majority of the people in our society participated in that evil deed”. If your position were correct and morality was determined by society, that sentence would never make sense. The fact that such a proposition is possible reveals an absolute standard of morality that is beyond societies.

    I said: “In fact, if your worldview were true, no one had any right to condemn the actions of Hitler and the Nazi’s, much less put a stop to them.”

    You said: “”Wrong. One of the moral principles of my worldview (and with most civilized people) is to condemn those who take the actions of a Hitler and the Nazis and to act to put a stop to them.””

    But, on what basis do you condemn them, though? Your position basically amounts to saying ‘they are wrong because I say so’. Pardon me, but why should any individual or society care what any other individual or society says or believes, especially if it interferes with their own beliefs?

    You may profess arbitrary morality, but you don’t live according to your professed beliefs (as your arguments have demonstrated). I pray that you abandon this irrational and inconsistent line of thinking and seek the Truth.

    I asked: “So then it is not morally wrong in all places and at all times, which means it is right in some places and at some times?! Who gets to decide, the molester or the child?”

    You said: “”In my worldview, it is wrong. The child molester has a different view.””

    So whose view is ‘right’? Yours or the child molesters, or are both views equally ‘right’?

    “”Because most people agree with me, we impose our view of morality on him and punish him if he acts against our moral view.””

    Which is inconsistent with your professed beliefs. Plus, by the same token, you would have to admit that if a society consisted of mostly child molesters, they would be justified in imposing their view of morality on you and would be ‘right’ for punishing you for acting against their moral view.

    I’m telling you, you really need to reconsider your position on this Woody, as you are only digging yourself deeper and deeper here.

    You asked: “”‘Hey, I have a question for you, is ever morally right for infants and toddlers to be intentionally burned to death or drowned? Or are those things absolute, universal, moral wrongs?’””

    I replied: “The murder of infants (or anyone for that matter) is absolutely, universally, morally wrong,”

    You then stated: “”So then you must agree that when God burned to death all of those innocent babies and toddlers at Sodom and Gomorrah, shrieking in pain and agony, and when he drowned all of those infants and children, clawing and climbing, trying to keep their little heads above the water during the Noah flood, that an absolute, universal moral wrong was committed.””

    Nope. I said that murder (which is unlawful killing) is absolutely wrong. As God is the standard of the law, He cannot commit murder.

    “”Of course, you must, otherwise, it is not an “absolute, universal moral wrong” to intentionally burn babies to death and drown toddlers. If you are making an exception, even for your god, then it is not “absolute” and “universal” and you made abundantly clear that your view, these things are absolute and universal.””

    Murder is absolutely, universally wrong, killing is not. Big difference.

    “”So with that in mind, how can you live with yourself worshiping something that serially committed absolute, universal, moral wrongs of such horrific magnitude??””

    Your point is refuted and is therefore moot. Nevertheless, by what absolute moral standard do you condemn any action as an absolute, universal, moral wrong? Your own subjective personal preference? Get real.

  • joe agnost

    scmike wrote: “As God is the standard of the law, He cannot commit murder.”

    BWAHAHAHAHA… from burning stupidity to laugh out loud funny! This scmike has a talent as a troll! :)

    Let me guess scmike – ‘am I certain of this? If so, how?’

    No, I’m not “certain” but the probabilities are STRONGLY in my favour!

  • scmike

    Svlad Cjelli,

    “”Why are you trying to explain and argue for your position at all?””

    Simple. To expose the insonsistency and absurdity of those worldviews which deny the God of the Bible in hopes that those who hold to them will cease their suppression of the truth and repent.

    “”Is your ability to reason necessary for your basic beliefs?””

    Yes. However, I have justification for the validity of my reasoning APART from my reasoning–God.

    “”If it is not, can your basic beliefs still be reasoned to, or is it impossible to reason there?””

    It is impossible to reason to God being the foundation of one’s reasoning. This only comes through submission to him.

  • scmike

    Svlad Cjelli,

    “”I think I can clear this one up for you. War happens.””

    No kidding.

  • Woody Tanaka

    “Sigh. Is this absolutely true? How do you know?”

    Yes. Because it is a logical statement which is absolute by definition. Do try to keep up.

    “Is it absolutely true that there is no such thing as absolute truth outside of things that are defined as such? If yes, you are refuted. If no, you are refuted.”

    Not at all. It is relative, so it is possible that you are correct. I do not believe so, because there is nothing in this world that supports your view, but it is possible. Contingently saying that an absolute is possible is not a self-refuting statement.

    “By the way, how do you account for the existence of ANY absolutes in your worldview?”

    Again, the only absolutes are those concepts that are defined that way. And I account for it by noting that they are defined that way.

    “So, is it absolutely true that truth is relative and contingent, or only relatively true (in which case it could be false)? Let me know.”

    I understand that you are a one-trick pony, but, again, it is not absolutely true that the truth is relative and contingent. It very well could be that the opposite is true. That is kind of what “contingent” means.

    “Which means your argument is totally without merit, as it is a baseless assertion which places it in the realm of blind faith. Knew it!”

    LOL. What nonsense. Simply because something is contingent does not mean it is without merit. It simply means it is contingent.

    “Is THAT absolutely true, or could you be wrong about that too? Surely you can see the absurdity of your argument by now, no?”

    No, but I do understand that you don’t understand the first thing about basic reasoning. I repeat: there is no such thing as absolute truth. I say that contingently. If you believe that this is self-refuting, you really are a shallow thinker.

    “So who is right? This society or those other societies?”

    We think we are right in our society, they think they are right in theirs, because morality is a wholly social construct. There is no absolutely correct morality, so there is no answer to the question “who is right” outside of the society we are discussing..

    “Are you certain of this? If so, how?”

    No, it is a contingent belief, based on observations. I could be wrong.

    “What right does any individual or society have to impose their arbitrary standards upon anyone else, as no arbitrary standard can be said to be ‘more right’ than any other absent an absolute standard?”

    Because they are not wholly arbitrary, and because morality is a social construct.

    “If you are arguing that ‘might makes right’ then you again are forced to admit that if enough of society said that rape, murder, child molestation, cannabilism, etc. were OK, then these things could all be considered ‘right’ in your worldview, and you would be ‘wrong’ for believing differently.”

    I am not arguing “might makes right” (that is more your argument, the whole “God makes the rules and punishes those who disobey” thing). I’m saying that the content of a society’s morals is not absolute, but depends upon the (not-wholly-arbitrary) views of the society in question. To a society of cannibals, there is nothing immoral about cannibalism.

    “Whose ‘principles’ would be right, theirs or yours?”

    It isn’t a matter of whose principles would be “right” in some overarching, cosmic sense. You’re still stuck in the shallow absolutist thinking, and presuming that there is a platonic ideal or absolute “right” out there… Each would think their own principles were right. The professed morality of the society would reflect the relative abundance of each view.

    “What would be ‘wrong’ with a society of thieves (or any society for that matter) imposing their standard of morality upon you?”

    It depends on what you mean by “wrong.” I would still have a different morality than that of the greater society in that society. To me, that imposition of their standard on me is wrong. They would, no doubt, disagree.

    “Remember, you just stated that a ‘non-interference’ belief is not supportable with regards to subjective morality.”

    No, I didn’t. I said it did not have to be present. It can be present, but need not. Moreover, it need not be consistent. Some things we can respect and not interfere with, even if we disagree, others we are free to wholly and utterly not respect, to the point of destroying the society that holds such views or at least, force them to change their views at gunpoint. (See, e.g., WWII).

    “Consider this statement Woody: ‘The majority of the people in our society participated in that evil deed’. If your position were correct and morality was determined by society, that sentence would never make sense. The fact that such a proposition is possible reveals an absolute standard of morality that is beyond societies.”

    Nonsense. I did not say that “morality was determined by society,” I said that morality was a social construct. Two different things. Further, the majority of the people who committed that act (and presumably did not see anything evil in their deed) would not read that sentence as being true, but the minority who did believe the act was evil would read it as true. Since there is no absolute measure of “evil deed,” that sentence would make sense from a minority perspective. Even a majoritarian, who does not believe the deed evil, would still understand it, probably as an expression of the minority view, even if he did not agree with it.

    “But, on what basis do you condemn them, though? Your position basically amounts to saying ‘they are wrong because I say so’.”

    Actually, my position would be that they are wrong because their actions are not in accord with those things that I believe are right. Their position would be different.

    “Pardon me, but why should any individual or society care what any other individual or society says or believes, especially if it interferes with their own beliefs?

    Who says they do? Do you think that Muslim societies give a damn about the French view of the morality of women covering their bodies? Do you give a damn that the Muslims believe your worship of Jesus as a divinity is a grave sin?

    When most members of a society agree on a certain moral point, they use societal tools (laws, social pressures, etc.) to enforce that morality. When it is more evenly split, we make allowances and compromises, and a moral pluralism exists. And sometime the minority position, through persuasion or attrition, actually becomes the majority position.

    “You may profess arbitrary morality, but you don’t live according to your professed beliefs (as your arguments have demonstrated). I pray that you abandon this irrational and inconsistent line of thinking and seek the Truth.”

    I don’t profess complete arbitrary morality. I profess contingent, non-wholly-arbitrary morality.

    And let me guess, this “Truth” to be found in following a supposed “God” who was too dopey to keep his ass off a Roman tree. LOL!! No thanks.

    “So whose view is ‘right’? Yours or the child molesters, or are both views equally ‘right’?”

    To me, I am right. To him, he is right.

    “Which is inconsistent with your professed beliefs.”

    No, it is wholly in keeping with my beliefs.

    “Plus, by the same token, you would have to admit that if a society consisted of mostly child molesters, they would be justified in imposing their view of morality on you and would be ‘right’ for punishing you for acting against their moral view.”

    No, not at all. I would expect that in such a society would punish me, and I would expect that they would believe they were right. But, at the same time, I would believe that I am right.

    “Nope. I said that murder (which is unlawful killing) is absolutely wrong. As God is the standard of the law, He cannot commit murder.”

    Oh, okay. So when God burned all those babies to death and drowned all those innocent children, was he acting morally? Were those acts “good” in your view, informed by your absolute morality?

    And what if he didn’t do it himself. What if he merely commanded someone to burn babies alive. Would that mass burning of babies be an absolute moral good?

    “Murder is absolutely, universally wrong, killing is not. Big difference.”

    So are you saying that sometimes it is absolutely okay to burn infants alive, so long as it does not constitute “murder.” Please explain the circumstances, in your view, when it is wholly okay and morally acceptable to burn a new-born baby to death.

  • scmike

    Modusoperandi,

    I asked: “Are you absolutely sure I’m wrong, or could I, in fact, be right?”

    You said: “”Adorable. Let’s run around in circles some more, shall we?””

    Hey, can I help it if that’s the direction of your arguments? I know why you don’t want to answer the question, by the way. ;)

    I said: “You see, in order to know that something ‘cannot’ be, you would have to possess universal knowledge or have access to it.”

    You said: “”Are you seriously positing that a concept like absolute morality on, say, Mars or a few thousand years ago is relative?””

    Are you seriously positing that there are people on Mars? How do you know THAT?

    I said: “Unbelievable.”

    You said: “”No. “Unbelievable” is your persistent dodge around the concept of absolute morality, including your imaginative reimagining it as something else in a different time.””

    I disagree that I have done this, and am perfectly content with any intellectually honest reader examining our posts to see who is dodging who.

    “”Words mean things. If you aren’t going to use them properly then don’t bother.””

    Perhaps you’ve forgotten that it was you who admitted to ‘mangling definitions’ earlier? :)

    I said: “Problem is, declaring one action to be ‘more wrong’ than another assumes an absolute standard by which to measure right and wrong.”

    You said: “”No, it doesn’t. All it needs is for one action to be better or worse relative to another action. Now I’ll pause briefly so that you can side-track my statement over the definitions of “better” and “worse” (and good luck getting a perfect answer from anyone. People from philosophers to economists have been arguing over things like that for ages).””

    Which is exactly my point. Absent an absolute standard, one cannot say that anything is ‘better’ or ‘worse’ than anything else, as these terms would be completely arbitrary and meaningless.

    I said: “And again I ask, is that absolutely true, or could it change?”

    You said: “”One possibility: the definition for the word “square” drifts (much as one of the definitions of “shrew” used to be a pejorative that applied to both sexes, but is now used only for women). Even then, though, a “square” (whatever its name is) is still a two dimensional object or ideal with four equal sides of two pairs of perpendicular lines, with the perpendices (not a real word) meeting at right angles internally.””

    I’m not asking you if the word used to describe squares can change, I’m asking you if the concept of ‘squareness’ can change such that a square can ever be ‘not a square’? Yes or no?

    I said: “(I know why you don’t want to answer this, by the way)”

    You said: “”Because no answer I give satisfies someone who [pause] still [pause] can’t use “absolute morality” as it’s defined, going so far as to equivocate between two variants of the same word to avoid using it properly?””

    Still harping on that despite my clarification, huh? Duly noted.

    I said: “(Thanks though for the admission that I have ‘knocked out’ the foundation for your arguments)”

    You said: “”Okay. It shouldn’t come as a shock to you that belief (and scientific knowledge) works on a line of probabilities.””

    Perhaps you can give an example of something you know to be true that is only probably true then?

    “”And thank you for avoiding what it does to yours. Again.””

    You mean what you (erroneously) BELIEVE it does to mine, right? Scroll down.

    I asked: “Are you absolutely certain I have done this, or only ‘reasonably certain’ (in which case you could be wrong)? Let me know.”

    You said: “”Reasonably certain.””

    Knew it!

    I said: “You stated that proof only applies to math, therefore the statement that ‘science deals in probabilities’ cannot be proven ( by your own admission), and is reduced to baseless assertion.”

    You said: “”Sigh. Just because something is more or less probable doesn’t make it useless.””

    I agree. The problem is, absent an avenue by which to arrive at certainty, you cannot KNOW that something is ‘more’ or ‘less’ probable than something, else.

    You see, I could just ask you if you are certain of your statement that ‘just because something is more or less probable doesn’t make it useless’. According to your own admission, you would have to admit that you are not (although you couldn’t be certain of that either), and it could be false. Surely you can see the problem with such an absurd position, no?

    You said: “”I’m reasonably sure that my car will start tomorrow. Time will tell if my reasonable faith is justified. Historically, it will be. Practically, I’ll take my cellphone with me, just in case.””

    Reasonable faith? You expect the future to be like the past because it HAS been like the past, which is question begging. That is the very definition of unreasonableness (i.e. blind faith).

    Interestingly enough, it was atheist philosopher David Hume who pointed this out.

    I said: “Well, I haven’t been keeping count, but if I had to guess based solely on yours and Joe’s last few posts, I’d say you’re right.”

    You said: “”A-frigging-dorable! I’m quite willing to admit my own verbal weaknesses. You, instead, ignore yours. Kudos, again, for being an apologist.””

    Wasn’t it a famous atheist who said something about belief without evidence being mere speculation or something like that?

    I asked: “No, it is only BELIEVED to be ‘correct’, as one cannot know something that could be false.”

    You said: “”Again you’re missing the concept of probability. It’s not mathematically “true”, it’s reasonably true.””

    You can’t be serious. Is it absolutely true that probability is reasonably true, or could that be false?

    I said: “If you disagree, perhaps you can give me an example of something you know that could be false.”

    You said: “”Well, despite ample evidence that you are not arguing in good faith, you might be.””

    If it could be false that there is ample evidence that I am not arguing in good faith, then you can’t KNOW it. You just BELIEVE it, as knowledge is certain by definition while belief is not.

    I said: “Sorry for the repitition, but you sure make a lot of knowledge claims for someone who has admitted that they can’t know anything.”

    You said: “”Hey, again with the bad faith…I don’t believe that I said that I can’t know anything.””

    But you could be wrong about that, right?

    Remember, you have admitted to sensing and reasoning that your senses and reasoning are valid, and that’s just the beginning. Why trust such a hopeless position?

    “”More likely it was along the lines of “can’t know most things with absolute certainty”.””

    What I want to know is how you can know ANYTHING with absolute certainty in your worldview, Modusoperandi. Don’t you find it odd that we’ve been having this discussion for several days, and you still have not disclosed your foundation for certainty? In fact, you have gone to absurd lengths not to. That should tell you something.

    I said: “Don’t be so hard on yourself Modusoperandi. Your arguments weren’t THAT bad.”

    You said: “”Again, kudos. I’ll be the first to admit that my arguments were far from good,””

    Then why continue to cling to them instead of acknowledging the truth?

    Look, my comment about your arguments was intended as friendly sarcasm, but at the same time I wanted you to see the sheer folly of your position, which you have finally acknowledged. If you choose to continue in your folly, that is up to you, but I wouldn’t advise it. Take care.

  • Svlad Cjelli

    scmike: Would Allah of the Qur’an be sufficient?

  • Woody Tanaka

    “Absent an absolute standard, one cannot say that anything is ‘better’ or ‘worse’ than anything else, as these terms would be completely arbitrary and meaningless.”

    That’s patent nonsense. Everyone makes determinations as to what is “better” or “worse” based on what their subjective view of what is “good” or “bad.” I’m sure that you would consider a world where more people believe that Christianity nonsense you believe to be a “better” world than one where fewer people believe it. I think such a world is “worse.” We would both be right, relative to our views on what is “good” and what is “bad.” It’s all subjective.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    scmike “Are you seriously positing that there are people on Mars?”
    No. Obviously. An absolute is an absolute even if there’s no one there.

    “I disagree that I have done this, and am perfectly content with any intellectually honest reader examining our posts to see who is dodging who.”
    So, to be specifically specific is slavery, ANE (Ancient Near East) slavery, as laid out in the Tanakh, absolutely wrong?

    “Which is exactly my point. Absent an absolute standard, one cannot say that anything is ‘better’ or ‘worse’ than anything else, as these terms would be completely arbitrary and meaningless.”
    Which is, again, exactly you missing the point. Three is bigger than four, even without the concept of infinity.

    “I’m asking you if the concept of ’squareness’ can change such that a square can ever be ‘not a square’? Yes or no?”
    No. A square is absolutely a square. If it wasn’t it wouldn’t be a square.

    “Perhaps you can give an example of something you know to be true that is only probably true then?”
    Evolution, Theory of. Gravity, Theory of. That the grape juice in my fridge, which was grape juice, will still be grape juice when I next take a sip. Etc.

    “Surely you can see the problem with such an absurd position, no?”
    What, that I’m human. That is problematic.

    “That is the very definition of unreasonableness (i.e. blind faith).”
    No. Blind faith is without evidence. Reasonable faith has a body of evidence behind it.

    “Interestingly enough, it was atheist philosopher David Hume who pointed this out.”
    The problem of induction? There are a bunch of articles analyzing it here. I’d dig a specific one up, but the site appears to be down at the moment.

    “Wasn’t it a famous atheist who said something about belief without evidence being mere speculation or something like that?”
    Wasn’t it an unknown Christian apologist on an atheist website who made logical fallacies, then denied doing so?

    “But you could be wrong about that, right?”
    I could be, yes. I doubt that very much, as you’ve continued to buttress the initial hypothesis.

    “Remember, you have admitted to sensing and reasoning that your senses and reasoning are valid, and that’s just the beginning.”
    No. I’ve said that they work well enough.

    “Why trust such a hopeless position?”
    Because it works well enough that I very rarely fall down the stairs.

    “Look, my comment about your arguments was intended as friendly sarcasm…”
    And mine about yours weren’t. You are not arguing in good faith, you’re willfully dodging questions and you are using logical fallacies.

    “…but at the same time I wanted you to see the sheer folly of your position…”
    And making a presupposition (well, at least two, actually) axiomatic helps, how?

    “…which you have finally acknowledged.”
    I did? I thought I, pretty much from the start, pointed out how our sense are not perfect and how the probalistic scale for confidence works well enough. That’s not folly. That’s reality (or, at least, our model of it).

    And, again, how do you get from simple presuppositionalism (where a Creator set up a rational universe. In essence, a deist position) to Christian Presuppositionalism? For that matter, how do you know that either is true?

  • scmike

    Woody Tanaka,

    I said: “Sigh. Is this absolutely true? How do you know?”

    You said: “”Yes. Because it is a logical statement which is absolute by definition. Do try to keep up.””

    Great! How do account for absolute, immaterial, universal entities such as truth and logic in your worldview?

    I asked: “Is it absolutely true that there is no such thing as absolute truth outside of things that are defined as such? If yes, you are refuted. If no, you are refuted.”

    You said: “”Not at all.””

    Then you are refuted, as you could be wrong and there could exist absolute truth outside of things that are defined as such, for all you know. I am pleased with that!

    “”It is relative, so it is possible that you are correct. I do not believe so, because there is nothing in this world that supports your view,””

    How do you know THAT absent access to universal knowledge? Crystal ball perhaps? ;)

    “”Contingently saying that an absolute is possible is not a self-refuting statement.””

    It is if you hold a worldview in which absolutes are not possible, which has been my point all along. You appeal to absolutes, but you cannot account for their existence apart from the God of the Bible.

    I’ll show you what I mean–is it absolutely true that contingently saying that an absolute is possible is not self-refuting?
    How do you know?

    “”Again, the only absolutes are those concepts that are defined that way.””

    However, you just admitted that you aren’t certain of that and it could be completely false. Thus, you continue to refute yourself (not that I mind, though). :P

    “”And I account for it by noting that they are defined that way.””

    Nope, no circularity there! :D

    I asked: “So, is it absolutely true that truth is relative and contingent, or only relatively true (in which case it could be false)? Let me know.”

    You said: “”I understand that you are a one-trick pony, but, again, it is not absolutely true that the truth is relative and contingent. It very well could be that the opposite is true.””

    Which makes your argument that truth is relative baseless and without merit, as it is founded upon belief (blind faith) and not knowledge. Yet again, you refute yourself. I am pleased with that.

    I said: “Which means your argument is totally without merit, as it is a baseless assertion which places it in the realm of blind faith. Knew it!”

    You said: “”LOL. What nonsense. Simply because something is contingent does not mean it is without merit. It simply means it is contingent.””

    Don’t take this wrong, but are you even reading what you’re writing? You just admitted that you don’t KNOW that it IS contingent and the opposite could be true. If that ain’t BLIND FAITH, I don’t know what is.

    I asked: “Is THAT absolutely true, or could you be wrong about that too? Surely you can see the absurdity of your argument by now, no?”

    You said: “”I repeat: there is no such thing as absolute truth. I say that contingently.””

    Oh I see, you are certainly uncertain with regards to absolute truth. Nope, no absurdity there either! :D

    I asked: “So who is right? This society or those other societies?”

    You said: “”We think we are right in our society, they think they are right in theirs, because morality is a wholly social construct. There is no absolutely correct morality, so there is no answer to the question “who is right” outside of the society we are discussing..””

    Which verifies my point that you have ZERO basis for condemning child molestation in your worldview. Thanks….I guess. Yeesh.

    I said: “Are you certain of this? If so, how?”

    You said: “”No, it is a contingent belief, based on observations. I could be wrong.””

    How do you know you aren’t? Oh wait, you don’t!

    I asked: “What right does any individual or society have to impose their arbitrary standards upon anyone else, as no arbitrary standard can be said to be ‘more right’ than any other absent an absolute standard?”

    You said: “”Because they are not wholly arbitrary, and because morality is a social construct.””

    Look, Woody, if your standard of morality isn’t absolute and objective, then it IS arbitrary and subjective. It can’t be both at the same time and in the same way.

    I said: “If you are arguing that ‘might makes right’ then you again are forced to admit that if enough of society said that rape, murder, child molestation, cannabilism, etc. were OK, then these things could all be considered ‘right’ in your worldview, and you would be ‘wrong’ for believing differently.”

    You said: “”I am not arguing “might makes right” (that is more your argument, the whole “God makes the rules and punishes those who disobey” thing.””

    Oh? Wasn’t it you who said this:

    “”One of the moral principles of my worldview (and with most civilized people) is to condemn those who take the actions of a Hitler and the Nazis and to act to put a stop to them.””

    Sounds like your complaint boils down to you wanting to be the one who makes the rules and mete out the punishment rather than God. Doesn’t suprise me, as that seems to be the #1 reason why people suppress the truth–they’d rather be god than submit to God. Not very wise.

    You said: “”I’m saying that the content of a society’s morals is not absolute, but depends upon the (not-wholly-arbitrary) views of the society in question.””

    Problem is, if society determines their own moarality independent of an absolute standard, that is the VERY definition of arbitrary morality. Trying to invent a standard that is both absolute and non-absolute to prop up your worldview is simply ridiculous (not that I mind). :D

    You said: “”To a society of cannibals, there is nothing immoral about cannibalism.””

    Just because people may participate in wrong behaviour, does not mean that it is any less wrong. If there was an absolute speed limit of 55 mph and someone drove 85, that has nothing to do with the existence of the standard.

    Besides, I’m sure your cannibal friends would have a change of heart about the immorality of cannabilism if someone decided to have them for lunch.

    I asked: “Whose ‘principles’ would be right, theirs or yours?”

    You said: “”It isn’t a matter of whose principles would be “right” in some overarching, cosmic sense.””

    Then what is the purpose of arguing with me if not to convince me that your principles are ‘right’? Gotcha’ (again). ;)

    “”You’re still stuck in the shallow absolutist thinking, and presuming that there is a platonic ideal or absolute “right” out there…””

    Which is your way of saying that you believe that your principles are ‘right’ and mine are ‘wrong’. This is completely inconsistent with your professed beliefs and again exposes the absurdity of your worldview.

    I asked: “What would be ‘wrong’ with a society of thieves (or any society for that matter) imposing their standard of morality upon you?”

    You said: “”It depends on what you mean by “wrong.” I would still have a different morality than that of the greater society in that society. To me, that imposition of their standard on me is wrong. They would, no doubt, disagree.””

    Problem is, calling their imposition of morality upon you ‘wrong’ assumes that your personal preference of not having this done to you is ‘right’. How does that follow in a universe where ALL personal preferences are equally valid?

    Besides, if anything, they (society) would be ‘right’ in forcing their morality upon you and even in punishing you for not submitting to their standard, according to your professed beliefs. Otherwise, you are forced to admit that those who condemned and interfered with the actions of Hitler and the Nazis were ‘wrong’ for doing so.

    I said: “Remember, you just stated that a ‘non-interference’ belief is not supportable with regards to subjective morality.”

    You said: “”No, I didn’t. I said it did not have to be present. It can be present, but need not. Moreover, it need not be consistent.””

    Actually, here is what you said:

    ****“”And further, you assume that if morality were wholly subjective, that part of that moral order would require, as a moral tenet, a “non-interference” belief, precluding one from imposing his or her beliefs on those that subjectively believe something else. Neither of these things is supportable.””****

    This was your counter to my argument that if morality is arbitrarily stipulated, no society or individual has a right to impose their arbitrary standard on anyone else.

    Just because society CAN impose their arbitrary standard of morals on another society through force, etc., does not mean they have the RIGHT to do so, as you demonstrated earlier by saying that the society of thieves would be wrong for doing that to you.

    The moment you condemn oppression as ‘wrong’, you are saying that it SHOULD NOT be done to you and are appealing to a prescribed standard independent of yourself or society. What is that standard by which you condemn oppression?

    “”Some things we can respect and not interfere with, even if we disagree, others we are free to wholly and utterly not respect, to the point of destroying the society that holds such views or at least, force them to change their views at gunpoint. (See, e.g., WWII).””

    Then, again you are forced to admit that Hitler was not wrong is attempting to do this to the rest of the world. You may disrespect his views, but you can never call them (or any views such as murder, rape, etc.) ‘wrong’. As I stated before, that has been my point all along. The fact that you do appeal to a standard of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ betrays your professed beliefs and further exposes the inconsistency of your worldview.

    I said: “Consider this statement Woody: ‘The majority of the people in our society participated in that evil deed’. If your position were correct and morality was determined by society, that sentence would never make sense. The fact that such a proposition is possible reveals an absolute standard of morality that is beyond societies.”

    You said: “”Nonsense. I did not say that “morality was determined by society,” I said that morality was a social construct.””

    Uh, I hate to break this to you Woody, but that’s the very definition of a social construct–look it up.

    “”Further, the majority of the people who committed that act (and presumably did not see anything evil in their deed) would not read that sentence as being true, but the minority who did believe the act was evil would read it as true. Since there is no absolute measure of “evil deed,” that sentence would make sense from a minority perspective. Even a majoritarian, who does not believe the deed evil, would still understand it, probably as an expression of the minority view, even if he did not agree with it.””

    The point that you’re missing is that if morality is a social construct and stipulated by society (as you have been arguing all along), then the statement could never make sense as the majority of society could never do ‘evil’ if they are the standard. The fact that the statement does make sense exposes the falsity of your position (although I do understand why you would try to ditch that argument now).

    I asked: “But, on what basis do you condemn them, though? Your position basically amounts to saying ‘they are wrong because I say so’.”

    You said: “”Actually, my position would be that they are wrong because their actions are not in accord with those things that I believe are right. Their position would be different.””

    Perhaps you can explain what makes a ‘different’ position a ‘wrong’ position? How do you go from that which ‘is’ to that which ‘should’ be absent an absolute standard?

    I asked: “Pardon me, but why should any individual or society care what any other individual or society says or believes, especially if it interferes with their own beliefs?”

    You said: “”Who says they do?””

    That is what you are arguing. You said:

    ****””Because most people agree with me, we impose our view of morality on him and punish him if he acts against our moral view.””****

    Obviously you care about the views and behaviour of the man in your example, else you wouldn’t be punishing him because of them. Why do you care?

    “”Do you think that Muslim societies give a damn about the French view of the morality of women covering their bodies? Do you give a damn that the Muslims believe your worship of Jesus as a divinity is a grave sin?””

    What people believe has nothing to do with what is true or ‘right’, as I hope you can see by now.

    “”When most members of a society agree on a certain moral point, they use societal tools (laws, social pressures, etc.) to enforce that morality. When it is more evenly split, we make allowances and compromises, and a moral pluralism exists. And sometime the minority position, through persuasion or attrition, actually becomes the majority position.””

    Which again means that if society is the measure of morality, then society could never do anything immoral, which, as we have already proven, is an absurd notion.

    You said: “”I don’t profess complete arbitrary morality. I profess contingent, non-wholly-arbitrary morality.””

    And I bet you ‘rock around the Christmas tree in a NEW, OLD-FASHIONED way’, too. Right? :D

    You crack me up Woody! :D

    “”And let me guess,…… LOL!! No thanks.””

    I do not respond to comments of a blatantly blasphemous nature. If any of your subsequent post are done in this vein, I will not respond (which would be shame, as you are doing wonders for the cause of Christianity).

    I asked: “So whose view is ‘right’? Yours or the child molesters, or are both views equally ‘right’?”

    You said: “”To me, I am right. To him, he is right.””

    And with no absolute standard by which to settle the dispute, you both are EQUALLY RIGHT. Thanks for demonstrating what your worldview really amounts to Woody. I am grateful.

    I said: “Plus, by the same token, you would have to admit that if a society consisted of mostly child molesters, they would be justified in imposing their view of morality on you and would be ‘right’ for punishing you for acting against their moral view.”

    You said: “”No, not at all. I would expect that in such a society would punish me, and I would expect that they would believe they were right. But, at the same time, I would believe that I am right.””

    And again, you and the society of child molesters would be on common moral ground. I really appreciate you exposing your worldview for all who may happen across this discussion in the future to see.

    I said: “Nope. I said that murder (which is unlawful killing) is absolutely wrong. As God is the standard of the law, He cannot commit murder.”

    You said: “”Oh, okay. So when God burned all those babies to death and drowned all those innocent children, was he acting morally?””

    Yes, as He cannot be immoral.

    “”Were those acts “good” in your view, informed by your absolute morality?””

    Yes.

    “”And what if he didn’t do it himself. What if he merely commanded someone to burn babies alive. Would that mass burning of babies be an absolute moral good?””

    Yes. In fact, it would’ve been wrong (i.e. unlawful) not to.

    I said: “Murder is absolutely, universally wrong, killing is not. Big difference.”

    You said: “”So are you saying that sometimes it is absolutely okay to burn infants alive, so long as it does not constitute “murder”? Please explain the circumstances, in your view, when it is wholly okay and morally acceptable to burn a new-born baby to death.””

    When and if directly commanded by God.

    Now, please explain the circumstances in your worldview when it is absolutely NOT OK to burn a new-born baby to death.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Ah-ha. You’re of the divine command theory school, scmike, and yet you talk as though you’re a proponent of deity-derived “absolute morality”. Odd. DCT isn’t an absolute metric, it’s distinctly relative. What is “good” is whatever God says good is at the time, making it, well, arbitrary. It’s relativism by divine mandate.
    You’ve also taken another step away from absolute morality, in that, again, if it applies to one but not another, it’s some variant of relativism. If a rule applies to you but not Him, it’s not absolute.
    That means everything you’ve pasted on “us” also applies to you. It’s not “good” or “morally absolute”, it’s “what God wants right now”. If the metric changes or can change, it’s not absolute, making you as much of a relativist as a secular relativist.

  • Ash

    I’d also like to point out that until scmike can prove the existence of his God, his basis for rationality, reason and logic hold no weight whatsoever since he freely admits they are contigent on that basis. The inference being, scmike, that unless you can prove your God is real, all of your suppositions are as meaningless and arbitary as you accuse others’ of being.

    Please go ahead; define your God and then prove it exists.:)

  • scmike

    Modusoperandi,

    “”What is “good” is whatever God says good is at the time, making it, well, arbitrary. It’s relativism by divine mandate.””

    No. GOOD is that which corresponds with the absolute character and nature of God.

  • scmike

    Svlad Cjelli,

    “”Would Allah of the Qur’an be sufficient?””

    No. Allah does not exist.

  • joe agnost

    scmike wrote: “No. GOOD is that which corresponds with the absolute character and nature of God.”

    So this means burning new-born babies alive, or drowning thousands of innocent people is “good”?? It’s clearly the “nature of God” to do these things right?

    “No. Allah does not exist.”

    This pleases me. I am grateful that you are in the process of disbelieving in fictional gods… you just have one last step to take and you’ll be free. Only one more god to go!

  • scmike

    Ash,

    “”I’d also like to point out that until scmike can prove the existence of his God, his basis for rationality, reason and logic hold no weight whatsoever since he freely admits they are contigent on that basis.””

    Where have you been? The proof of God’s existence is that without Him you can’t prove anything. Proof requires truth, knowledge, and an absolute standard of logic and reason which cannot be accounted for apart from God (a fact which has been demonstrated repeatedly in this very thread).

    “”The inference being, scmike, that unless you can prove your God is real, all of your suppositions are as meaningless and arbitary as you accuse others’ of being.””

    Done. Now perhaps you’d care to compare claims? Since you obviously believe in the concept of proof, how do you account for the existence of truth, knowledge, and an absolute standard of logic and reason which make ‘proof’ possible, in your worldview?

  • Woody Tanaka

    “Great! How do account for absolute, immaterial, universal entities such as truth and logic in your worldview?”

    Truth is not “absolute, immaterial, universal” and logic is a suite of concepts that, to the extent they are absolute, immaterial and universal, are that way because they are defined to be so. We’ve been over this a number of times. It’s not a very difficult concept.

    “Then you are refuted, as you could be wrong and there could exist absolute truth outside of things that are defined as such, for all you know.”

    That there could be absolute truth does not establish that there is proof that such absolute truth exists. As a logical matter, asserting a contingent position cannot be refuted by noting that an absolute position is possible. Again, basic logic.

    “How do you know THAT absent access to universal knowledge? Crystal ball perhaps?”

    I don’t contend to know that absolutely. It should be understood (to all but tired pedantic literalists, perhaps) that the statement is inherently conditional and subjective.

    “It is if you hold a worldview in which absolutes are not possible, which has been my point all along.”

    No, it isn’t. Basic logic. A contingent statement is a contingent statement. It follows the rules of logic, which are defined in a way that a statement can be “absolute” in the sense of adhering to the concepts of logic. Thus a logically absolute statement asserting a contingent position is not refuted by pointing to the fact that an absolute position is possible. This is like first-grade level reasoning here. Were you home schooled?

    “You appeal to absolutes, but you cannot account for their existence apart from the God of the Bible.”

    No, I don’t, aside from logically absolute statements (which, as I’ve said, are absolute only because they were defined that way.) LOL. Anyway, you haven’t proven that this god in your bible even exists.

    “I’ll show you what I mean–is it absolutely true that contingently saying that an absolute is possible is not self-refuting?”

    Yes.

    “How do you know?”

    Because that is a statement of a logical proposition which, as I’ve said repeatedly, can be stated in terms of absolutes, because it is defined that way.

    “However, you just admitted that you aren’t certain of that and it could be completely false.”

    No, I didn’t. I have repeatedly noted that logical statement can be absolute, because they are ideas and concepts that are defined to be absolute.

    “Nope, no circularity there!”

    No, there is no circularity. This is basic reasoning. Precocious twelve-year olds can get this stuff; it’s not that difficult.

    “Which makes your argument that truth is relative baseless and without merit, as it is founded upon belief (blind faith) and not knowledge.”

    No, it doesn’t because it is merely a statement of a contingent proposition.

    “Yet again, you refute yourself.”

    No, you are creating strawmen and oddly taking great pride in seeming to destroy them.

    “I am pleased with that”

    I don’t doubt that you spend a lot of your time pleasing yourself.

    “You just admitted that you don’t KNOW that it IS contingent and the opposite could be true. If that ain’t BLIND FAITH, I don’t know what is.”

    You’re right, you don’t know what blind faith is. Blind faith is a statement of certainty without evidence to support it. What I am doing is making a contingent statement and reaching a contingent conclusion.

    “Oh I see, you are certainly uncertain with regards to absolute truth. Nope, no absurdity there either!”

    Not if you have a brain and know how to use it.

    “Which verifies my point that you have ZERO basis for condemning child molestation in your worldview.”

    Nonsense. In my view of morality (which is what I’m talking about; your use of “worldview” was never defined by you, so I think it better to leave it alone until you do so), the fact that child molestation injures the child is sufficient grounds to find it immoral. Someone whose view of morality is different would reach a different moral conclusion. (For example, because you believe that if your god ordered this child molestation, then you would view this child molestation as being an absolute good, regardless of the harm done to the child.)

    “How do you know you aren’t? Oh wait, you don’t!”

    It is a statement of logic, which can be made as an absolute statement.

    “Look, Woody, if your standard of morality isn’t absolute and objective, then it IS arbitrary and subjective. It can’t be both at the same time and in the same way.”

    Only in your shallow, narrow thinking does it have to be either black or white; arbitrary or absolute. Well, that’s just not so. It can be less than absolutely arbitrary. It can be subjective, but biased as a result of shared evolutionary history.

    “Oh? Wasn’t it you who said this:
    ‘One of the moral principles of my worldview (and with most civilized people) is to condemn those who take the actions of a Hitler and the Nazis and to act to put a stop to them.’”

    That’s not a statement of might makes right. That is a statement that my view of right includes the ability to fight those who commit certain atrocities. The principle doesn’t flow from the force, it is exercised as a result of the principle. Again, kindergarten-level logic.

    “Sounds like your complaint boils down to you wanting to be the one who makes the rules and mete out the punishment rather than God. Doesn’t suprise me, as that seems to be the #1 reason why people suppress the truth–they’d rather be god than submit to God. Not very wise.”

    LOL. Trust me, given that you, yourself admitted god would find his roasting of innocent babies to death to be an absolute good, I have no interest in being such a grotesque thing even if such a horrific villain existed.

    “Problem is, if society determines their own moarality independent of an absolute standard, that is the VERY definition of arbitrary morality. Trying to invent a standard that is both absolute and non-absolute to prop up your worldview is simply ridiculous (not that I mind).”

    Again, you make the stupid mistake of viewing the matter as being a matter of either wholly absolute on the one hand, and wholly arbitrary on the other. That’s stupid.

    “Just because people may participate in wrong behaviour, does not mean that it is any less wrong.”

    But your statement presupposes that the behavior is wrong. The point is that it is wrong to you, because part of your moral code is that cannibalism is wrong. To the cannibals, it is not a wrong behavior, because their moral code differs from yours.

    “Then what is the purpose of arguing with me if not to convince me that your principles are ‘right’?”

    Enjoyment of the process. I am under no delusion that someone whose brain has been affected by religious indoctrination as yours has is likely to change. I hope so, but I don’t expect it.

    “Which is your way of saying that you believe that your principles are ‘right’ and mine are ‘wrong’. This is completely inconsistent with your professed beliefs and again exposes the absurdity of your worldview.”

    Not really, because, as I’ve said a number of times, my views on this are contingent and I could be wrong.

    “Problem is, calling their imposition of morality upon you ‘wrong’ assumes that your personal preference of not having this done to you is ‘right’. How does that follow in a universe where ALL personal preferences are equally valid?”

    Because TO ME, not every “personal preference” as you put it, is equally valid. This is your problem in a nut shell: no matter how many times I tell you that none of these things are universal, absolute, moral tenets, you are still trying to fit my statements into that preconceived idea of universality.

    “Besides, if anything, they (society) would be ‘right’ in forcing their morality upon you and even in punishing you for not submitting to their standard, according to your professed beliefs.”

    Again, there is not absolute, universal “right.” So, to them, they would be right. To me, they would be wrong.

    “Otherwise, you are forced to admit that those who condemned and interfered with the actions of Hitler and the Nazis were ‘wrong’ for doing so.”

    According to the Nazis, they were wrong. According to those fighting the Nazis, they were right.

    “This was your counter to my argument that if morality is arbitrarily stipulated, no society or individual has a right to impose their arbitrary standard on anyone else.”

    Yes, I said that you assume that part of the moral order WOULD REQUIRE a non-interference belief. That is not supportable. That it is not required does not mean that it could not be present.

    “Just because society CAN impose their arbitrary standard of morals on another society through force, etc., does not mean they have the RIGHT to do so, as you demonstrated earlier by saying that the society of thieves would be wrong for doing that to you.”

    That absolute standard is unsupportable. There are many situations where one’s morality would not only permit the imposition of standards of morality on another, but would compel it. The “another” would probably disagree. But since there is no absolute morality, such a conclusion is not unexpected.

    “The moment you condemn oppression as ‘wrong’, you are saying that it SHOULD NOT be done to you and are appealing to a prescribed standard independent of yourself or society.”

    Not necessarily. I could merely be appealing to a personal standard. Or I could be appealing to a standard that is generally, but not universally, held by the members of that society. Or I could be appealing to a society-wide standard.

    “What is that standard by which you condemn oppression?”

    Personal morality. The standard by which every person makes every moral decision.

    “Then, again you are forced to admit that Hitler was not wrong is attempting to do this to the rest of the world.”

    Not in his view, no. He was very clear as to what he believed was right. On the other hand, I believe he was absolutely wrong (as does/did most of the rest of the world.)

    “You may disrespect his views, but you can never call them (or any views such as murder, rape, etc.) ‘wrong’.”

    Sure I can. Simply because I recognize that his moral view differs from mine does not mean that I must abide by him, or agree with his views. I absolutely can, and do, call them wrong.

    “As I stated before, that has been my point all along. The fact that you do appeal to a standard of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ betrays your professed beliefs and further exposes the inconsistency of your worldview.”

    Nonsense. What you are doing is attempting to shoe horn my statements into your preconceived ideas that “right” and “wrong” are absolutes, when my argument essentially is that they are not absolutes.

    “Uh, I hate to break this to you Woody, but that’s the very definition of a social construct–look it up.”

    “Determined by society” =/= “constructed by society.”

    “The point that you’re missing is that if morality is a social construct and stipulated by society (as you have been arguing all along), then the statement could never make sense as the majority of society could never do ‘evil’ if they are the standard.”

    But, again, you are failing to understand the point, and concocting the idea that I am arguing that some universal sense of “evil” is established by the society’s majority. So let me write it this way: THERE IS NO UNIVERSAL MORAL SENSE. The majority would not believe the statement was true, because they would not believe they were doing evil. The minority, however, would believe the statement was true, because their moral sense is different than the majority’s.

    “The fact that the statement does make sense exposes the falsity of your position”

    It makes perfect sense. In fact, it makes such perfect sense that one can be fairly certain that the statement was made by a member of the minority or by someone trying to reflect that minority sentiment.

    “(although I do understand why you would try to ditch that argument now). “

    I’m not ditching anything.

    “Perhaps you can explain what makes a ‘different’ position a ‘wrong’ position? How do you go from that which ‘is’ to that which ’should’ be absent an absolute standard?”

    Because what I believe to be good, they may believe to be bad. Thus, what I believe to be “wrong,” they would see differently. No absolute standard needed. Each person is simply applying morality as they understand it.

    “That is what you are arguing.”

    Actually, by saying, “who says they do?” I was concentrating on the cross-society implication, not the implication of the individual in society in that statement.

    “Obviously you care about the views and behaviour of the man in your example, else you wouldn’t be punishing him because of them. Why do you care?”

    Yes, I care because absent the enforcement of the moral norms as I (and the majority of the society) see them, the purpose for morality (the creation of a well-run and personally and socially sustaining society (with all that entails)) would be impossible. Thus, one of the moral norms which we hold is the fact that it is morally right to enforce our view of morality (in some areas) even against those who view the morality of those specific things differently.

    “What people believe has nothing to do with what is true or ‘right’, as I hope you can see by now.”

    Actually, when it comes to morality, what people believe has everything to do with it, because, as a social construct, it has no independent existence outside of “what people believe.”

    “Which again means that if society is the measure of morality, then society could never do anything immoral, which, as we have already proven, is an absurd notion.”

    Only if you make the mistake of assuming that because society is the measure of morality, that somehow that means that society’s beliefs transmogrify into a universal, even in that society. It doesn’t. A society could do something immoral, certainly in the view of other societies and certainly in the view of members of the same society. Nothing absurd in that.

    “I do not respond to comments of a blatantly blasphemous nature.”

    Well, I really don’t care. First, your notion that something could be “blasphemous” is nonsense, as the notion of blasphemy is nonsense. Further, if you want to limit yourself based on the hurt feelings of your imaginary friends, be my guest. But don’t be surprised if I decline the option.

    “If any of your subsequent post are done in this vein, I will not respond (which would be shame, as you are doing wonders for the cause of Christianity).”

    Well, that’s up to you.

    “And with no absolute standard by which to settle the dispute, you both are EQUALLY RIGHT.”

    Again, you seem to be trying to shoe horn this into a paradigm of an absolute standard. There is no “settling this dispute”; there is merely the fact that two people have different moral standards.

    “And again, you and the society of child molesters would be on common moral ground.”

    LOL. What a dopey statement. It’s like saying “Hitler and Jesus both ate bread. Therefore Hitler and Jesus were the same.” What nonsense. As I noted, we would be on exactly opposite moral grounds.

    ————–

    “Oh, okay. So when God burned all those babies to death and drowned all those innocent children, was he acting morally?””

    “Yes, as He cannot be immoral.”

    So God could be, right this moment, burning babies to death while having gay sex and torturing kittens and puppies and aborting fetuses while tearing the flesh off of pious Christians and he would not be being immoral in your view. Correct?

    “”Were those acts “good” in your view, informed by your absolute morality?””

    Yes.

    So then the baby-killer you worship decides tomorrow that sexual sin is no longer to be immoral, then homosexuality would no longer be absolutely immoral, correct?

    “”And what if he didn’t do it himself. What if he merely commanded someone to burn babies alive. Would that mass burning of babies be an absolute moral good?””

    Yes. In fact, it would’ve been wrong (i.e. unlawful) not to.

    So if he commanded someone to commit a genocide against another people, then such genocide would be fully and completely good, correct? Indeed, it would be a sin to oppose it, because that would be going against God’s command, correct?

    “”So are you saying that sometimes it is absolutely okay to burn infants alive, so long as it does not constitute “murder”? Please explain the circumstances, in your view, when it is wholly okay and morally acceptable to burn a new-born baby to death.””

    When and if directly commanded by God.

    So then burning a baby to death is not absolutely immoral, it is only immoral when not commanded by God. So the moral conclusion that burning a baby to death is contingent upon there not being this command by God, correct?

    And would it also be immoral to condemn someone who burned a new-born baby to death, if God commanded them to do it?

  • scmike

    joe agnost,

    I said: “No. GOOD is that which corresponds with the absolute character and nature of God.”

    You said: “”So this means burning new-born babies alive, or drowning thousands of innocent people is “good”??””

    I would argue that in a sinful, fallen creation, there is no such thing as ‘innocent’ people from God’s point of view.

    “”It’s clearly the “nature of God” to do these things right?””

    If he sees fit. Besides, one would have to beg the question in assuming that God does not have a morally sufficient reason for the things he does in order to argue otherwise (not to mention that you have no absolute standard by which to condemn any behavior at all).

    Hence, any argument you attempt to level against God, is necessarily an argument FOR God.

    I said: “No. Allah does not exist.”

    You said: “”This pleases me. I am grateful that you are in the process of disbelieving in fictional gods… you just have one last step to take and you’ll be free. Only one more god to go!””

    “When Man ceases to worship God he does not worship nothing but worships everything.”
    –G.K. Chesterton

  • joe agnost

    scmike was asked: “Please explain the circumstances, in your view, when it is wholly okay and morally acceptable to burn a new-born baby to death.”

    To which he replied:

    “When and if directly commanded by God.”

    So this makes it clear that burning a new-born baby to death is NOT “absolutely morally wrong” in scmike’s view. Either that or, more likely, scmike really doesn’t understand the term “absolute”! ;)

    I don’t think scmike thinks things through properly enough…

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    scmike “No. GOOD is that which corresponds with the absolute character and nature of God.”
    Yes, what I said about Divine Command Theory before was right. Read the link.
    Also, what you just said still gets stuck on Euthyphro’s Dilemma: is it God’s character because it’s good, or is it good because it’s God’s character?

    “I would argue that in a sinful, fallen creation, there is no such thing as ‘innocent’ people from God’s point of view.”
    If so, then how would you know that a command from God is really a command from God?

    “Besides, one would have to beg the question in assuming that God does not have a morally sufficient reason for the things he does in order to argue otherwise…”
    Actually, if there’s questions to be begged (besides, you know, “The proof of God’s existence is that without Him you can’t prove anything”, which fills another square on my logical fallacy bingo card), it’s assuming that He does. Assuming that He does leaves a hole large enough for “anything He does is good (no matter what it is or whether it conflicts with other things He does)”, which isn’t plugged by Divine Command Theory, it’s plainly stated by it.

    “When Man ceases to worship God he does not worship nothing but worships everything.’ –G.K. Chesterton”
    “With or without [religion], you’d have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, it takes religion.” ~ Steven Weinberg
    Quotes are fun, aren’t they?

    And, again, again, how do you get from simple presuppositionalism (where a Creator set up a rational universe. In essence, a deist position) to Christian Presuppositionalism? For that matter, how do you know that either is true? Having a sample of only one universe, how would you distinguish a Creator-created one from a naturalistic one that happens to be rational?

  • Ash

    Where have you been? The proof of God’s existence is that without Him you can’t prove anything. Proof requires truth, knowledge, and an absolute standard of logic and reason which cannot be accounted for apart from God (a fact which has been demonstrated repeatedly in this very thread).

    Bwahahahaha. No. One could just as simply claim that the proof of no God would be that with a God, logic cannot exist (a fact which has been demonstrated repeatedly in this very thread by scmike). Want to try again?

    ”The inference being, scmike, that unless you can prove your God is real, all of your suppositions are as meaningless and arbitary as you accuse others’ of being.””

    Done.

    Really not.

    Once again, please define your God, then prove it exists :)

  • Svlad Cjelli

    “”Would Allah of the Qur’an be sufficient?””

    No. Allah does not exist.

    You know that, but how would an ignorant bystander tell the difference?

  • Claudia

    You said: “”So this means burning new-born babies alive, or drowning thousands of innocent people is “good”??””

    I would argue that in a sinful, fallen creation, there is no such thing as ‘innocent’ people from God’s point of view.

    I’ve seen this sort of thing before, but it never fails to take me breath away. Essentially it is the affirmation that even the youngest baby is dirty, evil, stained, because of a supposed “crime” commited by ancestors. The people who see uncleanliness enough to be deserving of death by drowning (or infant cancer, or starvation) are the ones telling us that we lack a moral foundation and a proper sense of the value of life. I guess by their standard they are right; I see in a newborn baby a pure life full of potential and deserving the full protection and care our society can give, not some flawed dirty sinner.

  • scmike

    Woody Tanaka,

    You said: “”Truth is not “absolute,””

    Is that absolutely true? If yes, you refute yourself. If no, you refute yourself.

    I had hoped that you would come to see the sheer folly of absolutely denying absolute truth, but I guess I gave you too much credit (not that I mind, though. In fact, keep it up!).

    You said: “”and logic is a suite of concepts that, to the extent they are absolute, immaterial and universal, are that way because they are defined to be so.””

    No kidding. That still doesn’t answer the question as to how you account for the existence of absolute, universal, immaterial entities in a worldview which does not allow for them. Well?

    “”That there could be absolute truth does not establish that there is proof that such absolute truth exists.””

    Is that absolutely true? If yes, you are refuted. If no, you are refuted (yet again).

    “”As a logical matter, asserting a contingent position cannot be refuted by noting that an absolute position is possible.””

    Yet again, is that absolutely true or could it be false? You’re making this way too easy, Woody!

    You said: “”It is relative, so it is possible that you are correct. I do not believe so, because there is nothing in this world that supports your view,””

    I asked: “How do you know THAT absent access to universal knowledge? Crystal ball perhaps?”

    You replied: “”I don’t contend to know that absolutely.””

    Then, you don’t KNOW it at all, you only believe it.

    “”It should be understood (to all but tired pedantic literalists, perhaps) that the statement is inherently conditional and subjective.””

    It is very much understood, and appreciated that you continue to claim to know things, but cannot (read: will not) tell how knowledge is possible in your worldview. In fact, you continue to go to absurd lengths NOT to. I wonder why?

    I said: “It is if you hold a worldview in which absolutes are not possible, which has been my point all along.”

    You said: “”No, it isn’t. Basic logic.””

    Again, how do you account for the existence of absolute, immaterial, universal, axioms such as logic in your worldview? Why do you proceed with the expectation that they won’t change?

    In fact, how do you know that the laws of logic haven’t changed since our discussion began so that all of your arguments are now illogical?

    “”A contingent statement is a contingent statement.””

    But we both know that you could be wrong about that and it could be false, right?

    “”It follows the rules of logic, which are defined in a way that a statement can be “absolute” in the sense of adhering to the concepts of logic.””

    Again, how do you know that the rules of logic will hold 5 seconds from or that they haven’t changed already due to some unobserved past event? How would you differentiate between whether a law of logic had changed or whether it was invalid? Can new laws of logic be created that contradict the current laws of logic? If so, how would you determine whether the new laws were logical or not?

    “”Thus a logically absolute statement asserting a contingent position is not refuted by pointing to the fact that an absolute position is possible.””

    Your position is refuted by the fact that you espouse a worldview which cannot account for the existence of absolute entities (as you continue to demonstrate).
    you see, absent absolute, universal knowledge or access to it, you have no way of knowing that anything is absolutely true and that it won’t change. Hence, you have no avenue to certainty in your worldview, which means you can’t know anything.

    I’ll show you what I mean: Woody, tell me one thing you know for certain and HOW you know it (hopefully you won’t be as frightened by this request as Joe was. I asked him a few days ago, and he has yet to attempt to answer). ;)

    I said: “You appeal to absolutes, but you cannot account for their existence apart from the God of the Bible.”

    You said: “”No, I don’t, aside from logically absolute statements (which, as I’ve said, are absolute only because they were defined that way.) LOL.””

    Yet, if you were honest, you would be forced to admit that you don’t even know THAT absolutely, as it is subject to change according to your worldview. This again destroys any foundation from which you may hope to level any argument against ANY position.

    However, if it is your position that logic is indeed absolute and cannot change, feel free to provide your account for the absolute, immaterial, universal laws of logic according to your worldview.

    I’d also like to know how your reconcile unchanging universal laws with changing particulars such as science and history. In other words, why do some things in the universe change and some things remain constant according to a naturalistic worldview, especially since these characteristics are contrary to one another?

    “”Anyway, you haven’t proven that this god in your bible even exists.””

    You’re doing a great job of that for me. Thanks!

    You said: “”And I account for it by noting that they are defined that way.””

    I said: “Nope, no circularity there!”

    You said: No, there is no circularity. This is basic reasoning.

    Verrry basic reasoning, and illogical at that. What you’re arguing is that ‘logic is what it is BECAUSE that’s what it is’.

    If this is what your arguments have been reduced to, then I posit that God is what He is BECAUSE that’s what He is, and we can just leave it there. Though I was hoping for an actual debate.

    I said: “Which makes your argument that truth is relative baseless and without merit, as it is founded upon belief (blind faith) and not knowledge.”

    You said: “”No, it doesn’t because it is merely a statement of a contingent proposition.

    However, it is a statement that you can never KNOW for certain to be true if truth itself is only relative, and, as such, it is unprovable and baseless. If you disagree, perhaps you’d care to tell how one can know a relative truth to be absolutely true?

    I said: “You just admitted that you don’t KNOW that it IS contingent and the opposite could be true. If that ain’t BLIND FAITH, I don’t know what is.”

    You said: “”You’re right, you don’t know what blind faith is. Blind faith is a statement of certainty without evidence to support it.“”

    Great! Are you certain of that statement? If so, where is the evidence to support it?

    “”What I am doing is making a contingent statement and reaching a contingent conclusion.””

    That which is contingent is uncertain by definition, which means you are making an ‘uncertain’ statement and reaching an ‘uncertain’ conclusion. The very definition of BLIND FAITH! Priceless!

    You said: “”In my view of morality (which is what I’m talking about; your use of “worldview” was never defined by you, so I think it better to leave it alone until you do so), the fact that child molestation injures the child is sufficient grounds to find it immoral.””

    Is ‘injuring’ children absolutely wrong in your worldview? Who gets to decide what constitutes ‘injury’ and who gets to determine whose feelings take precedence? Why should the feelings of the child hold more weight than those of the molester who may also suffer as a result of not being able to fulfill his desire to molest?
    If the molester can do his molesting without getting caught such that the child is not ‘injured’ (like the ‘gentle molester’ Richard Dawkins speaks of), is it then MORAL for him to do so?

    “”Someone whose view of morality is different would reach a different moral conclusion.””

    And again, you could never say they were ‘wrong’, just different.

    “”(For example, because you believe that if your god ordered this child molestation, then you would view this child molestation as being an absolute good, regardless of the harm done to the child.)””

    First of all, God is not a sexual being, but an eternal Spirit. Secondly, molestation is not wrong because God say it is, it is wrong because it is a violation of His absolute character and nature.
    Besides, you’d think that you would want to keep a low profile with regards to child molestation after admitting to being on the same moral ground as the molester (I still can’t believe you admitted that, by the way).

    You said: “”It is a statement of logic, which can be made as an absolute statement.””

    How does one verify the validity of such a statement in your worldview, or are all statements of logic equally valid and absolute?

    I said: “Look, Woody, if your standard of morality isn’t absolute and objective, then it IS arbitrary and subjective. It can’t be both at the same time and in the same way.”

    You said: “”Only in your shallow, narrow thinking does it have to be either black or white; arbitrary or absolute. Well, that’s just not so.””
    Psst. Don’t look now, but it seems you’ve just egaged in the very ‘narrow thinking/black or white’ point of view that you are deriding me for. Pot meet kettle. Kettle, pot.

    You said: “”It can be less than absolutely arbitrary””

    It can be less than certainly uncertain? How so?

    “”It can be subjective, but biased as a result of shared evolutionary history””

    Oh, so it can be subjective and ‘not subjective’. Got it!
    By the way, is that statement absolutely true (‘black or white’) or is this one of those things that falls into your ‘grey’ are of both true and ‘not true’ at the same time and in the same way? Let me know.

    I asked: “Oh? Wasn’t it you who said this:
    “”One of the moral principles of my worldview (and with most civilized people) is to condemn those who take the actions of a Hitler and the Nazis and to act to put a stop to them.’”
    You replied: “”That’s not a statement of might makes right. That is a statement that my view of right includes the ability to fight those who commit certain atrocities.””
    And what, pray tell, would be the purpose of ‘fighting’ someone who held a different moral view than you if not to impose your standard upon them? That’s what ‘might makes right’ is—imposing morality through force.

    Besides, what if they won and your society was completely wiped out? Their previously ‘atrocious’ behavior would then become ‘right’ by default. In fact, you have no way of knowing that this hasn’t happened in the past or that it won’t happen in the future. Absent an absolute standard, you have no basis in assuming your moral views to be ‘right’, or condemning any behavior as ‘wrong’ or ‘atrocious’ apart from your personal preference (which is not law-like in any way). You also have no basis for assuming that your personal preference won’t change tomorrow, as it is purely subjective. Again, I am pleased with that.

    I said: “Sounds like your complaint boils down to you wanting to be the one who makes the rules and mete out the punishment rather than God. Doesn’t suprise me, as that seems to be the #1 reason why people suppress the truth–they’d rather be god than submit to God. Not very wise.”

    You said: “”LOL. Trust me, given that you, yourself admitted god would find his roasting of innocent babies to death to be an absolute good, I have no interest in being such a grotesque thing even if such a horrific villain existed.””

    Once again, you betray your professed beliefs by attempting to condemn any behavior, as you admittedly have zero basis in your worldview for doing so. In addition, you again expose your true motive for suppressing the truth by trying to dictate morality to the only possible source of morality, which hardly makes sense.

    I said: “Problem is, if society determines their own moarality independent of an absolute standard, that is the VERY definition of arbitrary morality. Trying to invent a standard that is both absolute and non-absolute to prop up your worldview is simply ridiculous (not that I mind).”

    You said: “”Again, you make the stupid mistake of viewing the matter as being a matter of either wholly absolute on the one hand, and wholly arbitrary on the other. That’s stupid. “”

    Would that be ‘wholly’ stupid or only ‘partially’ so? Hilarious!

    I said: “Just because people may participate in wrong behaviour, does not mean that it is any less wrong.”

    You said: “”But your statement presupposes that the behavior is wrong.””
    Then what does YOUR statement presuppose? (YIKES!!)

    You said: “” The point is that it is wrong to you, because part of your moral code is that cannibalism is wrong. “”
    No, cannibalism is absolutely morally wrong AND it is wrong to me.

    “”To the cannibals, it is not a wrong behavior, because their moral code differs from yours.””
    No doubt they would be glad to abandon their ‘professed’ moral code the moment someone decided to eat them for lunch. You see Woody, the question is not whether people say they are OK with certain actions when committed against others, but whether they are consistent with their professed beliefs if such an act were committed against them. All sane people know the truth with regards to morality, however some choose to suppress the truth in unrighteousness by adopting false standards of morality to suit themselves and their own desires. Though people may profess arbitrary morality, no one can live consistently with those ‘professed’ beliefs when the roles are reversed, as is demonstrated by the die hard thief who locks his doors and windows at night or the murderer who runs AWAY from his knife-wielding assailant.

    I asked: “Then what is the purpose of arguing with me if not to convince me that your principles are ‘right’?”

    You said: “”Enjoyment of the process. “”
    Well, if by ‘the process’ you mean the act of having your inconsistency exposed for all to see, then you must be having a blast! Unless of course you were only joshing when you alleged that my views were ‘wrong’ all those times. Let me know.
    I said: “Which is your way of saying that you believe that your principles are ‘right’ and mine are ‘wrong’. This is completely inconsistent with your professed beliefs and again exposes the absurdity of your worldview.”

    You said: “”Not really, because, as I’ve said a number of times, my views on this are contingent and I could be wrong.””
    Which means you really don’t have a clue about anything, as you are forced to admit that EVERYTHING you claim to know could be wrong. I am pleased with that concession.

    I said: “Problem is, calling their imposition of morality upon you ‘wrong’ assumes that your personal preference of not having this done to you is ‘right’. How does that follow in a universe where ALL personal preferences are equally valid?”

    You said: “”Because TO ME, not every “personal preference” as you put it, is equally valid.””
    Problem is, that very statement is nothing but a personal presence and is no more valid than any other personal preference as it doesn’t necessarily apply to anyone else but you. Perhaps you’d care to explain how you determine one subjective personal preference to be ‘more’ or ‘less’ valid than another in your worldview? If multiple individuals or societies hold multiple standards of morality, how is the conflict resolved?

    You said: “” This is your problem in a nut shell: no matter how many times I tell you that none of these things are universal, absolute, moral tenets, you are still trying to fit my statements into that preconceived idea of universality. “”
    But you could be wrong about that, right? Priceless!

    I said: “Otherwise, you are forced to admit that those who condemned and interfered with the actions of Hitler and the Nazis were ‘wrong’ for doing so.”

    You said: “”According to the Nazis, they were wrong. According to those fighting the Nazis, they were right.””
    And if the Nazis had won and successfully eliminated those who opposed them and their behavior, they would necessarily have become right by default. Thank you for yet again demonstrating what a worldview without God looks like.

    I said: “The moment you condemn oppression as ‘wrong’, you are saying that it SHOULD NOT be done to you and are appealing to a prescribed standard independent of yourself or society.”

    You said: “”Not necessarily. I could merely be appealing to a personal standard.””
    Nope. Personal standards do not give us that which ‘should be’, only that which ‘is’. You have no basis for calling anyone else’s personal standard ‘wrong’ in your worldview, as the most you could ever say is that it is ‘different’.

    “” Or I could be appealing to a standard that is generally, but not universally, held by the members of that society. Or I could be appealing to a society-wide standard.””
    Nope. If society is the standard, there could be no such thing as ‘oppression’, as society could never be unjust or wrong in anything they did. The fact that you do acknowledge that oppression is possible again demonstrates that you do not live according to your professed beliefs.

    I asked: “What is that standard by which you condemn oppression?”

    You said: “”Personal morality. The standard by which every person makes every moral decision.””
    Please prove this.

    I said: “Then again, you are forced to admit that Hitler was not wrong in attempting to do this to the rest of the world.”
    You said: “”Not in his view, no. He was very clear as to what he believed was right. On the other hand, I believe he was absolutely wrong (as does/did most of the rest of the world.)””
    In order to be absolutely wrong, he would’ve had to violate an absolute standard. What is that standard, Woody?

    I said: “You may disrespect his views, but you can never call them (or any views such as murder, rape, etc.) ‘wrong’.”

    You said: “”Sure I can. Simply because I recognize that his moral view differs from mine does not mean that I must abide by him, or agree with his views. I absolutely can, and do, call them wrong. “”
    Again, by what absolute standard to you condemn such actions? How do you account for that standard? Why does it NECESSARILY apply to anyone?

    I said: “As I stated before, that has been my point all along. The fact that you do appeal to a standard of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ betrays your professed beliefs and further exposes the inconsistency of your worldview.”

    You said: “”Nonsense. What you are doing is attempting to shoe horn my statements into your preconceived ideas that “right” and “wrong” are absolutes, when my argument essentially is that they are not absolutes. “”
    So your claim that you ‘absolutely can, and do, call them wrong’ should really be taken as the opposite. Got it!
    Not that I agree with your allegation above, but would attempting to ‘shoe horn your statements into preconceived ideas that ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ are absolutes’ be absolutely wrong, or could it be right?

    I said: “The point that you’re missing is that if morality is a social construct and stipulated by society (as you have been arguing all along), then the statement could never make sense as the majority of society could never do ‘evil’ if they are the standard.
    You said: “”But, again, you are failing to understand the point, and concocting the idea that I am arguing that some universal sense of “evil” is established by the society’s majority.””
    No, I am arguing that if society’s majority is the standard of ‘right’, then anything the majority does is ALWAYS right and cannot be wrong. It would be impossible for the majority to ever commit an EVIL act, as only those in the minority could ever be guilty of such. Not to mention that any opposing standard of morality held by any minority member would necessarily be wrong to begin with.

    You said: “” So let me write it this way: THERE IS NO UNIVERSAL MORAL SENSE.””
    Is that universally true? How do you know?
    What you probably don’t realize is that you are admitting that your own moral sense is not universal, and could change so that everything you view as immoral now, could be viewed as completely moral tomorrow. I appreciate that.

    I asked: “Perhaps you can explain what makes a ‘different’ position a ‘wrong’ position? How do you go from that which ‘is’ to that which ’should’ be absent an absolute standard?”
    You said: “”Because what I believe to be good, they may believe to be bad. Thus, what I believe to be “wrong,” they would see differently.””
    But why SHOULD they believe what you believe? How do you know that you SHOULDN’T believe what they believe?

    I said: “Obviously you care about the views and behaviour of the man in your example, else you wouldn’t be punishing him because of them. Why do you care?”
    You said: “”Yes, I care because absent the enforcement of the moral norms as I (and the majority of the society) see them, the purpose for morality (the creation of a well-run and personally and socially sustaining society (with all that entails)) would be impossible.””
    You beg the question by assuming the correct purpose of morality to be for the ‘creation of a well-run and personally and socially sustaining society’. How do you presume to know this (especially since you have admitted that you can’t really know ANYTHING)?
    Surely you’re not asserting that your views of morality are ‘ideal’ are you?

    I said: “What people believe has nothing to do with what is true or ‘right’, as I hope you can see by now.”
    You said: “”Actually, when it comes to morality, what people believe has everything to do with it, because, as a social construct, it has no independent existence outside of “what people believe.””
    Problem is, that very statement is merely a belief about morality and could never be proven true. In fact, the exact opposite could be true for all you know (since you can’t actually know anything in your worldview) isn’t that right?

    I said: “And again, you and the society of child molesters would be on common moral ground.”
    You said: “”LOL. What a dopey statement. It’s like saying “Hitler and Jesus both ate bread. Therefore Hitler and Jesus were the same.” What nonsense. “”

    No, it would be like saying that Woody and child molesters both hold arbitrary views of morality which are equally subjective and therefore equally valid in Woody’s worldview.

    “”As I noted, we would be on exactly opposite moral grounds.’”
    Opposite and equal. In fact, if we follow your line of reasoning to its logical conclusion, you are forced to admit that your personal preference (i.e. belief) regarding child molestation could change such that you could find it preferable. Sorry for you man, but that’s the consequence of a worldview without God.

    You asked: ”“Oh, okay. So when God burned all those babies to death and drowned all those innocent children, was he acting morally?””

    I answered: “Yes, as He cannot be immoral.”

    You replied: “”So God could be, right this moment, burning babies to death while having gay sex and torturing kittens and puppies and aborting fetuses while tearing the flesh off of pious Christians and he would not be being immoral in your view. Correct?””
    Incorrect. God cannot have gay sex, as he is not a sexual being and sexual immorality is against His absolute character and nature. Nor can God torture anyone (or anything), as torture assumes cruelty (i.e. evil), which again is contrary to God’s just character and nature. As for the way God deals with mankind, He is the Creator of all life and has the right to take away life as He sees fit according to His Divine purpose.
    In order to argue against ANYTHING that God does, you would have to first assume that He did not have a sufficient moral reason for doing it, which is something you cannot prove and is therefore question begging. Not to mention you also would have to have an absolute standard of morality apart from God with which to condemn God, which you don’t. Again, it hardly makes sense for you to try and dictate to the Author of morality what is and what is not moral, as any argument you attempt to level against Him necessarily presupposes Him.

    You said: “”So then the baby-killer you worship decides tomorrow that sexual sin is no longer to be immoral, then homosexuality would no longer be absolutely immoral, correct?””
    Nope. God doesn’t ‘decide’ anything (as ‘deciding’ alludes to uncertainty in one’s thinking), but exists eternally possessing ABSOLUTE knowledge of the past, present, and future. Sexual sin is absolutely, universally immoral because it is a direct violation of God’s absolute, universal character and nature.

    You asked: “”And what if he didn’t do it himself. What if he merely commanded someone to burn babies alive. Would that mass burning of babies be an absolute moral good?””

    I said: “Yes. In fact, it would’ve been wrong (i.e. unlawful) not to. “
    You replied: “”So if he commanded someone to commit a genocide against another people, then such genocide would be fully and completely good, correct? Indeed, it would be a sin to oppose it, because that would be going against God’s command, correct?””
    IF He commanded it, yes.

    “”So then burning a baby to death is not absolutely immoral, it is only immoral when not commanded by God. So the moral conclusion that burning a baby to death is contingent upon there not being this command by God, correct?””
    Correct.

    “”And would it also be immoral to condemn someone who burned a new-born baby to death, if God commanded them to do it?””
    IF God commanded them to do it, yes.

    Now, Woody, perhaps you can tell us by what standard it is absolutely NOT OK to murder a baby in your worldview, how you account for that standard, and why it necessarily applies to anyone?

    (Don’t worry, I won’t get my hopes up).

  • scmike

    Woody T,

    Sorry for the lack of bolding and italics on the latter portion of the last post. I typed it in Word and then copied/pasted here, but looks like it didn’t work. Also didn’t get presented with the ‘edit’ option (probably due to the length).

    Let me know if you need a re-post.

  • joe agnost

    Try editing it for length next time BEFORE posting it! Man, who’s got time to read “are you absolutely certain of that” 12 thousands times?

  • scmike

    joe agnost,

    “”Try editing it for length next time BEFORE posting it! Man, who’s got time to read “are you absolutely certain of that” 12 thousands times””

    Glad to see you’re still following the discussion Joe. Now, just to make your evasion more obvious, how about tell me one thing you know for certain and how you know it (you may resume dodging now). :D

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    schmike “Secondly, molestation is not wrong because God say it is, it is wrong because it is a violation of His absolute character and nature.”
    Euthyphro, call on the white courtesy phone. Euthyphro to the white courtesy phone, please.

    “God cannot have gay sex, as he is not a sexual being and sexual immorality is against His absolute character and nature.”
    Is it against His absolute character and nature because it’s wrong, or is it wrong because it’s against His absolute character and nature?

    “Sexual sin is absolutely, universally immoral because it is a direct violation of God’s absolute, universal character and nature.”
    Is it against His absolute character and nature because it’s wrong, or is it wrong because it’s against His absolute character and nature?


    And, again, again, how do you get from simple presuppositionalism (where a Creator set up a rational universe. In essence, a deist position) to Jewish Presuppositionalism to Christian Presuppositionalism? For that matter, how do you know that any of those are true? Having a sample of only one universe, how would you distinguish a Creator-created one from a naturalistic one that happens to be rational?

  • joe agnost

    scmike asked: “how about tell me one thing you know for certain and how you know it”

    Why do you assume I know anything with absolute certainty? Take the sunrise as an example: I am ~pretty~ certain it will rise tomorrow morning in the east. Why? Because it’s done so for the past (almost) 40 years I’ve been alive, it’s been said that it’s done so for as long as man has noted it’s behavior. Physics also explains how we are rotating around the sun and spinning at the same time – this gives more evidence that the sun will rise in the east tomorrow.

    Is that what you’re looking for?

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    joe agnost: Keep in mind that that fits his definition of blind faith. How you get from there to Jesus (or from none to deism to the Hebrew God of the Samaritans to the Torah+ version of the Hebrew God to the Christian variation thereof, I have not the faintest, except that it’s a mutli-level presupposition you apparently must have, thus pissing all over Occam. He still hasn’t pointed out how we could tell the difference between any of the above possible universes, or any other possible one, for that matter. Presuppositionalism seems to be axiom by fiat).

  • scmike

    modusoperandi,

    I said: “Sexual sin is absolutely, universally immoral because it is a direct violation of God’s absolute, universal character and nature.”

    You asked: “”Is it against His absolute character and nature because it’s wrong, or is it wrong because it’s against His absolute character and nature?””

    It is wrong because it’s against His absolute character and nature.

    “”And, again, again, how do you get from simple presuppositionalism (where a Creator set up a rational universe. In essence, a deist position) to Jewish Presuppositionalism to Christian Presuppositionalism? For that matter, how do you know that any of those are true?””

    By the impossibility of the contrary.

    “”Having a sample of only one universe, how would you distinguish a Creator-created one from a naturalistic one that happens to be rational?””

    By the impossibility of the contrary. God is the NECESSARY precondition for creation, knowledge, and rationality, as these things cannot be accounted for apart from Him (as continues to be demonstrated on this very blog).

  • scmike

    joe agnost,

    You said: “”Take the sunrise as an example: I am ~pretty~ certain it will rise tomorrow morning in the east.””

    Problem is, being ‘pretty certain’ basically boils down to you saying that you are ‘less than certain’ about this. In other words, you don’t KNOW it, you just believe it, as you could be wrong. I want you to tell me what you KNOW, not what you believe.

    “”Why? Because it’s done so for the past (almost) 40 years I’ve been alive, it’s been said that it’s done so for as long as man has noted it’s behavior. Physics also explains how we are rotating around the sun and spinning at the same time – this gives more evidence that the sun will rise in the east tomorrow.””

    Ah, this looks a litte more promising. Are you certain that the sun has risen everyday for the past (almost) 40 yrs. and that physics explains that we are rotating around the sun and spinning at the same time? If so, how?

  • joe agnost

    scmike wrote: “I want you to tell me what you KNOW, not what you believe.”

    I know that everything I know fairly certainly ~could~ be wrong. I’m open to that possibility. The thing about the sunrise: until I see some contrary evidence that the sun will not rise in the east tomorrow I will continue believing in my ~near~ certain belief it will rise in the east. There is STRONG evidence it WILL rise in the east – and there is NO evidence it will not.

    Until you come up with evidence to the contrary there is no reason to take anything you propose seriously. None. We have evidence, you have nothing. We are fairly certain (but open to new possibilities in the event that new evidence is found) and you are dogmatically certain. Strange that the guy with no evidence is the one who will not consider different possibilities….

  • scmike

    Claudia,

    Welcome to the discussion!

    I said: “I would argue that in a sinful, fallen creation, there is no such thing as ‘innocent’ people from God’s point of view.”

    You said: “”I see in a newborn baby a pure life full of potential and deserving the full protection and care our society can give, not some flawed dirty sinner.””

    That’s the difference between viewing mankind through our sinful, imperfect human perspective and God’s perspective of absolute holiness and perfection.

    The fact that God grants mankind the grace to live and enjoy the pleasures of life despite what we are and the fact that He has offered us mercy and forgiveness through His Son Jesus Christ is the ultimate expression of His unspeakable love and kindness to us.

    If I may ask Claudia, are you an atheist?

  • scmike

    Ash,

    I said: “Where have you been? The proof of God’s existence is that without Him you can’t prove anything. Proof requires truth, knowledge, and an absolute standard of logic and reason which cannot be accounted for apart from God (a fact which has been demonstrated repeatedly in this very thread).”

    You said: “”Bwahahahaha. No. One could just as simply claim that the proof of no God would be that with a God, logic cannot exist (a fact which has been demonstrated repeatedly in this very thread by scmike). Want to try again?””

    The difference is, I have demonstrated how the existence of God accounts for logic, whereas you have not demonstrated how the non-existence of God accounts for logic. The floor is yours.

    You said: “The inference being, scmike, that unless you can prove your God is real, all of your suppositions are as meaningless and arbitary as you accuse others’ of being.”

    Why Ash? Must all suppositions be proven in order to be valid? If so, please provide the proof for THAT supposition.

    It is my position that God is the necessary precondition for the existence of proof, by the impossibility of the contrary. You may not like my claim, and may even disagree with it, but the question is, where is your claim? Until you provide one, your arguments against my position are (and continue to be) without merit.

    In fact, your inability to provide a competing acccount only serves to support my position that the contrary is not possible. Keep it up!

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    scmike “That’s the difference between viewing mankind through our sinful, imperfect human perspective and God’s perspective of absolute holiness and perfection.”
    And who made Man?

    “The difference is, I have demonstrated how the existence of God accounts for logic…”
    No. You have declared that it does, but you haven’t explained either how, or how to distinguish from a God-created universe and a godless one, much less from a Christian God-created one and a deist one.

    “It is wrong because it’s against His absolute character and nature.”
    So, the second horn of the dilemma, then.

    “By the impossibility of the contrary.”
    Begging the question. Alternately, special pleading.

    “By the impossibility of the contrary. God is the NECESSARY precondition for creation, knowledge, and rationality, as these things cannot be accounted for apart from Him (as continues to be demonstrated on this very blog).”
    Still not answering the question. Even if it’s a created universe and the creator, instead of some naturalistic force, is the deist Creator, how do you get from those steps to the Jewish one to the Christian one?

  • scmike

    joe agnost,

    I said: “I want you to tell me what you KNOW, not what you believe.”

    You said: “”I know that everything I know fairly certainly ~could~ be wrong.””

    OK Joe, if you KNOW this, please tell me HOW you know it. C’mon man, I’m not askng for much here. It’s a very simple request.

    You said: “”until I see some contrary evidence that the sun will not rise in the east tomorrow I will continue believing in my ~near~ certain belief it will rise in the east.””

    Are you certain that you will continue believing that and that your belief is NEAR certainty?

    You said: “”There is STRONG evidence it WILL rise in the east – and there is NO evidence it will not.””

    Again, are you certain of this? If so, how?

    You said: “”Until you come up with evidence to the contrary there is no reason to take anything you propose seriously.””

    I hate to ask this again, but is this something that you’re certain of? If yes, do tell how.

    You said: “”None. We have evidence, you have nothing.””

    I wonder though if this is finally something that you’re going to admit to being certain of and then proceed to tell how, or if this is yet another example of something you just BELIEVE and could be false? Only time will tell.

    You said: “”We are fairly certain (but open to new possibilities in the event that new evidence is found) and you are dogmatically certain.””

    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…..Oh, uh, are you certain? How?

    You said: “”Strange that the guy with no evidence is the one who will not consider different possibilities….””

    No, what’s strange is that the guy who admits that he can’t know anything for certain continues to make knowledge claims (like that one) as if he can actually know things for certain while refusing to explain himself or acknowledge his obvious inconsistency.

    Tell you what Joe, let’s try this: just pick any ONE of the eight knowledge claims that I have asked you about in this post and tell HOW you actually KNOW it for certain. Can’t make it any easier than that.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    And “…let’s try this: just pick any ONE of the eight knowledge claims that I have asked you about in this post and tell HOW you actually KNOW it for certain.” right back at you, schmike.

  • scmike

    Modusoperani,

    I said: “That’s the difference between viewing mankind through our sinful, imperfect human perspective and God’s perspective of absolute holiness and perfection.”

    You said: “”And who made Man?””

    God made man, sin made man corrupt.
    (And, before you ask, no, God did not MAKE sin)

    I said: “The difference is, I have demonstrated how the existence of God accounts for logic…”

    You said: “”No. You have declared that it does, but you haven’t explained either how,””

    Sure I have. By the impossibility of the contrary (as still continues to be demonstrated for all to see right here on this very blog).

    “”or how to distinguish from a God-created universe and a godless one, much less from a Christian God-created one and a deist one.””

    And you again beg the question by assuming that God is not the necessary precondition for the existence of a ‘rational’ universe and that one can exist apart from Him. If this is your argument, prove it (note that in order to do so, you must necessarily presuppose the existence of God, which makes any argument against Him an argument for Him, and therefore self-refuting). Have fun!

    I said: “It is wrong because it’s against His absolute character and nature.”

    You said: “”the second horn of the dilemma, then.””

    No, there is no dilemma. Immorality is that which contradicts the ABSOLUTE, UNIVERSAL (i.e. perfect and unchanging) character and nature of God.

    I said: “By the impossibility of the contrary.”

    You said: “”Begging the question. Alternately, special pleading.””

    Let’s see. I assert that absolute laws of logic cannot be accounted for apart from God and you then appeal to absolute laws of logic that you have not and cannot account for, while holding to a contrary worldview. Sounds like confirmation to me (not that I needed it)!

    I said: “By the impossibility of the contrary. God is the NECESSARY precondition for creation, knowledge, and rationality, as these things cannot be accounted for apart from Him (as continues to be demonstrated on this very blog).”

    You said: “”Still not answering the question. Even if it’s a created universe and the creator, instead of some naturalistic force, is the deist Creator, how do you get from those steps to the Jewish one to the Christian one?””

    Not sure why you feel the need to differentiate between the Jewish God and the Christian one, as they are one and the same.

    Nevertheless, the answer to your question (again) is Divine revelation. God has made Himself known to all people through natural and special revelation such that we can be certain of who He is and are without excuse.

  • scmike

    Modusoperandi,

    I said (to Joe): “”“…let’s try this: just pick any ONE of the eight knowledge claims that I have asked you about in this post and tell HOW you actually KNOW it for certain.””

    You said: “”right back at you, schmike.””

    Sorry Modus, if JOE is going to make knowledge claims, it’s his job to tell how he knows them to be true, not mine. Nice of you to try to help him out, though (he needs it).

  • joe agnost

    scmike wrote: “just pick any ONE of the eight knowledge claims that I have asked you about in this post and tell HOW you actually KNOW it for certain.”

    Wow. You bring the term stupid to a new level, you really do.

    I am NOT %100 certain of anything (as I’ve said a number of times.) I am ALWAYS open to the possibility that new evidence will change my mind.

    It’s about evidence…

  • scmike

    joe agnost,

    You said: “”Wow. You bring the term stupid to a new level, you really do.

    I am NOT %100 certain of anything (as I’ve said a number of times.)””

    Then you can’t be 100% of THAT! And I’m the one who brings stupid to a new level? OKAYYYYYYYY. :D

    “”I am ALWAYS open to the possibility that new evidence will change my mind.””

    But since you can’t be certain of that, the exact opposite could be true, right?

    “”It’s about evidence…””

    Are you certain that it’s about evidence? For all you know, the Hokey Pokey could be what it’s really all about. Hilarious! :D

  • Claudia

    Seeing as there’s an established format, I’ll adapt:
    You said: Claudia,

    Welcome to the discussion!

    Thank you :)

    You said: That’s the difference between viewing mankind through our sinful, imperfect human perspective and God’s perspective of absolute holiness and perfection.

    All you have is the “imperfect” human perspective. Even by your own definition you are utterly incapable of knowing the “true perfect” perspective of god. The Bible was written by men. You trust that it is the word of your god though your trust of men, you interpret the words in the book through your human brain. Even any “revelation” or “personal knowledge” of your god that you have is, by definition, that of a fallible human, not an infallible god. You have constructed a deity that is entirely beyond your own capacity to defend or even interpret, because by the very act of interpreting you are making the perspective imperfect.

    You said: The fact that God grants mankind the grace to live and enjoy the pleasures of life despite what we are and the fact that He has offered us mercy and forgiveness through His Son Jesus Christ is the ultimate expression of His unspeakable love and kindness to us.

    Yes, and the fact that he will throw us into a pit of unrelenting fire if we simply don’t come to the proper conclusion is also an expression of his love? You would undoubtedly say that “free will” makes eternal punishment for finite sins justifiable, but “free will” under threat of eternal torture is sort of like “free will” of a woman to not consent to sex with a gun pointed at her head. Also, the very idea that a pedophile murderer and the child he rapes and murders, if not a Christian, will go to the very same hell, is simply abhorrent on its face.

    You said: If I may ask Claudia, are you an atheist?
    I guess it’s pretty obvious by now, but for the sake of completeness yes, I am an atheist.

  • joe agnost

    scmike wrote: “But since you can’t be certain of that, the exact opposite could be true, right?”

    Yes, the exact opposite ~could~ be true. You mistake “could” with ‘likely’ though. You seem to lack the ability to see things in shades – because the sun ~could~ fail to rise in the east tomorrow does not make it likely in the least. The possibility is there – but it’s EXTREMELY unlikely.

    “If I may ask Claudia, are you an atheist?”

    If I may ask scmike, are you mentally retarded?

  • Tank

    scmike wrote: No, there is no dilemma. Immorality is that which contradicts the ABSOLUTE, UNIVERSAL (i.e. perfect and unchanging) character and nature of God.

    Nope, there IS a dilemma. The nature of divine command theory is that you call “good” whatever God’s nature is and not because it is actually “good”. There is no such thing as objective morals in divine command theory, “objective” by definition is not dependant on a thinking viewpoint. You have merely pushed these subjective morals, from society, to God. So they are subject to God, and therefore, still subjective.

    I have a question for you scmike
    How did you, personally, come to the conclusion that God is the good one. By what standard?

    scmike wrote: Sure I have. By the impossibility of the contrary (as still continues to be demonstrated for all to see right here on this very blog).

    Are you absolutely certain of that? Can you please demonstrate this “impossibility of the contrary” because I haven’t seen it.
    If it’s nothing more than “I can’t think of anything else” you are just special pleading and merely using the god of the gaps to explain yet another thing for which a better answer would be “we might not know yet, but maybe we’ll find out someday.”

    We can use logical absolutes without being able to account for them simply because they are there for us to use. WHY they are there sure is another question entirely. It is fundamentally no different from asking “why is there reality?” or “how did the universe begin?” the best answer we can think of is that it is an unknown. Saying God did it is fundamentally no different to saying that its magic. Can you please demonstrate the difference between “God” and any other accounting mechanism such as magic? I’ll be happy if you can.

  • Ash

    The difference is, I have demonstrated how the existence of God accounts for logic, whereas you have not demonstrated how the non-existence of God accounts for logic.

    So all you have to do to prove your logic is acceptable is to define your God, then prove it exists. The non-existence of such a God would merely imply that logic is a human-made concept, so in order to prove that wrong, you simply have to demonstrate that humankind does not exist. “The floor is yours” indeed ;)

    Must all suppositions be proven in order to be valid? If so, please provide the proof for THAT supposition.

    More to the point, if not, you should be accepting others reasoning without question, since you appear to be implying that suppositions (namely yours) should be taken without proof.

    It is my (sup)position that God is the necessary precondition for the existence of proof, by the impossibility of the contrary. You may not like my claim, and may even disagree with it, but the question is, where is your claim?

    Disagree certainly, ‘like’ has no bearing. Once again, to demonstrate your supposition is correct, and hence all arguments ensuing from that position are valid, you just have to define, then prove your God exists. As for my claim; I haven’t made one yet, as you have yet to address the fact that yours is simply an unsubstantiated assertion. I would also expect definition and proof of the existence of invisible flying leprechauns before I would be willing to discuss if they prefer the colour green or yellow.

  • Woody Tanaka

    scmike,
    Because you seem like the kind of Xian whose idea of “debating” is to repeat nonsensical cargo-cult Socratic meanderings in response to previous questions – regardless of the content of those responses – in the interest of space and to short circuit this process, rather than repeat the nonsense you’ve posted, I’m just going to post my statements in response to your inanity in random order. Then, after that, I will discuss those points you made which I do not deem wholly worthless.

    Further, given the fact that you have decided to indulge in lies which clearly constitute bearing false witness (thus proving again you are a hypocrite), I will not respond to any further post by you.

    ——————————————————————————–
    First my random responses:
    -No.
    -Don’t be daft.
    -It’s contingent, and as I said on a number of occasion, contingent statements are not refuted by pointing to the possibility of their being wrong. Basic logic, dummy.
    -It’s a statement of logic.
    -It’s a statement of logic.
    -Contingent knowledge is still knowledge. But you clearly don’t understand shit.
    -It’s definitional. It is what the words mean.
    -Definitional.
    -Improve your reading skills. Logic is definitional. If you don’t understand what that means, then that’s your problem, right there.
    -They are definitional. They exist as absolutes because they are defined in a manner so as to be absolute.
    -Contingent statements are not “unprovable and baseless” – they’re contingent.
    -No, your views are wholly idiotic.
    -There is no problem with making absolute statement about things that are defined as an absolute. How many times do I need to say this for it to soak into your bible-scarred brain? Too much talking to imaginary people is rotting your reasoning skills.
    -Not knowing everything =/= knowing nothing.
    -Already answered that a number of times.
    -Moron.
    -LOL! As if your assumption that the baby-killer actually exists isn’t?!??!
    -No, it isn’t right.
    -You don’t; You know a relative truth to a relative degree. Again, it’s contingent.
    -You really are writing gibberish here.
    -No, I didn’t. You’re simply too stupid to see the difference.
    -Your statement was wholly stupid.
    -This question doesn’t even make any sense. The word has a fairly well-defined meaning in English. Do you expect us to use the meaning of the word in Esperanto, perhaps?
    -That statement is truly idiotic.
    -Just how many times do I have to note that logical statements can be asserted as absolutes?? Really, were you home schooled? Because you really are amazingly stupid or truly hard-headed. Only religion (or perhaps a brain parasite or a sharp blow to the head) can account for such idiocy as you have displayed here.
    -Are you stupid or just obtuse? It is a logical statement. Logical statements can be correct, by definition.
    -Because they are defined to conform with a concept. The concept is not contingent upon events.
    -Contingent knowledge is still knowledge.
    -One follows the rules of logic. And some logical statements are contingent and some are false.
    -Nope, but your statement does show that you have no character.
    ——————————————————————————–
    Now, the remainder of my comments:
    —–
    “In fact, how do you know that the laws of logic haven’t changed since our discussion began so that all of your arguments are now illogical?”
    The laws of logic are defined, they do not have antecedents outside of the concepts from which they are defined.
    —–
    “I’ll show you what I mean: Woody, tell me one thing you know for certain and HOW you know it”
    I know you are either an idiot, a maniac, a persistent liar, or a religious fool. And I know it because I’ve read your juvenile writings.
    —–
    “If this is what your arguments have been reduced to, then I posit that God is what He is BECAUSE that’s what He is, and we can just leave it there.”
    LOL. That, and variations on it, is the only statement that religious people have ever made pertaining to the existence of your baby-killer, anyway. It’s one or more variations of “He is too real. And if you don’t believe it, I’ll torture or kill you.”

    (Though it is interesting that some people wouldn’t buy a house without a house inspection – to be sure that what someone is telling them about the house is true – but they devote their very lives to some dope whose been dead for two thousand years, and they do it with no proof whatsoever. Amazing how religion can damage the brain.)
    —–
    “That which is contingent is uncertain by definition, which means you are making an ‘uncertain’ statement and reaching an ‘uncertain’ conclusion. The very definition of BLIND FAITH!”
    Nonsense. Do you write without thinking or is this nonsense the best you can do? Blind Faith is not the same as an uncertain statement. The statement: “the core of the earth is made of molten metal” is an uncertain statement; “after you die you go live on Sugarcandy Mountain for all eternity” is an expression of blind faith.
    —–
    “Is ‘injuring’ children absolutely wrong in your worldview?”
    Again, you don’t define what you mean (if you even know) by “in your worldview” so I will say that my moral conclusion is that injuring a child morally wrong, excepting, of course, those situation where, for example, the child is “injured” by a needle stick in the process of getting an inoculation or where the child suffers the injury created by chemotherapy or radiation therapy in the hopes of treating the cancer that your baby-burning “god” gave to the innocent child.

    “Why should the feelings of the child hold more weight than those of the molester who may also suffer as a result of not being able to fulfill his desire to molest?”
    Because you are asking me what my moral beliefs are. My moral beliefs is that I don’t give a shit what the feelings of the molester is.

    “If the molester can do his molesting without getting caught such that the child is not ‘injured’… is it then MORAL for him to do so?”
    I don’t give a shit what the details of the molester is. My moral belief is that the molester is wrong. Period.

    “And again, you could never say they were ‘wrong’, just different.”
    Wrong. My moral belief is that they are wrong, so I can say that they are wrong.
    —–
    “‘(For example, because you believe that if your god ordered this child molestation, then you would view this child molestation as being an absolute good, regardless of the harm done to the child.)’”
    “First of all, God is not a sexual being, but an eternal Spirit.”
    First of all, child molestation is a crime of violence, and need not be sexual. So any being which delights in burning babies alive (as you’ve admitted your Darth-Vader-like deity would find to be an absolute good) could order a different crime of violence, correct? Or are there limits to the things your all powerful god can do?

    Further, so Jesus wasn’t a real man, then? I mean, men, by definition, are sexual beings. So did someone cut off the Christ child’s junk or what? Or was Jesus not really god. Because if your Nazarene dumbass was god, and was also a man and all men are sexual beings, then god is a sexual being, by definition. (At least one of your gods is, anyway. Maybe your other two gods, the old man and that dove-thing, don’t have genitalia and a sexual nature.)

    “Secondly, molestation is not wrong because God say it is, it is wrong because it is a violation of His absolute character and nature.”
    This is the same “absolute character and nature” that you believe would be absolutely moral in ordering the burning of new-born babies to death and would be wholly moral in ordering the genocide of entire peoples? Some “character and nature.”
    —–
    “Besides, you’d think that you would want to keep a low profile with regards to child molestation after admitting to being on the same moral ground as the molester.”

    No, I didn’t say anything of the type, you fucking liar. I recognize that most of you Christians are liars and hypocrites, but you morons usually at least try to hide it. Fuck you.
    —–
    “It can be less than certainly uncertain? How so?”
    I didn’t say “less than certainly uncertain,” moron. I said it can be less than absolutely arbitrary because, as I said, it can be subjective, but biased as a result of shared evolutionary history.

    “Oh, so it can be subjective and ‘not subjective’. Got it!”
    No, you don’t. The issue isn’t “subjective” vs. “not subjective,” it is “absolute subjectivity” vs. “biased subjectivity.”
    —–
    “And what, pray tell, would be the purpose of ‘fighting’ someone who held a different moral view than you if not to impose your standard upon them?”
    To stop them from imposing morality that I disagree with.
    —–
    “That’s what ‘might makes right’ is—imposing morality through force.”
    No, it isn’t. It is the statement that one is moral because one can impose themselves on another. I am saying that it is okay to fight someone because their morality is wrong. The principle precedes the use of force. In the “might makes right” situation, the use of force is cited as establishing the morality.
    —–
    “Besides, what if they won and your society was completely wiped out? Their previously ‘atrocious’ behavior would then become ‘right’ by default.”
    The notion of their behavior “becom[ing] ‘right’ by default” is gibberish, driven by your childish belief in absolutism. To them, their behavior was always moral. To me, it was always immoral. —–
    “Absent an absolute standard, you have no basis in assuming your moral views to be ‘right’, or condemning any behavior as ‘wrong’ or ‘atrocious’ apart from your personal preference (which is not law-like in any way).”
    But, again, my thoughts and ideas (what you falsely term my “personal preference”) are what constitute my moral views, and those views define what I believe is right and what I believe is wrong. A moral code is not “law-like,” it is a moral code. It is the principles you believe to be right and correct, not some gibberish written on stone tablets.

    “You also have no basis for assuming that your personal preference won’t change tomorrow, as it is purely subjective.”
    It isn’t purely subjective, it is constrained by various factors, like society and the gifts of our evolutionary heritage. And it very well can change tomorrow. It won’t for the most part and on the core issues, because of those constraining factors, but as we learn and experience and gain wisdom, our moral views will likewise improve as a result of that wisdom, for everyone but psychopaths and sociopaths.
    —–
    “Again, I am pleased with that.”
    LOL. If you keep pleasing yourself like this, your god might get all pouty and mad and after he might have to stop burning babies in order to clap his thunder stick and make you go blind.
    —–
    “No, cannibalism is absolutely morally wrong AND it is wrong to me.”
    Nonsense. This is merely an expression of your own personal morality plus the exceedingly prideful assertion that such personal views are universal norms. Typical.
    —–
    “No doubt they would be glad to abandon their ‘professed’ moral code the moment someone decided to eat them for lunch.”
    LOL. Who said anything about eating them for lunch. Who said that the cannibalism we are talking about isn’t ritualized cannibalism after death?

    “All sane people know the truth with regards to morality, however some choose to suppress the truth in unrighteousness by adopting false standards of morality to suit themselves and their own desires.”
    LOL. Let me guess, this “truth” is in that book supposedly inspired by the baby burner, right? LOL. Would your definition of “sane” include that crazy-man, Abraham, who tried to kill his kid because he heard voices in his head?? Is that sane to you? (And would have done it, too, until the baby burner told him, “Psych!!! just kidding!!! Ha ha.” What a dick head your god is…)
    —–
    “Though people may profess arbitrary morality, no one can live consistently with those ‘professed’ beliefs when the roles are reversed, as is demonstrated by the die hard thief who locks his doors and windows at night or the murderer who runs AWAY from his knife-wielding assailant.”
    Or the Christian pastor who rails against homosexuality while he is boning male hookers?
    —–
    “I am pleased with that concession.”
    There you go, pleasuring yourself again. Watch out. Hairy palms, and all…
    —–
    “Problem is, that very statement is nothing but a personal presence and is no more valid than any other personal preference as it doesn’t necessarily apply to anyone else but you.”
    Correct. My moral views are not necessarily shared by anyone else. That’s what I’ve been telling you.
    —–
    “Perhaps you’d care to explain how you determine one subjective personal preference to be ‘more’ or ‘less’ valid than another in your worldview?”
    This question is gibberish. It isn’t a matter of “more” or “less” valid. People simply can have different moral codes.

    “If multiple individuals or societies hold multiple standards of morality, how is the conflict resolved?”
    What conflict? People simply have different moral codes. If they can live together without coming to blows, they don’t come to blows. If they can’t, they do.
    —–
    “And if the Nazis had won and successfully eliminated those who opposed them and their behavior, they would necessarily have become right by default.”
    No. Again, there is no “becoming right by default.” They always believed they were right; their opponents always believed they were wrong.
    —–
    “Nope. Personal standards do not give us that which ‘should be’, only that which ‘is’.”
    That could be the stupidest statement you’ve made yet.
    —–
    “You have no basis for calling anyone else’s personal standard ‘wrong’ in your worldview, as the most you could ever say is that it is ‘different’.”
    Baloney. Some times the difference doesn’t amount to them being wrong, and sometimes it does.
    —–
    “Nope. If society is the standard, there could be no such thing as ‘oppression’, as society could never be unjust or wrong in anything they did.”
    No, I was wrong. THIS is your stupidest statement yet.
    —–
    “In order to be absolutely wrong, he would’ve had to violate an absolute standard.”
    Nonsense. I believe that his views were not the least bit right. Therefore they were absolutely wrong. (as in, “wholly and completely” not as in “against an absolute standard.”)
    —–
    “Again, by what absolute standard to you condemn such actions? How do you account for that standard?”
    Again, not an absolute standard. I condemn them based on my personal moral code.
    —–
    “Why does it NECESSARILY apply to anyone?”
    My moral code applies to me. I don’t find anything immoral about judging others.
    —–
    “No, I am arguing that if society’s majority is the standard of ‘right’, then anything the majority does is ALWAYS right and cannot be wrong.”
    But it is not my position that the “society’s majority is the standard of ‘right’”. Thus, you are arguing against a straw man.
    —–
    “What you probably don’t realize is that you are admitting that your own moral sense is not universal, and could change so that everything you view as immoral now, could be viewed as completely moral tomorrow.”
    Of course my moral view evolves as I grow and learn and mature. That is how it should be. I don’t believe that the core issues will change, though, because the moral code is constrained by things like enlightened self-interest, societal influence and the gifts of our evolutionary heritage.
    —–
    “But why SHOULD they believe what you believe?”
    I believe they should agree with me because I believe my view of things is correct.
    —–
    “How do you know that you SHOULDN’T believe what they believe?”
    Because I don’t believe I am wrong. I may be incorrect, which is why I keep an open mind about it.
    —–
    “You beg the question by assuming the correct purpose of morality to be for the ‘creation of a well-run and personally and socially sustaining society’. How do you presume to know this”
    Well, I certainly don’t believe it’s to give a cosmic blow-job to your baby killer, so what else would it be good for?
    —–
    “(especially since you have admitted that you can’t really know ANYTHING)?”
    No, I haven’t. Jesus f’ing Christ, can you even read?
    —–
    “Surely you’re not asserting that your views of morality are ‘ideal’ are you? “
    They’re ideal for me.
    —–
    “Problem is, that very statement is merely a belief about morality and could never be proven true.”
    But morality is nothing more than beliefs and not something that can be proven true.
    ————
    “Opposite and equal.”
    Nope. Mine is superior.

    “In fact, if we follow your line of reasoning to its logical conclusion, you are forced to admit that your personal preference (i.e. belief) regarding child molestation could change such that you could find it preferable.”
    No, my moral view of this question can not change. The acquisition of wisdom does not lead in that direction, and the constraining factors all go in the opposite direction.

    “Sorry for you man, but that’s the consequence of a worldview without God.”
    LOL. No, that’s simply another example of the fact that a life believing in that shit called Christianity leads to an absence of character. Let’s look at the consequence of a worldview with this baby-burner: jihads, the holocaust, crusades, the inquisition, witch burning, and on and on and on…
    ===============
    ”Incorrect. God cannot have gay sex, as he is not a sexual being and sexual immorality is against His absolute character and nature.”
    LOL. Interesting that your cosmic dick head has no problem burning babies to death and drowning wholly innocent children, but would balk at a bit of gay sex… (even though, let’s face it, in ancient Israel, being 30 years old, unmarried, attached to his momma, and hanging around 12 other guys pretty much means “gay.” I guess the “h” in Jesus H. Christ stands for “homosexual.”).
    —–
    “Nor can God torture anyone (or anything), as torture assumes cruelty (i.e. evil), which again is contrary to God’s just character and nature.”
    LMFAO. And what the hell do you think burning babies to death is, if not the torture of them?? Jesus H. Christ, no wonder torture of “heretics” and “infidels” has been a core Christian practice for 2000 years, when you can convince yourself that burning babies doesn’t constitute cruelty.
    —–
    ”Again, it hardly makes sense for you to try and dictate to the Author of morality what is and what is not moral, as any argument you attempt to level against Him necessarily presupposes Him.”
    LOL. No, I am just assuming for the argument that the fairy tales in your book are true, and evaluating the god character as I would any other fictional villian.
    —–
    “Sexual sin is absolutely, universally immoral because it is a direct violation of God’s absolute, universal character and nature.”
    LOL. Perhaps you’re right. I can see how someone who gets his jollies by burning babies and drowning innocent children would have a warped view of sex.
    ——
    “‘So if he commanded someone to commit a genocide against another people, then such genocide would be fully and completely good, correct? Indeed, it would be a sin to oppose it, because that would be going against God’s command, correct?’””IF He commanded it, yes.”
    Wow. So if someone asked you whether the Holocaust was evil, you would have to answer, “Yes, unless Hitler was commanded by god, in which case the killing of all those millions upon millions of innocent lives was an absolute, glorious good.”
    ——
    “’So then burning a baby to death is not absolutely immoral, it is only immoral when not commanded by God. So the moral conclusion that burning a baby to death is contingent upon there not being this command by God, correct?’”
    ”Correct.”
    Interesting that adultery is always, universally evil (even with the consent of the partners of the people involved), but burning a baby can be a wonderful, moral thing in your view.
    ——
    “’And would it also be immoral to condemn someone who burned a new-born baby to death, if God commanded them to do it?’”
    ”IF God commanded them to do it, yes.”
    The police really should be keeping an eye on psychopaths like you or you should be locked up for the safety of society.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    scmike “God made man…”
    {citation needed}

    “…sin made man corrupt. (And, before you ask, no, God did not MAKE sin)”
    Then where did it come from?

    “And you again beg the question by assuming that God is not the necessary precondition for the existence of a ‘rational’ universe and that one can exist apart from Him.”
    You haven’t proved that it is. You’ve assumed and declared, but not proven. Until so, the null hypothesis stands.

    “No, there is no dilemma. Immorality is that which contradicts the ABSOLUTE, UNIVERSAL (i.e. perfect and unchanging) character and nature of God.”
    Which, again, puts it firmly on the second horn of the dilemma.

    “Not sure why you feel the need to differentiate between the Jewish God and the Christian one, as they are one and the same.”
    Not to the Jews and Jewish Presuppositionalists, to whom you’ve made an unnecessary extra step.

    “Nevertheless, the answer to your question (again) is Divine revelation. God has made Himself known to all people through natural [revelation]…”
    Which always results in the wrong answer.

    “…and special revelation such that we can be certain of who He is and are without excuse.”
    These are the same special revelations that result in the Ussher chronology, right?
    And you haven’t shown that the Tanakh and NT are special revelations.

  • Svlad Cjelli

    I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.

    Isaiah (45:7)

  • scmike

    Claudia,

    I said: “That’s the difference between viewing mankind through our sinful, imperfect human perspective and God’s perspective of absolute holiness and perfection.”

    You said: “”All you have is the “imperfect” human perspective. Even by your own definition you are utterly incapable of knowing the “true perfect” perspective of god.””

    This begs the question that an omnipotent, omniscient God could not reveal Himself to ‘imperfect’ people such that we can know for certain who He is. Do you deny this possibility? If so, on what grounds?

    “”The Bible was written by men. You trust that it is the word of your god though your trust of men, you interpret the words in the book through your human brain. Even any “revelation” or “personal knowledge” of your god that you have is, by definition, that of a fallible human, not an infallible god.””

    You again beg the question by assuming that an omnipotent, omniscient God could not use fallible man to deliver His revelation of Himself intact. How do you know this to be the case?

    I said: “The fact that God grants mankind the grace to live and enjoy the pleasures of life despite what we are and the fact that He has offered us mercy and forgiveness through His Son Jesus Christ is the ultimate expression of His unspeakable love and kindness to us.”

    You said: “”Yes, and the fact that he will throw us into a pit of unrelenting fire if we simply don’t come to the proper conclusion is also an expression of his love?””

    Again, this is a perfect example of why I don’t do Biblical exegesis with those who deny the authority of the Bible and are hostile against its Author–way too many misrepresentations.

    Claudia, it is the Biblical position that God has revealed Himself to ALL mankind so that we can know for certain who He is and what He expects of us. Those who deny Him simply suppress this truth in unrighteousness to avoid accountability to Him.

    The fact that willful rebellion and rejection of an eternally holy and righteous God carries eternal consequences is an expression of His perfect justice. I recommend repentence.

    “”Also, the very idea that a pedophile murderer and the child he rapes and murders, if not a Christian, will go to the very same hell, is simply abhorrent on its face.””

    Again with the misrepresentations! No one here is arguing that children go to Hell but you.

    However, you do raise an ineresting question–by what standard to you condemn any action as ‘abhorrent’ in your worldview? How do you account for that standard? Why does it necessarily apply to anything?

    I said: “If I may ask Claudia, are you an atheist?”

    You said: “”I guess it’s pretty obvious by now, but for the sake of completeness yes, I am an atheist.””

    I thought so, it’s just that your first post was totally inconsistent with an atheistic worldview. For instance, you said that newborn babies are ‘deserving’ of the full protection and care of society.

    While I wholeheartedly agree with you, I have a basis for my belief, as the Bible teaches that humans are made in the image of God and should be treated with respect and dignity.

    Perhaps you can tell us why any human being is entitled to these things in your worldview? What gives humans dignity over any other mass of evolved cells? Do your views extend to those children in the womb as well, or are they ‘fair game’ until birth?

  • scmike

    joe agnost,

    I said: “But since you can’t be certain of that, the exact opposite could be true, right?”

    You said: “”Yes, the exact opposite ~could~ be true.””

    So, how do you know the exact opposite ISN’T true Joe?

    You said: “”You mistake “could” with ‘likely’ though.””

    What’s hilarious though is that you have admitted that you can’t know anything for certain, therefore you can’t know THAT! The fact that this continues to elude you is mind-boggling (not that I mind though, in fact, please keep it up!!).

    You said: “”You seem to lack the ability to see things in shades – because the sun ~could~ fail to rise in the east tomorrow does not make it likely in the least. The possibility is there – but it’s EXTREMELY unlikely.””

    OK, Joe, I’ll give you one more chance. Are you certain of any of this, or could it all be false? If you’re certain, do tell how. Otherwise, at least be consistent and STOP making knowledge claims.

  • joe agnost

    scmike asked: “So, how do you know the exact opposite ISN’T true Joe?”

    Sigh… ’round and ’round we go… I don’t “know” the exact opposite isn’t true, but every shred of evidence I have seen to date indicates that the exact opposite is NOT true. Do you really lack the mental fortitude to understand this? Are you really ~that~ dumb?

    The sun ain’t rising in the west tomorrow, of this I’m ~almost~ certain. It doesn’t get much more certain than that! Until there is evidence of the contrary my sane interpretation of the evidence leads me to claim that (gasp!) ‘yes, the sun will rise in the east tomorrow’.
    I’m really sorry that I didn’t need your baby-burner to come up with that… I can see that this really hurts you.

    Now answer my question and ‘fess up – you’re mentally retarded aren’t you? It’s the only way to explain your insane ramblings!

    @Woody: I enjoyed reading your response to this moron… and since scmike has claimed that his god is a baby-burner among other “absolutely morally good” things I loved how you referred to said diety by “baby-burner”. LOL! ;)

  • scmike

    Tank,

    Welcome to the discussion! Regarding your comments:

    I said: “No, there is no dilemma. Immorality is that which contradicts the ABSOLUTE, UNIVERSAL (i.e. perfect and unchanging) character and nature of God.

    You said: “”Nope, there IS a dilemma. The nature of divine command theory is that you call “good” whatever God’s nature is and not because it is actually “good”. There is no such thing as objective morals in divine command theory, “objective” by definition is not dependant on a thinking viewpoint.””

    Sorry Tank, but I don’t know who you are arguing with here, but it isn’t me. I do not subscribe to any ‘divine command theory’, as I have made clear. If you’d like to debate, that’s fine, but let’s stick to the positions that we each actually hold.

    You said: “”I have a question for you scmike How did you, personally, come to the conclusion that God is the good one. By what standard?””

    Divine revelation (as did you).

    I said: “Sure I have. By the impossibility of the contrary (as still continues to be demonstrated for all to see right here on this very blog).”

    You asked: “”Are you absolutely certain of that?””

    Yes.

    You asked: “”Can you please demonstrate this “impossibility of the contrary” because I haven’t seen it.””

    Actually, what you haven’t seen is any competing account given by any atheist on this blog for the existence of absolute, universal, immaterial laws of logic since this discussion first started 8 DAYS AGO, which demonstrates the impossibility of the contrary quite nicely.

    You said: “”If it’s nothing more than “I can’t think of anything else” you are just special pleading and merely using the god of the gaps to explain yet another thing for which a better answer would be “we might not know yet, but maybe we’ll find out someday.”””

    That’s like saying that if I say 4 is the answer to 2+2, then I am using a ’4′ of the gaps argument, which would be absurd (as is your argument).

    I know the right answer Tank (as do you), and if anything, you are guilty of trying to posit an ‘atheism of the gaps’ argument to aid in your suppression of the truth. You may wish to sit around and wait until someone comes up with an answer that better suits you and is more to your liking, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

    You said: “”We can use logical absolutes without being able to account for them simply because they are there for us to use.””

    My apologies Tank, I thought you were here to debate. If your arguments are reduced to positing that laws of logic exist ‘because they do’, then I’ll just posit that God exists simply ‘because He does’ and we can wrap this up right now. Not what I was hoping for though.

    You said: “”WHY they are there sure is another question entirely.””

    And it is a question which CANNOT be answered apart from the God of the Bible (as continues to be demonstrated here).

    You said: “”It is fundamentally no different from asking “why is there reality?” or “how did the universe begin?” the best answer we can think of is that it is an unknown.””

    Speak for yourself. Tell you what Tank, let’s cut right to the chase–tell me one thing you know for certain and how you claim to know it in your worldview.

    You said: “”Saying God did it is fundamentally no different to saying that its magic. Can you please demonstrate the difference between “God” and any other accounting mechanism such as magic? I’ll be happy if you can.””

    If that is your argument, posit it and I will be happy to refute it. Otherwise, I don’t have the time to debate worldviews that neither of us hold to.

  • scmike

    joe agnost,

    You said: “”Sigh… ’round and ’round we go… I don’t “know” the exact opposite isn’t true, but every shred of evidence I have seen to date indicates that the exact opposite is NOT true.””

    But, of course, you can’t know what evidence does and does not indicate if you can’t know anytning for certain (as you have been so kind to admit).

    “”Are you really ~that~ dumb?””

    Actually, I’d say ‘dumb’ would be the perfect word to describe someone who admits they can’t know anything, don’t you think so?

    While I do commend you for being the only one here so far with the guts to actually step up and show what atheism really amounts to Joe, it looks like you and I are done. I see no point in continuing to try and hold a discussion with someone who can’t account for the very concept of ‘discussion’. Come back when you can. :)

  • joe agnost

    scmike wrote: “I do commend you for being the only one here so far with the guts to actually step up and show what atheism really amounts to Joe”

    Huh? I did ~what~ now? I haven’t been talking about “atheism”, I’ve been talking about my views.

    Grasping the simplest of concepts seems to allude you (mental retardation and all) so I’m not surprised that you don’t even know what’s being discussed.

    For the record: Atheism means one thing and one thing only – Disbelief in god(s). That’s it I’m afraid – you can’t attribute anything else to it!

  • scmike

    Woody,

    I warned you earlier that I would not respond to you if you continued to post overtly blasphemous comments, as I am only interested in serious debate. Looks like you and I are done here. Take care.

  • Woody Tanaka

    Thanks, Joe. I does sum up the monster he worships quite nicely.

    And, yes, he is that dumb. How many times did I try to explain that the laws of logic exists in the fashion that they do because they are concepts which are defined to be universal and coherent. This moron still is arguing, in his statement to Tank, that no account has been given for the laws of logic over the last 8 days. I guess it’s easy for him to pretend to a master-debater when he simply ignores the arguments made against his position.

    Anyway, I’m not certain he’s mentally retarded. Could be a troll, a moron or a liar. Who knows.

    EDIT: LOL. And apparently I huwt his wittle gawd’s feewings… LMAO!!

  • joe agnost

    “I warned you earlier that I would not respond to you if you continued to post overtly blasphemous comments”

    You are the only one who recognizes “blasphemy” here guy…

    “I am only interested in serious debate”

    BWAHAHAHAHA… too funny…

  • scmike

    Modusoperandi,

    I said: “…sin made man corrupt. (And, before you ask, no, God did not MAKE sin)”

    You asked: “”Then where did it come from?””

    Sin didn’t ‘come from’ anywhere in the sense that it has always been ANYTHING that is contrary to the absolute character and nature of God from His perspective.

    I said: “And you again beg the question by assuming that God is not the necessary precondition for the existence of a ‘rational’ universe and that one can exist apart from Him.”

    You said: “”You haven’t proved that it is.””

    Look, just because you don’t like the proof I’ve given, doesn’t mean that none has been given. Besides, without a competing account of your own, you have no basis from which to level any argument against my claim. I am pleased with that.

    I said: “Not sure why you feel the need to differentiate between the Jewish God and the Christian one, as they are one and the same.”

    You said: “”Not to the Jews and Jewish Presuppositionalists, to whom you’ve made an unnecessary extra step.””

    Um, not if they’re messianic Jews. :)

    If, however, you’re referring to non-messianic Jews who practice Judaism, let me know when you convert, and I’ll be happy to do an internal critique of your worldview to show you where it falls short. Until then, let’s stick to the worldviews that we each actually hold to.

    I said: “Nevertheless, the answer to your question (again) is Divine revelation. God has made Himself known to all people through natural [revelation]…”

    You said: “”Which always results in the wrong answer.””

    Which assumes that you know the ‘right’ answer. Tell me, Modus, how is it possible for you to know anything in your worldview (perhaps you’ll fare better than your buddy Joe did, but I won’t get my hopes up).

    “”And you haven’t shown that the Tanakh and NT are special revelations.””

    Sure I have–by the impossibility of the contrary. The Bible is the ONLY ‘Holy Book’ (i.e. alleged special revelation)which makes sense of absolute, immaterial, universal entities, comports with reality, and is internally consistent.

  • scmike

    To those who may be following this discussion:

    You need not look any further than Woody’s and Joe’s most recent posts to see perfect examples of the desperate lengths those who deny God will go to when they finally realize the sheer hopelessness of their professed worldview and the reality that they cannot ever hope to defeat the Christian claim through sound argumentation. Never fails!

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    scmike “Sorry Tank, but I don’t know who you are arguing with here, but it isn’t me. I do not subscribe to any ‘divine command theory’, as I have made clear. If you’d like to debate, that’s fine, but let’s stick to the positions that we each actually hold.”
    “Yes. In fact, it would’ve been wrong (i.e. unlawful) not to.”, “When and if directly commanded by God.”, “IF He commanded it, yes.”, etc. That’s DVC.

    “Sin didn’t ‘come from’ anywhere in the sense that it has always been ANYTHING that is contrary to the absolute character and nature of God from His perspective.”
    In a perfect universe made perfectly by a perfect God? The heck, you say!

    “Look, just because you don’t like the proof I’ve given, doesn’t mean that none has been given. Besides, without a competing account of your own, you have no basis from which to level any argument against my claim.”
    Presupposition is not evidence. Declaration is not fact. Deist presuppositionalism, at least, doesn’t requiring denying the actual history of the universe.

    “Which assumes that you know the ‘right’ answer.”
    Hardly. What does general revelation always result in? A bunch of gods.

    “Tell me, Modus, how is it possible for you to know anything in your worldview…”
    Know absolutely? I have no idea. Know reasonably? Experience, history, science, etc.

    “Sure I have–by the impossibility of the contrary.”
    Again, this is the book that results in the Ussher chronology, as well as things that didn’t happen, happened in the wrong order, or were grossly exaggerated.

    “The Bible is the ONLY ‘Holy Book’ (i.e. alleged special revelation)which makes sense of absolute, immaterial, universal entities, comports with reality, and is internally consistent.”
    I take it you haven’t heard Islamic apologetics. They get around the ahistorical/wrong bits by saying that Allah’s word was corrupted (generally by the Jews, if memory serves) and that any perceived contractions are because later revelation supercedes earlier ones.

    “…sound argumentation…”
    You use that term as though you know what it means.

  • Svlad Cjelli

    I know the right answer Tank (as do you)

    Then is he not already convinced?
    Again, why do you argue for your position, scmike?

    If, however, you’re referring to non-messianic Jews who practice Judaism, let me know when you convert, and I’ll be happy to do an internal critique of your worldview to show you where it falls short. Until then, let’s stick to the worldviews that we each actually hold to.

    Your request for a conversion seems a bit harsh. Entertaining the notion for sake of discussion is out of the question, then?

    You said: “”Saying God did it is fundamentally no different to saying that its magic. Can you please demonstrate the difference between “God” and any other accounting mechanism such as magic? I’ll be happy if you can.””

    If that is your argument, posit it and I will be happy to refute it. Otherwise, I don’t have the time to debate worldviews that neither of us hold to.

    The argument was already posited, but since I would like to see this unfold, I will also posit it for myself.
    I hold that Magic independently established the world as it is, with generalised patterns (laws) and prescriptions as they are.

  • Tank

    scmike wrote: Welcome to the discussion! Regarding your comments:

    Thank you

    scmike wrote: Sorry Tank, but I don’t know who you are arguing with here, but it isn’t me. I do not subscribe to any ‘divine command theory’, as I have made clear. If you’d like to debate, that’s fine, but let’s stick to the positions that we each actually hold.

    I think Modusoperandi had the right idea but you do subscribe to divine command theory. How? by merely asserting whatever god commands is morally good.

    I said: ”I have a question for you scmike. How did you, personally, come to the conclusion that God is the good one. By what standard?””
    scmike wrote: Divine revelation (as did you).

    So, god is good because he revealed himself to be good? And no, I don’t agree. What you have here is just an appeal to authority. How do you know hes good? Because he said so? Doesn’t that worry you at all? How is it any different from a human programming a robot to think that the human is perfectly good?

    scmike wrote: Actually, what you haven’t seen is any competing account given by any atheist on this blog for the existence of absolute, universal, immaterial laws of logic since this discussion first started 8 DAYS AGO, which demonstrates the impossibility of the contrary quite nicely.

    So what I get from you here is because x number of atheists on this blog supposedly haven’t given competing accounts for the existance of logical absolutes, therefore it is impossible? Do you see why this isn’t sufficient evidence for me? Here’s an analogy that I hope will show you why. Feel free to show me if I have misunderstood here.

    Two people discussing the existence of thunder hundreds of years ago:

    Pagan: Zeus is hurling the thunder bolts.
    Atheist: I don’t accept your claim.
    Pagan: Then how is he doing it?
    Atheist: I don’t have a sufficient explanation yet.
    Pagan: Therefore it is impossible to the contrary to explain the existance of thunder other than Zeus.

    scmike wrote: That’s like saying that if I say 4 is the answer to 2+2, then I am using a ‘4? of the gaps argument, which would be absurd (as is your argument).

    I know the right answer Tank (as do you), and if anything, you are guilty of trying to posit an ‘atheism of the gaps’ argument to aid in your suppression of the truth. You may wish to sit around and wait until someone comes up with an answer that better suits you and is more to your liking, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

    The difference is that “4″ has been demonstrated as the answer to 2 + 2. Like my analogy above, if the pagan demonstrated how Zeus hurls the thunderbolts, not just “accounted” for it, it wouldn’t be a “Zeus of the gaps” argument. Insert “thunder” with any other thing that hasn’t been explained yet. And no, I am not using an “Atheist of the gaps argument” because I am not using Atheism as the explanation for why there are logical absolutes, or anything that we haven’t discovered for that matter. I ask again, please demonstrate how god is responsible for logical absolutes.

    scmike wrote: My apologies Tank, I thought you were here to debate. If your arguments are reduced to positing that laws of logic exist ‘because they do’, then I’ll just posit that God exists simply ‘because He does’ and we can wrap this up right now. Not what I was hoping for though.

    You misunderstood me. I didn’t say they they “exist because they are there” I said we use them because they are there. Just like we use the Earth to live because it is there. Subtle difference.

    scmike wrote: Speak for yourself. Tell you what Tank, let’s cut right to the chase–tell me one thing you know for certain and how you claim to know it in your worldview.

    I assert that “absolute certainty” is a generally useless concept to us both. Here’s a scenario.

    We’ve known about the dwarf planet Pluto for about 80 years now. That’s shorter than the time it takes Pluto to complete one revolution around the sun. Can we KNOW that Pluto will complete its revolution around the sun? Just because we haven’t seen it go around the sun, should we start positing all sorts of supernatural explanations for why it might not? Why don’t we go with the most practical, demonstrated and the most useful explanation and say that it too, will follow the laws of physics like the other planets? If it is demonstrated that it doesn’t follow the laws of physics, then maybe we can posit some new explanations.

    As you can see, I take the evidence that most closely reflects reality, and base my “knowledge” on what most closely reflects this reality simply because it is the only thing that we know so far to have. Something that doesn’t manifest in reality is indistinguishable from nothing. Could all of us be wrong? it is possible, but consider this statement:

    “We are merely brains in a vat, reality is an illusion fed to our brains in this vat.”

    Even if the above were actually true I would still reject the claim, because I have yet no way of verifying the above claim, or any other similar claims for that matter. Think of it as innocent until proven guilty. As we want to limit the number of false convictions, I want to limit the number of undemonstrative beliefs until they are demonstrated. And this includes god.

    scmike wrote If that is your argument, posit it and I will be happy to refute it. Otherwise, I don’t have the time to debate worldviews that neither of us hold to.

    Reality was created five minutes ago, by fairies, who also created the bible to fool mankind into thinking there was a god. They also created all of our memories, to make us think we have been around longer.

    Can you demonstrate to 100% knowledge why this is NOT the case please? If you can’t, then do you admit it’s a possibility? If you admit it’s a possibility, does that mean we must take it to be true? If not, what should we take as true? For what reason?

  • Woody Tanaka

    To those who may be following this discussion:

    scmike is a lying sack of shit. It is that reason alone that I will not directly respond to him, and not any imagined “sheer hopelessness of [my] professed worldview.” Indeed, as anyone who is reading these posts can show, scmike is amazingly and patently stupid, and suffers from brain damage borne of his belief in God the baby-burning murderer and his gay son, Jesus.

  • Ash

    “To those who may be following this discussion:”

    Were I to mischaracterize you, scmike, in the way you have others I’d be tempted to conclude that you are either too rude, ill educated or seriously lacking in reading comprehension to address my previous comment…

    Feel free to attempt it if you can now tho :D

  • scmike

    svlad cjelli,

    “”I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.

    Isaiah (45:7)””

    As I have stated numerous times, I don’t do Bible exegesis with those who cannot account for the logic necessary to do any textual analysis and who deny the authority of the Bible (but if I did, I’d point out that the scripture you have provided has absolutely nothing to do with God creating sin).

  • scmike

    modusoperandi,

    I said (to Tank): “Sorry Tank, but I don’t know who you are arguing with here, but it isn’t me. I do not subscribe to any ‘divine command theory’, as I have made clear. If you’d like to debate, that’s fine, but let’s stick to the positions that we each actually hold.”

    You said (quoting me): “Yes. In fact, it would’ve been wrong (i.e. unlawful) not to.”, “When and if directly commanded by God.”, “IF He commanded it, yes.”, etc. “”That’s DVC.””

    Again, Modus, I do not hold to the position that you are erroneously trying to ascribe to me. As I have stated, something is not ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ BECAUSE God says it is, it is such based on the way that it comports with God’s absolute, holy character and nature.

    As I have told Tank, if you want to debate me, that’s fine, but let’s stick to the positions that we each actually hold.

    I said: “Sin didn’t ‘come from’ anywhere in the sense that it has always been ANYTHING that is contrary to the absolute character and nature of God from His perspective.”

    You said: “”In a perfect universe made perfectly by a perfect God?””em>

    Yep, as part of His perfect plan.

    I said: “Look, just because you don’t like the proof I’ve given, doesn’t mean that none has been given. Besides, without a competing account of your own, you have no basis from which to level any argument against my claim.”

    You said: “”Presupposition is not evidence.””

    Problem is, that very statement IS a presupposition, and (according to you) does not constitute evidence that it is true. Priceless!

    You said: “”Declaration is not fact.””

    You mean like that? Thanks for the demo!

    I said: “Which assumes that you know the ‘right’ answer.””

    You said: “”Hardly. What does general revelation always result in? A bunch of gods.””

    Looks like you’ve forgotten your concession that it is possible that God could reveal Himself to us so that we could be certain of who He is. You still have not told how certainty is possible in your worldview, and it looks like you’re about to go the way of Joe (scroll down)….

    I said: “Tell me, Modus, how is it possible for you to know anything in your worldview…”

    You said: “”Know absolutely? I have no idea.””

    Are you absolutely certain that you have no idea? If so, how?

    “”Know reasonably? Experience, history, science, etc.””

    If you can’t be certain of anything, how can you know what is and is not reasonable? By what absolute standard would one determine the ‘reasonableness’ of any knowledge?

    I said: “Sure I have–by the impossibility of the contrary.”

    You said: “”Again, this is the book that results in the Ussher chronology, as well as things that didn’t happen, happened in the wrong order, or were grossly exaggerated.””

    As I said, I don’t do Bible exegesis with unbelievers. You will interpret the Bible
    according to your presuppositions, and I will interpret it according to mine. The question is, whose presuppositions can account for the logic needed to do any textual analysis. I submit that yours do not.

    I said: “The Bible is the ONLY ‘Holy Book’ (i.e. alleged special revelation)which makes sense of absolute, immaterial, universal entities, comports with reality, and is internally consistent.”

    You said: “”I take it you haven’t heard Islamic apologetics.””

    I take it you didn’t read my last post where I said that when you convert to one of those other religions, I’ll be happy to show you where you’re wrong. Until then, let’s stick to the worldviews we actually hold to (although I do understand why you’d want to deflect attention away from yours).

    You said: “”..sound argumentation…”You use that term as though you know what it means.””

    I have no problem letting intellectually honest readers decide who has provided sound arguments for their position on this blog and who has resorted to name calling, childish games, and misrepresentations to mask the fact that they have none.

  • scmike

    svlad cjelli,

    I said (to Tank): “I know the right answer Tank (as do you)”

    You said: “”Then is he not already convinced?
    Again, why do you argue for your position, scmike?””

    Already answered this (Dec. 7 (2:30 pm).

    I said: “If, however, you’re referring to non-messianic Jews who practice Judaism, let me know when you convert, and I’ll be happy to do an internal critique of your worldview to show you where it falls short. Until then, let’s stick to the worldviews that we each actually hold to.”

    You said: “”Your request for a conversion seems a bit harsh. Entertaining the notion for sake of discussion is out of the question, then?””

    Yep. I do not have time to argue positions that no one here holds to, as once it has been refuted, that person could just say ‘well I didn’t really believe that anyway’ and posit a new one, ad infinitum. Sorry, not interested (besides, it’s a formidable enough task staying caught up with these comments as it is).

    You said: “”Saying God did it is fundamentally no different to saying that its magic. Can you please demonstrate the difference between “God” and any other accounting mechanism such as magic? I’ll be happy if you can.””

    I said: “If that is your argument, posit it and I will be happy to refute it. Otherwise, I don’t have the time to debate worldviews that neither of us hold to.”

    You said: “”The argument was already posited, but since I would like to see this unfold, I will also posit it for myself.
    I hold that Magic independently established the world as it is, with generalised patterns (laws) and prescriptions as they are.””

    I don’t believe you, but nevertheless I’ll play (for a bit).

    First of all, I’m glad you see that you must abandon atheism in order to account for prescribed laws (congratulations)! Secondly, how does Magic account for absolute, universal, immaterial prescribed laws? Thirdly,
    how and when was this revealed to you?

  • scmike

    Ash,

    I said: “The difference is, I have demonstrated how the existence of God accounts for logic, whereas you have not demonstrated how the non-existence of God accounts for logic.”

    You said: “”So all you have to do to prove your logic is acceptable is to define your God, then prove it exists.””

    Actually, saying that I ‘HAVE’ to do anything indicates that you are trying to hold me to an absolute standard of argumentation. What is that standard? How do you account for it? Why does it NECESSARILY apply to me (or does it)?

    You said: “”The non-existence of such a God would merely imply that logic is a human-made concept, so in order to prove that wrong, you simply have to demonstrate that humankind does not exist. “The floor is yours” indeed””

    Again, by what standard do I ‘HAVE’ to do this? Yet again, how is it possible to ‘prove’ anything in your worldview (don’t worry, I know you won’t answer this)?

    Note: All it would really take to prove your position wrong is to show that laws of logic can exist apart from humans, which is easy to do. I’ll show you what I mean:

    1) If humans created logic, could the universe have both existed and not existed at the same time and in the same way before there were humans to create the law of non-contradiction?

    2) How does something that is in one person’s mind necessarily apply to something in someone else’s mind?

    3) How did humans make universal, immaterial, unchanging laws and where are they?

    I asked: “Must all suppositions be proven in order to be valid? If so, please provide the proof for THAT supposition.”

    You said: “”More to the point, if not, you should be accepting others reasoning without question, since you appear to be implying that suppositions (namely yours) should be taken without proof.””

    Not at all. The very existence of the concept of ‘proof’ (which you continue to appeal to, yet still cannot account for)justifies my presupposition quite nicely. Gracias!

    I said: “It is my position that God is the necessary precondition for the existence of proof, by the impossibility of the contrary. You may not like my claim, and may even disagree with it, but the question is, where is your claim?”

    You said: “”As for my claim; I haven’t made one yet, as you have yet to address the fact that yours is simply an unsubstantiated assertion.””

    What you don’t seem to realize is that your failure to provide a contrary claim for the existence of the concept of ‘proof’ in your worldview, IS substantiation for my claim (not that I needed it). Keep it up!!

    You said: “”I would also expect definition and proof of the existence of invisible flying leprechauns before I would be willing to discuss if they prefer the colour green or yellow.””

    Why? You seem to have a penchant for accepting things on blind faith. :D

  • scmike

    Tank,

    I said: “Welcome to the discussion!”

    You said: “”Thank you””

    You’re welcome. :)

    I said: “Sorry Tank, but I don’t know who you are arguing with here, but it isn’t me. I do not subscribe to any ‘divine command theory’, as I have made clear. If you’d like to debate, that’s fine, but let’s stick to the positions that we each actually hold.”

    You said: “”I think Modusoperandi had the right idea but you do subscribe to divine command theory. How? by merely asserting whatever god commands is morally good.””

    Just in case you haven’t seen my response to Modus yet, I will tell you as well that things are not ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ just because God says so, they are such because of the way they comport with His holy, unchanging character and nature.

    For instance, lying is not wrong just because God says it is, it is wrong because God cannot lie, as it is contrary to His nature.

    You said: “”I have a question for you scmike. How did you, personally, come to the conclusion that God is the good one. By what standard?””

    I said: Divine revelation (as did you).

    You responded: “”So, god is good because he revealed himself to be good?””

    No, God is good AND He has revealed Himself to be such.

    You said: “”And no, I don’t agree.””

    Thankfully, your areement is not required here. :P

    You said: “”What you have here is just an appeal to authority.””

    And by what authority is that not allowed?

    You see Tank, we are both appealing to authority here. My appeal is to God as my ultimate authority while yours is to your own automous ability to think and reason apart from God. The problem is, your position leads to absurdity and hopeless circularity (i.e. ‘I reason that my reasoning is valid’) while mine leads to certainty.

    You asked: “”How do you know hes good? Because he said so?””

    Yes. The only way that anyone can know anything is if it is revealed to them by One who knows everything. Otherwise you end up in an infinite regress of ‘and how do you know that’ (for verfication of this, check out my ‘discussion’ with Joe).

    It is my position that God has revealed Himself to us such that we can know for certain who He is and what He is like (good). If you are intellectually honest, you would be forced to admit that this is possible (as Modusoperandi did).

    You asked: “”Doesn’t that worry you at all?””

    No, as I am certain of it.

    You asked: “”How is it any different from a human programming a robot to think that the human is perfectly good?””

    Well, for one, robots are non-living, non-sentinent beings which means they can’t ‘think’ or know anything for certain, and humans can lie.

    I said: “Actually, what you haven’t seen is any competing account given by any atheist on this blog for the existence of absolute, universal, immaterial laws of logic since this discussion first started 8 DAYS AGO, which demonstrates the impossibility of the contrary quite nicely.”

    You said: “”So what I get from you here is because x number of atheists on this blog supposedly haven’t given competing accounts for the existance of logical absolutes, therefore it is impossible?””

    No. My argument is that God is the only possible source for the existence of logical absolutes by the impossibility of the contrary AND they don’t have a competing account.

    If you doubt this Tank, try it yourself– How do you account for universal, immaterial, invariant laws of logic apart from God?

    You asked: “”Do you see why this isn’t sufficient evidence for me?””

    The sufficiency of evidence will be determined by the presuppositions of those examining the evidence. It is for this reason that I do not argue evidentially, but presuppositionally. No evidence will be sufficient to convince someone who does not wish to be convinced. Consider the following story:

    ****’Once upon a time there was a man who thought he was dead. His concerned wife and friends sent him to the friendly neighborhood psychiatrist. The psychiatrist determined to cure him by convincing him of at least one fact that contradicted his belief that he was dead. So the psychiatrist decided to use the simple truth that dead men do not bleed. He put his patient to work reading medical texts, observing autopsies, etc. And after weeks of effort, the patient finally said, “All right, all right! You’ve convinced me. Dead men do not bleed.” Whereupon the psychiatrist stuck him in the arm with a needle, and the blood began to flow. The man looked down with a contorted, ashen face and cried: Well what do you know, dead men do bleed!’****

    Truth does not equal persuasion.

    You said: “”Here’s an analogy that I hope will show you why. Feel free to show me if I have misunderstood here.

    Two people discussing the existence of thunder hundreds of years ago:

    Pagan: Zeus is hurling the thunder bolts.
    Atheist: I don’t accept your claim.
    Pagan: Then how is he doing it?
    Atheist: I don’t have a sufficient explanation yet.
    Pagan: Therefore it is impossible to the contrary to explain the existance of thunder other than Zeus.””

    I get what you’re trying to say here Tank, but what you have provided is a false analogy. The claim of the pagan is merely a subjective personal testimony (and one that I wouldn’t believe either), whereas I can provide an objective revelation which can be examined by all, accounts for the existence of universal, immaterial, invariant entities (such as laws of logic), comports with reality, and is internally consistent. Big difference.

    I said: “That’s like saying that if I say 4 is the answer to 2+2, then I am using a ‘4? of the gaps argument, which would be absurd (as is your argument).

    I know the right answer Tank (as do you), and if anything, you are guilty of trying to posit an ‘atheism of the gaps’ argument to aid in your suppression of the truth. You may wish to sit around and wait until someone comes up with an answer that better suits you and is more to your liking, but I wouldn’t recommend it.”

    You replied: “”The difference is that “4? has been demonstrated as the answer to 2 + 2.””

    BINGO!! God is demonstrated as the answer for the existence of absolute, immaterial, universal entities by the impossibility of the contrary.

    (By the way, how does your above statement even make sense in an atheistic worldview? How do you know that 2+2 will equal 4 tomorrow, or that the memory, senses, and reasoning with which you observed that 2+2 has equalled 4 in the past are reliable?)

    You said: “”I ask again, please demonstrate how god is responsible for logical absolutes.””

    By the impossibility of the contrary as confirmed by His natural and special revelation to us and the inability of competing worldviews to account for logical absolutes.

    I said: “My apologies Tank, I thought you were here to debate. If your arguments are reduced to positing that laws of logic exist ‘because they do’, then I’ll just posit that God exists simply ‘because He does’ and we can wrap this up right now. Not what I was hoping for though.”

    You responded: “”You misunderstood me. I didn’t say they they “exist because they are there” I said we use them because they are there. Just like we use the Earth to live because it is there.””

    I agree that they exist and we can use them Tank, but that doesn’t answer the question as to how you account for the existence of absolute, immaterial, universal laws of logic in your worldview. Please answer the question.

    I said: “Speak for yourself. Tell you what Tank, let’s cut right to the chase–tell me one thing you know for certain and how you claim to know it in your worldview.”

    You said: “”I assert that “absolute certainty” is a generally useless concept to us both. Here’s a scenario.””

    Actually, we can stop right there. If you can’t know anything for certain, then you can’t know that certainty is a ‘useless concept’ and none of your further statements have any merit, as they could all be false for all you know. With all due (and sincere) respect, while I do care about your beliefs, for the sake of this discussion, I am only interested in what you know and how you claim to know it (as knowledge (i.e. certainty) is the only means of ever arriving at truth).

    Look, Tank, I’m not trying to be beligerant. I like you and I hope that your future responses continue to take on the same pleasant tone as this one, instead of what others on this blog have resorted to. With that said, please give some thought to what you’re saying man! Assuming a position of certainly denying certainty is hopelessly self-refuting and futile. I hope (and pray) that you’ll reconsider your stance on this and seek the Truth.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    scmike “As I have stated, something is not ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ BECAUSE God says it is, it is such based on the way that it comports with God’s absolute, holy character and nature.”
    So, again, is it good because it’s God’s nature or is it God’s nature because it’s good?
    “Yep, as part of His perfect plan.”
    Perfect? From Gen3 on, I’d hardly call it perfect (heck, you know that it’s not going to turn out well once the Chekhov’s gun is revealed in Gen2:17).
    “Problem is, that very statement IS a presupposition, and (according to you) does not constitute evidence that it is true.”
    Uh huh. Evidence is evidence. Presupposition is presuppostion. One “is”, the other “is taking for granted”. Assuming the conclusion isn’t evidence for the conclusion.
    “Looks like you’ve forgotten your concession that it is possible that God could reveal Himself to us so that we could be certain of who He is.”
    And when you find one that doesn’t conflict with the historical record, be sure to let us know.
    “If you can’t be certain of anything, how can you know what is and is not reasonable? By what absolute standard would one determine the ‘reasonableness’ of any knowledge?”
    *Sigh* I can feel the part of my brain that argues in good faith atrophying.
    “As I said, I don’t do Bible exegesis with unbelievers.”
    Because you have to believe before you can interpret? That’s a shitty metric.
    “You will interpret the Bible according to your presuppositions, and I will interpret it according to mine.”
    The presupposition that it’s true? And you somehow manage to come to the conclusion that it’s true? The heck, you say! No wonder religions keep popping up and schisming.
    “I have no problem letting intellectually honest readers decide who has provided sound arguments…”
    You mean your philosphical bafflegab?
    “…childish games…”
    I try to avoid playing semantics. You revel in it.
    “…to mask the fact that they have none.”
    Which would hurt except that Christian presuppositionalism is based on making the conclusion a part of the premise and using that conclusion to reach further, unproven conclusions.
    “1) If humans created logic, could the universe have both existed and not existed at the same time and in the same way before there were humans to create the law of non-contradiction?”
    Humans didn’t “create” the law of non-contradiction. Though they “discovered” and codified it, it’s simply a reflection of how the universe appears to work.
    “2) How does something that is in one person’s mind necessarily apply to something in someone else’s mind?”
    Does chocolate taste sweet? Does water feel wet? Does four apples plus four apples equal eight apples? Common descent, common reality and, for the most part, common human experience.
    “3) How did humans make universal, immaterial, unchanging laws and where are they?”
    Again, we didn’t “make” them. They describe how things work.
    “Why? You seem to have a penchant for accepting things on blind faith.”
    You’re still using that term adefinitionally (which, amusingly, isn’t an official word).
    “No, God is good AND He has revealed Himself to be such.”
    Really? Reading the Torah brings to mind an exceptional, egotistical engineer with asperger’s syndrome, quite a temper, and who is terrible with people.
    “The problem is, your position leads to absurdity and hopeless circularity (i.e. ‘I reason that my reasoning is valid’)…”
    Except that using reason weeds out incorrect conclusions. I can “reason” that falling on my ass won’t hurt, but using reason (“gravity is a bitch”), it probably will. Experiments, including the many times that I’ve not fallen on my ass, confirm this reasonable hypothesis.
    “…while mine leads to certainty.”
    No. It leads to the pretense of certainty.

  • Ash

    scmike, thankyou for replying.

    I said: “The difference is, I have demonstrated how the existence of God accounts for logic, whereas you have not demonstrated how the non-existence of God accounts for logic.”

    You said: “”So all you have to do to prove your logic is acceptable is to define your God, then prove it exists.””

    Actually, saying that I ‘HAVE’ to do anything indicates that you are trying to hold me to an absolute standard of argumentation. What is that standard? How do you account for it? Why does it NECESSARILY apply to me (or does it)?

    This reply however, amounts to evasion. Can you answer the question or not? You are the one here arguing for absolutes, therefore I am only holding you to your proclaimed standards. Do you wish now to reverse your claims?

    You said: “”The non-existence of such a God would merely imply that logic is a human-made concept, so in order to prove that wrong, you simply have to demonstrate that humankind does not exist. “The floor is yours” indeed””

    Again, by what standard do I ‘HAVE’ to do this? Yet again, how is it possible to ‘prove’ anything in your worldview (don’t worry, I know you won’t answer this)?

    1) by your standards (unless you wish to abandon them).
    2) you can prove something to reasonable acceptance, whereby it can be demonstrated to anyone willing to investigate using the appropiate tools. As with science, said tools and conclusions must be available to the majority, not reliant on such like personal incredulity and ‘revelation’.
    3) I really hope that that last aside wasn’t an example of your ‘absolute’ truth then.

    Note: All it would really take to prove your position wrong is to show that laws of logic can exist apart from humans, which is easy to do. I’ll show you what I mean:

    1) If humans created logic, could the universe have both existed and not existed at the same time and in the same way before there were humans to create the law of non-contradiction?

    2) How does something that is in one person’s mind necessarily apply to something in someone else’s mind?

    3) How did humans make universal, immaterial, unchanging laws and where are they?

    LOL, wut?
    1) You think that humans had to exist for the universe to exist? Srsly? That’s a little…backwards. Without our existence, however, we could not be working out that it does.
    2) Evolution. Although that doesn’t guarantee that the same things will be interpreted in the same way from one mind to the next. Can you explain how, if your stance is that God created ‘absolute’ truth and logic, all minds do not interpret all things in the same way? Even from one Christian to the next?
    3) Which laws are you talking about?

    I asked: “Must all suppositions be proven in order to be valid? If so, please provide the proof for THAT supposition.”

    You said: “”More to the point, if not, you should be accepting others reasoning without question, since you appear to be implying that suppositions (namely yours) should be taken without proof.””

    Not at all. The very existence of the concept of ‘proof’ (which you continue to appeal to, yet still cannot account for)justifies my presupposition quite nicely. Gracias!

    Ahh, special pleading; I do not have to prove my position, but you do! Can you, or can you not define and prove your God, which all your subsequent reasoning rests upon?

    What you don’t seem to realize is that your failure to provide a contrary claim for the existence of the concept of ‘proof’ in your worldview, IS substantiation for my claim (not that I needed it). Keep it up!!

    This is an entirely different question from the ones you have posed previously, and it leads me to suspect you are incapable of sticking to the subject, or of answering what should be for you (as arbiter of ‘absolute’ truth) a simple question. Further, using your own logic that lack of demonstration of one point automatically demonstrates any other conflicting point to be true, by refusing to define then prove your God, you have ‘proved’ that it definately can’t exist. Will you now agree that your logic is shoddy at best, or would you like to agree that your God doesn’t exist? :)

    You seem to have a penchant for accepting things on blind faith.

    You seem to be confusing me with ~someone~ else…

  • Svlad Cjelli

    First of all, I’m glad you see that you must abandon atheism in order to account for prescribed laws (congratulations)! Secondly, how does Magic account for absolute, universal, immaterial prescribed laws? Thirdly,
    how and when was this revealed to you?

    Certainly!
    By the impossibility of the contrary. There is no account for absolute, universal, immaterial prescribed laws other than Magic.

    This was revealed to me directly, by Magic, last Thursday during lunch.

  • scmike

    Modusoperandi,

    I said: “As I have stated, something is not ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ BECAUSE God says it is, it is such based on the way that it comports with God’s absolute, holy character and nature.”

    You said: “”So, again, is it good because it’s God’s nature or is it God’s nature because it’s good?””

    Looks like I’ve been giving you way too much credit thus far Modus. I will try to simplify this for you as much as I possibly can. ‘Good’ is that which corresponds to the A B S O L U T E, U N C H A N G I N G character and nature of God.

    I said: “Yep, as part of His perfect plan.”

    You said: “”Perfect? From Gen3 on, I’d hardly call it perfect””

    OK. By what standard of perfection is God’s plan not perfect? How do you account for that standard?

    You said: “”Presupposition is not evidence.””

    I said: “Problem is, that very statement IS a presupposition, and (according to you) does not constitute evidence that it is true.”

    You said: “”Uh huh. Evidence is evidence. Presupposition is presuppostion.””

    And God is God. How’s that?

    You said: “”One “is”, the other “is taking for granted””.

    Perhaps you’d care to explain then how you account for the validity of the concept of evidence (since evidence alludes to proof), and the validity of the senses and reasoning by which you observe any evidence? Or, do you just take these things for granted?

    You said: “”Assuming the conclusion isn’t evidence for the conclusion.””

    And where, pray tell, is the evidence for THAT conclusion (thanks for doing that again, by the way!)?

    I said: “Looks like you’ve forgotten your concession that it is possible that God could reveal Himself to us so that we could be certain of who He is.”

    You said: “”And when you find one that doesn’t conflict with the historical record, be sure to let us know.””

    Well, since the Bible is the true historical record, I’d say that any ‘conflict’ would be due to those who try to posit alternate accounts, which are necessarily false anyway.

    However, your statement does raise an interesting question; why can two ‘conflicting’ accounts absolutely not both be true at the same time and in the same way, according to your worldview?

    I asked: “If you can’t be certain of anything, how can you know what is and is not reasonable? By what absolute standard would one determine the ‘reasonableness’ of any knowledge?”

    You said: “”*Sigh* I can feel the part of my brain that argues in good faith atrophying.””

    Actually, I think it quit on you a long time ago. :)

    Besides, just because you don’t like having your knowledge claims challenged and exposed for what they really are doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be challenged (especially when you claim you can’t KNOW anything). It should be obvious by now which of us is living according to our professed beliefs (hint: it ain’t you).

    I said: “As I said, I don’t do Bible exegesis with unbelievers.”

    You said: “”Because you have to believe before you can interpret? That’s a sh–y metric.””

    Don’t look now, but your presupposition is showing. ;)

    I said: “You will interpret the Bible according to your presuppositions, and I will interpret it according to mine.”

    You said: “”The presupposition that it’s true?””

    Or, in your case, the presupposition that it is NOT true. The problem is, your presupposition cannot give us ANY of the necessary preconditions for intelligibility or knowledge (as you have previously admitted) while mine can and does. Yet, you still continue to make knowledge claims–how odd.

    You said: “”And you somehow manage to come to the conclusion that it’s true?””

    It’s a presupposition, not a conclusion, and one that is justified by the very absolute, immaterial, universal laws of logic you and I are using to hold this very discussion (but which you are unable to account for).

    You said: “”The heck, you say! No wonder religions keep popping up and schisming.””

    The fact that (false) ‘religions’ continue to pop up only serves to demonstrate the lengths that those who suppress the truth will go in order to avoid acknowledging the one true God.

    Besides, if you want to bring up ‘schisming’, I suspect the religion of atheism would fare far worse than them all, as there are those of you on this very blog who can’t even agree on the true nature of the laws of logic.

    I asked: “1) If humans created logic, could the universe have both existed and not existed at the same time and in the same way before there were humans to create the law of non-contradiction?”

    You said: “”Humans didn’t “create” the law of non-contradiction. Though they “discovered” and codified it, it’s simply a reflection of how the universe appears to work.””

    Does the law of non-contradiction NECESSARILY apply to anything? If so, what?

    I asked: “2) How does something that is in one person’s mind necessarily apply to something in someone else’s mind?”

    You said: “”Does chocolate taste sweet? Does water feel wet? Does four apples plus four apples equal eight apples? Common descent, common reality and, for the most part, common human experience.””

    So, laws of logic are objective then? How do you account for objective laws that are absolute, immaterial, and universal in a materialstic, random-chance universe?

    I asked: “3) How did humans make universal, immaterial, unchanging laws and where are they?”

    You said: “”Again, we didn’t “make” them. They describe how things work.””

    What is the description that says that A CANNOT be not A? Does this law also apply to unobserved phenomena such as future events and past unobserved events? Does it apply to our discussion? If so, how do you know since you have never observed it before?

    I said: “No, God is good AND He has revealed Himself to be such.”

    You said: “”Really? Reading the Torah brings to mind an exceptional, egotistical engineer with asperger’s syndrome, quite a temper, and who is terrible with people.””

    Only because of your presuppositions and hostility towards God. I do appreciate you exposing your built-in bias anew for all to see, though.

    I said: “The problem is, your position leads to absurdity and hopeless circularity (i.e. ‘I reason that my reasoning is valid’)”

    You said: “”Except that using reason weeds out incorrect conclusions.””

    So, reason weeds out incorrect reason? If that’s the case, how can ANY reasoning ever be incorrect? And the circularity continues…

    I said: “…while mine leads to certainty.”

    You said: “”No. It leads to the pretense of certainty.””

    I would ask if you’re certain of that, but I already know you’re not. I am pleased with that!

  • scmike

    Ash,

    You said: “”scmike, thankyou for replying.””

    My pleasure.

    You said: “”So all you have to do to prove your logic is acceptable is to define your God, then prove it exists.””

    I said: “Actually, saying that I ‘HAVE’ to do anything indicates that you are trying to hold me to an absolute standard of argumentation. What is that standard? How do you account for it? Why does it NECESSARILY apply to me (or does it)?”

    You said: “”This reply however, amounts to evasion.””

    I have to admit, Ash, I find it hilarious that you would accuse me of evasion in a post solely dedicated to evading my request for you to provide your competing account for the existence of proof. You’re too much!

    You said: “”The non-existence of such a God would merely imply that logic is a human-made concept, so in order to prove that wrong, you simply have to demonstrate that humankind does not exist. “The floor is yours” indeed””

    I replied: “Again, by what standard do I ‘HAVE’ to do this? Yet again, how is it possible to ‘prove’ anything in your worldview (don’t worry, I know you won’t answer this)?”

    You said: “”1) by your standards (unless you wish to abandon them).””

    Problem is, appealing to the validity of my worldview in order to try and argue against my worldview is woefully self-refuting. You’re making this too easy for me, Ash!

    You said: “”2) you can prove something to reasonable acceptance, whereby it can be demonstrated to anyone willing to investigate using the appropiate tools.””

    Then you haven’t proven it, if it could be false. Proof requires knowledge and truth which are both certain by definition. Again, how is it possible to prove anything in your worldview (or is it)?

    “”As with science, said tools and conclusions must be available to the majority, not reliant on such like personal incredulity and ‘revelation’.””

    Says who? and how do you this for certain?

    You said: “”3) I really hope that that last aside wasn’t an example of your ‘absolute’ truth then.””

    Yep, and I appreciate the non-answer you provided as confirmation (again though, not that I needed it).

    I said: “Note: All it would really take to prove your position wrong is to show that laws of logic can exist apart from humans, which is easy to do. I’ll show you what I mean:

    1) If humans created logic, could the universe have both existed and not existed at the same time and in the same way before there were humans to create the law of non-contradiction?

    2) How does something that is in one person’s mind necessarily apply to something in someone else’s mind?

    3) How did humans make universal, immaterial, unchanging laws and where are they?”

    You said: “”LOL, wut?
    1) You think that humans had to exist for the universe to exist? Srsly? That’s a little…backwards.””

    Actually Ash, this is what your own argument boils down to. If logic is man-made, then you are forced to admit that:

    1) the universe could have existed and not existed at the same time and in the same way BEFORE man created the law of non-contridiction (in which case it could still exist and not exist now as could you).

    OR

    2) man affected the nature of the universe by coming up with the law of non-contradiction, which the universe is subject to. Either way, you end up with absurdity.

    You said: “”Without our existence, however, we could not be working out that it does.””

    How do you know for certain that you exist?

    You said: “”2) Evolution. Although that doesn’t guarantee that the same things will be interpreted in the same way from one mind to the next.””

    So, if all minds are different, why are there not millions of differing laws of logic? If there were, how would you know which one’s were logical and which were not? How do you know that the laws of logic produced in your evolved brain are the right ones?

    You said: “”Can you explain how, if your stance is that God created ‘absolute’ truth and logic, all minds do not interpret all things in the same way? Even from one Christian to the next?””

    My stance is not that God created absolute truth and logic, but that logic is derived from the absolute, immaterial, universal character and nature of God and is a reflection of how He thinks and reasons. Truth is knowledge which is revealed by God to man.

    The fact that people perceive things differently has nothing to do with what actually is true or logical, as man is not the standard, God is.

    You said: “”3) Which laws are you talking about?””

    Take your pick: logic, morality, mathematics, or science.

    I said: “What you don’t seem to realize is that your failure to provide a contrary claim for the existence of the concept of ‘proof’ in your worldview, IS substantiation for my claim (not that I needed it). Keep it up!!”

    You said: “”This is an entirely different question from the ones you have posed previously, and it leads me to suspect you are incapable of sticking to the subject, or of answering what should be for you (as arbiter of ‘absolute’ truth) a simple question.””

    Look Ash, perhaps it’s time to remind you how discussions work. I posit my claim, you posit yours and THEN we compare them to see whose is true. So far, of the two of us I am the only one who has posited a claim for the existence of ‘proof’ in my worldview (even though you continue to appeal to it over and over again). What are you waiting for?

    You said: “”Further, using your own logic that lack of demonstration of one point automatically demonstrates any other conflicting point to be true,””

    That’s not my argument. My argument is that God is the necessary precondition for the concept of ‘proof’ by the impossibility of the contrary. The fact that your lack of a competing claim serves to validate my claim is just the icing on the cake!

    You said: “”by refusing to define then prove your God, you have ‘proved’ that it definately can’t exist.””

    Actually, you continue to prove that not only does the Christian God exist, but He can and does account for the concept of proof by the impossibility of the contrary. I am much obliged!

    I said: “You seem to have a penchant for accepting things on blind faith.”

    You said: “”You seem to be confusing me with ~someone~ else…””

    No sense denying it Ash, you’ve been caught red-handed. I recommend repentance.

  • joe agnost

    Ladies and gentlemen, I give you scmike in a nutshell:

    “Well, since the Bible is the true historical record, I’d say that any ‘conflict’ would be due to those who try to posit alternate accounts, which are necessarily false anyway.”

    Yup – the bible is right and if reality contradicts the bible then reality is wrong! Why is anyone taking this mickey mouse seriously??

  • scmike

    Svlad Cjelli

    I said: “First of all, I’m glad you see that you must abandon atheism in order to account for prescribed laws (congratulations)! Secondly, how does Magic account for absolute, universal, immaterial prescribed laws? Thirdly,
    how and when was this revealed to you?

    You said: “”Certainly!
    By the impossibility of the contrary. There is no account for absolute, universal, immaterial prescribed laws other than Magic.””

    One thing is for certain: you’re no atheist!

    Actually though, I do have a competing account for absolute laws, and an objective revelation that tells me your claim is false.

    You said: “”This was revealed to me directly, by Magic, last Thursday during lunch””

    Great! I’m sure Magic would have been able to also provide you with an objective revelation by which to verify your claim. If so, please provide it so that we can compare. Such a revelation should account for absolute, immaterial, universal entities, be internally consistent, comport with reality, and be able to be freely examined by all. Can’t wait!

    P.S. Pretty convenient that your ‘revelation’ happened on Thursday (the day after you asked if Allah was sufficient to account for absolute laws), huh? :D

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    scmike “‘Good’ is that which corresponds to the A B S O L U T E, U N C H A N G I N G character and nature of God.”
    So, is it good because it’s the “A B S O L U T E, U N C H A N G I N G character and nature of God” or is it the “A B S O L U T E, U N C H A N G I N G character and nature of God” because it’s good?

    “OK. By what standard of perfection is God’s plan not perfect? How do you account for that standard?”
    Have you read the bible? If that’s a perfect plan, then He obviously planned Iraq.

    “And where, pray tell, is the evidence for THAT conclusion (thanks for doing that again, by the way!)?”
    I am arguing that God is real AND the Bible is true by the impossibility of the contrary.” The conclusion’s in the premise, making it a logical fallacy.

    “Well, since the Bible is the true historical record, I’d say that any ‘conflict’ would be due to those who try to posit alternate accounts, which are necessarily false anyway.”
    True historical record? C’mon! I mean, come on!
    Six day creation (which, even if you make it day-age or whatnot, is still in the wrong order), Man bamphed up with no common descent with an identical twin (sister!), worldwide Deluge that left only eight people, Babel (too recent to account for the mulitiplicity of languages), sun darkening/earthquake/dead rising and wandering Jerusalem when Jesus died (which nobody else noticed).

    Aw, screw it. I’m done here. You’re not a person, you’re an computerized expert system with broken “write heads” on the hard drive. You aren’t arguing in good faith. Not only are you playing semantics, you’re misusing words themselves. Then you leap with “Gotcha!”, as though the relative rhetorical weaknesses of those you talk at somehow strengthen your own, preconcluded, argument. You’re Ray Comfort with some college courses in philosophy. In short, you’re a fine example of the common apologist.

  • Ash

    scmike, you’re right, this is not a discussion in the terms you’ve provided. In summary;
    scmike “I posit that absolutes of truth and logic exist, dependant entirely on the existence of a God”
    Ash “I disagree. Can you substantiate your claim of a God by defining then proving such a God exists?”
    scmike “But it’s true! What’s your alternative?”
    Ash “Until you can substantiate your claim, there is no need to do anything but merely disagree with it.”
    scmike “Ha! I must be right because you can’t offer an alternative!”
    Ash “No, you’re failing to bring anything other than unsubstantiated claims to the table; once you make a strong case (i.e. defining and proving this God that you clearly admit your claim rests upon) we can then discuss this God and if you could be right, and if not, what the alternatives could be.”
    scmike “But…but…*semantics and hand-waving* You see?! You refuse to engage with my terms, even though I won’t tell you what they are, and you keep being mean by asking me to stick to my supposed standards, and you’re wrong even though I’m not sure what about, so…so…I WIN! Ha!”

    Consider this analogy; a small child stomps up to me brandishing a red crayon.
    ‘This crayon is blue!’ states the child.
    ‘I disagree’
    ‘It is because I say it is. So there.’
    ‘OK, go draw me a picture with a blue sky using only that crayon’
    ‘But…tell me what a sky is while I stick my fingers in my ears and go LALALA and then prove it and then prove how you prove proof and then….’
    ‘You’re not going to tell me why you insist that crayon is blue, are you?’
    Small child looks momentarily downcast before a triumphant gleam appears in it’s eyes. ‘So,’ it replies in a flash of cunning, ‘Because you haven’t told me what colour you think this crayon actually is…you’re proving that it IS blue afterall.’
    Small child skips away gleefully.

    Anytime you’re willing or intellectually able to enter into an actual discussion, I’ll be here, I’ll keep an eye on this thread just in case. As with every post I’ve made, all I’m requesting is that you define then prove your God so that we can actually have a proper discussion. Until that point I feel no need to get into a ‘debate’ where one side (scmike in this case) claims ‘because I say so’ is a valid starting point for a discussion.

  • Svlad Cjelli

    One thing is for certain: you’re no atheist!

    I’m a wizardist! :)

    Actually though, I do have a competing account for absolute laws, and an objective revelation that tells me your claim is false.

    God, right? How does God account for absolute laws without Magic?

    Great! I’m sure Magic would have been able to also provide you with an objective revelation by which to verify your claim. If so, please provide it so that we can compare. Such a revelation should account for absolute, immaterial, universal entities, be internally consistent, comport with reality, and be able to be freely examined by all. Can’t wait!

    Not necessarily; Magic can be grumpy sometimes. But it was revealed to me that Magic is the reason for the difference between truth and untruth in the first place. There couldn’t be something like that without Magic.

    P.S. Pretty convenient that your ‘revelation’ happened on Thursday (the day after you asked if Allah was sufficient to account for absolute laws), huh?

    Nah, the revelation came to me as I was pondering Last Thursdayism.

  • joe agnost

    It really can be summed up quite nicely with this little quote by scmike:

    “Well, since the Bible is the true historical record, I’d say that any ‘conflict’ would be due to those who try to posit alternate accounts, which are necessarily false anyway.”

    I mean… come on! How can anyone have a discussion with someone who ‘thinks’ that way? It’s the very definition of irrational!

  • scmike

    Modusoperandi,

    I said: “‘Good’ is that which corresponds to the A B S O L U T E, U N C H A N G I N G character and nature of God.”

    You said: “”So, is it good because it’s the “A B S O L U T E, U N C H A N G I N G character and nature of God” or is it the “A B S O L U T E, U N C H A N G I N G character and nature of God” because it’s good?””

    It’s the A B S O L U T E, U N C H A N G I N G character and nature of God, period. ‘Good’ is whatever comports with it. Hope this helps (I won’t get my hopes up though).

    I asked: “OK. By what standard of perfection is God’s plan not perfect? How do you account for that standard?”

    You dodged the question and instead said: “”Have you read the bible? If that’s a perfect plan, then He obviously planned Iraq.””

    You said: “”Assuming the conclusion isn’t evidence for the conclusion.””

    I responded: “And where, pray tell, is the evidence for THAT conclusion (thanks for doing that again, by the way!)?”

    You again dodged the question and said: “”I am arguing that God is real AND the Bible is true by the impossibility of the contrary.” The conclusion’s in the premise, making it a logical fallacy.””

    I disagree. Nevertheless, why are logical fallacies absolutely not allowed in your worldview?

    Do you have a problem with this argument?:

    P1. All men are mortal

    P2. Socrates is a man

    C. Therefore, Socrates is mortal.

    I said: “Well, since the Bible is the true historical record, I’d say that any ‘conflict’ would be due to those who try to posit alternate accounts, which are necessarily false anyway.”

    You said: “”True historical record? C’mon! I mean, come on!
    Six day creation (which, even if you make it day-age or whatnot, is still in the wrong order), Man bamphed up with no common descent with an identical twin (sister!), worldwide Deluge that left only eight people, Babel (too recent to account for the mulitiplicity of languages), sun darkening/earthquake/dead rising and wandering Jerusalem when Jesus died (which nobody else noticed).””

    Thanks again for exposing your bias and hostility against the Bible for all to see. Confirms what I’ve been saying all along regarding the presuppositions of those who suppress the truth.

    You said: “”Aw, screw it. I’m done here.””

    I had a suspicion that you’d be bowing out soon, as most atheists don’t stick around long after admitting that they can’t know anything since they verify their senses and reasoning with their senses and reasoning.

    I do appreciate you hanging around for awhile though, as you’ve done wonders for the cause of Christianity! I am pleased with that.

    You said: “”You’re Ray Comfort with some college courses in philosophy. In short, you’re a fine example of the common apologist.””

    You do me too much honor by comparing me to Ray Comfort. I have to admit though, I’ve never been to college (well, one semester and then I dropped out).

    The truth is, your position is just that weak, as denying the God of the Bible always leads to foolishness and absurdity. I heard of an 8 year old who saw the absurdity of arguing ‘I’m certain that I can’t know anything for certain’, yet that’s the kind of argument atheists will hold to in order to continue in their suppression of the truth. It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad, Modus.

    I pray that you will abandon your folly, and seek the truth. Take care.

  • scmike

    Ash,

    You said: “”But…but…*semantics and hand-waving* You see?! You refuse to engage with my terms, even though I won’t tell you what they are, and you keep being mean by asking me to stick to my supposed standards, and you’re wrong even though I’m not sure what about, so…so…I WIN! Ha!””

    Actually it’ more like this: YOU asked for proof of God’s existence and I posited that the concept of proof cannot be accounted for apart from God since it necessarily presupposes absolute laws of logic, truth, and knowledge. I then asked you to posit your contrary account for the existence of the concept of proof (which you obviously believe in, since you continue to appeal to it) so that we can compare our claims. You refuse to do so.

    Tell me, Ash, why I am to blame for YOUR refusal to posit your claim or your lack thereof? If you don’t have one, just say so, as that IS my point.

    You said: “”Consider this analogy; a small child stomps up to me brandishing a red crayon….””

    Actually, I have one which is much more fitting to the situation at hand:

    Christian: Hey, nice car you’ve got there. I have one just like it.

    Atheist: Really?

    Christian: Yeah, Chevrolet makes a great car, don’t you think?

    Atheist: I don’t believe in Chevrolet!

    Christian: But you’re driving one of their vehicles, it says so right on the car.

    Atheist: That doesn’t prove anything. I want evidence!

    Christian: OK, here’s the owners manual from my car. It’s the same as the one from your car. Look, right here it says Chevrolet on the front and gives an exact description of the entire car inside.

    Atheist: That doesn’t prove anything. That manual was written by men. If Chevrolet exists, I want the CEO to come here and tell me so himself.

    Christian: I don’t think that the CEO of a major corporation is going to come all the way out here just to prove to you that his corporation exists, especially when we both have these owners’ manuals and are driving cars made by Chevrolet.

    Atheist: If I can’t talk to the CEO, then neither he nor Chevrolet exists.

    Christian: How about this, we can go down to the local Chevy dealership and let you talk to some of the representitives there. They can verify the existence of their corporation and even tell you all about the CEO.

    Atheist: Nah. They’re probably all just as delusional as you.
    I’m leaving. ***gets in car***.

    Christian: But how do you explain the existence of this car you’re driving if you don’t believe in Chevrolet?

    Atheist: I don’t know and neither do you, but one day we may find the answer. ***drives away***

    Christian: Stares in disbelief as the atheist drives away in a car that should not exist according to his professed beliefs.

    You said: “”Anytime you’re willing or intellectually able to enter into an actual discussion, I’ll be here, I’ll keep an eye on this thread just in case.””

    Hey, if you need to pretend like I haven’t provided my position and substantiation for it so that you can split, be my guest.

    The great thing about these discussions though, is that the record is there for all to see. I can rest in the fact that all any intellectually honest reader has to do is scroll up to see that I have posited my claim days ago and it still stands unchallenged by you. I am satisfied with that.

    You said: “”As with every post I’ve made, all I’m requesting is that you define then prove your God so that we can actually have a proper discussion. Until that point I feel no need to get into a ‘debate’ where one side (scmike in this case) claims ‘because I say so’ is a valid starting point for a discussion.””

    And I feel no need to abide by your self-imposed rules of discussion that you don’t abide by yourself.

    Besides, I am more than happy to leave this here Ash, as you too have done wonders for the cause of Christianity. I am grateful!

  • joe agnost

    scmike wrote: “The great thing about these discussions though, is that the record is there for all to see.”

    Indeed… it’s a seriously embarrassing display by you – I am grateful!

    “I can rest in the fact that all any intellectually honest reader has to do is scroll up to see…”

    That you are completely irrational! There is no way to get around your ‘the bible is right and if reality contradicts the bible then reality is wrong’ thinking! It’s up there in the comments for all to see (and laugh at!).

    Once more I’d like to present my evidence of your irrationality. You (scmike) wrote:

    “Well, since the Bible is the true historical record, I’d say that any ‘conflict’ would be due to those who try to posit alternate accounts, which are necessarily false anyway.”

    There is no getting away from this statement. It is the very definition of “irrational”.

    I am pleased by this… ;)

  • scmike

    Svlad Cjelli,

    I said: “Actually though, I do have a competing account for absolute laws, and an objective revelation that tells me your claim is false.”

    You said: “”God, right? How does God account for absolute laws without Magic?””

    Perhaps we can discuss that when and if you provide an objective revelation to substantiate your claim, as you could be delusional, lying, or both for all I know (I suspect it’s both).

  • scmike

    joe agnost,

    One last thing before I go back to ignoring you:

    You said: “”There is no getting away from this statement. It is the very definition of “irrational”.””

    Oh? Guess you forgot about this wonderful piece of irrationality you posited earlier:

    “”I am NOT %100 certain of anything””
    –Joe Agnost

    P.S. I heard of an 8 year old who was able to see the absurdity of THAT argument. :D

  • joe agnost

    Ouch! You got me! *roll eyes*

    If the bible is contradicted by reality then reality is wrong… own it scmike! It’s your irrationality in a nutshell!

    Perhaps if I put it in bold you would be more proud?

    Here it is guy – your stance in a nutshell:

    “Well, since the Bible is the true historical record, I’d say that any ‘conflict’ would be due to those who try to posit alternate accounts, which are necessarily false anyway.”
    - scmike

    I still laugh when I read that… thanks scmike, you may now go back to ignore mode! ;)

  • Slider

    This likely has already been mentioned (haven’t read all the posts yet).

    I’m currently reading Richard Dawkins’ latest book “The Greatest Show on Earth” (great book btw) and it refutes, in clear detail, all of Ray’s comments above.

    A few quick points:
    -evolution *has* been tested in a lab
    -some evolutionary change can happen within a human lifetime (observable!) in certain species
    -so called “missing links” aren’t missing anymore, many have been found.
    -radioactive dating is *supported* by other separate methods of dating (molecular, dendrochronology, etc). All support each other when it comes to dating things and are all different methods.
    -molecular, fossil, and anatomical evidence *all* support each other, and support evolution.

  • scmike

    joe agnost,

    You said: “”Here it is guy – your stance in a nutshell:

    “Well, since the Bible is the true historical record, I’d say that any ‘conflict’ would be due to those who try to posit alternate accounts, which are necessarily false anyway.”
    - scmike

    I still laugh when I read that… thanks scmike, you may now go back to ignore mode!””

    Perhaps if I said that multiple conflicting accounts of history could all be true at the same time and in the same way, you would have found that less comical?

    I guess something like that would be more consistent with YOUR position. After all, you did say this:

    “”I know that everything I know fairly certainly ~could~ be wrong. I’m open to that possibility.”” —Joe Agnost

    Priceless!

  • joe agnost

    I can do this all day….

    “Well, since the Bible is the true historical record, I’d say that any ‘conflict’ would be due to those who try to posit alternate accounts, which are necessarily false anyway.”
    - scmike

    I don’t think anyone will be listening to you anymore scmike – you’ve dug grave with that statement!

    Keep referring to my ability to change my mind, when presented with contrary evidence, as “irrational” if you like. It only makes you look dogmatic and… well… irrational!

    I am pleased by that! ;)

  • scmike

    Slider,

    You said: “”This likely has already been mentioned (haven’t read all the posts yet).

    I’m currently reading Richard Dawkins’ latest book “The Greatest Show on Earth” (great book btw) and it refutes, in clear detail, all of Ray’s comments above.

    A few quick points:
    -evolution *has* been tested in a lab
    -some evolutionary change can happen within a human lifetime (observable!) in certain species
    -so called “missing links” aren’t missing anymore, many have been found.
    -radioactive dating is *supported* by other separate methods of dating (molecular, dendrochronology, etc). All support each other when it comes to dating things and are all different methods.
    -molecular, fossil, and anatomical evidence *all* support each other, and support evolution.””

    Sorry Slider, but all evidence will be interpreted via the respective presuppositions of those examining it. The only ones who see evidence FOR evolution are those who already hold that dreadful theory to be true.

    P.S. You’re not suggesting that we should base our beliefs on a book written by man, are you? :D

  • Slider

    I think it’s pretty funny that the creationists keep asking questions requiring more evidence or citing the lack of evidence with regards to evolution.

    Since when did they become so interested in evidence?

  • Slider

    @scmike

    Sorry Slider, but all evidence will be interpreted via the respective presuppositions of those examining it. The only ones who see evidence FOR evolution are those who already hold that dreadful theory to be true.

    P.S. You’re not suggesting that we should base our beliefs on a book written by man, are you? :D

    Books written my man…hmm…are there any other kind?

    But honestly, don’t take Richard Dawkins’ word for it. Question him, question everything. Scientists welcome that kind of questioning, they question their own hypothesis. I would sooner trust a scientist with observable and reproducible evidence based on the scientific theory than trust a patchwork of ancient documents written by primitive man.

    (I wonder why I have an appendix, or a tailbone for that matter. Maybe their existence was intelligently designed to be completely useless vestigial organs).

    I used to be a creationist, fundamental Christian who denied evolution. Why did my beliefs change so much?

    Sorry scmike, but the great flood of the Bible fails to explain the diversity of species on the planet. If it were true, we would find similar species scattered about the world in all directions spreading from one particular location where the ark landed.

    Evolution explains it, the Bible doesn’t.

  • scmike

    joe agnost,

    You said: “”Keep referring to my ability to change my mind, when presented with contrary evidence, as “irrational” if you like. It only makes you look dogmatic and… well… irrational!

    I am pleased by that!””

    Pleased, perhaps. Certain, nah. :D

  • Polly

    I was wondering what a debate with a presuppositionalist would look like. And here it is. Sadly, it’s what I expected.

    Everyone picks their presuppositions, but only one allows you to believe in logic while remaining consistent.

    and that’s belief that Jesus died for your sins.

    Because no other god or gods could have created universal, immaterial laws of logic.

    but you can’t understand the reason that that’s so unless you already believe the Bible to be god’s perfect word and interpret it the way a presuppositionalist does. Same goes for any and all evidence that could be provided.

    Batshit insanity.

    I really was eager to see what this epistemological tack could bring to the debate. Once again, I’m disappointed.

    Looking back I’m quite certain that even when I “KNEW THE LORD” as my personal Heavenly father, I wouldn’t have been satisfied with the claptrap above just because it would’ve ostensibly supported MY presuppositions at the time.

    Also, I don’t see any basis for the self-congratulatory manner at all, scmike. You had your ass handed to you dozens of posts ago, in my unbiased(as far as possible) opinion, and you’re still swaggering around here like some kind of champion!

  • scmike

    Slider,

    You said: “”But honestly, don’t take Richard Dawkins’ word for it. Question him, question everything.””

    Does that include the questioning of your statement that we should ‘question everything’?

    You said: “”Scientists welcome that kind of questioning, they question their own hypothesis.””

    Again though, any evidence that they examine will be interpreted via their presuppositions regarding the subject matter at hand (especially with regards to evolution vs. creation), and if the evidence doesn’t fit those presuppositions, it WILL be rejected (as there are major ramifications that come with acknowledging God’s existence and role as Creator).

    You said: “”I would sooner trust a scientist with observable and reproducible evidence based on the scientific theory than trust a patchwork of ancient documents written by primitive man.””

    Thank you for confirming my point by revealing your presuppositional bias against the Bible. Unfortunately, many of those in the scientific arena hold similar presuppositional bias, which skews their research in favor of evolution. Sad.

    You said: “”I used to be a creationist, fundamental Christian who denied evolution.””

    Did you know the Lord?

    You asked: “”Why did my beliefs change so much?””

    Answer my question and I’ll show you.

    You said: “”Sorry scmike, but the great flood of the Bible fails to explain the diversity of species on the planet. If it were true, we would find similar species scattered about the world in all directions spreading from one particular location where the ark landed.””

    Sorry Slider, I am a presuppositionalist, not an evidentialist. As you have demonstrated in your above comments, arguing evidence with you is pointless due to your prejudice and hostility toward God and the Bible.

    The real issue boils down to our fundamental presuppositions which form our respective worldviews. I submit to you that only by presupposing the existence of the Christian God can one account for the necessary preconditions of intelligibility, including the very laws of logic we are using to hold this very discussion. If you dispute this, you needn’t look any further than the comments (and lack thereof) of the atheists in this very thread. Just scroll up to see what I mean.

    You said: “”Evolution explains it, the Bible doesn’t.””

    Spoken like someone with an axe to grind.

    By the way, when and where have you observed evolution, or are you speaking from blind faith in what you read in a book?

  • scmike

    Polly,

    Welcome to the discussion. Regarding your comments:

    You said: “”Because no other god or gods could have created universal, immaterial laws of logic.””

    Correct. If you dispute this, posit the one you believe in and I’ll show you.

    You said: “”I really was eager to see what this epistemological tack could bring to the debate. Once again, I’m disappointed.””

    Hey, you can’t blame your atheist pals for trying though can you? Don’t be so hard on ‘em. :)

    You said: “”Looking back I’m quite certain that even when I “KNEW THE LORD” as my personal Heavenly father,””

    So you admit to knowing that God exists? Guess that means that you also acknowledge that your little charade here is just a means of trying to avoid accountability to Him, no? I do appreciate the honesty, Polly.

    You said: “”Also, I don’t see any basis for the self-congratulatory manner at all, scmike. You had your ass handed to you dozens of posts ago, in my unbiased(as far as possible) opinion, and you’re still swaggering around here like some kind of champion!””

    Well, I’m sure you won’t mind if I don’t put too much stock in your analysis, as I would say the same thing if I were in your shoes and someone was using these arguments to eviscerate my worldview thereby exposing it for what it really is. I don’t doubt that it’s unpleasant, but remember, the truth only hurts when it should.

    Besides, until someone decides to take up the mantle and actually answer my questions, I’m free to entertain myself anyway I like. Take care.

  • Slider

    @scmike

    You’re good at answering questions with questions, so I assume answering your questions with more questions is considered by you to be a valid answer.

    To be honest, I don’t really understand your arguments and I’m not making any sense of what you say or what you’re asking. So I don’t want to respond fully without first understanding where you’re coming from.

    But, you clearly have some kind of understanding of “The Lord”, so I ask, what’s the trick? Why is he so easily revealed to you while us mere mortals can’t, and don’t, “hear” his voice or “feel” his presence. Or in the case of PRE-supposition, are born pre-destined to be disinclined to believe? (I guess free-will is out of the question?)

    As an ex-christian, I’m curious about this. I must be missing something that everyone else has right? Why can’t I see what they see?

    So what’s the secret? Or are we all just PRE-destined, fated, PRE-supposed, PRE-programmed to already disbelieve therefore there is no-hope for anyone who isn’t already pre-supposed to believe something? How do they convert? How do you attract new believers?

    Did the almighty god of the universe, creator and designer of all, make it so it was so convoluted that only a studied individual in an obscure philosophy be able to understand?

    How do you conclude (or *do* you “conclude” anything)or are you pre-disposed, or pre-destined to believe a certain way and that’s that. Period, end of story?

    So, I’ll indulge…Maybe I didn’t really “Know the Lord” since apparently he’s so very hard to know, only you are enlightened enough (or arrogant enough to pre-suppose) you *do* “know” the Lord.

    All this circular logic *is* making my head spin, but I am genuinely interested to know how you know what you know.

    And maybe while doing so, you could kindly explain to me in layman’s terms what presuppositionism is and maybe I’ll have a better understanding of what you’re really asking.

  • Slider

    Ok I think I understand this presuppositional thing is now:

    Presuppositional Apologetics

    http://www.carm.org/apologetics/apologetics/presuppositional-apologetics

    This form of Christian apologetics deals with presuppositions.1 A Christian presuppositionalist presupposes God’s existence and argues from that perspective to show the validity of Christian theism.2 This position also presupposes the truth of the Christian Scriptures and relies on the validity and power of the gospel to change lives

    Google dictionary:

    A presupposition is something that you assume to be true, especially something which you must assume is true in order to continue with what you are saying or thinking.

    Ok so, if I’m understanding this correctly, a presuppositionalist is still basing everything on an initial assumption am I right?

  • Svlad Cjelli

    Perhaps we can discuss that when and if you provide an objective revelation to substantiate your claim, as you could be delusional, lying, or both for all I know (I suspect it’s both).

    Aw, that’s no fun. You said you’d play along for a while. :(

  • scmike

    Slider,

    Hello again. Regarding your comments:

    You said: “”But, you clearly have some kind of understanding of “The Lord”, so I ask, what’s the trick? Why is he so easily revealed to you while us mere mortals can’t, and don’t, “hear” his voice or “feel” his presence.””

    Actually Slider, the Biblical position is that God HAS revealed Himself to EVERYONE (yes, even you) so that we can ALL know for certain who He is and what He expects from us with regards to morality, logic, and salvation. The problem is, many people suppress this truth in unrighteousness in order to avoid accountability to God (i.e. they would rather be their own god than submit to the true God).

    I would ask you to review the comments on this thread with an open heart and an open mind, and you will see what I am talking about. Those who deny God may profess disbelief in Him, but they absolutely cannot live consistently with their professed beliefs (thus exposing that they are trying to live contrary to what they know to be true).

    You said: “”Or in the case of PRE-supposition, are born pre-destined to be disinclined to believe? (I guess free-will is out of the question?)””

    No. Presuppositional apologetics is the Biblical way to do apologetics with those who deny the existence of God. As I mentioned to you earlier, it is a futile (and un-Biblical) endeavor to try and argue evidence with someone who is already biased against the evidence, as it is impossible to convince someone who does not want to be convinced (even many of the pharisees who SAW the miracles that Jesus did were not convinced because they did not want to submit to Him as Lord).

    Instead, we need to examine our respective presuppositions (foundational assumptions) to see where they lead. The Christian’s presupposition is that God exists and the Bible is true, while the atheist’s presupposition is that God does not exist and the Bible is NOT true. From there, we can do an internal critique of each worldview to see whose is internally consistent, makes sense of reality, and does not end in absurdity. I submit to you that atheism always ends in absurdity and foolishness as it provides no foundation for logic, reason, truth, or knowledge
    (all you have to do is scroll up to see what I mean).

    You said: “”As an ex-christian, I’m curious about this. I must be missing something that everyone else has right? Why can’t I see what they see?””

    Sadly Slider, while you may profess to be an ex-Christian, I am afraid that you are not. A Christian is someone who KNOWS God and lives in submission to Him (mind, body, and soul). One cannot be submitted to God as the foundation of their thinking and reasoning and then reason away from God as the foundation for their thinking and reasoning. All one needs to do to be born again is SUBMIT to God and obey the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God will take care of the rest.

    You said: “”Did the almighty god of the universe, creator and designer of all, make it so it was so convoluted that only a studied individual in an obscure philosophy be able to understand?””

    No, God has made it so EASY that a child can understand it (as a matter of fact, I teach our 6-12 yr. old boys at church on Wednesday nights, and they understand the Bible and God’s plan of salvation just fine).

    The purpose of the presuppositional approach is simply to expose the suppression of truth in those who deny God, not to convince anyone of God’s existence, as they already KNOW (and, just so you know, I am no philosopher by any stretch of the imagination. I am 31 years old and my educational background does not extend beyond high school level).

    You said: “”So, I’ll indulge…Maybe I didn’t really “Know the Lord” since apparently he’s so very hard to know, only you are enlightened enough (or arrogant enough to pre-suppose) you *do* “know” the Lord.””

    I appreciate your honesty Slider, as that is the crux of the issue at hand. If you scroll up a bit, you’ll see a conversation I had with another atheist name Kevin who also admitted the same thing.

    As for knowing the Lord, all that is required is for one to surrender to Him completely as God, in repentence and obedience of the Gospel.

    You said: “”All this circular logic *is* making my head spin, but I am genuinely interested to know how you know what you know.””

    This is a good starting point to help you see what I’m talking about. When someone calls any logic ‘circular’, they are appealing to laws of logic that are abstract (not made of matter), universal (apply in all places and at all times), and invariant (unchanging). The existence of such laws cannot be accounted for apart from God, as a materialistic, random-chance universe cannot give us immaterial, unchanging laws. I challenge you to consider this and give some thought to what I’m saying as you read through the previous comments of those who have been faced with this dilemma (note: you will see a lot of name calling and ridicule on their part, but you WILL NOT see one person who has given their account for absolute laws of logic in a worldview which denies God despite appealing to those laws over and over again).

    You said: “”And maybe while doing so, you could kindly explain to me in layman’s terms what presuppositionism is and maybe I’ll have a better understanding of what you’re really asking.””

    There. Hope this helps. :)

  • scmike

    Slider,

    You said: “”Ok so, if I’m understanding this correctly, a presuppositionalist is still basing everything on an initial assumption am I right?””

    Yes. The Christian assumes God to be the foundation of all logic and reasoning, while the atheist assumes that He is not. Hence, the Christian appeals to God as their ultimate authority, while the atheist appeals to their own reasoning as theirs.
    From this point, it is not hard to find out whose worldview is logically defensible and whose is not (again, just scroll up and read the comments).

  • scmike

    Svlad Cjelli,

    I said: “Perhaps we can discuss that when and if you provide an objective revelation to substantiate your claim, as you could be delusional, lying, or both for all I know (I suspect it’s both).”

    You said: “”Aw, that’s no fun. You said you’d play along for a while.””

    Checkmate. :D

  • http://molotovcocktailparty.net jynnan_tonnyx

    scmike,

    The real issue boils down to our fundamental presuppositions which form our respective worldviews. I submit to you that only by presupposing the existence of the Christian God can one account for the necessary preconditions of intelligibility, including the very laws of logic we are using to hold this very discussion.

    Why is it apparently valid for you to assume the existence of God without evidence or explanation, if you apparently do not accept it as valid for an atheist to assume the existence of natural laws of science, mathematics, logic, etc without “accounting for” them in a way that you find satisfactory?

    This is a good starting point to help you see what I’m talking about. When someone calls any logic ‘circular’, they are appealing to laws of logic that are abstract (not made of matter), universal (apply in all places and at all times), and invariant (unchanging). The existence of such laws cannot be accounted for apart from God, as a materialistic, random-chance universe cannot give us immaterial, unchanging laws.

    A materialistic universe is not necessarily “random” if one assumes the existence of laws of physics, logic, etc. Why are you so hostile to the presupposition that these laws exist when you allow yourself the presupposition that God exists?

    The Christian’s presupposition is that God exists and the Bible is true, while the atheist’s presupposition is that God does not exist and the Bible is NOT true.

    Upon what do you base this assertion? In my experience, the average atheist does not (necessarily) presuppose that God does not exist, but rather that we live in a universe that functions consistently according to certain unchanging laws, a presupposition that strikes me as no less reasonable, provable, or explainable than your presupposition that God exists and that the Bible is His Word. Indeed, these laws are objectively, empirically testable and observable, even if they are not explainable (a criteria that seems less important to me than it apparently is to you), which strikes me as a distinct advantage over the presupposition of God.

    One may, based on reason and science (i.e., processes based upon the assumption of certain universal laws), come to the conclusion that God does not exist, but that does not make it a presupposition, and if it is not, the rest of your argument falls apart.

    As far as I can tell, your arguments are based on misrepresenting the position of atheists and holding them to an unfair double standard, as discussed above. If you disagree, can you explain why?

  • Svlad Cjelli

    Checkmate.

    Well played, boy! That was fantastic.
    The way you said that you didn’t want to talk about it anymore, so that I would say that I was sorry to hear that. Brilliant! You sure showed me. I walked right into that devastating trap.

    Never before have I been so soundly defeated. You wiped the floor with me, without as much as a stain on your honour or a crease on your dignity!

    You, sir, are fabulous. I lift my hat in your general direction.

  • Woody Tanaka

    Hey, Slider,

    scmike is full of it. Specifically, when he states…

    The existence of such laws [of logic] cannot be accounted for apart from God, as a materialistic, random-chance universe cannot give us immaterial, unchanging laws. I challenge you to consider this and give some thought to what I’m saying as you read through the previous comments of those who have been faced with this dilemma (note: you will see a lot of name calling and ridicule on their part, but you WILL NOT see one person who has given their account for absolute laws of logic in a worldview which denies God despite appealing to those laws over and over again).

    …he knows full well that I, among others, repeatedly explained to him that the laws of logic are definitional; that is, they are concepts which, to the extent they are immaterial, unchanging, universal and invariant, are that way because they are the products of human brains and are designed to be immaterial, unchanging, universal and invariant. They have no antecedents outside of this context and no god is needed to account for them.

    Now, scmike either suffers from too limited an education (and, with that, he probably wasted much of his education on nonsense subjects like theology or bible “study”) or is too indoctrinated (from his believe is his baby-murderer god and his gay son, Jesus) to think rationally. He simply ignores what he doesn’t understand or doesn’t want to deal with (such as this or other simple concepts, like that not everyone has the same moral code), and is content to pleaure himself with imagined triumphs. Be forewarned.

  • scmike

    jynnan_tonnyx,

    Welcome to the discussion. Regarding your comments:

    You said: “”Why is it apparently valid for you to assume the existence of God without evidence or explanation, if you apparently do not accept it as valid for an atheist to assume the existence of natural laws of science, mathematics, logic, etc without “accounting for” them in a way that you find satisfactory?””

    The fact is Jynnan, ALL arguments begin with an assumption (i.e. an unargued for premise) in order to arrive at a conclusion (even if the assumption is that the concept of argumentation is a valid means of proving things).

    The problem is, not all assumptions are justifiable and valid. My presupposition that God exists and that the Bible is true is justified in the existence of the absolute, universal, immaterial laws of logic that we are both using to hold this very discussion, as they cannot be accounted for any other way.

    I said: “This is a good starting point to help you see what I’m talking about. When someone calls any logic ‘circular’, they are appealing to laws of logic that are abstract (not made of matter), universal (apply in all places and at all times), and invariant (unchanging). The existence of such laws cannot be accounted for apart from God, as a materialistic, random-chance universe cannot give us immaterial, unchanging laws.”

    You said: “”A materialistic universe is not necessarily “random” if one assumes the existence of laws of physics, logic, etc.””

    I have 3 challenges to that claim:

    1) Why ISN’T the universe random (surely you’re not arguing that it is ‘randomly ordered’ are you)?

    2) How do you reconcile unchanging universal laws with changing particulars such as history and science in a strictly naturalistic worldview (I.O.W. Why do some things in the universe change and why do some things remain the same)?

    3) Is it your position that ANYTHING is possible or that only certain things are possible in the universe?

    You asked: “”Why are you so hostile to the presupposition that these laws exist when you allow yourself the presupposition that God exists?””

    I’m not hostile to the existence of universal laws, as I agree that they exist. My argument is that apart from God, one cannot account for the existence of absolute, immaterial, universal laws (a fact that has been demonstrated repeatedly in this very thread. Just scroll up.).

    I said: “The Christian’s presupposition is that God exists and the Bible is true, while the atheist’s presupposition is that God does not exist and the Bible is NOT true.”

    You said: “”Upon what do you base this assertion? In my experience, the average atheist does not (necessarily) presuppose that God does not exist, but rather that we live in a universe that functions consistently according to certain unchanging laws, a presupposition that strikes me as no less reasonable, provable, or explainable than your presupposition that God exists and that the Bible is His Word.””

    Problem is Jynnan, neutrality is a myth. One either holds God to be the foundation of their logic and reason or they don’t. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you what position you hold.

    You said: “”Indeed, these laws are objectively, empirically testable and observable, even if they are not explainable (a criteria that seems less important to me than it apparently is to you), which strikes me as a distinct advantage over the presupposition of God.””

    I covered this earlier, but I will repeat it. Your argument would be like saying that if I say 2 + 2 = 4 and you say 2 + 2 = ?, then you somehow hold an intellectually superior position than mine.

    I know the right answer (by the impossibility of the contrary). Now, you may wish to sit around and hope in blind faith that someone comes up with an answer that better suits you, but as I said earlier, I do not recommend it.

    You said: “”One may, based on reason and science (i.e., processes based upon the assumption of certain universal laws), come to the conclusion that God does not exist, but that does not make it a presupposition, and if it is not, the rest of your argument falls apart.””

    Hardly, as one must first presuppose the validity of their reasoning and the validity of the scientific method in order to do so. Tell you what Jynnan, why don’t you tell me YOUR justification for assuming the validity of your reasoning and the scientific method.

    You said: “”As far as I can tell, your arguments are based on misrepresenting the position of atheists and holding them to an unfair double standard, as discussed above. If you disagree, can you explain why?””

    Well, of course I disagree. Asking someone to present their justification for the laws of logic that they intend to use to engage in a ‘logical’ discussion is in no wise ‘unfair’, especially when I am willing to posit mine first.

    If anything, the atheists on this blog have been ‘unfair’ in refusing to do so, while trying to hold my arguments to a standard of argumentation that they cannot account for. That IS the very definition of a double-standard.

    P.S. Why are double-standards wrong in your worldview, and by what standard do you call anything ‘fair’?

  • scmike

    Hey Slider,

    I am no longer responding to Woody Tanaka (ever since he decided to use overt blasphemy and name-calling as a way to intentionally end our discussion, in order to avoid doing further damage to his cause (not that it helped him any)).

    However, I challenge you to review his previous comments to see if you can find even ONE instance where he has justified the existence of absolute laws in his worldview (hint: it ain’t there).

    P.S. If you see ANY place where you feel he has done so, feel free to post it, and will show you how and why it fails. Take care.

  • joe agnost

    Just so the newer commenters understand the level of irrationality they are dealing with allow me to quote scmike at his finest:

    “Well, since the Bible is the true historical record, I’d say that any ‘conflict’ would be due to those who try to posit alternate accounts, which are necessarily false anyway.”
    - scmike

    Yup… there you have it! If reality contradicts the bible then reality is wrong! Crazy and irrational in one tidy package: scmike.

    (oh – and scroll up high enough and you’ll see where scmike claims that burning babies is “absolutely morally right” when god commands it! Seriously – he really wrote that!)

  • Woody Tanaka

    Slider:
    While I made fun of scmike’s make-believe friends, if he thinks that I intended to “end our discussion” by pointing out the nonsense in his beliefs, he is wrong. I would be happily continuing to point out the insanity of his opinions and his limited education to this day, but for the fact that he was near libelous in mischaracterizing my statements. A delusional kneeler I can deal with; someone who does what he did is beyond contempt.

    ===========

    joe agnost:

    That is a good one. My favorite parts where he claimed that if god ordered a genocide, that it would be a wholly good thing and would be a sin to oppose it. And where he said it would be wrong to condemn someone for burning a new-born baby, if this god commanded it.

    What a great get-out-of-jail-free card, just say “god commanded me to [insert crime here]“, and scmike would be rallying to free the criminal.

  • scmike

    To those following this discussion,

    Joe said: “”Yup… there you have it! If reality contradicts the bible then reality is wrong! Crazy and irrational in one tidy package: scmike.””

    Actually folks, what Joe won’t tell you is that the comment he is referring to was with regards to Modusoperandi’s claim that Divine revelation ‘conflicts’ with HISTORICAL records.

    I would ask him to tell us how he knows that the Bible is not the TRUE historical record (as he is begging the question by assuming this), but what he also doesn’t want you to know is that he has admitted that he can’t KNOW anything for certain, which, unfortunately for him, means he can’t know that any historical account is ‘correct’ or even what ‘reality’ is.

    Joe also said: “”(oh – and scroll up high enough and you’ll see where scmike claims that burning babies is “absolutely morally right” when god commands it! Seriously – he really wrote that!)””

    Well, as the self-appointed champion of human rights, surely Joe can tell us by what standard it’s absolutely NOT OK to burn babies in his worldview?

    Note: I wouldn’t get my hopes up if I were you.

  • joe agnost

    scmike wrote: “what Joe won’t tell you is that the comment he is referring to was with regards to Modusoperandi’s claim…”

    Because it doesn’t matter ~what~ you were “referring to” – either you stand by those words or you don’t. That statement is the definition of irrational!

    scmike asks: “I would ask him to tell us how he knows that the Bible is not the TRUE historical record…”

    Because it’s contradicted by history. Things like a world-wide flood come to mind…

    scmike asks: “surely Joe can tell us by what standard it’s absolutely NOT OK to burn babies in his worldview?”

    By human decency you twit! The fact that you have to ask that question points to your utter lack of decency and morals.

  • scmike

    joe agnost,

    I said: “Actually folks, what Joe won’t tell you is that the comment he is referring to was with regards to Modusoperandi’s claim that Divine revelation ‘conflicts’ with HISTORICAL records.”

    You said: “”Because it doesn’t matter ~what~ you were “referring to” – either you stand by those words or you don’t.””

    Oh, I stand by those words. I just wanted to make clear to everyone the fallaciousness of your position by pointing out that, since you have admitted that you can’t know anything, you can’t know what reality is, much less if something conflicts with it.

    I said: “I would ask him to tell us how he knows that the Bible is not the TRUE historical record…”

    You said: “”Because it’s contradicted by history. Things like a world-wide flood come to mind…””

    How do you know? Here’s what comes to mind when you make those kinds of statements:

    “”I am NOT %100 certain of anything””
    –Joe Agnost

    It should be obvious to all reading along by now, but just in case it’s not, I would like to point out that if you can’t be certain of ANYTHING, then you can’t be certain of any of that, Joe. You have refuted yourself yet again and I am pleased with that.

    I said: “Well, as the self-appointed champion of human rights, surely Joe can tell us by what standard it’s absolutely NOT OK to burn babies in his worldview?”

    You said: “”By human decency you twit! The fact that you have to ask that question points to your utter lack of decency and morals.””

    The question is Joe, by what absolute standard do humans determine what ‘decency’ is? Since you believe in evolution, how do you know that you evolved the proper morals as opposed to, say, terrorists, murderers, child molesters and thieves who also evolved? This should be good!

  • Hi, everyone

    Hey, everyone. Someday I want to direct a film on how both sides of this argument are completely and utterly wasting time when nobody wants to change their minds. I want to have a scene in it where Ray Comfort and Richard Dawkins agree with each other. Its just going to be some random scene. Something like this. “Whoa!” Ray says, as he points to the sky, “its a plane falling of the sky!” and then Dawkins appears and says, “You’re right!” and they both jump out of the way just as the plane hits the ground

  • Golumpki

    - “…since you have admitted that you can’t know anything, you can’t know what reality is, much less if something conflicts with it.”

    This is incorrect. Admitting that humans cannot know anything with 100% certainty (owning to the fact that that is theoretically impossible), doesn’t mean that we can’t know anything. It just means that we are less than 100% certainty, owing to all the irrational and unreasonable possibilities that people can devise.

    When asked to explain the reasoning behind the opinion, the person can explain all of the observations, tests, reasoning, etc., and you can see how certain the conclusion is. In some matters, while not 100%, the certainty is so close to 100% so as to be practically the same.

    - “…if you can’t be certain of ANYTHING, then you can’t be certain of any of that, Joe.”

    I’ve studied these sciences for decades. We are certain there was no worldwide flood approximately 6,000 years ago that reduced the world-wide population of humans to 8, and the populations of the other animals of the world to one pair each, as described in the Bible. It didn’t happen.

    We know this with a certainty equal to the certainty that humans can know anything and can be wrong only by appeal to literally incredible things, (such as that we are all heads in jars; that we are all characters in a giant computer; that the entire world was changed to hide all evidence of that flood and replace it with evidence of a billions-year old Earth; miracles, and so forth.)

    We know that the flood in the Bible did not happen, and we know it beyond a reasonable doubt (and beyond many doubts borne of unreasonableness, too.) Now, owing to the fact that it is theoretically possible that we are all brains in a jar or characters in a computer (though irrationally as they seem), we can’t say that we are 100% certain of this. But while being 99.9999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999% certain is not the same as 100% certain, it can be considered to be so in any reasonable endeavor.

  • scmike

    Golumpki,

    You said: “”This is incorrect. Admitting that humans cannot know anything with 100% certainty (owning to the fact that that is theoretically impossible), doesn’t mean that we can’t know anything. It just means that we are less than 100% certainty, owing to all the irrational and unreasonable possibilities that people can devise.””

    You are making the mistake of confusing BELIEF with KNOWLEDGE. The difference is, knowledge is certain by definition, while belief is not. If you dispute this, tell me one thing you know for certain that could be false.

    You said: “”When asked to explain the reasoning behind the opinion, the person can explain all of the observations, tests, reasoning, etc., and you can see how certain the conclusion is.””

    However, apart from God, the person has zero justification for assuming the validity of the senses and reasoning with which they make any observation, apart from blind faith. If you dispute this, tell me on what basis you assume your senses and reasoning to be reliable, Golumpki.

    You said: “”In some matters, while not 100%, the certainty is so close to 100% so as to be practically the same.””

    How do you know this to be the case though? Absent certainty, you are forced to admit that you could be completely wrong about the veracity of this matter and all other matters.

    You said: “”I’ve studied these sciences for decades. We are certain there was no worldwide flood approximately 6,000 years ago that reduced the world-wide population of humans to 8, and the populations of the other animals of the world to one pair each, as described in the Bible. It didn’t happen.””

    How are you certain of this?

    You said: “”We know this with a certainty equal to the certainty that humans can know anything and can be wrong only by appeal to literally incredible things,””

    Are you certain of this? If so, how?

    You said: “”We know that the flood in the Bible did not happen, and we know it beyond a reasonable doubt (and beyond many doubts borne of unreasonableness, too.) Now, owing to the fact that it is theoretically possible that we are all brains in a jar or characters in a computer (though irrationally as they seem), we can’t say that we are 100% certain of this.””

    Which means that you really don’t have a clue about anything, as you might not even exist for all you know. So this is what a worldview without God leads to, huh? ;)

  • Golumpki

    - “You are making the mistake of confusing BELIEF with KNOWLEDGE. The difference is, knowledge is certain by definition, while belief is not.”

    You’ve got it backwards, chap. No scientific knowledge is certain, by definition yet it is definitely knowledge. And religious belief is usually said to be certain, but is usually a mix of blind faith and dogma.

    - “However, apart from God, the person has zero justification for assuming the validity of the senses and reasoning with which they make any observation, apart from blind faith.”

    Blind faith is believing something without any evidence for it. By contrast, scientific observation not only requires evidence to support it, it requires that the observation withstand challenges specifically designed to show that it is wrong. Only then will it be according anything like any degree of reliability.

    I don’t get where you think God fits in, other than that people believe in got through blind faith.

    - “Absent certainty, you are forced to admit that you could be completely wrong about the veracity of this matter and all other matters.”

    When a person understand that which he is talking about, he is also able to tell how certain the conclusion are. Like I mentioned earlier, one can’t discount irrational, illogical and nonsensical ideas like brains in a bottle and the like (so being 100% certain is impossible), but other than that, you can be certain.

    - “How are you certain of this?”

    As I’ve said, I’ve studied these science for decades. Species which undergo genetic bottlenecks have certain genetic characteristics. If, 6,000 years ago, every species on earth went through a genetic bottleneck that reduced the population to one breeding pair: first, that, alone, would have led to the extinction of most species. Further, that kind of bottleneck would be absolutely apparent in these animals. There could be no mistaking a 6,000 year old bottleneck that reduced every animal species to one mating pair.

    And that is not even addressing the physics, the geology, the fossil record, etc.

    Thus, we know it did not happen.

    - “Which means that you really don’t have a clue about anything, as you might not even exist for all you know.”

    There is no rational way for you to reach such a conclusion; I do have more than a clue as to what I’m talking about. As I said, 100% certainty is theoretically impossible. However, if you limit your analysis to the rational and the possible, then we are certain about a great many things, one of them being that the Noah flood did not happen.

    Furthermore, I am certain that I do exist. I think, therefore I am, and so forth.

    - “So this is what a worldview without God leads to, huh?”

    Who said I have a “worldview without God”? There are many people who know God and who do not reject science like an ignorant peasant or play silly philosophical games.

  • scmike

    Golumpki,

    I said: “You are making the mistake of confusing BELIEF with KNOWLEDGE. The difference is, knowledge is certain by definition, while belief is not.”

    You said: “”You’ve got it backwards, chap. No scientific knowledge is certain, by definition yet it is definitely knowledge.””

    OK, have it your way. That means that, by your own admission, your statement above is uncertain, and could be (read: is) false for all you know. I am pleased with that concession!

    You said: “”And religious belief is usually said to be certain, but is usually a mix of blind faith and dogma.””

    Is it your position that an omniscient, omnipotent God could not reveal things to us so that we can be certain of them? If so, what is the basis for your position?

    I said: “However, apart from God, the person has zero justification for assuming the validity of the senses and reasoning with which they make any observation, apart from blind faith.”

    You said: “”Blind faith is believing something without any evidence for it.””

    And where is the evidence for that belief (or do you just accept it on blind faith)?

    You said: “”By contrast, scientific observation not only requires evidence to support it, it requires that the observation withstand challenges specifically designed to show that it is wrong. Only then will it be according anything like any degree of reliability.””

    Problem is, this in no way, shape, or form answers the question as to why you assume your senses and reasoning to be valid (or do you?). Well?

    You said: “”I don’t get where you think God fits in, other than that people believe in got through blind faith.””

    I don’t BELIEVE in God, I KNOW for certain the He exists, as do you. You see, God has revealed Himself to ALL mankind so that we can know for certain who He is. Those who deny God are merely suppressing the truth in unrighteousness to avoid accountability to Him (hence the inconsistencies in their (and your) position).

    I said: “Absent certainty, you are forced to admit that you could be completely wrong about the veracity of this matter and all other matters.”

    You said: “”When a person understand that which he is talking about, he is also able to tell how certain the conclusion are.””

    What you don’t realize is ‘understanding’ alludes to knowledge, which again, is certain by definition. Absent certainty, one cannot know that their understanding of anything is correct. Again, I challenge you to tell me one thing that you know for certain that could be false.

    You said: “”Like I mentioned earlier, one can’t discount irrational, illogical and nonsensical ideas like brains in a bottle and the like””

    Again though, absent certainty, one cannot know that any idea is ‘irrational’, ‘illogical’, or ‘non-sensical’, as you are forced to admit that you could very well be just ‘a brain in a bottle’. How do you know you aren’t?

    You said: “”(so being 100% certain is impossible), but other than that, you can be certain.””

    Are you certain that being 100% certain is impossible? (I can’t believe you people keep doing that!)

    You said: “”As I’ve said, I’ve studied these science for decades. Species which undergo genetic bottlenecks have certain genetic characteristics. If, 6,000 years ago, every species on earth went through a genetic bottleneck that reduced the population to one breeding pair: first, that, alone, would have led to the extinction of most species. Further, that kind of bottleneck would be absolutely apparent in these animals. There could be no mistaking a 6,000 year old bottleneck that reduced every animal species to one mating pair.””

    But, you just admitted that you can’t be certain of any of that, which means that it could be false for all you know. I am pleased with that!

    You said: “”Thus, we know it did not happen. “”

    No, you just BELIEVE it didn’t. Huge difference.

    I said: “Which means that you really don’t have a clue about anything, as you might not even exist for all you know.”

    You said: “”There is no rational way for you to reach such a conclusion;””

    You’re kidding right? If you can’t know anything for certain, then you certainly can’t know that there is ‘NO’ rational way for me to reach such a conclusion. Look, the least you can do is be consistent with your stated position and stop claiming to know things if knowledge is not possible in your worldview.

    You said: “”I do have more than a clue as to what I’m talking about. As I said, 100% certainty is theoretically impossible.””

    This is getting ridiculous Golumpki. Please tell how you know for certain that 100% certainty is theoretically impossible.

    You said: “”However, if you limit your analysis to the rational and the possible, then we are certain about a great many things, one of them being that the Noah flood did not happen.””

    Again, absent certainty, the most you could ever say is that you believe this to be the case. Sorry, but I am only interested in what you KNOW and how you claim to know it.

    You said: “”Furthermore, I am certain that I do exist. I think, therefore I am, and so forth.””

    Interestingly enough, it was atheistic philosopher Bertrand Russell who exposed the fallaciousness of Descarte’s argument. The most anyone could ever hope to say (without begging the question) is that there is thinking going on somewhere in the universe and I’d really like to see how you get from that to ‘I exist’.

    I said: “So this is what a worldview without God leads to, huh?”

    You said: “”Who said I have a “worldview without God”?””

    Your arguments give you away. :D

  • joe agnost

    @scmike: The fact that you don’t differentiate between the ~near~ certainty that the sun will rise in the east tomorrow with the most ludicrous claims (like a teapot orbiting saturn) – as though they were on the same playing field – just underscores your irrationality.

    I’m as certain that the sun will rise in the east tomorrow as I am that there wasn’t a worldwide flood some 4000 years ago. Of course I have to admit that evidence to the contrary might convince me of the contrary – that’s where the “near” in near certainty comes from. It is a strength of the rational mind that evidence can always convince!

    Oh – and scmike’s line of thinking leads to:

    “Well, since the Bible is the true historical record, I’d say that any ‘conflict’ would be due to those who try to posit alternate accounts, which are necessarily false anyway”
    -scmike

    Yup – if reality contradicts the bible then reality is wrong! ROFL!

    And scmike is or record (above in the comments) as saying that burning babies alive is “absolutely morally good” because god commanded it. Seriously! WTF eh?!

  • Golumpki

    - “OK, have it your way. That means that, by your own admission, your statement above is uncertain, and could be (read: is) false for all you know.”

    No, you are wrong. I am certain beyond a reasonable doubt. There is no equivalent between that and “is false.”

    - “Is it your position that an omniscient, omnipotent God could not reveal things to us so that we can be certain of them?”

    By definition, an omnipotent God can do anything. That’s what “omnipotent” means. The better question is: given that He has created man such as man is, is man capable of certainty in faith?

    - “And where is the evidence for that belief (or do you just accept it on blind faith)?”

    I don’t understand your statement. I expressed no belief. I merely defined the term.

    - “Problem is, this in no way, shape, or form answers the question as to why you assume your senses and reasoning to be valid (or do you?).”

    I don’t assume my senses and reasoning are valid; I test them, in ways designed to uncover any unsoundness . If the senses and reasoning survives those tests, and all reasonable alternative explanations are eliminated, then will I conclude that the solution is valid.

    - “I don’t BELIEVE in God, I KNOW for certain the He exists, as do you. You see, God has revealed Himself to ALL mankind so that we can know for certain who He is. Those who deny God are merely suppressing the truth in unrighteousness to avoid accountability to Him (hence the inconsistencies in their (and your) position).”

    You can believe what you want, but your opinion on this matter is significantly different than the experiences of most of humanity. I, for one, don’t “know for certain that He exists.” I believe it, but I don’t know it. That’s the basis of faith. If you don’t understand that, I’d recommend going to your local parish priest (or a minister if you go to that kind of church) and talking to him about faith.

    - “What you don’t realize is ‘understanding’ alludes to knowledge, which again, is certain by definition. Absent certainty, one cannot know that their understanding of anything is correct. ”

    Again, you’re playing word games, and not making any substantive argument. You are hooked on this idea of certainty, but there is no substance to your argument. (or, at least, if you have a point, you haven’t made it.)

    - “Again, I challenge you to tell me one thing that you know for certain that could be false.”

    Oh, I’ve no interest in playing first-year philosophy 101 games. No thanks. If you’ve got a point, please make it, but leave the games out of it.

    - “Again though, absent certainty, one cannot know that any idea is ‘irrational’, ‘illogical’, or ‘non-sensical’, as you are forced to admit that you could very well be just ‘a brain in a bottle’.
    How do you know you aren’t?”

    Again, this is silly philosophy 101 stuff. There are a near infinite number of such scenarios – we are brains in jars, we are characters in a complex computer simulation, etc., etc. None of them have any evidentiary support, so none of them are worth considering, absent any evidence.

    - “Are you certain that being 100% certain is impossible? (I can’t believe you people keep doing that!)”

    Beyond any reasonable doubt, yes.

    - “But, you just admitted that you can’t be certain of any of that, which means that it could be false for all you know.”

    I made no such admission. In fact, I am certain of these facts beyond any reasonable doubt. In no reasonable sense can they be false.

    - “I am pleased with that!”

    I must say that your self-congratulatory tone is not only inappropriate, as you really have not achieved what you think you’ve achieved, but for someone professing to be a Christian, it is quite prideful. You should learn some humility, as your boastfulness is quite distasteful.

    - “No, you just BELIEVE it didn’t. Huge difference.”

    No, I don’t just believe it; I know it. I’ve experienced the difference between believing something and knowing something.

    - “You’re kidding right? If you can’t know anything for certain, then you certainly can’t know that there is ‘NO’ rational way for me to reach such a conclusion.”

    Who said that I can’t know anything for certain? I’ve been quite clear that I can know things for certain, well beyond any reasonable doubt.

    - “Look, the least you can do is be consistent with your stated position and stop claiming to know things if knowledge is not possible in your worldview.”

    And the least that you can do is actually pay attention to what I am writing, and not read into it things which you want to be there. I never said, nor do I believe, that knowledge is not possible in my worldview. Knowledge is absolutely possible and many things are known, in the world of science and otherwise, with certainty beyond any reasonable doubt.

    - “This is getting ridiculous Golumpki. Please tell how you know for certain that 100% certainty is theoretically impossible.”

    I already have. Which part did you not understand?

    - “Again, absent certainty, the most you could ever say is that you believe this to be the case.”

    Sorry, no. I am saying that I am certain of it beyond any reasonable doubt.

    - “Sorry, but I am only interested in what you KNOW and how you claim to know it.”

    Again, if you feel like playing word games, that is your prerogative. If your response to my explanation as to how I know something is to deny the meaning of the word “know” and say it has to mean “certainty”, then you are really just playing word games.

    - “Interestingly enough, it was atheistic philosopher Bertrand Russell who exposed the fallaciousness of Descarte’s argument. The most anyone could ever hope to say (without begging the question) is that there is thinking going on somewhere in the universe and I’d really like to see how you get from that to ‘I exist’.”

    I was making a joke. But since you seem like such a philosophy fan, here’s another: How many philosophy fans does it take to ruin a joke? One.

    - “Your arguments give you away.”

    Whatever. You’re not the Judge of these things and I need not justify my faith to you.

  • scmike

    Golumpki,

    I want to address these 4 points from the last post, as they are the crux of the issue at hand:

    1) I asked: Is it your position that an omniscient, omnipotent God could not reveal things to us so that we can be certain of them?”

    You responded: “”By definition, an omnipotent God can do anything. That’s what “omnipotent” means.

    Then, it looks like we are in agreement that God (who knows everything) can reveal things to people so that they can know them for certain (which is my claim). You still haven’t told how certainty is possible in your worldview though, despite claiming to know many things. Don’t you find that a wee bit odd?

    2) I said: “Problem is, this in no way, shape, or form answers the question as to why you assume your senses and reasoning to be valid (or do you?).”

    You said: I don’t assume my senses and reasoning are valid;

    My apologies, Golumpki. I was under the impression that you believed your senses and reasoning to be valid. I see I was mistaken.

    You said: “”I test them, in ways designed to uncover any unsoundness .””

    What do you test them with?

    3) I said: “Again, I challenge you to tell me one thing that you know for certain that could be false.”

    You said: “”Oh, I’ve no interest in playing first-year philosophy 101 games.””

    Well, it’s not what I had in mind, but it’ll do, I suppose. If your above statement could be false, then you don’t KNOW it, you just BELIEVE it, as the refutation of it (and each of your other knowledge claims)could lie in that which you don’t know. This makes it impossible for you to know anything to be true or to prove anything in your worldview. While you may profess to believe this, you do not live in accordance with those beliefs.

    4) I said: “Interestingly enough, it was atheistic philosopher Bertrand Russell who exposed the fallaciousness of Descarte’s argument. The most anyone could ever hope to say (without begging the question) is that there is thinking going on somewhere in the universe and I’d really like to see how you get from that to ‘I exist’.”

    You said: “”I was making a joke.””

    Well, if you don’t know for certain that you exist, how can you know ANYTHING?

  • scmike

    Joe Agnost,

    You said: “”I’m as certain that the sun will rise in the east tomorrow as I am that there wasn’t a worldwide flood some 4000 years ago.””

    Which means that you’re really not certain of either of these things at all. Here it is in your own words:

    “I know that everything I know fairly certainly ~could~ be wrong.”
    –Joe Agnost

    You said: “”Of course I have to admit that evidence to the contrary might convince me of the contrary – that’s where the “near” in near certainty comes from. It is a strength of the rational mind that evidence can always convince!””

    But, by your own admission, you could be wrong about all of this, as the exact opposite could be true. How do you know it’s not?

    Look Joe, I understand why you keep trying to revisit this as if to somehow justify you position, but it’s useless man. Adopting a position of being certainly uncertain is hopelessly self-refuting, and leaves you with zero foundation for knowledge or truth in your worldview.

    While you may profess to believe this way, you cannot and do not live consistently with those beliefs (as you continue to demonstrate for all to see), which only serves to further expose your suppression of the truth of God’s existence. Again, I recommend that you repent and surrender to God through Jesus Christ while you still can.

    You said: “”And scmike is or record (above in the comments) as saying that burning babies alive is “absolutely morally good” because god commanded it. Seriously! WTF eh?!””

    And when asked by what standard burning babies is absolutely not allowed in his worldview, Joe Agnost is on record as saying…….NOTHING. The silence is deafening, Joe.

  • Golumpki

    - “Then, it looks like we are in agreement that God (who knows everything) can reveal things to people so that they can know them for certain (which is my claim).”

    You are yet again reading into things what you want to find and ignoring everything that doesn’t fit into your preconceived notions. My statement following the part you excerpted makes it fairly clear that I don’t agree with what I believe is your position, because although God can do this, he has made humans which, I believe, are incapable such certainty in matters of faith. (Which differs from what I believe is your position.) So, although God has the power to do this, I do not believe he has done so, given the limitations in humanity.

    - “You still haven’t told how certainty is possible in your worldview though, despite claiming to know many things. Don’t you find that a wee bit odd?”

    Yes, I did. Which part specifically didn’t you understand?

    - “My apologies, Golumpki. I was under the impression that you believed your senses and reasoning to be valid. I see I was mistaken.”

    Again, you are playing the silly word games and wrenching things out of context. Your initial statement asked whether I “assumed” my senses and reasoning to be valid. I told you I did not assume them to be valid, but tested them. You now talk as if I said I don’t “believe” my senses and reasoning to be valid. As I stated, I conclude my senses and reasoning to be valid as a result of challenging and testing them. If you don’t understand part of that, ask in good faith and I will be happy to discuss it further.

    - “What do you test them with?”

    It depends upon the specific question. But, in general, I use the brain God gave me.

    - “Well, it’s not what I had in mind, but it’ll do, I suppose.”

    Actually, from your last few posts, I’m sad to say that it appear to me that you grinding an axe over these philosophy games and are not interested in a real discussion.

    - “If your above statement could be false, then you don’t KNOW it, you just BELIEVE it, as the refutation of it (and each of your other knowledge claims)could lie in that which you don’t know.”

    Again, this is just semantics, with you imposing a private definition of “know” and “believe” and building off of that false foundation.

    - “This makes it impossible for you to know anything to be true or to prove anything in your worldview.”
    This is not the case. As I said previously, we can know things with certainty beyond any reasonable doubt.

    - “Well, if you don’t know for certain that you exist, how can you know ANYTHING?”

    Who said I don’t for certain that I exist?

    Have a Merry Christmas.

  • joe agnost

    scmike wrote: “Look Joe, I understand why you keep trying to revisit this as if to somehow justify you position…”

    Actually I’m revisiting this thread because I don’t want you to have the last word. I know it’s petty, but what the hell! I believe you’ll point your cohorts to this thread and claim victory simply because most of the original commenters left in victory.

    Your ass has been handed to you over and over again, and then someone new shows up and you start all over again with the same BS that’s been laughed at and refuted before.

    I just want to make sure everyone is laughing at you be reposting some of your more ludicrous statements.

    scmike lies: “And when asked by what standard burning babies is absolutely not allowed in his worldview, Joe Agnost is on record as saying…….NOTHING. The silence is deafening, Joe.”

    Really… “NOTHING” you say? Nothing can stop you from lying eh? Even when the lie is refuted in the very comments above you still bring yourself to lie!

    I said “human decency” stops me from believing burning babies alive is “absolutely morally good”. The fact that your worldview brings you to the conclusion that burning babies alive is “absolutely morally good” should tell you something is VERY WRONG with your worldview… very wrong…

  • Golumpki

    - “Look Joe, I understand why you keep trying to revisit this as if to somehow justify you position, but it’s useless man. Adopting a position of being certainly uncertain is hopelessly self-refuting, and leaves you with zero foundation for knowledge or truth in your worldview.”

    “While you may profess to believe this way, you cannot and do not live consistently with those beliefs (as you continue to demonstrate for all to see), which only serves to further expose your suppression of the truth of God’s existence. Again, I recommend that you repent and surrender to God through Jesus Christ while you still can.”

    I know this was not directed to me, but I must point out that nothing in the Gospels or the Church’s teachings on this question. On can still have faith in God and believe in Christ and still hold a position on a scientific or historical question buffered by the understanding that the conclusion might be different if different facts present themselves.

    Nor is Christianity, nor faith in God and Jesus, dependant upon belief in the literal truth of stories such as Noah’s flood, the six-days creation, Jonah being swallowed by a whale, etc. You do Christianity no favors by presenting it in such an unnecessarily rigid fashion.

    - “And when asked by what standard burning babies is absolutely not allowed in his worldview, Joe Agnost is on record as saying…….NOTHING. The silence is deafening, Joe.”

    Joe Agnost specifically stated that “human decency” is the standard. You may not like that answer, but it is an answer. So you really shouldn’t mischaracterize this by saying that he said nothing.

    Again, Merry Christmas.

  • scmike

    Golumpki,

    Thank you for the warm Christmas wishes. I hope you and yours are well.

    Regarding your comments:

    You said: “”You are yet again reading into things what you want to find and ignoring everything that doesn’t fit into your preconceived notions. My statement following the part you excerpted makes it fairly clear that I don’t agree with what I believe is your position, because although God can do this, he has made humans which, I believe, are incapable such certainty in matters of faith. (Which differs from what I believe is your position.) So, although God has the power to do this, I do not believe he has done so, given the limitations in humanity.””

    I am more than happy to discuss beliefs with you in another conversation, Golumpki. Right now though, I am only interested in what you know and how you claim to know it.

    I said: “You still haven’t told how certainty is possible in your worldview though, despite claiming to know many things. Don’t you find that a wee bit odd?”

    You said: “”Yes, I did. Which part specifically didn’t you understand?””

    Sorry, I must’ve missed it. Please tell me one thing you know for certain and how you know it.

    I said: “My apologies, Golumpki. I was under the impression that you believed your senses and reasoning to be valid. I see I was mistaken.”

    You said: “”Again, you are playing the silly word games and wrenching things out of context. Your initial statement asked whether I “assumed” my senses and reasoning to be valid. I told you I did not assume them to be valid, but tested them. You now talk as if I said I don’t “believe” my senses and reasoning to be valid. As I stated, I conclude my senses and reasoning to be valid as a result of challenging and testing them.””

    And what would be the point of ‘testing’ your senses and reasoning if you didn’t first assume that you could correctly perceive the results of the test?

    I asked: “What do you test them with?”

    You answered: “”It depends upon the specific question. But, in general, I use the brain God gave me.””

    How do you test the validity of your brain to ensure that it is functioning properly and yielding correct results?

    I said: “If your above statement could be false, then you don’t KNOW it, you just BELIEVE it, as the refutation of it (and each of your other knowledge claims)could lie in that which you don’t know.”

    You said: “”Again, this is just semantics, with you imposing a private definition of “know” and “believe” and building off of that false foundation.””

    Actually, it is you who is engaging in linguistic revision by claiming your beliefs to be knowledge. As I have previously stated, knowledge is certain by definition as one cannot know something that could be false.

    You may dispute this, but I have asked you more than once to provide me with an example of something you know to be true that could be false. You declined to answer this question, choosing to ridicule instead. What does it say about your position if you can’t answer what you claim is a ‘first year philosophy 101′ question?

    I said: “This makes it impossible for you to know anything to be true or to prove anything in your worldview.”

    You said: “”This is not the case. As I said previously, we can know things with certainty beyond any reasonable doubt.””

    Could those things turn out to be false?

    I said: “Well, if you don’t know for certain that you exist, how can you know ANYTHING?”

    You said: “”Who said I don’t for certain that I exist?””

    Do you? If so, how?

  • scmike

    Joe Agnost,

    You said: “”Actually I’m revisiting this thread because I don’t want you to have the last word. I know it’s petty, but what the hell!””

    Well, that explains alot with regards to your ‘arguments’. Why didn’t you just say that you weren’t really interested in rational discussion to start with (not that you were fooling anyone)?

    You said: “”Your a– has been handed to you over and over again, and then someone new shows up and you start all over again with the same BS that’s been laughed at and refuted before.””

    I am more than happy to give you the last word, Joe. As I have said many times, I am content with letting any intellectually honest reader examine this thread and determine which of us has remained consistent with their professed position and which of us has not. I do find it strange that you aren’t content to do the same, though, if I have been so thoroughly refuted, as you claim (don’t worry, I know why). ;)

    You said: “”I just want to make sure everyone is laughing at you be reposting some of your more ludicrous statements.””

    More ludicrous than that one? Anyway, feel free to laugh all you like. Might as well enjoy yourself while you can.

    I said: “And when asked by what standard burning babies is absolutely not allowed in his worldview, Joe Agnost is on record as saying…….NOTHING. The silence is deafening, Joe.”

    You said: “”Really… “NOTHING” you say? Nothing can stop you from lying eh? Even when the lie is refuted in the very comments above you still bring yourself to lie!

    I said “human decency” stops me from believing burning babies alive is “absolutely morally good”.””

    Please read the question again Joe. I asked for the standard by which burning babies is ABSOLUTELY not allowed in your worldview. ‘Human decency’ is not an absolute standard, but an arbitrary one (which I pointed out in my subsequent post to you regarding this) unless you have an absolute standard by which to determine what ‘decency’ is. When I asked you what that standard is, you said…..NOTHING.

    I would ask you this again, as well as why lying is absolutely not allowed in your worldview (not that I agree with your allegation against me), but since you have already admitted that you have no interest in rational discussion and only want the last word, I see no point in giving you the opportunity to waste more bandwith.

    I think that’ll just about do it for me. The floor is yours.

  • scmike

    Golumpki,

    You said: “”I know this was not directed to me, but I must point out that nothing in the Gospels or the Church’s teachings on this question.””

    Are you a Christian?

    You said: “”On can still have faith in God and believe in Christ and still hold a position on a scientific or historical question buffered by the understanding that the conclusion might be different if different facts present themselves.””

    It is not my position that Christians know everything absolutely, but that God has revealed SOME things to us so that we can know them with absolute certainty. Not the least of which that He exists and that his Word is true.

    You said: “”Nor is Christianity, nor faith in God and Jesus, dependant upon belief in the literal truth of stories such as Noah’s flood, the six-days creation, Jonah being swallowed by a whale, etc.””

    I don’t claim to believe those stories, Golumpki, I know for certain that they are true (by the impossibility of the contrary). As a Christian, I hold God and his Word to be my ultimate authority, as it is only because the Bible is absolutely true that we have any basis for knowledge, truth, logic, or any other preconditions of intelligibility.

    You said: “”You do Christianity no favors by presenting it in such an unnecessarily rigid fashion.””

    So, did you have any rational objection, or are you content to just posit your opinion and leave it at that?

    You said: “”Joe Agnost specifically stated that “human decency” is the standard. You may not like that answer, but it is an answer. So you really shouldn’t mischaracterize this by saying that he said nothing.””

    See my comment to Joe regarding this.

  • joe agnost

    scmike asks: “Why didn’t you just say that you weren’t really interested in rational discussion to start with”

    Because that’s not what I’ve said. I’ve said that you’ve lost this little spat (badly) and that when you start up with a new commenter I like to bring the “new” commenter up to speed with your insanity… oh – and that I don’t want you pointing your little creationist clan to these comments with the idea that you’ve sent everyone packing with your logic and arguments.

    scmike wrote: “I am content with letting any intellectually honest reader examine this thread and determine which of us has remained consistent…”

    Of course if someone actually has the time and energy to read through the comments above they’ll see you with your ass in your hand – but most people won’t take the time. They’ll just read the last few comments – so I keep making sure your insanity is in the last comments too.

    scmike wrote: “It is not my position that Christians know everything absolutely, but that God has revealed SOME things to us so that we can know them with absolute certainty. Not the least of which that He exists and that his Word is true…”

    And burning babies… don’t forget burning babies! God has revealed (according to you) that burning babies alive is absolutely morally good right?

    And of course this classic:

    “Well, since the Bible is the true historical record, I’d say that any ‘conflict’ would be due to those who try to posit alternate accounts, which are necessarily false anyway.”
    - scmike

    You cannot run from this insane comment – you really can’t. There is no better definition of “irrational” than someone who thinks that if reality and the bible contradict then it’s reality that’s wrong (not the bible). Irrational to a “T”!

  • Golumpki

    - “I am more than happy to discuss beliefs with you in another conversation, Golumpki. Right now though, I am only interested in what you know and how you claim to know it… Sorry, I must’ve missed it. Please tell me one thing you know for certain and how you know it.”

    But, don’t you see? This is where the problem of the word games comes into play. You have a quite idiosyncratic definition of “know” (among other things.) So while I can (and have) answered your challenge on a number of occasions, you refuse to see it, because of your adherence to these idiosyncratic definitions you have.

    - “And what would be the point of ‘testing’ your senses and reasoning if you didn’t first assume that you could correctly perceive the results of the test?”

    You don’t assume that you are doing so. In science, things should be checked and rechecked until you are certain beyond any reasonable doubt that the results you’ve obtained correlate with reality.

    - “How do you test the validity of your brain to ensure that it is functioning properly and yielding correct results?”

    What do you mean “test the validity of your brain”? Are you talking about neuroscience here or what?

    - “Actually, it is you who is engaging in linguistic revision by claiming your beliefs to be knowledge. As I have previously stated, knowledge is certain by definition as one cannot know something that could be false.”

    Your idiosyncratic definitions of these words is the barrier to true communication. The fact that you adopt a certain definition of a word in order to be consistent with a philosophical belief you wish to hold does not mean that that adopted definition is correct.

    - “You may dispute this, but I have asked you more than once to provide me with an example of something you know to be true that could be false. You declined to answer this question, choosing to ridicule instead.”

    First, I don’t believe I’ve ridiculed. I’ve merely pointed out the problems with your approach.

    More to the point, you have defined these words (“know,” “true,” “false,” “absolute,” etc.) in an idiosyncratic fashion, so that they can only support your position. But that is a logical fallacy, because changing the definition of the thing does not change the thing. (It is the basis of the old story: if a man has two cats and three dogs and we redefine “dog” to mean “both dogs and cats,” how many dogs does he have? Three, because changing the word use doesn’t change the thing.)

    - “Could those things turn out to be false?”

    Again, it depends on what you mean by “false” (as well as “true” and “know” as well.) Under your definitions, who knows?

    - “Do you [know for certain that you exist]?”

    How have you defined “know” “certain” and “exist”??

    - “Are you a Christian?”

    Yes. I was baptized, raised and confirmed as a member of Christ’s One True Church, the Roman Catholic Church.

    - “It is not my position that Christians know everything absolutely, but that God has revealed SOME things to us so that we can know them with absolute certainty. Not the least of which that He exists and that his Word is true.”

    Well, that is some interesting theology there, but I believe that the experience of most people, and the notion of faith, itself, would suggests otherwise. Even Blessed Mother Teresa was wracked by grave doubts about her faith and about God’s existence. It is a common, necessary step in the cultivation of faith.

    - “I don’t claim to believe those stories, Golumpki, I know for certain that they are true (by the impossibility of the contrary).”

    That is not knowledge nor certainty, that is a statement of faith (if not outright peasant theology). A belief in that which you wish for. Nothing more. These stories are stories. You do yourself no favor by ignoring the inherent truth in the message of them by rigid belief in their literalness, to the harm of the myriad many ways in which God has made Himself known to us. Our Lord loves stories and parables, as they are a very powerful tool to get to the underlying point. There need not have literally been a Prodigal Son for the truth inside that story to be manifest. The same with Genesis and with Jonah.

    - “As a Christian, I hold God and his Word to be my ultimate authority, as it is only because the Bible is absolutely true that we have any basis for knowledge, truth, logic, or any other preconditions of intelligibility.”

    Well, I believe that this presupposition is false, which is, of course, the crux of the disagreement. While the Bible is certainly a key authority, along with Sacred Tradition and Church governance, it is not the only way that God speaks. He also speaks through his creation and He speaks in our reasoning. If we can see in Genesis a story whose essential message is that God created everything, and we see in science an essential message as to how this ‘everything’ came about, we spit on the reasoning and gifts God gave us by denying the knowledge which our brains, and our reasoning can reveal, in favor of an unnecessary adoption of literalness. This is especially so where such literalness leads to manifestly incorrect conclusions and where Genesis was intended to speak to a primitive, unsophisticated people.

    - “So, did you have any rational objection, or are you content to just posit your opinion and leave it at that?”

    I’ve stated a rational objection.

    - “See my comment to Joe regarding this”

    I have, and the point still stands. You may believe that there needs to be an absolutely objective basis for morality (however you define these words), but not everyone does. And simply because Joe does not conform to your definitions and preconceptions does not mean that he did not give you a basis. His answer may have been unsatisfying to you, but you can’t say he didn’t give you an answer.

  • http://criticallyskeptic.blogspot.com Kevin

    Holy – is scmike STILL here?

    Man, can’t say anything bad about his perseverence. His sanity, maybe, but the fellow is certainly sticking around.

  • scmike

    Golumpki,

    I said: “I am more than happy to discuss beliefs with you in another conversation, Golumpki. Right now though, I am only interested in what you know and how you claim to know it… Sorry, I must’ve missed it. Please tell me one thing you know for certain and how you know it.”

    You said: “”But, don’t you see? This is where the problem of the word games comes into play. You have a quite idiosyncratic definition of “know” (among other things.) So while I can (and have) answered your challenge on a number of occasions, you refuse to see it, because of your adherence to these idiosyncratic definitions you have.””

    You may call this a word game all you like, but if you would ever answer my questions, you would see that it is not. Here they are again:

    1) Tell me one thing you know for certain and HOW you know it.

    2) Tell me one thing you know for certain that could be false.

    I said: “And what would be the point of ‘testing’ your senses and reasoning if you didn’t first assume that you could correctly perceive the results of the test?”

    You said: “”You don’t assume that you are doing so. In science, things should be checked and rechecked until you are certain beyond any reasonable doubt that the results you’ve obtained correlate with reality.””

    Did you reason this? If so, how do you know that your reasoning about this is valid?

    I asked: “How do you test the validity of your brain to ensure that it is functioning properly and yielding correct results?”

    You asked: “”What do you mean “test the validity of your brain”?””

    You claim to test the validity of your senses and reasoning with your brain, but you could never do that unless you knew that your brain was functioning properly and yielding correct results. How do you know that it is?

    I said: “Actually, it is you who is engaging in linguistic revision by claiming your beliefs to be knowledge. As I have previously stated, knowledge is certain by definition as one cannot know something that could be false.”

    You said: “”Your idiosyncratic definitions of these words is the barrier to true communication. The fact that you adopt a certain definition of a word in order to be consistent with a philosophical belief you wish to hold does not mean that that adopted definition is correct.

    More to the point, you have defined these words (“know,” “true,” “false,” “absolute,” etc.) in an idiosyncratic fashion, so that they can only support your position. But that is a logical fallacy, because changing the definition of the thing does not change the thing. (It is the basis of the old story: if a man has two cats and three dogs and we redefine “dog” to mean “both dogs and cats,” how many dogs does he have? Three, because changing the word use doesn’t change the thing.)””

    Then, you should have no problem refuting me by giving an example of something you know to be true that could also be false. Well?

    I asked: “Could those things (which you claim to ‘know with certainty beyond a reasonable doubt’) turn out to be false?”

    You said: “”Again, it depends on what you mean by “false”””

    ‘Not true’.

    “”(as well as “true”””

    ‘Certain’.

    “”and “know” as well.)””

    ‘to apprehend clearly and with certainty’.

    “”who knows?””

    That’s what we’re trying to determine. It should be obvious by now. :)

    I asked: “Do you [know for certain that you exist]?”

    You said: “”How have you defined “know” “certain” and “exist”??””

    Know–’to apprehend clearly and with certainty’

    Certain–’true’

    Exist–’to have actual being’

    There. Now please answer the question, Golumpki.

    I asked: “Are you a Christian?”

    You said: “”Yes. I was baptized, raised and confirmed as a member of Christ’s One True Church, the Roman Catholic Church.””

    So, you know the Lord then?

    I said: “It is not my position that Christians know everything absolutely, but that God has revealed SOME things to us so that we can know them with absolute certainty. Not the least of which that He exists and that his Word is true.”

    You said: “”Well, that is some interesting theology there,””

    Interesting and Biblical (Rom. 1:18-20).

    “”but I believe that the experience of most people, and the notion of faith, itself, would suggests otherwise.””

    So you don’t know the Lord then?

    “”Even Blessed Mother Teresa was wracked by grave doubts about her faith and about God’s existence.””

    Is it your position that Mother Theresa knew the Lord?

    I said: “I don’t claim to believe those stories, Golumpki, I know for certain that they are true (by the impossibility of the contrary).”

    You said: “”That is not knowledge nor certainty, that is a statement of faith (if not outright peasant theology).””

    Are you certain? If so, how? If not, upon what is your statement based–faith, perhaps?

    “”You do yourself no favor by ignoring the inherent truth in the message of them by rigid belief in their literalness,””

    What you don’t realize is that you destroy your own position with your ‘rigid belief’ that they are not literal and should not be taken as such, as it is only because the Bible is absolutely true that one can know anything to be true at all.

    “”to the harm of the myriad many ways in which God has made Himself known to us.””

    Yet, it is you who has been arguing AGAINST my claim that God has made Himself known to us, all along. Don’t you find that a little bit odd?

    “”Our Lord loves stories and parables, as they are a very powerful tool to get to the underlying point.””

    I agree.

    “”There need not have literally been a Prodigal Son for the truth inside that story to be manifest.””

    I agree.

    “”The same with Genesis and with Jonah.””

    What is your Biblical justification for assuming that Genesis and Jonah were parables?

    I said: “As a Christian, I hold God and his Word to be my ultimate authority, as it is only because the Bible is absolutely true that we have any basis for knowledge, truth, logic, or any other preconditions of intelligibility.”

    You said: “”Well, I believe that this presupposition is false, which is, of course, the crux of the disagreement.””

    Well, feel free to tell how you account for knowledge, truth, logic, and the preconditions of intelligibility without presupposing the truth of the Bible.

    “”While the Bible is certainly a key authority, along with Sacred Tradition and Church governance, it is not the only way that God speaks.””

    I think I see the problem here Golumpki. You seem to misunderstand what a Christian is. A Christian is someone who holds God and His Word to be their ULTIMATE authority and who lives in submission to that authority, having repented of their sins and been regenerated by the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

    The more that I discuss this with you, the more concerned I am that this does not describe you. I pray that I am mistaken.

    “”He also speaks through his creation and He speaks in our reasoning.””

    I agree that God speaks through His creation and that our reasoning is a precious gift from God, but it is only through the lens of the Bible that we are able to make sense of our ability to reason or have any grounds for rational thought.

    “”If we can see in Genesis a story whose essential message is that God created everything, and we see in science an essential message as to how this ‘everything’ came about, we spit on the reasoning and gifts God gave us by denying the knowledge which our brains, and our reasoning can reveal, in favor of an unnecessary adoption of literalness.””

    Again Golumpki, it is only because the Bible is literally true that we have any basis for knowledge, science, or the validity of human reasoning. To hold our ability to reason above the authority of Scripture is to ‘spit’ upon the authority of God and to be reduced to foolishness, as that position ALWAYS leads to absurdity (for proof of this, one need not look any further than the comments of the atheists on this very thread that have argued from that same position).

    If God and His Word are to be our ultimate authority, we must reason FROM the truth of scripture, not TO it.

    “”This is especially so where such literalness leads to manifestly incorrect conclusions””

    Only if you first assume that the Bible is not correct in its accounts (which by the way, is question begging). We will interpret any evidence and the world around us based on our respective presuppositions.

    I presuppose that the Bible is absolutely true in ALL of it’s accounts, while you do not. Whereas you seek to reconcile perceived contradictions between ‘reality’ and the Bible by laying aside the authority of Scripture, I reconcile them based upon the authority of Scripture.

    Interestingly enough, it is only by adopting the latter position (that the Bible is absolutely true) that we have any justification for calling any conclusion ‘correct’ or ‘incorrect’, as the concept of truth cannot be accounted for apart from the Bible.

    I asked: “So, did you have any rational objection, or are you content to just posit your opinion and leave it at that?

    You said: “”I’ve stated a rational objection.””

    No, you presented your own ‘rigid belief’ as to why my alleged ‘rigid belief’ is false, but you provided no justification for it. That is the very definition of ‘irrational’.

    I said: “See my comment to Joe regarding this”

    You said: “”I have, and the point still stands. You may believe that there needs to be an absolutely objective basis for morality (however you define these words), but not everyone does. And simply because Joe does not conform to your definitions and preconceptions does not mean that he did not give you a basis. His answer may have been unsatisfying to you, but you can’t say he didn’t give you an answer.””

    Look Golumpki, if you can show me where Joe provided an absolute standard of morality by which he condemns any action in his worldview, I will gladly issue an apology.

    However, the record is there for all to see that, when I challenged him on his position, he provided no answer. Surely you’re not suggesting that he should not have to provide justification for his claims against Christianity, are you?

    I must confess that I find it rather strange (and contradictory) that you profess Christianity, while continuing to argue from and defend an atheistic position. Surely you can see the problem with that, no?

  • scmike

    Kevin,

    You said: “”Holy – is scmike STILL here?

    Man, can’t say anything bad about his perseverence. His sanity, maybe, but the fellow is certainly sticking around.””

    Hello again Kevin. Glad to see you are well. :)

    Have you given any thought to what we discussed before?

  • http://criticallyskeptic.blogspot.com Kevin

    @scmike:

    Nah, I have other more important things to think about. Though keep preaching, you’ve surely gotten your point across.

  • scmike

    Kevin,

    I have and will continue to pray for you. Take care.

  • Golumpki

    - “You may call this a word game all you like, but if you would ever answer my questions, you would see that it is not.”

    I’ve read your responses above. That you are engaged in word games is apparent. Would your response to me be any different than your response to any of them?

    - “You claim to test the validity of your senses and reasoning with your brain, but you could never do that unless you knew that your brain was functioning properly and yielding correct results. How do you know that it is?”

    Because if were not, it would not give the type of results that are given, nor would they be mutually reinforcing. That was the point previously

    - “Then, you should have no problem refuting me by giving an example of something you know to be true that could also be false.”

    Again, given the demonstrated idiosyncratic meanings you append to these words, doing so would be pointless, like talking about the evidence which establishes the fact of evolution and the falsehood of Genesis taken literally. You would presumably simply trot out your idiosyncratic “facts” which you believe support your position, ignore the things that do not, garnish it with empty rhetoric about “preconceptions” or “worldviews” or some such nonsense. What would be the point for me even doing so?

    - “ “”(as well as “true”””
    - ‘Certain’.
    - “”and “know” as well.)””
    - ‘to apprehend clearly and with certainty’. “

    - “Know–’to apprehend clearly and with certainty’
    - Certain–’true’
    - Exist–’to have actual being’
    - There. Now please answer the question, Golumpki.”

    Here is exactly the word play I mentioned above. You are including a notion of certainty here, with regard to truth and knowledge which simply is incongruent with the generally accepted meanings to those words. It is as if you argued that 5 is smaller than 2, and based your argument on the claim that “5” means “a single thing.”

    “So, you know the Lord then?”

    Depends on what you mean by the expression. Sounds vaguely Protestant to me.

    - “Interesting and Biblical (Rom. 1:18-20).”

    That’s one way of looking at it, but not the only way, and certainly not the best way given the fact that it is incongruous with the experience of most of humanity and goes against the very notion of faith, itself.

    - “So you don’t know the Lord then?”

    Again, I think this is a Protestant notion.

    - “Is it your position that Mother Theresa knew the Lord?”

    It is my position that Blessed Mother Teresa was a Christian who had doubts about faith, as most people of faith have. That would, in my mind, especially given the view of her life held by the Holy Father and by Pope John Paul II, that such doubts about faith and even the existence of God are not only normal, but can be experience by those most in the service to God. It is part of the tragedy of humanity and the challenge and mystery of faith. As I said before, if you have problems with these ideas, please contact your local parish. I’m certain they can get you in touch with a priest or theologian who can do a better job than I in discussing these matters.

    - “Are you certain? If so, how?”

    I am certain beyond any reasonable doubt, as a result of the billions of data points which have demonstrated this.

    - “What you don’t realize is that you destroy your own position with your ‘rigid belief’ that they are not literal”

    I do not have a “rigid belief” that they are not literal. If you were to establish through scientific means that they were literally true, and not merely literary and, perhaps, liturgical, then I would change my position. That’s not literal.

    - “…and should not be taken as such, as it is only because the Bible is absolutely true that one can know anything to be true at all.”

    Again, nice theology, but one that most would disagree with. Moreover, at least three pontiffs are on record noting the truth, with caveats, of the science of evolution. Given the choice between peasant theology and the Vicar of Christ, I’ll choose the latter.

    - “Yet, it is you who has been arguing AGAINST my claim that God has made Himself known to us, all along. Don’t you find that a little bit odd?”

    No. I have no quarrel with the notion that God has made himself known to us. I quarrel with the notion that that knowledge is absolute and certain.

    - “What is your Biblical justification for assuming that Genesis and Jonah were parables?”

    Whose to say that such justification has to be Biblical? Again, as the Church has made clear, there is no conflict between accepting the factual truth of evolution, with caveats, and the Christian faith.

    - “Well, feel free to tell how you account for knowledge, truth, logic, and the preconditions of intelligibility without presupposing the truth of the Bible.”

    Actually, I’m much more interested in hearing how you explain how a literal acceptance of Genesis and Noah’s flood is a necessary precondition for knowledge, truth and logic.

    - “You seem to misunderstand what a Christian is.”

    LOL. No, as a baptized and confirmed Catholic, I know I am a Christian.

    - “A Christian is someone who holds God and His Word to be their ULTIMATE authority and who lives in submission to that authority, having repented of their sins and been regenerated by the Spirit of Jesus Christ.”

    Again, while the Bible is one key authority, it is not the only one. Absent the Church and Sacred Tradition, you’re left with people turning the Bible into an idol. While taking away nothing from the glory of the Gospels and the majesty of scripture, it is important to remember that Christ, himself, did not write a word, but his did found a Church – the Catholic Church.

    - “The more that I discuss this with you, the more concerned I am that this does not describe you. I pray that I am mistaken.”

    Well, while I appreciate your concern, it is misguided. I am happily a member of Christ’s One True Church.

    - “I agree that God speaks through His creation and that our reasoning is a precious gift from God, but it is only through the lens of the Bible that we are able to make sense of our ability to reason or have any grounds for rational thought.”

    No, no, no, no, false. You cannot say that God speaks through His creation and praise Him for our reasoning abilities and then deny them completely when applying the latter reveals that what was, in a more ignorant age, taken to be a literal historical lesson is, in fact, a beautiful and poetic parable and allegory, teaching essential matters of faith and God’s love.

    - “Again Golumpki, it is only because the Bible is literally true that we have any basis for knowledge, science, or the validity of human reasoning.”

    Again, I’d love for you to try to explain the validity of human reasoning, itself, is dependant upon Jonah being swallowed by a sea creature for three days, as a historical matter and not as a literary and teaching device and prefigurement of Christ’s passion and resurrection.

    - “ To hold our ability to reason above the authority of Scripture is to ’spit’ upon the authority of God and to be reduced to foolishness, as that position ALWAYS leads to absurdity”

    But we are not holding our ability to reason above the authority of Scripture, we are merely denying a literal reading to certain portions of Scripture – which were sufficient in a less knowledgeable age – in favor of one that, in the fullness of the knowledge that God’s gift of learning and reasoning has revealed, has revealed a richness and meaning which makes the literal reading of Genesis weak soup in comparison. When one discovers, truly discovers, the wonders of God’s vast and billions-year-old universe and the long and amazing evolutionary history of life on Earth, it only makes God’s glory all the more magnificent and makes the lessons from the proper, non-literal, reading of Genesis all the more meaningful.

    - “If God and His Word are to be our ultimate authority, we must reason FROM the truth of scripture, not TO it.”

    But, again, you are presupposing that a literal view IS the truth of Scripture.

    - “Only if you first assume that the Bible is not correct in its accounts”

    One need not assume that. Once can assume that a literal view of certain accounts is not the proper manner to look at Scripture.

    - “We will interpret any evidence and the world around us based on our respective presuppositions.”

    While this is true only in the grossest sense, that does not mean that the results of those interpretations are equally likely.

    - “I presuppose that the Bible is absolutely true in ALL of it’s accounts, while you do not.”

    No, you presuppose it is literally true. I presuppose that it is absolutely true, but not always literally so. To use an overly simplistic expression, if someone in a monsoon said that “it’s raining cats and dogs” I could say that the statement was true, but you would require falling felines and canines before pronouncing truth.

    - “Whereas you seek to reconcile perceived contradictions between ‘reality’ and the Bible by laying aside the authority of Scripture, I reconcile them based upon the authority of Scripture.”

    From what I’ve seen, you don’t actually reconcile them at all. You simply ignore the scientific facts which are at the foundation of the contradictions, in favor of the literal reading.

    - “Look Golumpki, if you can show me where Joe provided an absolute standard of morality by which he condemns any action in his worldview, I will gladly issue an apology.”

    But, again, you may believe that there needs to be an absolutely objective basis for morality (however you define these words), but not everyone does. And simply because Joe does not conform to your definitions and preconceptions does not mean that he did not give you a basis. His answer may have been unsatisfying to you, but you can’t say he didn’t give you an answer.

    - “However, the record is there for all to see that, when I challenged him on his position, he provided no answer. Surely you’re not suggesting that he should not have to provide justification for his claims against Christianity, are you?”

    But the point is that he did provide an answer. It was just one that you didn’t like. But that fact does not change reality into one where he provided no answer.

    - “I must confess that I find it rather strange (and contradictory) that you profess Christianity, while continuing to argue from and defend an atheistic position. Surely you can see the problem with that, no?”

    I’m not defending an “atheistic position,” merely noting that it appears to me that you skirt darn close to accusing him of something he has not committed. Preventing that is a very Christian position.

  • scmike

    Golumpki,

    I said: “You may call this a word game all you like, but if you would ever answer my questions, you would see that it is not.”

    You said: “”I’ve read your responses above. That you are engaged in word games is apparent. Would your response to me be any different than your response to any of them?””

    If you’ve read the responses above, then you have no doubt seen that no one has even come close to answering THAT question, as it is unanswerable. One cannot know something that could be false, as I hope you realize by now.

    I said: “You claim to test the validity of your senses and reasoning with your brain, but you could never do that unless you knew that your brain was functioning properly and yielding correct results. How do you know that it is?”

    You said: “”Because if were not, it would not give the type of results that are given, nor would they be mutually reinforcing. That was the point previously””

    You’re arguing that you verify the reliability of your senses and reasoning with your brain, which you in turn validate with your senses and reasoning. This is hopelessly circular, and still gives you zero justification for trusting the reliability of your senses and reasoning. As I stated before, if you don’t know that they are reliable, you can’t know anything.

    I said: “Then, you should have no problem refuting me by giving an example of something you know to be true that could also be false.”

    You said: “”Again, given the demonstrated idiosyncratic meanings you append to these words, doing so would be pointless, like talking about the evidence which establishes the fact of evolution and the falsehood of Genesis taken literally.””

    Look, Golumpki, if you can’t give an example to back up your claim regarding knowledge, just say so, as that is my point.
    It is ironic that you mention ‘facts’, and ‘evidence’ (both of which allude to the concept of proof) in your above statement, as absolute certainty is a necessary precondition for proving anything.

    You said: “”You would presumably simply trot out your idiosyncratic “facts” which you believe support your position, ignore the things that do not, garnish it with empty rhetoric about “preconceptions” or “worldviews” or some such nonsense. What would be the point for me even doing so?””

    To demonstrate that YOUR argument is more than just a baseless assertion (i.e. ‘empty rhetoric’). Well?

    You said: “”Here is exactly the word play I mentioned above. You are including a notion of certainty here, with regard to truth and knowledge which simply is incongruent with the generally accepted meanings to those words.””

    Here is another example of your inconsistency. Are you 100% certain that the notion of certainty provided is incongruent with the ‘generally accepted’ meanings? If so, how? If not, couldn’t the exact opposite be true?

    You said: “”It is as if you argued that 5 is smaller than 2, and based your argument on the claim that “5” means “a single thing.”””

    I disagree with your analysis of my argument. Nevertheless, this raises a good question with regards to your professed beliefs–why can 5 absolutely not be smaller than 2, and why can 5 absolutely not mean ‘a single thing’? Based on your stated position, you are forced to admit that both of these scenarios COULD be, and you have no way of knowing with 100% certainty that they are not so right now. Surely you can see the absurdity of such a position by now, no?

    I asked: “So, you know the Lord then?”

    You said: “”Depends on what you mean by the expression. Sounds vaguely Protestant to me.””

    I mean exactly what I asked. Do you know the Lord? That is the Biblical definition of a Christian.

    I said: “Interesting and Biblical (Rom. 1:18-20).”

    You said: “”That’s one way of looking at it, but not the only way, and certainly not the best way given the fact that it is incongruous with the experience of most of humanity and goes against the very notion of faith, itself.””

    How do you know for certain that this is ‘incongruous with the experience of most of humanity’? That very claim demonstrates the Biblical truth that God has revealed some things to us so that we can know them to absolutely objectively true, as the only way anyone can know anything for certain is through revelation from One who knows everything, otherwise the argument goes on forever in an infinite regress of ‘how do you know’ (as we are seeing right now).

    You continue to confirm that you do not hold God or his Word as your ultimate authority, but instead, base your entire position on your own ability to reason apart from God (and in contradiction to Him). Amazingly, this is the same position that the atheists on this thread have taken, as well. Surely you can see the problem with that, no?

    I asked: “So you don’t know the Lord then?”

    You said: “”Again, I think this is a Protestant notion. “”

    No, it is a Biblical notion. Well, do you?

    I asked: “Is it your position that Mother Theresa knew the Lord?”

    You said: “”It is my position that Blessed Mother Teresa was a Christian who had doubts about faith, as most people of faith have.””

    You previously stated that Mother Theresa doubted the existence of God. Are you arguing that she both knew and Lord and also did not know the Lord at the same time and in the same way? How is that possible?

    You said: “”That would, in my mind, especially given the view of her life held by the Holy Father and by Pope John Paul II, that such doubts about faith and even the existence of God are not only normal, but can be experience by those most in the service to God.””

    Not if they KNOW God. Unless, of course, you’d care to explain the process of knowing Him and not knowing him at the same time and in the same way.

    You said: “”It is part of the tragedy of humanity and the challenge and mystery of faith. As I said before, if you have problems with these ideas, please contact your local parish. I’m certain they can get you in touch with a priest or theologian who can do a better job than I in discussing these matters.””

    Look Golumpki, I understand that Christians may sometimes fail to trust God like they should (this is perfectly consistent with what the Bible says), but Christians do not EVER doubt His existence, as a Christian is someone who knows the Lord and has been regenerated by His Spirit dwelling within them.

    What would you think of someone who claimed to doubt the existence of their parents?

    I asked: “Are you certain? If so, how?”

    You said: “”I am certain beyond any reasonable doubt, as a result of the billions of data points which have demonstrated this.””

    Could you be wrong about that?

    I said: “What you don’t realize is that you destroy your own position with your ‘rigid belief’ that they are not literal”

    You said: “”I do not have a “rigid belief” that they are not literal. If you were to establish through scientific means that they were literally true, and not merely literary and, perhaps, liturgical, then I would change my position.””

    The problem is, any evidence presented to you will be interpreted via your presupposition that the Biblical accounts we are discussing are NOT literal. Even providing you with Biblical justification that they should be taken literally (such as Jesus Himself declaring them to be literal historical accounts: Matt. 12:39-41, Matt. 19:4, Mark 10:6) would never convince you, as you deny the authority of the Bible. It is impossible to convince someone who does not want to be convinced. That only comes through submission.

    I suspect that your response to this evidence will no doubt confirm my point.

    I said: “…and should not be taken as such, as it is only because the Bible is absolutely true that one can know anything to be true at all.”

    You said: “”Again, nice theology, but one that most would disagree with.””

    Thankfully, their agreement is not needed. What people believe to be true has nothing to do with what actually is true.

    This again serves to demonstrate though that your ultimate authority is not the Bible, but your own and others’ autonomous reasoning apart from God. I pray that you will come to see the folly of such a position and repent of it.

    You said: “”Moreover, at least three pontiffs are on record noting the truth, with caveats, of the science of evolution. Given the choice between peasant theology and the Vicar of Christ, I’ll choose the latter.””

    Fine by me. I’ll stick with Christ Himself.

    I said: “Yet, it is you who has been arguing AGAINST my claim that God has made Himself known to us, all along. Don’t you find that a little bit odd?”

    You said: “”No. I have no quarrel with the notion that God has made himself known to us. I quarrel with the notion that that knowledge is absolute and certain.””

    Here is another inconsistency Golumpki. Are you absolutely certain that your quarrel is with the notion that knowledge is absolute and certain, or could you be mistaken?

    You see, if your position were correct, nothing (least of all my position) could be known to be absolutely true or false, and ‘quarrels’ would be meaningless, as there would be no way of resolving ANY quarrel. The fact that you are arguing with me, as if to arrive at truth defeats your position.

    I said: “What is your Biblical justification for assuming that Genesis and Jonah were parables?”

    You said: “”Whose to say that such justification has to be Biblical? Again, as the Church has made clear, there is no conflict between accepting the factual truth of evolution, with caveats, and the Christian faith.””

    Actually, Christianity and evolution are 100% incompatible with one another. I would argue that those who profess Christianity and hold to evolution don’t truly understand either, as one must completely lay aside the authority of the Bible in order to do so, as you have just demonstrated.

    I said: “Well, feel free to tell how you account for knowledge, truth, logic, and the preconditions of intelligibility without presupposing the truth of the Bible.”

    You said: “”Actually, I’m much more interested in hearing how you explain how a literal acceptance of Genesis and Noah’s flood is a necessary precondition for knowledge, truth and logic.””

    Because if one can arbitrarily reject Biblical accounts as they wish, then no Biblical account can be known to be true. If the Bible is not true, then we have no basis for any truth, knowledge, or the validity of human reasoning, as the Bible is the ONLY ‘holy book’ which makes sense of these things.

    Likewise, if the Bible doesn’t mean what it says, we have the same problem. How could we know that God really did create the universe, our senses, and our minds, and thus that our senses are basically reliable? Granted, the Bible says this, but how would we know that it means this, if the Bible doesn’t mean what it says? A straightforward reading of the Bible is necessary in order to make sense of anything else.

    I said: “You seem to misunderstand what a Christian is.”

    You said: “”LOL. No, as a baptized and confirmed Catholic, I know I am a Christian.””

    How do you know this?

    I said: “A Christian is someone who holds God and His Word to be their ULTIMATE authority and who lives in submission to that authority, having repented of their sins and been regenerated by the Spirit of Jesus Christ.”

    You said: “”Again, while the Bible is one key authority, it is not the only one. Absent the Church and Sacred Tradition, you’re left with people turning the Bible into an idol.””

    Actually, when you deny the Bible as your ultimate authority, the god that you are worshipping IS an idol of your own making.

    For instance, if you accept that the doctrines of the Catholic Church and Sacred Tradition should be adhered to over the authority of Bible (even when they contradict it), then they have become your god. One cannot be in total submission to God and His Word and also not totally submitted to Him. We either are or we aren’t (Matthew 6:24).

    You said: “”While taking away nothing from the glory of the Gospels and the majesty of scripture, it is important to remember that Christ, himself, did not write a word, but his did found a Church – the Catholic Church.””

    Does the Catholic Church have the authority to contradict Scripture?

    I said: “The more that I discuss this with you, the more concerned I am that this does not describe you. I pray that I am mistaken.”

    You said: “”Well, while I appreciate your concern, it is misguided. I am happily a member of Christ’s One True Church.””

    Are you born again (John 3:3-7)?

    I said: “I agree that God speaks through His creation and that our reasoning is a precious gift from God, but it is only through the lens of the Bible that we are able to make sense of our ability to reason or have any grounds for rational thought.”

    You said: “”No, no, no, no, false.””

    If you scroll up, you will see the truth of my statement when you admitted to sensing and reasoning that your senses and reasoning are valid. As I said, it is only because the Bible is absolutely true that we have any basis for the validity of our reasoning. Holding one’s own reasoning above Scripture as an ultimate authority will always end up in absurdity and foolishness. Please give this some thought Golumpki.

    God and His Word must be our ultimate authority, else He is not our God, we are.

    You said: “”You cannot say that God speaks through His creation and praise Him for our reasoning abilities and then deny them completely when applying the latter reveals that what was, in a more ignorant age, taken to be a literal historical lesson is, in fact, a beautiful and poetic parable and allegory, teaching essential matters of faith and God’s love.””

    Again, what is the justification for your assumption? Scriptural analysis should always be done in light of the authority of other Scripture (i.e. rightly dividing the Word of Truth). This is difficult when you have admitted that the Bible is NOT your ultimate authority.

    I said: “Again Golumpki, it is only because the Bible is literally true that we have any basis for knowledge, science, or the validity of human reasoning.”

    You said: “”Again, I’d love for you to try to explain the validity of human reasoning, itself, is dependant upon Jonah being swallowed by a sea creature for three days, as a historical matter and not as a literary and teaching device and prefigurement of Christ’s passion and resurrection.””

    As I said before, if one can arbitrarily dismiss Biblical accounts as not being literal (when they clearly are), then ANY Biblical account can be dismissed, including the virgin birth, the crucifixion, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If the Bible does not literally mean what it says, then none of it can be known to be true.

    I said: “To hold our ability to reason above the authority of Scripture is to ’spit’ upon the authority of God and to be reduced to foolishness, as that position ALWAYS leads to absurdity”

    You said: “”But we are not holding our ability to reason above the authority of Scripture, we are merely denying a literal reading to certain portions of Scripture – which were sufficient in a less knowledgeable age – in favor of one that, in the fullness of the knowledge that God’s gift of learning and reasoning has revealed, has revealed a richness and meaning which makes the literal reading of Genesis weak soup in comparison.””

    But you have zero scriptural basis for any of the above assumptions, which means you have reasoned to them independently of the Word of God. That is the very definition of holding your reason above the authority of Scripture.

    You said: “”When one discovers, truly discovers, the wonders of God’s vast and billions-year-old universe and the long and amazing evolutionary history of life on Earth, it only makes God’s glory all the more magnificent and makes the lessons from the proper, non-literal, reading of Genesis all the more meaningful.””

    Here is a perfect example; Did you reason to this conclusion with Scripture as your foundation, or did you reach it by some other means?


    I said:
    “If God and His Word are to be our ultimate authority, we must reason FROM the truth of scripture, not TO it.”

    You said: “”But, again, you are presupposing that a literal view IS the truth of Scripture.””

    And my presupposition is justified by the impossibility of the contrary, as I have explained.

    I said: “I presuppose that the Bible is absolutely true in ALL of it’s accounts, while you do not.”

    You said: “”No, you presuppose it is literally true. I presuppose that it is absolutely true, but not always literally so.””

    So we are in agreement now that absolute truth exists? Isn’t this the very concept you’ve been arguing against all this time? How do you explain that?

    You said: “”To use an overly simplistic expression, if someone in a monsoon said that “it’s raining cats and dogs” I could say that the statement was true, but you would require falling felines and canines before pronouncing truth.””

    No doubt. It is not my position that the Bible contains no figurative language, allegories, or parables, but that a straightforward, literal reading of the Bible is required to make sense of any of it (even the instances where such language is used). If the same non-literal approach that you are applying to Genesis and Jonah were applied to all of the Bible, then one could conclude that Jesus’ parables were not literally parables, and should not be taken as such. I’m sure that you would disagree with such an analysis of Scripture, no?

    I said: “Whereas you seek to reconcile perceived contradictions between ‘reality’ and the Bible by laying aside the authority of Scripture, I reconcile them based upon the authority of Scripture.”

    You said: “”From what I’ve seen, you don’t actually reconcile them at all. You simply ignore the scientific facts which are at the foundation of the contradictions, in favor of the literal reading.””

    What you fail to realize , is that the ‘scientific facts’ you speak of which contradict the Bible are not ‘facts’, but simply conclusions formed about the world around us derived from the assumption (presupposition) that the Bible is not literally true, which is clearly question begging.

    Besides, the very basis of all science is induction (i.e. the uniformity of nature), which makes no sense apart from the literal truth of the Bible. It is only because the Bible is literally true that one has any basis for expecting the future to resemble the past, since it is in Genesis that it is revealed that God sustains the universe in a uniform fashion so that man may have dominion over the earth and subdue it. It would be impossible to do so otherwise.

    I said: “Look Golumpki, if you can show me where Joe provided an absolute standard of morality by which he condemns any action in his worldview, I will gladly issue an apology.”

    You said: “”But, again, you may believe that there needs to be an absolutely objective basis for morality (however you define these words), but not everyone does. And simply because Joe does not conform to your definitions and preconceptions does not mean that he did not give you a basis. His answer may have been unsatisfying to you, but you can’t say he didn’t give you an answer.””

    You are forgetting that I asked specifically for an absolute standard. Please show me where Joe provided one, and I will be more than happy to offer that apology.

    I said: “I must confess that I find it rather strange (and contradictory) that you profess Christianity, while continuing to argue from and defend an atheistic position. Surely you can see the problem with that, no?”

    You said: “”I’m not defending an “atheistic position,” merely noting that it appears to me that you skirt darn close to accusing him of something he has not committed. Preventing that is a very Christian position.””

    Actually, I was not referring to your defense of Joe, but the arguments that you have been using to try and defend your position regarding knowledge, etc. If you scroll up, they are nearly identical to the arguments that the professed atheists on this blog have attempted to use AGAINST Christianity. As a professing Christian, you should find that extremely troubling.

  • joe agnost

    scmike wrote: “the ‘scientific facts’ you speak of which contradict the Bible are not ‘facts’, but simply conclusions formed about the world around us derived from the assumption (presupposition) that the Bible is not literally true”

    Not quite – most scientists don’t give your little book a moments thought. It’s not that the bible is presupposed to be false any more than presupposing Harry Potter is false has anything to do with science.

    The bible is irrelevant to science, it doesn’t come up.

    scmike continued: “It is only because the Bible is literally true that one has any basis for expecting the future to resemble the past.”

    Huge fail. Huge.

    We expect the future to resemble the past NOT because some ancient book says it but because in our recorded history it’s ALWAYS been that way! Your bible has NOTHING to do with it!
    Rain clouds yesterday produced rain. Last week they produced rain also. It’s a pretty good bet that rain clouds in the future will produce rain. I didn’t think about the bible once in making that deduction.

    That the bible might mention this (past/future relationship) means that the goat herders that wrote it noticed this ‘fact of life’ too – NOT that the bible is literally true.

  • scmike

    Joe,

    Happy New Year. Glad to see you are well. Regarding your comments:

    I said: “the ‘scientific facts’ you speak of which contradict the Bible are not ‘facts’, but simply conclusions formed about the world around us derived from the assumption (presupposition) that the Bible is not literally true”.

    You said: “”Not quite – most scientists don’t give your little book a moments thought.””

    Actually, all science is based upon the law of induction, the validity of which cannot be accounted for apart from the Bible. No doubt, many scientists may suppress this truth, but they cannot live consistently with their professed beliefs (just as you cannot).

    You said: “”It’s not that the bible is presupposed to be false any more than presupposing Harry Potter is false has anything to do with science.””

    The difference is, Harry Potter cannot account for the validity of the scientific method, whereas the Bible can and does (by the impossibility of the contrary).

    I said: “It is only because the Bible is literally true that one has any basis for expecting the future to resemble the past.”

    You said: “”Huge fail. Huge.

    We expect the future to resemble the past NOT because some ancient book says it but because in our recorded history it’s ALWAYS been that way! Your bible has NOTHING to do with it!””

    Speak for yourself. As I pointed out to you way back on December 3 (1:27 PM), saying that the future will be like the past because it has been like the past is hopelessly circular and, therefore, irrational.

    Not to mention the fact that you have zero basis for the claim that ‘it’s always been that way’, as you have admitted that you can’t know anything for certain, in which case, it could be false for all you know.

    You said: “”Rain clouds yesterday produced rain. Last week they produced rain also.””

    Again, though, you have admitted that you could be mistaken about all of this. Not to mention, you have no way of knowing that the senses, reasoning, and memory you used to form this conclusion are reliable.

    Believing something and acting upon it with no justification for doing so is the very definition of blind faith and the very epitome of irrationality. You should give this some serious thought, Joe.

    You said: “”It’s a pretty good bet that rain clouds in the future will produce rain. I didn’t think about the bible once in making that deduction.””

    So let’s get this straight, you weren’t thinking about the Bible when you stated that you made the above deduction without thinking about the Bible? Okayyyyyy. :D

    You said: “”That the bible might mention this (past/future relationship) means that the goat herders that wrote it noticed this ‘fact of life’ too – NOT that the bible is literally true.””

    Not that I agree with your erroneous assessment of the Bible, but what does it say about your position when those alleged ‘goat herders’ can logically account for the validity of the scientific method while you cannot?

  • joe agnost

    scmike wrote: “all science is based upon the law of induction, the validity of which cannot be accounted for apart from the Bible.”

    I should’ve known better than engaging anyone on the short bus… (sigh).

  • scmike

    Joe,

    I said: “all science is based upon the law of induction, the validity of which cannot be accounted for apart from the Bible.”

    You said: “”I should’ve known better than engaging anyone on the short bus… (sigh).””

    Don’t feel bad, you can’t win ‘em all. :D

  • joe agnost

    scmike wrote: “Don’t feel bad, you can’t win ‘em all.”

    I guess you’re used to that… and must enjoy it! Hell – look at the beating you’re taking on this thread and you still keep coming back… like I said… short bus.

  • Chris mankey

    “You seem to be forgetting that I asked first. Nevertheless I will answer your question. As a Christian, I can proceed with the assumption that nature will be uniform based on the promises of God.”

    Time stopped for Joshua, and it ran backwards for Hezekiah (2 Kings 20:9-11). Is that an example of “god” preserving the “uniformity ” of nature? How about people rising from the dead or feeding crowds with magical fish and loaves?

    “all science is based upon the law of induction, the validity of which cannot be accounted for apart from the Bible.”

    Magical, untestable tinkering with reality isn’t any example of uniformity” It’s the opposite of it!

  • Miranda Flemming

    Yeah, he sure does regret doing the banana video – it was a big ‘slip’ into his twisted mind along with his public (pubic?) slips about rape and paedophilia being ‘fun’ and ‘making people happy’. He knows his audience of sheepies is diminishing the guilt-ridden sheepies that are sold con-fort’s slimey sales pitch (exactly the same sales pitch I heard over 2 decades ago, that guilts ‘good’ people into believing they are evil and go to hell and that rapists go to heaven – Jesus it their get out of hell free ticket, no matter how many times the devil make them do it, Jesus will forgive them. Meanwhile, innocent children are psychologically abused (I am a survivor of such abuse). Ray bans anyone on his page that gets too close to the truth (after his demon trolls launch viscous personal attacks first – I got attacked by his unholy trinity – who were obviously all the same devil). Sprinkle $$$$$$ around and get banned. Dictator god banned me because I said he was a psychopath fleecing the sheepies. The anti-evolution, anti-atheism crap is an attempt to bait bigwigs like Dawkins for a bigger audience to try to con more sheepies for more $$$$$ (reportedly over $3 million tax free from book sales & donations in 2006)

  • madeon6thday

    Fantastic interview with Ray. He is awesome!! Love his work. Evolution vs God was so entertaining. Loved seeing the atheists squirm trying to come up with tangible evidence of Darwinian evolution.
    Where is it?? Where is proof of one kind of animal changing into another kind?? The “missing links” are a joke!


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