Comment roundup.

Ryan Baines just left me a treasure trove in this thread.  It’s a remarkable piece of shifting the goalposts and textual diarrhea that fails to address pretty much every point.  In short, it’s the church-goer script.

If you have belief in science, then tell me how the Big Bang happened which was proven in the 60′s. It came from nothing according to independent scientists and physicists and is still expanding at the speed of light still to this day from fifteen billion years ago?  Answer: science has not a clue.

We don’t know what caused the Big Bang?  Well fuck it then, snakes can talk and people rise from the dead.

Dad tackled this one beautifully.

“If you have belief in science, then tell me how the Big Bang happened which was proven in the 60′s.”

Well, first of all, the Big Bang theory is the most widely accepted hypothesis for the origin of the universe, with a lot of evidence for it, but it has not been “proven”. If you weren’t ignorant about science, you wouldn’t use the term “proven”, because science doesn’t claim to “prove”: that is what mathematics does. Science accumulates evidence. Many times it accumulates so much evidence that to withold at least provisional consent is foolhardy.

You seem to be saying that if science has not YET procured ALL of the answers then “god(s)” are the default answer. This is Ryan’s version of the god of the gaps argument.

The Big Bang Theory was first proposed in 1931, Ryan. It accumulated enough evidence verifying it to be deemed correct in the 1960s, in large part because of advances in technology. The point here, Ryan, is that prior to 1931, you could have demanded, “If you have belief in science, tell me how the universe began”……..and you would have gotten the same answer as you get to today’s question: “We don’t have enough scientific knowledge and sophisticated equipment to provide a fairly certain answer for that YET.” But that doesn’t mean the answer is “goddidit”,any more than the correct pre-1931 answer to how the universe started was “goddidit” instead of the Big Bang.

I have little doubt that when we do reach that time when we can provide the scientific answer for “how the Big Bang happened” (and we are getting closer all the time), the fallback position of the theist will be to just take it back anther step and ask what caused that to happen. And the theist will continue merrily on ignoring that every single supernatural explanation we have ever had has always eventually been replaced by a physical answer backed up by mountains of evidence. It has never happened the other way: that a physical answer has been replaced by a supernatural one backed up by mountains of evidence. Not. Ever.

As to “It came from nothing according to independent scientists and physicists….” How could they possibly know what was before the Big Bang? “We don’t know” isn’t the same as nothing.

Then Ryan said…

Why can’t I show you factual evidence about my God you ask? Answer: You can’t gather evidence for anything outside of space and time. God is outside of space and time — in another dimension.

God is outside of space and time?  What does that even mean?

And, even if I grant that god is somewhere beyond our universe, you said yourself you can’t gather evidence for anything like that, so you’ve conceded to having no evidence for your position.  Yet, you will assert these things in the next breath as though they were fact when you’re really extracting it from the nether regions of your ass.

What’s more, your initial gripe was that your beliefs require less faith than mine.  But if you have no evidence, then faith is all you can work with.  If I have even one tiny piece of evidence that science works, I win.

From one of your own comments, Ryan.

And yes the Big Bang was proven and here is a article from NASA stating that is has been proven.

So there is no evidence for god, by your own assertion, and there is sufficient evidence to have proven the Big Bang, by your own assertion.  Seems like science requires way less faith than your beliefs.  You’ve just committed the debate equivalent of seppuku

What you atheists don’t understand and probably will never accept until you die and are in the spiritual dimension, is that there are spiritual battles going on around us that we cannot see.

You can’t see them, but you know they’re there…how?  I just don’t get how someone can be so condescending in the same breath they say something so stupid.  It reminds me of what Darwin said about ignorance begetting confidence far more than knowledge.

Me arguing with you guys is probably going to be a waste of my time because most of you guys are so closed minded it is sad.

You say that we can’t have any evidence for your position, then you say atheist don’t accept your position because we’re close-minded.  I’m trying to think of some way I can convey to you how positively ridiculous you sound.  I’m not rejecting what you say because I’m close-minded, I’m rejecting it because your arguments are idiotic.

What else can I educate you on?

In what universe does “you can’t gather evidence for my position” amount to educating someone?  Do you think history teachers say to their classes “Here are the conclusions of history.  We have no evidence for them, but these will be the correct answers on the test”?  Hell no.  They say “Here are the conclusions of history and here’s how we know.”

What you’re doing is psychobabble.  Ironically, it could likely be combated to some extent by exposure to an actual education.

oh ya…So you think your cellphone proves God doesn’t exist LOL.

Laugh it up, chum.  You said my beliefs required more faith than yours.  In defense of my belief that science works, I showed you my cell phone and invited you to show me your god.

And now you ask if my cell phone proves god doesn’t exist, as if that was the argument you made.  Trying to win with bluster in an arena where facts are the most effective weapon does little more than confirm you’re unarmed.  It certainly doesn’t intimidate me and it certainly doesn’t make you look less wrong.  In fact, juxtaposed against your apparent inability to follow an argument two steps in, your bluster makes you look vapid, which is only highlighted by your arrogance.

Also, please tell me if the Bible is a worthless book written by a bunch of loons thousands of years ago, how the Bible backs up in chronological order everything that happened after the Big Bang in the beginning of Genesis, before we had any scientific data on the event and the formation of the earth?

Commenter Penn nails it.

Factual errors in the order of creation from Genesis 1:

God creates the earth before the sun.
God creates night and day before the sun.
God creates terrestrial plants before the sun or moon.
God creates terrestrial plants before the creatures of the sea.
God creates birds before creatures of the land.

Each of these blatantly contradicts the actual order of events.

This would be overpowering evidence that the bible is a worthless book written by a bunch of people thousands of years ago who were ignorant of modern science.  If god existed, he would’ve known how ridiculously wrong those things were, so it’s clear that the bible’s authors were not recording what any god said, but were simply writing down their own ignorant opinions and ascribing them to god. Now, thousands of years later, in a world awash with the bounty of human innovation, you are attempting to supplant all that we’ve learned and discovered with the ignorant opinions of ancient people.

So when you say the bible gets universal chronology right, you don’t look wise.  You don’t look like a noble defender of faith.  You look like someone who hasn’t the first clue about science.  That you have commentary on what science says makes you look like an idiot.

Ryan then poops on the sundae and calls it a cherry on top.

You show me your cellphone. I will show you life to prove that God exists. It’s quite comical +JT Eberhard, science still has no idea how life was started. So you believe in science when it can’t even prove the most basic question of life. Like I said earlier, your belief, once you learn all of the facts, takes more faith than mine.

How does life prove god exists?  It certainly proves that life exists, but just because I don’t know how it came to be doesn’t mean that you do.  The only thing comical here (and it’s comically depressing) is you thinking that my ignorance somehow amounts to your knowledge.

Besides, there are numerous hypothesis about the origin of life (I’m on the RNA world bandwagon) that are compliant with all the ways we know the universe to work.  That makes them more likely to be true than ideas that contradict how we know the universe to work (like anthropomorphic beings who only exist outside of space and time, but who also reach their hand into this dimension, that didn’t leave any evidence, even though it wants a relationship with me).

Now, bear in mind, the same guy crawling up my ass for evidence with the implication that a lack of evidence on my end would sink my case, is the guy who has already said we cannot have evidence for his position.  He also thinks that believing someone rose from the dead takes less faith than believing people stay dead.  Under this logic, that corpses are still in the ground is the miracle, and Jesus rising is mundane.

Ryan, it’s obvious that while you swear up and down that your beliefs are true and that they are the most important thing in your life, that you don’t give the first shit about what’s true: only in believing certain, ludicrous things.  But you are right about one thing: that behavior is more often than not what it means to be religious, and you are certainly its champion with your comments.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Anonymous

    “I just don’t get how someone can be so condescending in the same breath they say something so stupid.”
    This. It happens in almost every debate with a Christian. When you show them evidence to support your position, their eyes glaze over and they give you that condescending smile like arent’ you a cute child playing with your little facts. Well ignorance is not a virtue, and I don’t admire Christians when they pull that crap.

    My best friend at work did this to me a few months ago. He commented about how miraculous it was to find sea shells in the middle of Texas. When I started to explain to him how this happened (I teach geology) he just gave me that shitty little smile that implied he knew it was really Noah’s flood, and ignored everything I said.

    • Dan

      I am having a discussion with a theist stranger I interacted with on Facebook, and am running in to this very problem. He seems to be a reasonably intelligent person, and claims that he was an agnostic for 16 years (which I always find dubious, but I’m sure they think the same when I tell them that I used to be a christian)… and in his most recent message just said that there is no proof for god because “this is not how he works.” I honestly don’t even know to begin to respond to something like that. It seems like that JT’s commenting buddy and this guy have the same problem… no evidence. But yet they both demand that those of us who live by proof and evidence have “faith” in the veracity of science. It’s mind-boggling.

  • Randomfactor

    The Big Bang was named by people who were sure it was incorrect. They turned out to be wrong–so far.

  • Baal

    “that there are spiritual battles going on around us that we cannot see”
    The second some one says anything about being a ‘spirit warrior’ or ‘spiritual battles’ (and we’re not watching anime), I start looking for ways to never see or talk to that person again. I’ve met a few IRL and on-line they only pull the noise we see above. These folks seem to be the brain-washed equivalent of commandos (including a looming sense of violence) and are more impenetrable then YECs.
    I know a number of atheists were in religion at some point (me included), does anyone know a spirit warrior that finally turned around and saw reality?

    • kagekiri

      *raises hand*

      I used to believe in spiritual warfare, demons taking possession of parts of your soul, curses, all sorts of rather idiotic (and actually Biblical for the most part) BS. Kinda a combination of some of the ultra-conservative Bill Gothard stuff (YECs and Biblical literalists) along with tons of the “Holy Spirit is magic” crap (used to look up to Lou Engle and believed in Rick Joyner’s ridiculous prophetic visions of heaven…nuff said).

      And now I’m fairly anti-theist.

      Of course, the steps in between involved severe mental illness, grief, and finally holding God to task for things he was doing or at least sovereign over, which…well, shit, it’s hard to freaking do if Christians aren’t so emotionally broken that they’re ready to kill themselves.

      I’ve led my siblings and parents who are still Christian down my theological road to deconversion (without the life-destroying depression part), but they’re still far to willing to rationalize on God’s behalf, and would rather attack me and my motivations than consider my concerns with our theology. “But don’t you see, God’s ways are mysterious!” “You’re just sinning” or “you’re possessed by demons because of your music/TV/video games” or “You’re just unreasonably depressed and taking it out on God because you’re ungrateful”.

    • Glodson

      You mock Spiritual Warriors?! Who will stop the 80 foot demons? Who!?

  • Jasper

    I don’t think the modern day theist realizes how much ground they’ve lost.

    It’d be like if America went to war with Mexico, for instance, and a thousand years later the war is still growing. The Americans of that day are used to the entirety America consisting of Aroostook County up in northern Maine, and no one’s bothered to tell them that America used to span 50 states across the country.

    And here those Americans are up in potato county, cheering about how they’re winning because they managed to deflect a small skirmish on the border. They have no idea.

  • Jonathan

    “Now, bear in mind, the same guy crawling up my ass for evidence with the implication that a lack of evidence on my end would sink my case, is the guy who has already said we cannot have evidence for his position. ”

    I’m cringing into the palm that has become understandably attracted to my face.

  • Anat

    How is saying God is outside of space and time different from saying God doesn’t exist? Or at the very least – can’t interact with us – since we are in our space and time, while s/he/it isn’t?

    • Glodson

      I’m going to try to answer this as before I realized I was an atheist, I tried the whole “God is outside of time and space” deal in my own head. It was just a band-aid on a maimed arm. A theist trying that idea, like I did, would likely try to say that the street is one way. God can influence the Universe form his place outside of it, but we wouldn’t notice it as it would just God manipulating the natural forces around us to do his will, which for some reason he doesn’t just do directly. Even as a theist, I didn’t completely like this idea as it suggested to me an entity, should it exist, that was doing everything in its power to obfuscate its presence. Which would make the whole religion thing nonsensical, unless this deity was a sadistic bastard. So, I guess it could be YHWH.

      And that sound is the Law of Parsimony weeping.

  • Andrew Kohler

    ” In what universe does “you can’t gather evidence for my position” amount to educating someone? ”

    It doesn’t mean that in any universe; it does, however, mean that outside of time and space.