Live-blogging “Unpacking Atheism”.

8:47pm – RatioChristiJSU is going to be the source of my material while people give their anecdotes with vague homage to the design and moral arguments (drink, drink).  Their most recent is:

We’re enjoying hearing these testimonies about the efficacy of apologetics. #unpackingatheism

Atheism is the fastest growing “religious” demographic in all 50 states.  Churches are hemorrhaging followers right now.  Anecdotes work sometimes, but only on people who are less interested in facts and reason.  On that front, we are killing it.

Laptop is about to die.  Will be at it on twitter on the #unpackingatheism hashtag.


8:40pm – I just saw RatioChristiJSU on twitter say:

Dr. Ordway is a great reminder for us to practice our greatest apologetic, the way we live life with Jesus. #unpackingatheism

There is a person in the audience of this church who attempted to leave the following comment on my blog (and worse):

Look at the TITS on the atheist chick!

Too bad they are wasted on a little prick like JT.

But I am sure there are some other guys who are going to ask her out soon!

His name is Jim Christensen (he’s the guy with the dark hair who is clearly in his 60s, at best) and he was referring to my girlfriend.  If what Holly Ordway is doing is the most effective apologetic, the existence of believers like Chrstensen are proof that god doesn’t exist.

Nice people are everywhere.  When they fail to realize certain ideas, like killing someone for working on Saturday, were never moral, then they are nice and kind in spite of their religious beliefs, not because of them.  And the moment they fail to condemn such barbarity, those people are made less compassionate than they could be by faith.

Kind people are evidence only of kind people, not of god.

 

8:24pm – She keeps stressing that she is an academic, as if atheistic academics don’t exist.  In fact, lots of them are in the various scientific disciplines.

There’s the moral argument and the cosmological argument.  Drink up, everybody!

“I knew I wanted to be good and kind, but couldn’t figure out why.”  Even if you had no clue whatsoever, that doesn’t mean god.  Argument from ignorance.  More drinks.

“Life is meaningless except where we could create meaning, but that doesn’t work so well.”  Why not?  The meaning I’ve made for my life is awesome!  Why is yours better?

I cannot wait for people to try and convert me after this is over.  There’s a bunch of people in this room who are going to regurgitate this stuff thinking it makes them invincible.  I’m going to do them the favor of relieving them of that impression.


8:19pm – Ordway talking about historical Christians who were smart.  She could really highlight how great they were by juxtaposing them against the ones who killed scholars through their institutions or the racists unrepaired by faith in Christ.  I’m going to guess she won’t do that.

“What these Christians wrote was powerful.”  Atheists write powerful literature.  More powerful than the bible, in fact.  What’s more, skill at writing does not make someone right about ancient men rising from the dead.


8:13pm – Ok, after a an hour of bullshit covered with a philosophical blanket, which didn’t keep it from stinking up the internet, it’s time for people to tell their stories.  What I’d love to see is for them to put a Christian, a Muslim, and a Mormon up on the stage and let each of them tell their conversion stories before arguing over whose personal, subjective experiences of the ludicrous were genuine.

Right now they’ve got a lady up who wrote a book about “how a rational academic found a radical faith.”  The presumably rational academic is about to tell us how her rational self came to believe that a Canaanite Jew rose from the dead.

Her name is Holly Ordway.  I just tried to google her and found no real info.  At least she can admit that “if you died tomorrow, where would you end up?” is a shitty argument.  Everybody in this church laughed.  I wonder how many of them have used that argument.


8:03pm – Break time.  Seriously, fuck William Lane Craig.

Story time next.


8:01pm – “Hitchens was more concerned with organized religion than he was with rebutting the arguments for god’s existence.”  Oh you irretrievable asshole WLC.  The debate WLC uses as an example?  This one.

Now WLC is griping that Dawkins will neither debate Craig or shake his hand.  Craig’s a dishonest guy whose morality isn’t bothered by taking shots at a dead person, he just happens to be a talented debater.  Dawkins would rather debate people who are at least trying to be honest rather than people whose claim to relevance is skill at debate.

Matt Dillahunty, one of atheism’s most skilled debaters, would love to tussle with WLC, but WLC keeps ducking him.


7:56pm – “When Hitchens got cancer, Christians everywhere were praying for Hitchens and he said he felt that.”  How dare you.  What a reprehensible person he must be to quote mine a dead person when he isn’t here to defend himself.  Seriously, what a fuckstain.


7:55pm – “There is no hypothesis as plausible as the resurrection hypothesis.”  Really?  There’s no hypothesis more plausible than “some dude rose from the dead and flew into the sky”?  How about “some people made the shit up” like every other religion?

“Miracles do not contradict the laws of nature.”  That’s kind of the definition of them.  That’s the reason we don’t mind burying dead people now is because the laws of nature dictate that people don’t rise from the dead.  He cites the combustibility of potassium and chlorine and then points out that he has both in his body and that WLC doesn’t combust…because there are other forces interfering.  Does he imagine that the forces keeping those two elements from interacting are not natural?

He’s talking about how in debates he gives atheists the chance to rebut everything he says (and accuses the other side of not giving him enough time to rebut).  This is a flat out lie.  WLC’s debate style is to raise as many points as possible, because he knows it takes twice as long to rebut as it does to make an argument (and those emulating him do the same thing), before he tries to claim victory on all the rebutted points.  It’s a shoddy trick, but it’s exactly what he does.


7:47pm – Oh, here we go.  Now we’re defending the idea that someone rose from the dead 2,000 years ago.

“What makes Christianity unique is that god has revealed himself through historical events.”

1.  Almost every other religion makes these claims.

2.  There is no extra-biblical corroboration of the accounts of the gospels.

Now he’s going to lecture the historical community without submitting his ideas to peer review.

He’s throwing out shit as though it’s historically confirmed: Jesus was put into the tomb, such and so people found him…  “These represent the consensus of secular historians.”  No, no they don’t.


7:45pm – WLC is just rehashing his oral argument crap, so I’ll take this moment to point out that WLC has been ducking Matt Dillahunty for years.  He’s rather debate an empty chair, which is about an equally-matched opponent.


7:41pm – WLC says scientists are wrestling with how to explain the fine-tuning of the universe.  No, they’re not.  We evolve to better operate within our surroundings.  We have adapted to the universe, the universe was not molded to us.  If the people in this church would spend five fucking minutes on google.

He’s now saying that gravity is fine-tuned to one part out of [a whole bunch].  This is flat out bullshit.  Physicists know that gravity ain’t shit – it’s extremely weak.  If gravity were fine-tuned for life, how can we send people into a weightless scenario in space for years on end and they do fine?

Also, the universe could be without two of the four forces (gravity and the weak nuclear force) and it would look about the same as it presently does.  It’s not fine-tuned, and if these people would talk to scientists instead of quote-mining them, then they’d know this.  Or they do know this, and they just continue to ignore it.

Glad I didn’t make a rule about drinking every time WLC is a self-important, arrogant blowhard.

I should blog while drinking more often.  This is therapeutic.


7:36 – Oh, and there goes WLC accusing physicists of getting physics wrong.  And yet, he’s not submitting paper to peer review.  Seems he’s after the people who don’t know squat about physics, which are in this church.

Oh!  And here’s the quote mine from….  WLC says that Vilenkin says that no pre-Big Bang models can be right.

From Vilenkin’s book Many Worlds in One (page 181).

The state of “nothing” cannot be identified with absolute nothingness. The tunneling is described by the laws of quantum mechanics, and thus “nothing” should be subject to these laws. The laws of physics must have existed, even though there was no universe.

WLC has had this pointed out to him.  He still uses it because he’s a dishonest person.  This outlook is undoubtedly why he wrote in his book Reasonable Faith(pages 47-48 in the 3rd edition), wrote (bold mine):

I think Martin Luther correctly distinguished between what he called the magisterial and ministerial uses of reason. The magisterial use of reason occurs when reason stands over and above the gospel like a magistrate and judges it on the basis of argument and evidence. The ministerial use of reason occurs when reason submits to and serves the gospel…. Should a conflict arise between the witness of the Holy Spirit to the fundamental truth of the Christian faith and beliefs based on argument and evidence, then it is the former which must take precedence over the latter, not vice versa.

Should we drink for quote mines?  We might all be dead before the end of this abortion of reason.


7:30pm – Bah!  Kalam.  Trying to define god into existence without any evidence.  This is great theology according to Frank Turek.  This is question-begging nonsense to anybody with a skeptical bone in their body.

Drink again for argument from ignorance.


7:27pm – “We just don’t know where the moral lawgiver comes from.”  Everybody drink for argument from ignorance.

Oh, and there’s fine-tuning.  Drink again.  Three drinks in already…Christ.

WLC – “The possibility of god’s existence confirms god exists.”  What???  It’s possible that and invisible set of balls is on WLC’s forehead, therefore…


7:25pm – And we’re off!  WLC is up and it’s a strawman extravaganza!  He’s saying there’s no intellectual problem of evil.  He says there’s a difference between emotional problem of evil and the intellectual problem of evil…and that was the end of the argument.

Also, one of my blog’s biggest trolls is in the audience.  He was the one who said he was going to ask questions of me at the KC RAM and then lost his nerve.

Now he’s saying that we can’t talk about how our moral values are objectively right (everybody drink).  Of course, as long as we admit that suffering is bad and happiness is good (and, if you don’t agree with that, I don’t see how you can honestly be called human), then we can attack that objectively – and easily so.

  • http://gravatar.com/improbablejoe Improbable Joe

    If it is all the same to you, I’m going to just drink at my normal pace. I don’t need alcohol poisoning tonight.

  • http://philosotroll.com/ Philosotroll (@thephilosotroll)

    Keep up the good stuff, J.T. I will note that her website is available: http://www.hieropraxis.com/speaking/ (I don’t know if the comments here do HTML.) Looks like her background is in English literature and she’s doing a second M.A. [now, obviously, in apologetics] at Biola. Unimpressed.

    Keep up the good live blogging, for those of us who are unwilling to subject themselves to the drunken stupor on a Sunday.

  • BradMan

    So, from what I can tell, this is essentially no different from a regular WLC lecture. Only this time, there’s “bonus features.”

  • Anonymous

    I should point out that the “believer” in your picture that allegedly tried to post an offensive comment was not a believer nor a member of our church that you were watching the simulcast at. He was a secularist that was sitting at a table with two other non-members/non-believers. If you want everyone else to get their facts straight, the least you could do is do the same.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd JT Eberhard

      You are simply wrong. I have his comment with his ip and email address saved.

    • In Kansas City

      It is a photo of Jim Christensen who lives in Kansas City. Weird guy and Internet troll. May have a mental illness.

      • In Kansas City

        Also known as “KC James” on Amazon.com always giving one star reviews to atheist boks and goes by an innumerable number of aliases on the Internet. Weird as it gets. Like most internet trolls, he derives pleasure of egging you on and snickers to himself.

        Pretending to be a member of the church and speaking about himself in 3rd person is a classic Jim Christensen.

  • Anonymous

    Your 7:41 comment about sending people into space for “years on end”? Debunked in about 10 seconds on Google. Record for cumulative time in space is 2.2 years with only 14 months consecutively. Hardly “years on end”.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd JT Eberhard

      You’re correct about the time spent in space. I didn’t know the specifics and was conflating individual times with the 11 years of the International Space Station. Mea culpa.

      You are wrong when you say that debunks the argument. If gravity is as finely-tuned for life as WLC said, then a human’s ability to survive in a weightless environment, given the fact you dug up, makes no sense.

      I also notice you have no response for the peer reviewed literature confirming that a universe without the Weak Nuclear Force (which is much stronger than gravity) would look about the same.

      • Anonymous

        I didn’t say it debunked the argument, I said it debunked your comment. You made the point in your blog that things they were saying in the simulcast could be debunked with Google very quickly, I was just pointing out that they weren’t the only ones that could be guilty of that. I have no interest in defending the arguments made in the simulcast. I simply found this blog, saw errors, and decided to say something about them.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd JT Eberhard

          And I had the integrity to admit I got the fact wrong and to change my mind about it. Your representatives from the simulcast, and I suspect you as well, will not do the same with regards to their/your arguments about god.

        • RuQu

          It’s called “live-blogging” for a reason, it’s done live. He could google every point on his phone before posting it, but that leads to missing more of the talks. I think a reasonable and objective observer would forgive the author for what are clearly mistakes in details that have no bearing on the conclusion of the argument. He was also drinking, so we can assume some minor impairment is expected.

          Scientists use “order of magnitude” estimations all the time in discussion, and then worry about the details when it comes time to do the real work. It’s not dishonest, it’s shorthand.

          It sounds like you are simply offended by JT’s presence and the fact that he is arguing, and need to attack every detail you can since the primary points are unassailable.

  • Anonymous

    I should also point out that it is rather hypocritical of you to complain about the supposed “quote-mining” of the simulcast speakers, when your live blog is nothing but single quotes taken out of context and ridiculed, apparently for the amusement of your blog readers, who one would assume are probably mostly atheists like yourself. Also, the lack of respect you show for people that disagree with your worldview is not very becoming. I doubt you’ll get any more “converts” with that behavior than the “pushy Christians” mentioned in the simulcast.

    • Rob

      Try presenting something new for a change, then I’m sure JT will give it the full treatment. Most of your crap has been debunked for decades, some for millenia. We’re bored.

      • Anonymous

        I’m not defending the simulcast, just calling for honesty in this blog criticizing it. Let me know when he takes down the picture and comment about a supposed member of our church that was actually a fellow secularist. Easy to snipe from a hidden position like he did, when he and his fellow atheists were welcomed into our church for this event. But don’t worry, I’m not angry about it, I’m rather disappointed that he seems determined to fulfill the atheist stereotype so faithfully.

        • Rob

          OK, so he incorrectly identified a person. Now, exactly where was he wrong in any criticisms of the arguments? What is he misrepresenting? How is it any different from what these and other presenters have said before? WLC at least has been corrected many times yet never changes his story.

        • In Kansas City

          Anonymous,

          Would you like to prove you are a member of the church and not Jim Christensen? Can you please, arrange a meeting with he pastor of the church and have him post later to this blog that you are indeed a member of the church and not Jim Christensen? The probability of the pastor to be who he claims to be is much higher than you claiming you are a member of the church?

          My feeling is that this is not going to happen. Jim Christensen works in mysterious ways.

    • Muadib

      WLC is so repetitive that I have heard every argument alluded to in this post multiple times. I am willing to bet I could repeat his arguments word for word. He has been saying the same thing for the last 20 years at least.

      Also JT is doing this as a bit of fun, he is not using this as a teaching tool or to make points. Notice the lack of detailed counter-points. He has made videos and alluded to debates and people who have destroyed all of these arguments very well. There is a difference in a person using a quote out of context as a joke, compared to using that quote as the foundation of an argument. JT does the former here, WLC does the latter all the time.

    • Joe

      This is a live blog – JT doesn’t have any time to properly put the quotes in full context (plus, he was probably somewhat drunk). He tries to take a quote to represent what is being said, then writes his thougths on the subject (at least, that is how it sems to me). This is different from taking a quote by someone which, when put in context, means the exact opposite. If you feel JT has misrepresented what was being said, then fine – provide us with the context.
      Also, we would have more respect for people who disagree with our worldview if they were better at it – take this, for example:

      He cites the combustibility of potassium and chlorine and then points out that he has both in his body and that WLC doesn’t combust…because there are other forces interfering. Does he imagine that the forces keeping those two elements from interacting are not natural?

      The reason the potassium and chlorine in your body don’t combust is because of fairly basic chemistry – pretty much, the potassium and chlorine in you body have already combusted. They don’t burn for much the same reason ash doesn’t burn. This stuff isn’t hard, and people who can’t be bothered figuring it out don’t deserve respect.

    • invivoMark

      Anonymous, do you know what “quote mining” means?

      No, no you do not. Because that is not what JT is doing ANYWHERE in this live-blogging. Go figure out what “quote mining” means, then come back and apologize for the false accusation.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd JT Eberhard

      If I misrepresented an argument, please point out where. You can’t just come in here, say I’m misrepresenting someone, and not say where. It gives me nothing to rebut.

      You may also notice that when I accused WLC of misrepresenting a quote by Vilenkin, I pointed out where. Try it.

      And we’re giggling because the arguments presented during the simulcast were so uproariously bad. Check the excerpt I included from WLC’s book (which I have read, and I’ll wager I, the atheist, am one of the only people in that church to have read it) to see the caliber of thinker you people consider to be your finest.

  • JHendrix

    Did you guys do that video afterwards?

  • Baal

    ” In fact, lots of them are in the various scientific disciplines”<– This is serious understatement. 90% + of biology major / grad students are atheists. Once you have a really good idea how cells and organisms work, it really does look like templated self reinforcing chemistry in three dimensions. It gets silly to think a supernatural force is needed when you have known regular forces acting in predictable ways.

    As to the claim of JT's quote mining…it wasn't. Notice the overall blog posting is him responding to various apologetic arguments. The 'quotes' JT mined are better described as sign posts. They signify certain arguments that are being made. Quote mining is when you take a set of words out of context and they lose their meaning. For example, the Romney campaign has a clip of Obama saying, 'If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose'. The context was that Obama was repeating the words of John McCain. That's a 180 degree big difference. Here JT's use (sign-posting) is more or less outlining the arguments of the apologetics. The meaning of the quotes is apparent on their face or on the context of the event he's blogging.
    JT's not twisting their meaning. On the contrary – the points are so bad (confusing and sound interesting the first time through but they go down hill rapidly with repetition) that JT (or Matt Dillahunty or even me) have to work to represent them accurately. As rational folks, we have a hard time even repeating non-sequitors or other butchered logic with out 'fixing' it.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, you are correct. I misused the term “quote-mining”, and I apologize. Now let’s talk about him “incorrectly identifying a person”, shall we? If it were just his name he got wrong, it wouldn’t be a big deal. I was pointing out that the “believer” he slammed for an attempted inappropriate comment was actually a fellow atheist. I think in the context of this whole discussion, that is a huge point.
    “Having a bit of fun”? This person is welcomed into our church in good faith, he secretly brings alcohol into the church with him (according to his own comments), sets up his laptop (turning one of our tables sideways to hide what he was doing), and proceeds to liveblog crude mocking comments about what was going on. See, at our church, we learn to treat people with respect, even when we vehemently disagree with what they believe. Guess they don’t teach that at…well, wherever it is atheists learn these things. I think it’s extremely funny (since this is all supposed to be humorous) that our congregation disappointed him in our behavior to him and his group after the simulcast, actually being decent to him and not assaulting him with “evangelism”. I guess in all his lofty understanding of things, he forgot that his stereotypes rarely match up with the reality of how people really are.
    And now, since I don’t anticipate any correction or apology about the misrepresentation from your side, I will leave this discussion to you “freethinkers”. (By the way, calling yourselves “freethinkers” is meant ironically, right?)

    • Acn

      Obvious troll is obvious.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd JT Eberhard

        Ugh, you’re probably right. Ah well. He suckered me in for one round.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd JT Eberhard

        His IP address resolves to Belton, MO, so it’s possible he was actually there and is just making shit up about the table and what not. Either way, obvious troll.

        • Anonymous

          Your group was sitting in the front left area of the sanctuary. Someone in the group had turned a table sideways, so the only thing behind someone sitting at that table would be the side wall. There was a laptop on that table that was being used throughout the simulcast. The angle of the picture in your blog matches exactly from where that laptop was. Logical conclusion is that laptop was source of live blog. You say you have knowledge that it isn’t true. Should I believe you or the evidence?

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd JT Eberhard

            “Someone in the group.”

            Ding! Wasn’t me. I was on a chair with my laptop and am always unapologetic with my opinions. If you were there, you should have seen me in the chair.

            I had the integrity to admit I got a fact wrong (even though it didn’t change my argument). How about you do the same?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd JT Eberhard

      If it were just his name he got wrong, it wouldn’t be a big deal. I was pointing out that the “believer” he slammed for an attempted inappropriate comment was actually a fellow atheist.

      You are absolutely, 100% incorrect. I could screen cap the comment in my spam filter (he’s IP-banned for similar comments) with his IP address and email. He also has a long history of paranoid behavior with atheist groups in the area.

      This person is welcomed into our church in good faith, he secretly brings alcohol into the church with him (according to his own comments)

      Was certainly considering it, but didn’t.

      sets up his laptop (turning one of our tables sideways to hide what he was doing)

      I did no such thing. I took the first available chair and blogged with my laptop on my lap, which makes me suspect that you are not a representative of that church who was present but some random believer on the internet posing as such. The scenario you described is not even close to what happened.

      What’s more, I don’t care if people see me live-blogging that I think WLC is a dishonest fraud. I think that, and trust me, I have no reservations about saying so.

      See, at our church, we learn to treat people with respect, even when we vehemently disagree with what they believe.

      And how did I do otherwise? If you think blogging negative opinions from within your church is disrespectful, then I simply cannot agree.

      I think it’s extremely funny (since this is all supposed to be humorous) that our congregation disappointed him in our behavior to him and his group after the simulcast, actually being decent to him and not assaulting him with “evangelism”.

      I was disappointed that nobody felt motivated to convert me for several reasons, but the two most important are:

      1. If they think I’m going to hell, then they were content to let me go without the first thought of trying to save me.
      2. If they thought these arguments were so powerful, they didn’t work up the nerve to try them. Even in your comments, you’re more concerned with the fact that I went into your church (was even invited to do so by your advertisements), sat down, blogged, didn’t bother a soul, and left. I even gave you some quick, but factual rebuttals to work with. But you’re not so worried about those, which is why you are disappointing me even more than your congregation.

      I also can’t assess how nice your congregation was (if it was yours) because none of them spoke to me (see point #1). In this case, it’s the stereotype of the Christian who claims to believe in heaven and hell, but who acts like the idea of someone not believing is hardly worth the effort. It’s also the stereotype of the Christian that won’t respond to an argument, but who will instead drone on about how they deserve respect before defending their position. You are confirming both.

      And now, since I don’t anticipate any correction or apology about the misrepresentation from your side, I will leave this discussion to you “freethinkers”. (By the way, calling yourselves “freethinkers” is meant ironically, right?)

      Cute how you assault our position as freethinkers when your arguments seem to be that you were somehow misrepresented (but you couldn’t be bothered to explain where), that you were disrespected (via behavior that absolutely did not happen), and in which you ignore every counterargument relevant to the truth of your religion.

      Forgive me if I’m not bothered and if I think a little less of your congregation (if it is yours) on your account.

      • http://www.westridgeonline.com Victor Stevens

        As the Pastor of the congregation that hosted the event, I would like to tell you that I welcome your live blogging. While I do not agree with much of what you have said, you have every right to express your opinion. I apologize if you felt that we were not hospitable. I and many of the members of the congregation attempted to make you and your fellow atheist feel as welcome as possible. As to the comment about the eternal question, we wanted to be good host and not be “pushy.” It is my hope that we can have mutual respect for one another and intelligently discuss our disagreements. I also would also like to extend an invitation to you and your group to present a counter position to the one that was offered. Our church would be happy to host the event if that is something you feel would be productive. Feel free to email me so that we might plan this event Victor.Stevens@WestridgeOnline.com

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd JT Eberhard

          Way to do much better than the anonymous troll from your congregation.

          I would love to be part of presenting a counterargument and will email you directly.

      • Anonymous

        Many of your group were engaged in friendly conversation by members of our congregation. I heard the comment and witnessed for myself that some members of your group seemed uninterested in interacting with us. We respected that. Atheists constantly complain about how they want Christians to leave them alone, then when we do, you criticize us for that, too. Make up your minds.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd JT Eberhard

          Don’t convict me for what other atheists want. I want you to engage me, for the reasons I highlighted above.

          • Anonymous

            And yet, in your blog, you attempt to convict all Christians by what a supposed believer allegedly tried to post on your blog? You want me to engage you on the positions/arguments posited by the people in the simulcast, but that was never my intent, and I stated that already. You strongly implied (yes, reading comprehension also involves seeing what is implied by what is said) that the person who allegedly tried to post crude remarks on your blog was a member/attender of the church you were at. I felt it necessary to correct that error. Now posters are saying he supposedly is a Christian that posts under different names and has something against your group. I have no way to verify the validity of those claims, but I do know he is not affiliated in any way with our church.

            My second comment was an attempt to point out the inconsistency of criticizing the simulcast members for making a comment that could quickly be debunked through using Google, by pointing out that you were guilty of the same offense. Not a big deal, but as long as I was here, why not?

            My third post was admittedly poorly written and did not convey what I was trying to say very well. Here is a concrete example from the blog to illustrate what I was objecting to. You quote William Lane Craig as saying, “Miracles do not contradict the laws of nature.” Well, if you take that by itself, it certainly sounds rather ridiculous, which I gather was your intent, though I could be wrong. In context, he was talking about the claim that some atheists make (I have witnessed it myself), that miracles could not happen simply because they contradict the laws of nature. WLC was making the point that the laws of nature apply unless there is a factor involved that supersedes that particular law in that particular instance. We see this all the time when two laws of nature are involved in something. One of them can be superseded by the other. To use your example of spaceflight, if the law of gravity (you would agree that is one of the laws of nature, right?) could not be superseded by intervention of one of the other laws of nature, then spaceflight would not be possible. Now, in the case of miracles, for the Christian, God would be that superseding factor. Atheists don’t believe in the possibility because they don’t believe in God. We believe in the possibility because we do believe in God.

            Like I said, I’m not interested in debating or defending the positions taken in the simulcast, I just think if you are going to attack it, do it correctly and honestly. Of course, if as one comment stated, the intent is just to amuse your fellow atheists, then to quote Gilda Radner, “Nevermind.”

          • ACN

            Your defense of WLC is amusing.

          • Joe

            WLC was making the point that the laws of nature apply unless there is a factor involved that supersedes that particular law in that particular instance. We see this all the time when two laws of nature are involved in something. One of them can be superseded by the other. To use your example of spaceflight, if the law of gravity (you would agree that is one of the laws of nature, right?) could not be superseded by intervention of one of the other laws of nature, then spaceflight would not be possible.

            What exactly do you mean by superceded? Because in your example gravity still applies – and is a pretty massive part of any spaceflight (orbiting a planet, slingshot maneuvers, etc all rely on gravity). It isn’t like gravity just goes away. When two laws of nature are involved in something, they work in tandem. One could be stronger than the other, but the second doesn’t go away. Claiming God as the superceding factor doesn’t work like that – Jesus walking on water simply violates all we know about buoyancy, for example. Sure, you can claim he has superceded all you like, but if it requires other laws to stop applying then miracles violate the laws of nature.

    • eric

      Are you seriously taking JT’s talk about a drinking game as evidence that he brought alcohol to your event?

      Also, while it is nice that you didn’t try and evangelize him at an event whose purpose was to present apologetics arguments against atheism:
      (1) JT’s comments are about how your apologetics consist largely of arguments from ignorance, Kalam cosmological arguments, and equally old and debunked comments.
      (2) that’s sort of like pointing out you didn’t try and evangelize someone at the supermarket. Forebearance like this isn’t exactly praiseworthy, its expected.

      • Anonymous

        In another place on the internet, he said he planned on bringing “beer in a water bottle”, to which someone responded that wine would be better. Given his blogging about a drinking game, it is a logical conclusion that he had, indeed, brought alcohol with him.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd JT Eberhard

          Certainly said I was considering it, but it didn’t happen. You need to get off the idea that it did.

          • phantomreader42

            But JT, falsely accusing you of possessing a perfectly legal beverage for your own consumption without a speck of evidence is the best argument he has to prove his god is real! If he gives that up, what will he have left? :P

    • phantomreader42

      If your sick death cult wants “respect”, then quit praising a delusional lying apologist for genocide, and quit cheering with sadistic glee at your vile fantasies of your imaginary friend torturing us forever. William Lane Craig is a lying sack of shit, as has been clearly documented. The fact that he’s treated as a star among christian apologists is proof that christian apologetics is just a fancy way to say “lying for jesus”.

  • Josh

    If JT was drinking at the church, then I’m blind. I sat next to him the whole time and didn’t see him imbibe.

    The picture is hard to see, but the white-haired guy isn’t Jim, it’s the dark-haired guy sitting beyond him. He’s about as secular as Pat Robertson and just as atheist.

    • Anonymous

      I know who he was pointing out, and I also saw the shirts of the men he was sitting with that clearly identified them as secularists. He is not a member of our church, and I have never seen him there before last night. He only interacted with the two men with him, despite being greeted at least once (by me) as he stood on the church porch with the other two men prior to the simulcast. Present any evidence (other than your word) that he is a believer, please.

      • Josh

        He posts as Jim Christensen and Rocky Morrison, though refuses to associate a picture with his accounts because of a perceived campaign of persecution by the freethinker community: https://www.facebook.com/KCAtheists/posts/204205826377869?notif_t=share_comment

        For whatever reasons he has, he tends to stalk our various groups and is generally antagonistic when not talking in person to people.

  • Just Joshin

    JT is upset that someone called him a “prick”? But its OK for him to call Craig a “fuckstain”.

    (Although the remark about his girlfriend was crude and somewhat sexist, she is GOOD LOOKING!)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd JT Eberhard

      My citation of Christensen was in response to his argument that “living for Jesus” was the most powerful apologetic. If I am to follow his logic, then Christensen is proof that god doesn’t exist.

      As I’ve said on here before, I’m ok with the occasional insult as long as it is accompanied by substance. I called Craig a fuckstain because he was building up a strawman with the corpse of a dead guy, which is pretty damn low. It has nothing to do with our disagreements and everything to do with his flagrantly immoral behavior.

      • Anonymous

        And the fact that Christensen isn’t who you claimed he was means your point was invalid in this instance. Before you respond, I am not claiming that Christians always act as they should, a point that was made clear in the simulcast, if you were listening.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd JT Eberhard

          He is absolutely who I said he was. I also never said he was a member of your church.

          Reading comprehension, it’s your friend.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd JT Eberhard

      Where did I say that? I was certainly encouraging people who were playing the drinking game at home (and I definitely drank before attending). Go back and read.

      If you’re referring to:

      I should blog while drinking more often. This is therapeutic.

      That was referencing the fact that I was drink that night, not at the event. I can see where it would not be clear, but I was writing quickly. I was most certainly tipsy to say the least, but not from drinking on location.

  • Just Joshin

    I note that you said you were drinking while you were live blogging. Are you saying that was Not True?

    • invivoMark

      Where did he say he was drinking while blogging?

  • Chris

    I counted 17 drinks and one full beer for us all in the first half. After you pointed out Dr. Ordway’s argument from ignorance, I realized I probably missed a few spots all over. I don’t have my tally for the second half, but it was lower than the first half because they spent more time having story time and less time hopping quickly between common theological arguments (really, the first half was like watching someone play pinball and drinking for every wall or bumper they hit).
    The church who hosted us was very nice. I didn’t know about the one jerk, but everyone I met was open and friendly.

  • IslandBrewer

    I no longer have the liver for listening to xtian apologetics.

    Just once, I’d like to see xtian apologetics argue the existence of a giant invisible man in the sky without most of this rehashed crap. Can we get something new?

    • Rob

      I don’t think there is anything new. If they adjust to the arguments, it’s no longer the Abrahamic god.

      • eric

        Heck, most of the old arguments fall into the category of deism rather than theism – i.e., they are not the Abrahamic god.

  • eric

    When all is said and done, we have 11 posts over 2 days from Anonymous, none of which present defenses of the kalam argument, fine-tuning argument, moral argument, or any other argument related to ‘unpacking atheism.’ Just complaints that he assumed JT was drinking and complaints that he was blogging.

    Word to the wise, anonymous. Tone/behavior arguments are not likely to convince any atheist to believe. I’d quit while you can still step out of the hole without a ladder. Maybe focus your energy on, y’know, telling us how the known problems in these historical proofs of god can be fixed. Or possibly (gasp! perish the thought!) coming up with a new agument that was not shot full of holes sometime before the 17th century.

    • ACN

      Agreed.

      I stand by my initial assessment based on the 8:10am remarks.

      Obvious troll was totes obvs.

  • Baal

    To be generous to the anon-trollish person, I think it’s trying to say that 1) JT (atheists) are calling xtians mean (or stupid) 2) atheists are being mean (or stupid) 3) won’t someone please see the atheist hypocrisy. As already commented, this parallelism fails since JT didn’t do much of what he’s accused of and the anon-trollish person would be better off with positive arguments in support of its views rather than negative arguments on the blogger side.

    {by positive i mean arguments that assert something and argue for it – this chair is awsome, i can sit on it for hours and not get tired. This is the opposite of a negative argument. Your chair is defective. Look at the hideous drippings of candle wax on the back and blue green swirl paint job on the legs. Why even the splinters are garish. Negative arguments work best when there is a logical, factual or other arguable defect in your opponents proposition. At the end of it, JT’s blogging was largely descriptive and a giant “I’m bored with the same arguments being repeated as though they have never been dealt with.” That’s a really limited position to go neg on (hence the focus on posited odious behaviour?)}

  • Silentbob

    JT you either shouldn’t comment on physics, or not drink while you’re commenting on physics. You’re comments on the physics-related arguments are laughably ignorant. I’m sorry to be blunt, but really – you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    WLC says scientists are wrestling with how to explain the fine-tuning of the universe. No, they’re not. We evolve to better operate within our surroundings. We have adapted to the universe, the universe was not molded to us. If the people in this church would spend five fucking minutes on google.

    Here you have completely misunderstood what is meant by fine-tuning. No scientist is surprised, for example, that our eyes are tuned to the wavelengths of light emitted by our sun. Of course they are. We have evolved to the environment within which we exist. But this is not what is meant by fine-tuning. What is meant is that the fundamental physical constants of the universe have to be within with a very fine range of their present values for life to exist at all. If these constants are slightly different, you get a universe that consists entirely of hydrogen and helium. Or a universe without carbon. (Carbon has a unique ability to form long chain molecules essential for complex chemistry.) Or a universe that collapses back in on itself too quickly for life to evolve.

    You can’t solve this problem by saying, “If the universe were different, we would have evolved differently”. That’s completely missing the point. The universe has to be fine-tuned in order for there to be anything to adapt!

    He’s now saying that gravity is fine-tuned to one part out of [a whole bunch]. This is flat out bullshit. Physicists know that gravity ain’t shit – it’s extremely weak. If gravity were fine-tuned for life, how can we send people into a weightless scenario in space for years on end and they do fine?

    Again, you have spectacularly missed the point. Gravity apparently has to be just as strong as it is, no more no less, for a life-containing universe. If gravity is too strong, as I said before, after the big bang the universe would collapse again before life could form. If too weak, (if I understand correctly) the synthesis of heavier elements in stars would be affected, because that depends on the balance between gravity and the outward pressure generated by the nuclear reactions inside the star which maintain the star’s hydrostatic equilibrium. (Life, of course, cannot exist without the heavier elements synthesised inside stars.)

    Also, the universe could be without two of the four forces (gravity and the weak nuclear force) and it would look about the same as it presently does.

    This one takes the cake! I can only assume you were drunk. How, without gravity, do you propose that stars would form, let alone planets, let alone orbits?! Without gravity, the universe would consist of a very diffuse cloud of hydrogen and helium. I wouldn’t call that “looking about the same”.

    With regard to the weak force, I can’t really comment on the paper you have linked to (I an not a physicist), but I can comment on your comments about the paper. You have completely misrepresented it. Glancing at the abstract it doesn’t say the universe would be the same without the weak force. It says that it is possible to devise a computer simulated universe with different parameters in which the electroweak force does not break into the electromagnetic and weak forces, but otherwise behaves similarly. The same abstract also seems to be saying that no set of parameters can be found that allow for adjustment of the cosmological constant. In other words, if I am interpreting it correctly, is says, “We have found one other setting of the knobs on the control panel of the universe that allow for life, although some knobs always seem to need the same setting”. This is hardly a refutation of the fine-tuning problem.

    It’s not fine-tuned, and if these people would talk to scientists instead of quote-mining them, then they’d know this. Or they do know this, and they just continue to ignore it.

    On the contrary, the fine-tuning problem is taken seriously by scientists (with some exceptions like Victor Stenger). Not as an argument for gods, but as an unsolved mystery. Proposed solutions include the multiverse theory and anthropic selection. In The God Delusion Dawkins even discusses a “natural selection” mechanism with generations of parent and child universes modelled on biological evolution! Scientist wouldn’t be proposing such theories if they didn’t think there was a mystery to be solved.

    Again, sorry my comment amounts to one long facepalm. But seriously, pick up a popular book on physics some time. It’s interesting! I recommend The Grand Design by Hawking and Mlodnow which discusses the fine-tuning problem.

    • eric

      What is meant is that the fundamental physical constants of the universe have to be within with a very fine range of their present values for life to exist at all.

      This is, indeed, the correct formulation of the ‘classic’ fine tuning argument. AFAIK there’s two current replies to it. One – the fine tuning conclusion is only supported if you vary one constant at a time. E.g., if you vary the coupling constant while holding the others at their current value, you will indeed find that there are no other viable universes outside of a very narrow range of values for the coupling constant. BUT, when you allow multiple constants to vary simultaneously, the situation gets complicated and its no longer clear that the current set of constants is the only viable set.
      Two – most modern cosmological theories (e.g., inflation) and hypotheses (e.g. string theory) do not just allow multiverses, they pretty much demand them. So the multiverse explanation is not just some hypothetical add-on-to-science that theologians seem to want to imply it is. Instead, its a fairly scientifically credible concept at this time.

      Lastly, theologians and creationists will sometimes employ a more vernacular version of the fine tuning argument. As in “look how well the universe is designed for us!” JT is absolutely right to point out that, in a vernacular sense, it isn’t. The fractional volume of our solar system that is human-habitable is something like 1E-30, or 0.00000000000000000000000000001%. And that’s just our solar system – there’s a lot of empty space between solar systems. :) If its designed for any sort of life, this universe is designed for life that likes pressures of 10E-4 Torr, temperatures of 4 Kelvin, and a high flux of cosmic particles.

      ernacular version of the fine tuning argument that theologians often pull out. Sometimes you’ll hear someone state that the universe is suited for our sort of life in a more

      ). If you l

      • eric

        Ack, cut and paste error. Ignore the last four lines of my post.

    • Rob

      What is meant is that the fundamental physical constants of the universe have to be within with a very fine range of their present values for life to exist at all.

      This hole was made just to fit me said the puddle.

    • http://anthrozine.com Cubist

      The fine-tuning problem is a textbook example of Argument From Ignorance.
      You say that the universe’s physical constants have to be exactly the values they are, in order for Life to exist at all? Okay, fine. Maybe that’s true. You say that the odds of the universe’s physical constants being exactly what they are, are so infinitesimally small that the mere existence of Life, in and of itself, constitutes good evidence for a Creator? Hold it. What are the odds of the universe’s physical constants being exactly what they are… and how the fuck do you know what those odds are?

      Sure, you can gin up a hypothetical argument about each physical constant’s value being one possible number out of a range of [lower limit] to [upper limit], and each such number is equally likely to have come up, and blah blah blah. But if you do that, my answer will, again, be, how the fuck do you know? Answer: You don’t know.

      For each and every one of the universe’s physical constants, you don’t know the range of potential values which that constant might have had, and you don’t know whether that constant’s actually-observed value was more likely to have come up than any of the potential values, or less likely, or what. So if you use the how-unlikely-it-is-that-Life-can-even-exist argument, one obvious response is, “Hey, dude, the universe’s physical constants couldn’t have different values than the ones they actually do have. You want to make up hypothetical stuff about universes with different values for the gravitational constant and so on, that’s fine. But if you want to run with the evidence we actually have, and not screw around with what-ifs and make-believe, well, the physical-constant values we see are the physical-constant values we got, and that’s all she wrote. And given a universe with that particular set of physical constants, what are the odds of such a universe being able to support Life? Well, given the one universe we actually have hard evidence of, it sure looks like the odds are 100%. So… what’s the big deal?”

  • Andrew Kohler

    “I knew I wanted to be good and kind, but couldn’t figure out why.”

    It is so very mystifying to me why people feel they must have a “reason” to be good and kind. Depressing, too.

    Also, it is difficult to fathom why WLC not combusting is proof of God’s benevolence. (Actually, I wish no combustion or other harm to the man, aside from fading into ignominious obscurity, but I just couldn’t resist that one.)


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