Questions of the Day: Design.

According to some Christians, all life on Earth was designed by a perfect intelligence, and humanity is the pinnacle of that design process. This begs a couple of questions, so I’m going to go ahead and ask them:

Theists: If you had to pick just one, what part or action of the human body would you say is the best example of something that had to have been designed by a perfect intelligence, for which evolution does not provide a satisfactory explanation?

Atheists: If you had to pick just one, what part or action of the human body would you say is the best example of something that a perfect intelligence wouldn’t have designed, but which evolution explains well?

  • Tom

    The human eye (compared to the octopus eye), since ours is the ‘wrong’ way around, due to the different parts of the body that evolved into the eye. Not a brilliant example, since there are arguments that our eye structure does have some advantages (higher metabolic capacity), but the lack of a blind spot defiantly tips it for the octopus IMO, especially when compared to animals with non-overlapping vision. However, since creationists love to bring this up as ‘design’ I think it has its place.

    Better examples would be the appendix, wisdom teeth (both with no real function left due to changing diet), coccyx (has functions, sure, but nothing that could not be transferred to surrounding bones if it was designed) and testicular migration (a developmental relic, and just plain bad for you. A well designed creature would have the migration of the germ plasma much earlier, before it would give the risk of hernias).

  • Lynsy

    To start, I’m an atheist, so I’m not certain this is the best argument for theistic creationism, but I’ve been trying to consider this from a more philosophic background and I find the mind to be a really interesting topic, and the ideas behind the rise of the mind in humans are also fun to discuss.

    “theist”: the mind (assuming that it is merely software running on the “hardware” of the brain.

    “atheist”: laryngeal nerve (not as bad in humans as it is in giraffes, but still has the same “un-designed” feel to it.)

  • UrsaMinor

    I vote for knees, arches and the lower back as things that no sane perfect Creator would have designed the way we see them today. They are all too prone to misalignment and other mishaps, and for all the importance of their function, they’re extraordinarily easy to damage when subjected to the ordinary mechanical forces that you expect humans to encounter every day of their lives. But as examples of structures originally evolved for quadrupedal locomotion and later adapted to serve for bipedal locomotion, their architecture makes sense.

    • vasaroti

      Exactly my picks, and probably those of anyone involved in any kind of serious physical activity. The transition from 4 legs to 2 created numerous problems.

  • Noelle

    like Ursa, I’m gonna have to go with backs and knees. Poor architecture and construction right there.

  • FO

    Toenails.

  • Paul D.

    Evidence against design: I propose something obscure, the six aortic arches babies in the womb grow, which are needed by the gills in fish. Later in prenatal development, four of these are reabsorbed by the body and disappear.

    Devil’s advocate in favour of design: All I can think of that is even slightly compelling is the human sensibilities for aesthetics and music.

    • http://themikewrites.blogspot.com JohnMWhite

      I’m not sure about any animal that has an interest in aesthetics, but several do enjoy music. My parakeets are big fans of some Manic Street Preachers. I know you don’t see it as a particularly compelling argument anyway, but I find it interesting that many features we generally take as uniquely human do crop up in the animal kingdom. As for evolution, aside from it appearing in other species, it could be argued that this appreciation of art and music has some social bonding quality to it and has been selected for because it encourages cooperation and relaxation, extending the lifespans of those who practice it.

      • Kodie

        I’m not an expert about this, so I might just be mixing it up pretty badly, but I would guess animals (some of them) do have an appreciation for aesthetics. Given the way many flowers and fruit look, to attract pollinators, and certain markings on animals that make them more attractive to potential mates.

        I’m not even going to get into elephants painting (I just think that’s crazy and embarrassing), but just because animals don’t paint landscapes or write poetry about beauty doesn’t mean they don’t notice.

      • Julie42

        The bowerbird is a good example. From the Wikipedia page:
        ” In and around the bower, the male places a variety of brightly colored objects he has collected. These objects — usually different among each species — may include hundreds of shells, leaves, flowers, feathers, stones, berries, and even discarded plastic items, coins, nails, rifle shells, or pieces of glass. The males spend hours arranging this collection.”

        I saw this in a documentary. It’s how they attract the females. The guy even took one of the decorations and moved it to a different spot, but the bird quickly came back and moved it back where he originally placed it.

        I’m not really sure what exactly the evolutionary advantage to this is, but it’s still pretty cool.

    • Carla

      This argument always struck me as circular. Humanity evolved in and along with this natural world, and as we became more complex, and the world became more complex, we evolved to see beauty in what’s around us. Then, we we started creating, we created things we found beautiful based on the way our brains evolved to see beauty. Besides, most of what creative work we find beautiful is cultural anyways. The idea that humanity’s aesthetic sense is proof of creation is absolutely baffling…. And the idea that the beauty of the universe was created just for our tiny minds is absurd. (I know you’re just devil-ing; this argument just… gah.)

  • http://www.etsy.com/shop/skeletaldropkick Cris

    Besides shoulders, knees and the back, these are the other body bits that, if they were designed, the designer really sucked at it:
    1. The esophageal/laryngeal epiglottis set up. Why would you design something that swallows and breathes through the same passage?
    2. The Oncogene, Why make gene so easy to foul out and cause tumors?
    3. And I agree with toenails. If they were designed, why would you make it so they have ht capability to grow into the skin? One would think that would have been an easy thing to do…
    Really, there are so many more, but those are the top of the list for me. The more I learn about the human body, the more precarious it seems.

  • Kim Mcardle

    The Playground is to close to the Septic System!!!!
    I think I win:-)

    • Revyloution

      Dammit, you beat me to it. That was what I was going to post.

      • Revyloution

        For the theist argument, I would say that making both the vagina and the anus exactly the right size to accept a penis is a sign of intelligent design.

        • LRA

          They are also the right size to accept a banana… take that Ray Comfort!!!

    • Paul

      I see that as an argument for ID because those are the naughty bits and therefore god hates them and would have gone to great pains to put them in the most unappealing place he could find.

      • Custador

        So you’re saying “2 Girls, 1 Cup” is God’s fault?

        (Nb- If you don’t know what it is, don’t google it. Really).

  • http://www.loreleiarmstrong.com Lorelei

    The larynx is a mess. Yes, we can speak, but we can also choke far too easily. Trying to do too many things at the same time with the same anatomy seems to be a common theme. No way even a moderately bright creator would have seen this as a good thing. We’re placed here to have dominion over the Earth and yet we can be taken out by a hot dog? Fail.

  • Thegoodman

    I’ve always found it easier to point out how we are far from perfectly designed in our environment. Here is a quick list of stuff I can think of..

    1. We would be able to drink salt water
    2. We would be able to sustain ourselves easily from food found throughout the planet
    3. snow? seriously?
    4. sunburns?
    5. infants cant take care of themselves for shit
    6. religion? A perfect god who creates a perfect being would no way allow us to behave like stupid children by misrepresenting him at every turn
    7. STDs – clearly sex is one of the more enjoyable aspects of human life, why ruin it with STDs?
    8. Millions (if not billions) of different species, did it really take God that many tries to get it right? And then get it so wrong still? Many species are far more successful than humans (cockroaches and rats come to mind)
    9. The appendix
    10. Concussions – if the brain is so important, why not put it in a far more protected location? A 5 inch thick skull inside our chest would make more sense to me.

    Just a few things that come to mind, there are countless others. Anyone who is arrogant enough to say we are far too complex to have happened via evolution has obviously never bit the inside of their mouth or had an ingrown toenail.

    • UrsaMinor

      3. snow? seriously?

      Humans do not have snow. Seriously.

      • Darwin

        I think he was pointing out the fact that humans, on their own, would be dead in a few hours in any place cold enough to have snow.

        • UrsaMinor

          The question was, “What human features show that humans are not perfectly adapted to their environment?”. “Snow” is not an answer that question.

          The entire list is a construction that mixes different rhetorical angles, to its own detriment. Eight of the nine points at least agree (more or less) that the logical train of thought is northbound, but the third item assumes it’s going south.

          • Kodie

            Warm-bloodedness, and hairlessness, and long thin extremities. For starters. For most climates, we have to wear clothes and invent technology to stay warm and protected from the elements.

            • Kodie

              If the question is one of design, the question applies to how well we are “designed” to live on a planet that’s been placed exactly the right distance from the sun – we’re not very well at all, with the exception of the brain to invent toward adaptability, and even then, not most of our brains. Most of us adapt by shopping, not inventing.

  • Irreverend Bastard

    External testicles. Not a good design at all.

    Also, our hands and feet, arms and legs have basically the exact same construction, but we use them in very different ways.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    That our breathing tube and our eating tube are one and the same.
    .
    Also, lack of wings. We should have feet, hands, and wings. But we are trapped in the tetrapod bodyplan.

    • Reginald Selkirk

      Further on breathing: why just one entrance/exit for air? Flow-through ventilation would be more efficient.

    • DS

      No Reginald. They are not one and the same. The trachea for breathing goes to the lungs and the esophagus for eating goes to the stomach. The problem is that the entrances to these two structures are very close together and if the mechanics don’t work right the food can go down the wrong “pipe”.

  • mikespeir

    I would have designed our our rationality and perceptual acuity such that wrong choices and their inevitable consequences would be clearly identifiable in advance. Just like that–WHOOSH!–the whole problem with “sin” pretty much evaporates.

  • Francesco

    nipples on male humans. (altough they may be sexy, they serve no physical function)

    • Sunny Day

      God just hadn’t decided on which way he was going to go, foreskin or nipples.

  • trj

    I’m thinking a competent god would’ve designed us to be more like marsupials. None of the myriad complications of birth due to a restrictive birth canal or misaligned baby, resulting in a drastic reduction of the number of dead mothers and dead or handicapped babies. You’d think a caring god would see the advantage of saving the lives of millions of innocent babies.

    • Sunny Day

      Naw, the god of the bible clearly has something against women.

      • http://www.udfoxhound.blogspot.com Pedro Lemos

        And babies, for that matter…

  • Sunny Day

    My personal favorite is that nerve in the neck. The one that takes an unnecessary loop from the chest to the top of the neck and down. Not so bad for a human but for a giraffe its fuckin redonkulous.

    Then there’s the part where the air way and food intake are close enough together you can kill yourself just trying to have dinner.

    • Reginald Selkirk

      Recurrent laryngeal nerve.

  • Schaden Freud

    Congenital disorders. The oncogene was mentioned further up the list, but in fact there’s a whole catalogue of congenital disorders that an intelligent designer would surely have edited out.

  • Igor

    Teeth. Absolutely necessary for survival, but they rot as you them without constant cleaning, no matter what you eat. As essential as your hands, but you can neglect your hands your whole life and they’ll still work reasonably well. Teeth were definitely farmed out to a freelance design company.
    Now the thumb is brilliant. God’s work. :-)
    I understand the little toe is gradually vanishing…

    • Flag the Heretic Methodist

      Teeth, exactly! The food you eat to survive, even without sugars, can rot your teeth and gums and kill you.

      Design: our arms are long enough to comfortably masturbate.

      • Custador

        Actually the best argument for design I’ve ever heard!

        • UrsaMinor

          Also a good argument for an evil Creator, seeing as how masturbation is a sin. I think we were set up to fail.

    • Julie42

      This was actually something that really got to me as a Christian. I am so scared of the dentist. Every time I had to go and especially every time I had a cavity, I always felt so mad at God for giving me teeth that would rot. Stupidest design ever. Especially when we would go to the dentist and my siblings who never brush their teeth wouldn’t have any cavities, but I would have one even though I brush and floss every day. That was some bullshit.

  • Keljopy

    1. The muscles attached to the ear that in the majority of people are not developed enough to move the ear like animals can.
    2. Goosebumps

  • Olin Doll

    Hominids lack a penile bone. Our cousins the great apes got theirs (and get theirs). Some may posit that the loss of this feature strengthened the pair bond by decreasing philandering, but personal experience and observation argue this is not the case.

  • Jen

    Cris,
    Not sure what you mean by “The Oncogene,” since there are lots of genes that can lead to cancer, and it isn’t really a factor of them existing so much as getting expressed more or less than they should, which isn’t really their fault. It’s usually somebody else in that signaling pathway getting hyper, going on strike, or failing to play well with others. In fact, you could argue that oncogenes are like humans in that sense: not inherently bad, and very much at the mercy of their environment.
    Anyway, aside from the inevitable ugliness of any disease state, I rather admire cancer cells. They’ve figured out a way to escape death, damn the consequences to their host.

    Doesn’t this question presume a god who follows Greek Forms (omnipotent, omniscient, etc.)? The Biblical god pretty much embodies the old saying, “If at first you don’t succeed…”. So fairly, pointing out aspects of humans that could use some major improvements doesn’t rule out direct creation by Biblical God.

  • Jer

    The foreskin. Why would he put in on and then make us cut it off again?

  • flyz4free

    How about the blind spot in our eyes where the nerve burrows thru to the brain? And why the hell can’t we see as well as birds of prey? And…I can wiggle my ears …but it does not seem to attract females…

  • Theory_of_I

    That physical sexual maturity and propensity to lustiness occur so much earlier than mental maturity especially regarding child rearing responsibilities.

  • http://Reasondecrystallized.blogspot.com Andrew

    The blind spot. Totally unnecessary, as octopuses show.

  • Beau Quilter

    The human body itself.

    If God is an eternal being. Why did he put us in a shell that starts falling apart gradually and painfully on a long haul towards inevitable death, just after the point that life starts getting fun!

    • Theory_of_I

      Ah, but in actuality God designed the human body as a host – breeding place, incubator, protective vessel and feeding station – for the myriad bacteria and parasites that obviously are his true chosen life-forms. Only bipedal Petri dishes with big egos.

  • Fortuna Veritas

    I’m going to have to object to your premise with every fiber of my being.

    I would have thought someone on here would not have made the erroneous assumption that being a theist and accepting evolution were mutually exclusive.

    That is incredibly insulting and shames both yourself and this site.

    • Custador

      Not as much as your reading comprehension should shame you. What part of “SOME Christians” implies that Christianity and evolution are mutually exclusive?

    • UrsaMinor

      First, that’s a pretty big comprehension fail on your part, unless “some” has a very different meaning where you come from.

      I would have thought someone on here would not have made the erroneous assumption that being a theist and accepting evolution were mutually exclusive.

      Oh, really? Please point out just one example where someone has made this assumption in the comments on this thread.

      If this is the way you process information, I think your being is in serious need of more fiber.

  • Gary

    Gratitude.

    • Custador

      What position are you arguing for? There are strong evolutionary drives for gratitude, but I can’t think of a single reason it would be included in a perfect design.

  • Paul

    From the atheist perspective I would say eyes. Not just our eyes, but the large number of different designs that evolved separately over the millenia. Wouldn’t god have designed it once and got it perfect the first time?

    My experience from reading and listening to ID folks is that they love the eye as their “proof”. They ignore the things that don’t fit their world view. Of course some of us make weak arguments, but the eye seems to be the one that really shows who is really looking at the data. They often call out “what good is half an eye?” There is the saying “in a world of blind men the one eyed man is king”. From the first light sensitive cells on the outside of an animal, to the pit lined with them, to a partially closed pit that works like a pinhole camera to an eye with a simple lens to an eye that has tiny muscles that allow the eye to focus at a wide variety of distances.

    Each of these steps represents a reproductive advantage. The simple light sensitive cells can detect movement, allowing the animal to detect movement and each step provides yet another level of advantage.

    And this is only one path. You have the compound eyes of the insects. One source cited at least 16 separate evolutions of eyes. As well, many have eyes that respond to different wavelengths. Bees are attracted by patterns of flower petals that are invisible to us.

  • Candace

    I’ve been a Neonatal Intensive Care nurse for 32 years and an atheist for 5 and I’ve got to say DNA is a piss poor way to pass on genetic material. I can’t begin to describe all of the horrendous human malformations I have seen due to just a little protein being out of sequence. The suffering of parents and the infants involved is just devastating. I challenge theists that think their god is so great to look though a copy of Smith’s “Recognizable Patterns of Human Malformation”. If this is God’s best design, He sucks!

    • trj

      The standard theist (or at least the fundie kind of theist) response is that we brought it on ourselves. God’s design of the human body was just perfect, but we went and ruined everything by eating that fruit, bringing decay and corruption into the world. So it’s our own fault. What the newborn ever did to deserve suffering and deformity escapes me. Collateral damage in God’s grand plan, it would seem? Guess you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few million eggs.

    • Noelle

      NICU nurses are hardcore. I was scared to death of them and those fragile babies as a med student and resident.

  • random99

    The premise of your question, “According to some Christians, all life on Earth was designed by a perfect intelligence, and humanity is the pinnacle of that design process” is a straw man argument to create a seemingly easy target for atheist to refute the existence of the perfect intelligence. First and foremost, I’d like to see a reputable reference of a historically orthodox Judo-Christian position stating “humanity is the pinnacle of design” where “design” relates to our physical construction as a material object? I think the majority of Christians hold humanity is the “pinnacle” of design due to our “immaterial” relational qualities which clearly distinguish humanity from the rest of the animal kingdom, e.g. language, logic, hope, love, mercy, self-sacrifice, creativity, music, morality and free-will to name a few. Atheism has no reasonable explanation for our uniqueness in these areas based upon materialism, yet, fallacious attempts abound.
    I appreciate the many attempts of those to pronounce body parts that appear not to be “perfect”, but you have missed the point completely. We humans design things all the time that are less than optimal, why? Are all cars built to the same engineering standards of precision? Or do we “create” objects with a “purpose” in mind, optimizing the design to fulfill the purpose? Is it not possible that the super intellect might have done the same? Panda’s thumb is as it is to strip bamboo, if it had a human-designed thumb it would have carpal tunnel and therefore be extinct. Those who claim a sub-obtimal design are speaking from an indefensible worldview.
    Perhaps the super intellect did not set out to create an eternally, perfect, unchanging, non-deteriorating creation? Atheist want to suggest the supposed unintelligent design of life, while ignoring the unimaginable complexity and precision of the universe while clinging to the chance theory of random spontaneous self-generation from absolution nothing, now that’s blind unreasonable faith!
    Materialism can’t explain where the material comes from, nor how life began, yet atheists wish to denounce design of the human body which by all accounts seems to really do a nice job of fulfilling what the Bible claims was God’s purpose;
    Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
    Last time I looked, we humans seem to rule over the things which we were created to rule over?

    • trj

      our “immaterial” relational qualities which clearly distinguish humanity from the rest of the animal kingdom, e.g. language, logic, hope, love, mercy, self-sacrifice, creativity, music, morality and free-will to name a few.

      Most of which have been observed in animals. We’re not as unique as you’d like to think.

      Atheist want to suggest the supposed unintelligent design of life, while ignoring the unimaginable complexity and precision of the universe while clinging to the chance theory of random spontaneous self-generation from absolution nothing, now that’s blind unreasonable faith!

      Actually, it’s more like a strawman and a confused mix of unrelated phenomena. Complexity doesn’t say anything about intent or design, as any mathematician can tell you, and in fact any architect or designer will tell you that successfull design is all about avoiding complexity. As for the universe being precise, that is in general not really true. And of course you have to bring randomness into the mix.

      Materialism can’t explain where the material comes from

      Ergo, God did it? We don’t know how it happened, so the simplest explanation must be an infinitely complex god that defies physics and logic?

    • Theory_of_I

      @random99:

      Do you accept that God is less than perfect? That claims of omniscience, omni-benevolence and omnipotence, the favorite descriptive assertions of Christians for their God are not really true? That God is fallible? If you accept that, then every divine attribution in the Bible is questionable, including the verse you quote.

      If, on the other hand, you insist that God is perfect in every respect, how can you say:

      “Perhaps the super intellect did not set out to create an eternally, perfect, unchanging, non-deteriorating creation?”

      Why not? If you were perfect, all powerful, knowing and good, would you create a concoction that shits in it’s own nest and seems utterly intent on destroying the rest of the beautiful world you created? Would you be proud of being unable to get it right in one try and having to slaughter your early attempts because they were miserable failures? And prouder still that your latest try is no better? If you were absolutely and unalterably perfect would it even be possible for you to create something so dysfunctional and full of faults? Aren’t perfection and imperfection mutually exclusive?

      Unless this is a horrible game of course…in which case it could not be claimed you were all good.

      Unless you could not do better…in which case it could not be claimed you were all powerful.

      Unless you could not foresee the results of your creation failing …in which case it could not be claimed you were all knowing.

      None of us can do these things but we can all conceive what perfection in every respect represents, and if there were a god, it could not be claimed it was anything but a failure.

    • Custador

      I disagree that the question is a straw man. I said that SOME Christians think that way – And since we encounter them here fairly regularly, I stand by that. I also didn’t stipulate that the answer had to be physical.

      As for the rest of your answer, let me boil it down to a simple question: Where did the perfect intelligence come from? The standard answer of “God’s just always existed” is infantile in the extreme,and is not actually an answer at all. And beyond that, I’ve yet to hear any explanation of how a perfect, omnipotent God can have just always existed but simple matter cannot.

  • Jen

    While I appreciate your point that this question is a little straw-man-ish, you’d make a better case if you didn’t jump on the straw-man-wagon yourself. Atheists do not ignore complexity or precision; we don’t “cling” to theories; theories are not “chance” things; and pulling the “atheists have blind unreasonable faith” card is really old and really cheap.

    Also, last time I looked, we don’t rule much of anything as far as the rest of life goes. When was the last time you ruled an anglerfish? Or an albatross? Or a polar bear? Or a grasshopper?

  • random99

    To Jen, thank you for the tone of your reply, but honestly, when is the last time an Angelfish put you in a aquarium or a polar bear put you in a zoo? Mankind rules the planet and its life-forms, we have the ability to rule it, cultivate it and sadly destroy it, which other species has that ability? If you will honestly consider the evidence you will discover Darwinism is “chance” theory, it is not testable it is not falsifiable in the lab! Additionally its main predictions, the fossil record, the tree of life and new species created every 1000 generations are completely refuted, yet, material naturalist hold on tight and try to reinvent it as they will whether the evidence is there or not.

    To Custador: Scientific evidence tells us that matter has not always existed. This is a reality that materialists simply refuse to accept because of the implication. Einstein’s relativity theory is the most tested and most verified theory in modern physics. Put whatever spin you wish on the multiverse, oscillating universes, “egg” boundaries et’ al’, at one point, no matter, no energy, no space and no time existed, (no quantum vacuum of fluctuating particle waves) there must be an uncaused cause, there must be a prime mover, something caused this amazing universe we live in to exist?

    To the “theory of I says”: what an interesting “handle” after all that is the real question is it not? Who or what has the authority to say “I say” and “in the beginning there was light”? What an amazing God who creates a single species on earth with the capacity to communicate and have a relationship with Him, who gives this species the choice to accept or reject that invitation of love and relationship. He even gave us the free-will to shit in our own nest, or to deny His existence, after all, does that hurt Him or us?

    You also say that “we can all conceive what perfection in every respect represents” by what standard do we accomplish this conception? How is it that you can conceive “how the universe ‘ought’ to be” who’s measuring stick are you using? Would you agree to the standards set by Stalin or Hitler, I’m guessing not, but why not? On material naturalism all things are undirected, random occurrences, the universe just is the way it is, right? If so, then why do you spend your time attacking the way some things are? What a futile effort in circular reasoning. But deep inside, you know there is more to what you see and feel and know the way things “ought” to be rather than the way they are! Stop looking at the material creation for answers and seek to understand the purposes of the Creator. He has the answers.

    Finally to trj: Thanks for the comments. Which species displays free-will, self-sacrifice, creates artwork, music for entertainment purposes only, writes books, poetry, music, which among the species is philanthropic? We are utterly unique as creatures on this earth, yes animals exhibit communication and social traits, but might that be because they were created for our benefit? A single Creator with a single purpose has that prerogative does He not? Based upon material naturalism how do you explain the mind, consciousness, mathematics, and information, none of this is “material”?

    Why do you assume God is “an infinitely complex god that defies physics and logic?” God is not “material”, so therefore He has no moving parts, no chemistry, no anatomy, He is mind, He is intellect alone, and that is the simplest of all entities in our material universe. Richard Dawkins doesn’t have all the answers; God is not a “complex” idea. Now, take as Richard does that perhaps aliens deposited DNA on earth, now that’s real science and a simple answer, isn’t it? Theism complies with the principle of Ockham’s’ Razor. God is the creator of Physics and Logic, how can He therefore defy them?

    To each of you, the universe is not eternal, material cannot create itself, therefore something must be the uncaused cause, that uncaused cause cannot be material, therefore science cannot answer the question of what and who God is? If you want to know, ask Him, He’ll answer, He’s listening to you, He knows your heart, your mind, and your need.

    • Custador

      “If you will honestly consider the evidence you will discover Darwinism is “chance” theory, it is not testable it is not falsifiable in the lab! Additionally its main predictions, the fossil record, the tree of life and new species created every 1000 generations are completely refuted

      [emphasis mine]

      That is the single best example of a willful lie I’ve ever seen. Darwinian evolution is absolutely NOT about chance, and if you knew the first thing about it, you wouldn’t come out with such absolute bollocks. Secondly, the fossil record strongly supports the Theory of Evolution. You can deny that and lie about it to suit your fantasy beliefs until you’re blue in the face, but do not think you can come here and bare-faced lie about the evidence in the way you just did. As for the part of your reply that I’ve put in bold, you (or some other ignorant theist) has pulled that out of their arse. The Theory of Evolution makes no such prediction. You’re full of shit and arguing against something that you very clearly know nothing about. Fuck off, educate yourself, then come back and we’ll talk.

      “To Custador: Scientific evidence tells us that matter has not always existed.To Custador: Scientific evidence tells us that matter has not always existed.”

      I call complete bullshit, but do feel free to SHOW ME THE EVIDENCE YOU HAVE JUST CLAIMED EXISTS. My bet is that you won’t. Regardless, it still wouldn’t point to a creator if it was true, much less the Judeo-Christian God.

      Word games. Your whole attitude relies on playing silly buggers with semantics. But what it boils down to is this:

      You cannot philosophise God into existing. He exists, or He does not. If He exists, there must be evidence that He exists. But there is NONE. Zero. Nada. Zip. Bupkiss. Therefore, it is entirely reasonable to conclude that He does not.

      • Custador

        In fact: Read this before you bother replying.

        • Troutbane

          But, but, but….MAGIC!

    • Darwin

      So what if we are unique in some respects? All animals are. Cockroaches are the only species that can survive a nuclear blast, that doesn’t mean that they are the personal design of an all-powerful being. It is only your opinion that the ability to create music is greater than the ability to survive nuclear blasts.
      And if everything must have a cause then what caused god? And don’t say “god is eternal”, because that just shows that you can’t even stick to your own arguments. Why does god get a free pass? I could just as well say that the universe is actually a series of universes that expand, collapse to a singularity, and then expand again.
      And if god cannot be detected, he is also not provable. Do you even think your arguments through? Or do you just regurgitate random crap over atheist forums?
      And as far as ‘ruling over animals’ goes, I urge you to consider the example of the bacteria living in your gut. If you died tomorrow they would easily adapt and survive without you(and thrive by feeding off your remains, might I add). But if they all died tomorrow, you’d be dead in a week from starvation since you wouldn’t be able to digest any of your food effectively.

      • Troutbane

        Once again…MAGIC. Atheist arguments are always trumped by MAGIC. Therefore: GOD. Impeccable logic.

    • UrsaMinor

      If you will honestly consider the evidence you will discover Darwinism is “chance” theory, it is not testable it is not falsifiable in the lab!

      This is simply wrong. It is both testable and falsifiable in the lab; thousands of experiments can be and have been run and we have millions of data points. I think that, like most theists, you neither understand the theory you are criticizing nor have you bothered to look at the evidence.

  • random99

    Custador: Have you read Origin of the Species? That’s a quote from Darwin himself.

    Have you considered what the Einstein’s Theory proved? A point at which no matter, time, space or energy existed, these aren’t my words or my interpretation. Why do you think Einstein fudged his math? Hoping for proof of a “constant” state in the universe rather than the expanding universe, only to be corrected a few years later, and that physical reality of our expanding universe has been proved over and over, to the point that Alexander Vlanklin (2003, 2010) has shown that any expanding universe, cycling, bubbling, rebounding, collapsing, et’ al’ are subject to the same rules, there was a beginning point from nothing. You all are ignoring the proven science, in the hope that “magic” did occur, that from nothing something popped into existence without a cause…who’s playing word-games?

    Everything material thing that “begins” to exist must have a cause for its existence. That’s what we observe scientifically. You can’t have it both ways claiming scientism as the objective truth and yet deny its implications. God didn’t begin to exist, God is not material. Something must be the first cause…you have hope in what as the first cause? There cannot be an infinite regress of causes.

    You may fault philosophy all you like, yet you make metaphysical claims? word-games…

    If God doesn’t exist, why do you spend so much energy and passion on what should otherwise be a ridiculous topic? If there is nothing more than this material universe, this one life we live, what value are you bringing to game? What purpose do you accomplish? If there is no God, then those who believe are misguided, then so what? It’s all meaningless anyway, right?

    Yet, you know in your heart, it’s not all meaningless. You can’t live according to your materialistic worldview. Atheists must take meaning, worth & value from Theism in order to make life make sense.

    • UrsaMinor

      Atheists must take meaning, worth & value from Theism in order to make life make sense.

      Bullshit.

    • Custador

      Your total failure to grasp biology is matched by your imbecilic understanding of physics. Here’s a pro-tip for free: Making shit up that fits your worldview is not an apropriate way to fill gaps in your knowledge. You’ve done that several times with both science and scientific history. I have read Origins. As it happens I own a second edition. I also have more than a peripheral awareness of the leaps and bounds which evolutionary biology has advanced. You very clearly cannot make either of these claims. I also have an a-level in physics, and have kept up to date with it, since I find it a fascinating subject. Again, this compares with you, who is not just ignorant, but actually wrong. This is not a debate. In a debate the oponent generally has some knowledge. All you have is “God did it” and a willingness to lie and pervert any statement that disagrees with that.

    • trj

      So many things are made up and factually wrong in every post you write. Seeing as others have already dealt with some of it, I’ll just reply to a few of your statements.

      Scientific evidence tells us that matter has not always existed.

      False. There’s no scientific evidence for this claim. And don’t bother dragging Einstein or relativity into it, they’re completely unrelated to the topic of the universe’s existence.

      Here’s a thought: If there was once truly nothing, then there was also no rule saying that something can’t spontaneously come into existence. In fact, once you analyse this situation in more detail it becomes infinitely unlikely that something wouldn’t start to exist. It’s somewhat mind-boggling but actually entirely logical. More info here.

      Everything material thing that “begins” to exist must have a cause for its existence.

      False again. Though it’s easy to think so, science doesn’t claim this. And the opposite can in fact be demonstrated. Virtual particles constantly pop in and out of existence at the quantum level, apparently in a truly random fashion, meaning there’s no cause for them to exist. Particle decay is another example of random, uncaused events.

      Which species displays free-will, self-sacrifice, creates artwork, music for entertainment purposes only, writes books, poetry, music, which among the species is philanthropic?

      You mentioned a bunch of different attributes previously, but now you suddenly focus mainly on creativity. Let me just go back to your previous assertion of what is unique to humans: “language, logic, hope, love, mercy, self-sacrifice, creativity, music, morality and free-will”.

      I would say that language is an extremely common feature among animals, wouldn’t you? Logic is common among intelligent species (many animals can use tools or deduce the consequences of their own actions). Love and affection is also common and trivially observed (as many pet owners will tell you). Self-sacrifice has been observed in various animals (buffalos rescuing trapped herd members, elephants supporting sick flock members, bats feeding other starving bats). Creativity is a rather broad word, but some aspects of it can be found among animals (creative thought or tool usage, creative nest building). Music is related to language and a limited version is not hard to find among birds (and appreciation of human-made music is common among birds as well). Morality – easily found, see self-sacrifice. Free will – why should intelligent animals not be free to choose (many apes definitely demonstrate this ability).

      So that just leaves hope and mercy which, depending on how broad your usage is, can be argued to exist among animals as well.

      And anyway, so what? What are the chances that a sufficiently intelligent species would proclaim itself to be special? Probably about 100%. We are special, no doubt about that, but it doesn’t follow that we were made special by a god. Your argument doesn’t really say anything.

      Why do you assume God is “an infinitely complex god that defies physics and logic?” God is not “material”, so therefore He has no moving parts, no chemistry, no anatomy, He is mind, He is intellect alone, and that is the simplest of all entities in our material universe.

      Wrong. Complexity is a measure of information (look up information theory). It has nothing to do with the medium of this information. It doesn’t matter one bit if God is immaterial, because the complexity would be exactly the same for a spiritual entity. And a god who is truly omniscient must necessarily have at least the same information content as the universe he occupies or interferes in. So your god is at least as complex as the entire universe.

      Theism complies with the principle of Ockham’s’ Razor.

      No. Saying “God did it” is not an answer, it’s avoidance of finding an answer. It’s a convenient compartmentalisation where difficult topics are put into a neat package that says “I don’t need to think about this”. Once you slap the “God” label on things you effectively stop any further in-depth questioning. That’s not simplicity, it’s just intellectual laziness, and you yourself are a perfect example of that. You’ve obviously decided that God is all the answer you need.

      • trj

        Correction: my previous post should’ve said “omnipresent” rather than “omniscient”.

  • Theory_of_I

    random99:

    quotes yours, substitutions mine:

    “What an amazing Alien who creates a single species on earth with the capacity to communicate and have a relationship with Him, who gives this species the choice to accept or reject that invitation of love and relationship. Alien even gave us the free-will to shit in our own nest, or to deny His existence, after all, does that hurt Him or us?”

    “…therefore something must be the uncaused cause, that uncaused cause cannot be material, therefore science cannot answer the question of what and who Alien is? If you want to know, ask Alien, He’ll answer, He’s listening to you, He knows your heart, your mind, and your need.”

    If you insisted that you knew the Alien existed and, though no one could see, hear or otherwise detect him, that you could talk to the Alien and get answers from him, you would be considered psychotic and probably medicated. As a weak-minded victim of the Industry of Religion, all you are able to do is dutifully repeat the same irrational superstition and mythical nonsense you have been inculcated to believe.

    Just because the god delusions and lies have been mindlessly repeated over and over does not change what they are, and you deserve no respect for insisting on remaining ignorant.

  • Theory_of_I

    random99:

    Science has a huge task, not only in attempting to discover knowledge of the universe and of life, but also in vercoming the destructive prejudices of ignorant religious fanatics such as you. But the days when Christianity could torture and kill those who rejected its myth and superstition and who endeavored to find truth are, except for Islam, only disgusting history.

    The process of discovery is slow, painstaking and exceedingly complex, but Science will persevere for as long as the sun shines and the rivers flow. It is impossible to know and improbable that every question can be answered, but many a new discovery has, although not intentionally, shown religion to be fallacious and foolish. If this remains true, religion will eventually be abandoned as a fantasy of the ignorant. On the other hand, you have no great task in finding whether your god myth is true … All you need to do is DIE … What are you waiting for?

  • Troutbane

    @ random:
    Why not gods? And WHICH God(s) should they be? Cthulhu? Why not the Flying Spaghetti Monster? HAL from 2001? The Egyptian Pantheon? You’ve gone the classic theist argument (badly) for “Goddit”. But then, which one or more? Understand a Hindu or Zoroastrian or Shinto could claim the same proof for the creation of the universe (something MUST have created this) as you would, so why should your faith trump any other?

  • random99

    This will be my last post for this topic, but I’ll read your replies as I’m sure you wish to have the last word. We just celebrated Memorial Day, for you who’ve lost loved ones as I have, I pray your day was filled with fond memories and pride for the service they gave for our and others liberty.

    To “the Theory of I says” what about the atheists who tortured and killed Christians in the name of atheism? How conveniently the New Atheist forgets Lenin, Stalin, Marxism and Communism in the 2oth Century!

    For all of you, you better wake up and smell the roses of Western Christianity, the Capitalism it spawned and for the freedoms it offers to you. Which of you will go stand in Iran in the middle of the road and pronounce with a loud voice that Allah is a myth? Does Pantheism or Buddhism offer answers to a hurting world, did they inspire science and capitalism? To Troutbane, really, the Speghetti Monster? Do you honestly think these are valid arguments and there is no sound rebuttal for such dribble? http://www.reasonablefaith.org.

    I reviewed this blog because I saw the play on words of William Craig’s http://www.reasonablefaith.org website. I thought I might find thoughtful strong arguments for material naturalism, but this is just a “sing to the atheistic choir” of unreasonable ideas. You’ve named the post appropriately.

    To the Theory of I says, we will both die someday, if this life, this world, is all there is then what a sad, meaningless unfulfilled reality where the unjust, the thief, the murderer, and the dictator will have won the day! Or, you and I will face a creator who demands accountability of the life He blessed us with. As CS Lewis said, God will grant you your wish to be separate from Him.

    Regarding your Alien hypothesis, please show us all the scientific explanation of your alien theory? How does it explain the beginning of space, time, matter and energy? Come on, you can do better than that? Account for how the Alien Civilization developed in such a short time and learned to travel the across the expanse of the universe in the 13.6 billion years? It’ll probably be the same mathematical wizardry which is used to explain the vast complexity of life evolving naturalistically in the Cambrian explosion…

    There must be a first cause, and you all know it! The universe is not eternal and the best scientific evidence today, “the big bang” is supported by Einstein, Hubble, Cosmic Background, and many other scientific evidences along with the philosophical understanding that there cannot be an infinite regress of causes. This is proof, to the best explanation, that something exists beyond our material universe, which is the cause of our universe. (by the way, the Bing Bang is a scientific hypothesis, not a Christian one, the fact that you vehemently oppose it is so revealing)

    Interestingly, you are all willing to believe in the 11 dimensions proposed by M-Theory, why is that? Yet you’re not willing to think about God who exists in a different dimension? There is no proof for M-Theory, nor is it testable in a lab, but it’s your Holy Grail of Truth because of what you “hope” it might prove! That’s blind unreasonable faith. Yet you completely misunderstand that “theories” don’t produce anything, they are the cause of nothing, and M-Theory requires the existence of “matter & energy” so it is not the explanation of its own existence which would be incoherent.

    To TRJ, Virtual Particles (an oxymoron), do not pop into and out of existence, where’s your proof? Hypocritically you spout M-Theory hypothesis’ which are speculative and unproven and reject the countless other scientific proofs demonstrating support for the big bang which shows your prejudice. I wonder, are virtual particles the same material thing as imaginary time? Hawking’s legacy will reveal his a priori bias and his life’s work to do away with the God Hypothesis has been in vain.

    And finally TRJ: thank you for making me laugh, really, I wish you would honestly read and think through what you write:

    Here’s your quote:

    Wrong. Complexity is a measure of information (look up information theory). It has nothing to do with the medium of this information. It doesn’t matter one bit if God is immaterial, because the complexity would be exactly the same for a spiritual entity. And a god who is truly omniscient must necessarily have at least the same information content as the universe he occupies or interferes in. So your god is at least as complex as the entire universe.

    So answer this: What material thing is “information”?

    You are correct; “information” is not the same as the medium which transmits that information! So what is it? Is “information” a material object? If not, how do you explain its existence according to material naturalism?

    Please don’t try to play the game that information is dependent upon the mind, because one only needs to look at DNA to recognize that “information” is present within DNA which is wholly distinct from the medium upon which it is communicated and acted upon.

    The same can be said about the “mind” or “consciousness” which is independent of the medium of the muscle of the brain or the vocal chords.

    Einstein recognized this cosmic mind, the information, coming from a super intellect, which must be spiritual (not material), in spite of his desire to be an atheist the evidence demanded he recognize the reality of a Deity, missing out on a personal relationship with his Creator.

    We each bring our worldview to this discussion, the question is, which worldview provides the best explanation of the evidence? At the core New Atheism believes in an “eternal” universe, which contradicts the best testable science to date or that “something created itself out of nothing” which is incoherent. The only thing New Atheism brings to these age old arguments is a loud arrogant voice.

    Perhaps, you should quiet your voice for a time and go deep into the woods on a starry night and “listen” with your ears, heart, and mind “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. – Romans 1:20 (NIV)

    • Custador

      The sheer number of fallacious, tired, bullshit arguments in that post preclude the possibilty of me dissecing it. I’m too tired, and you’re too stupid.

    • trj

      You have an amazing ability to mix up totally unrelated subjects and dismiss things people never said.

      Hypocritically you spout M-Theory… it’s your Holy Grail of Truth

      Nobody brought up M-theory except you. And nobody here considers it an icon of truth.

      Virtual Particles (an oxymoron), do not pop into and out of existence, where’s your proof?

      The evidence is in the Casimir effect. And no, virtual particles don’t have anything to do with imaginary time – why the hell do you suddenly bring that up? If you had an inkling of desire to actually look into the science, then a few minutes reading on the net would tell you that the two things are completely different. But you’re obviously satisfied with just throwing a bunch of disjointed physics terms around, just so you can then dismiss them all out of hand. I suppose to you they all seem the same.

      I can’t even figure out your counter-argument to what I said about information content, probably due to the fact you seem hellbent on dismissing a point I never made, so I’ll just let that one lie.

      Ignorance isn’t actually required to be a Christian, but you certainly seem content to revel in it. Good luck with that.

    • dmantis

      Holy mother of a fake God, that reply was utter bullshit.

      Random,
      First, Lenin and Stalin were people whereas Marxism and Communism are philosophies of government. Lenin and Stalin had secular governments. Guess what! The U.S. has one too (although I am sure you are working to change that). Just because they were atheist (which is debatable) does not mean they persecuted people because of that. In fact, history tells us they persecuted opponents, not based on some religious litmus test.

      Christianity gave rise to capitalism?!?!?! This is so incredibly stupid that I now find myself regreting even replying to you.

      A little piece of advice: go consult wikipedia. I am too lazy to humble you any further.

    • Jabster

      Well random99 I for one we sure be sorry not to see any more posts from you … can I expect to see you next Tuesday?

  • random99

    So, I can’t help it, to TRJ, really,

    from Wiki: The Casmir effect can also be computed using the mathematical mechanisms of functional integrals of quantum field theory, although such calculations are considerably more abstract, and thus difficult to comprehend. In addition, they can be carried out only for the simplest of geometries. However, the formalism of quantum field theory makes it clear that the vacuum expectation value summations are in a certain sense summations over so-called “virtual particles”.

    I wish I could highlight “so-called “virtual particles” in the final sentence… did you notice?

    Also, what is the result of the Casmir effect when the infinite quantity is removed, does it correspond to reality of the Cosmos we live in? NO! There are no actual “infinite” material sets or objects. Seems like an important consideration does it not?

    The Unified Theory of Everything stands at the door knocking and says, seek and you will find, knock and I will answer… you think Quantum Physics is the answer to why there is something rather than nothing? You quote a single disputable mathematic hypothesis as “truth” and call me ignorant? If a unified approach to Quantum physics and mathematics is found, it still will beg the question, “why”? Why is it this way and who or what made the rules by which the universe operates?

    • Jabster

      Checks calendar … yep it’s Tuesday – I just knew I would see you then.

    • trj

      Congratulations on at least seeking out information on one aspect of physcis. Maybe you can learn to do that on other things in physics and biology instead of leaning upon creationist clichés. I sincerely hope you’ll choose to do that.

      However, to get back to the topic, you should note that it is common to use the word “so-called” on actual, existing phenomena (as in: “the so-called Pauline epistles”). As an attempt to refute the existence of virtual particles it seems rather tame to latch on to a single, ambiguous word rather than point to an actual argument against their existence. Seeing as virtual particles are intricately linked to Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle and are broadly accepted among quantum phycisists you have somewhat of a challenge there.

      Also, you mention something about infinity, which I’m guessing you get from Wikipedia as well. However, the infinity part is an artifact of the integral math. It’s a theoretical factor which you often get when you want some quantum-mechanical formula to represent all possible states. The infinity part exists in the math but not in the physical reality the math represents. This is not controversial in any way and doesn’t detract from the validity of the formula, although it limits its usefulness. However, if you restrict your observation scope (which you do when you perform actual measurements) you can in practice often eliminate the infinity part through so-called renormalization (see what I did there?). Which is all just a long way of saying that your objection to the word “infinite” is baseless, since nobody is claiming – at least in this context – that infinities exist in real life.

      you think Quantum Physics is the answer to why there is something rather than nothing?

      I think it’s definitely a significant step in the direction of answering that question. One thing’s for certain: whenever we do manage to coax some fundamental insight out of the universe it’s always been thanks to scientists, not priests. Quantum physics has so far offered us an insight into the fundamentals of our universe that is a million times more profund than anything the Bible has ever told us.

  • Troutbane

    @random
    Please actually rebut regarding why your branch of religion is better than any of the other religions in the world. You started with the general theistic argument (must be god) but then suddenly hit that amazing brick wall that calls for your special proof that validates your religion over others. Go for it.

  • random99

    Why do you ask Troutbane? Would you believe if someone rose from the dead to confirm his predictions about his death and life? One who’s life and death is foretold in amazing clarity hundreds of years before his birth, details which no one can manipulate at a precise point in history as foretold by Daniel? Would you believe a doubting brother, or a committed zealot set out to destroy Christianity, only to become Christianity’s champion witnesses, it only cost them their lives? What evidence would you require to believe? I somehow doubt that there is any.

    Do you really think I don’t know the arguments that the New Atheists present against Christianity? What is sad is that you don’t think that ALL of the legitimate and illegitimate challenges can be and have been refuted, if only one seeks the truth.

    The question is whether there is “truth” or not? Since to claim that there is no truth represents circular reasoning we must admit that there is truth, and I assume you believe truth can be “known”? Otherwise you wouldn’t have asked a question, would you?

    I think you said it earlier, though maybe another made the comment, either God is a myth or He is real. This is the question of the ages, is it not? Sadly many think it’s a game to play, especially on on-line blogs, is argument good for argument sake or are there some on these blogs truly searching with an open mind?

    Ravi Zacharias has written a response to Sam Harris’ Letter to a Christian Nation called The End of Reason, A Response to the New Atheist. I suspect many on this blog love Harris, his idea’s and his book. But the question is, is what he says true? Ravi’s book is an easy and short read which deals with the differences in eastern mysticism, Buddhism, Islam, Atheism, socialism and Christianity. It’ll cost you $13 on Amazon.

    Answer this, which Religion (by the way, Christianity is not a Religion, it’s a relationship) promotes love, grace and acceptance to its supporters and its detractors?

    How about you publish your name and address and pronounce Allah is a myth? You know why you won’t. Yet you can say publically that Jesus is a myth with no threat of violence or harm. So tell me that Islam and Christianity are the same?

    Perhaps Pantheism is your cup of tea, so how did the universe, which is god(s) create itself? Its claims are incoherent and don’t correspond to reality.

    Do you want to criticize Judaism, go ahead so did Jesus, or even Christian Churches, go ahead the Apostles did criticize then also. But try to criticize Christianity as a relationship of a true follower, that’s something you only speak at out of ignorance.

    • Custador

      So you lied about not posting again then? Oh my, what a shock.

    • Custador
      • Elemenope

        Don’t ruin my fun, Custy.

    • Elemenope

      What evidence would you require to believe?

      Actual independent corroboration of some of the events told in the Bible would be a great start, especially the ones that nobody could miss if they actually happened. Like, for example, people getting up out of their graves and wandering around Jerusalem for a day. I’d think some Jewish or Roman scribe would have, you know, noticed that, and wrote it down.

      Do you really think I don’t know the arguments that the New Atheists present against Christianity?

      I really think you don’t know the arguments that the “New Atheists” present nearly as well as you think you do.

      The question is whether there is “truth” or not? Since to claim that there is no truth represents circular reasoning we must admit that there is truth, and I assume you believe truth can be “known”? Otherwise you wouldn’t have asked a question, would you?

      The deflationary theory of truth is one common philosophical way of looking at truth which asserts that “truth” is not an actual predicate, and so “This statement is true.” is entirely isomorphic with simply saying “This statement is.” More generally, truth is considered a property of statements (if it is a property at all), not of physical or metaphysical objects. When someone says something metaphysical and associates it with “truth”, what they’re actually doing is making an existence claim about the underlying objects of that metaphysical proposition.

      …by the way, Christianity is not a Religion, it’s a relationship…

      This silly rhetorical trick falls apart pretty quickly. The word “religion” itself etymologically implies a relationship; the word itself literally means “to retie” and only slightly more metaphorically “to reconnect”. That aside, I imagine your desire for it to be considered not-a-religion would disappear quite quickly if you wanted to take advantage of, say, the freedom of religion as it is expressed in many Western societies’ legal and political systems. If your beliefs are “not a religion”, then why should they be protected by that which protects religious practice?

      How about you publish your name and address and pronounce Allah is a myth?

      Jesse F. Whitsitt-Lynch, 1214 Kingstown Road, Peace Dale, RI

      “Allah is a myth.”

      Oh snap.

      You know why you won’t.

      Well, egg, face, yours.

      Yet you can say publically that Jesus is a myth with no threat of violence or harm.

      Now this is where it gets really fun. If one, somewhere in the Western world, were to write “Jesus is a myth” (or, heck, “Yahweh is a myth”, or even the generic “God is a myth”) for the vast majority of the history of Western civilization they would have been in greater mortal danger than I am now for claiming publicly under my real name and address that Allah is a myth. And one hopes, if you are even slightly historically literate, that you already knew that. Now the question becomes, is that Christianity that was quite willing in all of its denominational expressions to kill folk for that difference of opinion the same Christianity as the one that exists today, or not? If it is, your claim is silly on its face, because the only reason why one statement is less dangerous than the other comes down to factors and effects entirely external to Christianity itself. On the other hand, if it is fundamentally different in some way, in what manner is it possible to contend a continuity of belief from the apostles to the modern day; in other words, in what way would that Christianity possibly be authentic?

      Perhaps Pantheism is your cup of tea, so how did the universe, which is god(s) create itself? Its claims are incoherent and don’t correspond to reality.

      There aren’t, so far as I know, many pantheists around these parts, but even so, your “how did the universe create itself?” is only incoherent if you argue that everything must have a cause, but if everything must have a cause, then whence God’s cause? The cosmological argument cuts every which way.

      Do you want to criticize Judaism, go ahead so did Jesus, or even Christian Churches, go ahead the Apostles did criticize then also. But try to criticize Christianity as a relationship of a true follower, that’s something you only speak at out of ignorance.

      Placing oneself above criticism is the rhetorical trick of one who knows their position wouldn’t survive criticism.

  • Troutbane

    Oh myyyyy:

    -Well Random, I will accept the first religion that can prove itself. Bo prove, I mean provable and testable. I have tested it, guess what, nothing, nada, no magic happened. Your magic book keeps talking about shit that supposedly happened millennia ago. Guess what lately? Even more nothing!
    -The “prophecies” you are claiming that are in the Bible are actually very vague so that anything could fill them, written post date, as in me predicting WWII in 2012, or actually referring to other events in the Bible.
    -All the claims have been refuted is absolutely right, but reverse the roles. All the bullshit people like you claim as proof has been refuted. Time and again. For awhile now even. But it still doesn’t stop people like you claiming the opposite.
    -I do believe in “truth” but so far all religions have fallen short in keeping up with science which does seek truth in a non self defeating or arresting way.
    -How can Christianity provide love, grace and acceptance to its detractors? It claims they will be punished in the afterlife and its supporters seem to damn well do everything they can to punish them in this life. I call total bullshit on your phrasing. Actually Zen Buddhism might be what you are thinking of since they claim it doesn’t matter what path you take, but everyone gets to the top of the mountain.
    -I will certainly not denounce any religion publicly without a good supply of money to handle being fired and blacklisted. You cannot be from America if you think non-Christians have it easy here. Ironically, Jesus is held in very high regard to Muslims, so they aren’t all that different.
    -Which “Pantheism” are you claiming is incoherent and non realistic? There are quite a few. But do please be specific in regards to their creation myths.
    —So other then your vague assertions that you MUST be right, you still have shown no specific points on why your religion is right and ALL other are wrong. Even your claims above were very vague and at best reference one book, which by the way is a shitty method of proving your religion is right above all others because, guess what, and lean on in real close, other religious books from other religions do…the….same….thing.

  • Troutbane

    Damn, EL, now I feel like a chickenshit for not posting my name, but then again, I do work in a political profession, so maybe not.

    • Elemenope

      Sorry. Then again, the more visible you are IRL, the better idea it is not to piss off any and everyone around you just to make a point. I remember Kevin Smith talking about the death threats and bricks-through-windows that he received after Dogma, as one modern counterexample to random99′s silly points about how Christians are so blessedly non-violent towards their critics.

      • Troutbane

        Tell you what Random, Ill make it very easy for you. All you have to do is prove ONE thing:

        Prove Jesus is the son of God and died for our sins, WITHOUT quoting the Bible or making a reference back to the Bible.

        There, that’s all you have to show (for me anyways). And….go!

        • Troutbane

          Damn nesting comments!

      • Troutbane

        I loved Dogma.

  • random99

    Elemenope, do you live life according to the deflationary theory of truth? Or, do you live according to a correspondence theory of truth? If you have children did you teach them to look both ways before crossing a highway? If so, why? Is a moving vehicle a metaphysical claim of an object that is “real” or “imaginary”? Where does relavatism fit it with the truth claim that doesn’t correspond to reality? Or is there no “reality” just metaphysical truth statements?

    You also show you absolutely don’t understand the Cosmological argument, especially in its various forms.

    I will give you credit for posting your name, but if you read the thread the initial challenge was to go to some Muslim Country, let’s say Iran, stand in the street and loudly proclaim Allah is a myth, to demonstrate there is a difference between Christianity and Islam. So, you posted it here, good for you, will you go post your name/address on a Muslin website making the same claim? Do you deny the premise made that Christianity teaches one to love one’s enemy and extend grace to all mankind which makes it very unique among the world’s other major religions?

    In classic atheistic-blogging form you refer to the Crusade’s to demonize Christianity, the Spanish inquisition from 1540 to mid-1800s was responsible for 827 deaths, the Roman inquisition, 97, statistics from Tolerance & Violence by Arnod Angenendt. You also forget the Crusade’s were a response the Muslim aggression. But facts don’t matter, right, it’s all relavatisic metaphysical claims, we’re all correct, right? Compare those death statistics with 20th Century Communism and the Christians that were killed to eliminate Theism and to promote atheism!

    Jesus stood against violence, He said, My Kingdom is not of this world otherwise my servants would fight, when He was confronted by soldiers. He told Peter to put the sword away and then He healed the ear of the soldier who was injured. When someone claims to follow Jesus, but do not do as He commands they show they are not true Christians. Why is it okay for “New Atheists” to lump all religions together or to quote the worst offender as the “norm”? When we Christians do the same about “atheists” well, you all object strenuously yet you miss your hypocrisy. After all, are you all like Nietzsche’? He fully grasped the nature of his belief, something those on this blog do not. Yet, are you all just like Nietzsche, Stalin, Mao, or Pol Pot? Should Christian’s broad-brush and lump all your idea’s together? I’m sure Michael Ruse, a well know atheist PhD would object, as he’s embarrassed by the science/philosophy of Richard Dawkins.

    Nietzsche’s Christian mother carred for him during his deep deprresion and delusion for the last 13 years of his life, good thing she didn’t believe in his ideolgy.

    To Jabster: hey it’s not Tuesday? What’s your point?

    Perhaps I missed something important? Like a “positive” atheistic explanation for the cause or eternality of the universe and why it appears to operate on law-like, intelligible principles? Or maybe, if the mind is only an evolutionary product, and evolution promotes survivability, and therefore the mind conjured up religion, why are all of you against religion? It’s evolutionary survival, so it’s good! If so, what is atheism based upon evolution?

    TRJ wrote;

    “Quantum physics has so far offered us an insight into the fundamentals of our universe that is a million times more profund than anything the Bible has ever told us.”

    Honestly, do you “all” believe this statement? Are you all such staunch loyal mindless atheists that you won’t at least challenge your peer when B.S. is arrogantly spouted?

    TRJ – modern scientific methodology is directly attributed to a westernized Christian-belief system which influenced men who believed in a logical, coherent God, who created the world in a logical, coherent manner so that mankind can learn and understand the rules by which the universe operates! Read some biographical history!

    Christianity is responsible for our first Colleges and Universities and therefore modern scientific methodology; The Lord is my Light is Oxford’s Moto! Hospitals were started by Christians, education of children and women learning to read is as a result of Christianity. The founding of the U.S. of America’s legal and jurisprudence system stem directly from the Bible. This is just to name a few things…

    So, TRJ, please cite some of quantum physics “profund” benevolences bestowed upon mankind?

    Have you ead Matthew Parris’ Time’s Article about Africa needing God, in case you don’t know, Matthew is a confirmed atheist…

    “Now a confirmed atheist, I’ve become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa: sharply distinct from the work of secular NGOs, government projects and international aid efforts. These alone will not do. Education and training alone will not do. In Africa Christianity changes people’s hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good.”

    …”Christianity, post-Reformation and post-Luther, with its teaching of a direct, personal, two-way link between the individual and God, unmediated by the collective, and unsubordinate to any other human being, smashes straight through the philosphical/spiritual framework I’ve just described. It offers something to hold on to to those anxious to cast off a crushing tribal groupthink. That is why and how it liberates.”

    • UrsaMinor

      I will give you credit for posting your name, but if you read the thread the initial challenge was to go to some Muslim Country, let’s say Iran, stand in the street and loudly proclaim Allah is a myth, to demonstrate there is a difference between Christianity and Islam. So, you posted it here, good for you, will you go post your name/address on a Muslin website making the same claim?

      Oh, good. I was wondering when you were going to move the goalpost on that one.

      Perhaps I missed something important? Like a “positive” atheistic explanation for the cause or eternality of the universe and why it appears to operate on law-like, intelligible principles? Or maybe, if the mind is only an evolutionary product, and evolution promotes survivability, and therefore the mind conjured up religion, why are all of you against religion? It’s evolutionary survival, so it’s good! If so, what is atheism based upon evolution?

      Is your thinking really that unsophisticated? Evolution produced violent impulses, too (arguably an aid to survival in a primitive, predator-filled world). Civilization has changed the game- violence is more likely to decrease your fitness, shorten your lifespan and curtail the number of descendents you leave behind than help you survive. Religion’s adaptiveness may be examined similarly.

      We don’t worship the things created by evolution, or consider them automatically good. In any event, atheism is not in any sense ‘based on evolution’. Many of us do acknowledge the process’s existence, because that we are free to go where the evidence leads in a way that many theists are not. Evolution is an inescapable property of any system that replicates with error.

      But what do I know? I’m just a biologist. Back to your regularly scheduled philosophy slugfest.

      • Elemenope

        I loves me a good philosophy slugfest. Unfortunately, in order to be a fair fight both people must actually know what they’re talking about.

        There’s something about proud, breathless ignorance that makes me really cranky.

    • Custador

      Are you ever going to follow through on your promise to stop posting?

    • Elemenope

      Elemenope, do you live life according to the deflationary theory of truth?

      No.

      Or, do you live according to a correspondence theory of truth?

      No.

      If you have children did you teach them to look both ways before crossing a highway? If so, why?

      My views on the metaphysics of truth closely resemble Peirce’s pragmatic theory. The “truth” of the car, the highway, and the child, and the consequences of their intersection do not depend on any deep metaphysical status of any of those entities; we observe their effects and know through a progressive process of interrogating reality what effective approaches to them look like. You teach a child to look both ways to cross the street simply because it is an effective technique for avoiding a lethal accident, and everything deeper about that situation is irrelevant to that particular goal.

      Is a moving vehicle a metaphysical claim of an object that is “real” or “imaginary”? Where does relavatism fit it with the truth claim that doesn’t correspond to reality? Or is there no “reality” just metaphysical truth statements?

      Why are you asking me? I am no relativist.

      You also show you absolutely don’t understand the Cosmological argument, especially in its various forms.

      Yeah, I clearly have no idea what I’m talking about.

      I will give you credit for posting your name, but if you read the thread the initial challenge was to go to some Muslim Country, let’s say Iran, stand in the street and loudly proclaim Allah is a myth, to demonstrate there is a difference between Christianity and Islam. So, you posted it here, good for you, will you go post your name/address on a Muslin website making the same claim? Do you deny the premise made that Christianity teaches one to love one’s enemy and extend grace to all mankind which makes it very unique among the world’s other major religions?

      You didn’t read very carefully. Skating past the point Ursa made about you clumsily moving the goalposts, as I pointed out (and you completely ignored) for most of Christianity’s history, it would have been more dangerous for me to say “Jesus is a myth” than it is today for me to say “Allah is a myth”. And you either know that, or are breathlessly ignorant of history. You are free to believe whatever moral fable you wish about the unique qualities of christian forbearance, but they are exactly that: fables, unsupported by fact or history.

      In classic atheistic-blogging form you refer to the Crusade’s to demonize Christianity, the Spanish inquisition from 1540 to mid-1800s was responsible for 827 deaths, the Roman inquisition, 97, statistics from Tolerance & Violence by Arnod Angenendt.

      When did I mention the Crusades? Or the Spanish Inquisition? Stop tilting at windmills and address the *actual* claim I made.

      You also forget the Crusade’s were a response the Muslim aggression.

      Arguing over whose hands are more drenched in blood in that fight is approximately as wearying as listening to Israelis and Palestinians snipe at each other over the same scrap of dust today. There were nine major crusades, each with a very complicated set of causes and provocations. The first major attempt at a crusade, I should point out, was aborted when the Western armies decided to sack Christian Constantinople instead of heading south to the Levant.

      But facts don’t matter, right, it’s all relavatisic metaphysical claims, we’re all correct, right? Compare those death statistics with 20th Century Communism and the Christians that were killed to eliminate Theism and to promote atheism!

      Again with your obsession with relativism! Relativism is *boring* as a moral theory, as a metaphysical stance, and in any event it isn’t mine. You’d do much better bugging someone about it who actually cared.

      Jesus stood against violence, He said, My Kingdom is not of this world otherwise my servants would fight, when He was confronted by soldiers. He told Peter to put the sword away and then He healed the ear of the soldier who was injured.

      He also kicked over the tables and whipped the moneychangers, killed a fig tree, preached the division of the family, and apocalypse, and I do seem to remember a line about bringing not peace but a sword…

      When someone claims to follow Jesus, but do not do as He commands they show they are not true Christians.

      So Nietzsche was right. The only true Christian died on the cross. Swell.

      Why is it okay for “New Atheists” to lump all religions together or to quote the worst offender as the “norm”?

      Because you make moral claims. You say to the world “this belief makes me a better person” and so you invite people to judge that claim. By the way, it is a claim found wanting; Christians are good or bad at about the same rate as Muslims, as Buddhists, as atheists. Atheism, not being an ideology of any sort, makes no equivalent claim.

      When we Christians do the same about “atheists” well, you all object strenuously yet you miss your hypocrisy.

      They are asymmetrical situations. I know this must just really go up your ass sideways, but since atheism is not a religion, is not even an organized beliefs system of any sort, but only the bare rejection of a specific existence claim, there is no “us” to speak of. Atheists are not in any fundamental sense a group or a club or even a community; we band together only because we are a minority in a world that generally hates us for what we choose not to believe, and because frankly while many religious folk are wonderful people, listening to adults go on about stuff we think flatly ridiculous and absolutely unattested by evidence as truth gets wearying after a while and it is pleasant to hang around with folks who don’t believe those things some of the time. It’s like if everyone in your family but you really cares about politics, and that’s all they talk about, wouldn’t it be natural to seek out friends and peers that share your disinterest with politics so you can have the opportunity to talk about the things *you* care about once in a while?

      After all, are you all like Nietzsche’? He fully grasped the nature of his belief, something those on this blog do not.

      Gosh, I wish I could be that smart, perspicacious and brave in my expressions. He was a bit tweaked, though, and certainly some of his wackier ideas were the product of some serious unresolved sexual issues.

      Yet, are you all just like Nietzsche, Stalin, Mao, or Pol Pot?

      Throwing Nietzsche in that list makes you sound, flat-out, like an idiot. I never say things like that lightly, but seriously, wow. Have you ever even read Nietzsche? Do you have any idea what he actually wrote, what he actually thought? Paul Tillich, perhaps the greatest Christian theologian of the 20th century, called Nietzsche the most important critic of Christianity, who must be faced honestly if Christianity is to have any hope of surviving modernity as anything other than a joke. Many early Zionists found inspiration in his writings for the formation of the state of Israel, of the Jews coming out of the diaspora and reclaiming their status as a nation of people. If you only know the bizarro cliff’s notes versions of his philosophy usually spouted from lazy pulpiteers, you’re gonna sound pretty silly when you open your mouth on the subject.

      Should Christian’s broad-brush and lump all your idea’s together?

      It’s a pretty human thing to do. People think in categories pretty unavoidably as a consequence of the semantic structure of thought, and sometimes the urge to categorize gets the better of all of us. Of course, some categorizations are even less legitimate than others. Christians actually are a proud, broad community of people who stick together, hence criticisms of one to another are *slightly* commutative; usually the actual criticism I hear of most of Christians is why-oh-why do you allow your dimmer lights prattle on and give y’all a bad name? Why do you actively give cover to hate promulgated in your Savior’s name instead of calling it out and castigating those who peddle it?

      I’m sure Michael Ruse, a well know atheist PhD would object, as he’s embarrassed by the science/philosophy of Richard Dawkins.

      He is, of course, entitled to his opinion. Example number whatever of how atheism is not like Christianity; if Jesus said something, you really ought to pay attention. We have no such responsibility regarding any other atheist; Dawkins can say what he says and anyone who approaches his work is free to judge it on their apprehension of its merits (or lack thereof).

      Nietzsche’s Christian mother carred for him during his deep depression and delusion for the last 13 years of his life, good thing she didn’t believe in his ideolgy.

      The third time you’ve made an ass of yourself by pretending you know anything about Nietzsche’s “ideology”. Really twice in one sentence, so make it four; first for the idea he had an ideology at all (Nietzsche’s philosophy was intentionally and explicitly anti-systematic), second for the notion that his ideas included a rejection of the notion of compassion.
      ————

      You (blessedly) dropped that silly “relationship-not-a-religion” tripe, or at least failed to address the criticism. Good on you, it was a losing argument. Also outstanding is your forthcoming explanation for why zombies on Jerusalem’s Bourbon Street somehow went completely unremarked if the Biblical account is true, or how the Christianity of yesteryear maintains any sort of actual contact with the Christianity of today given the very wide gulf in attitudes and practices between the two.

      • vorjack

        I feel like I should offer you a drink and a shoulder rub after that one. Epic.

    • http://fugodeus.com Nox

      So I guess the trolls haven’t gotten any better.

      If your god is a god of truth, why does he always send forth liars to proclaim his message?

      “Do you really think I don’t know the arguments that the New Atheists present against Christianity? What is sad is that you don’t think that ALL of the legitimate and illegitimate challenges can be and have been refuted.”

      It’s pretty clear that you don’t know any of the arguments that atheists (and others) have presented against christianity. Nor are you aware of any refutations of them. You assume christianity is true, and therefore you assume any argument against christianity must not be true. Then you read in an apologetics book that every objection to christianity had been answered, and it didn’t occur to you to fact check that claim.

      I think you probably have a pretty good grasp of what the cartoon atheists in christian apologetics books would say.

      You’re on a thread with actual atheists right now, and you’ve made no real attempt to address anything anyone here has said to you. You’re trying to impress us by telling us how if there were any atheists here you’d outargue them. But there are. And you’re really not.

      So refute something someone here has said. Pick an argument that has been made by a real person here and try to refute it.

      “If God doesn’t exist, why do you spend so much energy and passion on what should otherwise be a ridiculous topic? If there is nothing more than this material universe, this one life we live, what value are you bringing to game? What purpose do you accomplish? If there is no God, then those who believe are misguided, then so what? It’s all meaningless anyway, right?”

      We have not all jumped to the conclusion that without a god dictating what the meaning must be, everything must be meaningless. That is your conclusion. Theists came up with that to make their god seem more important. Expecting people who don’t believe in god to be bound to the baggage attached to god belief is ridiculous (although it explains why you think atheists rely on theism for meaning).

      Those who believe are not merely misguided. Many christians are forcing or attempting to force their religion upon everyone. And all christians are enabling the institution that has done more harm than any other single human endeavor.

      It is still a ridiculous topic. But your imaginary friend is causing real harm to real people in the real world. That doesn’t make it any less ridiculous. But it does demand that even those who know god is made up, often need to discuss the ridiculous topic of god. As long as christians are using god as an excuse to oppress others and demand favored treatment, atheists will need to keep pointing out that god is bullsh*t.

      “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

      Romans 1:20 does say that people who can’t see invisible things are immoral, and entirely at fault for not seeing those things since they’re invisible. So I guess you’re at least quoting it accurately. Still, this is as good a time as any to point out, just because something is in the bible, doesn’t mean it isn’t patently wrong, incoherent or f*cking stupid.

      Romans 1 is also a wonderful example of how christians aren’t as charitable to outsiders as they like to imagine themselves. Yeah there is a passage a little earlier where the guy says “love your enemies”. But then you get sh*t like this. Blame your enemies. Misrepresent their positions. Call anyone who doesn’t take your word a sinner. And encourage your followers to view and treat them as inferior. All of the more humanitarian statements attributed to Jesus are countered by Paul (or Jesus).

      I can’t help but suspect that this is tied in with your repeated misrepresentations of the posters here. You have to believe that the atheist position is the one that you are prepared to argue against (you’re not). You were told ‘the fool says in his heart there is no god’, and you never stopped to ask if there might be some other reason a person might come to that conclusion.

      You keep ignoring the people who are talking to you to bring up unrelated quotes to tell us what the atheist position is. People here have told you what their positions are. Yet you insist on believing their position is the one that apologetics book told you they would have. Ravi Zacharias lied to you. No one anywhere believes what you think atheists believe.

      “How about you publish your name and address and pronounce Allah is a myth? You know why you won’t. Yet you can say publically that Jesus is a myth with no threat of violence or harm. So tell me that Islam and Christianity are the same?”

      Islam and christianity are both dogmatic oppressive religions. Both are more concerned with obedience to the dead than compassion to the living. And an argument could be made that on average islam today is a slightly more barbaric religion than christianity today. Still, islam would need several hundred years to come close to christianity’s body count.

      It is interesting that you defend the god of Abraham by saying some of his other followers kill people for him. It is certainly true that islam has killed a lot of people. But just to be totally clear on this point since it is a common misconception among christians, muslims have killed nowhere near as many people as christians. And I don’t see anyone here defending islam, the initial question was why is christianity any more credible than islam.

      You say that your god is real because you have a book which says he is. Well the muslims have a book that says allah is real. What makes your claim any more credible (or any different at all) than the claim that allah is real because the Qu’ran says so. The Qu’ran certainly has fewer errors than the bible, and reads much more like a book written by a single entity. Both claim to relate the words of fictional characters and both are entirely untrue on that count, but the Qu’ran is still measurably less untrue than the bible.

      “Compare those death statistics with 20th Century Communism and the Christians that were killed to eliminate Theism and to promote atheism!”

      Compare the inaccurate number you quoted for an atrocity ordered and carried out by the christian church with the number of fictional characters in an atrocity you heard about in church? I don’t know. I wasn’t at your church. How many christians did your pastor tell you were killed to promote atheism?

      Christians weren’t killed to eliminate theism and promote atheism. That literally never happened. I know that’s what you were told in church. But you should look into actual history before you try to use historical examples. Your uncritical parroting of this claim is not evidence of atheists killing people, but merely further evidence of christians believing and spreading bullsh*t.

      Stalin killed a lot of people. Some of them were christians. None of them were killed to promote atheism. Various communist governments vastly reduced the power of the church in Russia (a country which had historically been ravaged by the christian church), along with vastly reducing the power of labor unions, and all other power structures that weren’t the government (a possible clue about why stalinism and marxism are not the same thing, let alone either being representative of atheism). If the narrative you have heard in church (and are trying to repeat here) is true, then why is it that Stalin left so many churches open?

      By the way, does your source for that number mention how many people were tortured under the Inquisition? How many were beaten to death but not officially executed? How many were imprisoned and left to starve without being officially executed? How many were killed by christian mobs after being loudly demonized by the church? Also do they mention why their number for official executions is so much lower than what the catholic church has openly admitted to?

      “Jesus stood against violence, He said, My Kingdom is not of this world otherwise my servants would fight.”

      So any people or institutions who endorse or carry out violence are not really christians? I think I can see where you come up with the conclusion that christianity isn’t a violent religion. Of course this ignores all the violence endorsed and carried out by the christian church (let alone what’s in the bible). If you simply don’t count the millions of people killed by christians, then you would of course come to the conclusion that communists and muslims have killed more people.

      “Why is it okay for “New Atheists” to lump all religions together or to quote the worst offender as the “norm”?”

      Because the worst offenders are the holy book that you attempted to cite as evidence twice in this thread, and the one church from whom you and all christians are spinoffs.

      The worst offenses of christianity are valid evidence against the benevolence of christianity because they were directly carried out by the same church who made up the religion you are trying to defend. The things that the christian church has done under the command of christian leaders and the christian holy book are examples of what christianity is.

      The reason that us lumping all christians in with the pope and the bible (and most of us don’t) is different than christians lumping all atheists together is twofold. First because when you lump all atheists together you lump all atheists into a completely fictional strawman and assign it opinions held by no one ever (it’s pretty obvious you’ve never actually read anything by Nietzsche). This “new atheist” you keep trying to argue against bears no resemblance to anyone here, the four prominent atheists the phrase was made up to malign, or anyone ever. Second (and this is one you really seem to be missing) we don’t have a pope or a bible. One of the key tenets of the atheist position (to the degree that atheists share a position) is that we reject claims to divine authority. Even if there were one actual atheist who holds the position you want to argue against, they wouldn’t speak for the rest of us. Likewise, one of the key tenets of the christian position (to the degree that christians share a position) is that the bible is authoritative.

      To put that in simpler terms: If Dawkins spoke for me, I wouldn’t be much of an atheist. If the bible doesn’t speak for you, you’re not much of a christian.

      “Modern scientific methodology is directly attributed to a westernized Christian-belief system.”

      Attributed by who? Your pastor? William Lane Craig? Christianity didn’t create science. Christianity tried to smother science in its infancy and at every step since.

      If your god is a god of truth, why does he always send forth liars to proclaim his message?

      • UrsaMinor

        Welcome back, Nox. I’ve missed your walls of text.

        • http://fugodeus.com Nox

          Thanks Ursa. I missed you too.

          Actually I’ve still been reading the site when I could, including the “Ask Ursa” thread. Just haven’t had a chance to write anything substantial. Started posts on a few of the recent threads. But couldn’t finish any of them. The last few months it has been a struggle to get 10 minutes at my keyboard without interruptions. Made some recent adjustments to my living arrangement to hopefully fix that exact problem.

      • vorjack

        Yay, Nox is back! Our comment threads have just gotten longer!

    • Theory_of_I

      @radom99:
      “…the Spanish inquisition from 1540 to mid-1800s was responsible for 827 deaths, the Roman inquisition, 97…”
      Those are blatant distortions of historical facts —

      In the 11th century, the Crusades had as their object the conquering of Jerusalem and the “Holy Land”. Along the crusaders’ paths, thousands were raped, robbed, and slaughtered. In time, however, the concept was altered to crush spiritual opposition within Europe itself, and armies were raised with the intent of massacring whole communities such as the apostolic Christians known as the Waldenses, Albigenses and many others.

      Then came the witches and heretics
      http://www.scribd.com/doc/50108007/Malleus-Maleficarum
      For nearly 250 years the “Witches’ Hammer” was the guidebook used by the witch hunters of the Catholic Church. The Malleus Maleficarum became the de-facto handbook for witch-hunters and Inquisitors throughout Late Medieval Europe. Between the years 1487 and 1669 it was published twenty-nine times. An estimated two million were tortured and murdered in accordance with the Malleus Maleficarum, and millions more as Nox describes up thread.

      Not to be outdone, the Protestant factions had their own witch hunts in which hundreds of thousands more were burned and butchered. And every one of those innocents were condemned, brutalized and murdered in the name of God by people who believed just as fervently as you that they knew Jesus and the truth.

      Read the Malleus Maleficarum and related history. As a more than 600 year part of your heritage, it should significantly temper your sycophantic and blind acceptance of the apologist’s excuses you use to hide the truth of Christianity and religion.

    • trj

      @random:

      All I was saying is that the Bible doesn’t give any fundamental insights into our world. Unsurprisingly, you never actually address this, choosing instead to move the goalposts to a discussion about the civic merits of Christianity. But ok, let’s go through your claims:

      modern scientific methodology is directly attributed to a westernized Christian-belief system which influenced men who believed in a logical, coherent God, who created the world in a logical, coherent manner so that mankind can learn and understand the rules by which the universe operates!

      Actually, the Greeks embraced this manner of thinking long before Christians existed. Western science owes a large debt to them, being largely based on their philosophical, mathematical and scientific findings, much of which were continued by Christians (for good or bad, the medical findings were often bad). In fact, the Muslim world also owes a large debt to the Greeks. You should follow your own advice and learn some history.

      Christianity is responsible for our first Colleges and Universities and therefore modern scientific methodology

      Your “therefore” is rather tenuous. If by modern scientific methodology you mean the scientific method, ie. using controlled experiments and testing predictions, then this methodology developed in the 17th century, and it did so by breaking away from ecclesial dogma. One of the idiosyncracies of the scientific method is that it doesn’t concern itself with the supernatural.

      The Catholic church was notorious for stifling dissent, on pain of excommunication and death. That’s hardly what I’d call “modern scientific methodology”. Constructive science involves sharing of ideas and consideration of differing opinions. What it does not involve is a papal figurehead dictating how observations should be interpreted and having opponents burnt at the stake.

      Hospitals were started by Christians

      Indeed many were, but they were hardly invented by Christians. Hospitals can be traced back to ancient Rome and India, and they were prevalent in the Islamic world.

      education of children and women learning to read is as a result of Christianity.

      I largely agree. Christianity did much to advance literacy, at least at a basic level. Of course, up until the 18th century you could forget about getting an actual education if you were a woman, though this was the norm in any kinds of institutions of higher learning, not just the Christian ones.

      The major advances in literacy, however, have been done in the 19th and 20th centuries, and those were primarily the result of national efforts which had little to do with Christianity.

      The founding of the U.S. of America’s legal and jurisprudence system stem directly from the Bible.

      I must have missed where in the Bible it says something about dividing government into executive, legislative and judicial branches. All I can find are theocratic or dictatorial models of government which rule absolutely and unquestioned, with no mention of elections. The Bible is not exactly the most obvious source of inspiration for establishing a democracy like the US.

      At most you can argue that the New Testament had some nice, fluffy things to say about all men being equal before God. But as Jesus himself illustrates with his approval of slavery, this principle obviously didn’t extend to the worldly life. So maybe you’re right after all. Both the New Testament and the US Declaration of Independence contain some nice sentiments about equality, but in practice their high ideals were in glaring contrast to the lack of rights accorded to slaves or women or indigenous Americans. I guess they do have something in common, though not something to be proud of.

      So, TRJ, please cite some of quantum physics “profund” benevolences bestowed upon mankind?

      So now we get to the point I actually made. Note that I said profound insights, not profound benevolences. You just can’t help moving the goalposts, can you? A few general examples of insights we’ve gained:

      - We know that matter and energy are equivalent
      - We know how things function at sub-atomic scales
      - We know the incredible age of our universe
      - We know the mechanics of stellar formation and death and how they made our existence possible

      Compare that to the Bible in which stars are either described as pinpricks of light or a heavenly host of angels (Judges 5:20, Job 38:7). At best the Bible provides no explanation of what stars are, and at worst it’s completely wrong.

      What does the Bible tell us of the fundamental forces that rule the universe? Nothing. Fundamental particles? Nothing. Age or mechanics of the universe? Nothing, except that it was allegedly made in six days in a way that contradicts what we observe.

      The Bible provides no insight into how our world works. It doesn’t explain natural phenomena besides what was common knowledge back when it was written, and even then it often fails spectacularly (the Earth is placed on a foundation, rain is kept in a barn, etc). It’s quite clear that if we are to learn the secrets of the universe, science and quantum physics are our best bet. Religion and holy scriptures contribute nothing to answering these questions. That was my point, and your confused mix of issues never addresses this.

      —–

      PS: As for the benevolences quantum physics has bestowed upon us, the most obvious is the transistor. It’s thanks to quantum physics that you can sit in front of your computer and read this. Maybe your computer is driven by electricity from nuclear power, made possible by quantum physics. Other things: lasers, GPS, PET scanners. And in the future: new forms of energy production, electrical storage, computing, and communication. Not to mention a multitude of advances in basic research.

  • Troutbane

    “The founding of the U.S. of America’s legal and jurisprudence system stem directly from the Bible.”

    Actually many of our systems may be based on the Native American systems Europeans encountered when settling/taking over this country:
    http://www.kahonwes.com/iroquois/document1.html

  • Buretsu

    The best argument for intelligent design is the male nipple. It serves no evolutionary purpose, so it must only exist because God likes them.


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