Atheists: What Would It Take to Change YOUR Mind?

Atheists: What Would It Take to Change YOUR Mind? December 28, 2015

“Well, Mr. Atheist Smarty Pants, you think you’re so open minded? Prove it. Show me what would convince you to change your mind.”

recently challenged Christians to consider what it would take to convince them that their religious beliefs are wrong, and now it’s the atheists’ turn.

Atheist Christian change mindA good article on this question is The Theist’s Guide to Converting Atheists, written by fellow Patheos blogger Adam Lee of Daylight Atheism. I’ve used it here as a starting point for my own exploration on this question.

Convincing Traits

Here’s a tentative list of what would convince me of a religion’s claims.

  • Many occurrences that are widely accepted by the scientific establishment as miracles. Note that “Science can’t explain it” isn’t necessarily a miracle—it’s just something science can’t yet explain.
  • Alternatively, a single crowdsourced miracle. On one day, everyone in the world sees “Yahweh exists” spelled out in stars or pebbles or lines in the sand. Or, one night, everyone has the same dream in which a god explains his plan. If either happened just to me, the obvious explanation would be that my mind (or someone) was playing tricks on me.
  • Prophecies, but not the ones that Christians often point to. I mean real ones. I’ve discussed before the properties of a reasonable prophecy—it must be startling, precise, accurate, and so on.
  • Scientific knowledge in holy books that wasn’t available at the time. The scientific knowledge in the Bible is no more advanced than would be expected from any non-divinely inspired book of that time. There’s no e = mc2, no f = ma, no Big Bang, and no heliocentric solar system. What’s really surprising is the absence of any good health advice: no “boil your drinking water,” no “dig latrines far from the water source,” and no recipe for soap. (More on the Bible’s confused relationship with science here.)
  • Believers changed in a way unexplainable by natural causes—good things would tend to happen to them more often than for nonbelievers, problems would be resolved quicker, prayers are answered, or in some other way we would see the deity assisting his people.

Necessary Traits of a Divinely Inspired Religion

This list of traits aren’t evidence for a religion, but they respond to arguments against. They are traits of a religion with a real deity behind it.

  • The holy book and the dogma would be perfect—no errors, no ambiguities, no inconsistencies. Not much to ask from a perfect deity, right? For example, with Christianity we have a god who deeply desires a relationship with us but who won’t get off his butt to even show us that he exists.
  • As a corollary, there would be nothing in the holy book to which believers say, “I must admit that I can’t explain that. I guess I’ll just have to ask God when I get to heaven.” We often get this in response to conundrums like why God commanded genocide or allows famines, but this is just running away from the problem. A holy book has no purpose except to explain to people here on earth what reality is and what the rules are. “God will explain that in heaven” won’t do.
  • The religion would have no internal divisions or doctrinal conflicts. To take a Christian example, Docetism (the idea that Jesus only seemed to be a human) was put to rest only at the First Council of Nicaea in 325. Other heresies took centuries more to resolve. One could pretend that the various twists and turns taken by Christianity were divinely guided, but where is the evidence for that? Instead, we see religions continuing to diverge.
  • The religion would not only celebrate reason, it would provide necessary evidence and wouldn’t require faith.

I wouldn’t add to this list that the god must be praiseworthy, judged by modern moral standards. The god might encourage genocide and allow slavery, but he doesn’t necessarily have to be good. (For example, the Gnostics imagined a not-so-good creator god).

Of course, you can cobble together rationalizations for religion without these properties—a religion where faith is required, where the holy book is ambiguous, where religion is split by doctrinal controversies, and so on, but don’t expect that to be a compelling argument.

Nonstarter Traits

Here’s a short list of general religious arguments that won’t get you out of the starting gate.

  • Curious things with natural explanations like speaking in tongues or other ecstatic experiences
  • Personal conversion stories, miracles, or anything else that only you experienced
  • Things that can be explained as coincidences
  • And it should go without saying that anyone should be written off if they make a prophecy that fails (Harold Camping and John Hagee come to mind).

Revisiting the List of Convincing Arguments

Let’s return to the first list. I said that it was a tentative list because of Shermer’s Last Law: “Any sufficiently advanced extraterrestrial intelligence is indistinguishable from God.” How could I distinguish alien technology a million years more advanced than our own from the supernatural actions of a god? And if the aliens identified themselves, they might portray themselves as gods to get us to react in a certain way. Who knows—they might even be intergalactic practical jokers who just want to mess with us.

Given the choice of God or aliens as explanations, the aliens are more plausible because they’re intelligent life forms with technology. This isn’t hard to imagine since we are intelligent life forms with technology. By contrast, we have no commonly accepted examples of a supernatural anything.

I must then admit that to the Christian’s challenge “What would it take to get you to believe in God?” it might be that no evidence would. But anything that would provoke Shermer’s Last Law would be vastly more evidence than we’ve had to date, where Christianity fades into the general background of thousands of manmade religions.

Hypocrisy?

Let’s pull back and consider two situations: (1) the atheist given substantial evidence of God’s existence (the present slate of arguments by Christian apologists doesn’t come close to being “substantial”) and (2) the Christian given substantial evidence that their faith is incorrect (discussed in a recent post). I’m saying that the atheist would be reasonable in not changing to accept the supernatural, but reason compels the Christian to change and reject the supernatural.

Is this a double standard? I don’t think so. In each case, the natural argument wins. The atheist goes with the natural explanation (it’s aliens, it’s a trick, I’m mistaken, I’m crazy, etc.), and the Christian also goes with the natural explanation by following the evidence. Science has shown us myriad examples where a natural explanation trumps a prior supernatural explanation, so it’s reasonable to bet on the natural explanation where it exists.

Perhaps the reason that Christianity isn’t compelling to many atheists is that they have no particular motivation (besides wanting to believe true things) to see it as correct.

Is wanting it to be true also a requirement for Christian belief?

Any sufficiently advanced technology 
is indistinguishable from magic.
— Arthur C. Clarke

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 2/11/13.)

Image credit: Dave Conner, flickr, CC

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • The Eh’theist

    I’ve always been fond of Matt Dillahunty’s point that an all-knowing God would know what would convert me, or would have built a sensus divinitatis as some propose.*

    I had no idea of the combination of evidence, arguments and experience that would led me to the realization that the Christian God doesn’t exist, but once I reached that point, it was obvious.

    If there is another God (and especially if that God isn’t all-knowing and.or all-powerful) there might be some difficulty in convincing me of its identity, but as you’ve pointed out, a steady stream of evidence and information would certainly produce he most favourable results.

    * I remember thinking about this idea, and how it would have been interesting if everyone started out not knowing about God with no mention from anyone and then gradually through experience and the maturation of this sense everyone became aware of the same God and came into regular communication with it and then our family and community would welcome us and start discussing it with us as well. Sort of like the inverse to what happens with Santa Claus.

    • ZenDruid

      I think this sensus divinitatis is a retread of the “sense” that oh shit, there’s a monster in the dark that wants to eat me.

      • The Eh’theist

        Agreed. It makes no sense as Christians propose it. It would be like a metal detector that when passed over the same space said ‘copper’ one time, ‘gold’ the next, then ‘brass’, then ‘lead’ then ‘silver’ then ‘unknown’.

        We wouldn’t celebrate that, we’d toss it out or send it to the shop to get it fixed. Now multiply this example by the thousands of denominations and religions and yes, it’s just our primitive fear of the dark with an M. Div from a diploma mill.

      • So, basically, like… this?

        https://youtu.be/kqEn3KLH5_w

        • ZenDruid

          Yep.

      • Pofarmer

        Hyperactive Agency Detection. It’s a thing.

        • Steven Watson

          It sure is, I was just looking into that the other day.

  • The_Wretched

    Thanks for laying out the distinctions. The more someone thinks about what an existing god would look like, it’s pretty clear pretty much every defined god doesn’t make the cut.

    • SteveK

      Making the cut, puts the definition before the reality that it is attempting to define rather than the other way around.

      • adam

        Making the cut DEFINES the reality in which we all share.

      • Kodie

        What do you know about reality?

  • It always comes down to “the universe is an illusion” model. And they all have multiple explanations for which Yahweh (or a similar entity) is not the preferred solution. I might play along with its apparent explanation, for it would obviously be powerful, but I would always retain doubts Here’s my favorite:

    We are all subroutines in an advanced Sims game (think of the Matrix). The game player is Norbert, who lives in his mom’s basement and can’t get a date. But as The Player, he can do anything, such as show up in an avatar and scatter the galaxies with a wave of his hand. Yet we see consistent laws of physics other than his miracles, and have no explanation (that we can test) for his obvious power.

    Such a model only requires a small step from what we now know* is possible – said step being that a sufficiently advanced computers and programming can be self-aware, even if it is fooled by false sensory input.

    Once we have an apparent deity, nothing we know about him can be trusted. Personal psychosis would be the simplest explanation, but cooperating with any expressed desires would be the simplest way to deal with it. So I would likely act like a believer, if the apparent god is consistent and not evil. (Unlike, say, Yahweh.)

    I don’t know that “explaining” it by saying that it’s really a bronze-age Middle Eastern tyrant with magic is the simplest model. There are other models that require much smaller leaps to explain it. Doesn’t seem fair to the True Believers, but the fact is that whatever they can imagine is more easily explained otherwise.

    • Since what we perceive of this universe might be a homework assignment for 8th graders in a million years and since such simulations will be far more common than the single reality that exists, that we live in a simulation becomes the best explanation.

      I’m not arguing for this, but it’d be hard to argue against it.

      • MNb

        The argument against this is that it lacks explanatory power and doesn’t contribute anything to our understanding. However that applies to christianity as well, so presenting this as an alternative and asking why accept one and reject another is legitimate.

        • Helpful, thanks.

        • Steven Watson

          I go with Johnson, except not as politely. I would refute it thus: my foot, the denier-of reality’s crotch.

  • busterggi

    I don’t know – even crowds can hallucinate together (Fatima). It certainly wouldn’t be a book w/o errors – that only indicates great proofreading. Nor would it be any prophesy – weird shit happens unexpectedly & even Criswell was right once or twice. And Cthulhu is more believable than Yahweh being a ‘mere’ nearly immortal alien.

    • I’m going off on a tangent here, but that reminds me of another post giving a stepwise progression of exponentially greater claims, with the God claim at the end. I called that one “inconceivable” but someone rightly chided me with “I don’t think that word means what you think it means.”

      It is indeed inconceivable by any sort of evidence-based viewpoint, but Christians don’t approach it that way. The inconceivable becomes very easily accepted.

      • Steven Watson

        Christ Jesus is conceivable; just not by the Holy Ghost.

      • Steven Watson

        I love “The Princess Bride”; but “I don’t think that word means what you think it means.” is just a sentence in a book and film script and you don’t get to rebut fiction with quotes from more fiction.

        • Greg G.

          As you wish.

        • Steven Watson

          ? This appears to be adrift. Did you mean it to go with “Supernatural entity=god. I cede the Abrahamics nothing; neither the meaning of words nor the rules of the game.”? If not, you’ve lost me a bit.

        • Greg G.

          No, it’s what Westley always said to Buttercup in the The Princess Bride.

        • Steven Watson

          Doh! That I didn’t recognise that is more embarrassing than… well anything really. If I were an Englishman of an earlier age I would feel obliged to take myself to a small room with a revolver! Doh! and Doh!! and again a thousand times Doh!!! LOL!!!

  • Brian Westley

    Heliocentric.

    • ZenDruid

      Blackholiocentric, as in the galactic frame of reference.

    • Brad F

      Lisping poofter

      • Brian Westley

        Pleased to meet you lisping poofter — tell me: why do you have no life?

  • ZenDruid

    I’m thinking, if an angel type person came flapping down on iridescent wings and handed me a book, saying that the bible was a cruel hoax from demons, and the new book had some real answers, I would probably change my mind.

    • InDogITrust

      See, that wouldn’t convince me that there is a god, because (1) how do I know the angel isn’t just some jerk-ass alien (2) even if angels exist, that doesn’t mean a god exists.
      Proof of the supernatural is not proof of god.
      Which is not to say that I wouldn’t listen carefully to said angel.

      • MNb

        If I’m incapable of seeing the difference between an alien and a god I would be willing to worship that god/alien anyway, provided the god/alien were benevolent.

    • Maybe if the Christians repositioned the Bible.

      “OK, we’ve had a good think about the Bible, and we realize that the Creator in the Bible was kind of a dick. So yes, the supernatural exists, and yes, Yahweh created the earth, but he wasn’t that nice a guy.”

      • powellpower

        Thought exercise: What if indeed God is real but he’s a dick?

        Would you worship him or burn in hell for eternity. i think I would choose dick. No chance in hell of overthrowing him.

        • That the creator was a dick (or at least not perfect) was the Gnostic view. The Marcionite view was similar.

          If God were a dick, I might worship him if simply going through the motions (and not believing it) would spare me from hell. I don’t think I’d have the guts to stand on principle if I’d get an eternity in hell as my punishment.

        • powellpower

          Yeah… same here.

          What’s dignity/integrity vs infinite torture. You know if a theist come and tell me this actually I would accept and believe. Unfortunately they just have to keep hammering about the whole “God is good” shtick.

          I guess true evil is when a bad person insisting people calling him good.

          Hmm……

        • God and Spousal Abuse:

          It’s common for Christians to compare the relationship between humanity and God to that between husband and wife. God is the ‘man’ of the house to whom humanity owes obedience, respect, and honor. Usually this relationship is portrayed as one of love, but in far too many ways, God is more like an abusive spouse who only knows how to love through intimidation and violence. A review of classic signs and symptoms of spousal abuse reveals how abusive the ‘relationship’ people have with God is.

          Victims are Afraid of the Abuser:

          Abusers instill fear in their spouses; believers are instructed to fear God. Abusers are unpredictable and given to dramatic mood swings; God is depicted as alternating between love and violence. Abused spouses avoid topics which set off the abuser; believers avoid thinking about certain things to avoid angering God. Abusers make one feel like there is no way to escape a relationship; believers are told that there is no way to escape God’s wrath and eventual punishment.

          Abusers Use of Threats and Intimidation to Force Compliance:

          Violence is a primary means by which abusers communicate, even with their spouses whom they are supposed to love.

          Abusers aren’t just violent towards their spouses — they also use violence against objects, pets, and other things to instill more fear and to force compliance with their wishes. God is portrayed as using violence to force people to comply with certain rules and Hell is the ultimate threat of violence. God might even punish an entire nation for the transgressions of a few members.

          Abusers Withholds Resources from Victims:

          In order to exercise greater control over a victim, abusers will withhold important resources in order to make the victim more dependent. Resources used like this include money, credit cards, access to transportation, medications, or even food. God is also depicted as exercising control over people by controlling their resources — if people are insufficiently obedient, for example, God may cause crops to fail or water to turn bad. The basic necessities of living are conditioned on obeying God.

          Abusers Instill Feelings of Inadequacy in Victims:

          A further means of exercising control over a victim is instilling feelings of inadequacy in them.

          By getting them to feel worthless, helpless, and unable to do anything right, they will lack the self-confidence necessary to stand up to the abuser and resist the abuse. Believers are taught that they are depraved sinners, unable to do anything right and unable to have good, decent, or moral lives independent of God. Everything good that a believer achieves is due to God, not their own efforts.

          Victims Feel they Deserve to be Punished by Abusers:

          Part of the process of encouraging the victim to feel inadequate involves getting them to feel that they really do deserve the abuse they are suffering. If the abuser is justified in punishing the victim, then the victim can hardly complain, can she? God is also described as being justified in punishing humanity — all people are so sinful and depraved that they deserve an eternity in hell (created by God). Their only hope is that God will take pity on them and save them.

          Victims are Not Trusted by Abusers:

          Another part of the process of making the victim feel inadequate is ensuring that they know how little the abuser trusts them. The victim is not trusted to make her own decisions, dress herself, buy things on her own, or anything else. She is also isolated from her family so that she can’t find help. God, too, is depicted as treating people as if they were unable to do anything right or make their own decisions (like on moral issues, for example).

          Emotional Dependency of the Abuser on the Victim:

          Although abusers encourage victims to feel inadequate, it is the abuser who really has problems with self-confidence. Abusers encourage emotional dependency because they are emotionally dependent themselves — this produces extreme jealousy and controlling behavior. God, too, is depicted as dependent upon human worship and love. God is usually described as jealous and unable to handle it when people turn away. God is all-powerful, but unable to prevent the smallest problems.

          Blaming the Victim for the Abuser’s Actions:

          Victims are typically made to feel responsible for all of an abuser’s actions, not just deserving of the punishments inflicted. Thus victims are told that it’s their fault when an abuser gets angry, feels suicidal, or indeed when anything at all goes wrong. Humanity is also blamed for everything that goes wrong — although God created humanity and can stop any unwanted actions, all responsibility for all evil in the world is laid entirely at the feet of human beings.

          Why Do Abused People Stay With Their Abusers’:

          Why do women stay with violent, abusive spouses’Why don’t they just pack up and leave, making a new life for themselves elsewhere and with people who actually respect and honor them as equal, independent human beings? The signs of abuse described above should help in answering these questions: women are so emotionally and psychologically beaten down that they lack the mental strength to do what is necessary. They don’t have enough confidence to believe that they can make it without the man who keeps telling them that only he could possibly love such an ugly and worthless person such as they.

          Perhaps some insight on this can be gained by rephrasing the question and asking why people don’t abandon the emotionally and psychologically abusive relationship they are expected to develop with God? The existence of God isn’t relevant here, what matters is how people are taught to perceive themselves, their world, and what will happen to them if they make the mistake of trying to leave the relationship in order to make a better life for themselves elsewhere.

          Women who are abused are told that they can’t make it on their own and if they try, their spouse will come after them to punish or even kill them. Believers are told that they can’t accomplish anything of value without God, that they are so worthless that only because God is infinitely loving does he love them at all; if they turn their backs on God, they will be punished for all eternity in hell. The sort of’love’which God has for humanity is the’love’of an abuser who threatens, attacks, and commits violence in order to get his own way.

          Religions like Christianity are abusive insofar as they encourage people to feel inadequate, worthless, dependent, and deserving of harsh punishment. Such religions are abusive insofar as they teach people to accept the existence of a god which, if human, would have long ago been shut away in prison for all his immoral and violent behavior.

          (source)

        • Steven Watson

          This. And Double This. It ain’t because=god; it is because= patriarchy. I award you the last twelve days Internetz.

  • alverant

    Which God are we talking about and how are we defining God?
    That would be the first step in answering the question. Technically if someone named their son Jesus and I met the boy I could say, “Yes I met Jesus” truthfully but it would be misrepresenting what the phrase means.

    • Steven Watson

      I would suggest if you are in the US and haven’t met at least one Jesus that you don’t get out much. If in Mexico – well it is probably technically impossible not to meet a Jesus.

    • Greg G.

      Any God at all. Why not let the God define himself before you start believing?

    • MNb

      Most believers define god as an immaterial/ supernatural/ transcendental entity who created the whole thing and hence is capable of interacting with our material/ natural reality.

      “it would be misrepresenting what the phrase means.”
      I dispute that. I maintain that the way believers use that phrase is meaningless.

  • Greg G.

    I don’t think I am in a position to say what a supernatural being can do or not do. It would have to provide evidence of what it can do, whatever that would be.

    I think an entity would have to be nearly omnipotent to be called a god versus just another supernatural entity. Egyptian and Greek gods probably wouldn’t qualify. But a very powerful being would have the ability to conjure the appearance of evidence that it was omnipotent so we would have to maintain skepticism no matter how awesome the demonstration was.

    It’s kind of a once bitten, twice shy thing.

    • Why such a high bar for a god? Wouldn’t just about any supernatural being qualify for the typical definition?

      The Christian god as defined today, yes, that needs a very high bar. I’m just wondering about gods in general.

      • Greg G.

        I once read about a tribe that thought tree frogs were gods. So just because some religion sets a low bar for gods doesn’t mean we should set there because that makes gods of you and me. I think high tech beings should be excluded from the definition as the power should be intrinsic to the entity. Perhaps a god should be more powerful than the most powerful non-god of anything conceived. A god would then have to be more powerful than Satan of the Abrahamic religions.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          If we got some swords and shields, some magic objects (did you know there is a cuckoo clock with a saint woman’s head mounted on it?), committed animal and human and carnivorous plant and cemetery genocide, and then we were able to kill the person after a long battle with several wardrobe changes- then we would know that was a god we killed XD

      • MNb

        Any bar lower than “an immaterial/ supernatural/ transcendental entity who created the entire shenanigan” runs into the risk of science explaining it better. Frankly I think your bar as implied by “alien technology” a lot higher. It means something we humans are not capable of understanding (which cannot ruled out, of course), while the definition of god I provided is understandable.
        However I agree that “omnipotent” is a too high bar. Hindus will shrug it off. I would replace it by “capable of interacting with our material/ natural reality”. All petty gods are.

        • Steven Watson

          “It means something we humans are not capable of understanding (which cannot ruled out, of course), while the definition of god I provided is understandable.”

          Millions of theists would say you have that backwards.

          I do not know if it remains true but I was taught in high school that electricity was not understood. That did not stop electricity being an observable phenomena and the same is still true of gravity. Things can be, have always been, and always will be whether we can explain them or not.

          If we can observe a thing in the natural world or interacting with the natural world… Erm, unless I am very much mistaken it is a natural thing.

          I love “The Princess Bride”; but “I don’t think that word means what you think it means.” is just a sentence in a book and film script and you don’t get to rebut fiction with quotes from more fiction.

        • MNb

          What according to your millions of theists is not understandable about “an immaterial/ supernatural/ transcendental entity who created the entire shenanigan” ?

          “Things can be, have always been, and always will be whether we can explain them or not.”
          Questionable given the Big Bang and the fate of our Universe, but OK – now so what?

          “If we can observe a thing ….. it is a natural thing.”
          So what? I never contradicted this.

          “I don’t think that word means what you think it means.”
          I can’t remember using this phrase ever.

          “you don’t get to rebut fiction with quotes from more fiction.”
          Yeah. So what?
          Sorry, but the relevance of your comment to my reaction totally escapes me.

        • Steven Watson

          Sorry, only the para “Millions of theists would say you have that backwards.” was addressed specifically to you and meant you have the thing backwards according to how millions of theists usually represent these things; not that they would not be able to understand either part of your statement. My bad for the lack of clarity.

          The last: you got me there; I don’t remember what I was on about.

          The middle parts go to the thread OP in general and my epistemology. There is nothing outside space-time; therefore supernatural gods are excluded by definition. If a god can be evidenced to intrude on or interact with the natural world; it is a natural thing by definition. See Lawrence Krauss, ‘A Universe from Nothing’, and Richard Carrier ‘Ex Nihilo Onus Merdae Fit’.

          Hey, it was four in the morning here and sometimes I ramble. Again, my apologies.

    • Steven Watson

      Supernatural entity=god. I cede the Abrahamics nothing; neither the meaning of words nor the rules of the game.

  • Explorer

    To be clear, most religionists are actually arguing for the existence of *their* god, so it would be disingenuous for such to argue about what it would take to prove *any* supernatural deity.

    In the case of christians then, one good miracle would be for all the Bibles of the world to be altered to be consistent internally and with all other sources of knowledge. Denominational variation would no longer exist. Their god would also pull all Christians together so that they agreed upon what their god was willing to transmit directly to them.

    The idea of American evangelical christians suddenly abandoning their animus towards the Roman Catholic Church strikes me as miraculous, as does the idea of all those denominations agreeing on one consistent message.

    Add, on top of that, a godly outreach program where such a god communicated directly to all humans, and you’ve provided more evidence than the christians have managed to muster in all their centuries of infighting.

    This, of course, is not a clincher, but is the *minimum* necessary for their god to even require a reevaluation of having rejected such a god’s existence. Until you even clear such a very low bar for a claimed omnipotent being, after such a hole being dug by unproven claims over millenia, there’s no reason to start thinking there’s anything there.

  • InDogITrust

    First, define “god.”

    Supernatural powers aren’t enough, since lots of creatures could have those, from superheros to pixies. Miracles aren’t proof of a god’s existence; only that supernatural powers exist. Accurate predictions only prove that predictions are possible. Proving the supernatural doesn’t prove there is a god.
    If anyone wants me to believe in the god of Abraham, it would have to display supernatural power over a great swath of the known universe and would have to reach all of humanity at the same time with a clear message that everyone understood the same.
    Like if we looked up and all the visible stars and planets had realigned to form the words “I am,” and everyone saw it in their own language. That would convince me that there is an omnipotent superbeing.
    Still wouldn’t be convinced that it is worthy of worship, but that’s a different issue.

    • Uzza

      First, define “god.”

      Bingo.The reason this whole thing is an exercise in futility. I don’t need aliens, I can just say the universe is god, in fact people do, or that my dick is god; I can prove it exists but you’ll just say “well sure, but that’s not god.” So it’s not about theology it’s only about what you accept as a definition.

      To be fair, Adam addresses specific claims other than does god exist, but it all seems to hinge on that question. The post starts with miracles, holy books, prophecies–all earmarks of Abramic notions of “god”–none of which are required. In fact, much of the world’s religion are so unlike that group of traits that they are often not considered religions, nor have anything we would recognize as something we would call “god”.
      Voltaire was not wrong.

      • MNb

        Most believers define god as an immaterial/ supernatural/ transcendental entity who created the entire shenanigan. Then they must specify what they mean with “to create”; that’s something like the First Cause.
        But yeah, it’s sensible when meeting an apologist to ask if he/she something like that definition.

      • powellpower

        I agree that your dick is god. Oh great holy Dick of Uzza.

    • Yes, I think that crowdsourcing is an essential of compelling evidence for a religion. If it’s just me sensing it, why should I trust my fallible senses when they tell me something incredible?

      • InDogITrust

        Exactly. Everyone would have to agree on what was seen and what it meant. If individual experience is evidence, we’d be right back where we are now: I know Jesus is real because I experienced him.

        Reading back over my post though, all the stars lining up wouldn’t prove it was Yahweh. Only that there was a superbeing.

        I suppose spelling out “I am the God of Abraham” would be pretty convincing, but I might just think, are you effing with us?
        Or maybe this is aliens using brainwaves to control us!?!?!?!?

  • Yonah

    Two questions:

    1) What if a religion doesn’t have a book?

    2) What if a religion does not count a book as its highest authority, but rather a human person/office?

    • Those are interesting variations. What are your answers? Does this change things much?

    • adam

      “1) What if a religion doesn’t have a book?”
      You mean like when all religion was based on oral stories?

      No different enough from a book, both change for reasons of politics.

      2) What if a religion does not count a book as its highest authority, but rather a human person/office?

      You mean like the Pope or Olsteen or maybe the Head Klanner, or corporate CEO?

      People do that now with these people and people like them.

    • Yonah

      With the first, we would be talking about a non-Abrahamic religion. The defining sources of such would be in practices handed down from a teacher to a learner. It is my guess that anthropologists find that is the real genesis of all religion…that textual witness, if it evolves, is a much later thing. That was sort of the case with the early Church if one doesn’t count Jewish texts…which is hard to do, but the model of human behavior there is interesting note in comparison to purely text-less beginnings. Off the top of my head, it seems to me that such primitive religion is truly tribal compared to the imperial nature of, for example, what the Constantinian Church emerged to be. Tribal religion, it seems to me, is very much less interested in making universal claims upon humanity in contrast to an agenda of having a religion which the primary purpose of is to keep the tribe together. The tribal aspect applies to Judaism much more than Christianity. It is probably that aspect which permitted Christopher Hitchens to so value his late in life discovery of his Jewish identity. Apparently, it made a difference to him.

      With the second, within Christianity you have large sections in which the Book is not the highest authority. So, I remain curious how you would hold the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox Churches to your standards regarding the Bible when the Bible in these communions is subjugated to the teaching office of the hierarchy which has its authority through an in-house succession system which stretches over the centuries. In all that, the central claim is that the Holy Spirit has instituted that succession and the Holy Tradition through the succession. In other words….the claims reside not in a Book….but in actual people…and those people determine what the Book says and means. If all the books would be confiscated, the people in authoritative succession would still hand down claims….which is exactly how the Orthodox Church survived the Soviets….and Putin is a church goer today. It seems to me that apostolic succession is a tribal system that is off the textual grid. I don’t see how one could easily use the Book criteria you have in mind to that situation.

      In general, it occurs to me that tribal religion is kind of like the mafia. You really don’t have to write stuff down to get business done.

      • adam

        “Tribal religion, it seems to me, is very much less interested in making universal claims upon humanity in contrast to an agenda of having a religion which the primary purpose of is to keep the tribe together. ”

        It doesnt seem to matter, the agenda is tribal in organized religions even oral.

        The OT is clearly Tribal as is christianity.

        ” The tribal aspect applies to Judaism much more than Christianity. ”

        I dont see that. Christianity is at least as tribal, that is why you see some 50,000 different tribes.

        ” So, I remain curious how you would hold the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox Churches to your standards regarding the Bible when the Bible in these communions is subjugated to the teaching office of the hierarchy which has its authority through an in-house succession system which stretches over the centuries.”

        No different that oral stories interpreted to fit different audiences.
        The reason for so many ‘gospels’

        The bible is so vague and contradictory SOMEONE ‘has’ to interpret to the ‘others’, doesnt matter if it is a ‘master’ or a Priest.

        “In general, it occurs to me that tribal religion is kind of like the mafia.”

        Organized religion is hardly different from the mafia.
        Crusades, Inquisitions, Witch burnings, etc

        Except in many cases the mafia acts more moral, due to a LACK of a ‘Holy Book’

        • Yonah

          “Tribal” as we Jews use the term pertains to peoplehood, not mere sectarianism….but just the opposite for Jews. Despite, divisions, Jews maintain a sense of peoplehood. Christians on the other hand, while using the rhetoric of peoplehood have never in fact achieved it…not that it cannot yet happen…which is my aim.

          On the priesthood and the Bible, what you are not picking up is that in a system of dynastic apostolic succession, the Bible is subjugated to the succession….and their “management” of the Bible is simply the shiny bright object out in front of the shop….and then the elephant in the room is that the succession holds cards they ain’t showing. If you think you’re gonna get into the mob boss’s back room, dream on.

        • adam

          “Despite, divisions, Jews maintain a sense of peoplehood. not mere sectarianism ”

          I fail to see the difference, Judism is fractured with sects just like christianity

          “Christians on the other hand, while using the rhetoric of peoplehood have never in fact achieved it…not that it cannot yet happen…”

          And yet they ALL consider themselves ‘christian’ just like the peoplehood of Judism that you are claiming.

          “On the priesthood and the Bible, what you are not picking up is that in a system of dynastic apostolic succession, the Bible is subjugated to the succession….”

          NO the bible is the PROPAGANDA, that gives them power to those who fall for it.

          “and then the elephant in the room is that the succession holds cards they ain’t showing.”

          But they do show them, and the gullible are still gullible.

          Due to propagandic FEAR mongering

        • MNb

          He’s talking about an ethnical and/or cultural sense of peoplehood. That doesn’t make too much sense either:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_studies_of_Jewish_origins

          That sense of peoplehood is just a myth, a watered down version of the myth of the Chosen Ones. One reason the myth persists is antisemitism.

        • adam

          Good, it didnt make any sense to me.

        • Yonah

          There are movements in Judaism, but only one people. Once you’re in the tribe, it’s permanent. Even an apostate Jew is, halachically Jewish. Or put it this way, a Jew of whatever movement or none, can buy a plane ticket to Israel and become a citizen. A gentile can’t do that.

          On the Bible as propaganda. Umm, until Luther and the printing press, no commoner had the Bible. All the folk got was the Lectionary.

        • adam

          “Jew of whatever movement or none, can buy a plane ticket to Israel and become a citizen”

          Sorry, I dont see that a Jewish theocracy does to make your point about Jewish people.

          “Once you’re in the tribe, it’s permanent.”

          Herem (or Chērem חרם) is the highest ecclesiastical censure in the Jewish community. It is the total exclusion of a person from the Jewish community.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herem_%28censure%29

          so apparently it’s NOT permanent.

          “On the Bible as propaganda. Umm, until Luther and the printing press, no commoner had the Bible. All the folk got was the Lectionary.”

          But what they got was still propaganda.
          Religion is a political movement for power.

        • Yonah

          You didn’t even read your own wikipedia article! It bears witness to harem being a discipline used in the past which was removable if a person repented. And shunning removes a Jew physically from Jewish community while not removing Jewish identity. A bad Jew is still a Jew. And then, you also did not read that harem is only practiced by a few (extreme) groups today. So, if one of them is shunned, all they need do is go to a mainstream group, and they’ll be fine.

          Well, since I made my point on the Reformation…how do you propose to make your point with Roman Catholics and Orthodox? You have a schtick in regard to superficially indicting the Bible, but you do not have sufficient knowledge or even the in-house texts regarding Canon Law and apostolic succession to do battle with those. For example, a very common way that everyday Roman Catholic teaching goes is to teach not from the Bible, but from the Catechism. Got a copy?

        • adam

          ” It bears witness to harem being a discipline used in the past which was removable if a person repented.”

          Yeah, I read it – IF a person repented.
          THAT repenting is the core of christianity.

          Christians can be excommunicated without removing their christian identity.

          ” For example, a very common way that everyday Roman Catholic teaching goes is to teach not from the Bible, but from the Catechism. Got a copy?”

          Not any more.

          But it is no different than the cherry picking ANYONE who uses the bible does.

          Still their source of church power comes from biblical propaganda.

          Without the power (read PROMISE) of ‘eternal life’ and ‘eternal torture’ the ‘church’ has no power.

          “Canon Law and apostolic succession to do battle with those.”
          No, that is exactly what I am using https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c6ed8b6d174046f0419899325556caa1470b99e0ef80ba5f12b28857d089c8e9.jpg

          A simple reading of church history demonstrates that it was and is a political machine for power, and the bible was molded to get power and reinforce that power

        • Yonah

          Well, it sounds like you acknowledge that the Church came before the canon it created in the 4th century. Are you saying that the formation of the canon…the recipe of the books selected was the plan to get power, or was that power agenda in the minds of all the writers of the different books? Let us consider the book of Esther…a Jewish book which was included in the Christian canon. How does the book of Esther get and reinforce power for the Christian Church?

        • adam

          ” Are you saying that the formation of the canon…the recipe of the
          books selected was the plan to get power”

          To get and maintain power, of course.
          This is what propaganda is all about.

          ” or was that power agenda in
          the minds of all the writers of the different books?”

          Likely these were just the story tellers and minstrels who made their ‘living’ telling stories and ‘news’

          “Let us consider the book of Esther…a Jewish book which was included in
          the Christian canon. How does the book of Esther get and reinforce
          power for the Christian Church?”

          By itself perhaps not, but as a collection of STORIES that the church claims as history, it reinforced the whole supernatural idea.

          Remember, the first law of propaganda is The Big Lie.

        • Yonah

          Well, on the book of Esther, I hoodwinked you. It doesn’t even use the word God or refer to God once.

        • InDogITrust

          You missed the point. As “history”, Esther’s inclusion with the magic books added to the credibility of the magic books.
          Thought you were so clever, didn’t you?

        • Yonah

          Actually not. Esther barely got into the OT canon because many rabbis did not like that it is not a religious book.

        • adam

          Didnt hoodwink me.

          My statement stands.

          ” In this way, Esther’s rhetoric has been interpreted not as strictly
          feminist rhetoric or strictly Jewish rhetoric but rhetoric of
          intersectional exiled or marginalized groups.[18]” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esther

          And besides violence and threats of violence what does religion offer but propagandic rhetoric?

        • Kodie

          The way I think of Jews vs. Christians:

          Jews are born into a family and can’t do anything about that, just like each of us is born into our own families. There are certain traditions, and some of them might be kind of crazy, and you might even disown someone for some offense, but that cannot erase the bloodline, even so. Unless one is born a Jew, one very rarely looks at any tenets of Judaism as anything that would apply to them. Somewhat common would be outsiders marrying into the family must conform, or choose to conform, for the sake of their own children, mainly, still not because they find Judaism an attractive theology above all others, i.e., in order to belong to a family, you can’t just move into the house. There’s no blood-relating you to another family unless you have children with one of them, and that’s why they’re called “in-laws” – because the law contracts you to be related, not genealogy. In order to become a Jew by choice, one can’t simply declare oneself “Jewish” because they have adopted the beliefs, just like you can’t declare oneself Chinese if you aren’t, but you can claim to be Chinese far removed from China when one’s ancestors came from China. An adopted girl from China growing up in a household with extended family of European descent can say she’s Chinese, but her parents can’t go through any type of process to apply any claim to be Chinese. If you are a Jew and have a severe disagreement with another of your own … family, they don’t say you’re not really a Jew, and would still consider you a Jew even if you left the community to join some other non-Jew cult. Elders may or may not choose to carry on where the old ones left off, hold to traditions or break from them, and it would all still be considered Jewish. The persecution detected against Jews tends to be called racism against a kind of people rather than being for their beliefs, with the exception of their denial of Christ as messiah in a Christian majority population. They’re not looking for more Jew-joiners, because their people is “chosen”, and god knows if you are really a Jew or not, his laws don’t apply to non-Jews, and our fate is not to adopt chosen-ness, but rather be non-chosen and whatever that entails. I mean nothing can be done without a great deal of effort to be included as a chosen Jew.

          Christians are super-worried that everyone is not Christian. If you had some weird experience that you think was god, you can one day claim to be Christian, and no Christians will doubt you. They can hate the shit out of you if you’re not Christian, and love you and take you in if you declare yourself to have converted. Some sects have ceremonies in which you declare your beliefs before a crowd, but not always, and it’s not necessary to prove to another Christian that you have ever been baptised, christened, communioned, confessed, or been to church. I suppose one can easily claim to be a Jew just as easily, but god will be able to sort it out, while one’s status as a Christian seems to impact Christians directly. Although common to be born and christened a Christian, they’ll want to convince you to be one anyway if you’re not, or if there was something about it that you didn’t believe or like. Christian disagreements tend to end in one or both parties declaring their Christian opponent in not really being a true Christian, but they are willing to give the benefit of the doubt and assume you’re in complete agreement if you never openly disagree with them, and they are happy to believe that you are one with their own personal Christian causes until they have any reason to suspect you’re against them, and then they are persecuted for their superstitious beliefs, as defying these god-given interpretations results in wickedness infecting their propriety. Although as established, Christianity can be tribal, it’s rather simple to become one of their tribe, and just as easy to be cast out of it as a danger to their sincerely held beliefs. Christians are threatened by dissenting voices because it’s the devil, and have no problem visualizing a person as possessed by devil traits rather than speaking from reason, and harming that person physically if necessary because they have low regard for humans, and susceptible to confronting a person as though the devil were there instead of a human who was part of their family. They aren’t tribal to the point of being exclusive – everyone is welcome, and they’d prefer it that we heed their warnings, do whatever they want, pretend we love it that way, and leave them alone. If America is primarily Christian, they don’t seem all that bothered that the “wrong” kind of Christianity may prevail in law, unless it’s one that can be accused of being Muslim or atheist; both kinds or any other are easily demonized.

        • Yonah

          I agree with you there on a fair amount.

          With Jews, yes two basic ways: either one’s mother is Jewish or one converts. I would hasten to add that the Reform movement has a strong “Jews By Choice” program.

          On Christianity, my take is that it got screwed up when it got de-Judaized, and re-Judaizing it is the fix.

        • adam

          “On Christianity, my take is that it got screwed up when it got de-Judaized, and re-Judaizing it is the fix.”

          No, Judaism is screwed from the start by Abraham.

          The real problem is the supernatural aspect of these 3 ‘faiths’ and their apocalyptic nature.

          These are what are the real threats to the future of mankind.

          “re-Judaizing it is the fix.”
          Interesting, how do you go about teaching christianity that their MAGIC Messiah is a creation of man and not divine according to THEIR book.

          This has been the problem for a couple of thousand years now.

        • Yonah

          The original Christian Church was Jewish. Its bishop was James, brother of Jesus.

        • adam

          Of course.
          It was Paul who never met Jesus that created christianity out of the OT.

        • Yonah

          Paul founded the gentile Church. James headed the Jewish Church. And, Paul and James didn’t get along.

        • adam

          Of course not, they were telling two different stories that were incompatible.

          Paul presented the Lazy Man’s Way to Heaven= ‘faith’

          And of course, no snipping of the penis either.

        • That James was the head of the Jerusalem church is one interpretation, but you don’t get that uniformly in the NT. Mark, for example, makes clear that his family had nothing to do with Jesus’s little hobby.

        • Greg G.

          But, but, but that all changed when 1 Corinthians 15:7 happened.

        • Yonah

          The gospels all have their own internal political and theological agendas. As you know, the unvarnished story of James and Paul is in Paul’s letters. But, certainly, Acts records the Jerusalem Council and Paul’s letters directly refer to both being at odds with James’ representatives and his collecting of money for the Jerusalem church (to pay the rent). See Robert Eisenman’s book on James. It’s big enough to anchor a ship. But, in general, I know of no scholar that disputes the leadership of the Jerusalem Church to be James. Early Christian historians refer to James and his successors…including other of Jesus’ extended family. James Tabor, a colleague of Eisenman is easier to read and not as long winded….sort of the cliff notes on Eisenman.

        • I’m simply saying that to create this consensus view of James, you must take bits of the story from here and there in the NT. That makes for a tenuous story.

        • Yonah

          There is much excellent scholarship outside the NT that covers Paul v James and James as bishop of Jerusalem. There is nothing in the NT that questions James as head of the Jerusalem church or the historicity of the Jewish-Gentile question which is portrayed as settled at the Council of Jerusalem in Acts, but not at all settled in the epistles of Paul…at least in Paul’s mind.

          James’ position and his martyrdom is covered in both Josephus and Eusebius. In the event any would consider those interpolated, the fact would remain that at an early date such accounts were asserted. James is also featured as head of the Jerusalem Church in a number of non canonical NT era works.

        • adam

          “There is nothing in the NT that questions James as head of the Jerusalem church or the historicity of the Jewish-Gentile question which is portrayed as settled at the Council of Jerusalem in Acts, but not at all settled in the epistles of Paul…at least in Paul’s mind.”

          Sorry, if it is NOT settled in Paul’s mind, then it is Paul who not only questioned James as the head of ‘The Church’ but who with his “Easy Button” recreated The Church and made James a bit player.

        • Yonah

          No, the issue in contention was not James’ leadership, but the question of admitting gentiles to the Church with no requirement of any Jewish observance. The edict handed down by James in Acts was that the gentiles would have to observe the Noachide laws. Paul refused to comply.

        • adam

          Of course, Jesus was a Jew,

          So it WASN’T settled in Paul’s mind, who created Christianity by rewriting the OT.

        • Read Mark. If it’s any authority at all, that casts serious doubt on James as bishop of anything.

          Yes, a story about James can be cobbled together, but let’s not think that the NT makes a consistent and complete story.

        • Yonah

          I disagree that Mark 3 addresses the matter.

        • adam

          “As you know, the unvarnished story of James and Paul is in Paul’s letters. ”

          That seems VERY doubtful, what do you have?

        • Yonah

          I don’t understand your question. Do you mean what texts in the Pauline corpus?

        • adam

          Show us your ‘unvarnished story of James and Paul’ written by PAUL….

          Good luck!

        • Yonah

          Galatians 2, in the context of a fight with Cephas (Peter) over Jewish observance, Paul cites the representatives from James as putting pressure on Peter to act/look more Jewish in dietary observance.

          You can then compare Paul’s hostility in Galatians 2 to Acts 15 where Luke has James laying down the compromise ruling (the Noachide laws for gentiles)…and everything seeming then hunky dory.

        • adam

          Yeah, ok. seemingly well done.

          Makes sense from a propaganda viewpoint to capture as much of the market as possible – political compromise.

        • powellpower

          To be fair Abraham possibly didn’t exist.

        • If you re-Judaize Christianity, you get a sect of Judaism.

          Which is fine with me; just sayin’.

        • Yonah

          Yup. Fine with me. Would solve a lot of stuff for our family.

        • Steven Watson

          I’m late again but to be picky the only sure references to “James” are a couple or three mentions in Paul. Paul’s story in Acts cannot be squared with what can be picked up from his epistles and is almost certainly fiction. That the James in Josephus was the brother of Jesus Damneus made high priest in a subsequent paragraph is certain to the nth degree. Eisenman and Tabor are simply bonkers.

          Paul was a Jew, the various Jesus and Christ groups were Jews or included large numbers of Jews until perhaps a century after Paul. It was only much later still that Judaism came to be defined so as to exclude Jesus people and Christ cultists. What you find in the NT are all Second Temple Judaisms. Critically examined neither Rabbinic Judaism or Chalcedonian Christianity seem to have much in common with the Judaism they came out of; they have reinterpreted/twisted that matrix almost beyond recognition.

          I am not a Mormon; my dead family are not Mormons; Though that church will say they are through their bizarre baptising of the dead. Your definition of “Jew” is just as stupid. Absent the religious trappings a heterogeneous collection of people with at least four different origins that we can make out does not an ethnicity make. Even the original claim to being a people seems to be false; a taking up of Persian imperial propaganda by a ragbag of disparate groups shipped in from elsewhere.

        • Yonah

          I don’t know many of my fellow Jews who use the word “ethnicity” as a synonym for “people”.

          So. The funny thing is that you want to blather typical protestations to Jewish “claims” to be a people…none of which Jews ever listen to because they are busy being Jewish and thus being a people. Our peoplehood, as we do it, is longer and wider and than your peoplehood….which is probably why you haven’t whipped your peoplehood out for us to get a gander at it.

        • Steven Watson

          Dude, the word comes from the Greek meaning… People. ROFL.

        • Yonah

          The Greek word “ethnoi” means “nations”. This word is, in Jewish vocabulary, a synonym for “gentiles” or more rudely “goyim”.

          Did you go to college?

        • Steven Watson

          http://bibleandmission.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/why-foreign-missions-7.html

          Why Foreign Missions? 7. The
          meaning of ‘ethnoi’ in Matthew 28.19

          The previous discussion examined the relationship between
          Mt. 28.16-20 and Is. 66.18-23. One
          specific issue in this comparison deserves attention: who are the ‘nations’
          (Greek ethnoi) to whom the disciples are to go?
          The Greek word can be translated as ‘peoples,’ ‘nations,’ or
          ‘Gentiles.’

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnic_group

          In Classical Greek, the term (ethnikos) took on a meaning comparable to the concept now expressed by “ethnic group”, mostly translated as “nation, people”

          Unlike me; Google is your friend.

        • Yonah

          First, although beside the point of how Jews use particular words, the NT and first century Palestinian use of Greek was not classical, but Koine.

          More importantly, in Jewish usage, Jews used the word “ethnoi” for “non-Jew”. The radicality of the Jesus movement and subsequent Christian Church is that is extended its reach to non-Jews.

          One could speak of other words for “people” that have been in Jewish usage, i.e. l’om in the OT or the word klal which is commonly used today. These are words that pertain to “non-Jewish” and do not include the connotations of the modern use and sense of the word “ethnic”. Because: in the contemporary use of the word klal the intention is to refer to the Jewish people as a broad global civilization which includes Jews of many different regional/linguistic/cultural contexts.

          Ruth was a convert.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Steven Watson

          Tah, saved for future use.

        • MNb

          Sad, being busy being a people. I am rather busy being MNb.

  • adhoc

    “Show me what would convince you to change your mind.”

    In two words- Good Evidence.

    With all the claims made about deities, the existence of these deities should be a obvious as the existence of gravity.

  • CoffeeAddict001

    As long as there are children who suffer and die due to starvation, war, disease, natural disasters, etc., my stance is that god either does not exist, or if he does, he is cruel and uncaring.

    • And either way, that leaves no good reason to imagine the Christian god.

  • Susan

    The term “God” is one of the most useless terms in our language.

    It tells me nothing. I can only assess an individual’s claim and wonder what evidence might persuade me that that claim approximately models reality.

    If your claim is an omnipotent, or omniscient or omniscient agent, let alone all three at once, there’s not enough evidence for any human to make or accept that claim. There just isn’t in principle.

  • Aram

    Nice random shot of Inverness Castle 🙂

  • L.Long

    As others have stated…Convince me of what???? Define the terms!!!!
    Is there a gawd? Easy show me one!
    Is the buyBull gawd real? Again show me one, and my next question will be where is the group trying to destroy him, I want to join!!!
    Is religion real? Well I know they are real as I see evidence of their hate, fear, hypocrisy, bigotry, and their constant striving to to get their type of Sorry-Ass laws put into place. And I already belong to a group trying to keep them slapped down.

  • KarlUdy

    It is interesting reading these answers where atheists say what would change their minds.

    There are gems such as:

    Like if we looked up and all the visible stars and planets had realigned to form the words “I am,” and everyone saw it in their own language. That would convince me that there is an omnipotent superbeing.

    and

    one good miracle would be for all the Bibles of the world to be altered to be consistent internally and with all other sources of knowledge.

    and

    I’m thinking, if an angel type person came flapping down on iridescent wings and handed me a book, saying that the bible was a cruel hoax from demons, and the new book had some real answers, I would probably change my mind.

    It just leaves me wondering …
    What would all the atheists say if religious versions of these were demanded to satisfy a change of mind?
    “I won’t stop being believing in God unless every Qu’ran was miraculously altered to instead state that there is no God”
    “If all the stars in the sky aligned themselves to spell out ‘There Is No God’ I will stop believing in God.”
    “If an angel on iridescent wings came down and told me that all the church’s teaching up until that point was false and handed me the correct teaching on plates of gold …” oops, I think that one’s already been done!

    Anyway, how would you deal with religious versions of what you say here would change your mind?

    • Religious versions would be ironic, since they would immediately raise the question: “who altered all the Qurans” etc.? However, if (using just that example) Islam is false and Christianity true, I don’t think it would be too much to ask that Muslims be given a sign so they’re saved.

      I think a person would have to deal with this in the same way.

    • Greg G.

      “If all the stars in the sky aligned themselves to spell out ‘There Is No God’ I will stop believing in God.”

      English translations of the Bible say “there is no god” at least 18 times.

      The Q Continuum could rearrange the stars to say “there is no god”.

      ” oops, I think that one’s already been done!”

      It has been claimed.

    • adam

      “Anyway, how would you deal with religious versions of what you say here would change your mind?”

      It would DEMONSTRATE the supernatural.

      Something YOU and your kind has failed to do for all of history.

    • Susan

      “I won’t stop being believing in God unless every Qu’ran was miraculously altered to instead state that there is no God”

      Or this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LXCZRpxHpg

    • It is interesting reading these answers where atheists say what would change their minds.

      I take it you’re pleased that atheists give evidence that would get them to change their mind?

      Contrast that with Wm. Lane Craig. If you ask him what would get him to change his mind, he says, “Nothing.”

      There are gems such as:

      Agreed. Those were pretty good examples.

      “I won’t stop being believing in God unless every Qu’ran was miraculously altered to instead state that there is no God”

      “I won’t stop believing in the supernatural unless I see supernatural evidence that the supernatural doesn’t exist.” Again, I agree with you: that would be pretty stupid.

      If you’re actually struggling to create a reciprocal argument from the believer’s standpoint, that would be something like, “I will stop believing in the supernatural once I understand how naturalistic arguments better explain the evidence we have.”

      Anyway, how would you deal with religious versions of what you say here would change your mind?

      Laugh at them? Or was that a trick question?

      • KarlUdy

        I’ll just answer once here to all the responses …

        I am somewhat surprised that atheists are anticipating phenomena to change their minds about atheism.

        I’m guessing that not many, if any of the atheists here came to their atheist position based on phenomena. Instead I imagine that they came to it by some other means? So why look particularly to phenomena to undercut a position that is based on other forms of evidence?

        Here you expect theists to become atheists because of “naturalistic arguments”. Could theistic arguments convince an atheist?

        Do you think that theists generally come to their position on this issue via phenomena? Why/why not?

        • Atheists follow evidence. I asked atheists what evidence they’d follow to convert to Christianity. What’s hard to understand?

          Could theistic arguments convince an atheist?

          Have you not been paying attention? Arguments pro and con are most of what I write about. I would become a Christian only through evidence/argument.

          Do you think that theists generally come to their position on this issue via phenomena?

          I think that most Christians come to their position by inertia (they were raised that way) or through emotional arguments (that is: not intellectual arguments and/or evidence).

        • KarlUdy

          I asked atheists what evidence they’d follow to convert to Christianity. What’s hard to understand?

          Subtle difference, but you asked what would change their minds re God, not what evidence they’d follow to convert to Christianity.

          Regardless, why is something along the lines of “a rational explanation of all of the currently available evidence that cuts through all of my current atheist objections” not included? It could be the case that you currently do not know of such an explanation, but surely that does not rule out that one exists, does it?

        • “a rational explanation of all of the currently available evidence that cuts through all of my current atheist objections”

          Sure, that would do it, too. I didn’t think that that was precluded. The kinds of things that were discussed–a dream that everyone in the world shares that explains God’s plan, for example–sound far more compelling than that.

          Given that point of agreement, did you want to take this any further? Did you have such an explanation in mind?

    • Ol’ Hippy

      I like to think we live in a non-deterministic universe. If one could show this was a deterministic universe I would change my mind. There has been no evidence,yet, to change my viewpoint.

      • adam

        “If one could show this was a deterministic universe I would change my mind. ”

        Will yourself to fly or to become invisible at will.

        • Ol’ Hippy

          This points to the next problem defining free will. I think it too is an illusion of sorts, but we can and do make choices if we allow the time to engage our cognitive minds.

        • adam

          I think it disproves Free Will, if I am not able to freely exercise my will, I dont have Free Will.

          “but we can and do make choices if we allow the time to engage our cognitive minds.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e87cd78f1a100e465104a9f37d47d672418d77fbe6cf093cc896ca6e1c7ac4eb.jpg

          Does one make free decisions that are deterministic limited?

      • MNb

        According to Modern Physics we do live in a probabilistic, ie non-deterministic universe indeed.

    • powellpower

      I’m not sure if you actually thought through your question.

      In every single instance, your religious person will end up having even more faith in their current religion.

      Let’s see:

      If every Qu’ran was miraculously altered, 0uslims will say it’s the trick of Satan and the fact that it’s miraculous prove supernatural powerful beings. Hence, if there’s Satan there must be a God.

      Same thing for the stars.

      An angel coming down? It’s the same. There’s a Buddhism belief that when you die and your soul goes to Nirvana, you must keep straight to the path that you are on. Even if an image of Buddha come to you and say follow hiim, you must still follow through and not follow the false image.

      All in all, you’re just putting up cases of more supernatural scenarios. How in the world would supernatural scenarios turn people AWAY from supernatural beliefs? They might possibly switch faith (maybe Muslim turn to Christians after the Qu’ran kerfuffle), but no way they’ll turn to atheism.

    • InDogITrust

      What’s your point? An obviously supernatural event would increase belief in the supernatural, regardless of content.

      If all the stars in the sky aligned themselves to spell out ‘There Is No God’ I’d think, what the fuck did *that*?

      Same as I’d think if the words were “I am.” As I said, I’d accept that as evidence of an omnipotent superbeing. Not necessarily evidence of a god, because you’ve have to define god first.

      • Heh, I’d think, “Now that was some good shit. Time for bed.”

  • If an atheist were given substantial evidence for a god’s evidence, I don’t think it would be reasonable for them to claim it’s really aliens, a trick, they’re crazy, etc. without substantial evidence for that. To do otherwise would indeed by hypocrisy and a double standard. Supernatural vs. natural here is not even the point (though we’d need to define those). We could believe that this god is a wholly natural being (again, however that’s defined) as in pantheism for instance.

    • I don’t think it would be reasonable for them to claim it’s really aliens, a trick, they’re crazy, etc. without substantial evidence for that.

      But we do. Before we even approach the analysis of such a claim, we know that sometimes people have delusions or are crazy. “Aliens did it” is simply a claim that intelligent beings with technology did it–hardly a surprising claim (except for their being hitherto unknown to us).

      • MNb

        That’s what I don’t get. I can think of several reasons why “aliens did it” is a very surprising claim. One of them is that it contradicts relativity.

        • Yes, that would be surprising. I’m saying that the discovery of anything supernatural would be far more surprising.

          I see no contradiction of Relativity. Scientists have speculated about how practical intergalactic travel might work. It’s just speculation, of course, but I think it’s premature to say that we know enough physics to declare it impossible.

        • MNb

          “I’m saying that the discovery of anything supernatural would be far more surprising.”
          Why? What’s your standard? Can you have any standard if such alien technology is so advanced that you can’t grasp it anyway due to your (and my) primitive human brain?

          “Scientists have speculated about how practical intergalactic travel might work.”
          Speculations based on the idea that somehow the basic assumption of Relativity can be avoided: that nothing travels faster than light. And no, quantum entanglement doesn’t avoid that assumption either.
          That’s a direct contradiction of Relativity.

        • “I’m saying that the discovery of anything supernatural would be far more surprising.”

          Why?

          Because the supernatural is a new category. “Intelligent beings” and “technology” are not.

          What’s your standard? Can you have any standard if such alien technology is so advanced that you can’t grasp it anyway due to your (and my) primitive human brain?

          You seem to have changed the subject. Sure, we can imagine alien technology being beyond our grasp. We can also imagine it indistinguishable from “the supernatural.”

          nothing travels faster than light

          Which is a problem if you want to fly through conventional space in the ordinary way.

          Quantum entanglement could be explained by the two particles touching in a higher dimension. Going from one to the other in that dimension takes no time even though they could be separated by a great distance in our world.

          [EDIT: Or maybe wormholes. I’m just speculating unadvisedly.]

          That’s a direct contradiction of Relativity.

          Are you saying that physicists are in agreement that practical (that is, trips measured in years) intergalactic travel is impossible? That would be news to me.

        • powellpower

          I think the issue is that we will never be able to say for sure what is “super”natural. This is because we do not have full knowledge of the natural world and never have full confidence that we know EVERYTHING.

          Case in point, 500 years ago you show somebody WIFI and internet they’ll think you are good and what you’re doing is “super”natural, that is because radiowaves have not been discovered yet.

          3000 years ago, levitating rocks will be “super”natural because we do not understand magnets.

          Etc etc etc.

        • MNb

          “You seem to have changed the subject.”
          Not at all. You wrote

          “far more surprising”
          That implies you can measure the amount of surprise somehow. Fortunately you provided a standard: counting categories.

          “Quantum entanglement could be explained by the two particles touching in a higher dimension.”
          That’s not what the Dutch scientists who recently confirmed quantum entanglement say.

          http://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/61126/does-entanglement-not-immediately-contradict-the-theory-of-special-relativity

          http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/about-us/137-physics/general-physics/particles-and-quantum-physics/810-does-quantum-entanglement-imply-faster-than-light-communication-intermediate

          “Are you saying that …..”
          I’m saying exactly what I’m saying.and nothing more. It’s a bad habit of yours, when you get criticized, to immediately read more into what I write than what I actually write.

          As my patience with this trick gets smaller and smaller every time you pull it off this is my last answer to you. I won’t read yours.

        • I’m saying exactly what I’m saying.and nothing more. It’s a bad habit of yours, when you get criticized, to immediately read more into what I write than what I actually write.

          No, my bad habit is apparently, when I don’t understand
          something, to ask for clarification.

          As my patience with this trick gets smaller and smaller every time you pull it off this is my last answer to you. I won’t read yours.

          Praise the Lord.

      • Some people do. Those are possibilities, but if people just say “Oh, it must have been a delusion, or aliens” without good evidence, that’s quite irrational.

  • primenumbers

    Falsifiability only works in an entirely naturalistic universe. If we allow for a matrix-like universe where we’re brains in bottles believing in a computer-generated environment as if it were real, then that environment can be altered to invent evidence for anything. If we’re in a theistic universe, any deity can confound our minds or subvert our thought processes or just invent whatever evidence they desire. It’s only in a naturalistic universe that these games cannot be played and thus concepts such as deities can be falsified. To ask an atheist what evidence would change their mind is admit we’re in a naturalistic universe and thus make the question void.

    • To ask an atheist what evidence would change their mind is admit we’re in a naturalistic universe and thus make the question void.

      That’s a keeper.

    • MNb

      Ha, I disagree! What you’re saying here is that naturalism itself can’t be falsified – ie no evidence (ie empirical data) is possible to refute naturalism itself. In a way “our universe is natural” then transcends naturalism itself and isn’t part of our natural universe anymore. That’s incoherent.
      If falsifiability only works in our natural reality then “god exists” and “god doesn’t exist” both must be falsifiable as well.
      Nope, not a keeper I’m afraid.

      • primenumbers

        Naturalism is a reasonable presupposition. It’s reasonableness is pragmatic because assuming it produces useful results. I don’t think “our universe is natural” is transcendental, unless you can explain further.

        If falsifiability can only work under naturalism, that doesn’t imply that every statement under naturalism is falsifiable though. Perhaps that falsifiability is entirely trivial though, in that under assumption of a naturalistic universe, it is the case that “god does not exist” is trivially true.

        What we need though is not logical games, but evidence. The problem being that once we posit the supernatural, there is no way that any evidence can be sufficiently convincing. It’s not the atheists fault though that allowing for the supernatural causes all this bother. It is only a problem for those that posit the supernatural.

        • powellpower

          I re-read and I still don’t really grasp fully what you’re saying. Maybe I need to chew on it more. Nevertheless, this is a new perspective that is refreshing. (for me that is, for all I know this has been the standard philosophical conclusion for eons)

        • MNb

          “I don’t think “our universe is natural” is transcendental, unless you can explain further.”
          I already explained, so this is a cheapo.

          “that doesn’t imply that every statement under naturalism is falsifiable though.”
          That’s not what I wrote. You are guilty of a common misunderstanding: that falsifiability is factual. It isn’t. It’s a norm. And if you use falsifiability as a norm under naturalism it’s incoherent to accept naturalism as an unfalsifiable presupposition – and that applies to “god exist” and “god doesn’t exist” as well.

          “What we need though is not logical games, but evidence.”
          If that’s meant to back naturalism you’re pulling off a circular argument, because evidence by definition is empirical and hence only applies to our natural reality.
          What we need to do is showing that naturalism is coherent and preferably also that dualism isn’t. That can be done, but not the way you try.

      • Greg G.

        What you’re saying here is that naturalism itself can’t be falsified – ie no evidence (ie empirical data) is possible to refute naturalism itself.

        He didn’t say that exactly. If naturalism is not true, it could be falsified if the gods, the programmers of the Matrix, or the Keepers of the Vats decided to let naturalism be falsified. He is essentially saying that we cannot prove anything true, we can only falsify things, because we could be wrong and not know it, especially if demons are messing with our observations to make us think it is all natural.

        P.S. But I do agree that it isn’t a keeper because the evidence allowed by the Keepers of the Vats that naturalism was false by contradiction would still be possible.

        • primenumbers

          Yes, the keepers of the vats could demonstrate that our assumed naturalism of the vat-world was false by contradiction. Of course that says nothing about the meta-universe of the vat keepers. It’s vats all the way down….

  • SteveK

    >> Science has shown us myriad examples where a natural explanation trumps a prior supernatural explanation, so it’s reasonable to bet on the natural explanation where it exists.

    Science explains things only in terms of natural explanations. By design, that’s all it will entertain. This is reasonable and uncontroversial given the philosophy of science – and it works great. What’s unreasonable is believing that the natural explanation is the complete explanation when reason says otherwise. For more on this see the principle of sufficient reason (PSR).

    But maybe you disagree with the PSR and think natural explanations do not need to be explained. Is this your position?

    • Quantum mechanics already tells us that some events don’t have causes.

      Yes, science tells us things in terms of the natural. Is that a problem? How else would you perceive the supernatural except for its intrusion into the natural?

      • MNb

        “Quantum mechanics already tells us that some events don’t have causes.”
        Yeah, but that is not good enough. In philosophical terms QM probability provides a reason.

        Your question is a good one though. The answer should be “deduction from known empirical facts”. All versions of the Cosmological Argument work that way: our Universe exists (empirical fact) hence god. To which my compatriot Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis would have replied “deriving a divine world from the concrete one requires a salto mortale”.

        • salto mortale:

          (1) a dangerous and daring jump with possibly lethal outcome

          (2) (figuratively) a risky, dangerous or crucial step or undertaking

      • SteveK

        >> Quantum mechanics already tells us that some events don’t have causes.

        Is it your position that this doesn’t need to be explained?

        • ?? No. I’m simply undercutting your use of the principle of sufficient reason.

        • SteveK

          Not sure what you mean by undercuts my use of the PSR. You seem to be adhering to it, which is good.

        • You said, “What’s unreasonable is believing that the natural explanation is the complete explanation when reason says otherwise. For more on this see the principle of sufficient reason (PSR).”

          When I mentioned QM, I was referring to its undercutting the idea that every event has a cause. That seemed to be a direct rebuttal to “The Principle of Sufficient Reason is a powerful and controversial philosophical principle stipulating that everything must have a reason or cause.”

        • SteveK

          Color me confused, Bob, because afterward you affirmed that this wasn’t your position.

          Me: Is it your position that this [QM] doesn’t need to be explained?
          You: No.

        • Sounds like you’re determined to be confused. Surely there’s something in there to respond to.

        • adam

          “Color me confused, Bob,”

          But you’ve already colored yourself a liar, and I left my confused crayon at home.

        • Greg G.

          Certain quantum events have no external cause. That is an explanation.

        • SteveK

          It’s a statement. A statement that fails to explain why they are that way. The beginning of the universe explains why they are that way – it explains everything in our universe – so that could possibly work as an explanation.

        • MNb

          “A statement that fails to explain why they are that way.”
          Yeah. Unfortunately “goddiddid” also is a statement that fails to explain why it is that way. So once again I call for Ockham.
          We have gone over this several times now: the First Cause, the Ultimate Explanation. So for the gazillionth time: if your god doesn’t need to be caused or explained neither does say quantum fields. And before you start to lie again: that’s a philosophical statement, not a scientific one. It follows the principle of Ockham’s Razor, which happens to be instrumental in science indeed.
          So what you need to do, but simply refuse, is to show that your god hypothesis is coherent (I think I can show it isn’t) and demonstrate its explanatory power (ie what does it explain that cannot be explained on naturalism).
          Thus far you have only babbled around.

        • SteveK

          I’m talking about what the evidence tells us. That’s all.

        • adam

          “I’m talking about what the evidence tells us. That’s all.”

        • MNb

          No, you’re not and I painstakingly made clear why. You’re just confirming a favourite quote of mine:

          “To derive a divine world from the concrete one requires a salto mortale.”
          Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis, end of 19th Century.

        • adam

          “Thus far you have only babbled around.”

          Except where he has outright LIED and been DECEPTIVE.

        • Greg G.

          We can’t explain everything at this point in time. We humans may never be able to explain everything. A contrived, untestable (therefore unfalsifiable) explanation is no better than a BIV explanation, except the warm, fuzzy feeling in your belly might make you feel better about yourself, which is wishful thinking. You are trying to pound a square god into a round gap.

    • MNb

      “What’s unreasonable is believing that the natural explanation is the complete explanation when reason says otherwise.”
      You’re fighting a strawman. This article is not about the question if the natural explanation is the complete explanation. It’s about what evidence could falsify the natural explanation.
      Your question is simply irrelevant.

      Plus of course PSR doesn’t say what you want it to say. But that’s to be expected from dishonest SteveK.
      Unfortunately the Stanford University link doesn’t seem to work.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principle_of_sufficient_reason

      PSR applies as much to your god as to natural explanations. Just saying “god grounds X” is not anymore a sufficient reason.than “naturalism explains itself”. Plus you haven’t given a sufficient reason for the demand that naturalism must be a complete explanation. What you must do is demonstrate how naturalism never ever will be able to provde a complete explanation. Thus far you refused to even try.

      • SteveK

        >> This article is not about the question if the natural explanation is the complete explanation. It’s about what evidence could falsify the natural explanation.

        The evidence we’d need would be the necessity of an explanation that isn’t natural. What things are considered to be “natural” – is there more to the list besides matter and energy?

        >> Plus you haven’t given a sufficient reason for the demand that naturalism must be a complete explanation.

        It’s not a demand. If it can’t then something else is required.

        • MNb

          “… is required”
          Ie a demand. Has apologetics affected your brain?
          Apparently, because your question

          “What things are …..”
          is totally irrelevant for what I wrote about “what evidence could falsify the natural explanation.”

        • Dys

          SteveK’s entire tactic here doesn’t seem to be any more substantive than an insistence that he doesn’t want the natural world to be all there is, so he’s trying to abstractly argue for magic.

        • MNb

          Yes and exactly that is what highly irritates me in philosophy in general and specially apologetics: abstract arguing. We know that deduction, ie arguing alone is not enough. It has to be rooted in our natural reality.
          But when they think they can make a point they suddenly have full attention for facts. Like BobS once wrote: if they think it suits them they suddenly are staunch empirists.
          Philosophy that doesn’t account for our natural reality is worth nothing.

        • adam

          MAGIC is all he has to explain his ‘god’ of the gaps.

        • RichardSRussell

          What things are considered to be “natural” – is there more to the list besides matter and energy?

          Space and time.

      • OldSearcher
        • MNb

          It now works for me as well. I suspect it was temporarily down for maintrainance 15 hours ago.

    • Pofarmer

      This old canard again? The only way we can experience something is if it interacts with our natural world, which is what we experience. If we can’t test it via some agreeable method, then it is simply inconsequential. It would be impossible,to tell from something imaginary, which is the likely answer.

      • SteveK

        Is it your position that natural explanations don’t need to be explained? Your answer is not without consequence.

        • Dys

          Considering what your ultimate explanation is, this tactic of yours is ultimately self-defeating on your part.

        • SteveK

          My “tactic” is asking about your beliefs.

        • adam

          No, your ‘tactic’ as YOU have demonstrated is to LIE and be DECEPTIVE.

        • MNb

          I don’t have beliefs.
          I provisionally accept statements that are confirmed by empirical data, no matter how indirectly. Sure to be able to do so I have to accept some presuppositions as well, but because of Ockham I try to minimize the amount.

        • SteveK

          My approach too, generally speaking, except when I’m able to know something without needing empirical data. I know my thoughts without needing empirical data.

        • MNb

          Irrelevant – as usual, I’m tempted to add. Neuroscientists have collected direct empirical data regarding human thoughts. Remember: I added “no matter how indirectly”. You writing comments provides indirect empirical data regarding your thoughts.
          Now if you could provide similar empirical data regarding the thoughts of that supernatural mind you worship …. but that runs into the usual problems.

        • SteveK

          Relevant to the point that I don’t need anyone to confirm by empirical data the statement “I know my thoughts” before I can accept it. If that’s what you intended to say then we are in agreement.

        • MNb

          And that’s only relevant for solipsism. It remains irrelevant for what I wrote: I don’t have beliefs.

        • Pofarmer

          Not sure I follow.

        • MNb

          He is constructing a chain a la the Cosmological Argument again. On naturalism Y explains Z, X explains Y, all the way down to A explains B. Then he asks: what explains A? Aha! Gotcha! Can’t explain that! (the Bill O’Reilly reference is intentional). Hence God!
          Dishonest as he is he refuses to consider the next logical step: what explains god?
          But if you answer “yes” he will reply “incoherent!” or some variation.

        • adam

          “(the Bill O’Reilly reference is intentional)”

        • Pofarmer

          Special pleading? The hell you say?

        • SteveK

          If you answer the question we can discuss the consequences.

        • adam

          “If you answer the question we can discuss the consequences.”

          No you will LIE and be DECEPTIVE as that is the ONLY WAY you can demonstrate YOUR ‘god’

        • InDogITrust

          Do you really not understand?

          Natural explanations can be explained naturally.

          The following situations are all effectively identical from our perspective:

          1- X exists, and X is supernatural, and X interacts with the natural world so that the interaction can be detected, and the interaction can be explained naturally.

          2- X exists, and X is supernatural, but X cannot be detected in the natural world.

          3- X does not exist.

          Supernatural being that cannot be detected or that can be explained naturally has the same impact on the natural world as if they didn’t exist. They are a difference which makes no difference.

          Only if X exists, and X is supernatural, and X interacts with the natural world so that the interaction can be detected, and the interaction cannot be explained naturally, would the supernatural actually “exist” in the natural world.

        • adam

          “Supernatural being that cannot be detected or that can be explained
          naturally has the same impact on the natural world as if they didn’t
          exist. They are a difference which makes no difference.”

          Exactly like IMAGINARY beings…

        • InDogITrust

          God, Sauron, and Voldemort have all had the same impact on the world: none.

        • adam

          Exactly

        • SteveK

          >> Natural explanations can be explained naturally.

          They are explained that way, yes.

        • InDogITrust

          You were the one asking about whether natural explanations don’t need to be explained.
          Waiting for the consequences.

        • SteveK

          I didn’t know you were answering my question. I’m not sure the answer is clear so let me ask….

          You think natural explanations do need to be explained, and that the explanation is a natural explanation that doesn’t need to be explained?

        • adam

          “You think natural explanations do need to be explained”

          No, there is no inherent ‘need’ for natural explanations to be explained, it is our natural curiosity provided by evolution that even allows to ‘want’ to ‘try’ and explain them.

          Of course, natures Hyperactive Agency Detection system is what drives people like YOU to MAGIC.

        • SteveK

          Science believes they need an explanation so saying there is no need for one is anti-science.

        • adam

          “Science believes they need an explanation so saying there is no need for one is anti-science.”

          No, there is no inherent ‘need’ for natural explanations to be
          explained, it is our natural curiosity provided by evolution that even allows to ‘want’ to ‘try’ and explain them.

        • SteveK

          >> No, there is no inherent ‘need’ for natural explanations to be explained

          Is there any evidence that shows this to be true?

        • adam

          “Is there any evidence that shows this to be true?”

          How does something inanimate have a ‘need’ to do anything?

        • InDogITrust

          Oh, having gone back and skimmed over your posts, I think I get it:
          we do not now have a natural explanation for everything, therefore: God.
          For all your fancy footwork, it sounds a lot like “Goddidit.”
          Applying the razor “we don’t know, yet” is always the better answer than “magic.”

        • adam

          But MAGIC is the VERY BEST answer that his ‘faith’ (wishful thinking) provides for him.

        • Yes, we know; A Wizard Did It

        • Pofarmer

          Consequences? this sounds serious. perhaps I should know about these consequences before I answer.

        • adam

          “Consequences? this sounds serious. perhaps I should know about these consequences before I answer.”

          SteveK will LIE to you, or at least be DECEPTIVE.

          It really is the VERY BEST that he has to defend his ‘god’ of his gaps.

    • Greg G.

      If you contrive an explanation without regard to evidence, and contrive it to be impossible to test by empirical means, it doesn’t mean it is correct. When you go beyond the evidence, you are engaging in wishful thinking.

      • adam

        “you are engaging in wishful thinking.”

        But THAT IS the foundation for all his ‘beliefs’

        He BELIEVES what Paul created will get him ‘eternal life’ and he will get to ‘know’ that everyone who disagreed with him is being tortured UNMERCIFULLY for ETERNITY

      • SteveK

        I didn’t contrive an explanation. I only said that it’s unreasonable to to believe that the natural explanation is the complete explanation. I say that because all the evidence we’ve gathered points to that fact, without exception.

        I say without exception because, as far as I know, there is not one thing, one event, in this universe that science has observed that science would say “that doesn’t need to be explained”.

        In other words, all *known* natural explanations are not the complete explanation. You have to believe *beyond* the evidence if you want to think otherwise. This is what you are doing.

        • adam

          ” I only said that it’s unreasonable to to believe that the natural explanation is the complete explanation. I say that because all the evidence we’ve gathered points to that fact, without exception.”

          yes, but you LIE constantly, so you ‘saying’ so isnt worth dog crap.

          Besides, ALL THE EVIDENCE is naturalistic…..

          What a maroon…

        • Greg G.

          I didn’t contrive an explanation. I only said that it’s unreasonable to to believe that the natural explanation is the complete explanation.

          We get it, SteveK. You are trying to use the Socratic method.

          We don’t have to believe the natural explanation is complete. The only reliable information we can get is by natural means. That is as far as natural means can go. There will always be solipsistic arguments for explanations that cannot be proven wrong. Supernatural solipsistic arguments are foolproof because they are carefully contrived to be so.

          Since all solipsistic explanations, which includes religious explanations, are contrived to be untestable, it is always presumptuous to jump to any of them. There may be some that haven’t been thought up that are more reasonable. There may be a breakthrough around the corner. At the end of the 19th century, physicists thought they had all but a few things completely ironed out in Classical Physics. Then Curie discovered radiation, Einstein put forth the Theory of Relativity, and quantum dynamics was discovered.

          It is irrelevant whether natural means are sufficient to explain everything, whether the limitations are intrinsic, or our intellect isn’t up to the challenge of solving the questions. Unless there is evidence stronger than your wishful thinking for a supernatural force, it is wishful thinking to think it.

        • SteveK

          I have no interest in discussing solipism. I’m ignoring it.

          >> We don’t have to believe the natural explanation is complete.

          The current evidence says it currently is incomplete, hence the reason we keep looking for more explanations. No belief required.

          >> The only reliable information we can get is by natural means.

          And that reliable information tells us everything that science has discovered requires an explanation. Correct me if I’m wrong, here.

          >> It is irrelevant whether natural means are sufficient to explain everything, whether the limitations are intrinsic, or our intellect isn’t up to the challenge of solving the questions.

          It’s very relevant. If natural means are insufficient, then non-natural means are required.

        • adam

          ” If natural means are insufficient, then non-natural means are required.”

          And all you have to do is DEMONSTRATE that non-natural means are anything but IMAGINARY…..

          Which you’ve been avoiding since you got here.

        • Susan

          I have no interest in discussing solipsism. I’m ignoring it.

          Your pattern is to ignore things that highlight the problems with your claims. You still have done nothing to distinguish solipsism from your particular brand of theism.

          The current evidence says it currently is incomplete, hence the reason we keep looking for more explainations.

          Yes. It is incomplete. But every reliable explanation so far has been a natural explanation. Why this natural phenomenon? Oh. ‘Cause this natural phenomenon.

          that reliable information tells us everything that science has discovered requires an explanation.

          No. It doesn’t. Science looks for more explanations and continues to make progress. In every case, the explanations are natural. This does not imply that explanations are “required”, just that they are pursued. So far, science makes progress.

          If natural means are insufficient, then non-natural means are required.

          That does not follow. Without showing how “non-natural” means explain anything, we might be stuck with “natural means are insufficient.”

          More God of the Gaps will not help where God of the Gaps has never made progress.

        • Greg G.

          Susan hit nearly everything I was going to say.

          It’s very relevant. If natural means are insufficient, then non-natural means are required.

          Absolutely incorrect. Natural means may be insufficient, not because of natural explanations don’t have explanatory power, but because there is no way to practically test the explanations to falsify any of them. That will never justify jumping to solipsistic conclusions like your religion. The demon theory of disease may have delayed consideration of the germ theory of disease. How many have died because Jesus is reported to have said that a person is not defiled by what goes into the mouth? Consider how many have died in the past several years from handling poisonous snakes because the interpolated ending of Mark says they should be able to do it.

          The time to consider supernatural means is when there is evidence of supernatural events, but the supernatural is contrived to not produce such evidence, just like solipsism is.

          If you want to talk about your religion but not solipsism, then show us how your religion is not like solipsism at its core.

        • SteveK

          >> Absolutely incorrect.

          Logically, I’m absolutely correct in what I intended to say. If X is insufficient them something else other than X is required.

          If you didn’t intend to make the point I thought you were making then we are just talking past each other.

          >> Natural means may be insufficient, not because of natural explanations don’t have explanatory power, but because there is no way to practically test the explanations to falsify any of them. T

          We can look at the probability based on the evidence we’ve collected so far. What is the probability that natural means are sufficient to explain nature?

          The probability is extremely low because everything in nature we’ve discovered either

          a) requires an explanation for it’s current state, or

          b) science is still looking for the explanation because scientific theories consider the probability to be high.

          So here’s my question to you: Why would anyone believe that natural means are sufficient when the scientific probability is extremely low?

          I believe the science. I believe natural means are insufficient.

        • Greg G.

          Logically, I’m absolutely correct in what I intended to say. If X is insufficient them something else other than X is required.

          “If X is insufficient” is correct, but in order for it to be a true premise, you must have some evidence that “X is insufficient”. I addressed this with:

          The time to consider supernatural means is when there is evidence of supernatural events, but the supernatural is contrived to not produce such evidence, just like solipsism is.

          So here’s my question to you: Why would anyone believe that natural means are sufficient when the scientific probability is extremely low?

          Why would anybody believe that natural means are not sufficient without evidence that they are insufficient? I am saying that it may be that natural means are sufficient, but we may never be able to explain everything by natural means. It has taken us only a few centuries of scientific investigation to reach where we are now but it has given us new and harder questions that may need more mass and energy to answer than we have in the solar system. And it takes time to do the requisite studying and the sun may burn out before then.

          Until you have evidence for something, you have wishful thinking. You cannot wish the supernatural into existence. The supernatural is defined as being unassailable by natural means. That is a big problem for you. So far, everything we have explained has a natural explanation and there has been nothing discovered that gives an indication of anything but a natural explanation. Everything that has been attributed to the supernatural by religious and superstitious people has been shown to be completely natural. That makes the probability very low that natural means cannot explain everything.

          The definition of supernatural could be wrong. The supernatural could conceivably allow unambiguous evidence of its existence. God could prove he exists. The Keepers of the Vats could let us in on the secret. Vishnu could dream about himself interacting with the people in his dream.

          So, I am not saying that natural means cannot explain everything but I am not saying that humans or even alien species will be able to explain everything. That is no reason to believe in demons, BIVs, gods, ghosts, invisible unicorns, or any other thing that is only accessible through our imagination.

        • adam

          “Why would anybody believe that natural means are not sufficient without evidence that they are insufficient?”

          Horrible indoctrination and irrational fear from that indoctrination.

          Plus the lack of desire or ability to think for oneself outside that indoctrination.

        • SteveK

          >> “If X is insufficient” is correct, but in order for it to be a true premise, you must have some evidence that “X is insufficient”.

          I have that evidence right now. Who knows what the future holds, but I’m not looking to the future for my evidence. I have it today.

          As of today, the scientific evidence tells us that every discovery that science made in the past (a) was insufficient to explain itself, or (b) is probably insufficient according to current scientific theories.

          Believing that this pattern will change in the future is a belief without evidence – aka wishful thinking.

          >> Until you have evidence for something, you have wishful thinking.

          I have logic applied to today’s evidence. Logically speaking, adding more discoveries of the *same kind* (the natural kind) we’ve discovered thus far does not alter the above statement. Try it out for yourself.

          >> So far, everything we have explained has a natural explanation and there has been nothing discovered that gives an indication of anything but a natural explanation.

          You left out the scientific discovery that everything we have explained does not explain itself. That is a discovery-based indication that tells something about natural explanations.

          >> Everything that has been attributed to the supernatural by religious and superstitious people has been shown to be completely natural.

          Shown? Uh, no it hasn’t been shown. You must not understand.

          >> That makes the probability very low that natural means cannot explain everything. The definition of supernatural could be wrong.

          I’m currently working with the definition of natural and the probability is very low according to current evidence. Can the definition of natural be wrong?

        • adam

          “As of today, the scientific evidence tells us that every discovery that
          science made in the past (a) was insufficient to explain itself, ”

          No it wasnt.
          It explains it so what we can use it.
          I.e technology

          “or (b) is probably insufficient according to current scientific theories.”

          Why? Does not technology work the way science says it does?

          “or (b) is probably insufficient according to current scientific theories.”

          “You left out the scientific discovery that everything we have explained
          does not explain itself. ”

          How can it not?

          >> Everything that has been attributed to the supernatural by religious and superstitious people has been shown to be completely natural.

          Shown? Uh, no it hasn’t been shown. You must not understand.”

          If we dont understand it is because of all your lying and deception.

          Why not JUST DEMONSTRATE this ‘god’ of yours and its’ ‘supernatural’ powers and leave this ‘god of the gaps’ in the dust

          We KNOW

          You would have, if you could have.

          Simple Definition of natural Merriam Webster

          existing in nature

          nature
          the natural forces that control what happens in the world

        • Greg G.

          I have that evidence right now. Who knows what the future holds, but I’m not looking to the future for my evidence. I have it today.

          As of today, the scientific evidence tells us that every discovery that science made in the past (a) was insufficient to explain itself, or (b) is probably insufficient according to current scientific theories.

          Believing that this pattern will change in the future is a belief without evidence – aka wishful thinking.

          All that shows is that science hasn’t explained it yet. It does not mean that science never will or that science could in principle explain it but we could not do it in practice.

          The ancient Romans and the Greeks before them thought they were living as well as humans could possibly live without the slightest notion of what the scientific method could have done for them. There may be another method we don’t know about that is even more effective. What we know is that the religious method does not produce results. It was tried for thousands of years.

          I have logic applied to today’s evidence. Logically speaking, adding more discoveries of the *same kind* (the natural kind) we’ve discovered thus far does not alter the above statement. Try it out for yourself.

          You left out the scientific discovery that everything we have explained does not explain itself. That is a discovery-based indication that tells something about natural explanations.

          Your logic is like that of a person falling off of a tall building thinking that it wasn’t nearly as bad as he expected it to be.

          The things science hasn’t explained is mostly stuff that was not even imagined until the last century.

          Shown? Uh, no it hasn’t been shown. You must not understand.

          Thunder and lightning. Wind. Reproduction. Origin of species. Breathing. The mind is in the brain and not the heart and kidneys. The causes of disease. These are things that were thought to be supernatural but are explained as natural.

          You can only point to gaps and whine when it is pointed out that you are presenting a god-of-the-gaps argument.

          Can the definition of natural be wrong?

          Sure but we only have your imaginary evidence and your god-of-the-gaps argument for that and neither are premises that you can show as true.

          But that doesn’t mean our empirical understanding of reality is right. We could be a BIV or plugged into the Matrix. Then even evidence for God might be just what the Keepers happen to feed us. You still can’t distinguish religion from solipsism or superstition.

        • SteveK

          >> All that shows is that science hasn’t explained it yet.

          Focus, please. I’m not talking about the future. You are doing that. I’m focusing on today’s scientific explanations and today’s scientific evidence.

          Apparently you have no scientific evidence from today to refute what I’m saying otherwise you would gladly show it to me.

          Show me scientific evidence from today that demonstrates my a/b statements are false.

          >> These are things that were thought to be supernatural but are explained as natural.

          You said “completely” and my response was regarding that particular point. So, no, science has not shown what you think it has.

          In the meantime you happy to fill the gap with an explanation called naturalism that isn’t founded upon the evidence we have today. The irony here is wonderful.

          To justify naturalism and avoid naturalism-of-the-gaps, you’ll need to show me scientific evidence from today that demonstrates my a/b statements are false.

        • Kodie

          Hey dummy. I just got through trying to explain to you that scientific discoveries throughout all of human history is the evidence you’re willfully ignoring. Religion has explained nothing, so why do you think it’s any explanation at all? You expect science to bring you, magically, all the answers now, with zero regard for the process or respect for the record science has. Meanwhile, tap-dancing and lying your ass off to get out of demonstrating even one thing religion explains. You’re actually willing to dismiss science as a method altogether because you’re an arrogant and impatient shithead with no answers about anything. The future hasn’t happened yet, humans have to work to find the answers, and we tend to live in a world where idiots like you think there’s nothing new because you don’t already know it.

          And you, for some reason, think what I’ve said is your own argument, even while it contradicts what you’ve been claiming. You are fucking nonsense. Why are you here?

        • Greg G.

          Show me scientific evidence from today that demonstrates my a/b statements are false.

          It doesn’t take scientific evidence to show (a) is false. It is an irrelevant claim. Anything that explains itself becomes circular and can be applied to any type of world. It is like saying the next sentence is true. The previous sentence is true. The context is irrelevant.

          (b) you don’t need the “probably” in there. It is true that science can’t explain everything today. That is no justification to stuff a god into those gaps.

          In the meantime you’re happy to fill the gap with an explanation called naturalism that isn’t founded upon the evidence we have today. The irony here is wonderful.

          You are lying. I have stated explicitly that naturalism may not explain everything many times. I am tired of correcting you on this point. I only say that the limitations of naturalism provide no excuse to assume supernaturalism or any other form of solipsism.

          To justify naturalism as the complete explanation and avoid naturalism-of-the-gaps, you’ll need to show me scientific evidence from today that demonstrates my a/b statements are false.

          Done. (a) is irrelevant whether it is true or false. (b) seems to be a desperate god-of-the-gaps gambit because you fear the future of science.

        • SteveK

          >> It is an irrelevant claim.

          Your opinion of today’s science is noted. I was looking for the actual science.

          >> I have stated explicitly that naturalism may not explain everything many times.

          Thanks for the clarification. My apologies.

          >> I only say that the limitations of naturalism provide no excuse to assume supernaturalism or any other form of solipsism.

          Sure it does. If naturalism is not the complete explanation, then logic dictates that something else is needed. We’ve been over that already. Looking at the evidence…

          – Current evidence from nature, as of today, says that nature is limited in the sense that natural things do not explain themselves.

          – Current evidence from nature, as of today, says discovering more natural things will not change this equation.

          – Current evidence from nature, as of today, says something else is needed. Something that is not natural as we currently know, use and understand that term.

          I believe you are trying to say this: “Yes, this ‘something else’ is needed but I have every reason to think it will be natural”

          Is that a fair statement?

        • Greg G.

          Sure it does. If naturalism is not the complete explanation, then logic dictates that something else is needed. We’ve been over that already. Looking at the evidence…

          How would you ever know if naturalism is not the complete explanation? Just because humans can’t explain it now does not warrant jumping to your favorite solipsism. At no point in the future will that be warranted unless you have evidence that naturalism doesn’t explain the universe.

          So if it doesn’t at any given point in time, it is an irrelevant point. If naturalism does explain everything, it becomes a circular argument and then it still irrelevant because you can still argue a solipsistic case is consistent with it.

          – Current evidence from nature, as of today, says that nature is limited in the sense that natural things do not explain themselves.

          Nature, if you are using the term metaphorically, explains itself better every day.

          – Current evidence from nature, as of today, says discovering more natural things will not change this equation.

          No it doesn’t.

          – Current evidence from nature, as of today, says something else is needed. Something that is not natural as we currently know, use and understand that term.

          It does not imply that the something extra is supernatural. It implies that it needs more study and bigger, more powerful test equipment.

          I believe you are trying to say this: “Yes, this ‘something else’ is needed but I have every reason to think it will be natural”

          Is that a fair statement?

          No. It is simply “We do not have all the answers today, we may or may not have all the answers tomorrow, and until there is an indication of some kind that the answer is supernatural, it is premature to believe in it.”

          Even with evidence of a supernatural god, you have to wonder about the reality of the supernatural. Is it a BIV inside another BIV? If it is a god, how does the god know it is not a BIV? I know that you would rather not deal with the implications, but you should. It demonstrates that your religion is just another form of solipsism. You are looking for some slim hope to justify your belief rationally.

        • SteveK

          >> How would you ever know if naturalism is not the complete explanation?

          I could know by studying natural explanations and understanding what it means to have a complete explanation.

          >> Just because humans can’t explain it now does not warrant jumping to your favorite solipsism.

          This is not my argument. I’m not identifying the explanation. I’m only placing it in the proper category given our current understanding of ‘natural explanations’.

          >> At no point in the future will that be warranted unless you have evidence that naturalism doesn’t explain the universe.

          Given our current understanding of natural explanations, we know (today) that another category of explanation is needed.

          At minimum, we are lacking the type of explanation that doesn’t depend on something else and that can sufficiently explain everything that does depend on something else.

          Isn’t this what the so-called Theory of Everything is looking for? It must. If the TOE doesn’t fulfill these basic fundamental principles, it cannot be the TOE because it will still be lacking in explanatory power.

          Now maybe you believe that explanation is ‘natural’, but I think that is a huge category error. Even so, at this point you and I are referring to the exact same thing – just calling it by a different label. The TOE is God.

        • MNb

          “Your opinion of today’s science is noted.”
          Liar.

          “If naturalism is not the complete explanation, then logic dictates that something else is needed.”
          And you reject that very same logic by consistently refusing to show what exactly that something else of yours explains, how that something explains it and how it can be tested.

          Or in decent philosophical terminology:
          Naturalism may not have perfect explanatory power, dualism doesn’t add any. There is nothing that can be explained better on dualism than it can be explained on naturalism. Every single attempt of yours is nothing but a god of the gaps, represented by your lie that my position means saying that “science has failed on all accounts”.
          Worse – dualism is not even coherent as it also fails how any supernatural entity is capable of interacting with our natural reality.
          Your attempts to find detours are nothing but miserable failures.

        • Kodie

          You’re so ignorant. How many times, in how many ways, does this need to be explained to you? You are not giving any explanation, you are pretending that naturalism cannot give any explanation, and INTO THAT GAP, YOU PLACE GOD. Naturalism has always been the only explanation, so far. Why are you throwing it away? Why are you so arrogant as to say “I’m not talking about the future” as though you expect humans to automatically know all things now, for you, without time and resources to discover those answers? It’s really time for you to bring the god explanations forth, if you have them. If you can’t explain anything with your or any other god, what good does believing in god do? I’m not talking about the past, I’m not talking about the future. Now is the time for you to bring those mystical magical supernatural explanations in a clear and specific format.

        • MNb

          Your “goddiddid” doesn’t explain anything either.
          Plus you’re lying.

          “In the meantime you’re happy to fill the gap with an explanation called naturalism.”

          On naturalism “we don’t know” is an acceptable anser. Naturalism doesn’t claim to explain everything; it claims that assuming a supernatural reality doesn’t add anything to our understanding and hence explains nothing.

        • Kodie

          What the fuck is naturalism of the gaps? When there has been no explanation, naturalism explained. God didn’t explain. Your myth had to defer to naturalism every. single. time.

        • Greg G.

          EVERY! SINGLE! TIME!

          This just cannot be emphasized enough!.

        • Pofarmer

          Uhm, Steve. When was the last time a naturalistic explanation was overturned by a supernatural one? Do you really want to start down the list that goes the other way?

        • SteveK

          You are thinking in terms of gaps. I’m not a gapper like you are. The non-natural explanation hasn’t lost any ground to these natural explanations – and can never lose any ground no matter how many more you add to the pile.

          The natural explanations are the reason why this statement is true.

        • Pofarmer

          Why what atatement is true?

        • SteveK

          I’ve been explaining why for several comments. Take any/all of the known natural explanations, add more of the *same kind* to the pile and you end up with the same result: more explanations are needed.

        • Pofarmer

          So science explains things, in greater and greater detail. Religion explains nothing, in any detail, and yet you’re sure religion is the correct choice.

        • SteveK

          Gee, I never heard that one before. Try reading what I actually wrote and get back to me.

        • Kodie

          How is it that everyone understands that as what you have written, over and over again, for the past few months? If you’re saying something else, you do a terrible job of expressing it clearly.

        • SteveK

          I don’t know why you cannot understand. I do know that most people here think God exists in gaps. They think that when a natural explanation occurs that a gap has been closed. It’s nonsense.

        • Kodie

          When do you think you’re going to explain your incoherent ramblings?

        • SteveK

          For those people that are incapable of understanding? Not going to happen.

        • Kodie

          For the reader fluent in English, all we can understand is that you’re an evasive liar.

        • Greg G.

          I do know that most people here think God exists in gaps.

          I can guarantee you that no atheists anywhere “think God exists in gaps”. You are the one arguing that and we keep refuting you.

        • SteveK

          I’ll quote you:

          “These are things that were thought to be supernatural but are explained as natural.”

        • Greg G.

          Thunder, lightning, the wind, the motions of planets, etc. were thought to be actions of the gods. No atheist ever thought that. Those phenomena had natural causes but there was a gap in knowledge so people stuck “godidit” in it. Those theists were god-of-the-gappers, too.

        • Greg G.

          You are still claiming a gap that has not been explained by natural means and non-natural means still explains that gap. How is that not being a gapper? Be honest with yourself. If it walks like a gapper and talks like a gapper…

        • SteveK

          All my steps are based on what we know today. No knowledge gaps are employed in my argument.

        • Greg G.

          Your argument is based on the gaps in what we know today. You are a god-of-the-gapper.

        • SteveK

          I need evidence for this because it certainly is not my intention. Where did I rely on the gaps in what we know today? Get specific.

        • Greg G.

          Where did I rely on the gaps in what we know today?

          Almost every post. Most recently:

          All my steps are based on what we know today.

          We don’t know everything today. All the things we don’t know are gaps in our knowledge. You are trying to put your god into those gaps. Therefore you are a god-of-the-gapper. You are avoiding the label like it is a curse. It is just a label for the type of fallacy you keep using.

        • SteveK

          I asked you to give me specific references where I was relying on gaps in our knowledge and you gave me nothing specific. You just repeated your claim.

          If you can’t show me, your claim must not be true.

        • Greg G.

          Nearly every time you post an attempt at an argument, it is an appeal to the god-of-the-gaps. From one above from 5 days ago:

          As of today, the scientific evidence tells us that every discovery that science made in the past (a) was insufficient to explain itself, or (b) is probably insufficient according to current scientific theories.

          When you use the word “insufficient”, you are referring to gaps in the scientific knowledge. That makes you a god-of-the-gapper. This is very simple and obvious. Why be so hard-headed?

        • SteveK

          Insufficient means inadequate. Science knows which explanations do not adequately explain themselves. My argument is based on this knowledge. No gaps.

          As for the rest of the explanations out there, science doesn’t have the answer one way or the other. I’m not basing my argument on these explanations.

        • adam

          “What is the probability that natural means are sufficient to explain nature?”

          100%

          “The probability is extremely low because everything in nature we’ve discovered either”

          No

          a) requires an explanation for it’s current state, ”

          Nature

          “b)or science is still looking for the explanation because scientific theories consider the probability to be high.”

          Science is still looking because that is the nature of science.

        • MNb

          “If X is insufficient them something else other than X is required.”
          Relatively correct. You have to show that X always will be insufficient and that that something else works and that it works better than X.
          You fail on all accounts.

          “The probability is extremely low”
          Perhaps – but the probability that supernatural explanations are sufficient is even lower for the exact three reasons I gave (plus one more).

        • SteveK

          >> You have to show that X always will be insufficient and that that something else works and that it works better than X.

          These are all future discoveries and projects. I’m looking at what the evidence says today. By your twisted logic, science has failed on all accounts.

        • Kodie

          The evidence today says science is and has been the only and accurate method of discovering what’s what. You tend to ignore that, just because the future hasn’t happened yet and we don’t know some things. You are in denial about fitting your god into the gap of things that aren’t explained by science yet, and suggest there is no reason, no explanation to suspect that science will ever. Not the history of things we used to believe, corrected by science. You haven’t shown that something works any better than science, and you haven’t shown that we need anything other than science to explain things that aren’t yet explained. We get it, you’re proud of your stupidity and dishonesty. If you have something to say about this other way, you have never offered it up to explain anything.

        • SteveK

          >> The evidence today says science is and has been the only and accurate method of discovering what’s what. You tend to ignore that..

          I’m using that evidence as the basis for my argument. You must have missed it.

        • Kodie

          Your argument is that science doesn’t know something now, so something unnatural must be true. How strange that this history of all scientific discovery of things previously unknown is the basis for such an argument. It really makes no sense. You haven’t made any sense.

        • SteveK

          Nope.

        • Kodie

          I know you know you don’t make any sense, troll.

        • Greg G.

          I’m using that evidence as the basis for my argument. You must have missed it.

          You are playing word games with the evidence.

        • SteveK

          Then show me where I’m doing that.

        • Pofarmer

          He’s basically just being a dick, at this point.

        • Kodie

          When was he not just being a dick?

        • Pofarmer

          Well, I’ve only read him occasionally, so, I’ll defer to your judgement on this one.

        • MR

          He’s always just being a dick.

        • Greg G.

          He was too impatient to wait for the ball to drop and has been popping the champagne all day.

        • adam

          “These are all future discoveries and projects.”

          Again playing the Gaps….

          Why do you think YOUR ‘god’ has to hide in gaps?

        • Ignorant Amos

          And yet, here you are, in the 21st century, using the benefits of man + science to get by…amazing isn’t it ya gimp?

          What does the evidence say about gods?

        • Kodie

          The evidence for gods says that humans are ignorant, uneducated, and easily manipulated enough, still, and that religion markets and distributes the tools for people to remain this way, for profit.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yip….private jets and hoverboards will feed the starving don’t ya know.

        • Greg

          the benefits of religion have certainly outweighed the benefits of science. Science improves the here and now, Religion improves the here and now plus the hereafter. The added plus tips the scales in favor of relgion. sorry.

        • MNb

          Nope.
          Religion makes the hereafter worse. Having you around on this blog is already bad enough; at least I can escape you. Having you eternally around in afterlife with nothing else to do then endlessly chanting is as bad as the worst depiction of hell.
          Get real, dumbhead. Human life being temporary is a plus. Eternal life, no matter what version, is a min.

          And of course last 200 years science hs improved the here and now vastly more than religion in the preceding millennia. But you already have shown you’re so bad at calculation that you don’t even understand the outcome of 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 + ……

        • Ignorant Amos

          Seriously?

          Of course you will be able to back up your assertion with evidence, you being a lawyer and all.

          Two words to fuck you up…the wheel….your turn.

        • Greg

          church on sunday, a meaningful place for the wheel to take you, your turn..

        • Kodie

          The stupidity you demonstrate is an advertisement to stay away from church.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Even sleeping is a more meaningful and productive use of an individuals finite amount of time than going to a church.

          But let’s just say that one lives closer to a church than necessitates the use of the wheel, then the wheel is redundant. Religion is still useless in such a scenario.

          So, back to your nonsense…how has religion improved the here and now plus the hereafter any more than science…equally to science…enough to be even allowed to lace up the boots of science.

        • Greg

          an argument that attending a meeting by an organization that promotes healty human relationships is less valuable then the vehicle that transported you there is a loser. try again.

        • Ignorant Amos

          …an organization that promotes healty human relationships …

          First day of 2016 and already I’ve run out of irony meters.

          What a tit you are Greg.

          Have ya seen Spotlight yet?

          You try again.

        • Greg

          I have not seen Spotlight yet but I heard that it was a very good movie, well acted and that it was true to the facts of the investigation into the Boston church child abuse scandals. One movie I did see which was “on demand” – one of my favorites- I’ll give you the line, you tell me the movie “so all I ask now is do you want to take a leap of faith or become an old man filled with regret waiting to die alone? ” You got Nanny McPhee – let’s see if you can get this one.

        • Ignorant Amos

          A very good movie, in my opinion of course, I’ve seen it a number of times…”Inception”…Saito, what he actually said was, “Don’t you want to take a leap of faith? Or become an old man, filled with regret, waiting to die alone!…I just don’t get yer point Greg?

          Saito also said, “You remind me of someone… a man I met in a half-remembered dream. He was possessed of some radical notions.”

          You do know it is a science fiction movie Greg? Yes?

        • Greg

          Yes, Inception – in my top ten – you know that in the end of the movie, the director does not show you the top stop spinning- but the clue that on whether he is in reality is the wedding ring – watch for the wedding ring – but notice he doesn’t care about whether it is reality or not – he runs to his children before the top stops – my point is your comment above “Even sleeping is a more meaningful and productive use of an individuals finite amount of time than going to a church” reminds me of Leonardo DeCaprio -and that is why I say to you as I say to MNb – get real.

        • Ignorant Amos

          -get real.

          Therein lies yer problem Greg…you have yet to get real.

          There has been countless times in the past when I would’ve given my right arm for an hours sleep, but I wouldn’t give you the steam of a shite for a meeting with a bunch of paedophile supporting cretins chanting the biggest pile of asinine bilge. It’s that simple really…now come back when you eventually get real.

        • Kodie

          Fake lawyer, just go the hell away.

        • MNb

          Well, if you just say so with anything to back it up it must be wrong.

        • Greg

          really? ok, which gets more value – the veremouth you were drinking last night or the cup that transports it to your mouth? Oh, and neither gets a zero!

        • Kodie

          really? ok, which gets more value – the veremouth you were drinking last night or the cup that transports it to your mouth? Oh, and neither gets a zero!

          Why’d you change it?

        • Greg

          MNb deserved a more respectful response –

        • Kodie

          But everyone can see that religion doesn’t keep you from your impulses to be such an asshole. You’re a fraud. Admit you’re a horrible person.

        • Adam

          http://s4.postimg.org/y0wc18j59/image.jpg

          rabble rabble rabbble rabble!!!

        • MNb

          Like the time you promised to answer the gambling god (as our Universe is probabilistic and not causal) and liake the time you promised to find out how your immaterial/ transcendental/ supernatural sky daddy interacts with our material/ natural reality, you mean?
          I think I’d rather not hold my breath.,

        • Greg

          actually reading up on the Churchland reference by Po the other day – I’m getting there…

        • Greg

          So, I stated that the meeting is more important than the wheel which was use to transport you there. My argument is that the meeting is the substance the wheel is the form. Wikipedia states that substance over form is a proven accurate theory and states that the theory is especially accurate in the field of accounting “Substance over form is an accounting principle used “to ensure that financial statements give a complete, relevant, and accurate picture of transactions and events. Substance over form is critical for reliable financial reporting.” I win. It’s IA’s turn.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The issue here is that for me, and billions of others, there is no substance in your meeting. Heck, for lot’s that even go to the meeting there is no substance, they are sheeple just going through the motions.

          There are many who go to other meetings and find different meaningful substance, but you might find their substance not up to the job…so what?

          For many of us there is a whole plethora of more meaningful substance to be had. Sleep is more substance to me than your meeting. Most Sundays I might be found in my club watching football and enjoying a few beers and the craic with a load of mates…far more substance there than the bollocks at your meeting.

          Your analogies are still ridiculous.

          That’s a K.O. Greg…AGAIN!

        • Greg

          what you put into your body is what comes out -look at the the pub as pizza, church as broccoli -noone wants to eat the broccoli, I get it. but, your health depends on having a full diet – also, just wondering, when you sleep, do you dream?

        • MNb

          “what you put into your body is what comes out”
          If that were the case you would die within a few days. Energy can be transformed, ignorant.

        • Greg G.

          Jesus said it is not what goes into a man through the mouth that defiles him. You should read the Bible instead of telling others to read it. You don’t want to disagree with Jesus, do you?

        • Ignorant Amos

          And yet the world is full of people that get by just fine having never eaten broccoli…or lot’s of other stuff for that matter. Yet another ridiculous analogy Greg.

          Let me sort it out for you. Religion is like taking illegal drugs, everyone knows it isn’t good for you, but that doesn’t stop folk doing it. Some will even try to justify it too. But it takes its toll in the end. Now most people experiment with something that isn’t good for them, some can mange to keep it in check socially, but becoming an addict is the problem. When ya start burbling incoherently Greg, you’ve become an addict. Does that sound like anyone ya know Greg? Because it is someone most of us here can recognise in an instance.

          What has sleeping and whether I dream or not got to do with anything we are talking about?

        • Kodie

          Church isn’t healthy, you are making an unsubstantiated claim that you know better what is good for people, by persisting in pounding out your claims. It’s also annoying and mean of you to keep trying to speak for people by telling them they really want to read the bible or really want to go to church, you are a desperate and sick person. Get the fuck out.

        • MNb

          “My argument is that the meeting is the substance the wheel is the form. ”
          End of argument as this is just meaningless and random babbling.

        • Kodie

          This whole pile of garbage is why I call you fake lawyer. It’s not even an argument, it’s hand-waving bullshit to try to sound intelligent as a cover for the fact that it’s not even a fucking argument. You wouldn’t know an argument if it shit on your face.

        • Kodie

          Religion is a fake. It does nothing but create the illusion for idiots like you that it’s doing any good. You’re a bad person for believing it and being here. All you think about us is that it’s up to you alone to save us from our troubles in atheism, and you never acknowledge that you’ve heard what we’re saying – you only hear what you wish that we have said. You’re helping nothing by being here, not us, and not yourself. You’re an idiot who needs an education, but you resist being educated, and are thus only good for being a moron, if only we needed one, but we don’t.

        • Greg G.

          Religion is associated more closely with societal dysfunction than societal health. Although religionists imagine themselves and their spawn as being more moral, tolerant, and generous– when you actually measure such things, you find that the opposite is true. Again and again, the more secular the society, the healthier… the religious are only moral in their minds.

          See the rest at Quote of the Day by Articulett

        • Greg

          But Greg G – the author poses this question in the quote – “Is there any measurable evidence whatsoever that they are better, righter, or that their beliefs are more true or useful to society than conflicting religions/myths/superstitions? ”

          It sounds like this issue is still open to debate – in reading some Patricia Churchland documents that Pofarmer referred me to, I see that a secular society can be a moral one – but, after reading portions of Churchland’s Book BRAINTRUST: WHAT NEUROSCIENCE TELLS US ABOUT MORALITY I make the argument that Churchland is not able to a convincing distinction between the motivations of the secular person and the religious person to be moral – further, I believe I can argue effetively that the rational machinations of the secular person to act morally are compatible with those who are religious. sorry, the quote is without merit.

        • Greg G.

          When it comes down to it, we all act moral for the same basic reasons but some of us don’t have to have a biblical excuse to do so. Everybody can be immoral for selfish reasons, too, but some of us can be immoral because the Bible allows them to pretend it is moral.

          People have justified slavery with the Bible within the last two centuries. Out of over 3000 counties in the US, how many clerks refused to sign marriage licenses for secular reasons? How many people picket funerals for secular reasons? How many secular institutions spent millions in opposition to gay marriage? How many people are getting on school boards to dumb down science for secular reasons? How many people oppose birth control for secular reasons?

        • Greg

          ever though of writing lyrics for Bob Dylan?

        • Dude, not cool. “Gimp” is an ableist slur.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Perhaps where you live…here in Ireland it means something else in this context and context is everything.

          gimp:- A versatile slang term generally meant to insult an individual for perceived lack of competence, style, panache, or the ability to perform the given task at hand. Likewise, the referenced individual’s actions may detrimentally affect the overall spirit of a group (whether temporarily or permanently). It can be used as a noun, verb, or adjective.

          So I hope that gives ya a wee bit of perspective. Lot’s of words have a variety of meanings as used in common parlance…for example…

          gimp:- Sex slave covered head to toe in latex/leather, sometimes voluntarily (as in BDSM).

          I don’t think anyone here would imagine that definition was implied either.

        • Excuses, excuses.

          You don’t get to use a slur and then try to justify it by saying that it doesn’t mean, well, exactly what it fucking means.

          Also, being disabled is NOT a character flaw.

        • Pofarmer

          You do realize that Ignorant Amos is in Ireland, and, well, there are a lot of things that don’t “mean what they mean.”

        • Oh, good gods, we had this exact same debate over “c*nt” — It doesn’t matter what he thinks it means, his intent is utterly irrelevant, it’s a fucking slur, and it shouldn’t be used.

        • Greg G.

          Some think “g**d g*ds” is offensive.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It doesn’t matter what he thinks it means,…

          Of course it does for goodness sake. Not just what I think it means, but what I know it means in common parlance, because that is how words are defined.

          …his intent is utterly irrelevant,

          It’s totally relevant. In fact, my intent is the only thing that has any relevance. You are not the grammar, tone, or dictionary definition police. You don’t get to dictate your preferred definition of a word onto someone else’s usage of that word.

          …it’s a fucking slur, and it shouldn’t be used.

          No it fucking isn’t and I’ll be the one who will decide if I use it, other than the site owner. Is everyone else’s referent to the same interlocutor as being stupid, idiotic, asinine…choose synonymous word to suit…is a slur in describing some of his nonsense comments?

          It is only a slur in your chosen definition, not mine. Your insistence on this preferred definition after my clarification says more about you than I.

          Interesting to see that thon other rhubarb Greg is upvoting your comments, you’ve co-opted a right cracker with that one as a supporter I must say.

        • You’re only proving my point by throwing a tantrum over being asked to not use an ableist slur.

          Seriously, grow the fuck up, and stop defending your use of nasty slurs. You sound just like the white guys who try to defend their use of the word “n*gg*r” — they always say shit like “it means something totally different” and protest rather too much that they’re “really not racist, they have black friends”.

          I’m not defending Greg, and don’t give a single solitary fuck about upvotes — I’m here because an able-bodied man is insisting that the offensive slur he used “wasn’t really a slur”.

          You don’t get to decide what’s offensive to disabled people, just like you don’t get to decide what’s offensive to women, people of color, queer people, or any other non-white, non-male, non-heterosexual person. You don’t get to lecture us about word-usage, you get to sit your ignorant ass down and pay attention.

          Right here, right now, this disabled person is telling you that “gimp” is an ableist slur. You’d best shut the fuck up and listen.

        • I try to avoid words that offend unintentionally, though Amos has his own standards.

          I think it’s important to remember that, as he said, words have different meanings in different parts of the world. The easy use of the c-word in Ireland in particular is surprising to Americans.

          You might criticize his insensitivity for using “gimp” again after you’ve explained the context in which you interpret it, but if it is innocent in the context in which he used it, I think that’s relevant.

        • If he’s going to argue that “words have different meanings”, he needs to then consider that perhaps his preferred or intended “meaning” is misguided or badly worded, and not presume to lecture a disabled person on words.

          I could have totally forgiven him if he’d apologized instead of doubling down and then mocking me.

        • Ignorant Amos

          If he’s going to argue that “words have different meanings”,…

          I’m not arguing anything of the sort, I’m stating it as a FACT, something you are being obtuse about.

          …he needs to then consider that perhaps his preferred or intended “meaning” is misguided or badly worded, and not presume to lecture a disabled person on words.

          No, I don’t. If I make a comment using a word in context with my intended meaning and you miscomprehended that meaning, then it is incumbent on you to request clarification of my usage given the alternate definitions in use, not jump straight down my throat, then “doubling down” after I gave a detailed explanation c/w citations ffs.

          I could have totally forgiven him if he’d apologized…

          That’s very charitable of you, consider the error here is yours. What I did say to you was this though…

          Now, all that said, I apologise for any offence caused to anyone who misconstrued the definition in context of my remark. I have no idea whether the object of my attack is disabled, has surreptitious sexual leanings, or is a tapelike trimming of silk, wool, or cotton, often stiffened with wire…nor was it uppermost in my mind when I wrote what I wrote, but for me he is a gimp [an insult implying that someone is incompetent, stupid, etc.] when he says some of the stuff he says by the use of the word in common parlance where I live, so it still stands.

          …instead of doubling down and then mocking me.

          But I didn’t double down, I made an effort to explain my usage of the word, silly me, I should just told ya to fuck away off and take yer head for a shite ya troll, but there ya go. What I did was offer to explain myself….

          Perhaps where you live…here in Ireland it means something else in this context and context is everything.

          gimp:- A versatile slang term generally meant to insult an individual for perceived lack of competence, style, panache, or the ability to perform the given task at hand. Likewise, the referenced individual’s actions may detrimentally affect the overall spirit of a group (whether temporarily or permanently). It can be used as a noun, verb, or adjective.

          So I hope that gives ya a wee bit of perspective. Lot’s of words have a variety of meanings as used in common parlance…for example…

          gimp:- Sex slave covered head to toe in latex/leather, sometimes voluntarily (as in BDSM).

          I don’t think anyone here would imagine that definition was implied either.

          Where in that comment was I mocking?

          The irony in all this is that the words etymology supports neither of us in original meaning.

        • KarlUdy

          Bob, you may want to remind people of the terms of use for people commenting at Patheos. I know almost no one reads this stuff but everyone who comments here has agreed to …

          C. You agree not to use any part of the Patheos Site to:

          iv. upload, post, email, transmit or otherwise make available any Member Content that is unlawful, misleading, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortious, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, libelous, invades another person’s privacy, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable (as determined by Patheos in its sole discretion);violates or infringes in any way upon the rights of others;

          Whether Amos has his own standards is something of a moot point. If he doesn’t uphold the terms of use and you don’t hold him to it, then you run the risk of Patheos having to act on these sort of comments.

          I would add that the slur that raised this issue was probably used because certain people are in the habit of posting abusive or hateful comments, and in their mind one slur is not really any different to another. Surely the discussion would be better off without such abuse.

        • Pofarmer

          Lol. Try contacting Patheos about anything and getting any sort of reply. M

        • Ignorant Amos

          Seriously? You’ve not been around Patheos much I take it?

          You see, here’s your problem. You’d have to show that my use of a particular word fell foul of one of the following criteria…

          …unlawful, misleading, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortious, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, libelous, invades another person’s privacy, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable (as determined by Patheos in its sole discretion);violates or infringes in any way upon the rights of others;

          And then the slippery slope commences. Soon there would be few folk on Patheos commenting at all. Certainly a good few on CE would have to go.

          Should someone calling me a “little boy” fall foul of any of those criteria, and who decides? Depending on the meaning applied, I might get very offended indeed. At 5’5″ I’m a lot shorter than the average Irishman and myth has it that the Irish are pipsqueaks by stature. Maybe it is a slur on my manhood, it seems prior knowledge is not a requisite. So there is a couple of meanings I could infer that have a few of those commenting bases covered in your list, should I choose to reflect on the remark in a specific manner. There are others.

          Thankfully my skin is much more thicker than others here I see. This is getting tedious now.

        • The issue isn’t different standards of decency but different definitions of words. We’re stuck with the fact that words have different meanings, and there’s nothing immoral about that.

          I’m sure that, from your perspective in Hong Kong, you’ve seen many clashes of this sort where two people interpret a single word through different mental dictionaries.

          As I understand it (Amos can correct me), he used a word like I would use “jerk”–that is, not a particularly offensive word. That said, I appreciate wmdkitty bringing to our attention alternate definitions.

          Yes, words can have additional meanings. Yes, let’s try to adapt as appropriate.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The Oxford Dictionary has this definition..

          A feeble or contemptible person.

          Other examples….

          http://www.slang.ie/index.php?entry=Gimp

          Or number 21 on…

          http://i95rock.com/the-95-most-common-slang-words/

          Or…

          http://onlineslangdictionary.com/meaning-definition-of/gimp

          There is really no need for all this fuss and drama queening…especially when it is not being applied consistently.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Thank you!

          The easy use of the c-word in Ireland in particular is surprising to Americans.

          Bingo….

          … in Irish-English, is the same as it is in Euro-English. Its primary use is vulgar, but not obscene. It is not primarily a rude term for “vagina” nor “bad woman,” and its subject is usually not feminine at all. “Cunt” is just an irreverent way of refering to a fellow.

          The word may also be used in adjectival form — “Cuntin’.”

          http://www.stevenroyedwards.com/cursinginireland.html

        • Ignorant Amos

          You’re only proving my point by throwing a tantrum over being asked to not use an ableist slur.

          What? You mean by defending my use of a word in context and won’t be dictated or bullied by an online interlocutor who is too fucking daft to realise there are words that have a variety of meanings. You do know the definition of slur, right?

          It is you that is throwing the tantrum.

          For the last fucking time, the word is only a slur if it is being inappropriately used. If you are too stupid to recognise that then I can’t help you.

          Why don’t you jump all over everyone else who has used what is perceived as an “ableist slur” like you have me?

          http://thoughtcatalog.com/parker-marie-molloy/2013/10/15-crazy-examples-of-insanely-ableist-language/

          I could even give you a break if you were as pure as the driven snow, but your political correctness does not exten to your own commenting history I see.

          Seriously, grow the fuck up, and stop defending your use of nasty slurs. You sound just like the white guys who try to defend their use of the word “n*gg*r” — they always say shit like “it means something totally different” and protest rathertoo much that they’re “really not racist, they have black friends”

          Blah, blah, blah, blah, straw man, non sequitur, red herring…yadda, yadda, yadda..

          I’m not defending Greg, and don’t give a single solitary fuck about upvotes — I’m here because an able-bodied man is insisting that the offensive slur he used “wasn’t really a slur”.

          Reading comprehension much?

          You don’t get to decide what’s offensive to disabled people, just like you don’t get to decide what’s offensive to women, people of color, queer people, or any other non-white, non-male, non-heterosexual person. You don’t get to lecture us about word-usage, you get to sit your ignorant ass down and pay attention.

          I get to decide what I say, where I say it, and what the word means when I when I am using it and in the context I am using it. The only person here that can change that is the site owner and moderator, in this case, it’s BobS. If he adjudicates in you favour, so be it. But I’m not going to be bullied by you, especially when you are dead wrong…if you don’t like it, ya can ignore or fuck off.

          Right here, right now, this disabled person is telling you that “gimp” is an ableist slur.

          Ah, playing the victim card. Like I’ve said, I have close family and friends who are disabled so your cries are falling on deaf ears at this point. Given that the comment wasn’t made to you and it seems reasonable to assume just about everyone else understood what I was referring to, I think I’ll rely on my disabled partners take on this thank you very much.

          You’d best shut the fuck up and listen.

          Or you are going to do what exactly?

        • Ignorant Amos

          I don’t mind when someone mistakenly infers I meant something I KNOW I didn’t mean. This is an international audience after all and words that mean one thing my side of the pond often means something completely different your side (though I’ve seen at least one US reference to my meaning). So there is nothing wrong with requesting a bit of clarification to clear the matter. But if, after clarification, the definition of a word or phrase I KNOW what I meant is still going to be ignored for the erroneous one that shows me in a bad light, well that’s not playing the game fairly and I’m liable to take umbrage.

          Why can’t folk just hold the hands up and say they misread the situation instead of starting a pissing match meta-discussion? We have enough of that on EN with that Luke Breuer fella to suffice ffs.

        • Why can’t you just take responsibility for your words, and apologize for using a slur?

          Maybe you were using it in ignorance of other contexts and usages — that would have been entirely forgivable if you hadn’t then doubled down on your overly-defensive excuses.

          Again, you’re presuming to lecture a disabled person on what is and isn’t ableist. That’s more than a little patronizing, don’t you think?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Why can’t you just take responsibility for your words, and apologize for using a slur?

          I have taken responsibility for my words and I have went to great pains to explain myself and the use of the word in context, rather than be a meanie and just brush you off. I am not about to apologise because you insist on a definition in usage I never made. I won’t be bullied.

          Maybe you were using it in ignorance of other contexts and usages — that would have been entirely forgivable if you hadn’t then doubled down on your overly-defensive excuses.

          Nope, no ignorance at all. In fact, my partner refers to a variation of the word on days she is particularly suffering badly as in she is “gimping bad” and I KNOW she is referring to her disability. Incidentally, I receive carer’s allowance from the state as I’m her registered carer so I know all about living with disability. Don’t think ya know all ya think ya know about folk. In my opinion, it was you that doubled down after I explained my use of the word, which is no different than our Kodie’s use of the word lame in my opinion, because I know she isn’t using the word in the manner that mocks the disabled. It is really that simple.

          Again, you’re presuming to lecture a disabled person on what is and isn’t ableist. That’s more than a little patronizing, don’t you think?

          All I’m trying to do is show you that of the various definitions that apply to the word gimp, you are preferring yours over mine, applying it to my usage, and are now being pig headed about it, that’s all.

          I mean, you directly called me a “little boy”…since you have no idea my actual size, I’m presuming a slur, an inference that I’m too stupid to understand, like an adult with the mentality of a little boy.

          Well to those adults whose mental age is still that of a little boy, you’ve just made an ableist slur.

          Or did you mean little boy syndrome?

          a man’s momentary regression back to a childish nature whereby he purposely goes out of his way to piss people the fuck off (ex. if hes having a bad day, then everyone else has to also)… like a little boy

          It’s all too easy to fall foul isn’t it? Especially when YOU meant it.

          I like this comment….

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/2015/09/no-ableist-slurs-please.html#comment-2268455812

        • Ignorant Amos

          Excuses, excuses.

          Just as well I’m not making an excuse then. Consider it an education as you obviously are unaware that lot’s of words have multiple definitions.

          You don’t get to use a slur and then try to justify it by saying that it doesn’t mean, well, exactly what it fucking means.

          And you don’t get to define my word usage as used in context and then call me out on it, especially when I have had to explain it in detail to you and you still refuse the dictionary definition as applied by me. You do realise that is the Straw Man Fallacy, right?

          Also, being disabled is NOT a character flaw.

          Well then, it is just as well I never said it is, isn’t it? Another straw man from you there.

          BTW, I have a number of disabled family members, including my partner who has acute fibromyalgia amongst other things, a nephew with cerebral palsy and another with severe autism, so don’t even go there.

          Now, all that said, I apologise for any offence caused to anyone who misconstrued the definition in context of my remark. I have no idea whether the object of my attack is disabled, has surreptitious sexual leanings, or is a tapelike trimming of silk, wool, or cotton, often stiffened with wire…nor was it uppermost in my mind when I wrote what I wrote, but for me he is a gimp when he says some of the stuff he says by the use of the word in common parlance where I live, so it still stands.

          http://i95rock.com/the-95-most-common-slang-words/

          http://www.slang.ie/index.php?entry=Gimp

          http://onlineslangdictionary.com/meaning-definition-of/gimp

          http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=gimp

        • Your “explanation” was merely an excuse to continue using an offensive anti-disability slur.

          If you can’t handle being educated about words, little boy, you shouldn’t be posting.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s you that is struggling with words and their different definitions and meanings, so whateva!

        • MNb

          So you worship the god of the gaps indeed.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_of_the_gaps

          “how wrong it is to use God as a stop-gap for the incompleteness of our knowledge. If in fact the frontiers of knowledge are being pushed further and further back (and that is bound to be the case), then God is being pushed back with them, and is therefore continually in retreat. We are to find God in what we know, not in what we don’t know.”

          Dietrich Bonhöffer, letter 1944.

          You’re just too dishonest to admit that you don’t have “something else that works and that it works better than science.”

          “By your twisted logic, science has failed on all accounts.”
          Indeed you’re so dishonest that you fall back on a straightforward lie. Neither did I say that nor is it implied.
          According to your illogic this is evidence for your god:

          http://www.gizmag.com/record-high-temperature-superconductor/39056/

          Because science has failed “on this account”. You require something else without any further do. God. Your god entertains himself by juggling with magnets.

        • MNb

          “the reason we keep looking for more explanations.”
          Yup. Naturalistic explanations. Because supernaturalistic explanations have never produced anything.

          “If natural means are insufficient, then non-natural means are required.”
          Almost correct. Now if you

          1. show that natural means always will be insufficient and
          2. provide a reliable method to determine which supernatural means work and which don’t and
          3. show how those supernatural means produce better results than natural means

          I’m your man.
          Unfortunately thus far you have failed miserably – worse, you haven’t even tried.

        • Ignorant Amos

          An excellent reply made by an internet friend on another site to this question just a short while ago seems applicable here…

          So basically you’re rejecting Hume. After all, he said that causation simply doesn’t arrive through the senses.

          Q.Quine gave this in response…

          I am going to pull in that short leash at this point. As in the case of Hume’s general refutation of induction, we cannot prove causation will hold. However, we live our lives “as if” sure that the world was not created last Thursday, and that the regularities we study in Physics will hold tomorrow as they did yesterday. So we look for causes by means of those regularities and plan our actions for tomorrow on our expectations of cause and effect outcomes.

          I don’t know if you were heading this way, but sometimes people will accuse me of relying on “faith” that Physics will hold or knowledge can be obtained, etc. To that I always respond that faith is not needed because I have, “reasonable expectations based on prior evidence.” That covers causation as well.

          *Emphasis mine*

          It isn’t the first time that he has used this weapon, I just enjoy it every time he does. Seems apt here too.

      • Dys

        What’s amusing is that we all know that God is going to get an automatic exemption from his PSR insistence, probably via self-referential tap dancing ala “God is his own sufficient reason” or some such nonsense.

    • Scott_In_OH

      What does it mean to say something “needs” an explanation?

      • SteveK

        It means “there is no reason” does not sufficiently explain any naturally occurring phenomenon.

        • Greg G.

          Another GOTG statement.

        • SteveK

          Not sure I follow.

        • Greg G.

          “does not sufficiently explain” refers to a gap in knowledge that you imply that a god could be stuffed into. But any decent solipsism could fill the gap as well. You have no evidence for a god yet you exclude other solipsisms. Anytime you point to something unknown and try to stuff a god into it, you are doing god-of-the-gaps, or GOTG.

        • SteveK

          >> “does not sufficiently explain” refers to a gap in knowledge

          If you don’t KNOW that “there is no reason” doesn’t explain anything in nature then I suggest you pick up a few books at the library on the way home so that you will KNOW this.

          No gaps here.

        • Greg G.

          Knowing that you don’t know means you know there is a gap in your knowledge.The gap is from a lack of evidence. Putting a god in there without evidence is GOTG.

        • SteveK

          I know that this doesn’t explain anything in nature. If you don’t know, that’s okay. You can learn.

        • Greg G.

          When we learn, the gap you stuff God into goes away. But your argument does not care about what we may learn in the future. You insist on the gaps in knowledge that the collective we have today.

        • Scott_In_OH

          What does “sufficiently” mean in that context?

        • SteveK

          It means adequate.

        • Greg G.

          Thus the “not adequate” refers to a gap you wish to stuff your god into.

        • SteveK

          I know this to be true. No gaps here. You are projecting your own ignorance onto me.

        • MNb

          How do you know?
          How do you know other stuff than your “this” (in “this to be true”) is not true?
          What is your method?
          How do you test your knowledge?
          Without an answer we can safely conclude that you don’t know and are too dishonest to admit it.

        • Greg G.

          We are not talking about individual knowledge and ignorance. We are talking about the totality of human knowledge and ignorance. The ignorance is a gap in knowledge. That is where you are trying to place your god. You are not trying to place God into where we have knowledge. You are trying to place God into the gaps of our knowledge. You are kidding yourself when you deny it.

        • SteveK

          You are talking about ignorance, not me. Projection is all you have.

        • Kodie

          Everyone can see you’re just dishonest.

        • Greg G.

          Help me. I can’t recall a single instance. Show me specifically where you have inferred God from human knowledge and not from a gap in human knowledge.

        • MNb

          It looks like we dumb atheists suffer from a collective lapse of memory. I can’t recall it either. I suppose SK’s god has struck us.

        • SteveK

          I’ve been doing that. You were going to get specific and show me where I was filling a gap. You haven’t done that. It’s your turn.

        • Scott_In_OH

          I hate to start a second conversation in the same thread with the same person, but here it goes:

          SteveK, could you summarize the “God of the Gaps” critique as you understand it?

        • SteveK

          “I don’t know, therefore God did it.”

        • Scott_In_OH

          Fair enough. I’ll leave this conversation and return to the other.

        • Susan

          I’ve been doing that.

          Except in all your time here, there seems to be no record of you doing that.

          Which is why Greg G. has asked you for an example.

          Got one?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Is SteveK proposing the “O’Reilly Paradox” by any chance?

        • Susan

          the “O’Reilly Paradox”

          Darnit, IA. There are so many O’Reillys.

          I even googled it but it didn’t help.

          Do you mean the “Bill O’Reilly paradox” i.e. ” The tide goes in. The tide goes out”?

          Or is there something more standard about which I should be aware?

          I know Steve has committed the “fallacy of composition”.

          And failed to define “nature”.

          And failed to acknowledge that every natural explanation has thus far had a natural explanation.

          His argument (as much as you could call it one) is a disaster. It has been since he got here.

        • MNb

          Probably yes – with the addition “you can’t explain that”.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’s the one…

          Because many of the people using this tactic are fundies they often have a loose understanding of modern science. This produces an interesting phenomenon where the person trying to discredit science refers to a scientific principle that is well understood. A famous example of this is Bill O’Reilly’s declaration that ocean tides were an unexplained phenomenon, implying the Almighty willed the oceans to move. This error is hilarious, as the cause of tidal movement is well understood. Another less famous, but still incredibly hilarious example comes from one of Spirit Science’s videos. Here we see a mixture of falsehoods and facts that could easily be explained by a ten second Google search, such as capillary action or surface tension.

          http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/God_of_the_gaps#The_O.27Reilly_Paradox

        • MNb

          To be fair O’Reilly probably didn’t mean “god explains the tides”.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/hallq/2012/07/bill-oreilys-argument-for-the-existence-of-god/

          He was thinking of the ultimate explanation, which exactly what our own SteveK is talking about.

        • Steven Watson

          If A=B and B=C then A=C. If Tides=Moon and Moon=God then God=Tides. It’s God all the way down.

        • MNb

          “=” doesn’t mean “explain”.
          I think we atheists should do a better job than dishonest believers like SteveK and O’Reilly.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Obvious really, when you put it into terms like that. :s

        • Ignorant Amos

          Steve is playing a fast and loose game of semantics.

        • MNb

          Ultimately yes.

        • Greg G.

          I have posted two instances of you implying gaps. It’s your turn.

        • Greg G.

          Ha! In your very next post, you did it again.

          No. One of my points is that every natural explanation includes things outside/beyond the thing you are trying to explain. The thing you are trying to explain is inadequate to explain itself.

          Those “things outside/beyond” are gaps in knowledge. If they were within our knowledge they would not be a gap.

        • SteveK

          Q: What explains the existence of boiling water in that pot?
          A: The heat from the flame under the pot explains it, which are outside/beyond the boiling water you are trying to explain.

          No gaps.

        • Kodie

          Ok, you’re really stupid.

        • SteveK

          I probably am at times. But as you can see, I’m not relying on knowledge gaps. He’s imagining that I am.

        • Kodie

          No, you’re imagining you’re not.

        • SteveK

          Nope.

        • Kodie

          Stop. It’s very obvious to everyone else.

        • SteveK

          What’s obvious is that I SHOW you I’m not relying on gaps and all I get in return is vague statements and gainsaying. SHOW me that I’m relying on gaps. Get specific.

        • Kodie

          You don’t show a damn thing but stupidity and illiteracy.

        • SteveK

          Vague statements and gainsaying. LOL

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ah, but there is more to it than that.

        • SteveK

          Of course there is. All I’ve shown here is that my statement is true.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Not a very good example. We all agree there is no gaps. The “more to it than that” is still natural. It isn’t the flame that boils the water. It is energy.

          We know that from the laws of thermodynamics that that has a natural explanation.

          The flame is energy in the form of heat, Enough energy to overcome the intermolecular attractions in the liquid

          There is no outside or beyond the thing going on, no supernatural thing happening.

          Here’s where the god-of-the-gaps is in your argument. From the no gaps from the boiling water back through your flame, the fuel, photosynthesis, the Sun, the Solar system, the galaxy, the Universe, to the Big Bang…?????.

          That’s where the god-of-the-gaps gets inserted in your poor example…I prefer to say “we don’t know”….because we don’t.

          Some things “we don’t know” right now, but in your example of boiling water and flames, we need to go right back to the beginning for the “we don’t know”. Either way, inserting the supernatural is a god-of-the-gaps argument.

        • SteveK

          >> It isn’t the flame that boils the water. It is energy.
          >> There is no outside or beyond the thing going on

          You just referenced one. The energy that causes the water to boil is not found inside the water. It comes from outside/beyond the boiling water.

        • Ignorant Amos

          So where does the flame that causes the energy that causes the water molecules to excite and boil come from?Each stage is not a supernatural explanation beyond/outside the chain of events. If we agree on that then I don’t see where you bring in non natural to the argument.

          At what point in the stream of events do you propose the unknown in your poor example. At what point from the big bang to the boiling water is there a supernatural intervention?

        • SteveK

          >> If we agree on that then I don’t see where you bring in non natural to the argument.

          You’re living up to your name Amos. You’re ignorant of my argument. My most recent summary is here:

          https://disqus.com/home/discussion/crossexamined/atheists_what_would_it_take_to_change_your_mind_99/#comment-2442890658

        • Greg G.

          Step 5 makes it a GOTG argument. You are implying that a god supplies what we don’t know. If we don’t know a part of the explanation, we don’t know that it is not a natural cause, nor a limit to the Matrix we may been in or the inputs to our BIV. So it is invalid to say that a godidit. It’s an unknown.

          If your argument is that it COULD be a hide&seek god, sure. But that is nothing but solipsism.

          You have no valid premises for a god argument. You should quit religion and become an agnostic until you are strong enough to say you are an atheist.

        • SteveK

          >> Step 5 makes it a GOTG argument.

          Step 5 is the conclusion of the argument.

        • Greg G.

          Step 5 is the conclusion there is a gap. Nobody disputes that we don’t know everything. Is that your whole argument? Are you not arguing that there is a god?

        • SteveK

          Get specific and show me the gap. You never show me.

        • Greg G.

          The gap is what we don’t know. Are you acting stupid or not?

        • SteveK

          I’m not relying on that. The conclusion follows from scientific knowledge of natural explanations.

        • Greg G.

          The conclusion is that there is a gap in our knowledge, it doesn’t follow from your premises and the premises are not even demonstrated to be true.

          That isn’t the issue. You are talking about a gap in human knowledge and you want to stuff a god in it, therefore it is a GOTG argument. It may as well be a BIVOTG argument. The evidence is the same and the conclusions follow just as well.

        • SteveK

          Believe what you want.

        • Greg G.

          I believe what the evidence points to. You have presented a faulty argument to reach the conclusion you want to reach. From that point forward, it is a GOTG argument. I only believe it because that is where the evidence leads.

          You still owe us an example of you arguing for the supernatural or a god without invoking a gap in human understanding.

        • SteveK

          >> You have presented a faulty argument

          Which one of 1-4 is KNOWN to be false?

        • Greg G.

          Number 3. I explained that elsewhere. I gave the example of nuclear decay. It does not require an outside cause. We can explain how the process occurs but not why one atom decays and another doesn’t as it is just the randomness of quantum physics.

          EDIT: #4 is a non sequitur as it is independent of the other premises and the conclusion isn’t dependent on it.

        • SteveK

          No space, no time, no gravity? None of these other things are involved in process of decay? How did science test this out so that it KNOWS this is true, I wonder?

          You’re bluffing.

        • Greg G.

          You have access to the internet, use it. Theoretical basis of decay phenomena.

          You asked for natural explanations, not proof. You have to be able to falsify all of them plus all the ones that haven’t been thought of yet before you can jump to non-natural explanations.

        • SteveK

          I’m pretty sure the big bang event in involved in explaining radioactive decay. Just sayin’

        • Greg G.

          What is your source or your reasoning? Or are you pulling it out of your cloaca?

        • SteveK

          Science is my source. However radioactive decay got here today for science to study, it got here because of what happened in the past. That’s what we are told.

        • Greg G.

          Radioactive nuclear decay happens because there are unstable nuclei in the universe. There are nuclei of varying stability because there is fusion in the universe and because of supernovae. Fusion resulted from gravity on protons and neutrons. Protons and neutrons formed some time after the Big Bang.

          Hand-waving the Big Bang doesn’t answer the question, though. Some combinations of protons and neutrons are more stable than others. There is dynamic tension between the repulsive electromagnetic forces of the protons and the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force. The electromagnetic force is an exchange of photons. The strong nuclear force results from an exchange of mesons. These exchanges are going on continuously but there is nothing outside the nucleus that affects them. They just happen spontaneously. But sometimes the nucleus decays.

          The Big Bang explains how the nuclei got together but says nothing about why they come apart.

        • Susan

          The Big Bang explains how the nuclei got together but says nothing about why they come apart.

          That’s simple. Catholicyahwehjesus necessarily done it because of the PSR.

          Problem solved.

        • SteveK

          >> Hand-waving the Big Bang doesn’t answer the question, though.

          My answer is true as far it goes and that’s all I need to provide. I’m not concerned about the mechanistic details.

          That event is an explanation for why nuclear decay exists today. Your parents explain why you exist today, so you might think about it like that. It’s an explanation that is outside/beyond the thing you are explain.

        • Greg G.

          I’m not concerned about the mechanistic details.

          Of course not. You are only interested in finding a place to stick your god explanation.

          That event is an explanation for why nuclear decay exists today. Your parents explain why you exist today, so you might think about it like that. It’s an explanation that is outside/beyond the thing you are explain.

          My parents may be a vague explanation for why I am here but it does not explain why I age or decay.

          You are only interested in vague explanations so you can make up a GOTG.

        • SteveK

          >> My parents may be a vague explanation for why I am here but it does not explain why I age or decay.

          Thank you for confirming that I am correct about there being an explanation outside/beyond. The details of how/why don’t change that fact.

        • Greg G.

          Explaining one thing about a subject does not explain everything about the subject. You are too locked into the “godidit” explanation for everything.

        • SteveK

          I don’t aim to explain everything. I have much more modest goals. My aim is to show that my statement about natural explanations is accurate. I’ve done that.

        • I have a suggestion of where he can stick the God of the Gaps…

        • Greg G.

          Do you mean back where he pulled it out of?

        • Yep.

        • MNb

          “I’m not concerned …..”
          No – if you were you would have to admit you’re raping physics.

          “That event is an explanation for why nuclear decay exists today.”
          Perhaps or perhaps not – but this is not physics or any other branch of science. “Why” in science has a very specific meaning, namely “how come”. And “the Big Bang is how comes nuclear decay exists” is nonsense in the most literal meaning of the word. To understand this you have to be concerned about the mechanistic details.
          And of course we end up where we always end up. If your god is the ultimate explanation then quantum fields can be as well.
          See, that’s the fun part. Quantum fields very well may explain nuclear decay indeed. But that doesn’t fit the narrative you want to uphold. So you neglect it, as the dishonest apologist you are.

        • SteveK

          >> Perhaps or perhaps not

          So the actual answer is we don’t know. Great! We can set the explanation for nuclear decay aside because I’m not relying on explanations that are not known. If you recall I didn’t bring this up as support for my argument. It was supposed to be an example to refute my argument. It failed.

          Thanks!

          >> Quantum fields very well may explain nuclear decay indeed.

          Translation: we don’t know the explanation

        • Greg G.

          Bing, bang, boom.

          Translation: That’s a gap you want to plug god into.

          You are not fooling anyone with that shtick.

        • MR

          God of the Gaps Troll

        • Susan

          God of the Gaps Troll.

          Worse, he keeps saying that he’s not arguing for God of the Gaps.

          And all he’s done is argue for God of the Gaps.

          Never mind. I guess that’s not worse, just exactly the same as being a God of the Gaps Troll.

        • MR

          That’s part of his shtick. “Nuh-uh, I didn’t say that. You can’t prove it.” Deny, deny, deny in spite of the obvious.

        • MNb

          Ah, SteveK the incurable dishonest guy strikes again.
          No. So the actual answer is that I didn’t provide an answer – not that we don’t know. You should ask a physicist.

          “We can set the explanation for nuclear decay aside.”
          Your dishonest words, not mine.
          The explanation for nuclear decay is Quantum Mechanics.
          You wrote just above:

          “Science is my source.”
          It isn’t. Your big fat lying thumb is. Or you would stick to “Quantum Mechanics explains nuclear decay.”
          No failure.
          You thank me for something I did not do – because you’re a liar.

          “Translation: we don’t know the explanation.”
          The translation of an incurable liar. Quantum fields provide a possible explanation. Just like Newtonian Mechanics provides a possible explanation for gravity and Evolution Theory for speciation, mutation and the fossil record. The difference is not qualitative – it’s nothing but the amount of available empirical data.
          If you jump from “possible explanation” to “we don’t know the explanation” you lied when you wrote that “science is your source”.
          Unsurprisingly.
          Science provides nothing more than possible explanations. Science always is temporary and tentative, never conclusive. If that’s not good enough for you – and you only can maintain your position if it isn’t – you’re a science denier, as I already concluded once before. So thank you for confirming.

        • Susan

          It’s an explanation that is outside/beyond the thing you are explain.

          Every explanation so far is a natural explanation.

          You have made no effort to define nature and are unable to explain what it means to be “outside nature”.

          At what point does an explanation cease to be natural?

          If science were able to demonstrate that we were part of a multiverse, you would say that something “outside” of the multiverse is necessary to explain the multiverse and would define that as supernatural. If science were to demonstrate that our multiverse was part of a hyperverse, you would say that something “outside” of the hyperverse is necessary to explain the hyperverse, and so on and so on and so on.

          That is, no matter how many natural explanations were presented, you’d still sit there, arms folded, thinking you were doing clever philosophy.

          “Outside nature” is incoherent. You have no idea what it means. There is no reason so far to think it means anything.

          MNb and Greg G. care about explanations. They have bothered to learn about them which requires a great deal of work.

          You just demand them and show no interest in them when they are presented you.

          You don’t care about the mechanistic details because you don’t care about explanations. You seem to prefer to insist that you have one when you don’t.

          Help yourself to that if it butters your toast.

          But you’re not fooling anyone.

        • Greg G.

          I’m pretty sure the big bang event in involved in explaining radioactive decay. Just sayin’

          it got here because of what happened in the past.

          Then the Big Bang would also explain why humans sin, so whatever caused the Big Bang is ultimately responsible for sin.

        • SteveK

          Interesting theory. We can discuss sin some other time.

        • Greg G.

          Sure, but your logic must remain consistent with your current argument.

        • Steven Watson

          Erm, “sin”? That word has no meaning except in the context of God, surely?

        • MNb

          Nope. The Big Bang is about fusion (actually the correct word is synthesis, but whatever), not about decay. Shortly after the event temperature was so incredibly that there was nothing to decay.
          Like all fans of the Cosmological Argument you have no idea what you’re talking about. Though your willingness to learn something new is highly doubtful I still recommend you to start with

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bang

          and after that one, to learn that you wrote sheer nonsense,

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck_epoch

        • SteveK

          I’m pretty sure science tells us that everything we observe today can be traced back to what occurred around that era of time. So there’s your natural explanation for why it’s around today.

        • MNb

          Space and time being involved (gravity can be neglected) doesn’t mean there is a cause for nuclear decay. At moment X one radioactive atom decays; another doesn’t. The word “moment” already means that time is involved. The word decay implies that space is involved.
          Still no causality.
          You’re way out of your league.

        • SteveK

          >> Still no causality.

          More bluffing.

        • MNb

          By you.

        • I don’t think he’s acting, Greg.

        • Greg G.

          He has shown more brains on occasion which makes me wonder. He is being an ass.

        • That kinda goes without saying, I think, but this level of stoopid is something that takes natural talent.

        • Greg G.

          You are the one who keeps pointing to the gaps. Why should I have to show you what you keep arguing for?

        • Greg G.

          And another thing. That does not prove that the unknown part is not natural.

          1) I don’t know is an honest admission. Pretending to have an explanation, such as a god or a BIV, is not an honest admission.

          2) OK

          3) Wrong. Science has not proved that a thing requires an explanation outside of itself. Science has shown that nuclear decay does not require an explanation outside itself.

          4) This step plays no part in reaching your conclusion.

          5) You are equivocating. You are generalizing from examples. You have not shown that your examples are a general principle.

          So you are trying to produce an logical argument in a cargo cult manner. You want to limit it to what we know now and ignore what we might know in the future.

          We don’t know the answers to the questions we know to ask but we don’t even know the next set of questions. You haven’t shown that we will never be able to explain everything naturally.

          But we do not pretend that there is no gaps in our knowledge so that part of your argument is irrelevant.

          Even if we cannot possibly explain everything naturally, it does not mean that it is a bunch of malevolent demons, a BIV, a Matrix, a dream of Vishnu, another god, or any other type of solipsism. To distinguish one of those, you will have to produce evidence that eliminates the other possibilities.

          But starting out by delimiting what we know and what we do not know, is setting up a gaps argument. If you do not have evidence for a god, it is not in the “what we know” category, therefore it is in the “what we don’t know” category which makes it a GOTG argument.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You’re living up to your name Amos.

          Yeah…no doubt, the difference is I know it. But not on this occasion. Here is some light reading for you…

          http://web.stanford.edu/group/cslipublications/cslipublications/bromberger-corpus/On-What-We-Know-We-Dont-Know.pdf

          You’re ignorant of my argument. My most recent summary is here:

          Your argument is flawed, which has already been pointed out to you.

        • Greg G.

          Where is the insufficient part of that explanation. That is where you are using a gap to stuff your god in. Show us how your argument does something besides that. You either replace something we already know with a god, which denies science, or you place a god outside of what we know.

        • Greg G.

          All you have shown is that your statement is true until you say that the point when you say the natural explanation is insufficient. Then you are trying to stuff a god into the gap.

        • Dys

          And yet you still haven’t made it outside the natural world with your explanation. A more apt comparison would be if you posited that, and then relied on demons as an explanation as to why the flame generates heat. Which would be a gap.

        • SteveK

          I’m staying within the realm of natural explanations for my argument.

        • Dys

          Which means your argument isn’t going to be useful in demonstrating that something outside a natural explanation is necessary.

        • SteveK
        • Dys

          But it’s not an argument for the supernatural. You’re inevitably stuck, because the farthest back we can go is to the Big Bang. Beyond that, you’re just engaging in speculation.

          No matter how you look at it, there’s still no real justification for inserting your preferred deity into the equation. Other than as a substitute for “I don’t know”, of course.

        • SteveK

          The conclusion is the conclusion. I’m not speculating. Interpret the conclusion however you wish.

        • Dys

          An eternal universe that passes through contraction and expansion phases eliminates the need for a supernatural causation, and physics and quantum mechanics would presumably explain why it occurs. In which case a natural explanation would be sufficient.

        • SteveK

          Speculation and imagination can resolve any difficulty. I thought this wasn’t allowed? If it works for you…

        • Dys

          I don’t recall anyone telling you that you weren’t allowed to believe God made the universe happen with magic.

          The problem, of course, is that a natural explanation doesn’t require the invention of magic to explain things away.

          Basically, the quest is for a self-sufficient explanation. The one I offered doesn’t require inventing the supernatural. Yours does. Which makes yours less reasonable, as we have evidence for the natural. For the supernatural, not so much.

        • SteveK

          You’ve stepped outside what science knows to be a natural explanation and are relying on ignorance and imagination.

          We have evidence for the natural…eternal universes that pass through contraction and expansion phases, not so much.

        • Dys

          and are relying on ignorance and imagination.

          And yet my proposal is still a natural explanation. And I didn’t say we had sufficient evidence for an eternal universe. But it’s got more going for it (and no magic required!) than offering up a supernatural explanation. As such, it’s more reasonable than goddidit.

          As I said, your argument doesn’t actually reasonably support supernaturalism. PSR doesn’t get you to where you want it to.

        • SteveK

          >> And yet my proposal is still a natural explanation.

          Even if it is, the point is that we know it cannot be the complete explanation. We know a natural explanation always involves something outside/beyond the thing being explained.

        • Dys

          We know a natural explanation always involves something outside/beyond the thing being explained.

          Do we? Because it sounds like you’re basically trying to insist that my self-sufficient explanation doesn’t count because you don’t want it to. Yet the fact remains that it’s far more reasonable than inventing magic to explain things. And your attempts to get around that involve speaking in absolutes I don’t think you can actually support.

          I get it…once you can escape natural conclusions, you can propose any silly magical explanation you want. The problem you’re going to keep running into, however, is that your supernatural explanations are themselves insufficient. You’d have to abandon PSR or propose a self-sufficient explanation. In which case you can just make fantastical, magical shit up, because at that point, you’re not even pretending to be dealing with reality any more.

        • SteveK

          >> Do we?

          Yes. I can cite many that fit this description. Can you cite any that don’t fit this description?

          >> Because it sounds like you’re basically trying to insist that my self-sufficient explanation doesn’t count because you don’t want it to.

          My point is your explanation isn’t a natural explanation because we know from science what those are – and yours doesn’t fit the category. I have no particular problems with the explanation itself.

        • Greg G.

          How do we know from science that his explanation doesn’t fit the category?

          His explanation is a natural explanation because it doesn’t appeal to the super-natural. It shows that there are still at least one natural explanation that has not been ruled out. There may be other natural explanations besides this one.

          Once you have ruled out every possible natural explanation, every other possible solipsism and theology, then you can settle for a god. However, you cannot know that you have ruled out every possible natural explanation nor every possible solipsism and every possible theology, so that approach won’t work.

          So you must show evidence that favors your theology, but you have ruled that out by making it supernatural, which by definition rules out evidence.

          You may as well go back to “faith”.

        • Dys

          Yes. I can cite many that fit this description. Can you cite any that don’t fit this description?

          Apparently you’re missing the entire point of constructing a self-sufficient reason. Which is strange, considering your position requires setting up a supernatural one. And I should also point out that your attempt to prove your absolutist mantra doesn’t work – anyone’s inability to cite an example doesn’t disprove the possibility. Hell, if we’re going that route, your argument is over before it starts, as the supernatural can be summarily dismissed due to lack of evidence.

          But I’ll counter you. I hereby declare that supernatural explanations cannot be self-sufficient reasons. And any that you could possibly cite don’t count, because by the declaration I just made, they can’t qualify. Therefore, you have to explain any supernatural thing with something else that isn’t supernatural, because there’s no way the supernatural can account for itself.

          My point is your explanation isn’t a natural explanation because we know from science what those are – and yours doesn’t fit the category.

          Your point is wrong – you’re trying to do the exact same thing I parodied above. You’re arbitrarily defining it out of contention. The hypothetical scenario I posited was entirely natural.

          Your argument has no real substance. The time to believe in the supernatural is when you have good evidence to support its existence. Trying to argue it into existence doesn’t work, and the PSR doesn’t get you any closer to it.

        • SteveK

          >> You’re arbitrarily defining it out of contention. The hypothetical scenario I posited was entirely natural.

          It’s not arbitrary at all. I’m basing it on the template of every natural explanation science has recorded in the books and seeing if your’s fits that template. It doesn’t. It doesn’t because the explanation doesn’t include a thing beyond/outside the thing you are trying to explain.

          Yours can be an explanation of some kind, just not what is KNOWN to be a natural explanation.

        • Greg G.

          What template did Relativity follow? Quantum physics? Nuclear physics? Newton’s laws of motion? The Theory of Evolution? The Germ Theory of disease? All great discoveries in science set their own templates.

        • SteveK

          I don’t know.

        • Greg G.

          The basic template is to a scientific theory is to be detailed enough to make specific predictions that cannot be made with other theories.

          Einstein’s theory said that light would be bent in a gravitational field. Some astronomers realized that during a certain solar eclipse that there would be a star on the other side of the sun but if the path of the light was distorted according to the theory, the star would be visible. Astronomers traveled all over the world to be in a position to test the theory. They wanted to be in different places in case of clouds in some locations. The star was not only visible as the theory predicted, it was seen precisely where it was predicted.

          Many of the theories you want to dismiss out of hand simply cannot be tested due to the limits of our technology. Science cannot dismiss them but they cannot confirm any support for them.

          String theory has lost favor not because it was disproved but because it didn’t lead to any new testable routes to investigate.

          It is the same with theologies and solipsisms.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Spoiiiinnng!…there goes another one.

        • Dys

          I proposed a hypothetical natural explanation. You’ve tried dismissing it out of hand by effectively declaring that there can’t be any self-sufficient natural answers.

          And I pointed out the flaws with that line of thinking, and showed how misplaced it was by doing the exact same thing to your preferred explanation. And if propose the same type of test to you, there’s nothing you can present.

          My point still stands. PSR doesn’t get you to the supernatural, and it doesn’t make relying on the supernatural as an explanatory mechanism more reasonable than natural explanations. And since we have evidence for the natural, and not the supernatural, a self-sufficient natural explanation is more reasonable than a supernatural one.

          All you’re doing is trying to get out from a self-sufficient natural explanation by fiat so you can attempt to justify resorting to magic. And it’s truly funny that you’re trying to use the limits of the natural world as an excuse to jump into the gap of supernaturalism.

        • SteveK

          >> I proposed a hypothetical natural explanation.

          Natural explanations are discovered via science. That’s my position. If you know of another source for discovering natural explanations, please let me know.

          >> You’ve tried dismissing it out of hand by effectively declaring that there can’t be any self-sufficient natural answers.

          I’m not declaring it or dismissing it out of hand. I want evidence from science first. If you have an example from science that is KNOWN to not fit the natural explanation template that I stated above, please point me to it.

          It would be really cool to see a self-sustaining *natural* thing that science *knows* didn’t rely on anything beyond/outside it for it’s existence (hope you pick up on the sarcasm)

        • Dys

          Natural explanations are discovered via science. That’s my position.

          My hypothetical was natural. I get that you don’t like that, but you’re just blowing smoke by denying it. My hypothetical doesn’t require any magic. We all know your interpretation does.

          hope you pick up on the sarcasm

          I did…I can only assume it’s because you’ve failed miserably in trying to present an argument for positing supernatural explanations.

          You’ve refuted nothing – all you’ve really got is “well, no one knows, so I can believe whatever I want” in a fairly weak argument form. Yet I can point out that your criticisms also completely demolish your own stance…the only real advantage to positing supernatural explanations is that you’re then free to make up whatever you like.

          But since we have evidence for the natural, and none for the supernatural, natural explanations are more reasonable. It looks like you’re trying the same canard of placing science and magic on equal footing in the face of ignorance and declaring you’re justified in picking whichever one makes you feel better.

          You’re playing gap argumentation, but you’re trying very hard to disguise it. PSR doesn’t get you anywhere close to justifying the existence of the supernatural, no matter how many times you keep repeating yourself. I get that you’re trying to do an end-around on evidence for the supernatural, but it doesn’t work.

        • SteveK

          No sarcasm this time.

          >> My hypothetical was natural.

          Since I only know what a natural explanation is via science, I look to what it says.

          I honestly do not know of a natural explanation that is KNOWN to not fit the template I described. Nothing is KNOWN to explain itself.

          >> You’ve refuted nothing

          I’m not trying to refute anything. I’m content with the argument as it is.

        • Dys

          I honestly do not know of a natural explanation that is KNOWN to not fit
          the template I described. Nothing is KNOWN to explain itself.

          Agreed, actually. But you’re trying to take that and extrapolate an absolute from it. And that’s where your argument falls apart.

          You’re trying to insist that no natural explanation is self-sufficient, or could possibly be. But you haven’t actually supported that. And when I provided a hypothetical one, you fell back on your absolutist position in an attempt to disqualify it. As I said, you essentially defined it out of existence.

          I could just as easily insist that there’s no known self-sufficient supernatural explanation, and you’d be just as stuck. And if you tried to give me one based on your religious beliefs, I could accuse you of defining them into existence.

          And as I stated, the difference between the two is that we have evidence for the natural. We don’t have anything even close to comparable for the supernatural. The argument doesn’t get you there.

        • Greg G.

          We don’t have anything even close to comparable for the supernatural.

          The definition of “supernatural” prevents there ever being evidence for it, because then it would part of the natural.

        • MR

          That’s his game. If you can’t detect it, you can’t disprove it. Just like you can’t disprove every other contradictory belief or figment of the imagination.

          Now ask for a mechanism for accurately discerning that his belief is correct and watch him shut down.

          No evidence, no mechanism to discern the accuracy of his own belief, and therefore no reason to believe any more than to believe in Shiva or fairies or that the Force exists. He’s digging himself a hole and a protective bubble to shield his own faith from criticism, but he can’t provide a verifiable mechanism that he’s correct.

          It’s farcical to think that a god who so loves the world would take such pains to prevent a reliable method to discover him. I call bullshit.

        • Dys

          I was thinking more along the lines of claims made by theists where some type of interaction between the natural and supernatural is stipulated.

          But yes, you are correct. And that’s why SteveK is trying to get there the convoluted way via PSR. He’s got no other route.

        • Scott_In_OH

          Thank you. This is why it is so important for SteveK, or anyone else, to say what they mean by “natural” or “nature.”

        • SteveK

          >> But you’re trying to take that and extrapolate an absolute from it. And that’s where your argument falls apart.

          I’m not extrapolating. I’m not saying anything about the future. I’m stating today’s known facts and letting them make my argument. What the future holds, I really don’t know.

          >> You’re trying to insist that no natural explanation is self-sufficient, or could possibly be.

          I’m not speculating about what is possible – everyone else is. Your rebuttals are pure speculation because they are based on what could be possible.

          I’m staying with what we know today, and today we know what a natural explanation is. So far, nobody has shown that I have my facts wrong.

        • Dys

          So in essence all you’re really arguing is that science doesn’t know everything. Great. That doesn’t say anything about whether the supernatural exists. Methodological naturalism is not philosophical naturalism.

        • SteveK

          Can you read?? I’m arguing on the basis of what science knows. It knows what natural explanations are, and they all have the same structure.

        • Dys

          Yes, can you? Methodological naturalism is not philosophical naturalism. You’re committing a category error, repeatedly.

        • SteveK

          Explain the category error.

        • Dys

          You’re insisting that all natural explanations must follow the template you specified. But that doesn’t preclude the possibility of naturalistic explanations that don’t. As I’ve already pointed out to you, you’re trying to insist on an absolutism you can’t demonstrate.

          You’re defining a self-sufficient naturalistic explanation out of existence because you want to shoehorn the supernatural in.

        • SteveK

          >> You’re insisting that all natural explanations must follow the template you specified.

          I’m not insisting. I’m stating the known facts. It’s a fact that they always follow this template. If you can show me one that doesn’t I will consider revising my position. Simple enough, right?

          >> But that doesn’t preclude the possibility of naturalistic explanations that don’t.

          I never said otherwise. Let’s not substitute speculation for knowledge. Let’s stay with what we know and let the future tell us what is possible.

        • Dys

          If you can show me one that doesn’t I will consider revising my position.

          Cool. Then we can likewise dismiss supernatural explanations using the same reasoning. Works for me…we wouldn’t want to substitute speculation for knowledge.

          We don’t know if there’s anything outside the natural, and PSR doesn’t reach the conclusion that there is. Resorting to the supernatural would be entirely speculative.

        • MR

          Precisely.

          Let’s not substitute speculation for knowledge.

          Yes, let’s not substitute speculation about God for knowledge.

        • SteveK

          >> Then we can likewise dismiss supernatural explanations using the same reasoning.

          The reason you cannot is because natural things are known to be unable to explain themselves.

        • Greg G.

          There you go again. We don’t know that natural things cannot be explained naturally. That is a gap in our knowledge. You are wanting to stuff god into it.

        • SteveK

          >> We don’t know that natural things cannot be explained naturally.

          We do know this. Natural things don’t explain themselves. If that’s all you have, we know it doesn’t explain them.

        • Dys

          But nothing is known about the proposed supernatural (including whether it actually exists), so you’d be engaging in speculation, which you’ve already stated you’re not willing to do.

          You can’t have it both ways, sorry.

        • SteveK

          I haven’t said anything about what the non-natural is. I’m only saying natural things cannot explain themselves so if you want a complete explanation you won’t find it in the set of natural things.

        • Dys

          I’m only saying natural things cannot explain themselves so if you want a complete explanation you won’t find it in the set of natural things.

          But as we’ve discussed, that”s merely speculation on your part as well. It’s an assumption you’re making, not knowledge.

        • SteveK

          It’s not speculation. We know what natural things are and in EVERY case where we know what the explanation is, we know that something outside/beyond them is involved.

          Time for you to get specific, son. Tell me how we get from today’s knowledge of natural things to your conclusion that something outside/beyond them IS NOT involved? Do you have any evidence for this?

        • Dys

          It’s not speculation. We know what natural things are and in EVERY case where we know what the explanation is

          You’re speculating that the non-natural exists, and that there can’t be a self-sufficient natural explanation. You’re like the silly theists who ask why is there something rather than nothing, when they can’t demonstrate that ‘nothing’ is even an option. You don’t get to insist that I can’t speculate about a self-sufficient natural explanation when you’re speculating on the possibility of non-natural alternatives.

          Time for you to get specific, son

          Oh please…with all the ducking and dodging you’re doing in order to avoid providing any positive claims concerning what we all know you’re trying to shoehorn in, you’re hardly in a position to whine about specifics. We both know that when you get to the non-natural, you’ve got nothing BUT pure speculation. Which is why you’re avoiding it.

          Tell me how we get from today’s knowledge of natural things to your conclusion that something outside/beyond them IS NOT involved?

          Considering the limited evidence we have concerning the origins of the universe, my scenario is at least plausible. Plus there’s speculative quantum physics to at least support the notion. And it wouldn’t require an external explanation. Until you just define it out of existence again, of course.

          You want the PSR to get you to supernaturalism. It doesn’t, no matter how hard you try.

        • Greg G.

          I haven’t said anything about what the non-natural is.

          Then what have you been talking about all this time. Who do you think you are fooling by trying to leave it unstated?

        • Dys

          He’s playing the same trick the ID crowd tries…they try to disprove evolution, but don’t bother to actually try supporting their own position. SteveK doesn’t want to play defense, because then his own argument can be used against him, and his mantra of avoiding speculation will become completely hypocritical.

        • Greg G.

          He and ClayJames are doing that. SteveK keeps saying he isn’t talking about gaps and won’t admit that he is doing so tacitly whether he knows it or not.

        • Dys

          Exactly…his intentionally non-specific non-natural realm is nothing but a gap.

        • SteveK

          If I know round things have no angles then it’s acceptable to refer to non-round things as the category of things that have angles – and leave it at that.

          We know what a natural thing is. They are the kind of thing that has something outside/beyond them to explain their existence. Non-natural things would not have this.

        • Greg G.

          We can do that if we have the same definition of “round”. Things that are pear-shaped don’t have angles either but does your definition of round mean “spherical” or just “roundish”? Does round mean two-dimensional and three-dimensional? If you are not clear what you mean, it is easy to change the precise meaning and end up with equivocation.

          1. Nothing is better than a cold beer.
          2. A warm beer is better than nothing.
          3. (1,2) Therefore, a warm beer is better than cold beer.

          That comes from using a different meaning for the word “nothing” in the two premises.

        • MNb

          Like I wrote elsewhere – himself and his demented granddaddy.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The reason you cannot is because natural things are known to be unable to explain themselves.

          And non-natural things can explain themselves? How do they do that?

          Some natural phenomena that we know of have no explanation. The rational say, “we don’t know”. You say, “ah ha, the only explanation is a non-natural one”, but fail to say what that non-natural thing is, because it is a GOTG explanation.

          Most natural phenomena we know of have has an explanation. You say that that explanation is outside the thing which it is trying to explain. Fair enough, but that explanation is itself a natural explanation. Then there is a finite regress of natural explanations until there is none. To which the rational say, “we don’t know”. You say, “ah ha, the only explanation is a non-natural one”, but fail to say what that non-natural thing is, because it is a GOTG explanation.

          Non-natural explanations are solipsism’s. They explain nothing, because they are nothing. You want a non-natural explanation that itself needs no further explanation. But that is just silly pants. It is either “we don’t know” or infinite regress. Science is still working hard on the “we don’t know” and coming up with natural explanations day in, day out. Non-natural explanations don’t exist, they are what you want to put into the spaces in our knowledge rather than admit “we don’t know”. I’m afraid it is “we don’t know”, GOTG or “turtles all the way down”, so ya best start sucking it up.

        • Dys

          He’s intentionally avoiding making any positive claims about the supernatural, because he knows that as soon as he does, his argument cannibalizes itself.

        • SteveK

          >> And non-natural things can explain themselves? How do they do that?

          Those are great questions that philosophers have been looking at for a long time. One thought is that, unlike natural things, they are the kind of things that don’t depend on anything for their existence. There are other theories out there.

        • Greg G.

          It isn’t that hard to imagine stories that do not need further explanation. It is hard to show them to be real.

        • MNb

          “unable to explain themselves”
          In other words – what science cannot explain – does not know. A classical god of the gaps.
          See that you’re a liar?

        • MNb

          Yes, we can read. And we read that you’re a liar. You’re arguing on the basis of what science does not know. You can fool yourself and your demented granddaddy, but nobody on this blog.

          “Nothing is KNOWN to explain itself.”
          is what you yourself wrote above. Science does NOT know how naturalism can explain itself. That’s the basis of your argument.
          Liar.

        • Greg G.

          I’m staying with what we know today, and today we know what a natural explanation is. So far, nobody has shown that I have my facts wrong.

          No, you aren’t. You aren’t trying to stick god into what science says. You are trying to put god into what science doesn’t say. It doesn’t matter to your argument what science says today or science says in the future, you will be looking for a gap that science cannot address. There will always be the problem of solipsism and that is the basis of your argument. Stop kidding yourself.

        • Greg G.

          I’m not extrapolating. I’m not saying anything about the future. I’m stating today’s known facts and letting them make my argument. What the future holds, I really don’t know.

          I’m not speculating about what is possible – everyone else is. Your rebuttals are pure speculation because they are based on what could be possible.

          I’m staying with what we know today, and today we know what a natural explanation is. So far, nobody has shown that I have my facts wrong.

          Just like the ancients did who came up with a six day creation story. You have just backpedaled after science showed they were wrong to stick god in those particular gaps of human knowledge.

        • MNb

          “Nothing is KNOWN to explain itself.”
          Yup. Hence this is not the problem. Your next step – rather a salto mortale – is.
          You may be content with the argument at it is – it’s not an argument for any god.

        • Pofarmer

          “It doesn’t because the explanation doesn’t include a thing beyond/outside the thing you are trying to explain.”

          Do you know what a brute fact is? Do you understand the problem of infinite regress? Because that’s exactly where you’re headed.

        • SteveK

          I’m trying to stay within what is known. If you have an example of a natural explanation that is KNOWN to not fit my statement, please share it.

        • Pofarmer

          And what is known is an ever expanding sphere. You’ve even noticed that. “We learn something and then find that there is more to learn.” That’s the nature of science. You learn something cool and it leads you to something else. But, once again, where you are trying to go ALSO has issues. Issues more problematic than the ones of methodological naturalism. Because where you desire to go is beyond the area of evidence.

        • SteveK

          >> And what is known is an ever expanding sphere. You’ve even noticed that.

          Yes I have.

          >> “We learn something and then find that there is more to learn.” That’s the nature of science.

          Yes, that’s the nature of known natural explanations. I don’t know of any other kind of natural explanation so what can I do? I accept that natural explanations are exactly as you have stated it – the kind that leave us with more to learn.

        • Pofarmer

          And, so?

        • Greg G.

          There are no gaps where science explains things and you accept them. Where there is a gap on what science explains, you want to say “godidit”.

        • Pofarmer

          You need to take this up with physicsts like Laurence Krause and Sean Carroll. Dr. Carroll has a blog and will answer questions if you ask nicely. You are being pathetic.

        • SteveK

          I’m being careful to stay with what science knows to be a natural explanation, not with current theory.

          If these people are going to tell me the current theory, then I’ll wait until they know the natural explanation so I can re-evaluate my position.

        • Pofarmer

          What you are doing is jumping to a supernatural conclusion as soon as it is convenient to do so. We can list any number of things that were once thought to have supernatural explanations that we now know to be natural. The rising and setting of the sun(which is why we have the terms rising and setting, BTW.) Meteors and Comets, the motions of the planets, eclipses, the wind, any number of things. You are simply stuffing God into any gap you can find for him. The history of scientific exploration shows us pretty plainly which way to bet.

        • SteveK

          I’m not jumping to anything that is not known. I’m letting known facts speak for themselves.

          >> We can list any number of things that were once thought to have supernatural explanations that we now know to be natural.

          Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.

        • Pofarmer

          “Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.”

          Now who’s the skeptic? It’s a start, at least.

          “I’m letting known facts speak for themselves.”

          What you seem to be doing, rather poorly, is mucking around with some idea of Aristotlean causation, or something of that nature. It’s kind of hard to make out because you’re being so evasive on it.

        • SteveK

          I’m mucking around with what we know right today.

        • Pofarmer

          And so?

        • Greg G.

          I’m not jumping to anything that is not known. I’m letting known facts speak for themselves.

          But as soon as the facts stop speaking for themselves, you interject “godidit”. In twenty years or so, when there are facts to explain that point, you will change God’s position to the next gap.

        • Pofarmer

          Uhm, actually no. Dys, and the physicists who propose such theories, are generally relying on things like Quantum mechanics string theory, Brane theory, etc, etc.

        • Susan

          Speculation and imagination can resolve any difficulty.

          Yes. That is a problem when someone claims that speculation and imagination are necessarily true, particularly when they can’t demonstrate how it resolves any difficulty.

          I thought this wasn’t allowed?

          No. You didn’t. You just think it’s allowed for you and for no one else. All you’ve provided is speculation and imagination with no coherent connection between your S & I.

          At least the model that Dys provided addresses the evidence. That is, it attempts to connect itself to an explanation OF the difficulty.

          This is very different from you “Catholicyawhehjesus dunnit” of the gaps. It explains nothing.

          Also, no one who proposes that model claims it MUST be true.

          Your model is not necessary and you haven’t shown how it explains anything.

          Yet it is up to us to disprove it.

          Other models, while not necessary, attempt to explain some very complicated and murky evidence about reality. .
          And it is up to us to prove it.

          Nothing about your approach is logical. If every natural model so far proposed turns out to be wrong, that does nothing to advance your model.

          Nothing.

          Pick your standard. Double standards need not apply.

        • Scott_In_OH

          Your conclusion is that something outside of nature must explain nature (or perhaps something outside of nature must explain every single natural event). You have not, however, said what you mean by “nature” or “natural,” so your argument is impossible to evaluate.

        • SteveK

          Science studies nature and finds natural explanations. This is how I’m using the term. Whatever science finds is natural and is found in nature.

        • Susan

          I’m not speculating.

          You are. That’s exactly what you’re doing. In the murkiest possible way.

        • MNb

          As you have linked in such a way that I cannot comment there I copy and paste:

          “1) Science gives us natural explanations. “I don’t know” is not an explanation and is not knowledge.
          2) We know what a natural explanation is because science gives us that knowledge.
          3) Science has shown that all natural explanations are the kind that require the existence of some natural thing that is beyond the thing being explained.
          4) Nature is a natural thing that can be explained
          5) Natural explanations are insufficient to explain nature (from 1,2,3)”

          Let’s ignore the logical errors here.
          In several comment you wrote that hence a non-natural (or something similar; other terms are ultimate explanation and first cause) explanation is required.
          That remains a god of the gaps.

        • SteveK

          If natural explanations are insufficient then non-natural explanations are necessary. That’s just logic applied to the conclusion. No gaps.

        • Greg G.

          You haven’t shown that natural explanations are necessarily insufficient but trying to say that they are is setting up a gap. It is referring to what we do not know – a GAP in our knowledge. Saying “non-natural explanations are necessary” makes it a non-natural-explanation-of-the-gaps argument. If you are implying that the non-natural explanation has anything to do with a god, it is a GOTG argument.

          If you cannot comprehend this, you are mentally deficient and I feel sorry for you for that. If you are not mentally deficient, then you are a liar, and I will despise you for that.

        • MNb

          Word games won’t help you out.
          “Insufficient”.
          Gap.
          Given your blatant dishonesty:

          “Insufficient” refers to what we don’t know. Hence Bonhöffer’s quote applies – you’re looking for god in the incompleteness of our knowledge.

          “how wrong it is to use God as a stop-gap for the incompleteness of our knowledge. If in fact the frontiers of knowledge are being pushed further and further back (and that is bound to be the case), then God is being pushed back with them, and is therefore continually in retreat. We are to find God in what we know, not in what we don’t know.”

          I already told you how to remedy that. You replied with the lie that according to me “science is a failure on all accounts”.

          You’re a pathetic liar, SteveK and apparently incurable.

        • Greg G.

          You keep saying that the natural explanations are insufficient. You are referring to what we don’t know when you do that. That is GOTG. You still owe us an example where you have not done that.

        • SteveK

          See my prior reply.

        • Greg G.

          That is not a GOTG argument because it is not about a gap and it is not about a god. When you are making your argument for a god, you insist that natural explanations are insufficient which makes it a GOTG argument.

        • SteveK

          The conclusion is the conclusion. No gaps.

        • MNb

          As soon as you type the letters g, o and d in a row you step outside of that realm, because you have defined that entitiy as a supernatural/ transcendental/ immaterial entity.
          Or are you a Mormon or similar? Then I have another set of questions for you.

        • Greg G.

          But from that point, you have to show how your argument is not useful for a BIV or the Matrix or the dream of Vishnu. When you you are not guided by evidence, you are not guided at all.

        • Greg G.

          What are the “things outside/beyond” in that snippet? It’s not heat from burning natural gas. We don’t know, do we. You are implying that those unknowns are God. The unknowns are gaps and you are trying to fill those gaps with your god.

        • SteveK

          >> What are the “things outside/beyond” in that snippet?

          I listed them for you.

          >> We don’t know, do we.

          Science doesn’t know what causes water in pots to boil? Amazing.

          >> You are implying that those unknowns are God.

          No I’m not. I listed the explanations for you and none of them are God. I think you need a refresher of my argument. My most recent summary is here:

          https://disqus.com/home/discussion/crossexamined/atheists_what_would_it_take_to_change_your_mind_99/#comment-2442890658

        • Ignorant Amos

          He believes in the god-of-the-endless-gaps fallacy. A sort of ploy using Gödel’s incompleteness theorems.

          When each gap is filled, the believer is forced to jump to the next gap. This game can continue ad nauseam, since human knowledge will never be able to explain everything (by definition of infinity, and by principles such as Gödel’s incompleteness theorems). However, the argument is an instance of the logical fallacy of argument from ignorance.

          The ultimate “gap” that likely cannot be bridged is “well, god started everything”, because even if something like the m-theory explaining how our universe could have “big banged” in the first place was proven to be true someone could always ask, “yes, but what created the membranes?”.

        • Greg G.

          Or where you have inferred the supernatural from human knowledge and not a gap.

        • MNb

          No, dishonesty is all you have.

        • SteveK

          I’ll always have you.

        • Ignorant Amos

          “God was invented to explain mystery. God is always invented to explain those things that you do not understand. Now, when you finally discover how something works, you get some laws which you’re taking away from God; you don’t need him anymore. But you need him for the other mysteries. So therefore you leave him to create the universe because we haven’t figured that out yet; you need him for understanding those things which you don’t believe the laws will explain, such as consciousness, or why you only live to a certain length of time — life and death — stuff like that. God is always associated with those things that you do not understand. Therefore I don’t think that the laws can be considered to be like God because they have been figured out.” ~ Richard Feynman

        • SteveK

          I love Feynman, but not his ignorance.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Spoooiiiingg!!!!

        • *hands Amos a new Irony Meter*

          You might need this.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Cheers for that….can I place a lorry load on back order? I feet there will be a requirement for a whole lot more.

        • Yeah, endless supply.

        • Greg G.

          Surely, You’re Joking, Mr K.

        • SteveK

          Haven’t read that book in 25 years. My college professor was a Feynman fanatic.

        • Greg G.

          25 years? Has it been that long? Suddenly I feel old.

        • Steven Watson

          *Sputters over keyboard*

        • Scott_In_OH

          “Adequate” for what? Sorry, but you said I (or any reader) should be careful in my answer. I think it’s fair to try to figure out what the question is asking.

          If by “explanation” we mean something like “a statement from one being to another describing the process by why a certain phenomenon occurs,” then there is no phenomenon that needs an explanation in order to occur. To take but one example, digestion occurred in organisms, including humans, long before anyone could tell anyone else how it worked. Stuff could, and does, happen in the universe whether we can explain it or not.

          If “reason” (which you used in your “sufficiently” comment) is a better word than “explanation,” and if by “reason” you mean something along the lines of “a justification for an action,” then you are presupposing that there is a conscious being out there that could have a justification for doing something.

          If, instead, you mean “cause,” by which you might mean “an event that forces a succeeding event to occur,” then (1) why didn’t you say so, and (2) if you are heading for Aquinas’s Uncaused Cause argument, then all the usual objections apply. If you’ve not heard them before, I’m happy to discuss, but it would be useful to be clear on what we are talking about.

        • SteveK

          >> “Adequate” for what?

          Adequate to explain the existence of a particular reality a person is referencing, whatever it may be.

          Edit: I have no idea why my comment was posted prior to me finishing. I’ll keep it as shown here.

        • Scott_In_OH

          OK, so your point is that every explanation science has offered has also raised new questions; is that right?

          That is, someone discovers that Y causes Z, which leads us to wonder what causes Y. Then someone discovers that X causes Y, which leads us to wonder what causes X. And so on. Is that a fair statement of your point?

        • MNb

          Yes. And then his god is the ultimate explanation, which is a mirrored version of Thomas of Aquino’s Uncaused Cause and Aristoteles’ Unmoved Mover. And it runs into all the usual problems. They have been pointed out to them on this very blog numerous times.

        • SteveK

          >> OK, so your point is that every explanation science has offered has also raised new questions; is that right?

          No. One of my points is that every natural explanation includes things outside/beyond the thing you are trying to explain. The thing you are trying to explain is inadequate to explain itself.

          >> Is that a fair statement of your point?

          Fair.

        • Scott_In_OH

          OK, I agree with the Z, Y, X, etc. point. What are the consequences?

        • SteveK

          Things we know today from science.

          1) Science gives us natural explanations. “I don’t know” is not an explanation and is not knowledge.
          2) We know what a natural explanation is because science gives us that knowledge.
          3) Science has shown that all natural explanations are the kind that require the existence of some natural thing that is beyond the thing being explained.
          4) Nature is a natural thing that can be explained
          5) Natural explanations are insufficient to explain nature (from 1,2,3)

        • Scott_In_OH

          #3 is more or less the Z, Y, X point, so I think I agree, although I’m thinking you’ll need to define “nature” and “natural” in order to get very far with this line of thinking.

          To make sense of #4 and #5, I’ll need to know what you mean by “nature” and “natural.”

          #1 & #2 seem superfluous. (And #1 is incorrect as written. “I don’t know” can indeed be knowledge that shapes future actions. You ask me where the grocery store is; I tell you I don’t know; now you have more knowledge, albeit not an answer to your question. A graduate student asks what lies beyond the event horizon of a black hole; her supervisor tells her he (and the rest of the field) doesn’t know; now she has more knowledge, and perhaps a dissertation question. Like I said, though, it seems superfluous to your argument, so I’m not going to pursue it.)

        • SteveK

          >> I’m thinking you’ll need to define “nature” and “natural” in order to get very far with this line of thinking.

          Science tells us what is “nature” and “natural” by way of methodology and discovery. Ask science what these terms mean if it’s unclear.

          >> #1 & #2 seem superfluous.

          I’m establishing where we get our knowledge of nature. My only point about “I don’t know” is that it’s not a natural explanation. Too many people have the mistaken idea that I’m relying on what science doesn’t know. To those people my suggestion is this: if you find yourself saying “science doesn’t know that yet” then I’m not relying on it.

        • Scott_In_OH

          Science tells us what is “nature” and “natural” by way of methodology and discovery.

          No, it does not. A scientist might offer a definition of “nature” or “natural,” but she does not discover that definition by following the scientific method.

          More important, if you are going to use this form of argument (“1, 2, 3, therefore 5”), it is crucial that you be clear about the terms you are using. There is nothing wrong with my asking you what you mean.

        • SteveK

          >> No, it does not.

          I’m letting science tell me since they are the experts. Science tells us it studies nature, discovers natural things and provide us with natural explanations. Is science wrong here?

          If you have another source for those terms, let me know.

        • Scott_In_OH

          If you prefer, you could define “non-nature.”

        • SteveK

          If we know what natural explanations are by experience, then logically speaking non-natural explanations would fall outside of this. In terms of my argument, they would be those things that do not fit the template of natural explanations.

        • Scott_In_OH

          So “non-nature” = “that which we cannot experience”?

        • “Nature” and “natural” are undefined here. How are you defining the category of natural things, and what are you excluding from that category? In other words, what criteria make something a part of “nature”, and what sorts of things would you consider to be outside of and separate from nature?

          Your response to Scott In OH suggests to me that you are implicitly defining nature as “that which can be explained by science”, which would mean your argument is full of tautologies and that point 5 would not follow. If you have some other definition in mind, then what is it, and what aspect of the scientific method prevents it from investigating the non-natural?

        • SteveK

          Science shows us what those categories are by way of demonstrating and discovering. Science discovers natural things and it explains them using natural explanations. Nature is the term used for all natural things.

          >> Your response to Scott In OH suggests to me that you are implicitly defining nature as “that which can be explained by science”,

          Science has been in the business of explaining nature and only nature. Am I wrong about that – does science explain non-nature?

        • Susan

          What is nature?

          What is non-nature?

        • I’m not sure if your first sentence there was meant to be a definition of the categories of natural and non-natural; if not, then you need to be a lot more explicit (as in, tell me what the categories are, rather than saying that “science tells us”).

          Nature is the term used for all natural things.

          I assume you intended this sentence to be useful or meaningful in some way, but I can’t work out why.

          Am I wrong about that – does science explain non-nature?

          I can’t answer that question, since I don’t know what you mean by “non-nature”, or what quality non-natural things supposedly have that prevents science explaining them.

        • SteveK

          My position is that science studies nature, discovers natural things and provides natural explanations. That’s what we are told – at least that’s what I’m told – so I’m going with that.

          If science can study it empirically, it’s natural. If it’s natural, it’s in nature. If science can explain it, it’s a natural explanation.

        • Kodie

          And then you leap over to a supernatural conclusion via “things science can’t explain (yet) must be supernatural then, yeah?”

          No. Science doesn’t “tell” us anything at all. The work is done by humans in human time, with human economies and other factors inhibiting immediate answers. Hypotheses come from observation and the imagination. “God did it” is a hypothesis, an idea. How do you test it? When has god been responsible for anything? Just because studying things that don’t exist is not for science to study, examine, conclude, etc., doesn’t mean supernatural is the explanation for anything. Supernatural explanations are based on stories you might tell yourself, like the world is out to get you; you, arrogant you, were targeted specifically for a chance outcome and not someone else. It’s really easy for a storyteller to appeal to your ego and get you to believe a popular superstition, because of how stupid and gullible you are.

        • MR

          Science doesn’t “tell” us anything at all. The work is done by humans in human time, with human economies and other factors inhibiting immediate answers. Hypotheses come from observation and the imagination.

          I think that’s a very important distinction. Science isn’t a thing in and of itself. Science is people looking at the world in a disciplined manner. Why should science be limited to the “natural” if the “supernatural” did in fact exist? Science is just people making observations and if Jesus existed it was people who made the observation that he existed. If God heals someone, it’s people making the observation that it was God who healed them. If it’s not a reliable observation it doesn’t matter whether it’s natural or supernatural. You don’t need “science” to tell you that. If it’s an unreliable observation, you hold it in reserve or discard it altogether. Christians are capable of making reliable observations, too. If Jesus is actively working in the world today, it should be discernible. If God is healing people it should be discernible. If it’s not discernible from just every day life, it’s not a reliable observation. SteveK’s use of fallacies and deception are not reliable observations and that’s where he robs himself of all credibility.

          When I read Genesis, I don’t automatically think, oh these are lies and invented fiction. What I see is the men of old trying to make sense of the world around them. They were in a sense doing the science of their time. If I were to find fish fossils on the top of the mountain, what more natural thing than to imagine that water once covered everything? It’s a valid hypothesis given the knowledge of the time. They couldn’t have known about plate tectonics. When they find giant bones, what more natural thing than to imagine giants walked the land or that a leviathon existed? They couldn’t have known about dinosaurs and the vastness of time. We’d have thought the same thing. “Holy crap, look at the size of this guy’s femur!” They were just trying to make sense of the world from the knowledge and capacity they had. It’s all part of the evolution of our own understanding of the world.

          The problem is when those hypotheses become sticky. Men become enamored of their explanations and are loathe to let go of them. Men like to be certain. And then you get the Steve’s of the world who will guard that certainty at all cost. Even at the cost of their own integrity. But you don’t grow if you’re not willing to leave untenable beliefs behind. The future no doubt will judge many of our beliefs just as ridiculous as we judge religious belief. It’s part of the evolution of our knowledge of the world. Religion was a stepping stone in our attempt to understand the world. Some of us are moving on, we don’t hold all the answers, but we’re going forward. The SteveK’s of the world choose to keep one foot in the untenable beliefs of the past.

        • SteveK

          >> Science doesn’t “tell” us anything at all.

          Fascinating. I’ll keep that in mind.

        • Scott_In_OH

          Kodie’s and MR’s comments point toward a potentially useful definition of “nature”:

          Just because studying things that don’t exist is not for science to study

          Why should science be limited to the “natural” if the “supernatural” did in fact exist?

          So perhaps “nature” is simply “things that exist” and “non-nature” is “things that don’t exist”?

          Or maybe “nature” is “things we have detected,” and “non-nature” is “things we have not detected”?

          I’m trying here, and you are being extraordinarily rude with your vague statement that “science tells us what nature is.” What do you mean by that term?

        • SteveK

          I’m not being rude, I’m being inductive. Inductive reasoning only gets you to the point of broad generalizations. You’re asking me to get more specific but in order to do that I need more information to work with.

          In broad general terms we know what is natural. We know this from experience because we’ve studied it. Non-nature would consist of everything that doesn’t fit into that broad generalization.

        • Scott_In_OH

          “In broad general terms we know” is not a definition.

          It’s fine to be vague/broad/general at the start of a discussion, but once someone asks for clarity it is very rude not to provide it.

          Your second paragraph suggests that “non-nature” = “that which we cannot experience.” Is that what you mean?

        • SteveK

          I can only get as clear as the evidence allows. I’ll give you more clarity when I get the information I need to do that.

          >> Your second paragraph suggests that “non-nature” = “that which we cannot experience.” Is that what you mean?

          No. I’m not saying anything about what we can/cannot experience. Our knowledge of nature comes by way of experience. That experience gives us our knowledge of the category ‘natural’. By logical extension non-natural things don’t fit into that category.

        • Scott_In_OH

          Definitions do not derive from evidence. Definitions are required for meaningful conversations.

          Your final paragraph suggests a slightly different definition than I proposed a moment ago. That is “nature” = “that which we HAVE experienced” and “non-nature” = “that which we HAVE NOT experienced.”

        • Kodie

          SteveK’s whole argument is “you can’t prove god didn’t do it.”

        • Ignorant Amos

          And by keeping his definitions vague he is able to shift the goalpost’s later on when more wiggle room is required.

        • MR

          Which provides zero reason to believe God actually did. If we can’t move on to that step, why bother any further with his trolling?

        • SteveK

          >> Definitions do not derive from evidence.

          Then from where?

        • Scott_In_OH

          From agreement by people who are trying to communicate. In their most institutionalized form, they show up in dictionaries. In a face-to-face conversation, they could be modified/clarified by mutual agreement.

          They are meanings that are assigned to words by participants in a conversation. If the participants have assigned different meanings to the same word, then conversation becomes impossible. When one person isn’t sure what the other person means, she asks, and the other person needs to clarify, or the conversation isn’t going anywhere.

        • MR

          The conversation hasn’t gone anywhere for months.

        • SteveK

          >> From agreement by people who are trying to communicate.

          I’m agreeing with what science is trying to communicate to people about nature and natural explanations.

        • Scott_In_OH

          You’re not talking to “science.” You’re talking to me and the others on this blog.

        • SteveK

          I’m telling you where I get my definitions.

        • Scott_In_OH

          If I said something to you about “rain,” and you said you didn’t know what I meant by the term, it would be evasive (and therefore rude) for me to say something like, “It’s what we experience on a rainy day” or “It’s what scientists who say they study rain study.”

          What’s so hard about saying “Rain is liquid precipitation”? Assuming we both knew what “liquid” and “precipitation” meant, that would be a pretty good definition. It would also tell you what “not rain” is: anything that is not liquid precipitation.

        • SteveK

          >> What’s so hard about saying “Rain is liquid precipitation”?

          It’s not hard to do that for one example. I can’t list every natural thing ever discovered by science during their studies, so when you ask what do you mean I prefer to refer you to the list they’ve compiled and say “that’s what I mean”. Same with natural explanations.

          The same tact can be taken with rain or any other thing. What do you mean by rain? Rain is what science has identified in their studies, and if you were to look there you’d discover it to identified as liquid precipitation. That’s what I mean by rain.

        • Scott_In_OH

          I prefer to refer you to the list they’ve compiled

          You’ve pointed me to no such list. You’ve just said it’s out there somewhere and we all know what it is. If you could provide a link or citation, that would be fine.

          I can’t list every natural thing ever discovered by science during their studies

          Of course not. That’s why I’m asking you for the characteristics that the describe the set you call “nature,” which would also implicitly give me the characteristics of the set you call “non-nature.”

          There are, of course, many examples of typologies scientists use. A scientist could tell me what she means by “animal” vs. “non-animal” or “plant” vs. “non-plant” or “terrestrial” vs. “extra-terrestrial” or “organic” vs. “inorganic.”

          Definitional questions come up all the time and are usually easily resolved.

        • SteveK

          >> That’s why I’m asking you for the characteristics that the describe the set you call “nature,”

          I’ve been doing that. Once again…

          – Nature is the set of all natural things.
          – Natural things are known to be characterized as the type of things that need something outside/beyond them to explain why they exist.

        • Greg G.

          A self-referential definition is a useless tautology.

          How about “nature is everything delimited by space, time, energy. and emergent properties.” Supernature is “things that are not limited by space, time, energy, and their emergent properties”. I just made those up off the top of my head. Modify as you will.

        • Scott_In_OH

          Nature is the set of all natural things.

          Changing the part of speech from noun to adjective is not helpful.

          Natural things are known to be characterized as the type of things that need something outside/beyond them to explain why they exist.

          THIS is helpful, because it allows for further analysis of the argument.

          1. It is NOT true that science only studies things that “are known to … need something outside/beyond them to explain why they exist.” Scientists study things humans can observe; they do not refuse to study things because there might be no explanation outside/beyond the phenomenon itself.

          2. If that definition of “natural things” is, in fact, the one you are using, then your argument is as follows:

          a. Everything we know of or can conceive of was caused by something prior/external.
          b. Therefore, there must exist something that was NOT caused by something prior/external.

          b is a ridiculous conclusion to draw from a.

        • MR

          The key is in his “why they exist.” He’s presupposing that existence has a reason… a why, which then intimates an agent with a purpose behind that reason.

        • MNb

          Yeah – and science actually is about “how come”.
          “God is how come there is rather something than nothing” (or any variation of this, because despite all his bravado SteveK brought up nothing new; only old wine in new bags) sounds very silly though.

        • SteveK

          I agree with (1) and if I implied otherwise then I will have to go back and make some corrections. I don’t see this affecting my argument though.

          Not sure what (2) is trying to say but I will comment.

          (2a) I’m not saying everything that can be conceived of was caused by something prior. I’m saying that the natural things we have knowledge of – that those natural things are known to be that way.

          If we don’t know of any natural thing that doesn’t fit that template what reason is there to think that one day it will be found?

          By comparison, if all men that we know about are mortal what reason is there to think we will one day find one that is immortal?

        • Scott_In_OH

          I overstated in 2a. Sorry about that.

          Your argument is as follows:

          a. Everything whose cause we’ve been able to determine was caused by something prior/external.
          b. Therefore, there must exist something that was NOT caused by something prior/external.

          b does not follow from a. (a is also incorrect, given our current understanding of radioactivity and quantum mechanics, but even if it were correct, b would not follow.)

        • SteveK

          I don’t get as far as (b) because it takes more work to get there.

          My argument only goes as far as to show that our knowledge of natural things is that they do not explain themselves. The explanation always involves some thing that is outside/beyond the thing being explained.

          So if you were to gather up a huge universe-sized pile of natural things that needed to be explained, I would tell you that an explanation exists outside/beyond that pile.

          Is the universe itself a natural thing?
          – If yes, the explanation lies outside/beyond it.
          – If no, the universe explains itself and is not a natural thing as we currently know, use and understand that term. Science will never be able to know that the universe explains itself for reasons not stated here.

        • Scott_In_OH

          Then the issue is with your definition. That is, you are playing word games.

          After some effort, I discovered that you are defining “natural things” as “things with a prior/external cause.” That, of course, means that “natural things … do not explain themselves” BY YOUR VERY DEFINITION OF THE TERM. You have not SHOWN them to be such; you have DEFINED them to be such.

          As I pointed out, that is NOT the definition any scientist I know or have read uses. Scientists to NOT rule out studying something because of the type of cause it might have. Indeed, as far as we understand it, radioactive decay and certain quantum events have no prior/external cause, yet no one is calling them “non-natural.”

          Thus, while most people would agree that the universe is a “natural thing,” they would NOT be presupposing that it had a prior/external cause (nor would they be ruling it out).

        • SteveK

          >> After some effort, I discovered that you are defining
          “natural things” as “things with a prior/external cause.”

          I’m reporting what has been found using the terminology most people use. The phrase “That has a natural explanation” is used all the time.

          But go ahead and put whatever label you want on it, because it doesn’t affect my argument. I’ll help you.

          1) X = things we’ve discovered with an explanation outside/beyond
          2) not-X = things that explain themselves.

          >> Scientists to NOT rule out studying something because of the type of cause it might have.

          I agreed with this already.

          >> Indeed, as far as we understand it, radioactive decay and certain quantum events have no prior/external cause, yet no one is calling them “non-natural.”

          We don’t know which category this falls into, X or not-X. When we know, I’ll put it into the proper category.

          >> Thus, while most people would agree that the universe is a “natural thing,” they would NOT be presupposing that it had a prior/external cause (nor would they be ruling it out).

          It’s either an X or it’s a not-X. Notice I didn’t make any presuppositions. I asked a question and explained both possibilities.

        • Scott_In_OH

          Our conversation is about done. By this end of your last post, you’ve simply said either the universe has a prior/external cause, or it doesn’t. I’m pretty sure everyone would agree.

        • SteveK

          The argument says more than just that. I tells us what kind of thing can explain what exists in an ultimate sense. It says only not-Xs can do that.

          The beauty of science is that every time it discovers a thing outside/beyond the X being explained, it discovers an X that cannot explain why X ultimately exists. The more X’s we discover, the longer the list becomes of things that are known to NOT be the ultimate, complete explanation.

        • MNb

          And according to your very own argument that something else demands explanation as well. And so does that explanation. You will never reach the ultimate, complete explanation.
          You’re just infinitely shifting the problem and too dishonest to admit it.

        • SteveK

          You’ve just informed everyone that you don’t understand. Others do understand so I’ll stick to talking with these people.

        • Greg G.

          MNb is absolutely correct.

          You kept insisting that you were sticking to what we know while everybody could see that you were implying “godidit” explains the gaps. You just admitted that you were putting God into the explanation.

        • SteveK

          He absolutely correctly misunderstands. My very own argument does NOT say an ultimate, complete explanation will never be reached.

        • adam

          Of course you say that.

          No gaps = no gods

          And you keep gap shopping like its Christmas…

        • Greg G.

          Are you pretending that God doesn’t need an explanation? Are you simply defining that god into existence? Your argument has always been directed at a GOTG and you want to stuff your god into the gap and then say it is settled.

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          You just informed everyone what a cheapo you are as you pulled off one of the lamest cop outs possible.
          I don’t care whether you talk to me or not. I react to your comments whenever I feel like and you neglecting me has exactly zero influence.
          Your project is a failure.
          Don’t forget to neglect the people who upvoted me as well.

        • adam

          “You’ve just informed everyone that you don’t understand. ”

          Oh we understand YOUR DISHONESTY…..

          And we are not stupid enough to fall for it like you have.

        • adam

          Then it is turtles…

          All the way down.

        • Susan

          I tells us what kind of thing can explain what exists in an ultimate sense.

          It does not.

          only not-X’s can do that.

          Without defining what it means by “X”. It’s meaningless.

          Firstly, it’s a negative term. Secondly, it doesn’t even define the term it claims “not” to be.

          In the meantime, every explanation “outside” every natural explanation is a natural explanation. In many cases, a natural explanation that shows the supernatural explanation to be false.

          You argument seems to be:

          1)Many of our natural explanations are further supported by more natural explanations “outside” themselves.

          C: Therefore, there must be a supernatural explanation for all these natural explanations.

          That’s catholic philosophy.

          .

        • MNb

          “If yes, the explanation lies outside/beyond it.”
          And that explanation demands also an explanation for exactly the same reasons. And that new explanation also demands a newer explanation. Ad nauseam.

          Plus of course the ultimate explanation of the Universe (eg quantum fields) is probabilistic according to science. So if your logic is correct you’re worshipping the wrong god(s). You should become hindu or pastafarian.
          But you won’t of course, because you’re dishonest. This becomes especially painfully clear because I have told you a gazillion times by now. Instead of addressing this you prefer to present the same argument ad nauseam while refusing to accept its consequences.

        • Scott_In_OH

          I’ve given you four potential definitions of “nature” and “non-nature”:

          Nature = things that exist; Non-nature = things that don’t exist
          Nature = things we have detected; Non-nature = things we have not detected

          Nature = things we can experience; Non-nature = things we cannot experience

          Nature = things we have experienced; Non-nature = things we have not experienced

          Does any of those capture what you mean? If not, provide the definitions you are using.

        • MR

          From agreement by people who are trying to communicate… In a face-to-face conversation, they could be modified/clarified by mutual agreement.

          You’re mistake is that you think SteveK wants to communicate or even come to any kind of mutual agreement on terms. His interest is solely in trying to undermine with fallacious arguments your own. He understands that statements in support of his beliefs are untenable and he will avoid going there at all costs.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Quick answer? Common everyday parlance, which is one of the reasons for polysemy.

        • Greg G.

          You need to clarify your definitions in a conversation because words can have different meanings and a specific meaning may have different connotations to each person in the conversation. It is also necessary to clarify the meaning to eliminate equivocation where a different meaning gets substituted along the way.

        • If science can study it empirically, it’s natural.

          So 1 and 2 in your argument above are tautologies (or possibly definitional statements). 3 can be reworded as “All scientific/empirical explanations involve something else that can be empirically investigated”. If nature is “the set of all things that can be empirically investigated”, then 4 asserts that the set of all scientifically explicable things is itself scientifically explicable.

          I dispute 4 because it contains a contradiction. If nature is a “natural thing”, then according to your definition, it can be explained scientifically. According to point 3, this would necessitate some other natural thing that is not a member of the set of natural things (otherwise it would not be “beyond the thing being explained”). So the entity explaining nature must be both natural and not-natural, which is a contradiction.

        • SteveK

          >> If nature is “the set of all things that can be empirically investigated”, then 4 asserts that the set of all scientifically explicable things is itself scientifically explicable.

          There is a difference between investigated and explained. All empirical things can be investigated by science. Can all empirical things explain themselves? That answer, as of today, is no. We haven’t found one empirical thing that can explain itself.

          >> If nature is a “natural thing”, then according to your definition, it can be explained scientifically.

          It can be explained, but I don’t know if it will be explained by science. We’ll have to wait and see what the future holds. As for today, we can look at the data collected so far. That’s what I’ve been doing.

        • Can all empirical things explain
          themselves? That answer, as of today, is no. We haven’t found one
          empirical thing that can explain itself.

          If we did, then would you consider that to qualify as a “natural” explanation?

        • SteveK

          My opinion is I don’t think it’s possible to know if something explains itself, only if something else explains it.

        • So then isn’t it possible that we will one day find (or even that we already have found) an empirical, scientific explanation for all of nature; and that this explanation will also explain itself, although we will be unable to know it?

        • SteveK

          There are well developed arguments, based on what we know about empirical things, that say that the explanation cannot be empirical – and I think they are convincing arguments.

          There would have to exist something empirical that is very, very unlike the empirical things we know about. So while it’s logically possible, we have no evidence or knowledge to suggest it is.

        • Dys

          we have no evidence or knowledge to suggest it is.

          But since we have neither for the supernatural, it’s more reasonable to stick with the empirical than go wandering about it in the supernatural to fill those knowledge gaps.

        • SteveK

          If this thing is very unlike the empirical things we know then I interpret that to mean it’s not empirical.

          But whatever label you want to put on it – supernatural, empirical, natural, ultimate explanation, God – we are referring to the same thing. I call it God, you call it nature.

        • Dys

          So despite constantly denying that you’re arguing for a god of the gaps, that’s precisely what you’re doing. Because you’re playing semantics and using an incredibly ambiguous definition of God.

        • SteveK

          My conclusion that a not-X is required for a complete explanation of all the Xs that exist doesn’t rely on what we don’t know. God fits into the category of not-X.

        • Dys

          And your conclusion isn’t well supported, as has been pointed out to you multiple times now. You’re intentionally playing fast and loose with your definitions, as I’ve already pointed out, and using a gap in knowledge to posit God as a solution.

        • SteveK

          >> And your conclusion isn’t well supported, as has been pointed out to you multiple times now.

          That X’s do not explain themselves is universally supported by overwhelming evidence. That has been pointed out to you multiple times now.

          >> You’re intentionally playing fast and loose with your definitions, as I’ve already pointed out, and using a gap in knowledge to posit God as a solution.

          I’ve defined X and not-X pretty well. God is not an X so God must be a not-X.

        • Dys

          And I’ve already rebutted your absolutism by pointing out that just because the naturalistic reasons we’re aware of require another explanation does not mean all of them do. In other words, you’re assuming, without much reason, that the “nothing” in the “something or nothing” question is a possibility. I’m saying you haven’t demonstrated that at all.

          I’ve defined X and not-X pretty well. God is not an X so God must be a not-X.

          Which neatly sidesteps the false equivalence you just committed in your previous comment, where you’ve basically just stated that God is your gap-filler – your “you call it nature, I call it God” silliness. And there’s also the fact that God would need to exist before he can fit into the not-X category in the first place.

          Your conclusion doesn’t hold up, and PSR doesn’t get you to supernaturalism. You keep trying to trumpet that science supports your supernatural conclusion, when the truth is that it doesn’t. You’re merely using a gap in knowledge to try and get to a worldview that provides the opportunity to insert God into it. And this one doesn’t do it.

        • SteveK

          >> And I’ve already rebutted your absolutism by pointing out that just because the naturalistic reasons we’re aware of require another explanation does not mean all of them do

          You have no evidence to support such a conclusion. If you did you’d present it. Let’s see your argument.

          If this gap logic works for you, it works for all gap arguments – in particular this one: just because we’re only aware of natural things doesn’t mean all things are natural.

          I just rebutted your rebuttal with equal validity.

          >> your “you call it nature, I call it God” silliness.

          Why is it silly? At this point it’s just a word label that refers to the same category of things.

        • MNb

          You have no evidence that your god is the ultimate explanation either.

          “just because we’re only aware of natural things doesn’t mean all things are natural.”
          That’s correct. That’s why naturalism emphatically keeps the option open that some things might not be natural. As a result it’s falsifiable itself, which is totally consistent. Naturalists just point out that nothing has falsified naturalism yet. You haven’t and as long as you try to find a gap you can put your god in you’re doomed to fail.

          “I just rebutted your rebuttal with equal validity.”
          Nope, they are not equally valid. Yours is based on a strawman: that naturalism offers a complete explanation. It doesn’t. It just makes the same demands for non-natural explanations as for natural explanations. When I pointed this out to you you fell back on the ridiculous lie that according to me science fails on all accounts.
          To mask that your project is doomed to fail, no doubt.

        • SteveK

          >> Naturalists just point out that nothing has falsified naturalism yet.

          Depending on what you mean by natural and naturalism – maybe it has, maybe it hasn’t. I’ve defined X a particular way and the conclusions I have are accurate.

          >> Yours is based on a strawman: that naturalism offers a complete explanation. It doesn’t.

          So something else is needed. What do you mean by naturalism?

          >> Many times already I explicitely admitted that quantum fields for instance aren’t explained themselves.

          They are either an X or a not-X.

        • Ignorant Amos

          They are either an X or a not-X.

          And not-X is a not-explanation as you’ve already admitted, it’s just another for saying “I don’t know”, like God, or Yahweh/Jesus in your case.

          Not-X, not-explanation, Yahweh/Jesus, Space Ponies, FSM, The Force, Vishnu, screaming Banshee, yadda, yadda, yadda, ad infinitum… gets you exactly squat, but you carry on and keep banging the same old mantra if it gives you the warm and fuzzies.

        • Greg G.

          Warm, Fuzzy Fallacies for Faith.

        • SteveK
        • Ignorant Amos
        • Dys

          just because we’re only aware of natural things doesn’t mean all things are natural.

          True. But since we’re only aware of natural things, that doesn’t mean resorting to supernatural explanations is reasonable.

          You have no evidence to support such a conclusion.

          And you have no evidence to support yours. Because you’re using gap argumentation. I’d also point out that the example I provided way back in the beginning is a natural self-sufficient explanation, but you’ll just insist that I don’t know that it’s true or not in order to leave the door open to your supernaturalism.

          Why is it silly? At this point it’s just a word label that refers to the same category of things.

          Because it causes a litany of false equivalences.

        • SteveK

          >> But since we’re only aware of natural things, that doesn’t mean resorting to supernatural explanations is reasonable.

          If by ‘natural things’ you mean Xs then you’re demonstrably wrong. What do you mean by natural things?

          >> I’d also point out that the example I provided way back in the beginning is a natural self-sufficient explanation, but you’ll just insist that I don’t know that it’s true or not in order to leave the door open to your supernaturalism.

          What do you mean by ‘natural’? If you mean an X then your example has been shown repeatedly to be a failure. If you mean a not-X, which I am calling not-natural, then insofar as this argument goes, it’s sufficient to do the job.

          >> Because it causes a litany of false equivalences.

          Explain. I don’t know how this is possible since I haven’t gotten specific beyond two categories X and not-X. But maybe you can show me where these false equivalences are.

        • Dys

          Steve, it’s like you’re being intentionally obtuse to try and save this crap argument of yours.

        • MR

          From the beginning.

        • Dys

          Yeah, I’m done. I can only repeat myself so many times.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Kudos to you, and all the others here, for making such a valiant effort all the same. Some people are so entrenched in the mind virus there is no hope. SteveK is like a poor man’s excuse for WLC and we all know what kind of liar for Jesus that toe-rag has been proven to be.

        • MNb

          But you don’t get it ….. and SteveK will only talk to those who understand, which apparently is nobody. Have you already reached the same point as I have (and possibly Ignorant Amos and Adam as well), namely that the default position is that apologists are intellectually dishonest?

        • MR

          Which just fascinates me. I mean we run into that over and over.

        • Dys

          I don’t always think the person presenting the argument is necessarily intellectually dishonest. But the arguments themselves? Yes, pretty much.

          I’m not quick to label someone a liar, because that too often implies far more than is actually intended. But I do think apologists commit the same error in their apologetics that they do in their religious faith – falsely believing they have an unassailable argument or position, and casually brushing aside all the problems that are pointed out to them.

        • SteveK

          It’s like you’re rebutting my argument.

        • Greg G.

          Then consider your argument rebutted many times over.

        • Dys

          I’m basically just repeating myself at this point, and you don’t really have much of a response beyond “that doesn’t count” and “I swear it’s not god of the gaps!”, even though you keep trying to insert the supernatural into a knowledge gap.

          Combined with your insistence that you’re trying to be scientific in your leap to the realm of magic, and I don’t see much point in continuing. Basically, you’ve gotten boring, and your intent on not seeing the obvious problems with your argument, even though they keep getting pointed out to you.

        • MNb

          Well, that took you a while ….
          See, the moment SteveK began to set up his argument it was clear what he was heading for. It’s nothing but a combination of the Cosmological Argument and the God of the Gaps. And that was several weeks ago.

        • Dys

          It didn’t take me long at all. I understood what he was doing. Sometimes I just argue for the sake of the argument.

        • SteveK
        • Dys

          You’re just repeating that you believe there can’t be a self-sufficient natural explanation again. You haven’t demonstrated that such is the case. All you can go on is “well, all the natural explanations we know about require other explanations themselves”.

          To go with your variables, you haven’t actually successfully ruled out X. You just want to believe you have.

        • adam

          “Steve, it’s like you’re being intentionally obtuse to try and save this crap argument of yours.”

          No DISHONEST, dishonest gods = dishonest believers

        • Greg G.

          Science has been making progress for a few centuries in many, many areas. All of the explanations so far in all of those areas have been explained by nature. It is peeling back nature like an onion. We don’t know if the core will be a natural explanation or whether it is an infinite natural onion, but since there has never been a satisfactory supernatural explanation in any area, we should not suppose there is one until we have some kind of evidence for one.

          You will endlessly be pointing to the gap at the edge of ignorance as where your god is.

        • SteveK

          The progress science has been making has showed that all X’s need some other thing to explain the X. If your onion is all X’s, even an infinite X, the explanation will be found in some other thing.

          I’ll keep pointing that out to you as well.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Why is it silly? At this point it’s just a word label that refers to the same category of things.

          So the place holder label you prefer for “we don’t know” is God? Well why didn’t ya just say that in the first instance and save everyone all this time wasting bollocks you keep rambling?

          I’m partial to Space Ponies-did-it myself, but what does it matter what it is called until there is evidence to support the god or Space Ponies hypothesis? Gods, Space Ponies, unknown Physics, whatever collection of letters you chose to apply as the unknown X label, it is all the same and means all the same. It will be the ultimate known explanation or it will be dependent on some other unknown explanation. The fact of the matter is, I don’t know and neither do you. That’s it, that’s all you’ve got. As it stands at the moment, it’s a GOTG argument because as we move forward, every god, or Space Ponies explanation for that matter, has been explained with a natural explanation, provisional I grant you, but hey, that’s the extent of our current knowledge. You can wish as much solipsist nonsense into the scenario as you want and if it has you convinced that you are taking the more rational position then you work away at it till yer nose bleeds, but no one here is convinced by yer silly pants tomfoolery.

        • MNb

          “God is not an X so God must be a not-X.”
          Special pleading indeed. Just because you defined god as something not-empirical you say that your god doesn’t need to be explained.
          Plus it’s controversial if “quantum fields exist” is a meaningful statement. As quantum fields do have explanatory power while the explanatory power of “goddiddid” is still exactly zero (plus your god defined as something non-empirical is incoherent) quantum fields are still to preferred.
          Hence naturalism, even if imperfect, still beats your dualism (required for your god) with a great margin.
          Your god is an incoherent concept. 1-0 for naturalism.
          If we assume that your god is a coherent concept it doesn’t explain anything. 2-0 for naturalism.
          If we assume that your god is a coherent concept and manages to explain something naturalism, for instance quantum fields, explain it better. 3-0 for naturalism.
          Because your god has all the defects you pointed out in naturalism plus three more.

        • MNb

          Nope. As long as “God” is not explained (because “God” is an X that you concluded to exist) you don’t have a complete explanation.
          Your jump to “God” is just special pleading as long as you refuse to explain “God” – and you do.

        • SteveK

          The narrowing down of what not-X must entail comes from other arguments, not this one. Consider this Step 1 of several. Right now we’ve established that X’s aren’t the explanation.

        • Greg G.

          Right now we’ve established that X’s aren’t the explanation.

          You have not. You have pointed to gaps in our current knowledge but you haven’t determined that X’s are not natural explanations. You haven’t shown that supernatural explanations are possible, either. All we know now is that it is now possible to explain many natural things that were once thought to be supernatural. We on’t know of any actual thing with a non-imaginary supernatural explanation.

        • SteveK

          >> you haven’t determined that X’s are not natural explanations.

          Huh? I’ve stated repeatedly that I consider X’s to be natural things. I have no idea what you’re talking about.

        • Greg G.

          It appears that you have left your definition of X to be vague intentionally to allow for equivocation.

          A. X = natural things we understand.
          B. X = natural things we may or may not understand.
          C. -X = something else that is not natural
          D. -X = things we do not understand which may not be natural.

          Are you using A and D or are you using B & C definitions? Those are the two opposite sets of pairs. Even B & D might work, if you allow some overlap in unknowns for later clarifications.

          You seem to be using A and leaping to C while ignoring natural things we do not understand.

          If you use B, then you really can’t get to C until you actually show that there are no possible natural explanations for at least one thing.

          If you use A you can’t get to C without the fallacy of a false dichotomy.

          Even if you got to C, you are in an unknown state. You can only get to some type of solipsism from there.

          How many weeks have we been telling you that this GOTG gambit is fallacious?

        • SteveK

          What does ‘understand’ mean in each of these? What is the source of our understanding? What do you mean by natural? For B do we understand that they are natural but have no more understanding than that? If so, how does B differ from A?

        • adam

          So EXACTLY which GAP are you trying to fill with your hole shaped god?

        • Greg G.

          understand = infer from rigorous investigation*
          natural = existing in or caused by nature; not made, caused, or affected by non-corporeal entities

          A only refers to the things that we can explain naturally at the present moment.

          B includes things we can explain naturally, things we will be able to explain naturally in the future, and things that could be explained naturally even if we don’t find that explanation.

          If there are things that can only be explained by involving the supernatural, they would not be in A or B. That would go into C if you are using B for X or D if you use A for X.

          * we will never know anything with absolute certainty because of the problem of induction. You may be tempted to stick something in that gap but any type of solipsism could fill it as well.

        • SteveK

          >> natural = existing in or caused by nature; not made, caused, or affected by non-corporeal entities

          What is nature and do we know if nature is all that exists?

        • Greg G.

          OK

          natural = existent things or processes that are not made, caused, or affected by non-corporeal entities.

          We don’t know if nature, whatever you mean by that word, is all that exists or if it actually exists. It could be a set of artificial inputs to a brain in a vat or a dream of Vishnu.

          We can never know if what we perceive is real or an illusion. Even if we had conclusive evidence for God, we wouldn’t be able to know whether it was an illusion designed by the Keepers of the Vat to lead us to that conclusion. That’s why MNb was correct and you are not in the other thread. Our knowledge cannot be known to be complete.

          Even a god who had no other reason to think it was not omnipotent and omniscient could never actually be certain that it was not perfectly deceived by a higher being. It, too, could be a BIV being fed artificial inputs. Any of us could be fed those inputs and incorrectly think we were omnipotent.

          But there are other possible scenarios like that which we have no possible way to escape from the possibility but which we have no evidence in favor of any one of them, all are equally unlikely so we should dismiss them for lack of evidence. Your GOTG argument gets swept out with them for lack of evidence.

          You still need some evidence for the supernatural realm to make your belief more plausible than the BIV. The lack of natural explanations are not sufficient to get where you want to go.

        • SteveK

          >> natural = existent things or processes that are not made,
          caused, or affected by non-corporeal entities.

          This is not my definition in the argument so your A-D would not apply. I don’t make any assumptions about non-corporeal entities one way or the other because science doesn’t know one way or the other. My argument is based on what we know from science.

          >> We don’t know if nature, whatever you mean by that word, is all that exists or if it actually exists.

          If you don’t know then I guess you cannot evaluate my argument or know if there are existent things and processes.

        • Greg G.

          Then plug in your definitions. Just be sure you don’t neglect unknown natural explanations. It seems to be a key point in your argument but the omission makes your argument collapse into pleading.

          I don’t know that we are not BIV and neither do you. We can only make evaluations from the assumption that the reality presented to us is reliable.

        • SteveK

          >> Then plug in your definitions.

          I’ve stated my definitions several times. No thanks.

        • Susan

          I’ve stated my definitions several times.

          Please provide links to one or more comments where you have done so.

          Simply right click on the time stamp to the right of your name (and the person’s name you are responding to), click on “copy link address” and paste it into a combox in a reply to Greg G.

          No thanks.

          Then, your argument is done.

          Define your terms or there is no argument.

        • Greg G.

          Your definitions leave out unknown natural explanations. That makes your argument a fallacy of a false dichotomy.

        • SteveK

          We know there are X’s. What is unknown is either an X or it’s something else (a not-X). Those two categories cover every possible thing that could possibly ever exist (whether known or unknown by us). Those two categories cover your possible BIV, Matrix, Vishnu, etc situations.

          I’ve defined X based on what we know to be true about X, and with that definition the argument shows that everything that exists (whether known or unknown) cannot be an X. There must be at least one not-X.

          That’s all my argument says.

          What does this one argument say about God? Nothing. We have to look to other arguments for that, and those other arguments do exist.

          What do some religious beliefs say about God? Some religious beliefs hold that God falls into the category of not-X. For those religions, science hasn’t made a millimeter of progress toward removing God from the picture.

        • Ignorant Amos

          There must be at least one not-X.

          Why must there be at least one not-X?

          What method would you use to go about demonstrating the existence of this not-X?

        • Greg G.

          I took the not-X to mean that there are known unknowns.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah, but reductionist Steve wants all roads eventually to lead to Rome…or Yahweh/Jesus in his case. That’s his first step and that’s his GOTG bit. His unstated further arguments to are the usual trope arguments ad nauseam.

        • SteveK

          Why? Because we know that X is not the kind of thing that explains why it has come to exist. Some other thing outside/beyond is the explanation.

          What method? I don’t think there is a method but maybe someone can think of one.

        • Greg G.

          We don’t know that the some other thing is outside/beyond is the explanation. The explanation may be inside the thing or it may explain itself. Things have been pointed out that there are processes that appear to not need an exterior explanation but you then gave “godidit” as an answer to quantum fluctuations and radioactive decay.

        • SteveK

          >> We don’t know that the some other thing is outside/beyond is the explanation. The explanation may be inside the thing or it may explain itself.

          I just said the same thing.

          >> Things have been pointed out that there are processes that appear to not need an exterior explanation but you then gave “godidit” as an answer to quantum fluctuations and radioactive decay.

          I did not give that answer. Stop lying. I don’t say God is needed to explain something that needs nothing to explain it – because that would be a very dumb thing to say. Here’s what I actually did say about QFs.

          MNb: “I call the ultimate explanation quantum fields.
          So according to you your god and quantum fields are the same thing.”

          Me: “If QFs are an example of a not-X, then you’d be correct insofar as this one argument goes.”

        • adam

          ” I don’t say God is needed to explain something that needs nothing to explain it ”

          And you dont explain “God” either.

        • Greg G.

          >> We don’t know that the some other thing is outside/beyond is the explanation. The explanation may be inside the thing or it may explain itself.

          I just said the same thing.

          When? Where? You have insisted that the some other this is outside/beyond the thing and I said that we do not know that. I said the explanation may be inside the thing or it may explain itself but you have been saying the opposite. If you now agree with me, fine.

          I did not give that answer. Stop lying. I don’t say God is needed to explain something that needs nothing to explain it – because that would be a very dumb thing to say. Here’s what I actually did say about QFs.

          Oh, my bad. When you were discussing nuclear decay, it was a much more vague “It’s an explanation that is outside/beyond the thing you are explain.”. The “godidit” came into later as “I call it God, you call it nature” regarding explanations in general, which would necessarily include nuclear decay and quantum fluctuations.

        • SteveK

          >> When? Where?

          Me: “What is unknown is either an X or it’s something else (a not-X).”

          You said it’s possible that it’s a not-X, so yeah, nothing new.

          >> The “godidit” came into later as “I call it God, you call it nature”

          Put whatever word label you want on not-X, it makes no difference when it comes to this argument. The argument doesn’t care what you call X or not-X. The fact that you’re objecting to my word label means you’re going beyond the argument to find an objection. Don’t blame me for your error.

        • Greg G.

          Me: “What is unknown is either an X or it’s something else (a not-X).”

          You didn’t say that in the post I was responding to. You said the opposite of that. My post was in response to where you said:

          Because we know that X is not the kind of thing that explains why it has come to exist. Some other thing outside/beyond is the explanation.

          That does not say an unknown could be an X. My statement is pointing out that an unknown could turn out to be a natural explanation which would be an X.

          “I call it God” is not my label. It is a direct quote from you and the text links to the post where you said that.

        • MNb

          “If QF’s are an example of a not-X ….”
          And with this condition you turned your combination of the Cosmological Argument and the God of the Gaps in a circular argument as well. You assume that a not-X must be the ultimate explanation to conclude that a not-X must be the ultimate explanation.

        • SteveK

          >> You assume that a not-X must be the ultimate explanation to conclude that a not-X must be the ultimate explanation.

          You must love being wrong. I start with what is known about X and conclude with not-X.

        • Greg G.

          You must love being wrong. I start with what is known about X and conclude with not-X.

          Our knowledge is incomplete and we have not seen a slowing down of what is being added to X so you don’t have a defined not-X. You don’t know that there will be any not-X when all is said and done. If there is a not-X, it is ignorance and you would then have an argument from ignorance. What a lose argument you are constructing! But it is no worse than any other argument for God.

          If you need crap arguments to prop up your faith, you should just abandon it. It isn’t worth salvaging.

        • SteveK

          >> Our knowledge is incomplete and we have not seen a slowing down of what is being added to X so you don’t have a defined not-X.

          I defined X at the outset based on what we know from observation. Yours is a philosophical argument about *what exists*, not an argument based on the observed findings of science.

          The irony is delicious because you’re now talking about philosophical monism which cannot be known from science. I thought science was the cat’s meow when it came to knowledge?

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monism

        • Greg G.

          At the outset, you defined X as what science explained that day, but science has added to that since then. There is less not-X now. Your definition was essentially based on the assumption that nothing would be added. More will be added to X tomorrow, the day after, next year, and so on. You defined your X that way so you could use word play to pretend your argument was based on what we know but the whole point of your argument is what we don’t know.

          It really doesn’t matter what we know at any given point. Humans thought demons caused disease and knew nothing about microorganisms. Apply your argument to the knowledge base from a thousand years ago and your argument would work for diseases being supernatural. Your argument is then shown to be invalid by reductio ad absurdum. It still absurd until you have evidence of the supernatural but that is ruled out by the definition of “supernatural”.

          If your argument has so many fallacies, you should rethink it because it is fundamentally flawed. Your faith is in deep doodoo if you are so desperate to save it with fallacies.

        • SteveK

          >> At the outset, you defined X as what science explained that day, but science has added to that since then.

          And with that, observed X’s cannot be denied.

          >> There is less not-X now.

          There are no quantities involved in my argument. Once again you’ve showing everyone that you’re relying heavily on philosophy. I’m not doing that here. Elsewhere, yes, but not here.

          >> Your definition was essentially based on the assumption that nothing would be added. More will be added to X tomorrow, the day after, next year, and so on.

          My definition is an observation, not an assumption. We observe things that didn’t exist a second ago, and now exist BECAUSE something outside/beyond it is responsible. X’s exist. It’s an observed fact.

          X’s do not explain the existence of themselves. That definition is based on observation and it applies to EVERY single X that exists.

          An infinite number of X’s that exist cannot change this fact. It’s your philosophical musings that are doing that.

          The irony continues….

        • Susan

          The irony continues….

          Indeed.

        • adam

          As the gap gets smaller and smaller and smaller…..

        • adam

          “We observe things that didn’t exist a second ago, and now exist BECAUSE something outside/beyond it is responsible.”

          Yes, OUR OBSERVATION

        • Greg G.

          Now you are back to PRATTs. Let’s try a different tack.

          Scientific unknowns are at the nuclear scale and at the astronomical scale. We have only been able to study these for a few years and our technology is still improving. We understand the underlying processes from the atomic scale up to the scale of our solar system. The things we don’t understand from far below the humans scale to far above it are due to the complexity of forces and interactions which we do understand.

          Astronomical forces are too big to affect us on such a small scale. Quantum forces are too small to affect even biomolecules.

          So let’s get specific about the nebulous not-X. Is it at the subatomic scale or the astronomical scale? Neither looks good for you,

        • SteveK

          >> So let’s get specific about the nebulous not-X. Is it at the subatomic scale or the astronomical scale? Neither looks good for you,

          What looks good is the fact that my argument is correct.

          The answer to your question is found in other arguments – the philosophical type. Science is helpless for two reasons,

          (a) science cannot *demonstrate* that an observed thing is explained by nothing but itself (try cobbling together a falsifiable theory), and
          (b) any UNobserved thing that science “finds” on paper or in some math equation hasn’t been observed. Since science hasn’t observed it science can’t actually know what the nebulous not-X actually is.

        • Greg G.

          (a) science cannot *demonstrate* that an observed thing is explained by nothing but itself (try cobbling together a falsifiable theory), and

          So what, that is conceded that science cannot do that.

          But neither can pseudo-science show that anything is explained by anything other than natural explanations. Isn’t that what your proposition is?

          (b) any UNobserved thing that science “finds” on paper or in some math equation hasn’t been observed. Since science hasn’t observed it science can’t actually know what the nebulous not-X actually is.

          That does not justify any damn thing you can think up. Theology is just as poor as any solipsism.

          We have ruled out forces and interactions at the human scale. If there is a deity, it is either concerned with galaxies, universes, multiverses, or subatomic particles.

          Your whole deal for several weeks has been “science doesn’t know everything”, therefore SK can assert “godoesit”. There are many philosophical reasons and practical reasons that science may never explain everything that have nothing to do with the Problem of Solipsism. The BIV Theory solves that problem as effectively as the Godidit Theory because of the absence of evidence. Any theology or solipsism is still in doubt because it would be subject to other solipsisms.

          Your argument can’t get you where you want to go even if it wasn’t fallacious. It is hard to count all the fallacies. Every time you state it, another fallacy presents itself.

          Why don’t you move on to something interesting?

        • SteveK

          >> But neither can pseudo-science show that anything is explained by anything other than natural explanations.

          Reason can ‘show’ a lot of things that science cannot.

          >> That does not justify any damn thing you can think up.

          I agree. I’ve never suggested otherwise. There are reasons to think that some things are ruled out. I’ll list a few…

          a) not-X cannot be the result of a process
          b) not-X cannot be a grouping or arrangement of X’s
          c) not-X cannot be any of the known X’s

          >> Your whole deal for several weeks has been “science doesn’t know everything”, therefore SK can assert “godoesit”.

          My deal has been to show that there are two categories of things that exist, Xs and not-Xs.

          My deal has been to show that, because God falls into the category of not-X, that you’re an ignorant, no-nothing idiot (yes, you) if you think that science has been slowly squeezing God out of the picture.

          >> Why don’t you move on to something interesting?

          I’ll do what I want, thank you. You can ignore me if it pleases you.

        • Greg G.

          a) not-X cannot be the result of a process

          b) not-X cannot be a grouping or arrangement of X’s

          c) not-X cannot be any of the known X’s

          My deal has been to show that there are two categories of things that exist, Xs and not-Xs.

          c) is simply a categorization. The existence of X’s does not imply the existence of not-Xs. X could be married husbands but there are no unmarried husbands.

          You still have not shown that there are any not-Xs that are not groupings or arrangements of Xs or processes of Xs.

          “The 2 most dangerous numbers in the universe are threatening the end of physics” doesn’t help you either. It says that you may never be able to show there are any not-Xs that fit a) or b).

          I’ll do what I want, thank you. You can ignore me if it pleases you.

          Oh, I think you are hilarious on this subject. I just thought you might wish to stop embarrassing yourself.

        • SteveK

          >> c) is simply a categorization. The existence of X’s does not imply the existence of not-Xs. X could be married husbands but there are no unmarried husbands.

          The fact that you think your example is analogous says it all. You don’t understand and you keep showing us that you don’t.

          >> You still have not shown that there are any not-Xs that are not groupings or arrangements of Xs or processes of Xs.

          What part of “ALL Xs are the kind of thing that WILL NOT exist unless something outside/beyond them exists” do you fail to understand?

          Do you not speak English? Are you in some way impaired?

        • Greg G.

          The fact that you think your example is analogous says it all. You don’t understand and you keep showing us that you don’t.

          It is not an analogy. It is an example of logic structure. The existence of an X does not mean not-Xs exist. It doesn’t mean not-Xs don’t exist either, but you have to show that they exist to make your premise true.

          What part of “ALL Xs are the kind of thing that WILL NOT exist unless something outside/beyond them exists” do you fail to understand?

          You have not shown that. You only assert it and it has been pointed out to you that you are making a claim that has not been shown to be true. If your argument does not have true premises, it does not support the conclusion.

          It’s where your argument fails. Your argument is a non-starter. You have not shown that Xs are not arrangements of other Xs. You cannot show that there are no unknown explanations which explain things naturally. Of course, you cannot do that because we know there are unknown explanations.

          But if you did have a successful argument, it would not distinguish between God and Santa Claus.

        • MR

          GG: I just thought you might wish to stop embarrassing yourself.
          SK: Are you in some way impaired?

          Apparently embarrassing himself is not a concern judging from his willingness to repeatedly show his own logical impairments and ironic arrogance.

        • SteveK

          >> The existence of an X does not mean not-Xs exist.

          As X has been defined, it means exactly that.

          Prove me wrong. Use your vivid imagination to show me how X’s can exist without the existence of not-Xs

        • Greg G.

          As X has been defined, it means exactly that.

          Prove me wrong. Use your vivid imagination to show me how X’s can exist without the existence of not-Xs

          Your reading comprehension sucks. I did show you how Xs cab exist without the existence of not-Xs. If X = “married husbands”, there are no not-Xs. Is that is over your head?

          I also said in the post you responded to, “It doesn’t mean not-Xs don’t exist either.”

          But you have two different classes of not-X that you are equivocating here. There could be not-X that are unknown natural explanations and there could be not-X that are unknown supernatural explanations. So you still can’t show that any of the latter exist.

          You claim to be relying on the history of science explaining things but science has only explained things thought to be natural in terms of natural processes and things that were thought to be supernatural in terms of natural processes. Never has there been anything shown to be by supernatural processes.

          You are still at “Inductive epistemology can never be absolutely certain, there for there could be X,” where X could be theology or BIV. That’s where you start and where the conclusion of your argument ends up. You don’t need to make a fallacious argument to get there. If you need to make a fallacious argument to fortify your faith, your faith isn’t worth saving.

        • SteveK

          >> If X = “married husbands”, there are no not-Xs. Is that is over your head?

          It’s not over my head to know that this example is not a parallel example. I told you that word labels don’t change anything so it makes no difference if it’s “married husbands” or “X” or “natural”.

          Here’s the parallel example you were looking for:

          married husbands (MH) = a thing that comes to exist because something outside/beyond it exists.

          Do not-MH’s exist? Yes, of course.

          >> There could be not-X that are unknown natural explanations and there could be not-X that are unknown supernatural explanations.

          What’s this natural and supernatural business that you’ve added to my argument? You now have more than 2 categories of existing things. X and not-X cover every possible existing thing.

          Don’t invent a different argument and then blame me for it. Fix your own problem.

        • Greg G.

          It’s not over my head to know that this example is not a parallel example. I told you that word labels don’t change anything so it makes no difference if it’s “married husbands” or “X” or “natural”.

          Here’s the parallel example you were looking for:

          married husbands (MH) = a thing that comes to exist because something outside/beyond it exists.

          Do not-MH’s exist? Yes, of course.

          Again, “Do not-MH’s exist? Yes, of course.”

          This is why you fail. Not-married husbands cannot exist. It is a contradiction in terms. I was pointing out basic logic and it is going over your head.

          What’s this natural and supernatural business that you’ve added to my argument? You now have more than 2 categories of existing things. X and not-X cover every possible existing thing.

          But you are trying to reach a conclusion that points to the supernatural. If you include natural explanations with supernatural explanations, it is the fallacy of equivocation to infer the existence of supernatural explanations from the existence of unknown natural explanations.

          Why are you so entrenched in keeping so many fallacies in your argument? One fallacy sinks the whole argument. Do you think if you fill your argument with fallacies that nobody will notice any of them?

        • adam

          “Do you think if you fill your argument with fallacies that nobody will notice any of them?”

          A form of Gish Gallop God of the Gaps

        • SteveK

          >> This is why you fail. Not-married husbands cannot exist. It is a contradiction in terms. I was pointing out basic logic and it is going over your head.

          [EDIT: okay, I screwed up this answer but will let it sit here because I can defend the existence of not-MH’s which are identical to not-X’s. The below answer is wrong.]

          The single person exists. The wedding ceremony exists. The marriage law exists. All are not-MH’s, all exist and all are examples of things that explain why MH’s come into existence.

          >> But you are trying to reach a conclusion that points to the supernatural.

          Nope. Not with this argument I’m not. X and not-X are the only things that exist in this argument.

          I won’t defend your argument. If it fails, blame yourself.

        • Greg G.

          The single person exists. The wedding ceremony exists. The marriage law exists. All are not-MH’s, all exist and all are examples of things that explain why MH’s come into existence.

          Most basketballs are orange does not imply that all basketballs are orange.

          Nope. Not with this argument I’m not. X and not-X are the only things that exist in this argument.

          You defined it that way but you are trying to show that there are non-natural explanations but you have included possible natural explanation under your not-X umbrella. If your conclusion is supposed to be “therefore not-X”, you haven’t ruled out “presently unknown natural explanations”. That failure is a direct result of your word game of basing your argument on “what we know from observation” when your conclusion depends on our ignorance.

        • SteveK

          Re: not-natural and natural not-X’s

          You’ve subdivided my category, and now your complaints have nothing to do with my argument. Complain all you want, but it’s not my argument.

          I’m not going to defend your argument. If you think it fails, I will agree. Now, what about my argument?

        • Greg G.

          Yesterday, you said “I defined X at the outset based on what we know from observation.” That leaves things that have natural explanations but we do not know today as a not-X. Showing one of those exists would show that not-X is true but it does not show that not-X is supernatural. Why are you insisting on leaving them in not-X? You are fighting tooth and nail over this but it is as silly as saying there are unmarried husbands.

          Is it because you know that without those types of not-Xs, you don’t have any plausible not-Xs?

        • SteveK

          >> That leaves things that have natural explanations but we do not know today as a not-X.

          Again, you’ve introduced a new category of things called ‘natural explanations’ that I don’t have as part of my argument involving X’s and not-X’s. Your complain is not about MY argument.

          You created this horrible argument and are beating your chest because you can see that it’s bad. Well, good for you, kid. Here’s a lollipop.

        • Greg G.

          Are you denying that there are natural explanations that are yet to be found? Are you denying there natural explanations that we may never be able to determine? How are you ruling them out? You leave them out of X, therefore they are not-X. But if they exist, then you have not-X, which would satisfy your logical argument without there being any supernatural explanations.

          I’m typing slowly so you can read it. I have to keep repeating it until you take time to read it so you can comprehend it.

          Your definitions are sloppy. Clean them up. You clarified what you meant a few days ago but you have not incorporated that into your definition. It seems to be a deliberate attempt to keep fallacies in your argument in order to reach your conclusion.

        • MR

          a deliberate attempt to keep fallacies in your argument

          I mean, hasn’t he been accused of this from the beginning?

        • SteveK

          >> Are you denying that there are natural explanations that are yet to be found?

          I’m denying that ‘natural explanations’ have anything to do with my argument involving Xs and not-Xs.

          Whatever you mean by that term there’s a good chance that some other argument can help you. Back to my argument, okay?

          >> Your definitions are sloppy.

          My definitions are narrow and precise for a reason. That reason is to avoid muddying up the basics before moving on to other issues.

          If you care to get back to my actual argument, I’ll be here waiting. Until then I’m not going to respond to nor defend YOUR argument.

          Later

        • Greg G.

          If your argument is supposed to be about the supernatural, it should be about the natural. If it is about what we know and the supernatural, you’ve failed to account for many natural explanations that are not known now.

          If you are that sloppy with your definitions, your argument is not worth mentioning yet you can’t stop talking about it. It’s hilarious.

        • Ignorant Amos

          He must be Edward Nygma’s sockpuppet…riddle me this…

        • SteveK

          My argument is supposed to be about the reality of X and not-X. However you prefer to define ‘natural’ in terms of these two things is up to you. Just know that your definition doesn’t undermine my argument.

        • Greg G.

          Your argument is already so undermined that going any further might disturb a Balrog.

          If you leave out pertinent categories, you are adding the fallacy of a false dichotomy.

          You are trying to bolster your faith with the most fallacious argument ever devised. I hope you can find happiness with that.

        • SteveK

          Gainsaying doesn’t do anything to undermine an argument.

        • SteveK

          >> If you leave out pertinent categories, you are adding the fallacy of a false dichotomy.

          You keep repeating this falsehood but as anyone can see, X and not-X cover ALL possible things. Nothing has been left out. Whatever these pertinent categories are, they are categories that can only be described in terms of X and not-X.

        • adam

          “Now, what about my argument?”

          What about it?

        • Greg G.

          5000 years ago? Wasn’t there still a vapor canopy around the Earth so there was no rain?

        • adam

          “Re: not-natural and natural not-X’s

          You’ve subdivided my category, and now your complaints have nothing to do with my argument.

          How so?

          SteveK
          Scott_In_OH
          9 days ago
          5) Natural explanations are insufficient to explain nature (from 1,2,3)

        • SteveK

          Those labels were causing problems because of everyone’s preconceived ideas of what ‘natural’ means. I later changed to “X” to get rid of that problem.

        • Susan

          Those labels were causing problems because of everyone’s preconceived ideas of what ‘natural’ means.

          Those aren’t labels. They’re premises. They were causing problems for you because “nature” and “not nature” weren’t going over so well.

          Because you were completely incapable of defining and supporting those terms when you attempted to use them in an invalid argument.

          So, you switched to “X” and “not X”.

          Which is a retreat. An unwillingness to define your terms.

          You appeal to the argument being valid no matter what the terms.

          As has been pointed out endlessly here, it’s not valid.

          “X” and “not-X” is not an improvement.

          There is no argument there.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Once upon a time X’s were explained by not-X’s because of unknown X’s, it didn’t matter that the explanation of the not-X’s was unknown.

          Then we discovered that the not-X’s were not the explanation for the X’s because we now know a lot of the previously unknown X’s, which subsequently explained the X’s we thought need an unknown not-X as an explanation..

          Today we have still got X’s with no explanation, but rather than posit not-X’s whose explanation is itself unknown, we opt for what turned out to better explain X’s in the past, that is, other unknown X’s.

          Some fools still hang onto those silly not-X’s, that still cannot be explained, in some sort of vain hope that unknown X’s will explain all X’s…but there ya go, simples.

        • Susan

          Nicely summed up.

          🙂

        • adam

          “Those labels were causing problems because of everyone’s preconceived ideas of what ‘natural’ means.”

          No, THAT is NOT the reason they were causing problems, in your god of the gaps ‘argument’.

        • Susan

          (Sorry Greg but I’m forced to respond to you if I’m going to be included in the discussion as SteveK stopped responding to me months ago for some inexplicable reason when he was trying to argue for objective morality based on catholicyahwehjesus).

          (sigh)

          SteveK said:

          X and not-X are the only things that exist in this argument.

          They are such fuzzy terms that it’s impossible to see how either “exists” in any sense but in Steve’s imaginary argument.

          He certainly alluded to “nature” and “not nature” early on and through most of his middle game but now, he is being evasive and accusing you of misrepresenting his argument when you try to replace “X” with “nature”.

          “What we know from observation” doesn’t seem to mean anything at all as SteveK hasn’t felt arsed to look into the models that best describe what we observe.

          It’s just another meaningless phrase that SteveK isn’t interested in exploring.

          “X” and “not-X” have clumsily replaced “nature” and “outside nature” without any explanation.

          If I were you, I’d suggest that he take his “X” and “not-X” argument to a philosophy forum and see how far he gets with it.

          It couldn’t be more simplistic and it long ago fell into the category of being not even wrong”.

        • Greg G.

          I’m forced to respond to you if I’m going to be included in the discussion

          Go right ahead.

        • Susan

          Go right ahead.

          Thanks, Greg. 🙂

          You know what I mean, I hope. I am happy to respond to you when I’m addressing your comment. I’d rather talk to someone about their arguments than about someone and/or their/ arguments.

          That’s what the apology was for. I’m forced into kind of a creepy position.

          He ignores Kodie and me. It’s as though we don’t exist.

          Anyway…

          Thanks.

        • adam

          “The single person exists. The wedding ceremony exists. The marriage law exists. All are not-MH”

          No NONE of them are not-Married Husbands.

          How are they husbands if they are not married?

          See how the bible has taken your reason away, you keep believing in the IMAGINARY…

          and the god of the gaps gets smaller, and smaller and smaller….

        • Greg G.

          Great meme!

        • How about a man whose spouse died? He’d be a non-married husband…

        • adam

          Nope still a married husband, unless they divorced then they are not married.

          You are going to need an even bigger gap than StevieK

        • Greg G.

          The wedding vows, and I think, the laws on marriage say “until death do us part” or something like that, so when one dies, the other is no longer married.

        • Kodie

          But if he were talking about her, he’d call her “my wife”. How can you be someone’s wife if you’re dead? Then he must be her husband. Now there’s the law that says he’s up for grabs, as death would dissolve the legal matter of marriage. But a lot of people tend to put off doing so, and in some cultures, there is a taboo against sniffing around too soon afterwards. There’s also the Mormon tradition of marrying dead people.

        • Greg G.

          Sometimes I speak of things I did with “my wife” before we were married. That doesn’t mean I was her husband then.

          There’s also the Mormon tradition of marrying dead people.

          Thanks. Now I can’t unsee the mental image of the honeymoon.

        • Steven Watson

          StevieK is going to owe me a keyboard if I keep sputtering over this one 🙂

        • Ignorant Amos

          I still refer to my first wife as my wife, even though she died in 1991…it is a term of endearment. I’m sure I’m not her husband, for starters, she is dead. Then there is the other issue of me having remarried, so am someone else’s husband, or was until we separated. I can’t have two wives because that is illegal, but I still call my dearly departed and mother of my children, my wife, while my actual wife, albeit separated, not so much so. Silly isn’t it?

          Mormons are fucked up and nobody takes them seriously but themselves.

        • MNb

          “I still refer to my first wife as my wife”
          Yeah, so this is a tricky one. Would you call yourself her husband though?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Nope, definitely not.

        • OldSearcher

          Silly? It doesn’t sound silly to me, IA.

        • I have no dog in this particular race, I’m just trying to figure out the solution to the puzzle of the “non-married husband”.

        • MNb

          In The Netherlands and Suriname a man whose spouse has died is non-married indeed – he’s a widower (that’s an official bureaucratic category). However that man is not a husband anymore either. He was a husband.

        • adam

          I understand.

          The solution to this problem, by SteveK’s reasoning claims is bible ‘god’

          But he has to make words mean their opposite to support his IMAGINED point.

          so StevieK is probing the tiniest of gaps claiming his ‘god’ MIGHT exist there.

        • Greg G.

          Not anymore. He would be a widower, which many consider to be an eligible bachelor.

        • Fair point. Mind, I’m just working my brain out with this.

        • Greg G.

          If your spouse died last year, when you do your taxes in the next few months, you can file as married because you were married at some point during the calendar year. Next year, you would file as single, provided you didn’t marry someone else.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Nope…from personal experience I can tell you that he moves over to the category of widower.

        • Greg G.

          The IRS wouldn’t let you continue to file at the Married tax rate after the calendar year of the death.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Indeed. I think it’s pretty clear that the normal term of a husband is a man married to a living spouse.

          But it is always good to clarify.

          1. A man joined to another person in marriage; a male spouse.

        • OK.

        • Dys

          SteveK’s arbitrary definition of X doesn’t actually accomodate all of nature, so he’s technically correct that by his flawed definition, not-X must exist.

          The problem is that he can’t demonstrate that not-X isn’t natural.

          He’s been reduced to trying to define magic into existence.

        • adam

          “He’s been reduced to trying to define magic into existence.”

          No, he started out that way and never veered.

        • adam

          “What part of “ALL Xs are the kind of thing that WILL NOT exist unless something outside/beyond them exists” do you fail to understand?”

          How you demonstrate that this is true.
          Because like your god of the gaps, you’ve havent demonstrated that it is anything but IMAGINARY

        • adam

          “My deal has been to show that there are two categories of things that exist, Xs and not-Xs.”

          So………you’ve FAILED

          “My deal has been to show that, because God falls into the category of
          not-X, that you’re an ignorant, no-nothing idiot (yes, you) if you think
          that science has been slowly squeezing God out of the picture.”

          And FAILED yet again.

          Even YOU have shrunk YOUR ‘god’ to not-X IMAGINARY…….

        • MNb

          “Reason can ‘show’ a lot of things that science cannot.”
          If your meaning of reason includes induction you’re back at science and this statement is meaningless.
          If your meaning of reason doesn’t include induction, but only deduction, you haven’t understood the criticism Descartes received.
          A conclusion never can be stronger than the assumptions it’s based upon. Deduction starts by definition with those assumptions and if you have excluded induction you don’t have any means to show that those assumptions are correct. We only need to reject one of them and your conclusion is incorrect.
          The simplest example is Pythagoras’ Theorem, as I already explained to you elsewhere on this page. Reject one of Euclides’ axiomata (just the math version of assumption) and it’s incorrect.
          You don’t have shown anything.

        • MNb

          Yup. X’s do not explain the existence of themselves.
          No single not-X explains the existence of itself either.
          So if you can propose a not-X as the ultimate explanation I can propose an X as one. Like quantum fields.
          Any contradiction results in a circular argument – you already tried that one and only succeeded in fooling yourself.
          Quantum fields (and I repeat that it’s not that clear if they are an X or a not-X on your definition) yield testable predictions. We know how they interact with (the rest of) our natural reality. They have explanatory power. They add to our knowledge and understanding.
          The not-X that you propose as the ultimate explanation, the entity you call god, fails on all those accounts.
          Everyone capable of some clear thinking saw from the beginning what you were doing: combining a rephrasing of the Cosmological Argument with a God of the Gaps.
          Man, are you silly.

        • adam

          “If you need crap arguments to prop up your faith, you should just abandon it. It isn’t worth salvaging.”

          But it is the VERY BEST that SteveK’s FAITH prepares him for in dealing with reality.

        • MNb

          You love both lying and your logical fallacies. To start there and conclude elsewhere you must do exactly what I wrote: assume that a non-X must be the ultimate explanation.

          My comment was not immediately addressing your argument – it was addressing the quote I gave.
          If quantum fields are an example of X you by no means have shown they can’t be the ultimate explanation.

        • SteveK

          If QF are an X then we know that something else outside/beyond explains QF.

          QED

        • adam

          IF is not a demonstration.

          So dont break your arm trying to slap yourself on the back.

          But YOUR ‘god’ seems to be shrinking at such a rate as to be effectively disappearing in your arguments

          Is THIS really where you expect to find bible ‘god’?

        • Susan

          If QF are an X then…

          You haven’t established your if. So, you can’t get to then.

          then we know that something else outside/beyond explains QF.

          Only if we we were all willing to accept an incoherent, vaguely defined conclusion as a reliable premise in an incoherent, vaguely defined, badly constructed “logical” argument and were willing to call that knowledge.

          QED

          QENuh-Uh.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Getting stale now isn’t it?

        • adam

          Oh I think it is interesting that he has SHRUNK his IMAGINARY ‘god’ character down to the word ‘If’

          Thereby demonstrating that it IS imaginary, even in his mind.

        • MNb

          Imo already stale the moment he began, a few weeks ago.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I guess so. I was only fairly recently a guest at the party, so his bug nutty bat shit crazy musings were novel for a wee while. They are repetitious tedium now.

        • Greg G.

          You haven’t established your if. So, you can’t get to then.

          That’s the difference between logic and apologetics. Apologetics starts with the conclusion and works back to the premises and pray that they are vague enough to not be shown to be false.

        • MNb

          “then we know that …”
          How do you know?

          Plus: if something else outside/beyond explains QF then according to your very own logic that something else must be explained too or you have an imperfect explanation.

          Failure.

        • SteveK

          >> How do you know?
          We know because we said it’s an X.

          The rest of your comment is nonsense.

        • adam

          “The rest of your comment is nonsense.”

          Beyond your comprehension?
          Or beyond your cognitive dissonance?

        • adam

          ” I don’t think there is a method but maybe someone can think of one.”

          The same as for YOUR ‘god’ – just PRETEND that there is.

        • adam

          “What method would you use to go about demonstrating the existence of this not-X?”

          Same method he uses for his ‘god’

          Lying and deception

        • Ignorant Amos

          Argumentum ex culo

        • adam

          Argumentum by bullshit

        • Greg G.

          We know there are X’s. What is unknown is either an X or it’s something else (a not-X). Those two categories cover every possible thing that could possibly ever exist (whether known or unknown by us). Those two categories cover your possible BIV, Matrix, Vishnu, etc situations.

          I’ve defined X based on what we know to be true about X, and with that definition the argument shows that everything that exists (whether known or unknown) cannot be an X. There must be at least one not-X.

          Thanks for the clarification. That is A & D. We actually know that there are very many “not-X’s” and we expect that we will discover more “not-X’s”. We expect that many of our “not-X’s” to become explained through natural processes. But we do not know that any of them will turn out to be supernatural explanations.

          That’s all my argument says.

          Really? That says nothing. It’s a GOTG argument from ignorance. Why spend months on that?

          What do some religious beliefs say about God? Some religious beliefs hold that God falls into the category of not-X. For those religions, science hasn’t made a millimeter of progress toward removing God from the picture.

          God was the go-to explanation for everything until a few centuries ago. God has been removed from every explanation that has made progress to more and better questions to be answered about our universe and multiverse.

          God has been pushed into smaller and smaller gaps by the religious people. If God is still in the picture, he is harder to find than Waldo. It is false to say “science hasn’t made a millimeter of progress toward removing God from the picture” because God has been reduced to something smaller than the nanometer scale at best.

          God can be considered “in the picture” only because we cannot eliminate other theologies, BIVs, or Matrices, either. They all have the same evidence and all can only make a case based on ignorance.

          God has become an explanation looking for something to explain.

        • SteveK

          >> We actually know that there are very many “not-X’s” and we expect that we will discover more “not-X’s”.

          Really – we do? Refer me to the experiment that *demonstrates* that the existence of a thing does not rely on some other thing outside/beyond for it’s existence. More bluffing.

          >> We expect that many of our “not-X’s” to become explained through natural processes.

          When you do that, you’ll be confirming that they are actually X’s. not-X’s do not rely on something outside/beyond it – like natural processes – to explain them. Try again Old Sport.

          As for the rest of your theological commentary, I won’t bother to comment since this isn’t a discussion about theology.

        • adam

          “As for the rest of your theological commentary, I won’t bother to comment since this isn’t a discussion about theology.”

          It absolutely is “God of the Gaps” theology.

          But it is the VERY BEST that YOUR ‘faith’ prepares you for in dealing with reality.

        • MR

          He’s also relying on semantic equivocation in the terms ‘explain’ and ‘explanation.’ The verb ‘to explain’ needs a subject. “God explains nature.”

          What explains God? There must be something beyond God that explains God. Not-God is required for a complete explanation of God. Therefore there must be something beyond God that explains God. In fact, according to his logic, it is required.

          Stevek: My conclusion that a not-X is required for a complete explanation of all the Xs that exist doesn’t rely on what we don’t know.

          Isn’t their bullshitting fun?

        • Greg G.

          It’s even more fun to bewilder them with the equivalents of their own bullshit.

        • adam

          “How many weeks have we been telling you that this GOTG gambit is fallacious?”

          When did he first start posting here….

        • Greg G.

          Again, you take a gap in knowledge and stick a god into it. Why do you object to putting a GOTG on your argument?

        • MNb

          I call the ultimate explanation quantum fields.
          So according to you your god and quantum fields are the same thing.
          You don’t manage to make any sense anymore.

        • Greg G.

          You don’t manage to make any sense anymore.

          Anymore? I missed that part.

        • SteveK

          If QFs are an example of a not-X, then you’d be correct insofar as this one argument goes.

        • If we reach a point where empiricism becomes useless, don’t we then have to accept our ignorance beyond that point? We’re being speculative enough already just by assuming that all of nature has a single explanation, rather than multiple separate explanations for different natural phenomena. It would probably be a mistake to speculate even further and start making claims about what this single universal explanation is if we have no chance of testing those speculations; history is already littered with too many philosophers who made grand but untested claims.

          I’m interested to know how you make the leap from a position that says, essentially, that the explanation for natural phenomena is unknowable and untestable, to “here’s why we should all believe that nature is explained by a triune God”.

          Incidentally I’m not convinced that the current state of scientific knowledge gives us reason for pessimism about the prospect of ultimate explanations. I think ultimate explanations have already been found in some areas of scientific enquiry, for example in statistical explanations for the laws of thermodynamics, and in Noether’s Theorem explaining conservation laws as resulting from physical symmetries. So I don’t think we should rule out the possibility of future theories explaining other, apparently complex, phenomena in terms of simple axiomatic principles.

        • SteveK

          >> If we reach a point where empiricism becomes useless, don’t we then have to accept our ignorance beyond that point?

          It depends on what you mean by empiricism. I can “see” rationality and truth, but I cannot see these things in any arrangement of empirical objects.

        • Greg G.

          but I cannot see these things in any arrangement of empirical objects.

          That doesn’t mean that someone else cannot see those things in some arrangement of empirical objects. Once those things are pointed out, it can become obvious to all. Many people understand the laws of motion now but nobody did before Newton. Nobody thought that a body in motion will stay in motion because everything that moved would stop.

        • Greg G.

          But if something did explain itself you would deny that it does because it conflicts with your presupposed opinion?

        • SteveK

          What I’d do is ask you to explain how you came to know that it explains itself.

        • Greg G.

          Right, and then you say the Big Bang explains it and the Big Bang doesn’t explain itself and then you would insert god into the gap. We have been over this.

        • adam

          “My opinion is I don’t think it’s possible to know if something explains itself, only if something else explains it.”

          Then WHAT explains your ‘god’

          I mean BESIDES IMAGINATION

        • Ignorant Amos

          All knowledge from science is provisional on the evidence and subject to change.

          “The more we learn about the world, and the deeper our learning, the more conscious, specific, and articulate will be our knowledge of what we do not know, our knowledge of our ignorance. For this, indeed, is the main source of our ignorance — the fact that our knowledge can be only finite, while our ignorance must necessarily be infinite.”

        • Susan

          “I don’t know” is not an explanation and is not knowledge.

          It’s knowledge about our limitations. Limitations that are well demonstrated.

          Absolute claims are insupportable.

          Anyone can make something up and claim it’s necessarily true without showing their work. They can state it as an absolute without doing same.

          “I know.” is not an explanation. And it’s not knowledge.

          Worse, it claims to be both.

        • MNb

          Is god adequate to explain anything? If yes, how? If no, what is your point?

        • Greg G.

          There’s a long list of

          The long list is missing.

  • Kodie

    I generally find it unbelievable that any god would perform a handful of parlor tricks with the express interest in converting a few people on the spot, and leave the heavy lifting to humans. It’s more probable that we have the heavy lifting because we are alone. Any time one might feel a presence of some spirit deity helping or guiding them is the delusion of their own self-centeredness, and purpose of the world to feed them subtle glimpses of anything divine in such petty amounts. But then if god were a vending machine as advertised, omnipotent as advertised, etc., that would be how the world works, wouldn’t it. Would god be evident, or would that just be the natural world we take for granted? The origin stories where everything was perfect until some human act brought about troubles is where this nonsense starts. A “father” who magically, immaterially, and perfectly creates a world for his “children,” which immediately and unforeseeably (by this creator?) gets fucked up for everyone ever born until after we die, which is corrected only after a trial genocide flood which failed, and a couple more thousand years, by a half-human whose interesting “message” would be meaningless the billions of people if it could be proved that he didn’t resurrect 3 days after dying on purpose. That half-human’s “love” and “sacrifice” was totally meaningless, an obvious delusion of some dude from the distant past if it weren’t some remote magical event to prove again that god exists and he wants you to listen to Jesus. If god doesn’t exist, then we can safely ignore Jesus, even if the message was decent. It’s just my belief that Christians claim the message to be decent because it has magical powers of transformation, because it is god’s gift, not because it’s a good message in itself.

    The path to Christianity tends to be an appeal to the ego and a seed of desire to believe anything, followed by some parlor trick to associate a coincidence with a miracle, the express purpose being to gain your belief, and the believer believes this is god’s doing only, and to your benefit, not his. So it is their main goal to convert people into believers, and god’s primary goal is to have believers, not do anything useful that he could have done with that much magic at his disposal. They won’t “cast pearls before swine,” which they’re conditioned to believe what they’re casting is “pearls” wasted on hard-hearted rebels (which is it) like us.

    I don’t see religion transforming the world for the better – I guess it’s good if they give to charity, but they are likely to find a reason not to. It’s so easy to feel good for doing good, but when all the efforts of all the people don’t make a permanent difference, and/or when they cut their own efforts by proselytizing, compared to god’s enormous powers, the only possible answer for a believer is “mysterious reasons” and for the non-believer, are you kidding me or what. They worship and believe in a giver of nothing but random subtle moments in the lives of unremarkable people, because he’s not a vending machine, the fall, etc., and we have to wait until we die for the good stuff.

    • Greg

      huh? “parlor tricks”? Listen, Kodie, I’ve done parlor tricks and what is reported in the bible ain’t any parlor trick – also, you fail to see the paradox, when you believe in God, you use all your senses – the problem with your analysis, is you’re using only your brain – you’re overthinking the whole thing. It’s as if you’re using one color to paint a picture – by using your other senses, in addition to your intellect, you’re using all the colors in your ink box. My canvas is the rainbow – your canvas is night.

      • Kodie

        Your vision is whatever it looks like inside your own ass, which is also where you keep your brains.

        • Greg G.

          EDIT: Dammit. Wrong Reply link, again.

      • Greg G.

        My canvas is the rainbow – your canvas is night.

        Your canvas is an optical illusion of something that is not really there. It is just refraction of light. Night is a shadow that allows a person to see farther than one can see in the day.

        • Greg

          perfect, by extension you arguing that rainbows are imaginary – I think all here believe there is something askew with your logic. But you won’t admit it!

        • adam

          “perfect, by extension you arguing that rainbows are imaginary ”

          It is just refraction of light.
          Just like he said

        • Kodie

          We know what causes rainbows. We also have a good idea how the mushy arguments of religions attack the weak ones like you and convince you that the stupid things you say are smart. Didn’t we already leave off where you’re the one who won’t admit when you are caught in your own stupidity?

          Which happens every single time you say something.

        • Greg G.

          perfect, by extension you arguing that rainbows are imaginary

          No, I worded it the way I did so as to not say they were imaginary. When we see something, we are detecting the light reflected or emitted by the thing. A rainbow is the refraction of sunlight where the various wavelengths of light are bent at different angles. What you see is a phenomenon that is nothing but thin air and water vapor at certain times of the day.

        • Pofarmer

          Do the gullible select religion or does religion select the gullible?

        • Greg G.

          It’s mutual. Religion knows how to push the right buttons.

        • sir god

          Stop arguing with my christian friend.
          He will show that christianity is true by swallowing poison and living this is a definitive test and not wishy washy philosophical sophistry

        • Greg G.

          He might be able to do it. He seems like he would be immune to brain damage.

        • sir god

          This is straight out of bible the test is specific.
          Let the true christians step up and be tested.
          The apologists may argue not to test god but this is not testing god the bible is very clear this is not a test to god but a virtue that true christians have poison will not kill them. Its like if u wear a bullet proof vest it is virtue of jacket that bullets will not kill u likewise when becoming a xtian poison will not touch u

        • Steven Watson

          That you won’t see if your stood somewhere else. Bethany as opposed to the Mount of Olives for instance.

      • adam

        “I’ve done parlor tricks and what is reported in the bible ain’t any parlor trick ”

        But remember that Palestine was part of the Roman Empire by this
        time. Consider how Romans served wine at feasts: wine was shipped around the Empire as a concentrate, which reduced shipping costs. The wine steward at a feast had the task of adding the appropriate amount of concentrate to the jars of water, producing something that was the appropriate strength for the company and for the state of the party.

        If the concentrate was already in an otherwise empty jar, which you
        then filled with water… Well, it would be a good party trick, especially if it came out at a good strength, and if your guests were village simpletons who weren’t used to attending Roman-style events.http://robinhl.com/2011/12/12/the-miracles-1-water-into-wine/

        A cheezy parlor trick at that.

      • InDogITrust

        Yep, you’re right. The miracles weren’t “parlor tricks.” I’m convinced, sign me up Jesus!

        If you use all your senses to experience God – which senses all feed into your brain by the way – tell me, what does God look like? what does God sound like? what does God smell like? what does God tactilely feel like ? what does God taste like?
        Do you have other senses, like you can detect magnetic alignment? Do you display the flehmen response when you detect God? (ew.)
        Or do you just emotionally “feel” god?

        • Greg

          there is more to this world than that which can be perceived by the intellect. if you can say you agree, then yes, I will sign you up.

        • adam

          “there is more to this world than that which can be perceived by the intellect.”

          Nope, if you cant perceive it with intellect, then it is IMAGINARY.

        • Greg

          it is imaginary, unless it can be also supported by objective incontrovertible evidence; ie: the Bible.

        • adam

          the Bible?

        • Greg

          do I need to draw you a picture?

        • adam

          NO, I understand how your lies and deceptions already.

        • Greg

          eveyone lies and deceives themselves and each other all the time, without exception, don’t you know that? That’s why Jesus gave us confession.

        • adam

          “That’s why Jesus gave us confession.”

          Yes, to RUN AWAY from being responsible for your own actions.

          Yes, you CAN commit genocide and be forgiven.
          Yes, you CAN murder, rape and be forgiven.

          You CAN commit genocide on every single individual in any group except lets say a baby and its mother, you CAN beat that baby to death, rape its lifeless body, then carve that baby up and eat it, cut off that mothers head and shit that baby down her throat…..

          And STILL be forgiven.So the biblical “good” is the REAL case where anything goes…

          So, just as I said,
          THIS is the kind of ‘morality’ you get out of a biblical deity

          Yes, we understand why “Jesus” gave you confession.

        • Kodie

          Just shut the fuck up now.

        • MNb

          Yeah – and it’s why science gave us psychology. Now guess which is the more reliable? Not Jesus.

        • Adam

          I drew a picture for you. ‘nuf said.

          http://s4.postimg.org/y0wc18j59/image.jpg

        • MNb

          Yeah, the Bible gives objective incontrovertible evidence for the fact that bats are birds.
          Or perhaps that “evidence” is not so controvertible after all, because you have to explain that away one way or another.

        • Pofarmer

          Because, yeah, people never make up religious stories, like, ever.

        • Greg G.

          The Bible is incontrovertible evidence that the writers of the Bible had no clue about genetics or the nature of the solar system or the shape of Earth.

        • Greg

          agreed, and the fact that the writers were such simple people, with not great education or formal training in any shape or form, proves my point that God was present in the writing as the inspiration for the writers of the Bible. you can say it, Greg G., I know you can, say it with me – the Bible is amazing, there you did it. and a good way to start the new year.

        • Greg G.

          The Bible is amazing. It justifies slavery to people who were falsely told their ancestors were slaves. It specifically allows treating foreign slaves harshly. They could be beaten to death as long as they suffered overnight.

          It was OK to pick up sticks six days per week but it had the death penalty for doing it the seventh day.

          If you raped a young girl, you would get to marry her, unless she was engaged already, then you got killed.

          But the Old Testament didn’t punish thought crimes. Jesus turned anger and lust into sins. Jesus thought beating slaves was the proper thing to do but thanking them was wrong.

          I find it amazing that people will overlook shit like that.

        • Kodie

          Do you really not recognize how disrespectful you are?

        • MNb

          Yeah, I agree, it’s an amazing book. When I began to read parts of the Bible a couple of years ago I was amazed how horrible the Bible is. So were these compatriots of mine.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEnWw_lH4tQ

          At the other hand Revelation provides excellent absurd humour.

        • Greg

          if it’s too hard for you to read, maybe you can get it on tape.

        • Kodie

          Bob, I’m begging you to pull the trigger.

        • MR

          From your mouth to Bob’s ears.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Spoiiiing!!!

          Here’s an easier read for ya…

          The Nonbeliever’s Guide to Bible Stories

          Perfect for those interested in learning more about what the Bible actually says but who have neither the time nor the interest to read the actual thing

          Ever thought you should know more about what’s in the Bible, not because you believe in any religion, but because it’s the most read book in history? Before you dust off the family Bible, or reach into the hotel bed stand, The Nonbeliever’s Guide to Bible Stories will save you a lot of time and trouble. Coupling an editor’s pen with a skeptic’s commentary and humorist’s wit, it offers the highlights of each book of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, and distills them into quick, entertaining, bite-sized chunks. It’s all here: the characters, famous quotes, tall tales, and references often heard in film, music, art, literature, and conversation. You’ll also learn about all the sex, murder, harlotry, intrigue, magic tricks, ghosts, and sin that help fill sermons on Sunday mornings.

          http://www.amazon.com/The-Nonbelievers-Guide-Bible-Stories-ebook/dp/B015M9SR4O

        • Greg

          your craving to read the bible is insaitable isn’t it – you guys all kill me, you hate this book, but you alledge to have read it very carefully numerous times – reminisencent of Woody Allen –
          “There’s an old joke – um… two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of ’em says, “Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.” The other one says, “Yeah, I know; and such small portions.” Well, that’s essentially how I feel about life – full of loneliness, and misery, and suffering, and unhappiness, and it’s all over much too quickly.”

        • MNb

          “you hate this booka”
          Parts of it. There is some good stuff as well and as I already wrote, I particularly enjoy Revelation for it’s humour.
          What I really hate is that stupid ignorants like you prefer the horrible parts. I know quite a few muslim(a)s and they are far more honest on this problem than you.
          The question is – what does that tell about christianity?

        • Greg G.

          You are preaching at us to read the Bible when you have never read it for comprehension.

          Lawyers don’t spell “allege” with a “d” in the middle of it.

        • Kodie

          Your religious beliefs have directly made you so arrogant as to deludedly believe that we need you, that we need you to tell us that we desperately want god and want to know him through the bible and the substance of attending a church meeting. It’s fucking arrogant and disrespectful – MEAN. You’re mean about going on and on that you’re not listening, you’re not capable of grasping what other people tell you – the bible is fiction, god is a fictional character, you are determined to ignore what others are saying, you’re so fucking disrespectful, and an asshole and arrogant about everything. You’re not winning, you’re a fucking advertisement to avoid the slimy hooks of religion because it makes you a stupid idiot turd in life, needy for the attention of being a pest, a terrible listener, an even worse learner, maker of bad jokes, bad analogies, and just to hear the sound of your own voice, trying so desperately to validate your own existence.

          Now, being that you’re a believer, I guess “god’s love” is not enough for you, you’re greedy for humans to need you. You are a proselytizing idiot who spews garbage day after day, believing that it will somehow bring us to your side. You are the living example of the harms of religious beliefs. I say that, and I hope you fuck off soon or you are fucked off because you can’t take a goddamned hint.

        • Kodie

          Your reading comprehension fail:

          Ever thought you should know more about what’s in the Bible, not
          because you believe in any religion, but because it’s the most read book
          in history?

          It seems really difficult to explain to you that there is no god, but there are believers, and what they believe and refer to has infected society. It’s a shame that fact doesn’t sink in. It’s also a shame that we have to learn about the bible but you don’t have to learn about atheism to have conversations. You are basically talking to yourself to hear yourself talk, and you take both parts of the conversation for people to say what you want to hear. What a sad, pathetic, sick and desperate person you are – we’re right here, we’ve been here, and you don’t want to hear what we say or know anything – it’s terrible of you, you’re a terrible person, to ignore people you claim to like, to think you’re helping us when you’re only annoying, stupid, and arrogant. You deludedly talk over us at every chance you get, to believe things are as you wish and not as they are. You are a walking advertisement of why religions and gods are false. You are also bad at representing what you claim your religion makes you a better person. By all accounts, it has made you into a brainless bot with no social skills.

        • Ignorant Amos

          your craving to read the bible is insaitable isn’t it –

          WTF? Like my craving to read the works of Arthur Conan Doyle’s diarist Doctor Watson is insatiable? You don’t half talk some bollocks Greg.

          …, you hate this book,…

          Book’s Greg, it’s a compendium of book’s ya eejit. Some parts I hate. Some parts I quite like, but not for the reasons you do. Ecclesiastes for example is right up my street. Revelation is satire. Leviticus is nasty. Daniel is a forgery.

          but you alledge to have read it very carefully numerous times –

          Greg, I have two bible apps on my Iphone. “Olive Tree: The Bible Study App” and “The Bible App for Kids”. These help when I meet someone in meet world and the conversation turns to Christianity, religion and the bible. Because just about everyone I know hasn’t read the fuckin’ thing, when I bring things into the discussion like the most righteous man in Sodom and Gomorrah offered his daughters to the townsfolk to be raped rather than two randomers who tapped his door, or that the same two daughters got pop’s pissed and incestuously raped him two nights running, or that the Babylonian babies should have their heads bashed, or that God couldn’t cope with those super weapons, iron chariots, or that he smote two of the chosen for burning the wrong incense, or that he sent 2 she-bears to rip asunder a bunch of children for mocking a baldy man, or that he could stop the sun in the sky but was unable to save his own son from a slaughtering king, or yadda, yadda,yadda, ad infinitum, it helps to have a reference source to hand. Because people just don’t believe such stuff is in there

          reminisencent of Woody Allen –

          Arguing from a position of knowledge? How is that wrong? Ya might want to try it sometime. You’ll look a lot less the fool.

          Well, that’s essentially how I feel about life – full of loneliness, and misery, and suffering, and unhappiness, and it’s all over much too quickly.

          Yes, we get that it scares the shit out of ya…most of us have been in that dark place, but we have moved on. Life is going to be whatever it is going to be. The universe doesn’t give a stuff about life, any of it, get over it.

        • MNb

          If.
          Btw the video I linked to actually had a tape, stupid. Didn’t make the quotes any less horrible.

        • Greg

          Mark Twin’s book “Tom Sawyer” uses some very derogatory words that all agree are “horrible” – does this make this book not a classic? You need to take a sabbatical.

        • MNb

          And that’s our stupid house catholic in full flight! Can’t answer the claim that his favourite Holy Book is amazingly horrible, hence changes subject and asks if Tom Sawyer is a classic or not.
          Mein Kampf is also a classic, stupid. It’s content remains horrible. Just like many parts of the Bible. Call the Bible a classic if you want. It still contains amazingly horrible parts. And you wrote that reading them was a good start of the year. Again only your utter stupidity does excuse you.

        • Greg G.

          Twain doesn’t advocate for slavery. The Bible does.

        • Kodie

          Greg, fuck off.

        • Greg

          how do you explain that I know when it will rain by the ache in my elbow?

        • Changes in the barometric pressure can affect the joints, easy scientific explanation.

        • Greg

          but it’s not perceived by the intellect -it’s perceived by my elbow.

        • adam

          Well not in YOUR CASE, obviously.

        • If you want to get technical, it’s “perceived” by pain receptors. Changes in joint pressure, usu. via inflammation, can place pressure on nerves, causing pain. Ultimately, however, it very much is perceived by the brain. “The intellect”, whatever the hell you mean by that, has nothing to do with this, it’s a purely physical process.

        • Greg

          Thank you for the explantion. Hope you’re having a good New Year’s Eve.

        • Adam

          http://s4.postimg.org/y0wc18j59/image.jpg

          Now for some logic and reason.

        • Gehennah

          His little response makes me think that Greg is a Poe. He gives us something that is way too easy to show scientifically and “evidence of something beyond”

        • Kodie

          Some people just find it hard to believe anyone is that stupid, but I believe Greg is sincerely as stupid as they come.

        • Greg

          maybe.

        • adam

          By saying so AFTER it rains

          Jeanne Dixon and biblical prophesy do the same thing.

        • Greg

          my wife also gets a headache right before any storms hit the area – (and right after I tell her about your comments)

        • adam
        • Greg

          and yours

        • adam

          LIARS for Jesus like you.

        • Pofarmer

          Yep, a buddy, my oldest son, and I both get migraines, and they are definitely worse with some storm systems. So?

        • Greg G.

          God is to blame. You should call him names, too. God can’t do anything about it so the other Greg sticks up for him.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Cows…cows lie down before it rains…no doubt inspired by the Cow God, peace be upon her holy udderness….

          http://www.livescience.com/22445-do-cows-really-lie-down-when-it-s-about-to-rain.html

          Stick that to yer gammy arm god Greg…ya tit.

        • Kodie

          Why hasn’t she left you yet?

        • Kodie

          See, this is some dumb parlor trick that you think god is making pain in your body to indicate a change in the weather. Not feed the starving, but tell Greg when it’s gonna rain. Not in a million years would you bother to look shit up, which means you’re fucking stupid.

          https://www.google.com/search?q=weather+pain&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

        • I have Cerebral Palsy, and my muscles and joints tend to be tighter (and more painful) in cold weather; it has nothing to do with “god” and everything to do with having a messed-up body.

        • Ignorant Amos

          …which means you’re fucking stupid.

          What did the “fucking stupid” ever do on you to deserve the equivalence to being Greg….sheeesh!

        • MNb

          You can’t explain hence god is and remains a god of the gaps, stupid. Here is what two smart christians said:

          [Henry Drummond] chastises those Christians (ie you) who point to the things that science can not yet explain – “gaps which they will fill up with God”—and urges them to embrace all nature as God’s, as the work of “… an immanent God, which is the God of Evolution, is infinitely grander than the occasional wonder-worker (like the ache in your elbow – MNb), who is the God of an old theology.

          HD, The Ascent of Man, 1904.

          “How wrong it is to use God as a stop-gap for the incompleteness of our knowledge (like where the ache in your elbow comes from – MNb). If in fact the frontiers of knowledge are being pushed further and further back (and that is bound to be the case), then God is being pushed back with them, and is therefore continually in retreat. We are to find God in what we know, not in what we don’t know.”

          Dietrich Bonhöffer, letter 1944.

        • Ignorant Amos

          How do you explain that everybody can’t do it? Even all Catholics for that matter. Are you SPECIAL Greg? Gifted perhaps? You are a real gimp.

          My partner has fibromyalgia, the weather has a direct effect on her condition and not in a good way, when the weather is inclement, which means your god would be a cunt if real.

          Starving millions in Africa is also a sign of your god causing a drought.

          You are a real dork ya know? How to be so asinine with just one head? Ask Greg the lawyer…sorry, real estate conveyancer.

        • Kodie

          If it’s going to rain soon, you’d think an almighty god would do any better than put people through vague aches and pains from conditions they already suffer from. Good job giving the gift of prophesy, god, you dummy. Furthermore, I know Greg is here because he’s a pain in the ass, which he sure can’t tell from his elbow.

        • Kodie

          You make a great example of why one should not become a Christian.

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          First you use all of your senses (which are connected to the brain) and now suddenly there is more than which can be perceived by the intellect – by means of the senses.
          This in addition to what Kodie writes underneath.

        • Greg

          “First you use all of your senses (which are connected to the brain)”

          Way to simplify a topic that is extremely complicated – I understand teachers do that – to teach students – what you are doing now is running to avoid a truth which will hurt your world view – of course we all know the senses are connected to the brain! but we are not able to process these messages with just the intellect and that is my point – hey, you can run but you can’t hide – at least not on my watch.

        • sir god

          Eat a wafer
          listen to the crunch as you bite
          taste the taste
          feel the wafer with your hands and tongue
          Now you know what a god looks taste etc is like

        • Greg G.

          The Communion Gourmet!

      • Susan

        I’ve done parlor tricks and what is reported in the bible ain’t any parlor trick –

        Give me an example of something that actually happened that is reported in yer bible that is not a parlour trick.

        the problem with your analysis, is you’re using only your brain – you’re overthinking the whole thing.

        Lol.

        • Greg

          May I recommend that your use of the words “an example of something that actually happened” provide you with the first clue to why your reading of the bible is faulty. You need to understand that when all the miracles of the Bible are strung together there is suddenly a credibility that arises that would not attach to when you are singling them out as if you were on a an easter egg hunt.

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          Calculation is not your forte.

          “when all the miracles of the Bible are strung together there is suddenly a credibility.”
          The credibility of every single miracle is exactly zero. Strung together that credibility still is exactly zero.

          Ah, just another stupid cop out of our stupid house catholic.

        • Greg

          Tell that to the baseball players in the Hall of Fame – they were all put there because they had a series of hits, rbi’s, homeruns – -a series of events proves greatness – HA!
          (and my string of pitching stike outs and wins put me in the all-star game!)

        • Kodie

          What the fuck is your delusional ass talking about now. The bible is a series of fictional stories about ancient people’s superstitions.

        • MNb

          Incapable of calculation indeed. You don’t even know the appropriate mathematical term. It’s sequence, not string.
          The greatness (let alone the credibility) of a hit, rbi, homerun is not zero. So strung together the sum greatness grows.

          Credibility of miracles: 0 + 0 + 0 + ……… = 0.
          Greatness of hits, rbi’s, homeruns: 0.01 + 0,01 + 0,01 + ……….. can become a large number.

          “my string of pitching stike outs and wins”
          Another display of your arrogance. Yeah, I know this is another poor attempt at humour of you. But humour is exactly humour because there is a core of truth. So underneath the surface of the joke – and less deep the poorer the joke is – lies your very unchristian arrogance. That’s why you dispute what a qualified and experience teacher like me writes about math and physics – doomed to fail again and again except in your own eyes, because your arrogance has blinded you.
          Man, if you’re a messenger of god he wants all the other christians to deconvert.

        • Greg

          stating an accomplishment is not arrogance or bragging, when you state the facts – your obvious attempt to divert attention from the fact that my argument was a fast ball that just struck you out.

        • Kodie

          You’re 100% delusional. Is there a hall of lame for that?

        • Ignorant Amos

          … lame…

          Ya wanna be careful about bandying words like that about…some might incorrectly redefine that outta context as a some kind of slur on the disabled. Just saying.

          http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/lame

        • Kodie

          It’s really hard to insult someone without comparing them to a group of people or their status of being who don’t deserve to be insulted. That said, groups come up with new words as the old ones become known as slurs such that people really don’t know what they’re saying when they use the slurs of archaic language. I know what lame means, gimp, idiot, dumb, moron, etc. are all ableist slurs, but in common parlance are not associated with physically or mentally handicapped people, since we’re comparing some asshole’s mental abilities to legitimate words that had to be avoided because they became ableist slurs. You know what I mean? It’s really hard, even calling someone an asshole, I mean it’s the worst but very necessary part of the anatomy. Some people even like it, I guess.

          But lame rhymes with fame. It’s very hard to assault someone for lacking intelligence when those words also describe or once described people who can’t help it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Exactly. Fanny, spaz and that “C” word you yanks get all bent outta shape over, are typical examples.

        • Kodie

          In America, fanny is what prudes and children call their ass. It might even be someone’s name, if they are called Frances.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That one always raises a smirk.

          Might as well get this one out of the way. Despite the confusion over this word being fairly common knowledge on both sides of the Atlantic, the important thing to say is that the British cannot conceive of any other meaning beyond vagina. Intellectually we’re aware that you mean bottom, but as far as we’re concerned – and this rationale happens on a fairly primal level – if you walk around talking about hiding things in your fanny pack, we’re going to temporarily find it hard to come up with a satisfactory response. There are few enough slang terms for that part of the human anatomy that aren’t pornographic, so for us, fanny is close to being the correct name, and therefore it’s not unlike someone telling you they call their penis an ear. Add to that the discomfort around discussing that body part in the first place, and it’s surprising there haven’t been more international incidents caused by this one little cultural switcheroo.

          http://www.bbcamerica.com/shows//blog/2011/10/frasers-phrases-five-mild-american-words-the-british-find-rude

        • Greg G.

          My uncle went to a business conference in London once. He was going to have breakfast with a British woman at the same conference. She asked him to “knock her up in the morning” which as a very different meaning over here.

        • And the unfortunately-named “fanny pack” — cringe inducing even over here.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It is called a bum bag over here in Ireland. I lived in Jacksonville and heard the term fanny pack all the time which I found quite hilarious. I figure you’d find bum quite humorous given what a bum is in everyday American English. But there ya go, two countries divided by a common language.

          http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=bum+bags+blue&tag=googhydr-21&index=aps&hvadid=87710805526&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=267749096551255915&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_9tuaf7r7m3_b

        • Kodie

          Ass-holder.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’ve been called a lot worse…I was in the military remember?

        • Kodie

          A ‘bum’ in everyday English is a derogatory name for a homeless person or a slur against someone who is on the take or doesn’t have a job, or is a slacker who hasn’t moved out of their parents’ home, i.e. a lazy bum. There is a name for the stash a hobo carries, a bindle, being that the “hobo” is a mythical person who is homeless by choice, and carries a few items in a handkerchief or bandanna tied to the end of a stick. I thought it was called a “hobo pack”, but I found out that is wrapping food in foil to cook over a campfire, and a term people still use!

          Any American who calls their butt a bum (or their ass an arse) is affecting the British dialect.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yip…bum is a term of endearment for yer arse. Used when one is trying to be inoffensive or when talking to young children or yer granny.

          Incidentally, butt is something one does with their head in a fight, or the stubbed end of a cigarette.

        • Kodie

          Butt also means those in America.. kind of funny how we really can compartmentalize other usages, including the homonym preposition “but”, and a “buddy” can be your friend, but even if it’s used sarcastically is totally unrelated to its similarity to butt, but not the same for crotch, which can refer to where a tree trunk divides into branches, or groin which can be an architectural term. Giggles.

        • Since it’s often worn in the front (for easy access, I guess), a friend of mine called it a codpiece. That’s become my preferred term.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I think it is mostly worn on the front now days to inhibit thieves. Brits wear them on holiday/vacation because of the lack of pockets. They seem to be making a comeback with revellers at festivals I see.

          I like codpiece, and I suppose technically, fanny pack is the more accurate term for Brits. Of course Jocks have been wearing them the right way round for centuries.

          Some other names for the fashion item….

          A fanny pack, belt pack, belly bag, buffalo pouch, hip sack, phanny pack, waist bag, waist pack, butt pack (US), waist wallet (Canada), hip pack (UK), belt bag (Philippines), bum bag (UK, Ireland, South America, Australia, New Zealand) or moon bag (South Africa).

        • “Sporran” also fits. There’s a long history there, I imagine.

          https://sportkilt.com/images/uploads/20140117104220.jpg

        • Ignorant Amos

          I have one myself…

        • I have a non-tartan kilt and no sporran.

          I’m going to go away and be sad now.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Well, when one has a specific clan tartan, it would be rude not to wear. Especially when giving one’s daughter’s hand away in marriage.

          http://www.scotclans.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-responsive-photo-gallery/imagestoscroll/cde690ed551b40eb8aa51c60d41f205c_600_600.png

          I also have a “Black Watch” tartan kilt….

          https://www.tartanregister.gov.uk/imageCreation.aspx?ref=279&width=750&height=750

          I fancy a non-tartan kilt…one colour…or perhaps DPM…what colour is yours?

        • There’s a company here in Seattle called http://www.utilikilts.com/. I got mine years ago, and I guess they don’t use that material anymore. It’s a dull green.

          What’s DPM? Is that camouflage?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Those are some snappy kilts. Rugged too.

          Yes, DPM is military speak for Disruptive Pattern Material aka camouflage.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disruptive_Pattern_Material

        • “Bum bag” has alliterative appeal, as does “waist wallet”. Ultimately, I don’t care what you call it, it’s a nice, practical alternative to a purse!

        • MNb

          Indeed a younger sister of my female counterpart is named Fanny. It doesn’t come from Frances though.

        • All I’m asking is that we please consider our word choices and the way they might affect others. And, you know, not use slurs based on race, gender, orientation, or disability. Please.

          I get the appeal of the rhyme, you’re playing on the well known phrase “hall of fame”. I can’t fault you for that. But I’m sure there is a better way to word it. Hall of Shame, maybe?

          As for insulting someone’s intelligence, go with inanimate objects — nobody’s going to complain, because inanimate objects. Like, “dumber than a box of rocks”, “sharp as the leading edge of a marble”, and so forth. This is where you can have a lot of fun and get creative.

        • MNb

          A miracle is not an accomplishment. It’s nothing. Hence value 0.
          Your fast ball dropped just between your feet. That you didn’t notice comes because you’re looking at the horizon and think it has gone so fast that you can’t see it anymore. Ah well, nice to see that you don’t even follow what your long dead Great Hero preached according to your favourite Holy Book. Your arrogance is the ultimate bankruptcy of your belief system – and stating an accomplishment of yourself, while accomplishing exactly nothing and refusing to accept any criticism of that statement is only more arrogance.

          Plus you’re lying. I didn’t divert. I wrote explicitely

          Credibility of miracles: 0 + 0 + 0 + ……… = 0.
          Greatness of hits, rbi’s, homeruns: 0.01 + 0,01 + 0,01 + ……….. can become a large number.

          You don’t even try anymore to address this, so you’re the one who tries to divert, not me.

        • Greg G.

          The Baseball Hall of Fame is filled with guys who failed 60% of the time and most failed over 70% of the time. Their hits are documented by actual eye witnesses. The Bible doesn’t even come close to that success rate and it was not written by eye witnesses.

          Adam & Eve, Noah, Abraham, Moses… all fictional characters.

        • Greg

          “Adam & Eve, Noah, Abraham, Moses… all fictional characters”

          and this is why you don’t believe everything you read on the internet, ladies and gentlemen

        • Kodie

          Who are you talking to, fake lawyer? Don’t really need an argument, you just need to make a loud farting sound, and you think people take you seriously.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Hee! Hee!…the dough ball thinks they were real flesh and blood people in history…too funny.

        • Kodie

          Only if you’re credulous and wishful. It’s your own quilt analogy, all your other analogies, etc., the stories you paint for us that tell us exactly how your mind works, i.e., it doesn’t. You don’t want the bible to be analyzed logically and reasonably, and you, fake lawyer, cannot give a single good reason why it should be exempt. You want it to be true, so you in your own fantasy land, create a non-logic where it could all be true. The problem is you sound like you’re hallucinating on the drug of religion, which has replaced your former addiction. If you ever had an intellect at all, you’ve suppressed it until it no longer exists, so that while we’re telling you what the bible really says, you don’t even understand English words strung together in sentences, you illiterate reality-denying fuck.

      • sir god

        Hi Greg
        Are you a christian
        Nice to meet you
        As you can see from my comments above that the bible gives a test to see who is a true christian.
        The test is simple is he can take poison and be bitten by a snake he will not die.
        As a christian can you help me out and show the bible to be right. By taking poison.
        This will also help in explaining pascals wager if it fails and you die it is better to believe in a god blah blah blah

        • Ignorant Amos

          Coincidentally I just read elsewhere with regard to the True Christian™ argument…

          In truth, there was only one Christian and he died on the cross” ~ Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

        • MNb

          That one can be improved: “In truth there was only one Christian and he was a Jew who died on the cross.”

        • Ignorant Amos

          Indeed, as were all the first claimants to the cause.

        • Greg

          …9And he led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here;
          10for it is written, ‘HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU TO GUARD YOU,’
          11and, ‘ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP, SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.'”…
          .'” 12And Jesus answered and said to him, “It is said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.'”…
          ‘” 13When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Adam tested God in Genesis and God failed, twice.

        • Greg

          fascinating perspective of Eden but backward – IA, saw your comments from a few days ago, I’m recharging the old spiritual batteries – reading your comments – also reading and absorbing *”new stuff” .

          *Churchland, Moral Philosopy, Evolution…

        • Ignorant Amos

          Well Adam hid from God after he eat from the fruit and the multi omni God didn’t know where he was, that was a test in my book.

          And Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord, amongst the trees of the garden. Genesis 3:8

          And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? Genesis 3:9

          God told the pair not to eat from the fruit or he’d die on that day, Adam, testing God, ate from the fruit and God failed the test as Adam didn’t die…God failed…and/or lied.

          but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” Genesis 2:17

          So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died. Genesis 5:5

          Of course there are many other examples of a perfect beings ineptness, he didn’t know where Sarah was either, but that’s another yarn…

          The LORD appeared unto him [Abraham] in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him. … And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent. Genesis 18:1-9

        • Greg

          here’s a test for you – actually a simple question, but very telling – Can God make mistakes and yet still be perfect?

        • Ignorant Amos

          There is no evidence for any god throughout human history existing, let alone one that makes things, even mistakes.

          But I’ll play along as long as you define your terms. What do you mean by God, make, mistake and perfect.

          But I suggest you look up the definition of perfect before plodding on any further.

          Here are a few links to help you along.

          http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/perfect

          http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/perfect

          http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/perfect

        • adam

          “Can God make mistakes and yet still be perfect?”

          Imaginary gods can do whatever people IMAGINE them to do.

        • Kodie

          Only the pathetically willingly ignorant can distort whatever they want to be however they want it to be. You’re defending your abuser, the one who threatens you, the church who feeds you sloppy illogical claims and you find them to be substantial and fulfilling. How can anyone take you seriously? Do you know that nobody does?

        • Greg G.

          Your question is, “Can God be imperfect and yet still be perfect?” It’s a logical contradiction. A better question is, “Can an imaginary god be imperfect while his followers maintain that he is perfect?” We see it all the time.

        • Greg G.

          Also, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

        • MR

          Sweet Jesus, what in God’s name have you DONE. We were blessedly rid of this douche bag and you had to summon his ASS back? WTF, dude?

        • Kodie

          We weren’t rid of Greg, he was gone about a day, maybe 3 or 4?

        • MR

          Cherish what you can get.

        • Ignorant Amos
      • Greg G.

        Oh no! You have summoned the demon.

        • Greg

          the problem is that in your world, Greg G, the demon and God are indistinguishable…very sad really.

        • Greg G.

          1 & 2 Chronicles are like the Reader’s Digest version of 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Judges, and 1 & 2 Samuel.

          2 Samuel 24:1 (NRSV)
          Again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “Go, count the people of Israel and Judah.”

          1 Chronicles 21:1 (KJV)
          And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.

          God and Satan are interchangeable.

        • Greg

          please don’t start with my main man, King David, “a man after God’s own heart”. the only one confused about the identities of God and Satan, est tu.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Seriously Greg? Like your other main man ya mean…Moses?

          King David is a lying, murdering and adulterating bastard…and HE is your new OT poster boy? Well that figures I suppose.

        • Greg

          Yes, the lives of Moses and David, human in all regards, provide much wealth for spiritual inspiration and meditation –

        • adam

          “Yes, the lives of Moses and David, human in all regards, provide much wealth for spiritual inspiration and meditation -”

          So THIS is the excuse of why you LIE and act like a bastard.

          “King David is a lying, murdering and adulterating bastard”

        • Steven Watson

          No, no no Goliath was killed by Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim, the Bethlehemite, 2 Sam. 21:19 😛

        • Don’t you get it? Goliath was killed twice!

          There you go–contradiction resolved. You’re welcome.

        • Steven Watson

          If you can be Born Again; you can die twice. That makes (non)sense! 🙂 There will surely be one of the 42000 xian sects actually holding that belief 🙂

        • The Bible says that David went to a stream and took five rocks for his sling. He was obviously counting on skill, not magic. Combine that with the fact that Goliath had short- and medium-range weapons (sword and spear), while David had the only long-range weapon and was agile enough to keep far enough away.

          And the Bible marvels at the hand of God in this story?

        • Kodie

          That’s what is making you mentally bankrupt. There is nothing there that you make a positive example for.

        • Greg

          You’re right, I don’t hold a candle to the giants, Moses, and David, but a boy can dream.

        • Kodie

          Greg, you don’t understand one single bit of English. You’re delusional and fucking stupid. Your religious beliefs, whatever “meditation” you do that you think makes you a better person, makes you a GREAT REASON TO AVOID CHRISTIANITY.

        • Greg G.

          There’s an idea. You should hold a candle to the stories of David and Moses, then fan the flames once they ignite.

          You should actually read them and keep asking yourself if they actually make sense.

        • Greg

          Glad to see you’re back peddling on your earlier assertions that the chararaters of the Bible, ie: Moses, the law giver, and King David did not exist. My next step is to assist you in properly reading and understanding those devinely glorioius ancient writs. Let’s throw another log on the fire, shall we?

        • Kodie

          You assist Greg G. in “proper” reading? Throw your head on the fire.

        • adam

          “My next step is to assist you in properly reading and understanding those devinely glorioius ancient writs.”

          Hmmm, I thought that is what you said you were going to do when you first started posting here.

          I guess like Jesus’s return, it is just another LIE from you.

        • Greg G.

          Moses, the leader of the exodus out of Egypt did not exist because there was no exodus out of Egypt. The Israelites did not conquer the Canaanites.

          David may have existed but not as he is described in the Bible.

          Who incited David to take the census, God or Satan? The “devinely [sic] glorioius [sic] ancient writs” are ambiguous on that. It seems important.

        • Greg

          Let’s not get into archaelogy, let’s just stay within the logic of using the Bible – so if Paul existed, and Peter existed, and Jesus existed, and Mary existed and Isaiah existed, and Elijah existed and David existed – aah, but Moses didn’t exist – that’s what you believe? please, don’t insult my intelligence.

        • Dys

          How cute…Greg wants to pretend the bible is a singular book that had one author. Presumably you want to stay away from archaeology because it doesn’t support your case in the slightest.

          please, don’t insult my intelligence.

          What doesn’t exist can’t be insulted.

        • Greg

          Most of the archeaelogical evidence that would put all doubt aside is unreachable – the government of Jesrulem won’t authorize the digs.

        • Dys

          And what has been found doesn’t support what you want to believe. There was never an Exodus of anywhere close to the number of people described in the bible.

          Then again, you seem to be confusing the bible for a history book, which is yet another mistake.

        • Greg

          you make a good point – it is not a history book and this amazing book, I believe, if it were a bridge – would have slats missing – but with little leaps, you make it to the other side.

        • Dys

          In other words, it’s unstable and doesn’t hold up very well. But with some effort, you can get over it, look back, and realize the bridge just doesn’t really work that well, and should be replaced with something more substantial and useful. Like humanism, for instance.

          I agree.

        • Greg

          the “unstable” quality of the bridge is what fuels spirituality – no, theism is the hand that fits the glove that explains the mysteries of the universe. It might be said that Humanism by answering all the questions -is proof of it’s invalidity.

        • Dys

          lol….as long as you really, really believe the bridge will hold up, you can pretend it’s not a shoddily constructed death trap. Got it.

          You really, really need to give the analogies and metaphors a rest. You’re complete shit at constructing them, and it’s incredibly easy to turn them against you.

        • Greg

          Really?

        • Dys

          Besides which, it’s far more likely (since there’s supporting evidence) that the people who settled Judah and Israel were a religious offshoot of the Canaanites, and eventually became Jews.

        • Greg

          Where’s Yonah when you really, really need him.

        • Dys

          The last time I talked with Yonah, he was whining about my proper labeling of the story of Jonah and the fish as a myth. He was playing a game of ‘gotcha’ and failing miserably.

          However, on the occasions when he manages to be more substantive, his usual response is that there’s differing opinions on the historicity of the Exodus, but that focusing on historicity is missing the point of the story and its purpose.

          Or something to that effect…the opinions of his I’ve read tend to give the impression that he really doesn’t care one bit about the

        • Kodie

          Do you not read replies to your posts?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Spoil sport. If he has to stay, then that’s the most entertaining part of his presence. Let’s not deprive ourselves of that small hilarity in the quagmire of shite.

          It’s not everyday I get to balk at a lawyer with the brain power of a slug after all.

        • The_Wretched

          I usually don a glove before wearing a person on my hand. I think that pretty much rebuts anything you have to say.

        • The_Wretched

          Did you just say that something that works well is a sign that it doesn’t work well? So success is failure? And you seem to think we’re the ones that are messed up.

        • Greg G.

          That’s your brain on religion.

        • Greg G.

          As long as you really believe your refrigerator is working, you can eat the food you keep in it for weeks after the expiration date. Just keep the faith.

        • MNb

          Theism doesn’t explain anything.
          Theism isn’t even coherent.
          What theism does to you is gradually robbing you of all your cognitive skills.

        • Greg G.

          The more you see that reality does not fit your theology, the more parts of your brain have to be turned off.

        • Greg

          Theism is a philosophy which you study and apply to your life – so you, a teacher, are perpetrating, over and over, I might add, a theory that one loses their cognitive facilities by studying; ie: using their mind – isn’t this one of the signs of the apocalypse?

        • Greg G.

          Theism is the philosophy of avoiding critical thinking. It is about reducing cognitive function. You seem to be a master at it, though.

        • Kodie

          Theism is a philosophy-for-profit, in which you are praised for losing your ability to reason and function as an intelligent human being. You’re not using your mind, it’s very clear, and it’s been very clear for a long long long time.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Read that word salad back to yerself and pretend the shite makes some sort of sense.

          All hope is gone for you at this point Greg….more to be pitied than anything else.

        • Dys

          Theism is not a philosophy. Theism is a single stance on the existence of a God.

          You’ve made a basic category error. There are theistic philosophies. Theism itself, however, is not a philosophy at all.

        • MNb

          It is – a personal apocalypse with Greg being the victim. Clinging to a philosophy that results in stupidities like yours over and over again indeed results in losing cognitive facilities.
          Already looked up where the Israeli government resides, for instance?
          Note that I don’t claim that all theist philosophies have that effect. Some have. Like all creationist ones. And yours. So it’s utterly unsurprising that you have an unhealthy liking of creacrap as well.
          The fact that you again bring up an argument that only works against you only confirms this. See, no matter how hard you try, the fact remains that you got it factually wrong when you wrote that the Israeli government resides in Jerusalem, not me. And you produce such howlers over and over again, which makes you an even easier target than most pure creationists.
          So you have a problem, not me. You can call that problem the apocalypse, if you like – the apocalypse of your mind, not mine.

        • Greg

          I know it hurts, MNb, but let’s use some logic here – it is a scientific fact that using a human organ, increases it viability and life, yet, you are arguing that a theist who uses his all his senses and absorbs every day occurances and then intellectually interprets them as proof of the existence of God, begins to lose his intellectual faculties? – come off it.

          Face it, MNb, if I said popcorn, you’d say potato chips – BobS’ blogs are exactly like it used to be in my law school classrooms – no wonder I feel so comfortable here –

        • Kodie

          You’re not using your brain to sense there’s a god, you are being manipulated by the power of suggestion, a typical weakness in human cognitive power. It’s being used against you, and you are attempting to use it against us because you are an arrogant turd who is always wrong but blind to accept it. If you’re not banned soon, I’ll fucking leave, that’s all.

        • MNb

          “I know it hurts, MNb,”
          On the contrary – whatever you write, it makes me laugh.

          “but let’s use some logic here”
          Bingo! Greg is going to use logic! We’re in for a fun ride. Because we already know that Greg’s “logic” made him claim that the Israeli government resided in Jerusalem, not in Tel Aviv.

          “it is a scientific fact that using a human organ, increases it viability and life”
          Nope. It’s a scientific fact that not using a human organ decreases its viability. That’s not the same. Try for instance Marco van Basten, who totally used his organs and had to end his career with badly injured ankles. Result: permanent decrease of viability.

          “yet, you are arguing that a theist who uses his all his senses and absorbs every day occurances and then intellectually interprets them as proof of the existence of God, begins to lose his intellectual faculties?”
          Nope. I did not claim that. I claimed that some theist philosophies have that effect, including yours. Funny enough the fact that you are not capable to understand and perhaps even notice the difference confirms my hypothesis.

          But you know, even if we accept your point it speaks against you – again. And again you don’t get it. Accepting day occurences as proof of the existence of your god is exactly the opposite of using your brain. You look, think “ah, goddiddid” and are done. No reason, no stimulus to look any further.

          Plus of course you get your “logic” reversed. The fact is that your cognitive skills are badly affected. As the damage is so strongly connected to your lame attempts to defend your theism the inductive conclusion is that your particular brand of theism is the main cause. To which I add that I see the same happening with creationists.

          “Face it, MNb, if I said popcorn, you’d say potato chips”
          Yeah, because that’s the safe bet with you, for the exact reason that your particular brand of theism damages your cognitive skills. Where is the Israeli government resided again?

          “BobS’ blogs are exactly like it used to be in my law school classrooms”
          Indeed I would like to meet some of your classmates, to ask them if you already were that stupid back then. If yes that would strongly undermine my hypothesis.

        • Greg

          Dude, you’re scaring me – literally – follow me around the room –
          You write:

          “It’s a scientific fact that not using a human organ decreases its viability. That’s not the same. Try for instance Marco van Basten, who totally used his organs and had to end his career with badly injured ankles. Result: permanent decrease of viability.”

          Really, ankles?. So, in your world where you know exactly why no arecheological digs are being conducted in Jerusalem – ankles are organs?- I mean this is scarier than a Hitchcock movie – MNb, first of all we are talking about the brain, not ankles – but even if we were.. I could bring a hundred Canadian Hockey Players in here right now and all one hundred CHP would agree that using your ankles, does indeed make you a better skater –

          Then you write –
          “Accepting day occurences as proof of the existence of your god is exactly the opposite of using your brain. You look, think “ah, goddiddid” and are done.”

          So you want us to believe that people are walking around not using their brains as they go about their daily activities – Aaah! Zombies!!! You’re gonna give me nightmares- seriously, it is obvious that the organ we use to process the impulses that bombard us as we move through the world is our brain – and, unlike your assertion that the first impulse of the theist is “goddiddid”- I submit to you that it is more like this – “not all can be explained by Science!”

          My conclusion:
          You sound all thoughtful and logical as if you can intelligently process factual information and you even discuss your rationale in educated tones that make one almost jealous for your high intellect but then you throw down a conclusion that is contrived and opinionated and is not logical at all – try again.

        • Kodie

          Greg, you wouldn’t know how to use a brain if you had one in your own skull.

        • Greg

          Kodie, first, please go back to your last monicor, second, well there is no second, because of course I have a brain and I know how to use it, silly.

        • Kodie

          Kodie, first, please go back to your last monicor, second, well there is no second, because of course I have a brain and I know how to use it, silly.

          First, you don’t know how to spell moniker. Second, you don’t know the definition of moniker. Third, fuck off.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ed-you-ma-kat-ed my arse….and the standard mock is the Paddy Irishman joke…I feel for you lot.

        • MNb

          “MNb, first of all we are talking about the brain, not ankles”
          You made a general claim about the entire body, not me.

          “using your ankles, does indeed make you a better skater”
          And again you confirm that your cognitive skills are seriously damaged. You shift the goalpost. Well, you probably won’t understand that either.

          “Aaah! Zombies!!!!!”
          Indeed. That’s the impression everyone gets when reading your comments. See Kodie underneath.

          “is not logical at all – try again”
          As soon as you manage to locate the Israeli government in the right city.

          “in your world where you know exactly why no arecheological digs are being conducted in Jerusalem”
          Tell me, Greg, is stupidity according to your belief system an excuse for violating the 9th commandment? See, I never wrote that.
          Even your lies are utterly pathetic.

        • Greg

          I am only referring to the digs, not the government, you keep wanting to shift the focus to the government, and I have no clue in heaven why. Then again, it does seem to be your MO, MNb.

        • MNb

          “I have no clue in heaven why.”
          Don’t worry, Greg, nobody expects you anymore. We understand that your memory doesn’t last six days.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2015/12/atheists-what-would-it-take-to-change-your-mind-2/#comment-2460433527

          As nobody expects anymore either that you’re capable of clicking your mouse on a link I’ll quote:

          “the government of Jesrulem won’t authorize the digs.”
          The spelling error is yours, of course.
          Greg, there is no government of Jerusalem to authorize or not authorize digs. That government resides in Tel Aviv. And totally authorizes digs.

          http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/AboutIsrael/State/Pages/Archeology%20in%20Jerusalem.aspx

          Don’t blame me for the fact that even your lies are stupid. Or rather do, because on this blog you’re a total failure anyway.

        • adam

          “Don’t blame me for that fact that even your lies are stupid.”

          Well that is The VERY BEST that his ‘faith’ provides for him.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Fuck that rickety old bridge Greg, why not use a magic carpet? And it just so happens I’ve got one for sale. Going cheap at a bargain price for the gullible. Just your colour too.

        • Kodie

          You believe that bullshit because you’re gullible and ignorant. It doesn’t explain the mysteries of the universe, and your infamous shitty “quilt” analogy is how you explain to us how you’re satisfied by the idea that you’re not supposed to know. Fuck off, you dimwitted chatterbox full of nothing.

        • MNb

          And with every little leap you lose some cognitive skills, as you demonstrate over and over again.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ah, but little leaps are one thing, but you are trying to convince us that if we flap our arms hard enough, we can fly…never gonna happen.

        • Greg G.

          One cannot cross a chasm with a series of little leaps.

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          In the first place that government resides in Tel Aviv, not in Jerusalem.
          In the second place the Israeli government totally authorized the archeologist FInkelstein to dig the Sinai. He didn’t find anything. And the Israeli government totally would have welcomed, for political reasons, if he had.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I don’t know who or what “Jesrulem” is, but the Israeli government sanctions all archaeological investigation in Isreal. Do some basic research ya feckin’ moron before spouting crap. Lawyer my arse.

          https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Archaeology/archtoc.html

        • Greg G.

          Someone wrote the letters ascribed to Paul and seven of them seem to be written by the same person who claimed to be Paul, so we will call that person Paul. He referred to a Cephas in two letters and may have called him Peter in one of them. It is just a little suspicious.

          The early epistles only speak of Jesus in terms of adulation of a heavenly being or in Old Testament allusions and references, but never as if he was a first century person. The tales of Jesus in the gospels appear to be based mostly on the literature of the day that was about people not named Jesus. It really looks to me like Jesus was thought to be a ancient figure even in the early first century and reified later.

          The epistles never mention Mary nor does the earliest gospel, Mark. The Gospel of John talks about the mother of Jesus but never calls her Mary, though her sister is called by that name.

          Isaiah appear to have been written by more than one person. Will the real Isaiah please stand up?

          Elijah seems to be another legendary character.

          David as described in the Bible doesn’t seem to have existed either, according to the archaeology but there is a scrap of evidence from archaeology that somebody named David had some importance. There is also archaeological evidence that David was the name of a god which might account for the appearance of the name.

          There should be evidence of a mass migration if there was a Moses. Israeli archaeologists have combed the Sinai for such evidence and there was none found. Nor is there evidence in Egypt that the Hebrews were there.

          The Old Testament appears to be modified historical documents from other cultures.

        • Greg

          Peter existed because his body is laying in a tomb in the cellar of the Basilica in Rome – he died for the faith taught to him by Jesus and he insisted on being crucified upside down because of Jesus’ crucifixion – I have just proved Jesus existed and that he was crucified – Jesus taught the law that was handed down generation by generation from Moses – admittedly by different scholars – the way I see it, you have a major obstacle in arguing why people acted the way they did based on the teachings of fictitious people – as some biblical historians have stated (and archaeologists) if David and Moses didn’t exist – based on the evidence – we’d be forced to invent them.

        • adam

          “Peter existed because his body is laying in a tomb in the cellar of the Basilica in Rome”

          So say THESE people:

          (who run a business based on deception)

        • Ignorant Amos

          Anyone would think you were taking a pin to Greg’s fantasy bubble in order to burst it ffs?

        • Steven Watson

          We know from Paul that Peter existed, we also know that Paul seems to have thought Cephas and Peter were separate characters; the latter subordinate to the former; and that Jesus, whether or not a real person originally, was experienced as a figment of their imaginations. Which Mary? Are however many of them the same person, and are they all Miriam, Moses’ sister as well? Of the four different and in many ways mutually exclusive characterisations of Jesus, which is the real one? Or is that the chap in the Gospel of Thomas?

          We know David is a legend because archaeology and Assyrian and other inscriptions/literature show Israel, the northern kingdom, founded first c850BC and Jerusalem only becoming any sort of substantial settlement a hundred and fifty years later. As for Moses, there is no way of shoehorning him and the Captivity/Exodus anywhere in whatever chronology you use for Egyptian history.

          But if you are going to go just off the bible stories; Goliath is killed twice; Jerusalem is captured at least three times; Saul’s head rolls forgotten around the battlefield and sundry other tales duplicate and contradict one another throughout. Yahweh is the son of El and has a wife Asherah. Satan is possibly Yahweh’s son. Jesus might be his brother. You cannot make Nehemiah and Ezra cohere with one another: are one or both of them fictional? We can go on for pages and pages like this. The texts can be read against each other and the bible winds-up falsifying itself. And that is within just one of the two versions and several paraphrases we have. If you read LXX against the Masoretic and the Targums; it gets even worse. Serious scholars are now even proposing LXX as the original; which might mean we can’t taken any of it back before c300BC.

          It would be worth your while to take these books at their word; from what I can gather you are a Catholic. That tradition has a far better chance of of salvaging the bible for the third millenium. It has never been your church’s practice to read the texts literally and you can take it to ground where it is impervious to atheist/secular argument. It is as clear as the nose on my face that we are missing the point of these books. The contradiction and incoherence are so obvious but the books so obviously belong together that we are not reading them as they were intended.

          You are on a losing wicket trying to argue on the grounds of history and science. You are not scientists and you are not historians and you do not know the books and their contexts nearly well enough to lose an argument other than badly.

          You would be far better off listening to Paul. Ours is the wisdom of fools, is it not? Sarah and Hagar are allegories, no? Don’t fight the battle on the plain: our iron chariots will overrun you. Take it to the forested hills where we cannot go. The meaning is beyond us. For us there is none. We cannot be saved; we do not want to be saved; and we do not need your hypothesis. Learn something from the Mennonites; go out from amongst us and be seperate.

          Bonhoeffer has been cited several times. I’ve got a lot of time for him and the Confessing Church. Don’t go the gaps route; you will only be backed to the cliff edge and driven over if you keep this up. It’s embarrassing. I beseech you in the bowels of Christ and in the name of God, go!

        • Greg

          I received a lovely envelope in the mail last week but didn’t open it until Saturday – the envelope contained very flowery stationary and a “thinking of you” note, the name of the sender, a total mystery to me and wasn’t important once I read the content of the note – a friend had died – and this did not go down easy, no jokes, tears flowed and will for a while – the wierd thing is she passed away in January of 2012, yet the lapse of time doesn’t matter to me – my mourning is very real and very present, as if it happened yesterday – much like how I mourned for Moses and David, reading about their deaths thousands of years after the fact. She was Finnish and we first met – she as a Freshman and I a Junior – in College and our 10 year relationship was very similar to the “When Harry Met Sally” relationship without the resulting marriage at the end, did I mention she was an atheist when we met? She died as a baptized Christian – this is not to take credit, because it wasn’t my doing, but it is to say, my grief is manageable knowing I will see her again – and then I tried to objectively analyze how I would feel, if I did not have that belief – I’ll tell you, along with the grief would be a host of many emotions including anger along with the knowing that it all appears so senseless, why, and why so young, etc.. So with all your words, SW, you will never be able to overcome the argument that life has a more complete purpose and sense with an afterlife than without. And, the belief not only has a worthwhile thougthful component but a worthwhile emotional component – So, you see theism operates effectively on two levels – it satisfies the intellectual aspect of humans – life has meaning and purpose – and it satisfies the emotional aspect of humans – big soft cushions to soffen the fall. Elementary, my dear Watson, elementary.

        • I’m sorry to hear of your loss.

          You claim that the Christian view is better than the atheist view. That’s debatable, but I wonder if we can reach agreement on another point: that it’s better to believe the truth than to believe a happier untruth. Do you agree? If so, then I assume you understand why the truth is my lodestar.

        • Greg

          Thank you, Bob – –

          “but I wonder if we can reach agreement on another point: that it’s better to believe the truth than to believe a happier untruth. Do you agree?”

          Agreed. The funny thing about that question is that you have to ask it – I think we can both agree that many people in our society would not answer the question in the same way we do.

          An observation about atheists-

          I find that the commitment of an atheist to his belief usually outweighs the commitment of the theist to his belief – this is why the atheist usually holds the upper hand in most debates – why? because they have forumlated more completely their personal philosophy by way of diligent reading and analysis – this also results in more confidence that is always useful in any contest.

          An observation about grieving –

          Knowing a tragedy happened many years in the past does not detract from one’s grief for that tragedy and the sorrow is still as intense as if it happened yesterday..

        • I find that the commitment of an atheist to his belief usually outweighs the commitment of the theist to his belief

          This is the opposite of my experience. Christians often say that nothing would change their minds—WLC makes that clear, for example. Most atheists say that they would follow the evidence, that their atheism is a tentative conclusion that could be changed with new facts. Christians often don’t care much for evidence. They use it only to justify the conclusion they’ve already reached.

        • Greg

          aah, the evidence – the theist is the prosecutor showing the jury the evidence of the dope dealer selling his poison and the atheist is the defense attorney arguing all the evidence is invalid based on technicalities. the judge will decide…

        • Dys

          I see you’re continuing your fine trend of constructing inane metaphorical constructs.

          You’d think a lawyer would be better at such a thing, but your track record is simply abysmal.

          the judge will decide…

          So you pre-biased your scenario, which demonstrates its complete and utter failure. Congratulations.

        • The courtroom is not the analogy to use. I’m like a scientist or historian following the evidence where it leads.

        • Greg

          the courtroom is the cosmos – to promote your theory of how it works, you’re pouring all of creation through the sifter called science, to identify what evidence you deem valid and invalid – and science is far from the perfect sifter – the theist accepts all of creation as a valid evidence and uses this to prove their theory – the theist does support his theory on evidence – by your arbitrarly labelling it invalid, you then go on to assert the theory that theists conclude first and analyze later – it’s like, you’re in the desert – you’ve been provided a canteen full of beautiful water – the theist drinks and drinks and lives, the atheist will only drink a thimble full because that is all he could test for purity and dies. Don’t die, Bob, live!

        • Kodie

          You are an arrogant and warped individual to speak to us like that. Reality is not evidence for any god, you attribute everything you see to a creator that you’ve invented, and it makes you incompetent. It is not helpful, and you are not helpful.

        • Ignorant Amos

          …you attribute everything you see to a creator that you’ve invented…

          You think he is even that clever? I don’t, his imagination is too wick for starters.

          He is being wet nursed. His church is like a big dummy tit that someone else gives him when he starts to shrike.

        • Ignorant Amos

          This sort of word salad been discussed elsewhere…and a friend quoted Schopenhauer, which is also applicable to your mind wank…

          He said:

          “To conceal a want of real ideas, many make for themselves an imposing apparatus of long compound words, intricate flourishes and phrases, new and unheard-of expressions, all of which together furnish an extremely difficult jargon that sounds very learned. Yet with all this they say-precisely nothing.”

          Kudos to epeeist.

        • Greg

          salad is good for you and so are my words, read and grow healthy. .

        • Dys

          We’re still waiting for you to make a decent argument that you’re capable of defending. Hell, at this point I’d settle for an analogy of yours that wasn’t complete garbage (like the aforementioned courtroom scenario).

          The only thing your words are good for are laughing at. They won’t make anyone grow or be healthy. Instead they’ll just give people headaches due to repeated facepalming, hitting their heads on desks and walls, or just inducing psychological pain due to their sheer idiocy.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Greg is the village….

        • Ignorant Amos

          Greg, you really are fucking simpleton. I’m starting to think you are an ignorant adolescent when you start this fuckin’ crazy bollocks chatter.

          Word salad is a “confused or unintelligible mixture of seemingly random words and phrases”, most often used to describe a symptom of a neurological or mental disorder. The words may or may not be grammatically correct, but are semantically confused to the point that the listener cannot extract any meaning from them. The term is often used in psychiatry as well as in theoretical linguistics to describe a type of grammatical acceptability judgment by native speakers, and in computer programming to describe textual randomization.

          Word salad may describe a symptom of neurological or psychiatric conditions in which a person attempts to communicate an idea, but words and phrases that may appear to be random and unrelated come out in an incoherent sequence instead. Often, the person is unaware that he or she did not make sense. It appears in people with dementia and schizophrenia, as well as after anoxic brain injury. Clang associations are especially characteristic of mania, as seen in bipolar disorder, as a somewhat more severe variation of flight of ideas. In extreme mania, the patient’s speech may become incoherent, with associations markedly loosened, thus presenting as a veritable word salad.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Word_salad

          So NO, contrary to your gibbering inanity, it isn’t good for you. Like a shit salad ya rhubarb.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiwIgLE05jI

        • That quote by Schopenhauer is a keeper.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It is, as is many others….remembering them is my problem…senility creeping in here..

        • the theist accepts all of creation as a valid evidence and uses this to prove their theory

          And there’s your problem. You start with your conclusion and then backfill with selected evidence. That’s why science (evidence first, conclusion follows) is better.

          the theist does support his theory on evidence – by your arbitrarly labelling it invalid

          What do I label as invalid? That faith is as good a way to find the truth as following evidence?

        • Dys

          science is far from the perfect sifter – the theist accepts all of creation as a valid evidence and uses this to prove their theory

          In other words, science isn’t perfect, so believing in magic is acceptable. You’re an advocate for gullibility.

          And you’re trying to put science and faith-based beliefs on a level playing field in terms of explanatory power, which is a complete farce. Science has a far more reliable and demonstrable track record than religious belief.

          the theist does support his theory on evidence

          The theist doesn’t have a theory – he has religious speculation. And the theist plays a game where he insists that literally everything qualifies as evidence for the existence of God, which means that in actuality he has none. All that he really has is a nebulous concept to take the place of ignorance.

          “God did it” and “I don’t know” are functionally equivalent.

        • adam

          “”God did it” and “I don’t know” are functionally equivalent.”

          but only the later is honest.

        • Greg

          “In other words, science isn’t perfect, so believing in magic is acceptable. You’re an advocate for gullibility.”

          Let’s just take the concept that science isn’t perfect – Can I be honest – If science was completely trustworthy, I do believe theism would be utterly defeated. Theism would be the home for the dreamers and wide-eyed crazy radicals – you know the Bernie Sander supporters – seriously, placing all your trust in science, because now it is the bedrock truth would I admit probably eradicate religion, if one were honest and stuck to provable facts or at least highly probable facts.

          But, Dys, be honest – science is not completely trustworthy -and therefore, it leaves room for believing in events or people that are not verifiable by the scientic method or are true or at least probably true even though not highly probable true – you do not have to immediately jump to magic or gullibility –

          You say the theist does not have a theory – or as BobS says, the theist does not follow the facts or forms conclusions before studying the facts – I’m not saying this isn’t true in some cases – (I submit one of the beautiful things about religion is that it can happen that way) but at least, in my case it didn’t happen that way – and if those phrases don’t apply to me – then it certainly means not all theists are as you and BobS describe – as a matter of fact, the reason I have the confidence to argue here is because I am a product of following the facts and forming a conclusion after studying the facts –

          “God did it” and “I don’t know” are functionally equivalent. – I am not saying ths – but I do feel you are saying – “I don’t know” and “God definitely didn’t do it” are functionally equivalent.

        • Dys

          But, Dys, be honest – science is not completely trustworthy -and
          therefore, it leaves room for believing in events or people that are not
          verifiable by the scientic method or are true or at least probably true
          even though not highly probable true – you do not have to immediately
          jump to magic or gullibility

          Greg, be honest – you’re just trying to rationalize your leap into magic-land. Science has a much, much better track record for discovering things than religious belief can even pretend to have. You’ve basically just reiterated what I claimed you were stating – “Science isn’t perfect, therefore I can believe whatever I want”. And you can. It’s not a rational position and it’s incredibly naive, but you can believe whatever you like.

          but I do feel you are saying – “I don’t know” and “God definitely didn’t do it” are functionally equivalent.

          Not at all. But despite all your claimed evidence, no one has ever demonstrated that God has ever done anything, anywhere. And since natural answers don’t require inventing magic or delving into superstition, it makes far more sense to avoid doing so. So “I don’t know, but I’m sure there’s a natural explanation” is a far more rational and defensible stance than “God did it”.

        • Kodie

          Greg, you’re delusional. 100% inarguably, totally delusional. The reason you have so much confidence to keep arguing your utter nonsense is that … you’re delusional.

        • MNb

          “in my case it didn’t happen that way”
          We safely can assume it totally did, given

          “I do feel you are saying”
          What you say here is that an itch in your underbelly makes you understand better what Dys claims than he/she him/herself. Of course the irony of a christian displaying such unchristian arrogance totally escapes you. Well, that’s the result of self-delusion, as Kodie describes underneath.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Greg is a knob…how easy is that? Now ask me to demonstrate it…go on tae feck..a dare anyone to do so….Mrs Doyle?,,,

          https://33.media.tumblr.com/ced3b10ca17bec0173e09f615ac000e6/tumblr_mtzsut0tAO1sjwg5lo1_500.gif

        • science is not completely trustworthy -and therefore, it leaves room for believing in events or people that are not verifiable by the scientic method or are true or at least probably true even though not highly probable true

          100% god of the gaps.

          I do feel you are saying – “I don’t know” and “God definitely didn’t do it” are functionally equivalent.

          Dys can respond in his own way, but my view is that “I don’t know” means that we stop there. Shoehorning God into the nonexistent answer is not supported by the evidence, so don’t even bring God up. “I don’t know” should never take the honest searcher to a God conclusion; only evidence pointing that way should.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • MNb

          “you’re pouring all of creation through the sifter called science.”
          Nope. Creation is a loaded term, useless for science.

        • MNb

          You compare the case of your opponent with that of a dope dealer. That makes your analogy the fallacy of poisoning the well. This in addition to BobS underneath.

          http://www.logicallyfallacious.com/index.php/logical-fallacies/141-poisoning-the-well

          Let me help you out this time. Try a divorce instead.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The irony here is that the theist is RC Greg, the dope dealer, venturing to mount his own defence…very shoddily indeed.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I thought it was the jury that decided…silly me.

        • Kodie

          Greg is persuaded by the theatrical horseshit rather than the facts of the case, and promoted himself from fake lawyer to fake judge. He’s banging on his gavel, we all have to listen or be held in contempt. What a big baby he is.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yip…a big baby with a dummy tit.

        • Under certain circumstances, one can waive the right to a jury trial and have the judge decide.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Without a doubt..ya don’t have to go any further than the Diplock courts here in Northern Ireland for one of the best examples of that….

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diplock_courts

          …but are we really looking at fuckwit Greg through these spec’s……I suggest not….but I’m up for the debate.

        • Dude, I just wish he’d shut up already.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I hear ya!

        • Greg

          not on the issues of determining valid and invalid evidence, that is also known as a question of law, which is never decided by the jury -(the trier of facts), it is always, always, always, decided by the judge – please leave the heavy legal lifting to me – but you do make me blush at how much you want to be like me, a lawyer.

        • You’ve got that backwards, kiddo.

        • Greg

          only if you’re looking at it in a mirror – seriously, think about it – I have told you that we see God’s handiwork in nature and understand the afterlife by looking at the seasons – the atheist says Nope, all that is disqualified, it isn’t direct scientifically proven evidence for God or the afterlife – so whose doing the nit picking? it ain’t me, kiddo.

        • adam

          “I have told you that we see Shiva’s handiwork in nature and understand the afterlife by looking at the seasons – the atheist says Nope, all that is disqualified, it isn’t direct scientifically proven evidence for Shiva or the afterlife – so whose doing the nit picking?”

          Of course the same is true for The Flying Invisible Pink Unicorn.

          It is YOU, Greg….

        • adam

          “I find that the commitment of an atheist to his belief usually outweighs the commitment of the theist to his belief “

        • Steven Watson

          I think you will find you gave yourself your own purpose in your work; hobbies; and relationships. Where you got any purpose from outside yourself; that came from your parents and the community that socialised you. You think your purpose is heaven and an eternity of what exactly? Being a child and never being allowed to grow up or achieve autonomy? You have volunteered yourself to a heteronomous relationship that excuses you thinking for yourself. Probably for the best as you appear either never to have had an intelligence to atrophy or your brains dribbled out of your ears before you were six

          If you lose touch with someone to such a degree that it is three years before you hear of their death that someone can hardly have been important to you. That it takes three years for someone else to inform you of their death means it was hardly apparent that you were of any importance to them. That you equate them with and react much the same way to the deaths of characters milleniums in the past only known to you through fiction, that person can hardly have been of importance to you and you insult their memory. Finns vie for probably being the most secular people on the planet and I have no particular reason to believe anything you would say about one. I do not see anyone here that hasn’t called you a liar on multiple occasions. Bullshitting about the dead who can neither talk back or be checked up on is consistent with that. You could post a pic of the letter; but I would have no reason to believe you hadn’t written it yourself.

          You are a piece of work. You should be thankful Jesus is a figment of your imagination. If the claims of your religion were actually real, by your own lights you can expect to burn for eternity. Honestly, how can anyone be so fucking oblivious? Scratch that; you are part of a criminal paedophile conspiracy. If you can excuse that, remain a part of that, well you are capable of anything at all. Don’t bother with a reply; we are done.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Well said.

        • MNb

          So you’re not even capable of picking good role models. Or do you want to be a giant in the department of warcrimes?

          http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/blogging_the_bible/features/2006/the_complete_book_of_numbers/the_bibles_most_hideous_war_crime.html

          And also a giant regarding sex?

          http://www.biblicalpolygamy.com/polygamists/david/

          Your dreams are nightmares for other people.

        • Greg

          nobody’s perfect, but that’s what makes them so lovable

        • Ignorant Amos

          WTF?

          You’re a fuckin’ sicko.

          I think it’s time you were given the shove.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah, a dare say there was those that said that about Genghis Kahn.

          Pope Urban advocated, neigh, incited the Crusades…and they say that the vegetarian Adolf Hitler was very influential in his day too. And they were real people.

          You are such a sad man Greg if you get your inspiration from such nasty mythical characters as those in the OT.

          King Arthur, Robin Hood and Gandalf the Grey would be far better role models.

        • Greg G.

          It’s not that I succeed, it’s that everyone else has to fail, horribly, preferably in front of their parents. –Attila the Hun

          Trample the weak. Hurdle the dead. –Attila the Hun

          Be of one mind and one faith, that you may conquer your enemies and lead long and happy lives. –Genghis Khan

          Happy is he who repays you for what you have done to us – he who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks. –Psalm 137:9

          Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourself every girl who has never slept with a man. –Numbers 31:17-18

          Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead with the edge of the sword and; also the women and little ones…. every male and every woman that has lain with a male you shall utterly destroy. –Judges 21:10-12

          This is what the Lord Almighty says… “Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.” –1 Samuel 15:3

        • Ignorant Amos

          A guessed as much, thanks for citing though.

        • MNb

          In addition to IA underneath: even within your own church there are better role models.
          St. Franciscus of Assisi.

        • Greg

          different strokes for different folks

        • Greg

          You see what you’re doing – we also know Steve Jobs was manipulative, conniving and did alot of other bad things – ok, but does that take away from that fact that he was amazing at visualizing the future in how technology could become a personal part of everyone’s everyday life?

          Instead of cursing the darkness, light a candle.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Whhhhhaaaaa?

          You really are a dumb fucker.

          Steve Jobs? Seriously? You are actually away with the fairies, no doubt about it.

        • *snicker* The faeries threw him back.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’s fairy enough…I concede to your knowledge of what the fairies might do…though totally understandable, he is a boorish eejit, so no doubt even the fairies would get fucked off with him.

        • Well they do have standards!

        • Greg G.

          The Smurfs put up with him until they were blue in the face.

        • Greg G.

          Did Steve Jobs have a man murdered so the man wouldn’t figure out that Jobs got his wife pregnant?

        • Greg

          hmm, are you referring to David and Bathsheba? What, you haven’t done some crazy things in the name of love in your life?

        • Greg G.

          I have never connived to cause someone’s death over love or any other reason. Can you say the same or are you going to plead the Fifth?

          Yes, David seduced Bathsheba and knocked her up. Her husband was an officer in the army. When the army camped near Jerusalem, David sent for her husband and suggested he go to her and “wash his feet”. He refused to do it while his men could not. David then ordered the army to purposely fall back to expose her husband in battle. If he had returned to find his wife noticeably pregnant or with a baby, the scriptures of the day would have provided some nasty remedies.

          Moses murdered an Egyptian and was a fugitive from justice for 80 years.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah, but come on, let’s be sensible… Steve Jobs was a really bad egg with some foresight…so it’s all good in the end, right?

        • Ignorant Amos

          No, but apparently he was manipulative, conniving and did a lot of other bad things. This, coming from a Roman Catholic…am pishing maself laughing here…the irony is exploding meters all over the parish.

        • Greg G.

          Omigosh. I should have asked if Jobs had ever been a Catholic priest!

        • Ignorant Amos

          Or a cretin?…no, Jobs was no cretin so nothing like a Catholic priest, Greg, or those fucked up characters in his storybook that he idolises so highly.

        • Greg G.

          We’re not talking about David. I am quoting the Bible. Satan was substituted for God. The older book said it was God who incited David to take a census, then punished David by killing thousands of people. Haven’t you ever read the Bible?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Haven’t you ever read the Bible?

          I doubt it.

          If he has, it certainly isn’t apparent from what I can see.

        • Greg

          you use the word “incite” – and this is the problem with your analysis.

        • Greg G.

          You are talking to the translators. Are you afraid to read the Bible for yourself? You should at least familiarize yourself with the content before you make stupid responses. Here are other translations. They are consistent and God doesn’t look good. Most use “incite”, others use “caused”, “provoked”, and “moved”.

          2 Samuel 24:1

          New International VersionAgain the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “Go and take a census of Israel and Judah.”

          New Living TranslationOnce again the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and he caused David to harm them by taking a census. “Go and count the people of Israel and Judah,” the LORD told him.

          English Standard VersionAgain the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “Go, number Israel and Judah.”

          New American Standard Bible Now again the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and it incited David against them to say, “Go, number Israel and Judah.”

          King James BibleAnd again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.

          Holman Christian Standard BibleThe LORD’s anger burned against Israel again, and He stirred up David against them to say: “Go, count the people of Israel and Judah.”

          International Standard VersionLater, God’s anger blazed forth against Israel, so he incited David to move against them by telling him, “Go take a census of Israel and Judah.”

          NET BibleThe LORD’s anger again raged against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “Go count Israel and Judah.”

          GOD’S WORD® TranslationThe LORD became angry with Israel again, so he provoked David to turn against Israel. He said, “Go, count Israel and Judah.”

          JPS Tanakh 1917And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and He moved David against them, saying: ‘Go, number Israel and Judah.’

          New American Standard 1977 Now again the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and it incited David against them to say, “Go, number Israel and Judah.”

          Jubilee Bible 2000And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he incited David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.

          King James 2000 BibleAnd again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he incited David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.

          American King James VersionAnd again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.

          American Standard VersionAnd again the anger of Jehovah was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them, saying, Go, number Israel and Judah.

          Douay-Rheims BibleAnd the anger of the Lord was again kindled against Israel, and stirred up David among them, saying: Go, number Israel and Juda.

          Darby Bible TranslationAnd again the anger of Jehovah was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them saying, Go, number Israel and Judah.

          English Revised VersionAnd again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them, saying, Go, number Israel and Judah.

          Webster’s Bible TranslationAnd again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go number Israel and Judah.

          World English BibleAgain the anger of Yahweh was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them, saying, “Go, number Israel and Judah.”

          Young’s Literal TranslationAnd the anger of Jehovah addeth to burn against Israel, and an adversary moveth David about them, saying, ‘Go, number Israel and Judah.’

        • adam

          “You are talking to the translators.”

          He is talking to anyone who will agree with what he WISHES to be true.

          Fuck the bible, that says not to lie….

          Where would he be then?

        • Ignorant Amos

          You should at least familiarize yourself with the content before you make stupid responses.

          That’ll be Greg for ya…shoot indiscriminately from the hip into the crowd with a blunderbuss, rather than pick a specific target and take aim with a sharpshooter’s rifle. Having egg plastered all over his face is a favourite look I’m guessing.

        • Steven Watson

          We are not worthy! 🙂

        • Steven Watson

          Or best mates and/or father and son Job 1:6. Here again Yahweh has to ask where someone had been and what they had been doing. In Job 1:12 Yahweh delivers Job into Satan’s power to do whatever with. At the end Job gets to see Yahweh, 42:5, one up on Moses who only got to see his arse, Ex. 33:23. Not the xian job descriptions of either of them 🙂

        • Ignorant Amos

          As in imaginary…not real? Agreed.

          Your the saddo in this instance Greg.

        • Greg

          funny thing about being spiritual, suddenly the world and the cosmos are placed into focus – the veils is lifted, if you will.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Kodie

          Your denial is so deep. You see nothing, you know nothing. You jibber-jabber such fucking nonsense, and you’re wrong about everything you ever make noise about.

        • adam

          “funny thing about being spiritual, suddenly the world and the cosmos are placed into focus – the veils is lifted, if you will.”

          But of course!

        • Ignorant Amos

          You do know that spiritual here is not just all about silly religions…right?

          https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/spirituality

        • adam

          “the problem is that in your world, Greg G, the demon and God are indistinguishable…very sad really.”

          No EASILY distinguishable

        • MNb
        • Greg

          Then you’re not in touch with how you make important decisions – it always comes down to what is good for you and what is bad for you –

        • Kodie

          You’re not in touch with reading comprehension.

        • MNb

          Unlike you I don’t need any imaginary entities like gods and demons to understand what is good for me and what is bad for me. Moreover I understand that what is good for my loved ones almost always also is good for me.
          Finally exactly because I understand what is good for my loved ones and me and what is bad for us I understand that the Biblical god is far more evil than the Biblical demons.
          But yeah – I also understand that all this flies way above your head. That’s what theism does to you. It not only ruins your cognitive skills (already looked up where the Israeli government resides?), it also ruins your morals.

        • Ignorant Amos

          And even then, the blood on the hands of Satan was by permission of God by way of helping to settle the result of a bet they both had, so God is just as guilty of those ten also.

        • Dys

          I’m pretty sure that in his world (and the actual one), neither demons nor gods actually exist.

        • Greg

          I was just placing a face on evil and good, respectively.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Well, even then. ya got the non existent arse about face. Typical.

        • Dys

          So you were judging God again? For shame.

  • Thought2Much

    I’ve said elsewhere that proof for me would be an announcement that the entire Andromeda galaxy would be moved to one quarter of its current distance from the Milky Way galaxy, and that it would happen at the time and date specified.

    This would rule out all but the very most advanced aliens on a technical level… and on a social level, why would aliens that advanced care to provide a sign to claim to be gods for some pitiful earth creatures, even if they were capable of such a thing? They would have no reason to be concerned with us at all, except perhaps to study us in the same way we study insect behavior in the wild.

    However, even this extreme level of proof wouldn’t rule out the idea that we’re in a computer simulation, and the creators of said simulation could do something like put Andromeda somewhere else with nothing but a few keystrokes. But why call the beings running the simulation gods? And why would such beings care to be worshiped or regarded as gods even if we are just part of a simulation?

    After thinking about what kind of proof would require me to believe in gods, it’s struck me that the entire idea of “gods” doesn’t even make sense to me anymore.

    • Instead of moving Andromeda closer, I think moving it laterally would be a less ambiguous demonstration. My guess is that distance is harder to be certain of than position on the celestial sphere, but that’s an ill-informed guess.

      • RichardSRussell

        No, either one would be unambiguous and easily measured. Of course, the only people qualified to do the measuring would be scientists, and there would immediately be schisms within religious denominations wherein some believers would splinter off due to their suspicions that the scientists were pulling a fast one on them.

        • I would’ve thought, though, that moving Andromeda closer and keeping its relative velocity unchanged would be more susceptible to complaint than the discover that it had moved laterally in the sphere of the cosmos. But I haven’t looked into this. I’ll take your word for it.

        • RichardSRussell

          The key here is not which direction the Andromeda Galaxy has moved — for an object that size, any direction would suffice — but whether some religious entity predicted it in advance of it happening. It’d be even cooler if the giant Hand of God appeared in our telescopes and was seen to pick it up and reposition it. That would certainly make me rethink my atheism.

        • Taneli Huuskonen

          The Andromeda galaxy can be seen with the naked eye, and moving it closer like you described would make it look so much larger that the difference would be impossible to miss if you’d paid any attention before the move.

        • adam

          Yes, but by moving it laterally, you have the entire HISTORY of astronomy and astrology to substantiate the MOVE.

          Moving it closer might be better explained by the bending of light via Einstein or something similar.

        • Greg G.

          They could put a large magnifying glass between us and the galaxy. It would look closer.

      • Thought2Much

        Ah, but if someone moved it to be one quarter the distance away from us, that entity would also have to be powerful enough to do it without converting all of the blueshifted light into deadly x-rays and killing everyone in the Milky Way. Moving it laterally? Pfft. That’s child’s play. 😀

    • InDogITrust

      Exactly. The concept of “god” makes no sense. “Even if you are a ‘god,’ why should I worship you, other than the fact that you’ll smite me if I don’t? You might as well be Supreme Leader of North Korea.”

      To the extent that “worship” means follow rituals, make sacrifices, say special words, because or else, yeah, I understand worshipping. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do to survive.

      But “worship” as in you are the bestest ever ever ever in the entire universe, all the multiverses, bestest ever, I love you so much, you can literally do no wrong, nope. Worshipped simply because you exist and you are you, nope.

      Love and respect because you deserve it, sure, if you actually deserve it. But that’s not worship.

      The ironic thing about xians running around loving god so much is that Yahweh never really said “love me just because I’m me.” It was ‘do what I tell you or else’ or ‘you ungrateful little bastards.’

      • adam

        ” It was ‘do what I tell you or else’ or ‘you ungrateful little bastards.'”

  • powellpower

    Oh?

    I must have missed the memo. BUT DISQUS IS BACK BITCHES!!!!!!

    (obviously I’m extremely happy if this is not evidently clear)

    • Greg

      but for how long? and will they be able to create a format that facilitates conversation as well as the one we have now.

      • powellpower

        Well, at least Bob did listen to suggestions and backtracked. I mean disqus isn’t perfect, but given the last lesson I’m pretty sure if we were to change again it’ll be an upgrade, not a downgrade.

        • Greg

          Well, I believe, BobS tried being a good sport and knew it was inevitable – one of the the good things that BobS did for this community, was to show us that WT may change everything so the time we have here is short and we need to appreciate and cherish this time. So just as with life itself, live each moment and enjoy it while it lasts.

        • Kodie

          I don’t cherish any time that you’re around. You’re dumb as fuck, and I don’t even enjoy insulting you anymore. You have fucked up this blog comments, and I wish you would leave forever.

          I know not everyone agrees with me, but you add nothing.

        • MNb

          I tend to agree with you by now, exactly because he doesn’t add anything anymore. The joke called Greg has grown old. Even cats grow tired of playing with half dead mice eventually.

        • Greg

          Kodie – I am not the reason the WT came into existence – I believe the WT wants to keep the mean trolls away from commenting on a blog -and, that’s ok, but you never criticize that I am mean – you only say that I annoy you because my comments don’t add to the conversation – but, the topic is extremely esoteric and incredibly difficult to express sometimes – the arguments for the existence of God will continue to be elusive but all I want to do is make an honest effort to communicate my response to BobS.’s blogs. I know you don’t want to admit it, but I am part of this “family” and I will be as brokenhearted as you are when (if) this community crumbles – until then, I will try to keep my comments smart and on topic – as usual.

        • Kodie

          You are delusional – you have imposed yourself here, you post regularly, but you are not liked. Bob was surveying the group whether it was just about time to ban your ass right before WT came about. Now that that period is over, you carry on as though you’re welcome. I can’t wait for you to be brokenhearted. I live for the day.

        • MNb

          “you never criticize that I am mean”
          You’re too stupid to be mean.
          Worse – you’re getting boring.

          “I am part of this “family”
          Yeah – like during rainy season the Aedes Aegypti is part of my family.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aedes_aegypti

          Now that’s an analogy that works. See, the big question regarding you is if the head of the family thinks it’s time to get the poison spray.

        • MR
        • Steven Watson

          Look; if Greg et al. weren’t here I’d have to kick the cat. Think of the felines.

        • MR

          I’m in.

  • Sam Mulvey

    If I could pump some universally inherent number.. say, e for example, into a video codec and get a high def video from Julia Child explaining how to cook a universe from scratch, that would be pretty telling.

  • Mick

    Atheists: What Would It Take to Change YOUR Mind?

    Not a miracle that’s for sure. I’d just assume I was hallucinating and wouldn’t accept it as a miracle performed by god.

    The bible says that if Christians pray for something god will give it to them.
    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%2014:13-14

    So let’s have them ask god for solutions to all the Clay Institute’s Millennium Prize Problems.
    http://www.claymath.org/millennium-problems

    The mathematicians can check the solutions and if they are correct … well then we can move on to the next test (but I have a feeling those initial prayers will never be answered so we’ll never have to bother about the “next test”.)

    • I’m not sure that solutions to math problems would do it since people can come up with solutions as well. I like the idea of moving the Andromeda galaxy or finding an MPEG video in the value of an important transcendental number.

      • RichardSRussell

        Every MPEG video ever made is encoded somewhere in every transcendental number there is. They have an infinite number of digits, so any conceivable sequence occurs therein an infinite number of times.

        • and in every digital video format yet to be invented! And showing any particular celebrity explaining answers to the Clay Institute problems (as well as all undiscovered laws of physics).

          Only the God Yahweh could explain such marvelousness!

        • Sam Mulvey

          I’ve heard this potential refutation before, but I don’t think it quite cuts it. The location (somewhere suitably at the top of the number) and the data (a reproducible method for generating universes) puts the concept of the creator god on the right side of the razor, for once.

          It wouldn’t grand slam the case for god for me, there are other potential explanations which need to be ruled out[1], to say nothing of the potential for trickery.

          Also, we’re getting away from Julia Child.

          [1]: “Say, why don’t you just alter the local gravitational constant?”

        • Greg G.

          It might be possible to write a code that interprets the first 4 megabytes of pi as a movie. We’ll call it MPiG.

        • Sam Mulvey

          I had written at some point that since codecs are just methods of replacing some bits for others, we could just say that there’s a codec where “1” means the video I’m describing.

          One problem: To demonstrate the codec, we’d need a video to start with.

          I mean, if we get suitably science fiction, the ability to move stellar masses around and an FTL drive would be able to create something like the “move the Andromeda Galaxy” thing. The moon might be better, since it’d be harder to hide shenanigans, but that would probably screw up our day pretty bad.

  • Not an atheist (more like an agnostic-ish deist or whatever else you’d call someone interested in the multiverse concept), but I really find this whole thing interesting. And I pretty much agree completely– what’s needed is for there to be some religion as like a telephone where one side (humanity) picks up and the other (the divine) answers. Some kind of clear-cut, genuine set of miracles. That would actually make a huge difference.

    Something like out of that dreadful ‘Left Behind’ series, like a nuclear weapons exchange that ended in an absolute freak occurrence where the weapons failed to go off and strange lights showed up in the sky (which in the book actually happens in regular time, pre-rapture-and-other-stuff), would count. Right now, most non-religious to religious conversion stories talk more about pure, raw emotion… that’s nothing like what’s needed at all.

  • Clover and Boxer

    Do you mean there’s no mention of a “heliocentric” solar system (rather than “geocentric”)?

  • TruthPrevails

    Your list pretty much sums it up for me. Very impressive and thought provoking. I know what it took to get me to my disbelief but thinking about going back is not something I’ve truly given thought to…anything in your writing might just do it though.

  • Michael Pinecone

    I was an atheist, but God changed my mind. Cheers to open-mindedness!

  • I read Ted Chiang’s “Hell is the Absence of God” a couple of days ago, and the world in that story is pretty much what I would need to believe in the Christian (or similar) god. Obvious miracles happen on a regular basis, angels appear often, Hell is occasionally visible to people, and when people die, you can see their souls leaving their bodies, and all this is a well-attested and normal part of the world.

    If God really exists, and wants us to worship him, then that’s roughly how the world should look. God has no obvious motivation for staying hidden, and if he wants humanity to know about him (as he does according to most religious people), then his existence should be as clear as the existence of the Moon. And since the world is clearly not like that, and even people who try hard to find evidence of God can’t seem to find anything unambiguous, then God either has no particular interest in us knowing about him or just doesn’t exist.

    Even if an undeniable miracle occurs, it still leaves the question of why God has remained hidden until now. Why appear now, and not to people who didn’t believe in him in previous generations? Why do it just the once? The world is so different from how it should be if Christianity is correct that to be honest I don’t think a one-off miracle would convince me; what I would need in addition is a good explanation for why God has chosen to be hidden from so many people for so long, and I have no idea what such an explanation could possibly look like.

    • Greg

      “then his existence should be as clear as the existence of the Moon.”

      Why the moon, why not the nose on your face? In my view, the “existence” of the moon was not clear until we sent a man there and even now there are people who still believe that was a hoax.

      • Why the moon, why not the nose on your face?

        Sure, why not?

        • Greg

          ok, you can see the nose on your face, just as we can see that in the Bible there are references to God. let’s go to the next level, do you know how your nose works? if your nose isn’t working the way you expect, do you say your nose does not exist – .your whole comment runs thus – – I don’t understand why God works the way he does -he must not exist – shallow, no? yes.

        • I can see and touch my nose, and I can see the moon. In both cases, regardless of how much I understand about them, I at least know there’s something there. The same cannot be said about God.

          If I couldn’t see or feel my nose, or smell anything with it, and couldn’t find any evidence of its continued existence, would you expect me to believe that it was still attached to my face, and that its apparent disappearance was a part of its normal functioning?

        • Greg

          “would you expect me to believe that it was still attached to my face, and that its apparent disappearance was a part of its normal functioning?”

          Ophis – I find more serenity in my life when I do not expect anything from anybody, but if I couldn’t “smell anything with it”, I would not jump to the conclusion that my nose does not exist! I’ll take it one more step and use the scenario you set forth in your comment – “If I couldn’t see or feel my nose” I still wouldn’t believe that a nose did not exist! I would believe something happened to my nose and I needed to find it -but the fact is you can see God – as a reference in the Bible and when you walk the way of the cross, you can feel God. It really comes down to, as I said before, you don’t know the ways of God, so he does not exist. If you cared about God like the nose on your face, you’d start looking for that darn nose of yours and pick up the Bible.

        • Greg G.

          Ophir knows the Bible better than you do.

        • Greg

          it’s one thing to know it, it’s another to live it –

        • Dys

          *Yawn*

          No one lives it. Everyone who describes themselves as a believer picks and chooses the bits they like, and ignores or rationalizes away the parts they don’t.

        • Greg

          you can “iive” the Bible by following the teachings of Jesus to the “T”.
          There’s actually a little red book called “The Imitation of Christ” written by an anonymous author that I have basically consumed whole and have used to guide my every daily step.

          Warning – even the people who consider themselves “religous” have given me the snake eye after they waded into it’s deeply rich waters.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Greg

          that’s the one – oh, and the name of the author, can we keep that between us?

        • sarbacane

          Keep what between you? Clothing optional we presume.

        • Greg

          I thought the book was written by an anonymous author but was quickly corrected – I was a little embarrassed, the book truly being one of my favorites – –

        • Steven Watson

          It was just too good not to pull your leg about; but my aspie has to throw you a bone. If you look at the wiki entry you will see it is actually attributed to Thomas à Kempis. The attribution is all but certain; nevertheless; you are not technically wrong as even Richard Dawkins would admit. 🙂

        • Ignorant Amos

          Greg, just when I think you peaked at being a dick, you go and surprise me further.

          Either you are lying, or the book is not one of your favourites that you have consumed.

          How could a real lawyer be so incredibly incompetent, you can’t remember the author’s name of one of your favourite of all books?

          Why do you insult the intelligence of the folk here so much?It is beyond contemptible.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Warning – even the people who consider themselves “religous” have given me the snake eye after they waded into it’s deeply rich waters.

          Why? Why would your fellow religious give you the snake eye?

          The Imitation of Christ is regarded as the most important devotional work in Catholic Christianity and is the most widely read devotional work next to the Bible. Apart from the Bible no book has been translated into more languages than the Imitation of Christ.

        • Greg

          I guess I’m running with the “wrong” crowds..

        • Kodie

          More probably, everyone you come in contact with finds some reason to loathe you.

        • Dys

          Because one of the side effects of having so many different sects of Christianity is that believers try to “out-Christian” each other. They then proceed to play a strange game where they boast about it, yet insist that they’re being humble.

        • Pofarmer

          I guess the Kurt Cameron “War Room” movie is having an effect, because now I’m hearing about “Prayer warriors.”

          Good Grief.

        • Greg G.

          Prayer warriors sound as threatening as dancing pipsqueaks.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s kind of funny. You would think one of these days they’d look up and go, whaaaaaat in the hell have we been doing?

        • Greg G.

          But think of all the medical breakthroughs that have happened in the last century all because of prayer.

        • Pofarmer

          Well, exactly. It would be a lot more funny if these people didn’t delude themselves into an alternative worldview, and then live as if it were real, except when they don’t . It’s exquisitely maddening, some days.

        • Steven Watson

          God isn’t being terribly helpful again. I google and get pages and pages of other Kurt Cameron stuff or pieces that reference it but nothing about it!LOL!

        • Dys

          Which doesn’t refute what I said in the slightest.

        • Greg

          you said “Noone lives it” – I refute that – And, the way I do that is by conferring with God before every important decision I make. My life path mirrors the way of the Cross.

        • Greg G.

          That figures. The cross and a mirror makes a double-cross.

        • Greg

          see, now that comment reflects badly on you..

        • Dys

          Yes, yes….you talk to yourself before making important decisions in order to make sure it matches up with your personal interpretation of Christianity. Which inevitably involves the cherry-picking I mentioned previously.

          My life path mirrors the way of the Cross.

          Sure it does Greg…sure it does. Whatever you need to tell yourself. Try not to feel too put upon though…you don’t want to develop Christian Persecution Complex.

        • Kodie

          Doesn’t it begin to strike you that Greg is here to martyr himself? The worse we insult him, the more he thinks he’s becoming Jesus.

        • Dys

          Oh, I’m sure that’s a large part of why he continues to languish around here. That, and the delusion on his part that he’s capable of providing a compelling, rational, or logical reason to believe in his preferred superstitions to non-believers.

          I know it’s the whole “don’t feed the trolls” thing with him, but he’s mostly harmless.

        • Greg G.

          I remember when a woman was praising Jesus for the blessing of helping her buy a house and getting a great deal. Three years later she was mad at herself for taking the deal when she had to start making payments toward the principle in addition to the interest. Jesus kept that a secret.

        • Dys

          That Jesus is a shifty bastard…the lesson there is not to trust your personal finances to poor carpenters from the Middle East, right?

        • Greg G.

          Especially not one who has millions of beggars working for him.

        • Pofarmer

          That would be the little voice in your head.

        • MNb

          “My life path mirrors the way of the Cross.”
          This very claim shows that you don’t. The best claim you can make according to Jesus himself is that you on your life path try to mirror the way of the Cross. The fact that you omitted that little word shows that you’re an incurable sinner – and hence that your life path can’t mirror the way of the Cross. Your sinful nature means that you’re doomed to fail.
          Which is exactly the misery of christianity.

        • sarbacane

          Now you sound like George Bush. (god told him to invade Iraq).

        • Greg

          what – the mistake was with the exit strategy – which is what I have with faith in God –

        • Greg G.

          Hoping God’s name isn’t Allah is not much of a strategy.

        • Greg

          Sorry, I don’t sweat the small stuff.

        • MNb

          Like you being mistaken with the exit strategy out of your belief system, you mean?

        • Greg

          I’ve read many of your comments on your view of death and what follows and I am mystified. Correct me if I am wrong, you believe that you cease to exist forever more. But why? You say – noone has proved post life exists – I say – but how could they? Aren’t you asking for the impossible – and upon finding no answer – you assume the worst possible outcome? Can we just assume all atheists are pessimists?

        • You say – noone has proved post life exists – I say – but how could they? Aren’t you asking for the impossible – and upon finding no answer – you assume the worst possible outcome?

          In the first place, it’s “no one,” not whatever that word is that you use.

          Second, the default hypothesis is that there is no afterlife. You seem to agree that there is no good evidence for it, so we’re stuck with the default hypothesis.

          I suppose you’ll reject that as the default hypothesis? Do so at your own peril. Consider everything else that’s the default–there is no elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesh, aliens aren’t performing sexual experiments on humans, the earth isn’t a hollow sphere with another world of creatures living there, etc.

        • Greg

          “You seem to agree that there is no good evidence for it, so we’re stuck with the default hypothesis.”

          BobS. I do agree that there is no good “scientific” evidence for it – although, my reference is based on all the claims on the internet related to Dr. Stephen Laureys in Belgium and different scientists who believe research in this area is yielding some results and at the very least, is not a waste of their time and resources to invesitgate.

          be that as it may, and omitting all the claims found in the Bible, yes, we have nothing to go on to base an opinion on what will happen after death – the default position is I believe where we disagree – look at it this way, for many years and even now, we look up into space and have no scientific proof that life exists outside our earth – is the default position really that if we can not prove scientifically that life exists there, then we must assume no life exists? It seems to me, not unlike death, that there is so much black space, or unknown matter, that exists there, that I think that a more reasonable default position is that life does exist both in outer space and after death. Am, I wrong?

        • MNb

          “if we can not prove scientifically that life exists there, then we must assume no life exists?”
          Yes. Why do you think Drake formulated the famous Drake equation? No matter how weak, it was an attempt to “prove” scientifically that there is extraterrestrial life.
          Why do you think Drake and Sagan called for the SETI-project? The same.
          Dude, you’re even more stupid than the most stupid and dishonest creationist, Ken Ham of AIG. Even he recognizes that “no extraterrestrial life” is the default hypothesis. And he desperately clings to it for theological reasons.

          “Am, I wrong?”
          Yes.
          Afterlife conflicts with some established science as far as the natural component of life is concerned.
          When you only talk about the supernatural component (that entity you usually call soul) you by definition don’t talk science anymore, so your comparison fails.

        • Kodie

          Very wrong. “The universe” and “heaven” are way different kinds of places. We are living creatures in the universe, so it would not be totally unexpected, nor magical, to find other living creatures somewhere in this same universe. Nothing lives after it dies. You are talking about an immaterial aspect immaterially traveling to an immaterial dimension. It’s not the same at all, and you have no evidence to suggest anything happens after you die than what we can observe about beings that have already died.

        • Ignorant Amos

          No Greg, there is at least one example of life existing in one part of the universe, its here on Earth. So it is fair to speculate that given the astronomical number of planets that we know are out there, it is at least plausible that there will be others.

          How many examples of an afterlife are there that can be positively verified?

          Yet another FAIL on your part.

          It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

        • More like shooting sardines in a can…

        • Ignorant Amos

          Sounds messy }8O)~

        • Probably is. Just, you know, saying it’s a super-easy target…

        • Greg G.

          That’s not as much fun as throwing grapes in the road and watching cars smash ’em.

        • I do agree that there is no good “scientific” evidence for [the afterlife]

          Is there evidence of another kind? And what does this “evidence of another kind” also teach us?

          For example, I’ve heard good things about the Pastafarian afterlife. Even the Mormon afterlife is way better than the Christian one. Am I entitled to believe in those through your logic?

          my reference is based on all the claims on the internet related to Dr. Stephen Laureys in Belgium and different scientists who believe research in this area is yielding some results and at the very least, is not a waste of their time and resources to invesitgate.

          So is there scientific evidence or not?

          we have nothing to go on to base an opinion on what will happen after death

          That’s quite an admission, though it is only acknowledging the obvious. Thanks.

          It seems to me, not unlike death, that there is so much black space, or unknown matter, that exists there, that I think the a very reasonable default position is that life does exist both in outer space and after death. Am, I wrong?

          Assuming that you’re wrong is a good rule of thumb, I’m afraid. Equating space and the afterlife makes no sense.

          We have reason to believe that life exists on at least a few of the other countless planets out there because we know one example of that very thing. See the difference with the afterlife?

        • Pofarmer

          “Also, with the recent discoveries in the field of neuroscience that
          suggest an “essence” leaves the body upon death – doesn’t that tip the
          scales in favor of life after death”

          What. In. The. Hell.

          Are you talking about?

        • Greg G.

          Also, with the recent discoveries in the field of neuroscience that suggest an “essence” leaves the body upon death – doesn’t that tip the scales in favor of life after death –

          Pofarmer beat me to it.

          You shouldn’t believe what you read on religious websites. They are hazardous to your intelligence.

          Cite your source if it isn’t too embarrassing for you to do so.

        • Kodie

          First of all, citation? “Recent discoveries” from where, from whom? You are a fake fake fake lawyer.

          Secondly, the scariest thing about eternal life is that Greg never fucking dies.

        • MR

          Eternal stupidity. God’s gift of Greg.

        • MNb

          Interesting thought – I prefer to read it as “Greg gave god stupidity”.

        • Dys

          The only recent thing I’m aware of that tried to tie neuroscience to the afterlife was Eben Alexander’s incredibly flawed and inaccurate story.

          I hope that’s not what you’re referring to.

        • MNb

          “you believe that you cease to exist forever more. But why?”
          No, I don’t believe that. I accept that hypothesis. Because it’s consistent with everything we know about our natural reality.

          “Aren’t you asking for the impossible”
          Yes. If afterlife is impossible it’s impossible to provide evidence for it.

          “and upon finding no answer”
          I do have an answer. There is no afterlife.

          “- you assume the worst possible outcome?”
          How do you mean the worst possible outcome? Spending eternity with you, chanting “praise the Lord”, is far, far worse. Paint the rosiest picture of afterlife and it still will be worse than going back to nothingness. However that’s not why I assume it. I assume it because it’s consistent with everything we know – with science.

          “Can we just assume all atheists are pessimists?”
          No. We can assume that you’re delusional.

        • Rudy R

          Scientific proof is only in the realm of logic and mathematics. It is true that science has not observed life on other planets, buy it can draw inferences from evidence we do know, and that is, there are over 100 billion suns in the Milky Way Galaxy, along with as many solar systems. And there is over 100 billion galaxies in the universe. It’s not unreasonable to deduce that there is a probability that at least one life form exists on another planet in the universe. That’s where your analogy fails, because there is no assumption required. It’s a matter of it being more probable that life exists on another plant than the probability that one doesn’t exist. On the other hand, we know, through scientific observation, that human death occurs when breathing and the heart stops, there is no brain activity, organs die, and the body eventually decomposes.

          What exactly lives (survives) after biological death? Is it a consciousness? If so, what’s your evidence that would pass scientific muster and where does consciousness live? If it’s not consciousness, what is it exactly and how do you know it exists?

          You didn’t say what was compelling about Dr. Laurey’s research. His research is in coma patients. He has interviewed people with NDEs, but that doesn’t make your case any stronger, because these people’s brain function was not irrecoverably lost. And the “essense” you refer to sounds like a variation of the 21 Grams Theory, which has been thoroughly discreditied by the scientific community. The current neuroscientific view is that consciousness fails to survive brain death.

        • Greg

          think of it this way, you’re walking along a wooden trail, the trail ends and across a snowy pond you see a path whose ice is paper thin – BobS’ argument is the trail, your argument is the path over thin ice – agreed, I did not go into detail with Dr. Laurey’s research because I’m wise enough to know the results are speculative at best – but my point was that there’s no evidence to prove life in outer space and there’s no evidence to prove life after death, without the claims of the Bible – You venture out onto the thin ice when you write:
          “It is true that science has not observed life on other planets, but it can draw inferences from evidence we do know, and that is, there are over 100 billion suns in the Milky Way Galaxy, along with as many solar systems. And there is over 100 billion galaxies in the universe. It’s not unreasonable to deduce that there is a probability that at least one life form exists on another planet in the universe.”

          -Ok, but, hey, if you want to go there I’ve got the personal testimony of people who have been revived from death-like comas, which is the topic of Dr. Laurey’s research. Let’s evaluate – my evidence: real live people who claim to have seen the afterlife – your evidence: bupkis. You should stopped when you were ahead.

        • Greg G.

          Life on Earth shows that it is possible that there is life on other planets. There is nothing to show that there is life after death or that it is possible. There are zero examples of self-awareness without a functioning brain. There are no plausible theories on how it could happen.

          If RR is trying to walk out on thin ice, you are trying to walk on thin air.

          People have been wishing for an afterlife throughout historical times and probably before judging by apparent archaeological evidence. Many societies have come up with ways to achieve it but it doesn’t appear that any two came up with the same method independently.

        • Greg

          – but what about dreams? if death is a big sleep – dreams are the clue that life continues after death – I have talked before about how naure gives us clues – after winter we have spring, after we sleep we have dreams – but look, to be honest, I admit, if it wasn’;t for the Bible claims, I would feel about the after life like I do about space -there’s no life out there folks.

        • Greg G.

          – but what about dreams? if death is a big sleep – dreams are the clue that life continues after death

          You can tell when someone is dreaming by the “Rapid Eye Movements” (REM). Dead people don’t get that.

          after winter we have spring, after we sleep we have dreams

          Yes, after we eat, we defecate. When we exhale, plants take up the CO2 and make organic molecules while releasing O2 as a waste product.

          When we die, we decay and plants use us as fertilizer and the process continues. You don’t get away from it. You just lose your awareness.

          there’s no life out there folks.

          It has been determined that there are at least 1.5 planets for every star in the galaxy. Any star with a planetary system, is likely to have at least one planet in the “Goldilocks Zone” – not too hot, not too cold”. If Mars and Venus were to swap positions, our system might have three planets in that zone.

          Since life on Earth happened, there is a non-zero chance that it can happen in another of the 100 billion stars in each of the 100 billion galaxies. Since the evidence for life on earth shows up about as soon as it could possibly been here, it does not seem to be all that unlikely.

        • Dys

          “And if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does.”

        • Ignorant Amos

          Which makes much more sense than anything Greg has written here…very good.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Any update on my “mercurial” enquiry? Or can I take it that I’m not as stupid as I first thought and you were indeed talking shite while trying to impress us with big words that you haven’t a clue what they mean?

        • MNb

          “dreams are the clue that life continues after death”
          BWAHAHAHAHA!

          http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-08/clues-how-remember-dreams

          Just read the title. Do you think you can pull it off or is it too hard for you? It contains the word “brains”. Now brains cease to function after you die. Hence you won’t dream anymore after you’re dead.

        • Pofarmer

          Real people claim all sorts of things. Our memories, and the way we form memories, are maleable.

        • Kodie

          You should stop trying to win arguments with arrogance over nothing, fake lawyer. Life exists in the universe. You are a troll.

        • Rudy R

          If there was nothing for us to gain from your reference to Dr. Laurey’s research, why mention him? It’s the same as if I were to make a claim that a famous neuroscientist’s research proved there is no god, but didn’t include the source or specifics of the research. Did it help to support my claim? Not a convincing method to support your beliefs.

          As for NDEs, those people who were revived from death-like comas were, at the most, clinically dead. Modern science is capable of reviving some people that are clinically dead. The point you fail to realize is that those people still had cognitive brain function and were able to live to tell the stories. Proves nothing for life after death. And for many of those people, we don’t know if their “experiences” happened while they were clinically dead. They could have had those experiences while their heart was pumping. But nevertheless, they were not brain dead.

          Since the claims of the Bible are your source for life after death, where’s the evidence for the author’s claims? God’s lips to the author’s ear is not affirmation until you show the scientific evidence.

          BTW, I don’t have a dog in the fight for proving life exists elsewhere in the universe. If none exists, my world view is no less probable. On the other hand, if life after death is proven to be false, your world view does become less probable.

        • Steven Watson

          See the guest blogger Stephanie Savage on “The Secular Spectrum” on these very channels. She “came back from the dead” of a six week coma. The docs wanted to switch the machines off. A very informative set of posts. Covert Cognition explains NDE; unlike god, you can test the hypothesis.

        • Rudy R

          Interesting story, but don’t see the relevancy. People in comas are not dead and a person near death isn’t a requirement to experience a NDE, as Stephanie explains.

        • Steven Watson

          I can only nut the desk. :p

        • Greg

          I must say you seem very knowledgable and I love that you brought up Medjugoraje even if to perhaps criticize it -not sure I understand your position on the post-coma testimonies – intriguing are they not? perhaps as intriguing as the discovery of a possible 9th planet?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Just one more shite analogy in your lengthy repertoire of shite analogies.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Let’s evaluate – my evidence: real live people who claim to have seen the afterlife – your evidence: bupkis. You shoulda stopped when you were ahead.

          Greg, you are just too stupid for words.

          You do know that the number of folk that claim to have seen a UFO or alien visitor way out strips the number of folk who claim an NDE? Right? Nobody, as far as I’m aware, has had the arrogance to claim to have seen the after life. They’d first need to know what the afterlife looked like and they’d need to have been after life to have seen it. How would that even work, ya rhubarb.

          You shoulda stopped while ya were ahead silly pants.

          Oh…I forgot, you’ve never been ahead, silly pants me.

        • And that reminds me of a joke.

          A man is waiting for his wife to give birth. The doctor comes in and informs the dad that his son was born without torso, arms or legs. The son is just a head! But the dad loves his son and raises him as well as he can, with love and compassion. After 21 years, the son is old enough for his first drink. Dad takes him to the bar and tearfully tells the son he is proud of him.

          Dad orders up the biggest, strongest drink for his boy. With all the bar patrons looking on curiously and the bartender shaking his head in disbelief, the boy takes his first sip of alcohol. Swoooop! A torso pops out!

          The bar is dead silent; then bursts into a whoop of joy. The father, shocked, begs his son to drink again. The patrons chant “Take another drink”! The bartender still shakes his head in dismay.

          Swoooop! Two arms pops out. The bar goes wild. The father, crying and wailing, begs his son to drink again. The patrons chant, “Take another drink”! The bartender ignores the whole affair. By now the boy is getting tipsy, and with his new hands he reaches down, grabs his drink and guzzles the last of it. Swoooop! Two legs pop out.

          The bar is in chaos. The father falls to his knees and tearfully thanks God. The boy stands up on his new legs and stumbles to the left…. then to the right…. right through the front door, into the street, where a truck runs over him and kills him instantly.

          The bar falls silent. The father moans in grief. The bartender sighs and says, “That boy should have quit while he was a head.”

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’s what we call here an oldie, but goldie.

        • Greg

          Ever the jokster Theodore Roosevelt flatuates and makes the other presidents on Mount Rushmore laugh, but Thomas Jefferson stops and says now that’s enough. The Trust Buster gives The Apostle of Democracy a stony look and flatuates again, which causes a terrible rock slide, erases Teddy’s visage and everybody stops laughing, to which TJ remarks, he shoulda quit while he was a head.

        • But the war in Iraq was divinely inspired. God is pretty weak if his plan can be messed up by humans.

        • Dys

          The mistake was in the entire execution, entry and exit strategies were both handled incompetently, and spearheaded by a nut who thought God was talking to him. Or he just really wanted to finish his daddy’s plan. Whichever seems the more likely of the two.

        • Have you sold your cloak to buy a sword?

          That’s what’s so fun about the Bible–it can be anything you want it to be. You want to hate fags? No problem. You want to love them? No problem.

        • Steven Watson

          Thomas à Kempis wrote that. It is the Gospels that have anonymous authors. Please try and keep up.

          “My life path mirrors the way of the Cross”

          You won’t mind if we bring the nails then will you?

        • adam

          “you can “iive” the Bible by following the teachings of Jesus to the “T”. ”

          Only if you ignore who Jesus claimed he was…
          And what he said.

        • Greg G.

          Have you ever plucked out an eyeball for ogling an attractive woman? Have you cut off your right hand to keep from pissing God off? If not, you aren’t living the Bible. It’s good to know those parts so you don’t get suckered into a silly religion.