I Choose To Believe…

  • Nathan

    The circuit diagram is how you were built, not why you believe. Just thought I’d start doing a little over-analyzing again.

    • Tom Vincent

      That’s a good point. The robot’s last statement is more of a non-sequitor, since it really has nothing to do with the ‘mystery of how a robot walks or talks’.

      Certainly children are ‘programmed’ to be Christian or Muslim or whatever, usually before they even have the opportunity to explore other religions…and rarely if ever are they presented any criticism of their parent’s religion.

      PS: Don’t take the trolls too seriously, Nathan. There’s a number of cruel people on this blog and, sadly, not a lot of sympathy to be found.

      • Custador

        Are you twelve years old?! There’s a number of people on this blog who don’t suffer fools gladly, and to be frank, if you’re into playing the butt-hurt victim card, you’re going to want to supress that particular instinct here. You’ll get respect when you earn it.

        • http://themikewrites.blogspot.com JohnMWhite

          To be fair, he is right. You really aren’t showing a lot of sympathy for twelve year olds. I know plenty of twelve year olds capable of getting a joke and not tying themselves in knots trying to be pedantic about it and winding up with inaccurate complaints based on half-baked understanding of the material.

          • Noelle

            Speaking of teenagers, our youngest regular hasn’t been seen here for awhile.

            • Jabster

              Which one’s that?

            • Noelle

              Hamish? He’s only 16 or 17.

            • Darwin

              Ahem.

            • Noelle

              so there you are

          • Custador

            You’re right, of course. I appologise to any twelve year olds reading for making that comparison.

        • TrickQuestion

          The P-K defense isn’t getting you anywhere.

          • Custador

            Sorry for the orphan comment dude, but after a 300 word post that contained nothing but childish personal insults directed at me and no actual content beyond that, my patience for the pre-teen troll has reached its limit.

            • TrickQuestion

              Now my comment will be homeless and on the street…
              and at christmastime too.
              you monster.
              :P

            • Custador

              For some reason that gave me a Portal 2 flash-back.

              You monster.

      • Nathan

        My thoughts exactly….at first. Hence why I thought it should be obvious. But UrsaMinor pointed out another way of looking at it that made some sense as well, although ultimately I still disagree that his final analysis had anything to do with the original intent of the comic. Oh well, to each his own I guess.

      • Jabster

        May I refer you to Arkell vs. Pressdram …

  • Ty

    No, not over analyzing. Just a reading comprehension fail.

    • Nathan

      Really? Are you going to make me point out the obvious in all it’s excruciating glory? And to think that by coming to the atheist blogs I would actually find more intellectually stimulating material (and people). How wrong I was.

      • Jabster

        Well to be blunt then why don’t you piss off then? Nobody is forcing you to post here so don’t let the door hit your posterior on the way out.

        p.s. Maybe you would get a better response if a) you didn’t make some frankly ridiculous comments b) you made some effort to reply to comments directed at you and c) you put forward some sort of argument instead of just saying it’s obvious.

        • Nathan

          “p.s. Maybe you would get a better response if a) you didn’t make some frankly ridiculous comments”

          What’s ridiculous about it? Maybe the ridiculousness of the comic is not readily apparent to those who only see what they believe is “another point for the atheists” on the proverbial chalkboard

          b) you made some effort to reply to comments directed at you

          What comments? It looked to me like a sarcastic response

          “and c) you put forward some sort of argument instead of just saying it’s obvious.”

          Well I was hoping he might see it given some time to think about it. It seems to be a problem around this blog. Nobody here, as far as I’ve seen, is encouraging any dialogue between atheists and creationists. All you ever find is more reasons to hate, argue, criticize, rebuke, and otherwise condemn those who don’t believe as you do. Anyone that comments from a different perspective is treated this way.

          I’m saying this from my own experience. I was a former christian who has since turned to what I consider to be rational and reasonable thought. I actually thought I might find such people in an atheist blog because it was atheist writers that actually helped to free me from Christianity. What I have found in the couple of weeks since commenting on blogs here is nothing but hostility to “outsiders.” This is nothing more than people complaining about God-believers and others chiming in on queue in my opinion. Reminds me of listening to Hannity or Limbaugh. Nothing constructive ever occurs….just a lot of like minded people all complaining about the same things while doing nothing to encourage change.

          Florien put up this comic with one goal; to show the superiority of atheist thought versus blind faith. It failed because it is not rational to say that because you were built THIS way, you will think THIS way. If you applied what I just stated to the comic, you would see the ridiculous nature immediately. Humans are all built the same. We walk and talk essentially the same way, which is reflected in the first board. How we reason; that is, how we are “programmed” is a separate issue altogether. The scientist (I assume to be the “atheist”) points to a schematic, which can only show how the machine was built, but not why it thinks the way it does. The mental leap we are supposed to make is that we think this way because we are programmed to think this way? Well then how is it that the christian doesn’t believe as the atheist does? Or vice versa?

          This is why I say that people around these blogs are so ready to pounce on anything that might show their superiority to christians, and yet it is often the case that what is used is completely irrational if one takes the time to actually stimulate their brain a little and ponder the idea. It’s the same type of irrational thought that gets people into arguments such as “well, you can’t prove there is a god,” to which the other replies, “well you can’t prove there isn’t!” As I said, ridiculous nonsense put forth by irrational and unreasonable people.

          And as to your suggestion, “well to be blunt then why don’t you piss off then?” I think I will. Too many hotheads around here such as yourself to justify having any reasonable conversation anyways. It reminds me of talking to christians.

          • TrickQuestion

            The tone of your post suggests that you consider yourself better than atheists who have differing ways of looking at things and viewpoints to your own.

            • Nathan

              What viewpoint did Jabster put forth? Apparently you see something I must have missed? Besides, why not consider your own motivations before considering mine? After all, I don’t see you making the same comments to Florien or Jabster, and yet they claim to see something else entirely as well. Am I not allowed to disagree?

            • TrickQuestion

              Nathan:
              Apparently, you didn’t read exactly what i wrote.

            • Jabster

              @Nathan

              Of course you’re allowed to disagree but it would help if you tried to explain why you disagreed instead of just saying it’s obvious. On the list of other things you allowed is saying your not going to post here any more and then carrying on posting.

              Now this obviously (I presumable don’t have to spell this one out for you even though you really do seem to lack the intellectually capacity to take in even basic ideas) means that I can look at the contents of your posts and tell you to piss off. Do you deny me the right to do that?

              Oh and one finally thing … do you do the trying to take a differing view to practically everything someone says as you’re ‘look at me I’m intelligent’ strategy. If so I would suggest you find a new strategy as it just makes you look like a bit of a dick and honestly a bit thick which I don’t think is the impression you were aiming for.

            • http://fugodeus.com Nox

              You are allowed to disagree. You are allowed to express your disagreement. But if as in the case of the Farnsworth vs robot comic, the duck puzzle comic, and the talking snake comic, or your response to TrickQuestion just now, anyone can just look at the words you’re referencing and see that you are clearly misrepresenting them, we are also allowed to point that out.

              I think in your way you really are trying to raise the level of the discussion and counter what you perceive to be misinformation. This is a noble mission. But before you can be ready to do that, you need to be ready to read things and try to understand what they mean.

            • Custador

              “Attempting to raise the level of the conversation when it is already soaring far over your own head is a fool’s errand indeed.”

              Who said that? Oh, yes: Me. Just now.

          • Jabster

            “I think I will” what a pity as I, and I’m sure I speak for many of the posters here, will miss your insightful comments. It’s just a damn shame that we couldn’t measure up to your obvious (of course now need to state what they are) superior intellectual talents … maybe if you pop over to say The Blaze you’ll find the stimulation that you want as the posters there certainly would seem to be on a par with you.

            Oh, I’ve almost got a tear in my eye thinking that you’ll never post again. I’ve not felt this bad since the family rabbit died – although I was cheered up when father made him into a good hearty stew.

            • Nathan

              See, you made my point for me. Too much hatred around here.

            • Custador

              Are you going to stop whining and go away at some point?

            • Jabster

              @Nathan

              I don’t hate you I just think you’re a bit of an idiot who is desperate to prove their intellectually worth but lacks the ability to achieve it. The fact that you think this equates to hate is just another example of your obvious capacity to grab the wrong end of the stick and when it’s pointed out to that it’s the wrong end you desperately try and claim that no it’s the right end of the stick and then when that doesn’t work claim that you don’t won’t to hold the stick anyway but still insist on holding on to it.

          • Custador

            150,000 readers per day (on a busy day) disagree and continue to read what we write. I’m not going to lose any sleep over your absence, personally. Goodbye.

            • Nathan

              Yes, and at least 5-6 billion idiots still believe in some sort of god. What’s your point?

            • Custador

              Freedom of choice. You have it. You’ve chosen to come to a place that you don’t like. And now, instead of following through on your choice to leave, you’re choosing to stick around and whine like a lonely puppy. It’s getting old.

          • Paul Hoover

            You omit culture bias, DNA, emergent properties, etc. in your question. So why doesn’t a Christian think as an atheist does?

            I think one of the problems for many of us is the habit of inserting the supernatural whenever a natural explanation is incomplete. I have noticed on many occasions for the theist God suffices whereas for the atheist we admit we don’t know and are still looking.

            Within your question is an implicit demand to provide an all encompassing explanation for the “mind”. Sorry we don’t know, but we are still looking.

            I put this to you science understands quite a bit about the quantum world. How do you reconcile indeterminacy which has never been dis-proven in any experiment with a theistic view?

            In a nutshell you can only know what you have chosen to observe and independent of that observation you can say nothing about reality.

          • UrsaMinor

            Let me break it down for you, Nathan:

            Panel 1: The reference to “Can modern science explain the mystery of how a robot walks and talks?” is a clear allusion to the way uneducated theists often hold up examples of things science has already figured out as examples of holy mysteries, because they haven’t done their homework.

            No question of how a robot thinks has been brought up at this point. It is simply not under discussion.

            Panels 2 and 3: The scientist then points out that yes, we actually do know the mechanics of how a robot walks and talks, and references the circuit diagram.

            The question of how a robot thinks has still not been brought up yet. The scientist has not offered the circuit diagram as the answer to this unasked question.

            Panel 4: The robot then switches topics entirely and refers to its programming (which is an entirely separate thing from its electromechanical circuitry) as an explanation for how it thinks (i.e., it asserts that its belief system derives from its software). Note that this is the first time that either beliefs or programming have been brought up; they have not been under discussion until this point. This panel is a clear allusion to the rhetorical tactic of moving the goalpost when an opponent has satisfactorily countered your original argument and you wish to deny him victory.

            The overall point of the cartoon is to illustrate the very different approaches that science and religion take when attempting to understand the world (and not incidentally to parody the wooish approach of religion).

      • UrsaMinor

        Nathan, based on what you wrote, Ty is justified in asserting that you have had a reading comprehension failure. In the cartoon, no connection is expressed or implied between the circuit diagram and the belief system of the robot. The belief system is attributed to the robot’s programming.

      • Ty

        Here ya go asshat:

        The robot asks the question: Can science explain how a robot walks or talks?

        The professor replies: yes, in fact, the diagram that shows how robots do those things is right here.

        At no point does the professor say that the diagram shows why a robot believes the things he believes. You inserted that idea and then argued against it. Which either means you failed at reading comprehension, or that you were building a strawman to knock down.

        So which is it?

  • Trace

    …the mystery of how a robot walks, or talks….circuit diagram.

  • Noelle

    I’m a little surprised Nathan keeps coming back, seeing as he thinks all of us are mean. I do admire his tenacity. Nathan, if I may be so bold, I’ve found most of the folks here to be very nice, in a gonna be/already are crusty old men kinda way. And I like crusty old guys (and smart, strong women). May I suggest to you that they are passionate debaters who respect intelligence and critical thinking, as well as a sense of humor? You do recognize this is a cartoon, right? There’s supposed to be an element of humor. You come to the defense and hurt feelings a little quick. If you don’t like sarcastic nerds, this may not be the place for you. If you only want dialog with serious atheists who have no sense of humor and think just like you and you’re not willing to entertain other possibilities, I don’t think you’ll like it here.

    And, by the way, I do not appreciate your over-generalization of since someone doesn’t agree with you we are all horrible people. If I stormed off in a huff every time someone held a different opinion, I’d spend a lot of time huffing and no time learning

    • Nathan

      Well I wasn’t trying to over generalize I suppose. And a good debate is fine. My original comment was really meant to provoke discussion, as in an earlier blog this week where we all were quite humorously over-analyzing the subject (the duck blog).

      It was Florien’s response that left me a bit stand offish. What I thought was quite obvious has turned out to be nothing more than different people looking at the same comic in different ways. I made my points, Ursa made his, Paul Hoover his, Ty his, etc. All different opinions/perspectives on the same subject. So perhaps my mistake was wrongly assuming we were all looking at this from the same page. What seemed obvious to me did not to all. Ironic that the comic deals with exactly that.

      As far as your comment about people being nice, I think it’s give and take. That being said, saying things like, “And to think that by coming to the atheist blogs I would actually find more intellectually stimulating material (and people). How wrong I was….” was absolutely unnecessary on my part, no matter what the motivation was. So consider this my apology to those offended.

      • Custador

        Do you always address people by their surnames? There may be a cultural convention I’m not aware of, but where I’m from it’s considered extremely rude to do that if you’re not going to put an honorific first.

        • Nathan

          You mean I should say Mr. Ursa Major? How is it rude to not do that? I guess I don’t get what you’re driving at.

          • Custador

            I mean “Florien” is Daniel’s surname, therefore it’s quite rude to address him as “Florien”.

          • Noelle

            Hmmm. That is an interesting question.

            Americans tend to unintentionally offend people from other cultures. (did you know putting up your index and middle finger in a V formation is offensive some places? And all this time I’ve been using it for the number 2. Now that I know this, I will continue to use it for 2, they being my fingers and I being an insulated untraveled American) Some cultures offend more easily and use more formality. I would only expect people to use my title when I’m working, though many who know me professionally will still do it if I come across them in public. I prefer this to ma’am.

            However, for friends, family, and invisible people on the internets, I prefer just the name you see here. Women my age and younger, especially in American culture, are accustomed to only being addressed by their first names.

            So I may say Custy’s culture is a overly sensitive. And he can say mine is crass. And I’m ok with that.

            • Custador

              So it is a cultural thing then. I’m glad I asked. Seriously though, in Britain, if some random guy who didn’t know me kept on addressing me solely by my surname, I’d likely respond in an excessively negative manner, shall we say! I mean, it’s that rude – it constitutes fightin’ talk all by itself.

            • Noelle

              Like Harry Potter always referring to Prof. Snape as just Snape? That makes so much more sense now.

              I like you Brits. Ur funny and have the best accents. Even in movies set in other places (Paris, ancient Rome, etc.)we like our white folks sounding like the Queen. Or is it that Sean Connery can’t do a Russian accent?

              Isn’t it past your bedtime?

            • TrickQuestion

              All the people i work with call me by my last name.

            • Jabster

              As another Brit I’ll chime in and say addressing someone by the surname is considered extremely rude. I think it’s the fact that it suggests the person using it is superior and culturally we have a very embedded class system which we go to great pains to avoid admitting that we have.

              Oh and as for the V sign … yep that’s rude also and as a Brit you just naturally indicate two with your palm facing outward. With save the palm inwards version for Jacques Delors.

  • Paul Hoover

    Without the circuit the programming cannot be accomplished, without the programming the circuit does not function. To me it is implied in the exchange from the circuit and the programming comes the emergent property belief. The robot has chosen to believe according to its programming which allows that belief to deny what is known, how the robot walks and talks. I posit the “programming” is being equated with a religious belief of how life came to exist in spite of evidence to the contrary.

    Ty made an honest observation, which you agreed with and I see a tad more in the cartoon. Nathan on the other hand made a somewhat condescending reply to Ty then questioned the motives of Jabster, I found that disingenuous. Personally (again my bias) I read into Jabster’s remark, ‘here we go again and I don’t want to’.

    Nathan may not want an honest debate but offering one first then asking him to “piss off” was in order.

    My apologies for being Captain Obvious but I wanted to insure Nathan understood some of us feel he threw down a gauntlet.

    • Jabster

      “I read into Jabster’s remark, ‘here we go again and I don’t want to’.”

      Pretty much this but Nathan seems to have offered an apology – well I say an apology as it smacks of one of those ‘sorry if I offended you even though it’s your fault you’re offended not mine’

  • joe

    The world was here before me and will be here after I am are gone. I care more about aquiring the knowlledge and skills required to live in this world successfully as human more than I care about how I got here or whether I was created by God and given a body or spontaniously created myself and attached to a body evolved from mud in some haphazard method with no rhyme or reason for my existence. We believe what we need to believe depending on how much responsibility we can shoulder. Personally I have a tough time keeping up with the complexities of what already existed when I arrived. I can’t imagine existence is a big accident that became selfconcious.


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