Dad is getting my emails part III

Despite saying he would agree to disagree, Robert returned to emailing my dad.

I am looking at the world spiritually and you are looking at it physically, which is obviously not cohesive, John. They are nowhere near the same, and cannot be compared, therefore, I reinterate my previous request of agreeing to disagree. I must however mention that if you are correct, and there is no God, my vain efforts are no harm no fowl. On the other hand, John, what if I am correct? I guess you can choose to or not to deal with that, right?

Dad wrote back…

“if you are correct, and there is no God, my vain efforts are no harm no fowl. On the other hand, John, what if I am correct? I guess you can choose to or not to deal with that, right?” What if the folks who believe in one of the other 3500 or so gods so far identified are correct and you are not? I guess you can choose to or not to deal with that, right?

You might also note this old argument–known as Pascal’s wager—offers absolutely no proof for the existence of your god, it is just an exhortation for others to hedge their bets.

It works like this: in essence you are saying how can I take the chance that your god isn’t real?

Show me how it is any different from this: I believe in the god Jon-O. The God Jon-o requires that people walk naked down Main Street at noon or bad things will happen to them in the afterlife. I know you don’t believe in Jon-o, but how can you take the chance he isn’t real?

Should I expect to see you in the buff on Main Street at noon because it would be silly for you to take the chance that Jon-O isn’t real? If not, how does this differ from what you expect of me to not take a chance?

“I must however mention that if you are correct, and there is no God, my vain efforts are no harm no fowl.” You could say exactly the same thing about believing in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy.

“I am looking at the world spiritually and you are looking at it physically, which is obviously not cohesive, John.” NO. You claim your theory of religion is how this world works. That your god impacts and changes–and even made–this physical world. That animals talk just like in Aesop’s Fables, that a man lived 3 days in the belly of a fish,that there was a physical flood of the earth that wiped out everything, and so on.

“I guess you can choose to or not to deal with that, right?” Yes. I am not worried about Santa not bringing me presents, or the tooth fairy not buying my tooth, or your nonexistent god punishing me for not being scared into belief.

Robert wrote back…

I didnt try to scare you, I said what if. Isn’t that the premise of every scientific experiment? Its like you saying I wont give any attention or credit the the tornado sirens on the grounds I dont like being warned or told what to do, (take shelter). To me this is more or less a screw the man attitude of dont tell me what to do.—- God does not threaten eternal damnation for unbelief, he promises it. Your science is all about proving the properties of the physical world to essentially be absent of any intelligent design, that I claim my God created. However the laugh I get from this theory, is that is is conjured up by a group of “intelligent folks” who deny any intelligence…..This puts me in stitches. It seems that you are unwilling to accept the Bible as truth because it doesn’t line up with silt deposits, and so on. Who is to say that those deposits would be present. Were you there, and have you been witness to any global floods of that magnitude? Or are you basing your point on a scientific theory, that by definitiion can change its stance on virtually any subject, and still be considered accurate by many, dismissing that it just disproved itself. — You are saying the Bible cant be true because it speaks of things that you do not understand. Your locked into the idea that if there is a physical world, with mountains of physical evidence that it exists, that there cannot be a spiritual world, because I cannot prove it the way I do in the physical world. God makes note of these things and warns us not to try to compare the two. As for Aesops fables, I would ask you to point those out in the KJV Bible, of which I used as my reference.

p.s. here I am going on like a hypocrite, still arguing my point….lol, somehow I just cannot resist….

Also, your science can coexist with my God on the grounds that there are certain things, deemed by God to be understood for our benifit, and certain things he simply asks us to have faith in him. Not some extrordinary act of sacrifice, or change of life and ways, simply a faith as simple and elementary as believing that your car will start, or that the chair you choose to sit in will not bust to pieces when you sit on it. I know you posess that kind of faith, John, but for some reason, faith in a God that if you truly read his message for you, you would see is intangible,therefore completely out of you scope belief. I have to ask you again, what is your hope for this life, and do you have any HOPE for anything after? Not evidence, but hope. I love looking at all of his beautiful creation, and can certainly do so without constanly trying to find my own awesome way of explaining it all. I trust him, and thank him for all that we are given.

Dad responded…

“God does not threaten eternal damnation for unbelief, he promises it.” Reminds me of when I was a kid and somebody said they would whip my ass, the reply was “Is that a promise or a threat?.” Call it what you will, a rose by any name would smell as sweet. Of course he threatens. If is promise to blow up your house, it’s a threat.

“, is that is is conjured up by a group of “intelligent folks” who deny any intelligence.” You’re kidding,right? No one denied intelligence, only intelligent design of the universe. They aren’t even close to one and the same.

“.This puts me in stitches. It seems that you are unwilling to accept the Bible as truth because it doesn’t line up with silt deposits, and so on”. That is correct. I depend on physical evidence over empty claims from a bronze age book of mythology.
And I’m sure you do also, at least sometimes. For instance, do you believe day is caused by Helios in his chariot pulling the sun across the sky? Why not? could it be because of the physical evidence to the contrary?

“Who is to say that those deposits would be present.” Geologists who have studied what happens every. single. time. when it floods. This is like asking “Who is to say objects fall down every time instead of up. I can’t believe I’m hearing this question.

“Were you there, and have you been witness to any global floods of that magnitude?” I wasn’t there for the civil war, but I have no doubt it happened because of the evidence for it. Where is the evidence for your flood?

Gotta run. Catch you later.

Robert responded…

“Geologists who have studied what happens every. single. time. when it floods. This is like asking “Who is to say objects fall down every time instead of up. I can’t believe I’m hearing this question.”—–I am not attempting to be a smart ass, but they were not Witness to a flood of that magnitude. Therefore skeptics are seeking physical evidence for a one time event, having no idea what a flood of that magnitude would leave behind as physical evidence. Are scientists so damn smart to discredit the fact that they are seeking evidence of an event that they have no clue the full scope, exact time (God gave no exact date in the Bible), or even what to look for. This kind of thing has never happened since, so setting a bar of possible or not, based solely on evidence that is innacurate to the scope of this subject, would be like trying to figure out how all things work together in the world, when you havent seen all the things that have happened. Your scientific theories are scewed because you base things on the physical evidence in front of your face without giving credit to the fact that you may have missed something. Does the pyhsical evidence of a flood look the exact same and have all of the exact same properties of physical and scientific evidence as the last? If so, and your are basing your theory on repeatable results, you are stacking your evidence against something that has never been done since. Shit man, there were plenty of things you could not prove in science in the past that man has found a way to prove. Because at one time it seemed impossible to physically prove that particular truth, does it take away its power or its validity now? If you answer no, then how could you begin to argue that spirtual things, not proven physically, are impossible. Just like some scientist had his time of people not believing him, I too come to you and claim God to be the one true God, Creater of Earth and Heaven, and all things contained therin. And that there is one mediator between God and man, and that is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who died for your sins according to the scriptures, he was burried, and he was raised again the third day, for our justification. And that is the power of God unto salvation to all those which believe. My claim is that you will eventually find out, just as those scientist did. There will be a moment of reckoning with God, whether you believe me or not. Your unbelief cannot take away from the truth of God’s Word. God’s word is all the evidence I need. The Bible is an accurate historical document and is plenty of proof. You have little or nothing more to present as evidence that the cicil war took place, short of historical documentation, Right. You may want to argue carbon dating of atrifact, which I would retort, proove the accuracy of those tests. See, John its a big, giant revolving door. Yes there are pieces of physical evidence supporting all sorts of things, and there is not one singel shred of physical evidence supporting the spiritual things of the Bible…..because they cannot coexits…..I believe that the faith of Christ saves me from death, and everlasting punishment, which cannot be seen or proven. I challenge anyone to take it from me or say that it doesn’t exist.

Dad wrote back…

  “Therefore skeptics are seeking physical evidence for a one time event, having no idea what a flood of that magnitude would leave behind as physical evidence.” This is like saying if we have a bigger animal than we have ever had, it won’t leave poop like smaller animals.

“(God gave no exact date in the Bible)” The bible does contain historical figures and events from which people who make the effort can figure out a timeline. Google up “biblical scholars +Great flood”.

“evidence that is innacurate to the scope of this subject” t he idea that a worldwide flood of this proportion would leave absolutely no evidence is a form of denial. You might as well say we shouldn’t expect any evidence atom bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki because it was a one time event.

“would be like trying to figure out how all things work together in the world, when you havent seen all the things that have happened.” NO. It wouldn’t be like that at all. Evidence of a specific worldwide event is nothing like analyzing all of the interactions of the universe. Not even close.

“Does the pyhsical evidence of a flood look the exact same and have all of the exact same properties of physical and scientific evidence as the last.” NO, but they all have some things in common. Just like all tornadoes have some things in common, regardless of how big they are.

“Your scientific theories are scewed because you base things on the physical evidence in front of your face without giving credit to the fact that you may have missed something. ” the nice thing about science is when it has evidence that it missed something, then science changes. One of the bad things about religion is that no matter how much evidence to its contrary, believers ignore the evidence and keep believing. Take Noah’s flood, for instance.

“Shit man, there were plenty of things you could not prove in science in the past that man has found a way to prove.” Yes, like the biblical claims for an earth centered universe, a flat earth, and a worldwide flood of cataclysmic proportions.

“If you answer no, then how could you begin to argue that spirtual things, not proven physically, are impossible.” THIS IS THE POINT. PAY ATTENTION! I don’t argue they are impossible. I just insist that you provide evidence for them. And you consistently fail to do that. In addition, you consistently ignore evidence that contradicts the bible.

“There will be a moment of reckoning with God, whether you believe me or not.” I don’t. Nor do I believe any of the other 3500 gods around will give me a moment of reckoning. They are all, including yours, superstitious drivel on the same level as magic and voodoo.

“Your unbelief cannot take away from the truth of God’s Word.” Your belief doesn’t make it exist.

“The Bible is an accurate historical document and is plenty of proof.” The bible is a bronze age collection of myths. The purpose of the OT was control the ancient Jewish society and the purpose of the NT was to promote a new cult.

“You have little or nothing more to present as evidence that the cicil war took place, short of historical documentation, Right.” Wrong. I have photos, canonballs, muskets, uniforms, bullet holes, and a veritable mountain of evidence. EVIDENCE. The thing you do not have.

“You may want to argue carbon dating of atrifact, which I would retort, prove the accuracy of those tests.” You need to learn about carbon dating. Do your own homework. google up “tests showing how carbon dating is accurate”. There is plenty of information readily available on accuracy.

“I believe that the faith of Christ saves me from death, and everlasting punishment, which cannot be seen or proven.” The followers of Pikkiwokki, the Papua New Guinean mud god, believe his followers will be rewarded with a pig and all the coconuts they can carry. I don’t believe either of you have an y evidence.

Part IV at 4pm EST.

  • penn

    I just want to say that this is awesome, and I can’t wait to read the next installment. It seems clear that the guy hasn’t taken one minute to really examine the evidence against the bible being divinely inspired. He’s been told that it has stood up to 6000 years of scrutiny and that’s good enough for him. One should point out that it’s pretty easy to stand up to scrutiny when you ignore or dismiss any contradictory evidence.

    • Steve

      I’d like to see this cuneiform Bible he speaks of. And even cuneiform script is only about 5200 years old. The Bible is far younger than that. The most he could say is some of the creation myths and certain other things were inspired by Mesopotamic legends, but that’s all.

  • The Lorax

    Anyone else spot Pascal’s Wager right off the bat? I actually laughed.

    Also, it’s worth mentioning that we can see what has happened over several thousands of years, and the problem is that there is not just no evidence of a flood, but no evidence of anything. Therefore, the argument that “science has never detected a global flood, science cannot predict what evidence it might leave behind” is completely invalid; science has not just detected no evidence of a flood, science has detected nothing whatsoever. So, either global floods leave no evidence behind, or a global flood didn’t happen.

    • J*

      How could you miss it?

      Although “no harm no fowl” sounds more like pigeon’s wager to me.

      • Rory

        “No harm, no fowl” would be a great slogan for a company making vegetarian chicken nuggets.

        • iknklast

          Yes! (I kept seeing a great big chicken slowly disappearing before my eyes – and I haven’t even taken any sort of drugs)

          • Christopher Booth

            Cheshire Chicken?

      • Sqrat

        Maybe it was supposed to be “no ham no fowl” and had something to do with ancient Jewish dietary laws.

  • Steve

    And where did all the damn water go? If you flooded the planet with water up the highest mountains, that would require more water than there is currently on Earth. But I guess God just snapped his fingers and made it go away.

    • https://twitter.com/#!/Erulora Erulóra Maikalambe

      The argument I’ve heard is that the Flood is the reason the mountains are as high now and the surface was much flatter then. Therefore less water is required. It’s bullshit, but so is everything else they say.

    • http://umlud.blogspot.com Umlud

      Graphic of global water volume:

      http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/2010/gallery/global-water-volume.html

      Kinda difficult to see how it would cover up all the lands up to the highest mountains.

      • https://twitter.com/#!/Erulora Erulóra Maikalambe

        I did the math one time (back of the envelope, not very reliable and likely wrong), and the amount of extra water to get from where we are now to the depth purported in the Bible came out to a quarter the volume of the Moon (iirc). Gotta love the square-cube law.

      • ah58

        But… But… I bet someone used science to make that picture so it can be safely ignored. He’s using the bible which is the literal word of the creator of the universe. Who are you gonna believe?

    • MissEla

      And what about the bodies? And the *smell*! A flood like that would have killed millions of people, who would then bloat and rot in the sun after the water receded, since there was no one to bury them. Where did all the dead people go? Did God evaporate them? Practical questions, no answers.

  • http://www.atheist-faq.com Jasper T

    It’s so ironic how, out of one side of the mouth, he’s talking about how we can’t know real historical events, and then starts talking about how we can know non-real events.

    I’ve seen this a lot. The theist will have astronomical standards of evidence that couldn’t possibly be met, for something like evolution. But when it comes to their religious beliefs, those standards drop straight down through the floor, and sink to the center of the Earth.

    • Steve

      But it’s in the Bible! Which is true because the Bible says so!

  • Nick Johnson

    This should be in small book form and entitled “A summary of the most common theistic arguments and how they are all wrong”

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

      If I thought it would sell, I’d so write it.

      • sqlrob

        I’d buy an autographed copy in a heartbeat.

      • NakedAnthropologist

        I would *so* buy that book – especially a copy autographed by your dad! I know I’m late to this thread, but I recently found your blog and therefore I am catching up. As a closeted atheist in Knoxville – thank you, thank you, thank you.

    • http://www.atheist-faq.com Jasper T

      As long as it has paragraphs.

      • ajb47

        *Pleeeease* let it have paragraphs.

    • http://twitter.com/johnradke jtradke

      Someone basically already wrote that:

      50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God

      • http://blogs.nimblebrain.net/ritchie.php Ritchie Annand

        Yes, but it doesn’t have a lot of quotes from believers (at least not yet as I’m reading through it), which actually makes it a lot more annoying book than I was hoping.

  • Mark

    And the derp keeps coming.

  • gwen

    JT, now I know why YOU’RE awesome! It’s genetic!! :)

  • Zinc Avenger

    Pascal’s Wager is entirely negated by the Simpson Corollary.

  • Parse

    It’s hilarious that Robert tries to equate his message with tornado sirens. With tornado sirens, the people responsible for triggering them know what weather patterns lead to tornados, and after the fact, we can see the evidence that set them off. If you’re unlucky, you may even see the tornado that they’re warning you about firsthand.
    Instead, Robert’s the latest in a 2,000 year long line of wolf-criers – except that there’s never been any evidence of the ‘wolf’ he’s howling about.

  • Jay

    He doesn’t believe because he is emotionally invested in believing it. You won’t get through to him through logic or science.

    On the other hand, this is still hilarious:
    “The followers of Pikkiwokki, the Papua New Guinean mud god, believe his followers will be rewarded with a pig and all the coconuts they can carry. I don’t believe either of you have an y evidence.”

    I’m gonna have to steal that for the next argument I get into.

    • Jay

      *correction, “He believes because he is emotionally invested in believing it.”

    • Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc

      Pikkiwokki originates from a mad Aussie called David Thorne. He’s all over the internets…. ;-)

  • JSC_ltd

    I admire your dad’s patience. I would have mailed Robert a porcupine and instructions for anal insertion after e-mail #3.

  • Chris LaVesser

    In a word: awesome.

  • Rachel

    OK – I feel rather bad saying this, but I can’t help it…why, oh why, do the theists tend to have such bad spelling, grammar, and punctuation? I try to “listen” to them fairly, but they make it so damn difficult for me to figure out what they’re trying to say!

  • Art Vandelay

    Wow. Pascal’s Wager. Bringing out the big guns, now. I haven’t read JT’s dad’s response but since I’ve never seen Pascal’s wager successfully debunked, I’m just going to take it on faith that he’s been successfully converted. Oh well. We tried…but sometimes you have to lose one.

  • Desert Son, OM

    At a certain point, the insistence by religious believers of the truth of their claims without or regardless of actual evidence starts to sound less and less like convincing argument for others, more and more like psychological bulwark-building for themselves.

    Still learning,

    Robert (no relation, at least that I’m aware of)

    • fastlane

      I think that’s what it’s always been. If one gives McDowell, Lewis, etc., even a cursory read, it’s easy to spot the fallacies, and poke holes in all their ‘reasons’ for one even moderately educated in logic, not to mention the outright lies if one is also knowledgeable in science, geology, history, or pretty much any other real world topic (theology need not apply).

      Like I noted in the earlier thread, it is rather amusing that so many believers think that we atheists have never heard of or been exposed to these arguments before, and when it turns out we have, they usually run for the hills.

      I predict some kind of accusation of JT’s dad being ‘rude’ or close minded soon….

  • footface

    I know I’m not the only one mystified by this, but how can these people not understand this one simple thing?

    When they talk about the self-evident truth of their religious beliefs, it sounds to us exactly like people of other religions talking to him about the self-evident truths of their beliefs.

    Which doesn’t make him and his beliefs wrong, but should tell him there’s no reason anyone should take his word for it.

    • Desert Son, OM

      I know I’m not the only one mystified by this, but how can these people not understand this one simple thing?

      Never underestimate the power of compartmentalization.

      Still learning,

      Robert

  • Synfandel

    Your dad has WAY more patience than I could muster.

  • ‘Tis Himself

    Were you there, and have you been witness to any global floods of that magnitude?

    “Were you there?” has always annoyed me. The question shouldn’t be “were you there?” but “how do you know?”. Like John, I wasn’t there for the Civil War but, because of mounds of documentary and physical evidence, I’m convinced that it happened.

    I’ve noticed that many Christians get upset if we question the existence of Jesus with “were you there?”. Apparently it’s acceptable for them to deny the Big Bang and abiogenesis because “we weren’t there” but it’s unacceptable for us to deny the Noachian Flood because “they weren’t there.”

  • sc_90e764dc7b9ddc5bba8704c043baa73e

    If someone does not know the difference between “your” and you’re”, I refuse to continue conversation on principle. We cannot have an intelligent conversation if we are not intelligent.

    • Djudge

      Same for “they’re” and “their”.

  • christophburschka

    They are nowhere near the same, and cannot be compared, therefore, I reinterate my previous request of agreeing to disagree. I must however mention that if you are correct, and there is no God, my vain efforts are no harm no fowl. On the other hand, John, what if I am correct? I guess you can choose to or not to deal with that, right?

    NOMA and Pascal’s in one paragraph, whee.

    no harm no fowl

    If it quacks like a bird…

  • Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc

    The followers of Pikkiwokki, the Papua New Guinean mud god, believe his followers will be rewarded with a pig and all the coconuts they can carry.

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Fantastic.

    For those folks unaware of where this originates.

  • Wowbagger, Madman of Insleyfarne

    I swear I posted a comment. Not sure where it’s disappeared to.