A Simple Thought Experiment Defeats Claim that Bible Is Accurate

A Simple Thought Experiment Defeats Claim that Bible Is Accurate April 18, 2016

Christian apologists are eager to argue that the gospel story is historically accurate. They point to the large number of New Testament manuscripts. They point to the shortness of the oral history period compared to other documents of the time. They claim that our oldest copies are remarkably close to the originals. I’ve made clear why those claims do little to argue for the historicity of the Jesus story (here, here, and here, respectively), but let me try to illustrate how weak this claim is. “Our copy of the New Testament is negligibly different from the original” is not defensible.

Imagine this experiment. I tell you that in the New Testament, there is one specific verse that I have in mind. A few decades after the original was written, a variant tradition was created by a scribe who changed the text of the verse. It doesn’t matter how the error got in there—maybe he misread the original or omitted something or tried to correct what he honestly thought was an error or tried to “improve” the reading of the text to make it align with what he thought was true. All that matters is that we have a fork in the road, after which point we have two traditions.

Let’s further imagine that this is a significant change, not a trivial spelling mistake.

Here’s the twist: one of these traditions is lost to history. I won’t tell you which one. This is almost surely true. (Indeed, how could you possibly prove that it wasn’t true that there had been two versions of one New Testament verse, that this wasn’t just a typo but the meaning was significantly different between the two versions, and that one version was lost?)

I hand you a Bible and demand of you:

  1. Find the verse.
  2. Tell me if that verse is the variant or the original.
  3. If it’s the incorrect version, tell me the correct reading.

You’d say that that’s an impossible challenge. Yes it is, and that’s the point. In our Bible, for how many verses is it true that there was a variant tradition, the change was significant (not just a spelling error or synonymous phrasing), and one of the traditions (maybe the original or maybe the erroneous one—you don’t know) has been lost? Zero verses? A thousand? We simply don’t know.

Apologists will point to the impressive work that New Testament scholars do in weighing several variants and judging which one is likelier the more authentic. But what do they do when there were several variants but history gives us copies of only one?

Keep in mind the challenge we’re dealing with by considering some of the earliest fragments of the New Testament. Papyrus P75 has some fragments of Luke from around 200 CE. Papyrus P46, from about the same date, has some of Paul’s writings. These are our earliest copies of those books, and yet they’re separated from the originals by well over a century. How do we know that they made it through that Dark Ages period—during much of which those books were considered by Christians to be merely important works, not sacred or inspired scripture—without detectable change? Are our earliest manuscripts a fairly complimentary set of traditions simply because they happened to be the viewpoint that survived, with competing ones ignored and not copied or even deliberately destroyed?

The apologists will say that there is no proof of this. True, our version of the New Testament could be identical to the original, but why imagine this? The evidence is not there, and apologists are left with just “The Bible might be accurate.” This is a meager foundation on which to build a supernatural claim.

A faith that cannot survive collision with the truth
is not worth many regrets.
— Arthur C. Clarke

Image credit: Wikimedia

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  • Herald Newman

    Even if I grant that the entirety of the New Testament is somehow exactly identical to original manuscripts, it really doesn’t amount to anything more than the “I say so” of mostly anonymous, and pseudonymous, authors.

    Even if I grant that the authors of the New Testament are exactly who it is claimed they are, testimonial evidence is simply never going to be enough to convince me that a supernatural event happened!

    • Precisely. The existence of the most pristine, never-altered, unambiguous manuscript is simply not enough to substantiate such things as a worldwide flood, a zombie rabbi and a Talking Snake™, and derivative works such as the writings of Paul must carry that nonsensical baggage.

      • L.Long

        Not only that but lets say you have the actual 1st writings of the buyBull. So what!? The 1st writing was from an oral tradition passed down thru time, so how was that distorted by the various tellers of tall tales??? And even if they are accurate, as Astreja pointed out ….there is still no way I will buy into the talking snake thing!!!!

        • Greg G.

          What about Kaa from The Jungle Book? My wife and I took our niece to see the movie over the weekend and that talking snake was pretty good.

        • L.Long

          OK! I have read about Kaa in an old book and now in a video so it must be true! So OK on Kaa!

    • Robert Templeton

      This is a great argument!!

      While the apologists and biblical scholars are racing around attempting to show ‘authenticity’ and ‘antiquity’ as ‘proof’ (somehow) in the historicity or reality of said book in order to ‘prove’ said religion, it is truly a ruse.

      Using those criteria, Harry Potter is surely historically accurate since we have first-edition, unspoiled prints of the books as well as video evidence in the form of movies. I mean, we even have an amusement park. Christians can’t beat that yet!

      It sounds silly – and it is.

      • Christians can’t even beat Mormonism, whose historical record eclipses that of conventional Christianity on every point.

        • epicurus

          I said this in my long winded feedback to Bob’s debate aftermath post, but I’ll say it again here: In many ways I’m glad mormonism exists because it gives us a look at the origins and evolution of a religion based on a book, founded in the era of the printing press, newspapers, and existing govt records, and we can read the works of its opponents in their own words instead of solely through the words of Mormon apologists.

        • Robert Templeton

          What is astounding (a bit of a shout-out for the Sci-Fi rag) is that someone as banal as L. Ron Hubbard could write a stupid f&*king book and create a stupid f*&king religion based upon it and, lo and behold, it has adherents and standing and celebrity endorsement and money and status. In an age where brazened duping should be easily shown for what it is and outed quickly, Hubbard waltzes in, splatters his inane shit about and people STILL fall for it. It illustrates a massive propensity for humans to accept lies for security, complacency, and apathy in the hopes of power, control, and certainty.

          When we figure out why this happens, then we can subdue it. Otherwise, all of the technology and reality available will not quell the indolence of those who would be usurped.

        • epicurus

          Very true indeed. In the case of the Mormons, I like that there are some similarities to Christianity in the sense of witnesses and evidence that can show in a modern sense that just because there is a witness doesn’t mean something actually happened.

        • Jim Jones

          It proves my contention that this planet is the short bus.

        • Greg G.

          And then there is Sathya Sai Baba who died just five years ago with millions of believers in his “miracles.”

        • epicurus

          I think he’s the guy Sam Harris once referenced when Harris was talking about how claimed miracles are anything but miracles. Harris give a youtube video link to Baba performing miracles, and said “Prepare to be underwhelmed.” I’ve since made that expression my own when discussing miracles and Christian “evidence.”

        • Greg G.

          Yes, that is the guy.

        • gw

          Jesus did remind His followers not to demand miracles and not to
          put their faith in the doing of miracles.

        • Greg G.

          The story books say that Jesus said that but that may have been due to the authors recognizing the futility of asking for miracles. The stories also say Jesus said they could move mountains with the faith of a mustard seed, apparently an excuse to say that nobody has enough faith to do it.

        • gw

          If someone only believes in Jesus as Christ through miracles, will that lead them
          to forgive those who attack, insult, demean them…

        • Greg G.

          And that leads to sock puppetry.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i tell you what, when you put it like that, it makes me feel less guilty (or at least less exceptional) about the escapist tendencies i’ve been copping to for decades. 😉

        • Herald Newman

          Depends on what you mean by “historical record”. If you’re talking about just the written text, yes, I agree. The content of the text has huge problems!

          When we look at the technology in the pre-Columbian Americas, it doesn’t line up with the the claims in the book of Mormon. Supposedly, these ancient Hebrews had steel, but we can find no evidence of any iron works in the Americas. Lots of soft metals (like gold) were worked, but they don’t require the furnaces that iron does.

          To me, this is about the same as claiming that Jesus was crucified by a Roman guillotine, or the had his limbs pulled off on the rack, and he bled to death.

        • Mormonism beats Christianity on every criteria that Christian apologists like to point out, except for this one. You’re right that when it comes to verification, the LDS books make claims that actually can be tested. And they fail.

          That’s where Christianity has the advantage–it doesn’t make as many claims (the Exodus would be one exception, where archaeology has proven false a biblical claim). In other words, Christianity wins by providing less evidence.

          In an up-is-down world, Christianity wins. Sort of.

        • Robert Templeton

          Being vague and esoteric certainly affords Christians a modicum of stance. It is just that there are particulates that have been shown to be completely shite (for instance the quote about returning before those in attendance were dead). And maybe some of the promises such as moving mountains with mustard-seed amounts of faith – unless one can show that no one ever has had such faith in this long time frame. It sort of devalues the claims nonetheless. Christianity has the vagaries of time and the savageries of power to inculcate its irreconcilable doctrines with shades of reality and shadows of possibility. It makes it no less a vapor than any other vapid and illusory system.

        • Susan

          the Exodus would be one exception

          And Adam and Eve. That’s a big claim and the whole story centers on it.

          Christianity wins. Sort of.

          Except for the commandments on stone tablets on the heels of the mass exodus from Egypt and the single pair of human parents that spawned the human species which are… gosh… a really big deal when it comes to any christian model. And other stuff.

          The global flood, for instance.

          The ultimate “cause” bit as well.

          People tell stories and pass them down.

          My Immaterial Snowflake Fairies have them all beat.

          No claims. Lots and lots of evidence in the form of snowflakes scattered throughout the known universe in many incarnations.

          No one can disprove it.

          Do I get the “You win… sort of.” ribbon?

        • You win! (Sort of.)

        • Susan

          You win! (Sort of.)

          YE-ESSSSS!!!

          (does victory dance in the well short of the end zone).

        • Pofarmer

          One other thing that gets me. The Ark of the Covenant. How do you lose something like that?

        • busterggi

          By conquest although as the AoC makes its holder invincible…

        • wtfwjtd

          Kinda like a Ginsu knife, which is both indestructible and will cut anything. I wonder though…can a Ginsu knife…cut a Ginsu knife?

        • MR

          I thought that about my car registration, too, but….

        • wtfwjtd

          Yeah, someone didn’t think that part of the story through. Another case of editorial fatigue, perhaps?

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Ignorant Amos

          Didn’t ya ever hide something away for safe keeping then forget where the hell ya put it? Same principle applies.

        • Pofarmer

          The most powerful weapon in the world, though?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Well the believer will say that such a weapon should be used sparingly, like all of the man in the sky’s attributes. Which is a reasonable out a suppose.

          But then we have the problem of chariot’s made from iron…God’s kryptonite.

          And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.~ Judges 1:19

          Perhaps not the most powerful weapon in the world after all, regardless of what the Nazi’s and Indiana Jones believed.

        • Pofarmer

          So, does the Ark just kinda fall outta the story? Seems like it’s mentioned and then it’s not.

        • Greg G.

          I did that with my Batman lunchbox in 1967 but I’m sure it will turn up before the Rapture.

        • PhoenicianRomans

          You know – archeologists with whips, government warehouses…

        • wtfwjtd

          Without Adam and Eve, and their “original sin”,the whole Christian story falls apart, period. Science doesn’t answer the part about “original sin”, but it can examine the first Christian claim, that the human race originated with two people. And, surprise, that Christian claim has been shown to be patently false, plain and simple. There’s a mountain of genetic,biological, and geological evidence that thoroughly and completely refutes one of Christianity’s central claims.
          And yet, Christians carry on as if nothing’s changed. I suppose for many of them, nothing has–since their belief is not based on evidence, but strictly on emotion, and their preferred version of reality. I wonder why it is so hard for so many Christians to honestly admit this?

        • Michael Neville

          Non-fundamentalist Christians accept that there wasn’t an actual Adam and Eve and the story is metaphorical, as is the Noachian flooc.

        • Greg G.

          <fundamentalism>
          But Jesus didn’t die for a metaphor!
          </fundamentalism>

        • TheNuszAbides

          i kinda wish the SpaceMessiah tradition would re-emerge on a grand scale. at least the art would be more entertaining (if they actually hired talent, *cough*lolMormon*cough*).

        • Susan

          there wasn’t an actual Adam and Eve and the story is metaphorical

          My experience is that those ones avoid the topic altogether if they can. Keep pressing and the rationalizations are inane and lead to more problems. .

          Often, they don’t seem to mind if fellow church members assume a literal Adam and Eve.

          It’s a pretty big issue and it mostly doesn’t get dealt with at all.

        • MR

          Often, they don’t seem to mind if fellow church members assume a literal Adam and Eve.

          As with the Catholic Church’s current stance: “Evolution is true. (But only if you want. You don’t hafta believe it if you don’t wanna. Whatever it takes, just please don’t leave!”)

        • MNb

          “they don’t seem to mind if fellow church members assume a literal Adam and Eve.”
          No, a good christian must have his priorities right. And the first priority is correcting the errors of those annoying atheists.
          That’s why I respect Third Prof. He takes an unambiguous stand against fundies.

        • TheNuszAbides

          of course you dealt with with it before i spewed my objection! i’ll certainly defer, as you are hugely more likely than i to ever have tipped a lurker off the fence.

        • StevenK

          What does this mountain of biological/genetic/geological evidence tell us regarding how many there were?

        • Greg G.

          Vhet dues thees muoonteeen ooff biulugicel/geneteec/geulugeecel ifeedence-a tell us regerdeeng hoo muny zeere-a vere-a? Um gesh dee bork, bork!

          That mountain of evidence shows that the population of our ancestors hit a bottleneck and was as low as 10,000 people about 80,000 years ago.

          Chimpanzees have more genetic diversity than the human population. How could that be if Noah took only two chimpanzees and while the human population came from five people? (Assuming Mrs. Noah didn’t cheat on Noah and the sons didn’t marry cousins or sisters.)

        • StevenK

          >> At fjell av bevis viser at befolkningen i våre forfedre traff en flaskehals, og var så lavt som 10.000 mennesker om 80 000 år siden.

          The current model shows this based on certain inputs and assumptions. I don’t think the current model shows that some other model has been “refuted” and is “patently false”. I’d say that’s too strong of a statement.

        • Greg G.

          Zee coorrent mudel shoos thees besed oon certeeen inpoots und essoompshuns. Um de hur de hur de hur! I dun’t theenk zee coorrent mudel shoos thet sume-a oozeer mudel hes beee “reffooted” und is “petently felse-a”. I’d sey thet’s tuu strung ooff a stetement.

          There is also Mitochondrial Eve and Y-chromosome Adam who lived long before that time so the minimum population from 80K years ago was diverse.

          The evidence also shows that we have common genetics with other species and the difference between humans and chimpanzees is the same as the difference between humans and bonobos but chimpanzees and bonobos are more closely related to one another than either is to humans. That shows that bonobos and humans split from the line before chimpanzees and bonobos split. But humans, chimpanzees, and bonobos have the same degree of genetic differences with gorillas. That means that chimpanzees and bonobos are more closely related to humans than they are to gorillas.

          There are also disabled retroviruses in our DNA sequences. They embed in the DNA at random places. It is very unlikely that a retrovirus would embed at the same spot in a DNA sequence in different individuals so they can be used to indicate common ancestry. We share many of these endogenous retroviruses in the same sequences as chimpanzees and gorillas.

          The mountain of evidence is overwhelmingly conclusive. Your religion has lost this case and many others. Time to get rid of it.

        • StevenK

          >> Això demostra que els bonobos i els humans es van separar de la línia abans dels ximpanzés i els bonobos dividida. Però els éssers humans, ximpanzés i bonobos tenen el mateix grau de diferències genètiques amb goril·les. Això significa que els ximpanzés i els bonobos estan més estretament relacionats amb els éssers humans que amb els goril·les.

          Interesting. I still don’t see the refutation of some other model in all of this because what you’re saying here is based on the current model.

          If what you’re saying is true, then another model is impossible because the current model has refuted that being possible. Is this what you think the current model does?

        • Greg G.

          Iff vhet yuoo’re-a seyeeng is trooe-a, thee unuzeer mudel is impussible-a becoose-a zee coorrent mudel hes reffooted thet beeeng pusseeble-a. Bork bork bork! Is thees vhet yuoo theenk zee coorrent mudel dues? Bork bork bork!

          There may be more precise models but this is closer to those than any model that comes from the Bible. That chimpanzees and humans are more closely related to each other than either is to gorillas and orangutans was determined about twenty years and further evidence and ways of measuring the differences in DNA have confirmed it. If you are going to question this, why not question circular wheels while you are at it?

        • SteveYO

          I don’t question the current model. It’s the current model. I question it’s ability to refute the Christian model and render it “patently false, plain and simple”. I see no evidence for that.

        • Greg G.

          I dun’t qooesshun zee coorrent mudel. Um de hur de hur de hur! It’s zee coorrent mudel. I qooesshun it’s ebeeleety tu reffoote-a zee Chreesteeun mudel und render it “petently felse-a, pleeen und simple-a”. Um gesh dee bork, bork! I see-a nu ifeedence-a fur thet. Um gesh dee bork, bork!

          Of course you don’t see the evidence because of your religiously instilled cognitive dissonance.

          Saying the world is flat is wrong. Saying the world is spherical is wrong. It is more accurate to say that the world is an oblate spheroid. But saying the world is a sphere is still less wrong than saying it is flat.

          The Bible model says the human race began with two people about 6,000 years ago, then had a bottleneck of 5 people. There is too much genetic diversity for that model. There is too much genetic diversity for all life forms for there to have been a global flood 4500 years ago.

          The Bible model is as kaput as the flat earth. Why even talk about it? Don’t you have any friends?

        • StevenYO

          Ahh, I see your problem. You’re not dealing with my model. I don’t believe in that one either. But back to my original point that remains correct: the current model doesn’t refute any other model or render any of them patently false by way of the evidence.

        • Greg G.

          Ehh, I see-a yuoor prublem. Bork bork bork! Yuoo’re-a nut deeleeng vit my mudel. Hurty flurty schnipp schnipp! I dun’t beleeefe-a in thet oone-a iizeer. Boot beck tu my ooreegeenel pueent thet remeeens currect: zee coorrent mudel duesn’t reffoote-a uny oozeer mudel oor render uny ooff zeem petently felse-a by vey ooff zee ifeedence-a.

          How the fuck am I supposed to know what your damn interpretation of the Bible is? It doesn’t really matter what your interpretation might be, your model is not based on reliable evidence so it is no better than a wild guess.

          If we live in a reality, the ERVs show that humans, chimpanzees, and gorillas have common ancestors and we did not come from a single pair of apes. That does not rule out such things Brain-in-a-Vat-like scenarios. An omnipotent god could poof us into existence as is five minutes ago with intact memories except for the impossibility of omnipotence.

        • Steven is OK

          You never asked what my damn model was, but you did presume one and then you assumed it was false. Tsk Tsk.

          Models are interpretations of data. There are several ways to interpret the same data. That’s what I’m doing. Which one is most correct will be revealed slowly as time progresses.

        • Greg G.

          You never asked what my damn model was

          The term you used was “Christian model”. If the “Christian model” is not what is written in Genesis then it is just something you made up. You are always shy about clearly stating your position so it is a waste of time asking. You only share the stupidest parts or maybe you keep the even stupider bits to yourself.

          Nobody cares what you think.

        • StevenK

          I care.

          Were you unaware that Genesis can be reasonably interpreted several different ways? What my model is isn’t the point of my comment, although you are doing your best to make it the point. The point of my comment is that the current model doesn’t refute other models.

        • Greg G.

          The interpretations of Genesis are limited only by imagination. That means there is no “Christian model”. You can just accept what science has learned and pretend that is what Genesis means. It’s pathetic though.

        • StevenK

          Or you can accept what science has learned, do your best to learn what Genesis means and arrive at a conclusion that the two models do not contradict each other.

          http://www.nas.edu/evolution/Compatibility.html

          That’s the official position from the people at the head of the adult table and I agree with them. You don’t agree with them. Does that mean you are anti-science? I’ll have to think about that.

        • MNb

          The head of the adult table got the first sentence wrong already.

          “Science is not the only way of knowing and understanding.”
          There are no other ways.

          “Religious faith, in contrast, does not depend only on empirical evidence,”
          Wrong. It does not depend on any empirical evidence at all, as confirmed by

          “and typically involves supernatural forces or entities.”
          for which there can’t be empirical evidence by definition as it only can be found in our natural reality.

          “is not necessarily modified in the face of conflicting evidence”
          The problem is that “other ways of knowing and understanding” don’t have a principle to modify anything at all. That’s exactly why “other ways of knowing and understanding” is a void term. There is no way of testing.

          “Acceptance of the evidence for evolution can be compatible with religious faith.”
          Irrelevant. Nobody on this site ever claimed otherwise. Greg G’s point is “can be compatible. That implies there are christian “models” as well that reject such evidence. Just ask Ken Ham.
          Plus there are preciously few christians who always and unconditionally adapt their religious faith because of empirical evidence. You are not one of them as you rejected science a couple of times. Don’t bother to deny it; you will just expose yourself as the liar you are once again.
          You may find comfort in the thought that almost all christians reject science one way or the other; just the degree of their rejection varies.

        • Greg G.

          Did you notice where you link says “Religious denominations that do not accept the occurrence of evolution tend to be those that believe in strictly literal interpretations of religious texts”?

          Religion can be compatible with religion if the religion yields to science. Adding evidenceless religious bullshit to science is still adding bullshit.

        • StevenK

          I did notice that, yes.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Is it just me, or does poor Steven’s link not support his position the way he seems convinced it does?

        • 90Lew90

          Hi. I just wanted to extend personal thanks to you for your kind offer. Being a bit addled, I can’t quite remember if I’ve done so or not. Down the line it’d be great to meet and have a coffee and a chat. At the minute, I’m not the best company! All best, Lew.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Neigh problem. Take care.

        • Greg G.

          SK doesn’t seem to get that if you interpret Genesis metaphorically enough, it can fit any scenario.

        • TheNuszAbides

          he wants all the cachet of *interpreting* the bare bones without ever daring to look directly at them–or at least look directly at the real homework.

        • TheNuszAbides

          You can just accept what science has learned and pretend that is what Genesis means.

          Thomists pulled a good snow-job on me in this respect, just before my final transition to Scoffer. “if you favorably interpretconsult the original Latin, you can believe anythingit’s authoritative as all get-out!”

        • Greg G.

          So often, they will shop for a favorable translation but failing that, there is always an appeal to the dead original language.

        • TheNuszAbides

          as an armchair linguist, i am susceptible to appreciation of the notion that some dead languages have relatively large surviving databases to check for usage/context.

        • Greg G.

          I can’t help my suspicions that some words will tend to have a religious connotation or interpretation over-emphasized in those databases, as the writings and interpretations have been passed down by religious scholars for centuries.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The point of my comment is that the current model doesn’t refute other models

          Just superfluous, ridiculous and totally unnecessary.

          Like all those other models that we laugh at too.

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

          We can’t refute “Last Thursdayism” either, but ya hold no truck with that idea a presume.

          Or as Bertrand Russell puts it…

          “There is no logical impossibility in the hypothesis that the world sprang into being five minutes ago, exactly as it then was, with a population that “remembered” a wholly unreal past. There is no logically necessary connection between events at different times; therefore nothing that is happening now or will happen in the future can disprove the hypothesis that the world began five minutes ago.”

          Which gives leave to believe any amount of shite one can conceive which is constricted only by the human imagination, ergo God.

          There is even a ‘Church of Last Thursday’ that hold beliefs ever bit as rational as the muck between your ears.

          http://www.last-thursday.org/

        • StevenK

          I don’t think it’s superfluous and unnecessary.

        • Susan

          (Trying out Elmer Fudd now):

          I don’t qwestion the cuwwent modew. It’s the cuwwent modew.

          What is the current model? You have no idea, do you?

          I qwestion it’s abiwity to wefute the Chwistian modew and wendew it “patentwy fawse, pwain and simpwe”.

          You don’t get to just make shit up that is completely unsupported and expect others to take it seriously unless they can disprove it. That’s just silly. You can’t disprove the Fire-Breathing Dragon in My Garage either. Nor for that matter, Invisible Pink Unicorns.

          I can make up countless things you can’t disprove. That doesn’t make them real.

          I see no evidence fow that.

          When did evidence ever matter to you? In your whole history here?

          What evidence have you ever looked into on the subjects you pronounce on? None.

          Your position is that no matter what the evidence, you don’t have to lift a finger to examine it or understand it. You can just say “Nuh-uh. That doesn’t disprove my idiotic assertions.”

          I think I’ll try Redneck next. Maybe Jive.

        • TheNuszAbides

          they really need to get hammered here–too often it’s a quick jump to ad populum followed by “oh-look-at-the-time, *vanish*” …

        • Michael Neville

          So, sockpuppet, present your evidence for this supposed lack of evidence.

        • Greg G.

          He talks about the “Christian model” when he means his own personal model, won’t say what it is and blames his correspondent for not guessing it. I guessed the Christian model would be be the model in Genesis. Apparently SteveXXX thinks his idea is the default Christian model.

        • MNb

          “his idea is the default Christian model”
          In my personal experience this is quite common among “intellectual” christians. Even Ken Ham at least acknowledges that there are other interpretations and explains why they according to him are wrong.

        • MNb

          There is no christian model. There is christian theology, ie evidence free assertions. And talking about THE christian model as if there is any consensus in christian theology is not only misleading, but also a demonstration of utter arrogance – you proclaim yourself as the standard of christian “truth”.

        • TheNuszAbides

          you proclaim yourself as the standard of christian “truth”.

          O incredible charlatanmarketing division, that can [thanks to ongoing struggles on behalf of individualism] sell a “personal relationship with Jebus” but still engage Humility Mechanisms just enough that the individual doesn’t even know [s]he’s the ultimate arbiter of [personal] morality (beyond, perhaps, a handwave in the direction of Free Will(TM)).

        • TheNuszAbides

          why not question circular wheels while you are at it?

          there’s got to be a better way–and it’s got to be cunningly buried within GodBook!!

        • Scott_In_OH

          Without Adam and Eve, and their “original sin”,the whole Christian story falls apart, period.

          Paul seems to think so, as does Catholicism, but several Protestant versions don’t. I was taught that it was my sins that were the problem for me, not Adam and Eve’s, if they even existed. Since everyone violates some of God’s rules at some point (probably daily), you can definitely make the entire Christian salvation argument based on individuals’ sins, not their ancestors’.

        • wtfwjtd

          Well, sure, and you can also find versions of Christianity that don’t accept miracles, or the virgin birth, or (most any ridiculous Christian claim). To my knowledge, though, those generally aren’t the ones causing problems for people. Virtually all of the problem-causing Christians that I am aware of, are maniacal in their insistence on this stuff being literal, and so those are the people that my comments are directed towards.
          The Christian belief system I grew up in certainly took it literally, and I can say definitively that without a literal Adam and Eve its whole narrative falls apart.

        • Scott_In_OH

          But I grew up in a mainstream Protestant church, and Original Sin was not the reason I was condemned without Jesus. It was my own doing. It’s possible to make Adam and Eve metaphorical and still leave the salvation story intact.

          I’m certainly not going to say you weren’t taught what you were taught, though, or that lots of people don’t believe it.

        • busterggi

          So that church teaches that we are all faulty toys who deserve to be punished by the toymaker who created us?

        • Scott_In_OH

          Bingo. Except it’s somehow OK because we freely chose to do the wrong thing, which I guess toys wouldn’t do. It’s all very confusing…

        • TheNuszAbides

          all the better to instill Questioner’s Fatigue …

        • Pofarmer

          If God could create a perfect Heaven, including free will, then why couldn’t he create a perfect Earth, including free will?

        • Well at least you’ve learned your lesson now. Or something.

        • wtfwjtd

          “It’s possible to make Adam and Eve metaphorical and still leave the salvation story intact.”

          Yes, that’s so, but this belief system still has to explain where “sin” comes from, or why we need Jesus. It’s a lot harder, and even more convoluted, without the backstory of Adam and Eve, and requires even more cognitive dissonance, or what Christians would call “faith.”

          I guess we’re kind of splitting hairs here, as none of this is likely to change a believer’s mind anyway. Even as the sciences continue to show the absurdity of Biblical claims, and demonstrates repeatedly that what was once thought to be supernatural has quite ordinary, natural, and explainable causes, nothing changes for the believer since it’s all built on “faith” and emotion. How small does God have to get before believers will let go of him? Pretty dang small, apparently.

        • Ignorant Amos

          There is some bull out there surrounding the whole sinning ballix.

          In a nutshell, then, the whole redemptive plan is one of substitution—and without such substitution there can be no salvation. It was by His utterly selfless sacrificial death on the cross that our sinless Savior—the unblemished Lamb of God—paid the penalty for our sins and thereby canceled the debt of sin against us, thus wondrously making possible our reconciliation with God. The redeemed of God can only respond in exultation and praise: “To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood…to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever” (Rev. 1:5–6).

          Adam & Eve original sinners that hadn’t a clue what sin was, so invented it.

          Jesus, who wasn’t a sinner himself, but died for some of the worlds sinners for all human history.

          Yet, we are ALL born with sin anyway, until Christened…but are even still sinners until the day of reckoning, when the sin will be wiped and ya go up, or the sin stands, then ya go down. Unless ya are Christian and ask Jesus for redemption, in which case scrub all previous. Bunkum.

          Seriously? What fucked up thinking can square that lot of pigs swill?

        • wtfwjtd

          The “whole redemptive plan” thing seemingly sounds good, until you actually start looking at it. Uh, wait, this was actually a “plan”? So Christians are saying that God made mankind fucked up on purpose? Oh, dear. We’re not even out of the starting gate yet, and things are already going down hill in a hurry.
          Here’s another conundrum to add to your “sin nonsense” list: We are always told that we are “born” with our “sin nature”, while being told at the same time that babies are always whisked straight to heaven when they die, to be in the presence of a God who can’t stand sin. To “atone” for this sin, which we didn’t commit, he demands that…we torture and execute his son, who’s an innocent bystander, so that we can be free of this sin. Uh, what? But, I thought…oh, never mind. What a load of rubbish.

        • TheNuszAbides

          who could possibly have been more genuinely sorry for ‘what they did’ (never mind that mess) than the freshly-exiled-from-Paradise First Couple?

        • TheNuszAbides

          What fucked up thinking can square that lot of pigs swill?

          allowing the desire to Belong to trump everything else.

        • Scott_In_OH

          I don’t think I disagree with anything you’ve said. It’s just that I was brought up in an environment where neither evolution nor a metaphorical Adam & Eve were problematic to the faith. Humans sin and therefore need a savior, and that was Jesus. I never understood how Jesus’s one sacrifice could make up for all the zillions of sins being committed all the time, but I figured that was God’s business.

        • TheNuszAbides

          same here. always leaving the Ultimate Truth–or even a Transitional Tidbit of Truth, other than chewy-yet-bland deepities–conveniently out of bounds.

        • TheNuszAbides

          this belief system still has to explain where “sin” comes from, or why we need Jesus.

          some people just want to hear a good story. deprived of the Eden narrative [presented as TruFax], the thought-leader might have trouble finding solid stand-ins, but since there’s no scientific measure of sin or soul anyway, those elements are handy for lubing up the awkward twists and turns–as long as the target audience hasn’t been “unduly influenced” by whatever critical faculties have survived indoctrination …

        • wtfwjtd

          Well, sure, I think Harry Potter is a good story, just don’t look too hard at it and it you’ll be happy with it. I think Adam and Eve is just a bit of back story provided to fill a hole in the gospel story; you’re not supposed to examine it too closely. It’s the same thing with the rest of the Christian narrative–with a superficial glance, especially as a kid, it all looks fine. But, take a little closer look, employing a bit of skepticism, and it quickly falls apart, much like Harry Potter would. The devil, as they say, is always in the details.

        • TheNuszAbides

          I think Adam and Eve is just a bit of back story provided to fill a hole in the gospel story

          well, sure, the Septuagint ‘fills’ all kinds of holes–i’d be curious as to what early Christianity looked like from the perspective of someone who had never heard of Jews.

        • wtfwjtd

          “-i’d be curious as to what early Christianity looked like from the perspective of someone who had never heard of Jews.”

          I think Mark was thought to have been written in Rome, so that’s a very relevant question. Since Christianity was competing with other Mystery religions, I’m sure that having a compelling back story would be seen as a plus, and possibly would have made a good selling point.

        • Pofarmer

          “i’d be curious as to what early Christianity looked like from the perspective of someone who had never heard of Jews.”

          I don’t think you can get to “Had never heard of Jews” but, most scholars contend, that Christianity grew much faster outside of Jewish areas than within them. The whole perfect heaven aspect, as well as the neighbors helping neighbors aspect, was probably a big draw.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i did consider the catholic (ordinary, lower-case adjective) approach to be the best tenet of Christianity, back in the day; now i just recognize it as a good way to be human, not the unique intellectual property of any religion.

        • TheNuszAbides

          I don’t think you can get to “Had never heard of Jews”

          fair enough! i suppose i meant “knew nothing of Jewish beliefs”.

        • MNb

          “It’s possible to make Adam and Eve metaphorical and still leave the salvation story intact.”
          I guess so, but frankly I couldn’t care less. It’s not my problem and I don’t think the Adam and Eve story any better when understood metaphorically. The same for the salvation story.
          In this case I’m totally willing to accept the liberal christian position “it’s all about meaning”. Because that meaning sucks badly.

        • Scott_In_OH

          And THAT is the point where a progressive Christian finds him/herself actually leaving the faith.

        • StevenK

          ʻae au. Me ka literal , Pahuhopu pilikia o ka hewa , i ka pau mea Huila Wai ‘Aʻohe . Koe ole he pilikia e ae mamua o ka emotionally pilikino pilikia pāʻani i loko o koʻoukou mau poʻo i nā lā a me Kristiano , ua wahahee .

          Aka, me ka literal , Pahuhopu pilikia o ka hewa , atheism Huila Wai ‘Aʻohe . Ia ka leo o koʻu manao .

        • You know when the teacher explains a new rule by saying that the selfish actions of a few mean that the many will now be burdened?

          I’ve changed the commenting rules so that you need a valid email address behind your Disqus name. That means that Steve/Steven’s current game, in which he created a new bogus Disqus account for each comment, is at an end.

          But I hope that this doesn’t burden any readers who want to provide a civil and substantive comment. If there are any problems, let me know, either in a comment or by emailing me using information on the About page.

        • MNb

          Not me.
          I also note that the quality of Steve’s comments has increased since you began to help him a bit.

        • I found his Hawaiian and Mandarin comments especially insightful.

        • epicurus

          Make him talk Minion! Make him talk Minion!

        • MR

          Sorry to hear you had to do that, Bob. It’s a pity SteveK had to resort to tactics instead of honest discourse. It demonstrates the weakness of his position.

          I hope some of the lurkers out there will feel freer to step forward and join the conversation, maybe even ask some of the more interesting questions that SteveK asked, but failed to honestly explore. I saw some good themes, but who wants to continue debating a dishonest person with insincere motives?

          Any fence-sitters out there have a burning question? Thoughts on Bob’s thought experiment above? Any first timers?

        • busterggi

          Since being born is essentially a sin there’s no way to avoid it.

        • TheNuszAbides

          ___________, the whole Christian story falls apart

          sure, this describes a progression of discovery/realization for a tiny handful of apostates, but seriously, is there a “whole Christian story”? i don’t think so. it’s wishful-thinking and special-pleading whack-a-mole all the way down. everybody cherry-picks at some point (whether it’s scripturally or otherwise), everybody interprets (which gives the lie to absurd phrases like “look at the bible as a whole”), etc.

        • wtfwjtd

          Thinking back to my days as a Christian, it was always easy to rationalize/hand-wave away when science had debunked something contained within the Bible and/or my Christian beliefs. And yeah, with 42,000 versions of Christianity and growing, that “whole Christian story” is truly an ever-changing, hard-to-pin-down mess. Like you said, not that it matters much, as the faithful simply cherry-pick from the great Bible buffet what they like, and ignore the rest.

        • TheNuszAbides

          yep. i was already practicing assimilation of scientifically vetted facts into Big-Picture supernatural fantasy as early as middle school. (e.g. i had never had occasion to state a YEC creed, but to quell cognitive dissonance i would actually tell myself an OEC equivalent, i.e. “God made evolution”) … one reason to be glad of introverted habits–i didn’t get caught up with any similarly-inclined minds at church–otherwise i might have been far less inclined to get away later on.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i don’t think most non-Catholic traditions* have the same dependency on Literal Edenic Truth–and anyone (including extra-smarmy Catholics) who picks and chooses their science lessons can handwave to their hearts’ content, a la “look, the point is that we’re all imperfect, and Christ’s blahblah is the only way to properly compensate”. which at least absolves them of the duty to argue Original Sin.

          *Calvinism and fundyloonies would be the most obvious exceptions here

        • Susan

          Bob,

          I’m begging you. Once you’ve banned someone, don’t let them just change their moniker and continue pissing on discussion as though they’d never been banned.

          https://disqus.com/home/discussion/crossexamined/a_simple_thought_experiment_defeats_claim_that_bible_is_accurate/#comment-2657209471

        • Greg G.

          I think the moderator can only ban an identity. The difficulty is that a person who creates an identity to post may not have any investment in that identity so new names can be created with new email addresses. It would become a full-time job sorting them out.

        • Susan

          It would become a full-time job sorting them out.

          I thought that a user could also be identified by their IP address but I’m not a disqus moderator. If George is determined to contaminate the place, he will do it, I guess.

          Bob can’t spend all day playing Whack-a-Troll.

          The reason for my comment was to alert Bob. My frustration was aimed at George. Not at Bob.

          I could have written it better. It sounds like I’m frustrated with Bob.

        • Greg G.

          I remember seeing that SK was posting from a different IP each time so there are ways around that, too, but that might take work on the troll’s part.

        • Susan

          I guess the challenge is to come up with a system that provides the most possible work for trolls without being too cumbersome for honest contributors (theist or non-theist) and that doesn’t make troll control a full time job for Bob.

          Any ideas?

        • Pofarmer

          Yes, unfortunately it actually requires the commenters to have some personal integrity.

        • Pofarmer

          Bob made a comment a few days ago he was having problems because they kept creating new disqus accounts, and of course Patheos and Disqus weren’t helping.

        • whg is done.

          If you keep ferreting out the liars, I’ll keep banning them.

        • Greg G.

          When we look at the technology in the pre-Columbian Americas, it doesn’t line up with the the claims in the book of Mormon.

          Yes, but the claims of Genesis don’t line up with archaeology, paleontology, or geology so it is no better than a tie on those points. Mormon evidence is poor but it is still better than the Bible.

        • Herald Newman

          Serious atheist’s question here: Given that Mormonism depends on Christianity being true, does that not weaken the claims for Mormonism, rather than strengthen them?

        • From a logic standpoint, that makes sense. The additional Mormon claims must be true as well as all the stuff they build on.

          From a real-world standpoint, though, I don’t suppose evidence and logic makes much of a difference.

        • Greg G.

          Only if you accept Mormonism. Mormonism has weak evidence but it is still stronger than Christianity’s evidence. If a person rejects the evidence for Mormonism, then they are left with weaker evidence for Christianity and should reject it for even better reasons.

        • The secret of Christianity’s success compared to Mormonism is that Christianity isn’t testable. Jo Smith made specific bullshit claims in his Book of Mormon that turned out not to fly with the archaeology. By making no such testable claims, Christianity avoids the test and (in some minds, at least) becomes more plausible.

    • gw

      And what would you make of a “miracle” were you to happen to experience one ?

      • Greg G.

        A real miracle would change everything. Do one for us.

        • gw

          Forgiving those who have attacked you, insulted you,
          belittled you, is a miracle.

          So I forgive you Greg, MNb, Susan, Dys, Michael, Ignorant Amo and anyone else.

        • Greg G.

          Forgiving those who have attacked you, insulted you, belittled you, is a miracle.

          Ha ha ha! No.

          I turned wine into urine. That’s a miracle!

          I drove to work today and didn’t have an accident. It’s a miracle! My car key was right where I left it. Another miracle! I had a choice of several places to park, all within a 30 second walk to the door. Another miracle!

          A meteorite didn’t hit me again today, for over a half of a century worth of consecutive days. What are the odds? It’s a miracle!

        • gw

          Talk about not understanding what someone said.

          Someone forgave you and you laugh at it…

        • Dys

          If only we had done something that needed forgiving. You need some self-reflection, blowhard.

        • Greg G.

          I laugh because you called it a miracle. When I forgive someone, it is for my own peace of mind. It doesn’t provide tangible benefits to the other person.

        • TheNuszAbides

          no, we laughed at the soft-headed pretense that it was miraculous. you are not demonstrating the capacity to understand where any of us are coming from any time soon. are you doing this with your great-uncle [the one who actually has some kind of credentials] muttering the occasional encouragement or philosophical sound-bite over your shoulder?

      • Herald Newman

        Well, first I’d need you to define what you mean by “miracle.” Once you’ve done that, then we need to have a methodology to investigate miracle claims, and find out if something is actually a miracle. This second point is a problem though, because science only investigates the natural, and at best we’re only going to show that something has no current natural explanation, not that the supernatural actually is the best explanation.

        That is, unless you have some reliable method to investigate the supernatural?

        • gw

          Do you think there is freedom of will for humans ?

        • Herald Newman

          Please define what you mean by “freedom of will”?

          For the most part, any free will definition I’ve been given, I’ve said that I don’t think that such a thing exists. I think what we think of as free will is an illusion.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i’m a casual fan of Placebo Free Will.

  • StevenK

    Let’s all imagine a situation where:
    (a) we don’t know if a change occurred
    (b) we know a change probably occurred
    (c) we know it’s a significant change
    (d) we know (a) thru (c) are lost to history so we don’t know any of that
    (e) this thought experiment makes logical sense
    (f) this thought experiment actually proves something

    • TheNuszAbides

      you can say that again.

  • Matthew46

    Read: Forged (Ehrman) and Forgery in our Bible (Whelas). There are over 14,000 variants in just the years between the earliest extant copies we have access to and the bible in our hands today. Plus, the earliest so-called Christians weren’t Pauline Christians. They were simply Jews who believed that Jesus was the totally human messiah versus Paul and his invented god man. Paul’s followers got to write the history and the writings of the Ebionites were destroyed. James was written out of the scene because the new god was the product of a virgin birth and couldn’t have brothers and sisters (as the bible clearly states he had). Peter as the “first pope” was substituted. The writings of the Ebionites exist only in the criticisms of the early church fathers up to now, until the DSS were discovered and they back the Ebionites – not the Paulines. The Ebionites/Essenes, according to the Damascus document, excommunicated “the liar”/”teacher of darkness”. Early church fathers wrote that Ebionites considered Paul to be “the great liar”. Gradually truth is seeping out and it isn’t looking good of Pauline Christianity with its man god in all denominations.

    • Robert Templeton

      Is it not fitting that Paul’s ‘god man’ looks identical in many aspects to the other god-men invented in the Mediterranean region for thousands of years (from Assyria, Babylon, Sumeria, Egypt, to Greece and Rome). That a virgin-birth created a living deity who performed miracles and died for his/her followers is one of the typical tales of mythology there. You won’t easily find it elsewhere in the world (but there are parallels). Why is that?

      This is about as amazing that people born to Christian parents or society are Christian de facto. It is not amazing at all. You learn from where you live. Paul’s god is no different. It reflects nothing new but in the amount of ingredients mixed in to change the flavor ever so slightly.

      • Matthew46

        This is a good description I got from another poster:

        JESUS NOT A XEROX COPY:
        .
        Like Osiris, Dionysus, Attis, MIthras and many others, Jesus was a God shaped like a man, walking, talking, eating, but still having magic God powers. Like the other Pagan godmen Jesus was a subordinate God, son of the great universal God, miraculously conceived in a mortal woman, living for a while on Earth rather
        than in Heaven, helping people
        .
        Was Jesus a xerox copy of one particular Pagan God? Was He Mithras renamed? Or Dionysus? The answer is No. Jesus was new — in the same way the first Honda Accord was a new car and the first Mountain Dew was a new soda pop. But the Accord wasn’t the first car, and Dew wasn’t the first soda. They were
        “new” versions of old ideas. So was Jesus.
        .
        Jesus was the Son of God who suffered, died, and was reborn. But He wasn’t the first Son of God who suffered, died, and was
        reborn. He brought salvation; but He wasn’t the God first to do that either. His mom was a virgin; He wasn’t the first God there either. It’s the same with miracles, disciples, ascending to heaven — the list goes on and on.
        .
        Believing scholars like to bring up differences between Jesus and the earlier Pagan godmen. Mithras was born of a rock, not a virgin, so Jesus can’t be Mithras. Attis’ faithful hung his likeness on a pine tree, not on a cross, so Jesus can’t be Attis. Believing scholars are right, Jesus wasn’t Mithras, and He wasn’t Attis. Jesus was a “new” God, the same way the first Honda Accord was a new car. He was a “new” version of God, built from old ideas.

        • Jim Jones

          From: Pagan Origins of the Christ Myth

          The core of Christianity—the worship of a miracle working, walking, talking godman who brings salvation—was also the core of other ancient religions that began at least a thousand years before Jesus.

          Heaven, hell, prophecy, daemon possession, sacrifice, initiation by baptism, communion with God through a holy meal, the Holy Spirit, monotheism, immortality of the soul, and many other “Christian” ideas all belonged to earlier, older Pagan faiths. They were simply part of ancient Mediterranean culture. Along with miracle working sons of God, born of a mortal woman, they were common elements of pre-Christian Pagan religion. Mithras had ’em. So did Dionysus, Attis, Osiris, and Orpheus. And more.

          When Osiris is said to bring his believers eternal life in Egyptian Heaven, contemplating the unutterable, indescribable glory of God, we understand that as a myth.

          When the sacred rites of Demeter at Eleusis are described as bringing believers happiness in their eternal life, we understand that as a myth.

          In fact, when ancient writers tell us that in general ancient people believed in eternal life, with the good going to the Elysian Fields and the not so good going to Hades, we understand that as a myth.

          When Vespatian’s spittle healed a blind man, we understand that as a myth.

          When Apollonius of Tyana raised a girl from death, we understand that as a myth.

          When the Pythia, the priestess at the Oracle at Delphi, in Greece, prophesied, and over and over again for a thousand years the prophecies came true, we understand that as a myth.

          When Dionysus turned water into wine, we understand that as a myth.

          When Dionysus believers are filled with atay, the Spirit of God, we understand that as a myth.

          When Romulus is described as the Son of God, born of a virgin, we understand that as a myth.

          When Alexander the Great is described as the Son of God, born of a mortal woman, we understand that as a myth.

          When Augustus is described as the Son of God, born of a mortal, we understand that as a myth.

          When Dionysus is described as the Son of God, born of a mortal woman, we understand that as a myth.

          When Scipio Africanus is described as the Son of God, born of a mortal woman, we understand that as a myth.

          So how come when Jesus is described as the Son of God, born of a mortal woman, according to prophecy, turning water into wine, raising girls from the dead, and healing blind men with his spittle, and setting it up so His believers got eternal life in Heaven contemplating the unutterable, indescribable glory of God, and off to Hades—er, I mean Hell—for the bad folks… how come that’s not a myth?

        • StevenK

          WHO LIKES PIG LATIN? Isthay ogiclay isyay otnay oundsay atyay allyay. Etherwhay Ionysusday asway ayay ythmay oryay otnay ashay onay earingbay atsoeverwhay onyay Istchray unlessyay youay ancay owshay atthay ethay atterlay efinitelyday amecay outyay ofyay ethay ormerfay. Youay aven’thay oneday atthay. Allyay you’veay oneday isyay ooklay atyay omesay uperficialsay imilaritiessay inyay orderyay otay awdray ayay onclusioncay. Ifyay youay ereway otay ooklay atyay ethay uperficialsay ifferencesday ouldway atthay ervesay otay undermineyay youray argumentyay? Ywhay otnay?

        • Matthew46

          Arey ouyay ookinglay orfay attentionay – EH?

        • Poor Steve/Steven got a lobotomy.

        • Matthew46

          It was pretty “cool” in those early school years, you have to admit – when you’re 14 and just getting ready to take over the world.
          .
          Bob, I thought of you yesterday while reading this book – It has a tremendous amount of good material that you could use to draw from for your articles, if you want it.
          .
          Dwight, Simon (2015-04-01). Religion: Controversial But Fascinating Interestingly Religion Book

        • Otto

          “Whether Dionysus was a myth or not has no bearing whatsoever on Christ
          unless you can show that the latter definitely came out of the former.”

          Not true…it would show that this type of man made mythology happens and apparently happens a lot. There is no need to make a direct connection to Christ, the point is that dying and rising gods were very common and man made. It therefore puts the onus on Christians to show why their god is any different. Even early church apologists like Justin Martyr understood this.

        • StevenK

          Not true without a direct connection. If you cannot, with evidence, connect the dots between the two events then you don’t know that one event is linked to the other.

        • Greg G.

          Nut trooe-a vithuoot a durect cunnecshun. Iff yuoo cunnut, vit ifeedence-a, cunnect zee duts betveee zee tvu ifents thee yuoo dun’t knoo thet oone-a ifent is linked tu zee oozeer. Um gesh dee bork, bork!

          Jesus is like all the other mythical god-men and is different in some ways from all the other mythical god-men, just like all the other mythical god-men are different from one another.

          Why couldn’t an omnipotent, omniscient creator make a human form of himself that was so distinct that it would be impossible to link them?

        • StevenK

          >> Почему всемогущий, всезнающий Создатель не мог сделать человеческую форму себя, которая была настолько различны, что было бы невозможно связать их?

          What would you suggest?

        • Greg G.

          Vhet vuoold yuoo sooggest?

          If you can’t find a true religion, you are better off with no religion. Since all religions are bullshit, I suggest you give up religion and enjoy reality.

        • Pofarmer

          Reality is hard, and often kinda messy.

        • TheNuszAbides

          after a long day getting one’s RealityHands dirty, who wouldn’t want a refreshing imaginary scrubdown in the JebusTub(TM)?

          (don’t answer that.)

        • StevenOK

          I think it’s true, so I’m doing okay.

        • Greg G.

          I theenk it’s trooe-a, su I’m dueeng ookey.

          You are living a fantasy, your best friends apparently are on this blog so you can’t stay away, and they don’t like you all that much. You call that doing OK?

        • StevenK

          EVER GET VOICES IN YOUR HEAD THAT WON’T SHUT UP? I’M THINKING OF A LOBOTOMY.

        • Greg G.

          It works for me.

          Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:19 that you are to be most pitied.

        • StevenOK

          I’m doing fine, thanks.

        • TheNuszAbides

          you devious bastard–smuggling your “enjoy reality” religion under the guise of irreligiosity!!!1111

        • sandy

          One of the no brainer indicators of a false god or simple bullshit of religion is why would a god who is 14 billion years old and seen it all, no, created it all, follow the same m o as all previous gods and myths created by man?! Answer…because it isn’t a god but rather another creation of man.

        • MNb

          This is incomplete. “why would a god ….” and “in the same culture” should be added.
          I like to ask why the christian couldn’t pull it off twice. It would be awesome if we found a lost tribe (ie not having had contact with western civilization from at least 2000 years ago on) in the interior of Amazonia or New Guinea that has a story of the messias claim, the preaching, the torturous death and the Resurrection.

        • TheNuszAbides

          excellent nutshell.

        • Matthew46

          Exactly, Otto. “Justin Martyr recognized the analogies between Christianity and Paganism. To the Pagans, he wrote:
          “And when we say also that the Word, who is the
          first-birth of God, was produced without sexual union, and that He, Jesus Christ, our Teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound NOTHING DIFFERENT from WHAT YOU BELIEVE regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter (Zeus).”

        • TheNuszAbides

          damn, was that guy a salesman. same one who said Satan backdated similar claims to discredit the Gospel?

        • Matthew46

          That was Tertullian, a church father, who said that Mithraism had copied Christianity right down to its most sacred mysteries and the only way it could do that was with the help of the devil because he was the only one that clever.
          .
          In fact, Mithraism originated from Zoroastriansim which was brought back by Roman soldiers returning from war. It predated Christianity and lived along side it until Christianity was made the state religion after which it destroyed all its opposition. Since Christianity is nothing like Judaism and bears the greatest similarity with GrecoRoman lore, it’s pretty easy to see where it came from.

        • TheNuszAbides

          thanks. seems like Justin M. is slightly more interesting than Tertullian on that score. Tertullian is the “i believe because it’s incredible” guy?

          Zoroastrianism was my last take-it-somewhat-seriously stop on the half-assed panentheist/pantheist tour of my 20s. i still have a little red book of hymns somewhere around here …

        • adam

          This is your brain on religion……..

        • Matthew46

          Excellent article and a keeper – with your permission. Keep flashing this one. It’s detailed and illustrates the problem beautifully. How come indeed?

        • Ignorant Amos

          The fictional NT character Jesus, was a collage.

      • TheNuszAbides

        That a virgin-birth created a living deity who performed miracles and died for his/her followers is one of the typical tales of mythology there.

        seems to me that stressing amalgamation of typical tales is most effective at this juncture–it doesn’t leave an opening for the “nuh-uh, there’s no other totally 100% identical narrative anywhere else” derailment. (your second paragraph manages it, it’s just that people who waste their own time not paying enough attention will jump on the earlier phrasing and waste everyone’s time “refuting” it.)

    • I believe the total number of errors in our corpus of NT manuscripts is 400,000. Admittedly, most of those are trivial, but it makes clear that these were copied in the ordinary way, with no celestial magic keeping the word pristine.

      • Ignorant Amos

        Or as Ehrman puts it, as many errors in the variants as there are words in the texts. At the time he was writing, the number was an estimate and not fully documented iirc, not sure what the status is presently.

    • Pofarmer

      Do you have any DSS info? Everything I’ve seen written by Jews, and, yes, the early Christians certainly were a sect of Jews, is far too late to really be of much use in determining any early beliefs. Am I correct in thinking the Catholic Church as kept the DSS scrolls pretty much under wraps?

      • Matthew46

        Aside from having been valuable in preserving the Dead sea scrolls, the Catholic church had no right to hold on to them as they have. There is nothing Catholic within them. They consist of parts of the Jewish bible (which we call the old testament) and about the activities of a group which Eisenman calls the Essenes/Ebionites and their struggles with a heretic they call “The teacher of darkness”/ “the liar” to a point in the Damascus document, where he is excommunicated by the group. They have “The righteous one” or the “Teacher of Light” who Eisenman believes was James. These activities have a parallel with James and the apostles struggles against Paul who the Ebionites called “the liar” culminating in the incident at Antioch where he makes his break with them, going back to Rome where his dogma – our Pauline Christianity and Catholicism- began. I suspect the Catholics held on to them, knowing fully well that their history and fabrications would come to light – just as they have – and reveal that Christianity goes back to Paul, not the man called Jesus, and that Paul is the originator of it. Yes, anything with Eisenman (James and the dead sea scrolls, Misquoting Jesus), any of the Bart Ehrman lectures or books are excellent. Hyam Maccoby rounds it out with his book “The Mythmaker”.
        .
        The Catholics and Christians in general like to think they go back to an actual man god Jesus and all flowed evenly in charity and love all the way to now. In fact, it began with Paul and has a fairly ugly, sordid history not at all as the church would like you to believe.
        .
        Certainly the Jews have written a great deal about the DSS. It’s their book and history- not ours.

    • sandy

      Forged is an excellent read…unfortunately Ehrman totally fails on ” Did Jesus Exist”. A job was at risk.

      • Matthew46

        If Jesus existed, it was only as a fully human Jewish male, circumcised and under the law, a Jew, possibly an Essene, preaching to Jews – not such a noteworthy figure, unless he claimed to be a messiah (there were many in Jewish lore, including David and Solomon) and in such a case, he would have to accomplish a number of tasks, one being the casting out of oppressors, at that time being the Romans. If he fulfilled other tasks and the Jews as a whole were impressed that he showed signs of being the messiah, then they would follow as a unified nation and fight off the Romans. Since he was already a popular figure, it was in the best interests of the Romans to arrest and charge him with sedition and execute him, nipping the threat in the bud. Since Jesus failed to fulfill the prophecies in that way, he was discounted as a failed messiah. And that, sandy, is the end of the story BUT there is more. The leadership of the apostles then went to James and it is James who figures in the texts of the dead sea scrolls – not Jesus. James becomes the “teacher of light” and “the righteous one” and Paul becomes “the liar” who is excommunicated in the Damascus document. It seems that Christianity has done a lot of covering up since it came about as a result of not Jesus, but of Paul.

        • sandy

          I agree. Paul is total BS. At best Jesus existed as a crazed end of times preacher and that was it but perhaps special enough to inspire a book…but not local historians…

        • MNb

          “not such a noteworthy figure, unless he claimed to be a messiah”
          Not very noteworthy either. Jesus wasn’t exactly the only one.

  • Bri

    All you really have to do is look at the texts that were excluded from the current version of the Bible to realize there’s a bias issue with people who want to claim the Bible is totally and without question the word of God

    • Robert Templeton

      The Bible is the Word of God dictated by several councils of humans determining authenticity and canon based on their own human limitations. Any one who entertains the notion that they were 1) wise and overly well-versed, 2) had relevative insights, and 3) did not have biases is as much in the inerrancy trap as those aforementioned.

      • PhoenicianRomans

        Come now – we all know everything created by a committee is wise indeed…

        • TheNuszAbides

          the highest and most tragic ideal of ‘Occupy’.

    • Michael Neville

      The Protestant Bible is different from the Catholic Bible is different from the Eastern Orthodox Bible is different from the Oriental Orthodox Bible. So any claims about the Bible has to specify which Bible is referred to.

  • StevenK

    >> The apologists will say that there is no proof of this. True, our version of the New Testament could be identical to the original, but why imagine this?

    No proof is needed to defeat a claim?

    • BLATHER

      If that’s as coherent as your comments are, you might want to just leave.

      • MR

        Poor Steve. He misses us so much, he can’t help himself. He’s like an abusive boyfriend turned stalker. He just can’t stay away.

        • StevenK

          NOW I’M A HACKER! just do1ng what ibve alwayz odne!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11~ !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11~~ OLOLLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!~~~~~~ … OLOOLLOLOLOOLOL!!!!!!!11~~~~~ C0MWENT ONM WhAT OTEHR D00D3Z SAY. nothing has chAnGed execpt that bob nOw changes whst i write~~

        • MR

          As I said, just like a stalker.

      • Susan

        If that’s as coherent as your comments are

        I give him points for a creative response. The first one ever.

        And for condensing the substance of his entire history here into a single word.

        Definitely merits an up vote.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Definitely merits an up vote.

          A wouldn’t go that far though.

    • Ignorant Amos

      BLATHER is exactly what you believe and the sad fact is, you are just to ignorant to know it…sad sack.

      Pilate is the sole figure from Jesus’s trial for whom we have undoubted archaeological evidence, and he’s also, perhaps coincidentally, the only one to become part of the Nicene Creed, the most widely embraced capsule statement of Christian faith: “For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate.”

      But that wasn’t what all early Christians thought. The apocryphal Gospel of Peter says King Herod signed the death warrant. Others who thought Jesus was nearly 50 when he died believed that happened in the 40s of the first century, long after Pilate had been recalled to Rome. The Nazorians, an intriguing sect of Torah-observant early Christians discussed by a fourth-century scholar, believed Jesus died a century before the canonical Gospels, around 70 BCE. (And, since they were descended directly from the first followers of Christ, called Nazarenes before they became known as Christians, the Nazorians cannot be easily dismissed. The Babylonian Talmud, composed by the fifth century, notes the same.)

      But you stick with your personal flavour of ballix, it gives us all something to laugh at.

      • gw

        Yet you know that Hogwarts does not exist but you do not know that Jesus never lived, it is only a belief you have. Yes, evidently Pilate did exist and he is held by Christians to have tried Jesus. The gospel of Peter is not necessarily incorrect if King Herod Antipas had no
        objection to Jesus being killed and sent Jesus back to Pilate,
        As for Jesus’ age, had he been born in 6/7 BC, which many scholars think is quite possible and if He was crucified in 33 AD, He would be
        about 40 years old. [Note that in John’s Gospel when Jesus confronts the Jews about who is truly a child of Abraham, John 8: 31 – 59, the Jews say to Jesus: “You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham ?” ]

        I do not know where you are finding information about “Nazorians”
        who are held to have lived a century before – so not 70 AD, but
        70 BC – from. We have Jewish prayers that condemn “Nazareans”
        and the Babylonian Talmud makes judgement against them – but
        why your sources say 70 BC and not what most scholars, if the they accept the authenticity of the Jewish prayers and the Babylonian Talmud, who say 70 AD, is something you might explain.

        • As for Jesus’ age, had he been born in 6/7 BC, which many scholars think is quite possible

          Haven’t read your own Bible? Don’t feel so bad–you have lots of company. Jesus was born at the time of the Quirinius census, which was about 6 CE.

        • Greg G.

          You are both right. Jesus was born in 6 BC and born again in 6 AD. Don’t feel bad, Nicodemus didn’t understand it either.

        • TheNuszAbides

          wasn’t there a 4BC calculation as well? or was that somehow more-ruled-out than the others?

        • Greg G.

          That’s when Herod the Great died so it’s the latest possible date for Matthew’s Nativity story.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Isn’t the 6 BCE timeline due to Herod’s order to slaughter all innocents up to 2 year olds in order to cover all bases? Herod must’ve been suffering from dementia.

          What a lot of ridiculous tosh.

          I get a good laugh at some of the fucked up thinking apologetics that get behind this non historical myth.

          This feckin eejit is at least being true to his convictions…

          THANK GOD THAT THE BIBLE HAS STORIES JUST AS HORRIFIC AS THE ONES WE ENCOUNTER IN REAL LIFE!

          Does this make God an inscrutable monster? That’s for each one of us to decide. But you don’t get to mythologize the Bible to let God off the hook when God is implicated in the deaths of children every day.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tonyjones/2012/12/18/why-its-important-that-matthews-infancy-narrative-is-true/

        • Greg G.

          The most common dates I see are the 4 BC to accommodate Matthew and 6 AD to accommodate Luke and the census described by Josephus when Herod’s son was relieved of office after ten years. Some push back the Matthew timing and some try to claim that the census was a different one but Luke used Josephus a lot and was not afraid to alter it if necessary for a good story.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Wiki says…

          The date of birth of Jesus of Nazareth is not stated in the gospels or in any secular text, but most scholars assume a date of birth between 6 BC and 4 BC.

          And gives some academic sources. I vaguely remember reading somewhere that the early date was to facilitate Herods offing of all the boys up to, and including, two year olds. Why Herod would need to go to such lengths is also guessed at.

          It’s all nonsense to me though.

          There is some ignorant shite being peddled on the subject out there…

          The Apostle John writes about Jesus as being with God and being God as the Word (John 1:1) and “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). The Bible only tells us that this happened during the reign of King Herod (Matt 2:1) and historians show that King Herod ruled from 27 B.C. to A.D. 14. It was also just before Caesar Augustus said“that all the world should be registered” (Luke 2:1-2) and the date of that would be around 6-5 B.C. so Jesus was likely born around 5-6 B.C.

          About the author…

          Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible.

          With such extreme lack of knowledge from their leaders, what chance has the gullible got?

        • Greg G.

          Every time I start to laugh, I feel sad that people take him seriously.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Feckin’ rhubarbs…with eejits that follow.

        • TheNuszAbides

          ah. and gMatthew being the exemplar of RetCon, kind of a non-starter then. what about the ‘almanac’ issue, are there still missing moon-tables that could support an astrological narrative? (ack … i was about to dig out a few-year-old Carrier reference, but i’m in the wrong building. something in HHBC reproduced from blog, iirc)

        • gw

          There are various theories.
          I am sure you know most of them.
          I like the one that says Josephus is mistaken about when
          Quirinius was in Syria and why does Luke say this was
          the “…the first enrollment” added to reading the greek
          as: enrollment before Quirinius was govenor of Syria.

        • And I like the theory that says that these incompatible claims are just what you’d expect if the whole thing is legendary.

        • gw

          What I do not understand, for those who wish to push the writing of the Gospels
          and Acts as far away from the Crucifixion of Jesus the Christ, is why wouldn’t the
          Gospel writers just make things as simple as possible and not involve any
          historical figures as they, unless they had access to the archives of the Romans
          and Jews, are going to have to rely upon memories or, indeed, make things up.
          But if you are going to make things up, why not make them as simple as possible:

          Angel visits Mary, Joseph goes to visit relatives in Bethlehem, Jesus is born in
          Bethlehem, offering is made at Temple, they return to Nazareth.

          No need to bring up Census, Herod…

        • (1) Skeptics wish to follow the evidence.

          (2) If we accepted conservative dates for the gospels or even said that they were written the day after the events, your case wouldn’t be much stronger.

          (3) No one is talking about making stuff up. Except you, of course. We’re talking about legend–quite different.

        • Greg G.

          Angel visits Mary, Joseph goes to visit relatives in Bethlehem, Jesus is born in Bethlehem, offering is made at Temple, they return to Nazareth.

          What about that detour to Egypt? Why would Joseph and Mary go to Jerusalem for the circumcision when Joseph had been told to go to Egypt because Herod was having babies killed?

        • Dys

          George, it’s a shame you feel the need to stick around and create sockpuppet accounts in order to feed your ego.

          What I do not understand, for those who wish to push the writing of the Gospels
          and Acts as far away from the Crucifixion of Jesus the Christ, is why wouldn’t the
          Gospel writers just make things as simple as possible and not involve any
          historical figures

          Because including historical figures in the narrative gives the facade of historicity.

        • TheNuszAbides

          But if you are going to make things up, why not make them as simple as possible:

          they always start out simple. a question inevitably gets asked. defenders of Teh Faith invariably make more things up as a matter of course. this cycle itself is quite simple.

        • Greg G.

          Luke’s story is incompatible with Matthew’s story. Matthew modeled his story on Josephus’ account of Moses’ infancy narrative, which was sort of based on the Exodus account but Josephus added the father’s dream, which Matthew made good use of.

          Luke apparently didn’t like the idea of God allowing innocent babies to be killed just to save Jesus so he rejected Matthew’s story. Luke used Josephus a lot and turned to the first episode of Antiquities 18.

          So, not only are they incompatible, they are both fiction.

        • gw

          G,

          Happy Feast Day of Saint George.

          Just because they are incompatible, does not mean that they cannot both
          be accounts handed down, furthermore it does not mean that one is not true
          in whole or both in parts.

          Innocent babies are not killed to save Jesus, but because Herod was determined
          not to allow any threat to his being King to exist.

          As for Josephus, perhaps he read Luke and borrowed from Luke.

  • PhoenicianRomans

    Here’s a picture of the original manuscript for “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”

    http://www.mugglenet.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/PageOnePart1-1024×768.jpg

    Therefore Hogwarts exists.

    • Ignorant Amos

      The evidence for Hogwarts existence is astronomically stronger than the evidence for Jesus historicity.

    • StevenK

      I think there’s also a second conclusion that follows from what you wrote here.

      “Therefore you are misunderstanding the argument”

  • Ignorant Amos

    Great article.

    I was just reading this article in a peer reviewed journal a wee moment ago…coincidence or what?

    http://www.macleans.ca/society/life/did-jesus-really-exist-2/

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/10034#more-10034

    Edit: To add second link.

    • Myna A.

      I thoroughly enjoyed reading those links.

      One thing that caught my eye in the second one, because I’ve often speculated about it, is this sentence:

      Because Christians envy the piety of violent Islamic radicals.

      There is something in the very heart of Christianity that mourns the loss of its theocratic power of yore. In some of the tirades of its more fundamentalist defenders, the seething to dominate, violently if needs be, strains against the bridle of secularist law.

      • Ignorant Amos

        Christianity is all but toothless to both the less gullible and less ignorant in modern societies. Oh for the good auld days when the Church could vent itself through wickedness and torture.

        • sandy

          I believe it was Hitchens who said we must never forget what Christianity did when it controlled church and state.

        • Susan

          we must never forget what Christianity did when it controlled church and state.

          We can still look around today and see what it gets up to when it has political power.

        • sandy

          But it never controls…yet. Where are you in Canada?

        • Susan

          Just outside of the GTA.

          Ask someone in Mississippi or Texas or in a catholic hospital in Ireland. Or in Mexico. The Philippines.

          I agree. I’m lucky.

        • sandy

          I was curious. I follow you and enjoy your point of view. I live just outside Calgary but I’m from Belleville. Keep up the good comments!

        • Susan

          Thanks Sandy. 🙂

          I do gigs in Belleville as part of my schedule. A Saturday matinee at the Beaufort Pub is always a treat.

          Do you know it?

        • sandy

          As a musician? I’m a guitarist.

        • sandy

          Green Door…

        • Susan

          Apartments?

        • sandy

          Moved west in 1973…westerner now. You a musician?

        • Susan

          Yep.

        • sandy

          anything i can see on you tube?

        • Susan

          I’d love to tell you but that would mean posting my last name.

          A couple of creepy things happened (from a couple of creepy theists, as a matter of fact) a few years back when I naively posted under my full name.
          Since then, I keep those lives separate.

          You could e-mail me through Bob if you’d like and he’s willing. I could send you some links and you could send some of yours back if you’d like.
          That’s about as much as I’d like to talk about it here.

        • sandy

          That’s cool Susan, just really good to touch base with a fellow atheist and free thinker…will keep in touch…no doubt!

        • sandy

          no

        • Susan

          How long since you left for Calgary?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Or a Catholic school in Ireland.

        • TheNuszAbides

          my Dubliner stepmum recalled early Gaelic lessons (but none of their content). this would’ve been in the ’40s … would that have been a more filthy secular institution’s shenanigans?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Oh that’ll defo be the secular influence.

          It is a pre-requisite for students in Ireland to attain qualifications at Leaving Certificate or GCE/GCSE level in Gaeilge [Irish] in order to go on to third level education and sit a degree.

          The exception to this being someone not born Irish, someone born Irish that was educated outside Ireland, or a sufferer of Dyslexia.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Manx is in my top 3 Languages to Study for No Practical Reason. (with Basque and !Kung)

        • Ignorant Amos

          Am a wee bit disappointed that fer a man of the world like yerself, Ulster Scots is not on yer list.

          http://www.ulsterscotsagency.com/what-is-ulster-scots/language/

        • TheNuszAbides

          honestly, they’re all on ‘the list’, and since i’m in my 40s and still only fluent in the one … but my apologies for not favoring your folk in the top 3!

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ha-ha!

        • TheNuszAbides

          oh! but one of my presentations in high school was to read Tam O’Shanter with as much authentic accent as i could muster!

        • Ignorant Amos

          “Some books are lies frae end to end,
          And some great lies were never penn’d…”

          ― Robert Burns

        • Ignorant Amos
    • Must be fate. Or karma. Or Jesus.

      • Ignorant Amos

        Or as Dawkins might say…PETWHAC.

    • epicurus

      Funny that in the Maclean’s article, while they talk about Ehrman’s upcoming book on Jesus before the gospels, and also discuss Carrier’s mythicist views, the last paragraph of the article says Ehrman is “reluctant to talk much about the mythicists much less debate with them.” After all that writing and research, how could the author not know or not think it relevant enough to mention that Ehrman actually wrote a book a couple years ago called “Did Jesus Exist?” in which he laid out a case for Jesus existence?

      • Ignorant Amos

        Well, in all fairness, that book of Ehrman’s was a complete clusterfuck. It wasn’t so much of a case for Jesus existence as a pop at a particular group mythicists, misrepresenting their arguments. So much so that those that he disparaged felt the need to compile a whole book in rebuttal.

        What I take from the comment in the Macleans article is that since DJE? was published and it’s embarrassing reception, Ehrman seems less and less interested in engaging. The forthcoming debate has been predicated on a fairly large pay day. Though I will say,Ehrman donates his fee to charity for his debating events. Then again, he can afford to a suppose.

        • epicurus

          Well, I can’t disagree with you about the quality of Ehrman’s book. When I read it I thought there were many arguments he used that could come back to bite him in the butt if he ever debated someone like Craig again, as they had a feel of the kind of arguments resurrection apologists used (been a couple years since I read it, can’t remember the specific ones, so I’ll have to be guilty of not providing citations).
          Despite that, I still think the Maclean’s author should have mentioned it because good or bad, Ehrman was prominent in the article, and he wrote a book dealing with the article’s topic, the quality of the book shouldn’t matter in the context of the article.
          Ehrman also donates money from his pay wall blog to charity. I signed up at Christmas, but I’ve only read a couple entries because, I’m sure like many here, my reading list of books and blogs is backed up to doomsday.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Despite that, I still think the Maclean’s author should have mentioned it because good or bad, Ehrman was prominent in the article, and he wrote a book dealing with the article’s topic, the quality of the book shouldn’t matter in the context of the article.

          I suppose so.

  • MR

    It seems to me that an accurate bible shouldn’t be an issue for an omnipotent god. Just make it believable, make it reflect reality. What purpose did it serve to include fantastical things, unbelievable things, things that cast doubt, things that go against out our basic understanding of the world? I didn’t set out to stop believing, but you kind of reach a point where you think, either God is fucking with us, or it’s simply not true. Why insult my intelligence? Why exploit my gullibility? I’ve been taught all my life that God is good and he wouldn’t do such things. It just doesn’t fit. The obvious alternative is that it’s simply not true.

    • And there’s your mistake! “[God’s] eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

      Or something.

      • Greg G.

        Don’t forget the part about his invisible qualities that are clearly seen. That’s one of Paul’s main arguments in Romans, his magnum opus.

        • Otto

          Here is a thought experiment…tell your wife that you have a lot of invisible qualities that can be clearly seen and see what kind of response you get.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          It’s straight forward god of the gaps (stated weirdly).

          “See that lightning? That means Zeus is tossing it, even if we can’t see him!”

      • MR

        And, I believed that for years, and I’d still be believing that if it weren’t for people like SteveK. People who defended religion with deceit, dissimulation and hand waving. Who trivialized the difficult parts, demonized others for having honest disagreements, for having doubts or for pointing out discrepancies and hypocrisies. If God is so all powerful and divine, why does he need to have followers who use tactics to defend his existence? It wasn’t even that I doubted the existence of God, I was fine with God, it was his followers who led me down the path of doubt. That’s when it all started to become clear.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          And why doesn’t an omnipotent god generate as much evidence as you or I or rocks? Well, shit! everything is evidence for god just as it is for the space whales and Sagan’s garage dragon, FSM, etc!

      • Otto

        And God could not give us a perfect Bible as that would have infringed on our free will to love him and worship him on faith.

    • Zeta

      God was made in (ancient) man’s image and naturally he has the foibles, ignorance, cruelty, and (im)morality of man in the societies of that time. The “holy” book he “inspired” became outdated long ago and is long overdue for a second edition. An omnipotent god should be able to easily produce this second edition in major (maybe all living) languages of the world in clear and precise language.

      • Scott_In_OH

        Indeed. A major strike against God’s existence or benevolence is the fact that He has refused to clarify His message during the past 20 centuries, despite the fact that lots and lots of people have begged Him to do so while others have slaughtered millions in His name.

        If Christianity is to be believed, then a powerful, loving god decided to transmit the Most Important Lessons Ever (1) 4,000 years after humanity was created, (2) via a single person in a tiny area of the world, (3) with no one recording the events in real time, and (4) with no further clarifications or reminders. And then they have the nerve to refer to this god as The Greatest Teacher or some such.

        • gw

          Not that anyone should be slaughtered in God’s name,
          but do you have direct evidence that millions were slaughtered in His name ?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Define “direct evidence”?

        • gw

          Historical accounts that would prove his claims.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Greg G.

          Not that anyone should be slaughtered in God’s name, but do you have direct evidence that millions were slaughtered in His name ?

          Gott mit uns (“God with us”) is a phrase commonly used on armour in the German military from the German Empire to the end of the Third Reich, although its historical origins are far older.

          The Holocaust (from the Greek ὁλόκαυστος holókaustos: hólos, “whole” and kaustós, “burnt”),[2] also known as the Shoah (Hebrew: השואה, HaShoah, “the catastrophe”), was a genocide in which Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany and its collaborators killed about six million Jews.[3] The victims included 1.5 million children[4] and represented about two-thirds of the nine million Jews who had resided in Europe.[5] Some definitions of the Holocaust include the additional five million non-Jewish victims of Nazi mass murders, bringing the total to about 11 million. Killings took place throughout Nazi Germany and German-occupied territories.[6]

        • gw

          G,
          If you want to say that Hitler was acting as a Christian when he started the War
          and slaughtered 12 million and almost exterminated European Jewry, you may, but
          I don’t think many would agree with you.

        • Greg G.

          Hitler got his power from the people who were good Catholics who prayed for the conversion of the “perfidious Jews*” (perfidiae Iudae) during Good Friday Mass and the good Protestants whose hero was Martin Luther who wrote a book called “On the Jews and Their Lies” and:

          “First, to set fire to their synagogues or schools … This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians …”
          “Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed.”
          “Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing, and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them.”
          “Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb …”
          “Fifth, I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews. For they have no business in the countryside …”
          “Sixth, I advise that usury be prohibited to them, and that all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them …”
          “Seventh, I recommend putting a flail, an ax, a hoe, a spade, a distaff, or a spindle into the hands of young, strong Jews and Jewesses and letting them earn their bread in the sweat of their brow … But if we are afraid that they might harm us or our wives, children, servants, cattle, etc., … then let us emulate the common sense of other nations such as France, Spain, Bohemia, etc., … then eject them forever from the country …”

          The citizenry was primed to loathe Jews. Most of the victims of the Holocaust would have died at the hands of someone wearing a Gott mit uns belt buckle who was every bit as much a Christian as you are. They would have been doing it with a Christian justification while wearing garments with the name of God on it.
          Most of the citizens didn’t know what happened to the Jews who were taken from their neighborhoods but were satisfied by it though they would have been horrified to find out that their neighbors were exterminated.
          * The phrase “perfidious Jews” was removed from the prayer in 1962.

        • And Christians wonder where the Nazis got their anti-semitism.

        • TheNuszAbides

          I don’t think many would agree with you.

          what-a-stooge exhibit 12B. contrasted with how cozy you are with the befuddled notion that when you’re in the minority, it means you must be doing something right …

  • Pofarmer

    This is too damned funny.

    http://existentialcomics.com/comic/51

    • TheNuszAbides

      the Sartre was a real treat. EDIT: and to jump from there to DPIH’s “Coulda Buddha Gouda” doubly made my morning.

  • StevenK

    I think this thought experiment doesn’t do much of anything. It asks you to assume the verse in question that you have in your hand has undergone changes, but then later it tells you that the evidence for the “fork in the road” has been lost to history. Which is it? If I know there was a fork then we would have evidence of the fork. If I have evidence, it’s not lost to history.

    It says “one of the traditions (maybe the original or maybe the erroneous one—you don’t know) has been lost? Zero verses? A thousand? We simply don’t know.”

    Yeah, we don’t know if there was another tradition. That’s part of the thought experiment – we don’t know. But here we are told that we DO know.

    Since we don’t know one way or the other, we do the best we can with the information we have. That’s what the experts have been doing for a very long time.

    • Greg G.

      You are misusing the word “experts”. The word you are looking for is “apologists”.

      The problem is that even the experts cannot possibly know what the originals were nor can they know how much is fantasy and if anything is true. That’s what the article is about.

      • I wonder if it would help if he did a little research on what “thought experiment” means.

        • Susan

          I wonder if it would help if he did a little research on what “thought experiment” means.

          It would help enormously.

          But based on his past record, it’s not going to happen.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Let’s not tax the wee lad too much first,…walk before he runs may be in order. Say, research what “thought” means first, then “experiment”…then a bit later, put them together.

        • Greg G.

          I doubt it. If the definition disagreed with his preconceptions, he would reject it, perhaps because it is not the “Christian definition.”

        • Name is StevenK

          I understand the term. I disagree that a person is unable to study something and raise their level of confidence one way or the other.

        • MNb

          You may understand the term, but you don’t show you do.

        • StevenK

          Good to know.

        • Greg G.

          You can raise your certainty by studying one side but you should study both sides of the issue. You don’t because of cognitive dissonance.

        • StevenK

          Lots of claims. No evidence.

        • Greg G.

          Yes, that is your method of operation but you forgot “ignore evidence presented by others”.

        • I think there was an ecumenical council at some point that forbade Christians from considering hypothetical scenarios of any kind. I’ve never been able to find the historical documentation, but multiple experiences of this sort of thing when talking to Christians has convinced me that it must be a central point of dogma.

        • Martin Luther was very clearly against reason.

          And then there’s the faith vs. trust thing. Christians must have faith (belief not proportional to the evidence) to remain a Christian, but they know that this is ridiculous and so they say, “Oh, no–by “faith,” we mean what you mean by “trust,” which is belief proportional to evidence.”

          My challenge to them: if that is indeed your position (I doubt it), then drop the synonymous and redundant “faith” from your vocabulary and only use “trust.” Get back to me in a month with how that’s working out for you.

        • If they want us to buy that redefinition then they’re going to have to do a better job of stopping each other from claiming that it’s really atheists who have faith and Christians who care about following the evidence (presumably the desire to be able to make that claim in the form of a SHOCKING IRONIC TWIST was the only reason that Christians have spent the past 19 centuries claiming the exact opposite).

        • TheNuszAbides

          SHOCKING IRONIC TWIST

          indeed, without the Righteous Underdog card they would lose so many target audiences …

      • Ignorant Amos

        Like Ehrman’s hypothetical sources ya mean? The ones that have everything in them that supports his arguments, but nothing that might be contrary…which is very handy indeed.

      • Name is StevenK

        What matters are the reasons given not the title or level of education of the person behind the reasons. What this thought experiment is claiming is that it’s impossible to have justifiable reasons for the conclusion that we know something – that studying has raised our level of confidence. Sorry, but I disagree. That’s my view. This thought experiment is vacuous.

        • Greg G.

          What matters are the reasons given not the title or level of education of the person behind the reasons.

          Agreed.

          What this thought experiment is claiming is that it’s impossible to have justifiable reasons for the conclusion that we know something – that studying has raised our level of confidence. Sorry, but I disagree.

          The thought experiment is not about knowledge in general, it is only about the Bible. If you don’t have the originals, you cannot be certain what the originals said. It has been shown that there were fewer changes after canonization than before. But that is by comparing copies of copies of copies that are at least a century older than the originals. It is more likely that there was more redaction going on before anybody thought of the writings as possibly being scripture.

          For example, in Mark 1:41, was Jesus moved by compassion (or pity) or was he angry? Most copies say the former but why would someone write “angry” if it was not original? Scholars take it that “angry” is more likely because it is easier to imagine some one making it more positive than Jesus being angry in the situation.

          That’s my view. This thought experiment is vacuous.

          Anything related to your thoughts is vacuous.

        • StevenK

          >> The thought experiment is not about knowledge in general, it is only about the Bible.

          So is my comment. The conclusion that we can’t study it within the context of history and raise our level of confidence is without merit.

        • Greg G.

          You can change your level of confidence through brainwashing, too. It’s what you do to yourself, and allow others to do, with religion.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Also, this stupidly high level of confidence can be generated when we are confronted with the faultiness of our memories (I point to the 9/11 memory experiment).

        • TheNuszAbides

          it’s tragicomic how many folks seem to think that ‘vivid’ is a synonym for ‘clear’. cf. ‘flashbulb memory’

    • What do we do with StevenK?

      At least he’s using a proper Disqus account now. If I banned him, there would be some small effort to create a new one each time.

      Any thoughts on next steps? If he’s more trouble than he’s worth, I would enjoy banning his Disqus account(s). This comment seems to be an exercise in missing the point, but is there any indication that he would write anything thought provoking? Is he salvageable?

      Perhaps someone can remind me of what his crime was initially that got him banned.

      • MR

        A leopard doesn’t change his spots.

        I was on hiatus (because of him) when he was banned and wondered myself what had happened.

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5e2d4293d2679d607b9e671e3776f8770ea58aa1d87dd9069b20ae8710a16d57.png

      • Susan

        If I banned him, there would be some small effort to create a new one each time.</blockquote

        With the new e-mail account rules, are you able to hold new contributors in temporary moderation (not let their comments pass) until you've given them clearance? Are you able to white flag regular contributors who you don't want to ban based on their comment history? I have no idea what choices a disqus moderator has. Just some rough concepts based on occasional reports

        is there any indication that he would write anything thought provoking?

        Not yet. He’s been given ample opportunity. He came here to school us and never bothered going to any sort of school first. He’s never addressed a single point head on. He continues to make assertions and has done exactly zero to support a single one of them.

        If Steve disagrees, he can respond and show where he’s done so.

        All the evidence so far says no.

        Is he salvagable?

        Not as far as I can tell. Do you remember his endless “without objective morality, morality is willy nilly and my deity claims equal objective morality” circle?

        Do you remember his months of avoiding Euthyphro’s Dilemma and then finally pretending to acknowledge it by declaring it a false dilemma?

        Perhaps someone can remind me of what his crime was initially that got him banned

        Persistent claims coupled with a complete unwillingness to engage with the implications of those claims.

        He’s still doing it.

        It took a long time for you to ban him. He hasn’t contributed a single thing to discussion.

        Find me an example and I will concede that you banned him unfairly.

        Until then, all that matters is that you banned him and he’s still here. You don’t have to keep justifying banning him after the first banning.

        • Thanks for the input.

        • 90Lew90

          I haven’t seen any of the shenanigans with ‘StevenK’ but personally I like that you put up with the occasional troll and are prepared to let them do their thing here. (I’m well aware I’ve posted a lot of irrelevant nonsense in my time.) And really, do we who perhaps think alike want to be going around slapping each others’ backs and high-fiving all the time? A bit of pugilism keeps these comment boards interesting, even if the opposition never come up with anything new. (My tuppence worth! Keep up the good work!)

        • Ignorant Amos

          If only to let the lurkers see the frailty of the the rhubarbs arguments.

        • StevenK

          Well said

        • gw

          Bob,
          What about good old George ?
          Can he be re-admitted ?
          He promises to abide the rules.

        • Do you think I’m being inconsistent? That could be true.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Good? Are you shitting us? Wise ta fuck up.

        • gw

          Well not Good as God is good,
          but in the colloquial manner.

        • Ignorant Amos

          God is good? Are you shitting us? Wise ta fuck up.

        • gw

          Happy St. George’s day.
          Given you live in Northern Ireland, I hope you celebrate it well.

          Yes, God alone is good.

        • Myna A.

          Can he be re-admitted ?

          Looks like he’s already re-admitted himself.

          But to answer the question, my vote is no. Plain and simple.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The cockwomble has lost the plot completely.

          The senile auld fecker is trolling using a sockpuppet and requesting his third party banned self be reinstated.

          His heads away with the fairies.

        • Dys

          “Good old George” was a pompous blowhard and a liar. As was his blatant sockpuppet John Jones account, and this one.

          You had multiple chances already George. You don’t deserve another one.

        • MR

          …if a dead coal be applied to a live one, either the last will kindle the first, or the first quench the last. —Epictetus

          It seems to me that StalkerSteve’s specialty is quenching.

        • Not as far as I can tell. Do you remember his endless “without objective morality, morality is willy nilly and my deity claims equal objective morality” circle?

          When I was in that discussion, that circle looked to me more like a very slowly descending spiral. Once a claim of his had been soundly refuted, he’d make slight subtle adjustments to that claim in order to try to salvage it.

          Enough iterations of this, and I’m pretty sure he would end up gradually adjusting the claim to become the exact opposite of his original claim. We could then quote him at himself in order to refute him. Once SteveK was stuck in a loop of trying to rebut his own claims, the rest of us could just sort of leave him there while he refuted himself for eternity.

        • StevenK

          Looks can be deceiving.

      • is there any indication that he would write anything thought provoking?

        I’ve found a lot of what he writes thought provoking, in much the same way as I find Sarah Palin’s speeches thought provoking: I don’t gain any new insights into whatever subject is under discussion, but I do feel like I’m learning something important about the human brain by witnessing it malfunctioning in an interesting way.

      • TheNuszAbides

        +1 for Town Hall flavor.

    • Ignorant Amos

      But we do know, that you don’t is just your own ignorance.

      We know about the gnostics, docetics, marcionites, arians, etc…which all fly in the face of your ballix flavour of orthodoxy.

      By your logic, you should be a Mormon or a gnostic.

      Paul doesn’t know a near contemporary earthly Jesus. Shite isn’t it?

      • Name is StevenK

        It specifically says in the thought experiment “We simply don’t know” if the verse in question is the original or if it’s been modified. This neutral position is the starting point of all unbiased inquiries – or should be the starting point. People have been studying and striving to answer the question for a very long time. They have reasons for saying they are confident in their conclusions.

        This thought experiment is claiming to undo everything that has been learned and insists that we cannot learn because it’s impossible to know. I disagree.

        • Ignorant Amos

          My comment was in reference to your…

          Yeah, we don’t know if there was another tradition. That’s part of the thought experiment – we don’t know. But here we are told that we DO know.

          We know there was all sorts of weird traditions of Christianity from the get-go. What we don’t know much about is their scriptures, because the most of them were destroyed by the flavour that won out in the end. And the flavour that won out in the end didn’t even preserve its own scriptures intact.

          The historical reality is probably much more complex. The Christian movement probably began not from a single center but from many different centers where different groups of disciples of Jesus gathered and tried to make sense of what they had experienced with him and what had happened to him at the end of his public ministry. Each of those groups probably had a very different take on what the significance of Jesus was. Some of them understanding his death and the resurrection experience, if they focused on it, in terms of exaltation. Others understanding it in terms of a resuscitation of the corpse of Jesus, others not worrying very much at all about the resurrection of Jesus, but concentrating on his teaching and trying to propagate that. We can see, even in the canonical text, in the Book of Acts, that there were different groups that were in competition with one another. Those who insisted more strongly on observance of Jewish laws in the Torah competed with those who were more open to admission of gentiles without imposing the burden of the Torah on them. There were others who we meet again in the Book of Acts, who apparently stood in continuity with the activity of John the Baptist and did not know the baptism that the Pauline Christians, at least, knew. So there was much more diversity in the early stages of the Christian movement than the Book of Acts suggest….

          http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/first/diversity.html

          So while we can’t know what the original autographs contained because we don’t have them, nor anything worth talking about like them until at least a couple of centuries removed from the time of authorship. We do know that there was a variety of early Christian traditions from the sublime to the ridiculous.

        • StevenK

          >> We do know that there was a variety of early Christian traditions from the sublime to the ridiculous.

          If one of those varieties that we know about matches somewhat to what is recorded in the Bible, is it reasonable to conclude that the scripture referenced in this thought experiment has been somewhat preserved – or do we still not know anything?

        • Ignorant Amos

          So what came first, the chicken or the egg? And how do ya know?

          The problem is that the scripture we have has been fucked about with over centuries as have the traditions that have followed the various scriptures.

          Christianity, or one would rather say “Christianities,” of the second and third centuries were a highly variegated phenomenon. We really can’t imagine Christianity as a unified coherent religious movement. Certainly there were some religious organizations…. There were institutions developing in some Christian churches, but only in some. And this was not universal by any means. We know from, for example, the literature recovered at Nag Hammadi, that gnostic Christianity didn’t have the kind of clear hierarchy that other forms of Christianity had developed. They still clung to a charismatic leadership model. And so there was a lot of variety in 2nd and 3rd century Christianity….

          There were very different views of Jesus in the various types of Christianity…. Perhaps the starkest contrast was among those who considered themselves as gnostic Christians, and those who considered themselves Christians in the old Pauline view of things. On the one hand, Paul, and Pauline Christianity, would have placed all of the emphasis on Jesus’ death and resurrection, and the saving power of that death and resurrection. Gnostic Christianity, on the other hand, would have placed its prime emphasis on the message, the wisdom, the knowledge, the gnosis, that’s where the word gnostic comes from, the Greek word for knowledge, the knowledge that Jesus transmits, and even the secret knowledge that Jesus transmits. So one would have on the one hand faith in the saving event of Jesus’ life and death, and on the other hand knowledge as the great source of adherence to the Jesus movement on the other hand.

          The problem is that no one knows what, say the author of Mark wrote, because the texts that exist are bastardised copies of copies of copies of copies of copies…maybe. Redacted to suit a changing audience? More than likely.

        • StevenK

          “So what came first, the chicken or the egg? And how do ya know?”

          You told me about them, that’s how I know.

  • KON3110

    Also there is Isopsephy in the NT Gospels a reading of David Fideler’s Jesus Christ Sun of God is an excellent book and also the The Greek Qabbalah by Kieren Barry also is excellent. Also the Nag Hammadi texts contain numerous examples of Isopsephy.

    • I knew the concept but not the word. Thanks. But how is that relevant to this post? Is isopsephy a way to detect errors, like a checksum?

    • Ignorant Amos

      Isn’t that what the number of the beast in Revelation, isopsephy, or gematria as it is called in Hebrew, is about?

  • 90Lew90

    I’ve got quite a serious Catch-22 going on at the moment. As will be plain to Bob and anyone else familiar with my postings, I’m not a believer. I don’t buy it. However, not long from now (I hope!) I’ll be going into a rehab program that involves 12-step, which is at bottom heavily Christian and draws on the notion of original sin, which I think is one of the most repugnant ideas ever to have occurred to a human mind. You must accept that you’re wholly and utterly broken, and sick. That’s a bit of an ask! But you must also accept that your life depends on your accepting this view of yourself. Moreover — and I can perhaps get along with the stuff about alcoholism being an illness and that I’m weak in the face of it, but here’s the important part — you have to “submit to a higher power”.

    Therein lies the problem. Interestingly, this bit of the 12-step philosophy (if it can be called a philosophy) is drawn in part from what William James said in a book of his I’ve actually read, ‘The Varieties of Religious Experience’. “The only cure for dipsomania is religiomania”. Religiomania? That’s what they’ll be prescribing? I fear I may find myself falling off the wagon quick smart if that’s the case. The comedian Doug Stanhope is good on this. He says something to the effect that he walked into AA a dyed-in-the-wool skeptic and they started on at him about this higher power and brokenness stuff, so he elected vodka as the higher power! (Excellent!)

    I may have posted about this before, so sorry if I have and I don’t mean to hog the comments with it, but aside of my own situation, how in the fuck do you get round that? It seems to be widely agreed there’s no other way. I’m carrying around Marcus Aurelius’s ‘Meditations’ which are all about self-mastery (that would mean the higher power is a potential me, but I don’t think that’s what they want), and Thich Nhat Hanh’s ‘The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching’ (which would also mean the higher power is me).

    One thing’s for certain, I can’t leave everything I’ve read, thought and learned at the door and simply comply with a program of thinking about oneself derived from a religion I find hateful. I was a recovering Catholic before I was ever a “recovering” alcoholic. Suggestions welcome!

    • MNb
      • 90Lew90

        All I can say in favour of the program I’m trying to get into is that 12-step is only one element of it, but I can’t imagine given all the guff around 12-step that they’re not going to turn me out of what may be a successful (at the time) program and tell me to go to AA. Thanks for the article linked. I’ll have a look at it and come back to you. No time just now.

      • Fascinating article. The shoehorning of alcoholics into AA reminds me of Christians’ shoehorning of everyone into Christianity’s one-size-fits-all model of the world.

      • 90Lew90

        Great article. I’ll be keeping that in my arsenal for when I get in. (I might not be an easy patient!) I’ve spent a bit of time researching this and they do seem to mix it up in terms of treatment. They do cognitive behavioural therapy too, and various other things that actually have scientific clout. So we’ll see. Thanks for the thought.

        • MNb

          “They do cognitive behavioural therapy too.”
          That sounds a lot better.

          http://www.learn-about-alcoholism.com/types-of-alcoholism.html

          You might want to read this as well:

          http://www.medicinenet.com/alcohol_abuse_and_alcoholism/article.htm

        • 90Lew90

          It’s not like I haven’t looked into it. I was first referred for addiction counselling at the age of 17 when I went to the doctor desperate and then went and got arrested anyway because the police here apparently like to victimise the young because they’re the easiest to catch. I’m quite a way down the road from that now. Anyway, thanks again. I’ll stop boring the bored/board with this. It’s off-topic and I’m hogging comment space with pretty common shit. First-World problems! I didn’t expect such an attentive, concerned response. There’s been much good advice offered and I’m a bit choked up by the kindness of strangers here. Sincerely, thanks to everyone who helped out. Damn! Some people have it much, much worse. It may come down to biting a bit and getting the fuck over myself, but in any case it’ll be a new journey, so as I said, we’ll see. I’m approaching 40 and feel ready to turn a corner. “Right turn, Clyde!”

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i98QrSSHxo4

        • MNb

          “I’ll stop boring the bored/board with this.”
          Believe it or not, but I’m a bit offended. Alcoholism is a serious problem (it runs in my family and I strongly suspect I’m a potential alcoholic as well) so whether it’s boring is highly irrelevant.
          Whenever you feel the need you can write about your alcoholism whatever you like afaIc. I don’t think BobS minds either.

          “It’s off-topic.”
          The topic can fuck off.

          “First-World problems!”
          Dead wrong. It’s a problem in Third World countries as well.

          “I’m a bit choked up.”
          That’s a much better reason.

          “Some people have it much, much worse.”
          Stop downplaying, will you? You are not going to fool me and trying to fool yourself is a bad start. There are always people who have it worse. Like I said it runs in my family; I have seen people who got it worse due to alcohol.

          “getting the fuck over myself”
          Do I smell catholic free will nonsense here?
          Try it. Prove it, not to anyone else, only to yourself. Don’t drink even a drop for two months (that’s how I have dealt with alcohol for more than three decades; I’m in a sober period right now). If you manage to do it there is nothing to get over, because you’re not addicted. If you don’t you’re not able to get over yourself and need help to do it. The amount you consume is quite unimportant. My late grandma became addicted (and ended with Korsakov) from one or two small glasses jenever a day.
          That’s simple science – biology, chemistry and psychology. It applies to you as well.

          “Sincerely, thanks to everyone.”
          You remain welcome.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I concur with everything you’ve said..

          If a crutch is what is required, lean on me. Whether it be in cyperspace or in real life.

          I’m a heavy social drinker maself, but nevertheless, I’m still here as a shoulder regardless.

        • 90Lew90

          Well, be assured that the last thing I intended was to offend you, and let’s not get into a ping-pong on this, but if it’s to be brass tacks honesty, I’ll give you that. Having managed to get addicted to every substance I’ve ever come across and crossed the Irish Sea twice to avoid at different periods in my life, variously cannabis, LSD, ecstasy, on the Irish side (and narrowly avoiding jail for selling them as a teenager), and having then gone to London where I was unwise enough to get into crack and heroin and developed a good drinking habit, then brought that home with me in an effort to get away from crack mainly, then basically took everything I could get my hands on back here and maintaining heavy drinking, and having been in addiction counselling three times to no good effect, I could probably teach you a thing or two about addiction.

          If it’s how I came across, I didn’t mean to be dismissive and have been quite overwhelmed by the way the community here jumped to try to help. I’m very conscious and grateful that people took a little bit of time out of their lives to try to help someone they don’t know, particularly Amos, who went so far as to offer to meet. The response has been extremely heartening.

          However, I’m also conscious of the fact that Bob is running a blog into which he puts considerable effort and it is not a support group for addled addicts. Out of courtesy to him in return for the courtesy shown me, I think enough’s been said about me here. That’s just good manners as far as I’m concerned.

          Now, I don’t happen to think you’re qualified to tell me whether or not I’m addicted, and your bit about two months off meaning I’m not is nonsense. As it happens, I was off it for two and a half months up until mid-December. Feeling like I was losing my mind, I fell off the wagon in grand style. I went on the vodka (I generally keep away from spirits as a rule because they make me go mad). And I went mad. Went to a local shebeen, got in a serious fight with an uncle and nephew, and had to come home to my elderly father with my face all cut up because nephew took nun chucks to it, and now have a couple of more scars to show for it. (I still won the fight. Only friends are allowed to call me ‘faggot’ and I have a furious temper, especially with a bottle of vodka in me.) I had an uncle who was off it for 26 years and had to be put in rehab three times when he was in his 70s. He never made 80. “Two months and you’re not addicted.” Shut up.

          It may not be obvious because I seem lucid enough when I commit anything to writing on here (and because I’m avoiding spirits), but my background is in writing and editing. I am at the moment drinking on average 20 cans of strong beer a day, around the clock (I get two or three hours’ sleep at most at a time), and I’m drinking that amount to keep DTs away because the GPs in the dear old NHS now refuse to prescribe sedatives or sleeping pills to any alcoholics, so I just top up and sleep while I can and remain functional enough to run this house and care for my father, who has no idea about the amount I consume because I hide my empties. I can just about manage to cook and clean, but I can hardly eat. I’m 6’3″ and weigh 133lb. I was up until about 7am this morning drinking, and was up awake again at 10am, had a pot of coffee which I threw up (throwing up is a matter of course and I often do it several times a day), and it’s now just after 2pm and I’m on my fourth beer.

          No offence, but you’re not talking to someone who just suspects they might have a little problem. Do you get me? I’m not trying for rehab as some sort of self-indulgence, I’m after it for medically assisted withdrawal and a serious look at a serious problem that I’ve had since I was 14 years of age.

          That’s enough disclosure from me and thanks for allowing me to “remain welcome” but that’s not your fucking call to make. (Temper Lew. Temper!)

        • Thanks for sharing your insights. This is an issue with which I know little, so this has been insightful. At the very least, this conversation is valuable for me because it helps to put my own issues in perspective.

          Yes, the purpose of this blog is mostly to critique Christianity, but a community has developed, and that’s as valuable and important as the content that I put in. If you want to update us on your progress or travails now and then, that’d be great. If you don’t want to, that’s fine as well.

        • Cletus B Neckbeard

          With a history like that, you’ve made it pretty clear that you haven’t the requisite judgment to cross a street by yourself or, for that matter, tell anyone else what’s wrong with their thinking.

          Thanks for being a textbook example, though, of the evils of substance abuse/addiction. Might wanna get off the computer and quit showing the world what an absolute loser you are.

        • Bye, loser.

        • MNb

          Wrong. You haven’t offended me a second time; you made me smile. My dear Irish thickhead, you forget I’m not a polite Englishman or American, but a rude Dutchie.
          If you can stay away from alcohol more than two months you can stay away from it for the rest of your life. I was not arguing against you getting help. I just conclude that your prospects are pretty good, that there are solid reasons to remain positive. Whether that triggers your temper or not can oxidate at my ass. Whether you take that as the encouragement as I mean it is up to you. I’m not stupid enough to think I can make such decisions for you.
          I like your internet character the way it is, Lew, including your Irish temper. You may as well get used to it. And that means that I’ll tell you exactly what I think, Irish temper or not.

        • 90Lew90

          OK. Well, we’ll leave it at that then. At beer #7 today, I’m feeling quite mellow and think I might take the dog for a walk on my trip to the off-licence…

      • TheNuszAbides

        AA truisms have so infiltrated our culture that many people believe heavy drinkers cannot recover before they “hit bottom.” Researchers I’ve talked with say that’s akin to offering antidepressants only to those who have attempted suicide, or prescribing insulin only after a patient has lapsed into a diabetic coma. … Willenbring, a psychiatrist in St. Paul and a former director of treatment and recovery research at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, told me. He threw up his hands. “Absurd.”

        why do so many people seem to have swallowed their hands during or prior to interview?

    • Ignorant Amos

      Holy Fuck Lew…if ya need someone to talk to, go through Bob for ma e-mail address and I can get ma arse into the smoke for a sit down and a yarn.

      Of course am not much of a shining example with my own alcohol imbibing, but still.

      I’m not sure that lying to those un’s or even yourself, is a good first step to successful abstinence. But maybe all the effing and jeffing under yer breath might well be a boon.

      I’m reminded of a lad that filled out his application for the Orange Order and put atheist in the “religion” field…he couldn’t understand why the whole bar was laughing about it, seriously…I couldn’t understand why the question was in the application form in the first place…the poor bugger only wanted to join to be part of the in-crowd.

      Isn’t there an alternative program in the province that can help? How will your homosexuality be received regardless of your worry of your non-belief angle? Or will that need to stay in the closet also? Especially with the prejudice and bigotry that is thick in our NI brand of Christian thinking? I’m anxious for ya pal…I’m not awfully sure this endeavour you are embarking will be fruitful given your personal mindset and world view. Asking the question is raising a lot of red flags already. I sincerely hope what you are considering doesn’t set you further back in your challenge.

      Don’t be a stranger here whatever ya decide, as I feel the community at this place could be of help.

      • 90Lew90

        That’s very kind of you. Thanks for the offer. I’ll see how I get on. (At the minute, the NIHSC is making me jump through hoops for funding for private care in the South. Long story. Won’t bore you with it…)

        • Amos was right–I’m happy to put you in email contact. Perhaps you need your space, but let me know if that’d be helpful.

      • Michael Neville

        I’m reminded of a lad that filled out his application for the Orange Order and put atheist in the “religion” field.

        Obviously he was a Protestant atheist, not a Catholic atheist.

    • Name is StevenK

      I think you should go along with the program for the simple reason that it has a track record of changing lives for the better.

      • Max Doubt

        “I think you should go along with the program for the simple reason that it has a track record of changing lives for the better.”

        So does heroin, abortion, gay sex, and armed robbery.

        • TheNuszAbides

          “I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.”

      • Greg G.

        Their track record doesn’t count their failures. They use the same scoring method as the abstinence-only programs. Other programs count the successes compared to everyone who enters the program, while AA only counts those who complete the program.

        • StevenK

          So AA doesn’t work. Okay. Got it.

        • Greg G.

          If you have no reading comprehension, why not buy some Dr Seuss books to try to develop it?

        • StevenK

          So AA does work?

        • Greg G.

          Again, take my advice on developing your reading comprehension.

        • StevenK

          So if both my comments were off target, then what the hell was the point of your comment? Never mind, I don’t care anymore.

        • Greg G.

          I said, “Their track record doesn’t count their failures.” It says nothing about them not having successes but it does imply that there must be some successes.

          Why is that so hard to understand? Why were you trying to make it say something else? If I meant that they had no success at all, I would have stated it explicitly and loudly.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Geisel’s work might be a little steep for him. Don’t give the poor SOB a nervous breakdown!

        • Greg G.

          Maybe we should Put Him in the Zoo with some Lopshire.

          PS: That was the last book I read (to my three year old nephew).

      • 90Lew90

        Nice to meet you K. That’s not a Kafka reference in your name by an chance? From what I’ve heard of you, I’m rather unsurprised you’re telling me to just go along with it. All I can say is I’ll give it a shot but there’s no silver bullet. I just want off this roundabout I’ve been on for the past 25 years. Anyway, let’s not hog the board with this any longer. The help that’s been proffered here so far has been much more than I was expecting. Atheists aren’t all bad, see?!

        • StevenK

          I hope you are able to find the help you need.

    • That sounds like a big challenge, even without the problem of AA’s bizarre worldview. Best wishes for success.

      I’ve heard that AA’s impressive statistics aren’t all that impressive when evaluated by a third party. I hear that someone who drops out didn’t fully participate, so their failure doesn’t count against AA, and similar issues. This is just hearsay from my standpoint, but it might be a data point.

      What frustrates me about someone saying, “I’m free from demon rum; thank you Jesus!” is that they got themselves through that dark period (probably with much help from family and friends). Jesus was too busy watching TV to actually do anything. But at the next bump in the road, instead of thinking, “Dammit–I got myself past addiction, so I can get past this problem easy,” they think, “I’m worthless and weak! I hope Jesus will deign to help me again.” (But that’s an aside.)

      There’s a list of secular alternatives at the bottom of this page:
      https://ffrf.org/outreach/item/16468-finding-secular-alternatives-to-aa

      Another possibility:
      http://www.sossobriety.org/

      I don’t know if any are in your area (if not, perhaps you could start your own?). I’m sure the mutual support in any such organization is very helpful.

      I’m reaching now, but there are also drugs that might help.
      http://www.drugs.com/antabuse.html

      • 90Lew90

        Thanks very much for this. It had occurred to me to start a secular group actually. But that’s quite a distance down the road from where I’m at just now. Your help is much appreciated and I’ve saved those links.

        • Not that I’m trying to think of new ways to fill your spare time, but perhaps the challenge of creating and supporting a new group would help direct your focus to the needs of others, which might make your own recovery a bit easier.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          “… direct your focus to the needs of others, which might make your own recovery a bit easier.”

          THIS

          There are parts of my life that I find just suck terribly. My job helping people I have worked with day after day for over three years now (I practically LIVE in my place of work- one of the guys who trained me did live at the care center way back when) and advocating online for LGBT+ people, gender equality, reproduction rights, freedom of religion (etc buzz words that can’t really capture my last few years)… that makes life more than worth any heaven not one single “supernatural god” ever tried to offer me.

        • Long ago I was reading a book about (IIRC) side show “freaks” from maybe a century ago. There was one 20-something guy who had a small conjoined twin attached to his chest/abdomen. He complained about his unlucky lot in life for years (which might have been his right) but then he visited some hospital (a mental hospital perhaps) where he saw people in far worse situations than his own. He never complained again.

          An example like that helps put my own problems in perspective.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Oh, I vent plenty. Crap doesn’t stop stinking just because I can bear the smell (an apt metaphor for part of my work).

    • To MNb’s point, I came across this Patheos atheist article today: “Quit Telling Addicts They Need God to Recover!

      • MNb

        Actually I would be OK if a program told such a thing – if it was in addition to a plan that actually does work. AA is not one of them.

    • Dennis Reeder

      Some participants in 12 step groups identify their ‘higher power’ as the group itself rather than a deity. ie it’s a power greater than themselves. If the particular meeting you are attending relies to heavily on a more literal reading of higher power then you can surely look for another meeting. In addition (if you are in are larger metropolitan area) you could search for a Rational Recovery group. You might find this link useful: https://rational.org/index.php?id=1

      • Dennis Reeder

        Hmmm. After re-reading your comments I wonder if I misunderstood the issue. Are you entering a residential treatment center that utilizes the Twelve Steps in addition to CBT, Behavior Modification, Motivational Training or some other counseling modality?

      • 90Lew90

        Thanks for this. I’m actually in the small town of my birth looking after, albeit judderingly, my father who is 87. He’s as stubborn as a mule and I just know he’s aiming to make 100, but with it being a small Irish town AA is anything but anonymous and I’ll not be telling any unqualified bozo my deepest darkest guilty secrets. I’ve been around the block a bit and can argue quite squarely and with hand on heart that I’ve never done anyone any harm (much), but to a small-town Northern Ireland person? I’d either have the cops or a mob at my door. That’s just not going to happen!

        • cat butler

          I spent a few years in AA as an atheist. I sympathize and wish you well in your journey. As for the higher power thing—I just didn’t worry about it (I learned a lot about patience ignoring much of what I heard there by the way). For the record, I’ve been sober more than 11 years now and I haven’t been back to AA in nearly 5 years. One other resource I would recommend is Smart Recovery – http://www.smartrecovery.org. It’s a secular program and uses a more rational approach. It’s been a big help for me. Good luck—you can get make it.

        • 90Lew90

          Thanks. I appreciate it.

    • Paul B. Lot

      “you have to “submit to a higher power”.”

      Indeed.

      AA was awful for me, truly terrible. Not even so much the rhetoric, just being surrounded by so many koolaid-cult-members. :-/

      I was eventually able to assent to that proposition, though, through realizing that my “higher power” was physics + the whole history of the universe which brought the collection of quantum-field-fluctuations I call “myself” to that AA round table.

      It’s pretty easy for me to admit that I am powerless to change my own quarks.

      With that said, there are serious problems to their rhetoric of powerlessness.

      If you’re not being forced into this rheab situation, I hope you give serious thought to seeking other professional help solutions from licensed clinicians/therapists.

      Best of luck to you though, whichever way it goes!

      • 90Lew90

        I had been expecting about another month of process on this. Tomorrow, I’m in. Thanks for the thought.

        • Ignorant Amos

          All the very best chum.

  • gw

    In honour of Saint Anselm:

    The Ontological Argument:

    a) Is it Sound ?

    b) Is it Valid ?

    c) Is it True – even if humans may not be able to confirm that it is true.

    [ By the way I like the picture of Saint George slaying the Atheist Dragon at the top of this page ! ]

    • I like the picture of Saint George slaying the Atheist Dragon at the top of this page

      Reread the title to understand how the metaphor works in this instance.

    • Ignorant Amos

      Logic teacher, my arse.

      • gw

        Why not address the Ontological Argument

        instead of referencing your posterior.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Why are you here trolling again?

          Why not address the Ontological Argument

          Been done.

          The argument is fallacious. Even Catholic superhero Thomas Aquinas knocked it.

          Other well known philosophers have slated it too.

          It was taken apart in Anselm’s own time by a contemporary and fellow monk.

          http://www.philosophyofreligion.info/theistic-proofs/the-ontological-argument/st-anselms-ontological-argument/gaunilos-perfect-island/

          Replace “God” with “Space Ponies” and define “Space Ponies” as “that than which no greater horse’s can be conceived”. We now have an argument for the existence of Space Ponies, which are also just other made up nonsense entities.

          http://smbc-comics.com/index.php?id=3066

        • gw

          The Ontological Argument simply states that if there is
          no longical reason as to why God cannot be said to exist
          – on ontological terms – then we have no reason to deny the existence of God as God alone is the only necessary being.

          Premises

          a) All necessary beings can exist.

          b) God is either a necessary or a contingent being.

          c) If God were to be a contingent being, a greater being
          would be a necessary being.

          d) If God exists, He necessarily exists.

          Conclusion

          e) Necessarily God, and only God, if He exists,
          necessarily exists.

          Thus there is no logical reason why God cannot exist.

          The Premises are true, the argument is Valid and God,

          as He exists, knows the argument to be True.

        • Greg G.

          Step c) is a non sequitur. There is no need to have a greater being or a necessary being.

        • gw

          There must be one necessary being and that being is,
          according to Anselm’s argument, is God.

          Contingent beings cannot create themselves and thus can
          never come into existence by their own powers.

        • Greg G.

          A being could evolve through chemistry and evolution but it is not necessary that it happen. There is no necessity for a being.

        • gw

          Contingent beings cannot create themselves.

        • Greg G.

          They can be created by coming about through contingent factors.

        • gw

          No, that does not work.
          That is the supreme example of begging the question.

        • Greg G.

          We understand of how life evolves, how an allele can be duplicated, then one copy can change into a slightly different function that may or may not be beneficial. The beneficial ones will multiply while the detrimental ones will be eliminated. RNA can build DNA strands. There is no logical reason that many RNA molecules could not form by itself on any of the grains of sand on all the beaches in the world. Just one has to have the ability to reproduce itself sometimes and sometimes imperfectly to be able to build a DNA structure that can serve as a template for more of the RNA molecules.

          That is more probable than your ontological model.

        • whg

          No, we do not understand how life evolves.
          No reputable geneticist would make such a claim.
          We have parts but not the whole of a coherent theory of evolution.

          Contingent beings cannot bring themselves into existence.

          You beg the questions about how evolution begins.

        • Greg G.

          You do not understand how life evolves. Geneticists have written computer programs for certain single celled organisms that predicted what mutations would happen and which ones would be selected for under given predictions and nailed every one of them.

          The theory of evolution is very coherent.

          Contingent beings can bring other contingent beings into existence and there is no way to prove that simple organisms cannot arise through chemistry. There’s a Nobel Prize waiting for you if can prove that.

          Evolution begins with differential heritable reproductive success. That is all evolution is. You think it involves abiogenesis. It does not. You have been corrected on this many times.

        • whg

          No, if evolution is random, and it is, writing programs does not show anything save the program was written in such a way to produce the intended result.

          No, the theory of evolution is not coherent, not at all.
          Do you understand what coherence means ?

          Contingent beings by their very nature cannot bring anything
          into existence. Do you understand what contingent means ?

          No, Evolution could have been a failure millions of times
          before anything reproduced.

        • Susan

          No, if evolution is random, and it is

          George, don’t you have anything better to do with your time than to reinvent disqus entities and play games? Why are you up so late?

          How is evolution “random”? Define “random” and explain how “evolution” can be described by that single term?

          No, the theory of evolution is not coherent, not at all.

          What is the theory of evolution? Be specific. Then explain its incoherency.

          Contingent beings by their very nature cannot bring anything into existence.

          Really? I made a sandwich earlier.

          No, Evolution could have been a failure millions of times before anything reproduced.

          Your punctuation and sentence structure always give you away.

          Leaving that aside, what does it mean to be a “failure millions of times before anything reproduced”?

          You’ve claimed to be a logic professor here (and a historian elsewhere)and now, you’re claiming knowledge of biology.

          So much easier to claim knowledge without having to do any work, isn’t it?

          What is “evolution”? It’s the same as “objective evidence” George.

          If you’re going to pretend that you can dismiss either, you have to show that you know what they are.

        • whg

          In terms of randomness: If all life on this planet were to be destroyed,
          and life began again, would we end up with the same life forms after the
          same amount of time ? So is Evolution random or not ?

          Darwin’s theory proved incapable of producing a coherent theory so it
          was quietly modified until you really cannot say it is Darwin’s anymore.
          There are so many unanswered questions in Evolutionary Theory that
          even the proponents accept that is is only a theory.

          No, you did not create the Sandwich. You re-arranged materials to
          make a sandwich but you did not create it.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “Darwin’s theory proved incapable of producing a coherent theory so it was quietly modified until you really cannot say it is Darwin’s anymore.”

          False.

          “even the proponents accept that is is only a theory.”

          “Only a theory” is all anything ever gets. You’re implication that there is a further/higher level of epistemological truth, is false.

          “In terms of randomness: If all life on this planet were to be destroyed, and life began again, would we end up with the same life forms after the same amount of time ?”

          Of course not. If Earth were glassed by a meteor, such that every living thing were extinguished, IF life were to begin again, we would probably not expect “the same life forms” to emerge at all, let alone “after the same amount of time.”

          “So is Evolution random or not ?”

          What? No, it is not. Didn’t you already ask this?

          Oh.

          Oh, I see.

          YOU think that the hypothetical question you asked just above this question has some relevance. It does not.

          Let me explain:

          IF your house were to burn down, along with all of your possessions and your car and your keepsakes….and IF you had the wherewithal to start again, would you end up with the same possessions and car and keepsakes after the same amount of time?”

          Of course not.

          Would the life processes which got you the first [set of things] be accurately described as “random” because they didn’t yield the exact same [set of things] the second-time around?

          Of course not.

          You’re going to need shelter again, so your new “house” is going to have some 3 dimensionality to it, it’s going to have some level of precipitation shedding. It’s going to have some degree of temperature control. It’s going to allow you some amount of selectivity in who and what gets access to the interior.

          You’re going to need transportation again, so your new car is going to have some number of wheels and be able to somewhat reliably transport X mass Y distance.

          You’re going to acquire material possesions which have emotional value, again……

          etc

          etc

          “No, you did not create the Sandwich. You re-arranged materials to make a sandwich but you did not create it.”

          Hey, wow. Check it out: you said something correct!

          Wohooooooo

        • whg

          Yet there are scientists that say life would evolve to what we have today.
          Are you up-to-date on Evolution.
          Attempts to change flies into different sub-species have found that the offspring
          soon return to their original species…

          Perhaps there is more “Evolution” than you suppose.

          Answer me this: What is the precise definition of a “Species” ?

          And yes, Evolutionary Theory has moved far beyond Darwin.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “Yet there are scientists that say life would evolve to what we have today.”

          Lol, prove it. Give names, and sources, or be called out for an asinine liar.

          “Attempts to change flies into different sub-species have found that the offspring soon return to their original species…”

          Really? Can you prove it? Can you give sources?

          “And yes, Evolutionary Theory has moved far beyond Darwin.”

          Perhaps.

          But saying that the

          “Theory has moved far beyond Darwin[‘s writings]”

          and that

          “Darwin’s theory proved incapable of producing a coherent theory”

          are not equivalent statements.

          The theory of physics has moved far beyond Newton’s writings, as well – that does not render his writing “incapable of producing a coherent theory.”

        • Susan

          George said:

          No, you did not create the Sandwich. You re-arranged materials to make a sandwich but you did not create it.

          Paul said:

          Check it out: you said something correct!
          Wohooooooo

          Indeed. The second sentence is correct. The first sentence is the sort of vague terminology that George has to rely on in order to make ridiculous claims he can’t support.

          It doesn’t help him on the subject of natural selection.

          Nor does it do anything to clear a way to his meaningless assertion “Contingent beings cannot by their very nature bring anything into existence.”

          Of course, you already know that.

          I’m just wondering why Bob hasn’t banned this latest George Sockpuppet. (Couldn’t resist capitalizing as a tribute to George. For once, it seems appropriate.) It takes Bob a long time to ban someone. They have to be truly awful for him to get around to it. I respect that. I’m sure it has a lot to do with why I spend so much time here. It allows all of us to make mistakes and to recover and do better.

          But when someone’s finally been banned, reconstituted themselves and been banned again, and shows up in a cheaper fake moustache every time, I find it frustrating that they are allowed to be here.

          I didn’t call for his banning the first time. But once they’ve gone and got themselves banned, it doesn’t seem right that they get to show up immediately and not miss a beat when it comes to engaging in the exact behaviour (with all the grammatical and illogical fingerprints that gives them away) that got them banned in the first place.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Maybe Bob is outta town at the moment.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Yahweh did not create the ______. He re-arranged materials to make ______ but He did not create [any/it/them].

          … wow, that IS easy!

        • whg

          If you say so.
          Glad to be of help.

        • TheNuszAbides

          you’re not only incompetent at holding mirrors up to us, you’re not even willing (being charitable enough to assume you aren’t entirely oblivious to it) to reciprocate. your choices of when to be sarcastic and when to be ‘challenging’ are tiresome. at least show a hunger for self-improvement, even if it’s only within the delusion-bubble where you’re a righteous ambassador for JHVH-1.

        • whg

          If I am incompetent, please say explicitly where.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i’ll cite one of the many occasions (more or less every time you have arrogantly brushed off or belittled Susan, Dys, Myna etc., and absolutely every time you have spewed out “point game set and match”) after you follow through on one of your many already-stated intentions to present a cogent argument or defense of anything. certainly not holding my breath.

        • TheNuszAbides

          rather than “many” that should have been “few”. but you only need make an honest, serious, tightly-reasoned effort for one of them.

        • TheNuszAbides

          you aren’t of help. but you probably could be if you were willing to practice a different/honest approach.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Easy as… The main difference being that I’m fairly certain Susan exists to do the rearranging…no such certainty, nor anything even close, can be said of Yahweh…or any other gods imagined.

          Logic teacher, my arse.

        • TheNuszAbides

          I’m fairly certain Susan exists to do the rearranging…

          careful, we don’t want any clowns to mistakenly derive the impression that atheists imbue anyone or anything with purpose!

        • adam

          “If all life on this planet were to be destroyed, and life began again, would we end up with the same life forms after the same amount of time ?”

          If everything was the same, then yes.

          ” So is Evolution random or not ?”

          As random as physics and chemistry.

        • whg

          So if we end up with the same species at the same time and evolutionist trace them all back along the same genetic lines then evolution is not random and one of the cornerstones of the theory is removed and those who say it proves there is no ( need ) of a Creator have not that support for their claim.

          By the way are you a follower of Ayn Rand ?

        • adam

          There is no random in evolution.

          It is pure chemistry and physics.

          Mutations may APPEAR to us to be random because we are not looking at EVERY SINGLE chemical and physical reaction

          But if EVERYTHING were the same, evolution would be the same.

          It is just your misunderstandng of science, which does NOT lead to MAGIC…

          By the way are you a follower of Ken Ham?

        • whg

          Nothing is random in Evolution.

          So nothing is random in Physics and Chemistry.

          So the Universe must absolutely be the way it is.

          Have no idea who Ken Ham is.

          Meanwhile are you a follower of Ayn Rand ?

        • adam

          “So the Universe must absolutely be the way it is.”

          How could it be otherwise?

          Magic

          I have no ideal who Ayn Rand is.

          Meanwhile are you a follower of Ken Ham?

        • whg

          Don’t know of Ken Ham, save your mention of him.

          Hmm, so there is no randomness in nature ?

        • adam

          “Hmm, so there is no randomness in nature ?”

          No, just as there is no Free Will in nature.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “Randomness” is not “one of the cornerstones of the theory” – my my, but you had a terrible education.

        • Ignorant Amos

          – my my, but you had a terrible education.

          Surely not.

          A teacher of Logic, Epistemology and Philosophy at thee top public university in the gud ole U.S. of A. no less.

          Logic teacher, my arse.

        • whg

          PBL,

          Yes it is, in terms of Atheists who see no need for a Creator/Intelligent Design
          they cannot have anything but randomness.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Nope.

        • whg

          PBL,

          If not random, then constrained natural selection ?

        • Paul B. Lot

          Constrained by the physics of the system.

        • whg

          So Adam you are willing to state un-equivocably that were an atom to be put back into the same state, it would decay in exactly the same way, even thought it is absolutely impossible to show that by repeated experiments and so you are saying that logic trumps science and thus metaphysics trumps science as it trumps logic and so the 2nd version of Anselm’s Ontological Argument is Valid/Sound/True and the Creator does exist.

          Thank You.

        • Susan

          No, you did not create the Sandwich. You re-arranged materials to make a sandwich but you did not create it.

          How do you know, George? Were you there?

          There was no sandwich. Then, there was a sandwich.

          I did not say I created the materials I used to create the sandwich.

          You said:

          Contingent beings cannot by their very nature bring anything into existence.

          I brought a sandwich into existence.

          This was in response to your silly assertions on the subject of evolutionary theory.

          In that context, my sandwich trumps your claim.

          Go away, George.

        • whg

          Susan,

          If you are capable of bringing sandwiches into existence out of nothing, then please make them for all the starving people in the world.

        • Susan

          George Sockpuppet,

          If you are capable of bringing sandwiches into existence out of nothing, then please make them for all the starving people in the world.

          I didn’t say that I was capable of bringing something into existence out of metaphysical nothing. Neither does natural selection.

          You have wandered far away from your original claim and headed straight into equivocation. .

          Which is why I mentioned the sandwich I made earlier today. To fast-track to your equivocation. I’ve lost patience with your dishonesty, George. A long time back, I lost it.

          Focus, George.

          Better yet, just go away.

        • whg

          Susan,

          Let us clarify.

          You now admit you did not create a sandwich – out of nothing.

          That as a contingent being, you cannot create anything.

          Natural Selection explains very little, even less than you might suppose.

          I never equivocate.

          Think Susan, think.

        • Ignorant Amos

          What has ever created something from nothing?

        • whg

          Just the Creator.

        • Ignorant Amos

          How do you know?

        • whg

          Well if there is no Creator and if we are all Contingent Being,
          then there is no getting the going a’ getting.

        • Paul B. Lot

          ” if we are all Contingent Being”

          What evidence do you have to support the premise that we are contingent?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Why? Because you say so?

          Many philosophers and scientists don’t seem to a have problem.

          Bertrand Russell is one such philosopher that didn’t have a problem with such a creator.

          But that doesn’t answer my original question.

          I’ll ask it again.

          How do you know?

        • adam

          “IF”

        • adam

          Only the creator is created out from nothing.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Sorts out infinite regress a suppose.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “Natural Selection explains very little”

          This is true.

          All that “evolution via natural selection” explains is [the diversity of life on Earth].

          It tells us nothing* about Monet’s paintings or the square root of pi.

          “You now admit you did not create a sandwich – out of nothing.”

          This is inaccurate – she does not NOW admit that. There was no point in time where she said otherwise.

          “as a contingent being, you cannot create anything”

          Her inability to create [something] from [nothing] is unconnected to her status as a “contingent being”.

          “I never equivocate.”

          Lol.

          “Think Susan, think.”

          Physician, heal thyself.

        • whg

          Susan admitted it.

          And yet no one understand “Natural Selection”…

          No, being contingent, she can never Create anything.

          Show where I equivocate.

          Yes, you should heal yourself PBL.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “Susan admitted it.”

          Your use of the word implies that at some point in the past, t , she denied.

          But t doesn’t exist. So you are being misleading.

          “And yet no one understand “Natural Selection”…”

          You are conflating the fact that YOU don’t understand it with the idea that NO ONE could. There is no logical connection between the two.

          Failed again.

          “Yes, you should heal yourself PBL.”

          Heal myself of what, pray tell?

        • whg

          Susan made the claim then she recanted the claim.

          Not one Biologist has been able to show that “Natural Selection” wholly accounts for
          how life on Earth is.

          That you are correct always and I am always incorrect.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “Susan made the claim then she recanted the claim.”

          This is false. She made a claim and because of your propsensity to equivocate you straw-maned her point.

          She then addressed this straw-man, and informed you that she didn’t hold that view.

          You then equivocated some more and claimed that [her informing you that she doesn’t hold your straw-man position] was equivalent to [admitting error/making a claim and recanting].

          “Not one Biologist has been able to show that “Natural Selection” wholly accounts for how life on Earth is.”

          George: “I’ll take ‘Obvious Things No One Disagrees With’ for 100!”

          “That you are correct always and I am always incorrect.”

          I have never said either, here’s another statement of yours to heap on the “falsehood” pile.

          In fact, I have explicitly congratulated you on several of the correct things you’ve said. In fact, I recall informing you that I would agree with every [true thing] you said – regardless of [who you were.]

          I agree with you to exactly the same extent as I would agree with the architects of the Holocaust (or Gandi for that matter) – I agree with you to the extent that you say thing I perceive as being true.

          Here are 3 posts just in the last two days where I voice some level of agreement with you, some level of acknowledgment that what you had said was correct:

          https://disqus.com/home/discussion/crossexamined/a_simple_thought_experiment_defeats_claim_that_bible_is_accurate/#comment-2658313042

          https://disqus.com/home/discussion/crossexamined/do_atheists_borrow_from_the_christian_worldview_a_parable/#comment-2656187050

          https://disqus.com/home/discussion/crossexamined/a_simple_thought_experiment_defeats_claim_that_bible_is_accurate/#comment-2655978702

          Therefore your assertion that I think I am “correct always” and that you are “always incorrect” – is false.

          If your assertion were true, guess what?

          I would have agreed with it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          So George lies.

          Game
          Set
          and
          Match

        • Ignorant Amos

          He is really just too stupid for words.

          Logic teacher, my arse.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • whg

          Susan made the claim two days ago.

        • Ignorant Amos

          No she didn’t ya wizened old shitebag.

          You made the claim…

          Contingent beings by their very nature cannot bring anything into existence.

          To which Susan replied…

          Really? I made a sandwich earlier.

          At no time did she say she used nothing. No one knows what nothing is, there has never been a “time” when there was “nothing”.

          Contingent beings “create” stuff all the time.

          Create:- : to make or produce (something) : to cause (something new) to exist

          The sandwich did not exist before Susan created it, she brought it into existence.

          Create:- : to produce through imaginative skill

          A poem is an example of just such a creation.

          To date, we only have examples of contingent things creating other contingent things. At least that’s my limited understanding.

          You can’t just define in a being, call it God and claim its non contingent first cause of everything. That’s getting way to far ahead of yerself without warrant.

          Now will ya fuck off ya lying cunt and go mind wank somewhere else.

        • adam

          “If your “God” is capable of bringing sandwiches into existence out of
          nothing, then please have it make them for all the starving people in the world.”

        • whg

          Susan,

          Losing it here, equivocation alert.

          Sandwiches are for eating, not trumping.

          You know you would miss me.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’m surprised Bob is allowing this lying trolling ignorant cockwomble to flaunt his banning decisions so blatantly.

          It’s kinda mocking the moderation.

        • TheNuszAbides

          until you really cannot say it is Darwin’s anymore.

          even if the previous part of that sentence were coherent and accurate (hint: it’s neither), are you so monumentally clueless as to actually think we care whether anyone can “say it is Darwin’s anymore”? there’s nothing of substance to concede, i.e. your effort is an absolute waste. unless (a) you learn from my pointing this out, or (b) there is no honest dealing within your Patheos persona.

        • whg

          It was and is both.
          Natural Selection/Sexual Selection/Gradual Genetic changes or Cataclysmic…
          all questions that Darwin was in error on.

        • TheNuszAbides

          It was and is both

          you still haven’t backed that up with any substance whatsoever. i wonder why? (i don’t really wonder why–you never demonstrate an inclination to deal honestly with topics on which you are ill-informed, most notably evolutionary theory.)
          and you seem to continue to labor under the misapprehension that anyone here thinks that Darwin was a paragon of perfection, inerrancy or some other quality that has never been shown to exist outside of an abstraction of human ideas–or that Darwin presented an entire theory of evolution back when the fossil record was far smaller than it is now, far fewer discoveries had been made in biology and other sciences, etc.–or whether any point on which Darwin was under-informed or misguided has ever since remained some sort of Achilles’ Heel in evolutionary theory. unless you are concealing a better example of knowledge of the topic, you have apparently failed to consider the fact that [e.g.] On the Origin of Species is not and was never intended as an ‘unBible’ or some other diametric opposite/negative/inversion of Christianity or theism in general. it is not The Sacred Atheist Text. it is not fawned over to give comfort to anti-theists. any errors it contains are not directly relevant to the question of whether there are gods (though of course any of us may make virtually anything indirectly relevant on that score). it certainly challenged the prevailing creationist narrative of its day, but if you think those are identical situations, you should either fuck off for good because there’s no hope for your maimed mindset, or calm down and stick to asking intelligent questions rather than needling us on trivia and casting aspersions in areas where you show no relevant expertise or even a layman’s grasp of popularization–which so far, going by the faux pearls you seem to think you cast before swine, includes sustained critical analysis on any topic. even your couple of logic ‘lectures’ are far below everyone who has challenged you. they point out precisely how you are indulging in fallacious reasoning; you pretend you need no defense and continue to fling assertions of fallacy at others with no demonstration of the accuracy of your assessments. (but please point one out if you ever do get around to one.)

        • Paul B. Lot

          ‘if evolution is random, and it is’

          It is not.

          “Contingent beings by their very nature cannot bring anything into existence. Do you understand what contingent means?”

          “Contingent” does not mean “cannot bring anything into existence”.

          “Evolution could have been a failure millions of times before anything reproduced.”

          Evolution “failed” millions and billions and trillions of times before reproducing “life” was “achieved”.

        • whg

          Contingent beings cannot bring themselves into existence.
          Agree or disagree.

          If Evolution failed trillions of times before “reproducing life” was achieved
          are you not just “Begging the Question” on the grandest possible scale ?

        • MNb

          “Agree or disagree.”
          Neither. It’s just irrelevant.
          Read some stuff about evolution before trying to look smart and fail miserably.

          “are you not just ….”
          Not any more than Newton was when describing gravity.

        • whg

          Newton never described Gravity.
          He only described its effects as he was able to detect.

          No, contingency is the one questions all atheists try to avoid
          answering as they have no answer and so they flee from the question.

          If you have the answers that you claim evolution can provide –
          please supply them.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “No, contingency is the one questions all atheists try to avoid answering as they have no answer and so they flee from the question.”

          False. Here’s an atheist answering your question.

        • whg

          You did not answer the question.

          Thank you for admitting that contingent beings cannot bring themselves into existence.

        • MNb

          “Newton never described Gravity.”
          BWAHAHAHAHA!

          http://f.tqn.com/y/physics/1/W/G/-/-/-/ForceGravity.jpg

          Ah, given your ignorance and stupidity, which are only matched by your arrogance: this is Newton’s Law of Gravity – which describes indeed, how surprising, gravity.

          “contingency is the one questions all atheists try to avoid”
          I do not try to avoid an irrelevant issue like this. I simply refuse to address it, exactly because it’s irrelevant. And irrelevant it is for Evolution Theory, a theory that is accepted not only by atheists, but also by many believers, including your very own Catholic Church, Georgieboy.

          Answers to which questions?

        • whg

          Newton said he did not understand how Gravity does what it does.
          He described its effects but not why it exists, and so far no one else has.

          It is not irrelevant it is at the core of Evolution/Abiogenesis and it is quite clear why
          Faux Rationalists avoid it.

          The Theory of Evolution as now described/accepted by mainstream biologist is
          fundamentally flawed and it is just a matter of time before those flaws are accepted.

          Please give me a precise definition of what a “Species” is.

        • TheNuszAbides

          before trying to look smart and fail miserably.

          [nitpick] should be ‘failing’, to match the ‘trying’. [/nitpick]

        • Paul B. Lot

          “Contingent beings cannot bring themselves into existence.
          Agree or disagree.”

          Agree.

          “If Evolution failed trillions of times before “reproducing life” was achieved are you not just “Begging the Question” on the grandest possible scale ?”

          1) No.
          2) Learn how to use the phrase “beg the question”.

        • whg

          1) Yes, as you cannot explain how Evolution led to life reproducing itself, all you can do is make the claim that it did…

          Thus you “Beg the Question”.

        • Paul B. Lot

          A) Let me concede that I didn’t read the thread carefully enough between you and @disqus_a9H6kflDom:disqus. I should have done.

          Greg, quite rightly, is attempting to teach you the differences between the concept “abiogenesis” and the concept “evolution via natural selection”.

          B) I was not defending the concept and/or mechanism of “abiogenesis”, my goal was to point out that if [many millions of potential/candidate molecules failed to achieve “abiogenesis”] but [one or some DID achieve it] then that is not evidence against.

          If I fail ten basketball shots in a row before finally making a basket – those failures do not make it impossible for me to score. The fact that [a possibility for failure > 0% exists] does not entail [a 0% chance of success.]

          PS. “Beg the question” means “assuming the conclusion”, not “raising the question.”

          I don’t “claim” that abiogensis definitely occurred – I claim that it is possible that it occurred.

        • whg

          Thank you for agreeing.

          Point
          Game
          Set
          Match.

          Only a necessary being could have brought the Universe into existence.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “Thank you for agreeing.”

          You’re not welcome – I assent to true things, regardless of how distatestful the person asking them is. I would have agreed if Himmler had asked me, too.

          “Only a necessary being could have brought the Universe into existence.”

          How do you define “the Universe” and “brought into existence” – I won’t be able to assent to the truth, or deny the falsehood, of your statement until I understand the meaning of the terms involved.

          “Point
          Game
          Set
          Match.”

          Sigh. Another great example of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

        • whg

          Yes, it is hard for Faux Rationalist to admit that they suffer from DK.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “Yes, it is hard for Faux Rationalist to admit that they suffer from DK.”

          And yet another falsehood from you. (You’re like a high-capacity factory, Greg!)

          I am happy to admit that I suffer from it, in more than one sense of the phrase.

          Whether or not I do, however, is unrelated to whether or not YOU do.

          Why are you deflecting, George?

          Why not defend your reasoning, instead of playing silly games?

          Why not answer my questions?

        • whg

          I do not suffer from DK, do note that only those new to the subject tend to suffer from it. But many on this site make comments based on Wiki articles, which they happily link/print out and expect me to accept it.

          If you have any questions you would like me to answer, just restate and ask.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “I do not suffer from DK”

          I disagree.

          Strongly.

          Firstly because you (or your persona(s)) seem like an absolutely pristine example of [someone who thinks they are competent when they are not]. Thus you “suffer from it.”

          Secondly, and much less importantly, even if you were competent (which you are do not seem to be), being surrounded by others who DO suffer from the DK effect is a pain in the ass – and thus would cause “suffering”.

          Thirdly, and almost certainly irrelevantly, there’s a side-effect of the primary DK; that competent people often over-estimate the competence of others (because they have a hard time imagining what it must be like to be incompetent, and because they have a hard time imagining that confidence could be disassociated from ability) and often under-estimate their own competence (because they are keenly aware of how little they know out of the possible knowledge-space). Thus you would “suffer from it”.

          “But many on this site make comments based on Wiki articles”

          Wiki articles are an absolutely phenomenal starting point for in-depth discussions. Both because they often contain good information themselves, and because they provide links and sources for further investigation.

          That you equate “wiki article” with “incompetence” shows just how far from being an intellectual player you are.

          “If you have any questions you would like me to answer, just restate and ask.”

          What, like the SGC/OGC questions I asked you dozens of times in one of your prior incarnations? 😛

          Sure, here goes nothing:

          “How do you define “the Universe” and “brought into existence””

          (In the context of this: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2016/04/a-simple-thought-experiment-defeats-claim-that-bible-is-accurate/#comment-2656166643 )

        • whg

          If you wish to explicitly show where I am not competent, but have claimed competence you are free to do so. You seem to think that because I ask question and promote the possibility that other views may have validity – though you think those views have long ago been shown to be wholly incorrect – that I do not know what I am speaking about.

          The present theory of Evolution is incomplete and incoherent – given the claims made for it. Natural Selection does not and cannot account for life on this planet being the way it was/is/or will be. It is not unusual for Scientists and their followers to make claims far grander than they can support, let alone verify. No one has a necessary and sufficient definition of what a “Species” is.

          Wiki Articles are a mixed bag. Many times there are ideological viewpoints woven inside of them and a refusing to consider alternative points of view and/or claims that those views
          have been completely refuted – which should not be possible in the typical scientific conversation as it implies that they have been fully falsified, but that is not possible in
          Science is it ?

          You will to remind me of what is meant by SGC/OGC questions.

          I will answers other questions you have after those.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “If you wish to explicitly show where I am not competent, but have claimed competence you are free to do so.”

          It’s not a matter of “wishing”.

          I have done so, I am doing so, I will continue to do so.

          It’s not very hard, frankly – you’ve claimed competence in so many arenas where you have between [none] and [negative] competence, that it doesn’t take much brain-cycle-time to pull you apart.

          “You seem to think that…”

          I am not liable for how things SEEM to you. Your gross incompetence, lack of curiosity, lack of ability, lack of transparency, lack of candour, lack of rigor, and failure to allow yourself to be held accountable – these things are all very likely render you unable to properly and rationally observe this situation.

          I have no reason to doubt that you feel this way or that things seem this way to you – I simply do not believe that your feelings/impressions align with reality. :-/

          ” because I ask question and promote the possibility that other views may have validity”

          Again, no. See my response about “gadflys”. It’s not that [you ask questions] that bothers me about you, it’s that [you ask questions] and then run away from the answers.


          “though you think those views have long ago been shown to be wholly incorrect – that I do not know what I am speaking about.”

          I think you don’t know what you’re speaking about because you don’t know what you’re speaking about.

          I do not think that [old views] are [bad] because they are [old], nor would I ever agree with a statement like “Plato/Aristotle/Aquinas/Anselm have long ago been shown to be wholly incorrect.”

          All of those dudes were pretty smart, and I think they all touched on something of real value – that doesn’t mean that their works will translate easily into a more-complete understanding of reality without heavy redacting/massaging.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “The present theory of Evolution is incomplete and incoherent – given the claims made for it.”

          Prove it.

          ” Natural Selection does not and cannot account for life on this planet being the way it was/is/or will be. “

          Prove it.

          ” It is not unusual for Scientists… to make claims far grander than they can support, let alone verify.”

          I don’t know if it’s ‘unusual’ or not, I know that it happens from time to time though.

          “Wiki Articles are a mixed bag.”

          Some are – but this observation is irrelevant.

          ” Many times there are ideological viewpoints woven inside of them and a refusing to consider alternative points of view”

          Sometimes that’s true – but it’s irrelevant; they’re still good starting points.

          “You will to remind me of what is meant by SGC/OGC questions.”

          Same gender couples/Opposite gender couples.

          “I will answers other questions you have after those.”

          I doubt it.

        • Susan

          I doubt it.

          It’s provisionally reasonable to extrapolate from 0-fer- everything that we are looking at everything- will- lead- to- O-fer.

        • Paul B. Lot

          🙂

        • MNb

          “I will answers other questions you have after those.”
          You didn’t do that the previous time Georgieboy, so we have no reason you will now.
          Plus thus far nobody here asked you any question. We already are familiar with your views and your arrogance.

        • whg

          Just ask away.

        • MNb

          No need to.

        • adam

          ..

        • Ignorant Amos

          And yet citing Wiki articles as a source in an academic essay is perfectly acceptable.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Citing_Wikipedia

          A teacher at thee top public university in the U.S. would know that.

        • adam

          “A teacher at thee top public university in the U.S. would know that.”

          Even students at such a university…

          Creationists…………not so much.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I stand corrected.

        • adam

          “If you wish to explicitly show where I am not competent, ”

          Here you go:

          “The present theory of Evolution is incomplete and incoherent – given the claims made for it”

        • adam

          “No one has a necessary and sufficient definition of what a “Species” is.”

          Of course they do, you are just ignoring it because it clashes with your ideology.

          n. Biology A fundamental category of
          taxonomic classification, ranking below a genus or subgenus and
          consisting of related organisms capable of interbreeding. See Table at
          taxonomy.https://www.wordnik.com/words/species

        • Ignorant Amos

          Sigh. Another great example of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

          Logic teacher, my arse.

        • Dys

          No, if evolution is random, and it is

          Evolution isn’t random, you don’t know what you’re talking about. You seem to have confused random mutations with evolution, which is what most people who don’t know the basics of evolutionary theory do.

          No, the theory of evolution is not coherent, not at all.

          It’s coherent, you just don’t understand it.

          No, Evolution could have been a failure millions of times
          before anything reproduced.

          Be honest…everything you know about evolution you’ve picked up from creationist loons, right? It’s the only way I can see someone making such a stupid statement, as it reveals utter ignorance of evolution.

          Let’s face facts George – you’re nowhere near as informed or educated as you desperately want to believe you are.

        • whg

          If Evolution is not random, then what guides it ?

        • Dys

          Reproduction. Natural selection. But it’s unguided. And you’re making the mistake that unguided equates to random, when it doesn’t. The use of the word “guided” implies that there’s some purpose to evolution, when there isn’t. It’s just what happens.

          Plenty of things that occur in the natural world are unguided and purposeless, as near as anyone can tell. Atoms decay, continents drift, trees grow. That doesn’t stop people from asserting a purpose or guiding hand, of course, but they can’t demonstrate it.

        • whg

          Natural Selection, surely you know that does not work anymore, not “Modern Evolutionist” relies on that. Time to catch up on your reading.

          Guided requires a purpose – where do you get that from.

          I can set up a maze randomly and a ball or rat passing through it will end up somewhere
          but there is no purpose in the maze or the construction of it.

          Why do Atoms decay ?

        • Dys

          Natural Selection, surely you know that does not work anymore, not
          “Modern Evolutionist” relies on that. Time to catch up on your reading.

          Sorry, the concept of natural selection is still relevant. It’s not the only evolutionary mechanism, however. Maybe you should catch up on your own reading. And really, there’s a reason why I listed reproduction first.

          Guided requires a purpose – where do you get that from.

          It’s implied.

          I can set up a maze randomly and a ball or rat passing through it will end up somewhere but there is no purpose in the maze or the construction of it.

          In your example, the guiding was your construction of the maze, and the purpose was to make a maze.

          Why do Atoms decay?

          Instability. But that’s a cause, not a purpose.

        • whg

          Dys, Dys, Dystopia,

          How you have erred.

          a) Error 1. Natural Selection does not explain how genetic changes occur.
          Nor does it really explain how evolution works as it begs the question.

          b) Error 2. Guided does not require a purpose as will be explained below. You drew an
          inference not quite justified.

          c) Error 3. No, just a random maze, I could ask people passing by on the street to pick
          a number and place the wall there and here until a maze was produced.

          d) Error 4 . Why are Atoms unstable ? Why do they do anything at all – see all you can
          do is describe not explain and so you do not have knowledge, you do not even
          have justified true belief, and since you don’t know why Atoms decay what
          you can claim is not truth, but a mere description…perhaps Atoms have
          purposes you cannot fathom for they do seem to do what they do when they
          want to do and we can not predict it – perhaps they have free will.

        • Dys

          a) Didn’t say it did. So not an error. Nice try though. But I think it’s clear that your understanding of evolution is paltry at best.
          b) Yet another assertion.
          c) You could, but you’ve not eliminated purpose from the equation. Your purpose would still be the creation of a maze, you’ve just delegated the task. And the people placing the walls have a very basic guidance and purpose as well.
          d) So you’re going with a rendition of the divine mystery defense in order to prop up a belief you can’t actually defend.

          Altogether, your analysis and attempts at error spotting are rather inept.

        • whg

          Dystopia,

          Error 5.
          You did say it and it remains the case that Natural Selection does not explain how we have the species we have.

          Error 6.
          It it is true, and it is, nothing wrong with asserting it.

          Error 7.
          Not at all. People can put down the walls where they wish, the mouse can be let go again and again…

          Error 8.
          Begging the Question with Galore.

        • Ignorant Amos

          These ideas suggest that evolvability and openness to innovation are features not just of life but of information itself. That is a view long championed by Schuster’s sometime collaborator, Nobel laureate chemist Manfred Eigen, who insists that Darwinian evolution is not merely the organizing principle of biology but a “law of physics,” an inevitable result of how information is organized in complex systems. And if that’s right, it would seem that the appearance of life was not a fantastic fluke but almost a mathematical inevitability.

          http://nautil.us/issue/20/creativity/the-strange-inevitability-of-evolution

        • whg

          Thank You and so we should accept Intelligent Design by the Creator.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Why? There is no need for such extravagances. Certainly no such extravagance is required in the process.

        • whg

          Have you heard of any or all of the following:
          Orthogenesis, Nomogenesis, Heterogenesis, Aristogenesis, Hologenesis, Zoogenesis…

          There is a problem with Darwinistic based Evolutionary claims in that it seems that evolution follows a certain path and that species cannot just be created in the lab as later generations revert, if you will, to form.

          So while there may be evolution it seems to following a certain plan/direction
          which would not be the case if “Natural Selection” is the foundational cause of long lasting Evolution.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “evolution follows a certain path and that species cannot just be created in the lab as later generations revert, if you will, to form.”

          Oh really? You’re the first person to ever tell me about this.

          Where’s your evidence?

          Keep in mind: “that which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence”.

        • whg

          I am the first person who ever told you about this.
          Well up at start reading up on it or I can inform you but then don’t you
          doubt just about everything I write.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “Well up at start reading up on it or I can inform you but then don’t you doubt just about everything I write.”

          I “doubt” everything, not just what you write.

          I “discount” just about everything you write.

          I write it off. I pick it up, gingerly, like a used condom flung onto your back porch, with a stick – and I leverage open the dumpster in the alley to discard your contributions.

          You write with the pomp and self-importance of an age-ed person, and yet you have the rational ability of a very dull child.

          So, let me be extra-clear for you, because I doubt you’d understand otherwise:

          I am not asking for YOU to WRITE paragraphs defending your assertion.

          I am asking you for INDEPENDENT evidence.

          Do you have links? Papers? Abstracts? Journal entries? Data? Experiments?

          I don’t trust you, Watson, give me evidence that I might.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Have you heard of any or all of the following: Orthogenesis, Nomogenesis, Heterogenesis, Aristogenesis, Hologenesis, Zoogenesis…

          Whaaaaa? Fucking retarded. You are like a monkey flinging shite.

          Back up your ballix or shut ta fuck up.

          Orthogenesis also known as orthogenetic evolution is an obsolete biological hypothesis that organisms have an innate tendency to evolve in a unilinear fashion due to some internal mechanism or “driving force”.

          Nomogenesis a hypothesis according to which the evolution of organisms is based on internal processes that are independent of environmental influences. Nomogenesis was advanced by L. S. Berg in 1922 in opposition to Darwinism. The hypothesis proceeded from the view that living beings supposedly have inherent purposeful reactions to external influences and from the preformistic notion that phylogenetic traits are anticipated in ontogenesis. However, the phenomena of convergence and parallelism, on which the hypothesis of nomogenesis was based, in fact arise from the action of natural selection on groups of individuals whose range of phenotypic traits is not unlimited but rather is determined by the species’ genetic and ontogenetic potentials. In the 1960’s and early 1970’s nomogenesis again achieved a certain popularity in connection with the assumption—now known to be untrue—that certain mutations do not influence natural selection.

          Heterogenesis The sudden appearance of individuals differing sharply in a number of traits from the parent forms. This phenomenon served as the basis for the appearance of the heterogenetic theory of the origin of species by means of the sudden appearance of individuals differing sharply from the parent forms. (This theory was proposed by the German histologist R. A. von Kölliker in 1864 and the Russian botanist S. G. Korzhinskii in 1899.)

          Are you shitting me? Like humans giving birth to tape worms? Or horses giving birth to cows? You are a creotard. Go and read something sensible.

          https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=TDuiBQAAQBAJ&pg=PT131&lpg=PT131&dq=heterogenesis+evidence&source=bl&ots=2aGeRh3mxr&sig=pPRUkMfG068mi7WZlqJpPKZeQTg&hl=en&sa=X&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=heterogenesis%20evidence&f=false

          Aristogenesis Osborn was a believer in orthogenesis, he coined the term aristogenesis for his theory. His aristogenesis was based on a “physicochemical approach” to evolution. He believed that aristogenes operate as biomechanisms in the geneplasm of the organism. He also held the view that mutations and natural selection play no creative role in evolution and that aristogenesis was the origin of new novelty.

          Hologenesis the autogenetic theory of evolution, according to which each species divides into two daughter species within its own area of distribution; one develops in an accelerated manner and the other in a slow manner. The latter gives rise to more highly organized forms. The theory of hologenesis was worked out (1917–31) by the Italian paleontologist D. Rosa. Hologenesis, like many other idealistic teachings, seeks to explain the evolution of organisms through the action of solely internal factors.

          Now I don’t think Hologenesis helps your creationist position any, either.

          Nowadays, hologenesis is clearly unacceptable in the terms in which it was proposed by its author. There is no specific idioplasm that splits dichotomously and Rosas interpretation (or misinterpretation) of Darwin-ism possibly reflects the scanty knowledge that Italian biologists had at that time of Darwins original writings. However, several specific aspects of hologenesis are still echoed in modem debates. Moreover, we believe that some aspects of present evolutionary biology de-rive from Rosas thoughts – mainly through Hennigian cladistics and vicariance biogeography – although very few authors seem to be aware of it.

          Read the whole paper.

          http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/11250000009356303

          Last, but by no means least, Austin Clark’s preposterous Zoogenesis…barking mad.

          But as mad as a hypothesis it may have been…

          Zoogenesis Clark discussed the theory in his book The New Evolution: Zoogenesis (1930). Creationists have quote mined the book and mispresented Clark in many cases. Clark did not deny common descent or evolution. According to Ronald Numbers even though Clark rejected species belonging to branches of a single Phylogenetic tree he still accepted evolution and rejected creationism.

          No one here has claimed that Darwins dangerous idea has not been built upon, amended, revised and extended, that’s just you am afraid.

          Stop flinging ridiculous shite, monkeyman.

        • MNb

          “it seems that evolution follows a certain path”
          That’s nothing but your usual wishful thinking.

        • adam

        • adam

          “Thank You and so we should accept Intelligent Design by the Creator.”

          Who apparently is a cruel idiot….

        • Ignorant Amos

          Depends which creator ya favour a suppose…as far as I’m concerned, they are all a bunch of cunts.

        • whg

          You seem to be treading close to Orthogenesis here.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’s because you don’t know what you are talking about, so what it seems to you doesn’t matter.

          But say I’m wrong in my presumption here and you do know what it is you are talking about, explain your reasons why you think I’m treading close to orthogenesis by posting that article?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Even fruitcake creationist biologist Jerry Bergman seems to have no truck with orthogenesis.

          Darwin described his theory of evolution as merely “a provisional hypothesis or speculation,” but he believed it was the best extant theory that could explain the origin of the species, and that “until a better one [can] be advanced, it will serve to bring together a multitude of facts which are at present left disconnected by any efficient cause” (Darwin,1896, p. 350). In the decades around 1900, a number of non- and neo-Darwinian theories were developed, including orthogenesis, in an attempt to explain the origin of new biological information. Most of these theories have now been discarded (Bowler, 1983). The lethal problem with orthogenesis was that there was no known mechanism to account for an endogenous perfecting force.

          No post-Darwinian theory has yet achieved the popularity of neo-Darwinism. Some biologists have tried to resurrect a form of orthogenesis called “phylogenetic inertia,” which is the idea that once an organism begins to evolve in a specific direction, it tends to keep evolving in that way (Blomberg and Garland, 2002).

          Clearly, “evolutionary theory is a tumultuous field where many differing views are now competing for dominance” (Esensten, 2003, p. 2). The history of the rise and fall of orthogenesis supports the idea that evolutionism has always been a “tumultuous field” and will continue to be such. Meanwhile, the collapse of each new philosophical attempt to explain the source of novelty in biology is additional support for the creation origins views. The neo-Darwinian concept of mutations and natural selection may well also be discarded when its limitations are more fully understood. ~ The Rise and Fall of the Orthogenesis Non-Darwinian Theory of Evolution, Jerry Bergman

          http://creationresearch.org/crsq/abstracts/Abstracts47-2.htm

        • Dys

          5 – No, I didn’t. Please learn how to read. And I also said that natural selection is not the only evolutionary mechanism.

          6 – Except you haven’t demonstrated it to be true, so it isn’t.

          7 – Already pointed out the error in your example, and it’s still apparently over your head.

          8 – It’s funny that you think that my having pointed out your appeal to ignorance somehow constitutes begging the question. That’s not begging the question, it’s saying you’re just believing what you want to believe, and the fact that you don’t have evidence for it is inconsequential, because mystery!.

        • whg

          5). Natural Selection operates how – answer that and you will see your error.

          6) If something is true and I know it is true, it up to you to discover how it is true, as I have no need to prove it.

          7) No, you did not. If walls are randomly designed, the mouse enters the
          randomly designed structure and his choices are limited by the randomly placed walls. No teleology/purpose – just random processes.

          8) I made no Appeal to Ignorance, but only pointed out who Evolutionary Theory does not answer the questions it claims to answer. You need to go
          back and read up on Begging the Question and see how it actually works.

        • Dys

          5) Evolution isn’t random. It incorporates both random and non-random factors. That doesn’t make evolution itself random.
          6) You haven’t demonstrated any knowledge. You’ve made plenty of assertions, but I could just as easily state that I know you’re wrong, and leave it to you to find your own errors.
          7) The mouse is guiding itself, and its’ purposes are its own, although I imagine it could be approximated as getting out of the maze. Your example doesn’t work on any level.
          8) Yes, you most certainly did make an appeal to ignorance. You were attempting to apply mystery to the atom, and speculated that maybe it had free will, etc.

          You need to go back and read up on Begging the Question and see how it actually works.

          And you need to stop making fallacies yourself. But because you apparently consider yourself far too educated on logic to make such simple errors, you refuse to admit that you’re making them. Which is why you’re often characterized as a pompous, hypocritical windbag. See how that works?

        • whg

          5) Correct, Evolution is not random, rather there is a direction to it and who put that direction there….?

          6) Knowledge of your errors is not knowledge.

          7) Now, now – you are changing the question.
          It was whether there was any purpose in the maze, now you attribute it to the mouse.
          How can a mouse have purposes if nature is purposelessness incarnate ?

          8) No, not an appeal to Ignorance, just wondering how an Atom can decay – is it
          random or determined, though we may not be able to figure out what determines it.

          Not a Fallacy in the strict sense save it is made in a Formal Argument.

          Pompous, when did I take on any Pomps ?

        • Dys

          5) No, there’s no direction to evolution. That’s why de-evolution isn’t a real thing.
          6) Is that why you keep committing your own?
          7) You’re the one who changed it to the mouse. Now you’re saying the mouse can’t have any agency? I’ve already provided a guidance and purpose in each variation of the example you’ve tried to prop up.
          8) Whatever escape hatch you need.

        • whg

          You might want to read up whether there in direction in evolution.
          Seem that the evidence showing that it may be true is getting stronger every day.

          Show me what errors I have made, plain and simple.

          You claimed that a construction of a maze could not be made without a purpose.
          I provided a counter-example that you accepted.
          You still have not explained how there can be an purposes in the world if nature has
          no purpose…

          No need to escape from charges that are not only unproved but not true.

        • Dys

          You might want to read up whether there in direction in evolution.

          I did. There isn’t.

          Show me what errors I have made, plain and simple.

          Then you haven’t been reading the responses you’ve been getting.

          You claimed that a construction of a maze could not be made without a purpose.
          I provided a counter-example that you accepted

          I didn’t accept it – I dismantled your example.

          You still have not explained how there can be an purposes in the world if nature has no purpose…

          Because it’s a non-sequitur. You’re asserting that agency can’t exist at all if nature has no agency. Which is essentially the creationist tactic of insisting that we need a god to explain complicated things away. How did you determine that nature has a purpose? Via a priori assumption?

          No need to escape from charges that are not only unproved but not true.

          Whatever comforting lie you need to tell yourself. The truth of the matter is pretty obvious, and not in your favour.

        • adam

          ” Natural Selection operates how – answer that and you will see your error.”

          Natural selection is the differential survival and reproduction of individuals due to differences in phenotype.

          So where is the error?

        • whg

          Is it solely reliant just upon difference in phenotype, no genotype involved ?
          The Environment has no imput in the matter ?

        • adam

          The environment has no randomness, it is a product of chemistry and physics.

        • adam

          “6) If something is true and I know it is true, it up to you to discover how it is true, as I have no need to prove it.”

          I have disbelief that you ‘know’ what you claim to know.

          Its not up to me to determine that you are lying.

          And apparently you CAN’T prove it, so you dont really know what you claim to know.

        • whg

          Adam,

          1) Are you a follower of Ayn Rand ?

          2) No need to prove what I know to be true. If you doubt it, you may
          seek to disprove it.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “No need to prove what I know to be true. If you doubt it, you may seek to disprove it.”

          YOU may not FEEL such a need, but that’s a terrible epistemological system to expect rational adults to apply broadly.

          History shows us that the best outcomes tend to follow when rational adults withhold giving positive assent to specific propositions until provided compelling reasons to give it.

          In other words, while you don’t feel like supporting your claims, and no one here can force you to do so, your claims are worthless while unsupported.

          Claiming that they stand unless “disproven” is ridiculous.

          You are free to believe whatever you like, as is every other nut job on the planet, but if you want other rational adults to take your beliefs seriously, the burden is on you to explain why.

        • whg

          If we all spent all of our time attempting to justify what we know is true, we would spend a lot of time cogitating and not producing, what would happen to the GNP ?

          The key point is what are compelling – reasons/evidence/arguments/proofs –
          and there is the problem. What is compelling to one person may not move the other person an inch…

          I do support my claims, but not obvious claims, which Susan thinks should be supported, only when I make them.

          If there is some claim you would like me to support, please let me know.

          As for Rational Adults – well the US seems to be heading toward an election where you all have to select between Hillary – who seems to have almost
          no emotional investment in any position on any issue save it will help her get elected and Trump who seems, but may not be, a wild card. Neither candidate seems to be the likely product of Rational Adults…

          Science stands or falls on whether the Universe is coherent and consistent.
          There is no reason to suppose that it is and we lack the ability to show that it is. “Modern Science” inherited Aristotle’s view that the Creator gave us
          Minds that can think along the same lines as He does and so can discover Truths – not through experiments, but understanding as God understands.

          Otherwise we have statistical studies that seem to indicate this and seem to
          indicate that but no true understanding.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “If we all spent all of our time attempting to justify what we know is true, we would spend a lot of time cogitating and not producing, what would happen to the GNP ?”

          Good lord, you just can’t help yourself can you? You are compulsed to erect straw-men in a vain attempt to seem internet-smart. What a pathetic piece of shit you are.

          I never said that we should spend “all our time” doing so – once you’ve spent enough “time cogitating” to arrive at reasonable positions, it’s not hard to move on and be productive. Your concern is moronic.

          “As for Rational Adults…”

          This whole paragraph is a non-sequitur, a forgettable red-herring.

          Science stands or falls on whether the Universe is coherent and consistent.
          There is no reason to suppose that it is and we lack the ability to show that it is. “Modern Science” inherited Aristotle’s view that the Creator gave us Minds that can think along the same lines as He does and so can discover Truths – not through experiments, but understanding as God understands.
          Otherwise we have statistical studies that seem to indicate this and seem to indicate that but no true understanding.

          Science “stands or falls” on nothing of the kind. One can very well do science without knowing whether or not the “universe” has always been, is, or will always be “coherent and consistent.”

          Doubt it OK, greg my boy. You should learn to live with it, especially because a mind as small as yours is incredibly unlikely to arrive at the totality of “the truth”.

          “The key point is what are compelling – reasons/evidence/arguments/proofs – and there is the problem. What is compelling to one person may not move the other person an inch…”

          Aha, you’ve again managed to say something at least partially true! Gold-star-sticker!

          But the fact that it is [difficult] to get people to agree on what is compelling doesn’t mean it is [impossible].

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YK3BahMxH4M

          It’s a shame that no one you knew when you were younger knew enough, or bothered to take the time, to teach you how to better-weigh the compelling-ness of various thoughts. You could, perhaps, have avoided being as inept as you are.

          You could, perhaps, have avoided soiling the minds of any pupils you had the misfortune to teach. :-/

          “If there is some claim you would like me to support, please let me know.”

          I have in the past, and I will in the future. The number of times you’ve run away in the past, however, don’t leave me much hope for the future.

        • adam

          Whg

          1) Are you a follower of Ken Ham?

          2.) Why DISPROVE whatever DELUSIONS you THINK you have when they are not relevant?

        • whg

          Not at all.
          I know that I am not lying.

        • adam

          “I know that I am not lying.”

          No, you dont.
          And without demonstrating your ‘proof’ no one else does either.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0326d900363451036d69eddce2b5bf457d662a162ef072e1ec939d017ffc5931.jpg

        • whg

          Well there is the definition of what the Faux Rationalists suffer from.
          Thank you for providing it.

        • adam
        • Ignorant Amos

          I know he is lying.

          But George believes there is no such thing as objective evidence so no one can know anything…it’s all subjective, so even though he is patently lying like a cheap watch and everyone here knows it, he gets to wave it all away.

        • adam

          “I know he is lying.”

          Of course he’s lying, he is apologist.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Altogether, your analysis and attempts at error spotting are rather inept.

          Logic teacher, my arse.

        • MNb

          a) “Natural Selection does not explain how genetic changes occur.”
          Strawman. Natural selection does not pretend to explain that. How come that genes change (ie mutations) is studied by genetics.

          d) Wrong question. The correct one is: how come that atoms are unstable? A simple – and hence only partly correct – answer is that the protons in the nucleus all are positively charged and hence repel each other.

          “all you can do is describe not explain”
          Well, your god is not an explanation either and doesn’t even describe anything.

          “perhaps Atoms have purposes you cannot fathom”
          Yeah and perhaps I am Jesus reincarnated – something you cannot fathom.

          “we can not predict it – perhaps they have free will.”
          Define free will. Usually consciousness is involved and I’m pretty sure atoms don’t have it. Saying that perhaps they have is like saying that your computer is run by untestable little demons with purposes you cannot fathom.
          Thanks for confirming again that you seek the Truth by means of wishful thinking and inferring whatever you like, Georgieboy.

        • whg

          You agree with me, it was not my claim.

          And why do like charged particles repel ?

          So you say about God…

          Spinoza thought everything in existence had purpose.

          If you are Jesus, you would not be re-incarnated, but if you wish to demonstrate that
          you are…

          Why must consciousness be involved ?

          Since Computers seem like the Spawns of Satan, you may well be correct.

          And again the insults.

        • MNb

          Natural selection. Before you repeat long debunked creacrap please consult

          http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-misconceptions.html

          http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/list.html

        • whg

          Don’t read Creationist articles.

          Just asking simple questions that you seem unable to answer.

        • Dys

          Except I answered it. But thanks for demonstrating that you ignore answers.

        • whg

          Dystopia,

          No, you did not.

        • Dys

          Yeah, I did. But as per usual, you ignored the answer. But keep pretending otherwise, by all means.

        • whg

          Error 9.
          No, you did not.
          If you think you did – state your claims again.

        • gw

          Per your previous answer up above, is randomness possible in the Universe or not ?

        • Greg G.

          Random has several meanings and depends on the context. I think that at the quantum level, there is randomness but it may have little effect on aggregations of molecules. The random arrangements of large groups of matter would probably have a different meaning of the word. The distribution of superclusters of galaxies might be random in one sense of the word and that is a result of the randomness of densities at the quantum scale during the early stages of the Big Bang.

          The universe could be random at one level with patterns of organization at other levels.

          You are asking a yes/no question for which the answer is yes and no.

        • Greg G.

          Also, step b) is a false dichotomy. God could be an imaginary being, which is contingent but is not an existent being.

        • gw

          If you do not have being – then you are not necessary.

        • Greg G.

          Right, I could be contingent on the path of evolution.

        • gw

          Not so.
          Do you believe that were the Universe to be “re-ignited” would it turn
          out exactly the same ?

        • Greg G.

          I doubt that it would. It appears that virtual quantum particles are not caused by the universe but could affect the universe in random ways.

        • gw

          “And so randomness makes its bloody entrance.”

        • gw

          Yes, I am right, but since evolution is supposed to be random/contingent
          your answer fails.

        • Greg G.

          Huh? I said we are contingent but not necessary. Our existence is contingent on the dinosaurs going extinct.

          Evolution has random factors but it is not completely random. Do you understand that?

        • You’re done. Bye.

        • Dys

          You’ll be disappointed (but unsuprised, I think) to learn that George has once again created a sock puppet account to infest your blog. Now he’s whg.. https://disqus.com/by/disqus_zgkxwRN1xm/

        • Myna A.

          He used a different sock name a couple of days ago as well. A new account, 2 posts, one here, one on another blog discussion that had the George signature written all over it. I probably came across as an idiot replying to the comment alluding to a nursery rhyme (Georgie Porgie), but couldn’t help myself. I really don’t think I was mistaken. George always narrows in on the last comment or so that he made before being blocked.

        • Greg G.

          I suspected it was George but it was more creative than usual. He went beyond his initials in various orders and “John Jones”.

        • Myna A.

          It’s interesting how nuances go. You are right about the name, it was more clever.

        • TheNuszAbides

          truly a cut above the rest … it’s the first time he’s asked about my education. (then again, it’s also the first time i’ve not been late to the party …)

        • Dys

          You know, considering he belongs to a religion where lying is supposed to be a no-no, George seems pretty at ease with being dishonest.

        • Myna A.

          It’s that age-old Abrahamic dilemma…Do I listen to the ego burning a powerful sore inside my head to defeat mine enemy? Or to the invisible god also residing in my head for which I strain to keep up the story-line?

        • Thanks. He’s done.

        • Dys

          Evolution isn’t random, therefore you failed.

        • TheNuszAbides

          the only thing the answer ‘fails’ to do is make you warm and fuzzy. which is about as far from Greg G’s job (or more importantly, hobby) as it is possible to get.

        • Dys

          Do you get the feeling that George didn’t really understand his own argument anywhere near as much as he pretended to?

        • Greg G.

          Yep.

        • TheNuszAbides

          just like last time. and the time before that.

        • Greg G.

          Then, step d) makes the whole argument circular. If God doesn’t exist, then he doesn’t necessarily exist.

          So, step e) doesn’t follow. There is no logical reason for God to exist.

          Your premises are not even true.

        • gw

          There is nothing inherently wrong with circular arguments
          if all the premises are true, the implications are valid
          and the conclusion follows. The question is whether you accept the premises, which, since they are not logically contradictory to each other or incoherent, the argument follows.

        • Greg G.

          A circular argument tells you nothing about reality. It supports itself whether or not it has any relationship to reality.

        • gw

          Not so.
          Have you studied the Coherence Theory of Truth ?

        • Greg G.

          Truth might require coherence but coherence does not imply truth.

        • gw

          Coherence is what Truth is based upon, without coherence everything is just
          random, but how the coherence “parts” fit together is why truth matters.

        • Greg G.

          Fiction must also cohere with reality on many levels for it to work, too. One must find where the coherence breaks down. That tells you that what you thought was the Truth was not. Failure to find where the coherence of a theory breaks down is not assurance that you have the ultimate Truth.

          Just because you are clever enough to fool yourself with a contrived lie does not mean you have reached the Truth.

        • gw

          Untrue.
          A circular argument may tell you everything about reality if it encompasses every aspect of reality via the premises. [Think of the table of Elements in Chemistry and the Grand Theory of Unification in Physics. ]

        • Greg G.

          A circular godidit theory could explain everything as could a circular vishnudreamedit theory but you would not be able to distinguish which one is actually correct.

        • Michael Neville

          Step a) is an assumption, clearly written as such. If the assumption is not accepted, then the rest of the argument fails.

        • The hideous love child formed from the union of the Ontological argument and the First Mover argument? Thanks for sharing, but it’s ugly. Sorry.

          It is hilarious, though, when people who don’t understand cosmology think that bringing arguments like this into the discussion brings clarity and insight.

        • MNb

          Step b) nicely assumes what you want to prove. Ah, Greg G beat me underneath.
          There are logical reasons why your god cannot exist.
          How do you know the premises are true?

        • gw

          If you wish to supply the logical reasons why God cannot exist.

          As for step b) it provides the possibility.

          Thee is no logical inconsistency in assuming they are true
          and that is sufficient in a Modal Argument.

        • Dys

          b) Or God doesn’t exist.
          c) is clumsily stated. There could be a contingent being greater than a contingent God. Typically this is the “no conceivable greater being” bit of the argument.
          e) Limiting it to one necessary God is arbitrary

          Conclusion: Logic is incapable of telling us whether a God is actually possible or not. It’s one of the main downfalls of all the logical arguments for the existence of God – they don’t have to deal with the burden of dealing with the real world.

          The ontological argument tries to define God into existence and fails. It also relies on using existence as a predicate, which Kant neatly eviscerated. It demonstrates nothing of value.

        • gw

          b) If a contingent being covers God not existing

          c) The greater being is one that exists.

          e) If a non-contingent thing is not a being, then it does not exist.
          If there are two necessary beings then they differ from one another,
          in which case one is better than the other and that one is God.

          Logic can tell you what can and cannot exist.
          There are no logical reasons as to why God cannot exist.

          It does not use existence as a predicate, Kant was critiquing
          the first form of Anselm’s argument, not his second.

        • Dys

          If a non-contingent thing is not a being, then it does not exist.

          You’ve determined this how, precisely? Because it sounds like you’re just making an assertion that you want to be true.

          If there are two necessary beings then they differ from one another, in which case one is better than the other and that one is God.

          This is a non-sequitur. Which is better – water or air? Fire or earth? Your insistence on a dichotomy is completely arbitrary, and reveals the completely subjective nature of what constitutes “better”.

          There are no logical reasons as to why God cannot
          exist.

          Logic isn’t the sole arbiter of what is and
          what is not possible.

          It does not use existence as a predicate, Kant was critiquingthe first form of Anselm’s argument, not his second.

          c) The greater being is one that exists.

          You’ve contradicted yourself. Kant was critiquing the notion that existence is superior to non-existence. Are you sure you understand this argument as well as you think you do?

        • gw

          To have be-ing is to exist.
          To exist is to have be-ing.

          Neither Air or Water are necessary beings.

          Is the existence of some being is purely illogical
          then it cannot exist. That is what Science is based upon.

          No contradiction.
          The question is whether Anselm uses existence as a
          predicate and he does not, contra what Kant says.

        • Dys

          You’re playing semantics, and it doesn’t float your argument in the slightest. You haven’t substantiated that your necessary thing is a “being” of any kind. You’re just asserting it.

          Also, if you’re hung up on air or water being necessary beings, you completely missed the point. Which one is better?

          The question is whether Anselm uses existence as a predicate and he does not, contra what Kant says.

          But you did. Sorry, but you contradicted yourself. You can’t say existence is not a predicate, but then assert that existence is greater than non-existence. Methinks you don’t understand the problem very well.

        • gw

          Of course it floats my argument. If I get to define the terms and how they can and cannot be used, what is there for you to say but “Yes” or “No”.
          [That is why you hire a lawyer when swept up in the net of “injustice” in this country –
          what the law may mean to you and me is not what it must mean to lawyers and Judges and Juries..]

          Sure I can. I did not contradict myself, it is Anselm’s argument, please make sure
          you are referring to which version of the O.A. we are working with.

          I did not insert it into Modal Logic, it was inserted by others.

          What is your definition of a predicate – please don’t just say what Kant said,
          as your understanding of Kant is limited.

        • Dys

          Of course it floats my argument. If I get to define the terms and how they can and cannot be used, what is there for you to say but “Yes” or “No”.

          Great. Then “being” doesn’t mean “person”, because you haven’t defended that assertion in the slightest.

          I did not insert it into Modal Logic, it was inserted by others.

          Then you’re misquoting others’ use of the modal logic argument, because they specifically try to work around
          Kant’s objection. The fact is that you were incredibly sloppy in your
          presentation of Anselm’s second ontological argument, but you don’t seem self-aware enough to realize it.

          please don’t just say what Kant said, as your understanding of Kant is limited.

          Please stop pretending you have any authority; you don’t. And due to the numerous fallacies you’ve committed, it’s also clear that you’re simply not qualified to lecture anyone on logic. So kindly deflate your ego, as you vastly overestimate yourself, as per usual. You’re not a recognized expert here, and your dishonest use of sockpuppet accounts doesn’t speak highly of your character.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Logic teacher, my arse.

          I know next ta fuck all on the subject and it’s still a lot more than fuckwit George the liar.

        • Dys

          Well, to be fair, he never claimed to be a good teacher.

          He reminds me of that Cornall Anthony yahoo that was on here a couple of months ago. He was just as much a pompous ass as our friend Georgy Porgy. Actually, it wouldn’t surprise me if it was the same person, given his penchant for sockpuppetry.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The problem is, he did claim to be a good teacher. At thee top rated public University in the US no less. Whose Students went on to further greatness. One even becoming a Cambridge wrangler. Of course that is an achievement in mathematics, so not necessarily a favourable light on George’s ability as a teacher of Logic.

          I missed that Cornell Anthony and by the sounds of things I dodged a rocket. But if he was anything like George he was a pompous ass indeed.

          It’s a sorry state of affairs when apologists have to resort to the low life nefarious means that George applied in order to try and defend his ridiculous worldview.

        • Dys

          Anthony thought that the existence of The Atheist Experience somehow proved that atheism constituted a worldview. He wasn’t too bright, but thought he was.

        • TheNuszAbides

          he never claimed to be a good teacher.

          indeed, and when he lightly implied that a student of his was Senior Wrangler at Cambridge he didn’t actually claim that this had any causal link with his influence as an instructor.

        • Michael Neville

          If I get to define the terms and how they can and cannot be used, what is there for you to say but “Yes” or “No”.

          Sockpuppet George, it seems to have escaped your notice that everyone here except for you have been saying “no” and giving reasons why “no” is the logical thing to say, even with you defining your terms (which as usual you haven’t been).

          You’re not as good at logic as you think you are.

        • Earn your keep. Show me why I shouldn’t ban you again. Make an interesting and thoughtful argument and avoid the small talk.

        • gw

          Hi Bob,

          Thanks for letting me back on.

          I will make a case for serious consideration of the
          Ontological Argument later this afternoon.

        • I haven’t let you back on; I’ve just not banned you again yet (over the advice of some commenters who actually do contribute). Don’t make me regret my inaction.

        • gw

          Fair enough.

      • And he brings up the Ontological Argument? Yeah, I agree that it’s fun to pretend that you can just imagine things into existence, but aren’t we adults here?

        (Oops … after rethinking my last phrase, I’m beginning to see the problem.)

        • Ignorant Amos

          That made me chuckle.

    • Michael Neville

      Anselm’s ontological argument is an argument in semantics. It fails because it assumes that something which exists in reality and imagination is somehow “greater” than that which exists only in imagination. “Greater” and “greatness” as qualities are not defined in this context, and it is only the far overreaching manner in which the terms are applied that allows the argument some semblance of logical appeal.

      • gw

        If you look at Anselm’s 2nd argument as being an exercise in Modal Logic, which you should, it only concerns itself with whether God can exist or not. There seems to be
        no logical reason as to why He cannot exist and thus the existence of God is possible.
        If you grant that God must be the most perfect of all being and that to exist is better than not to exist, MNb excepted, then it seems quite plausible so say that there is
        no ontological reason as to why God cannot exist. If you believe that the Universe is
        not wholly contingent, that at least one thing necessarily had/has to exist to get the
        Universe a-going then that necessity is God.

        • Michael Neville

          If you grant…

          But I don’t grant it, so your argument becomes a non sequitur.

        • gw

          No, it does not become a non sequitur.

          It only becomes and argument that you do not accept.

        • Greg G.

          You should then prove the case without asking him to grant it.

        • gw

          Read you Aristotle about axioms/postulants.

        • Michael Neville

          If I don’t grant your assumption, then your argument becomes completely and absolutely meaningless. If you want me to accept your assumption then you, that’s YOU, sockpuppet George, have to provide EVIDENCE that your assumption is anything but pure balderdash, aka bullshit.

        • Greg G.

          The “most perfect being” may be far from perfect. When the most perfect being dies or diminishes, the second most perfect being becomes the most perfect being.

          A sufficiently powerful being could give a delusion to a clam that it was the most perfect being and the ground of all being while the sufficiently powerful being hid from the clam for ineffable reasons. But the sufficiently powerful being could not know whether it was or was not just another clam with delusions of grandeur. Neither could the most perfect being. Therefore, the most perfect being necessarily must have existential doubts.

        • gw

          No, a perfect being would not give a clam such a delusion,
          there is no good in doing so.

          A perfect being, read you Descartes, cannot be deceived nor
          does it deceive.

        • Then you’ve just proven that Yahweh isn’t perfect. Read about how God lied in 1 Kings 22:22.

          Whoops. Maybe you should think before you post.

        • gw

          Zedekiah made a false prophesy to Ahab, which Ahab could have or could not have followed. Micaiah spoke the truth to Ahab, that going into battle would
          bring death upon him and defeat to his army. Zedekiah was a false prophet and knew he was a false prophet and so he spoke falsely. God did not lie,
          Zedekiah lied.

        • Wow–what can this asshole do that you won’t apologize for? And what does it say that you have to do it for him, that he can’t do it for himself?

          What part of “the Lord has put a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours” do you not understand?

        • Greg G.

          That was in verse 23. The spirit volunteered to do it and God ordered him to do it in verse 22.

        • David Mues

          The King did not have to believe in the false prophet did he ?

        • Myna A.

          Maybe the King swallowed too much pudding and pie? You know, like the nursery rhyme.

        • Greg G.

          How was the king to know a false prophet from a true prophet? How can anybody? Nobody should believe anyone who claims to be a prophet. The passage refutes the whole Bible even if one believes in the God of the Bible.

        • whg

          Micaiah warned Ahab not to listen to Zedekiah and even told Ahab that God had allowed a false prophesy to said by Zedekiah. Yet, Ahab refused to believe. Test all Prophets and Prophecies…

        • Greg G.

          If prophets can lie, how would Ahab know whether Micaiah was telling the truth about the lie or lying about the truth? It’s not like some prophets always tell the truth and some prophets always tell a lie so he could ask one prophet what the other one would say and know he would hear a lie.

          The biblical prophecy about Tyre is wrong and the biblical prophecy of the Messiah is still wrong for two millennia. The Bible prophecies have been tested. Too bad for all the believers who can’t accept the truth.

        • whg

          You can tell from reading the passage that Ahab knew that
          Zedekiah was not a true prophet but his vanity got the better of him.

          Jesus rose from the Tomb, He is the fully revealed as the Messiah at that point and all humans are released from bondage to Satan.

          As for Tyre, why is the Prophecy incorrect ?

        • busterggi

          There’s this prophet in the bible who told his followers that he’d be back within their lifetimes. Man, what a bullshitter he was!

        • Ignorant Amos

          But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Genesis 2: 17)

          God’s lie is further exposed when the talking snake tells Eve the truth.

          “The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3: 4)

        • The snake does turn out to be the good guy in that story.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Can I ask why this clown is still here given he has been put in the feckin’ sack more than once already?

          I went away for the weekend hoping, but here he is still cluttering the place up with his dross.

          He hasn’t even got the decency to sort out his fucked up commenting so that reading his replies are not such a laborious chore.

          Logic teacher, my arse.

        • The logic teacher is in the corner with a dunce cap on his head.

        • whg

          Having that in common with Duns Scotus
          is a compliment.

        • Bye

        • Ignorant Amos

          Outstanding move Bob…that fucker is like catnip…we all just can’t help ourselves, can we?

        • Greg G.

          I did not say it was a perfect being, only that it was sufficiently powerful to do it.

          Besides, a being that is capable of deceit is greater than a being that is incapable of deceit. It depends on your preference and definition of perfect.

          A perfect being could not possibly know that it is actually perfect or is deceived by a sufficiently powerful being to give the delusion of perfection to a less than perfect being, therefore it cannot be perfect.

        • gw

          No, a being that is capable of deceit is flawed.
          There is no deceit in a perfect being, why would there be.

          [You seem to be saying that having the power to deceive is better than not having
          any need to deceive – are you ? ]

          A perfect being has no flaws and thus cannot be deceived.

        • Greg G.

          A being that is incapable of deceit is flawed. If it can make you think that it is incapable of deceit, it makes it easier to deceive you. If a being is flawed by the ability to deceive and flawed by the inability to deceive, it cannot exist.

          A perfect circle has an infinite number of dimensionless points in its circumference, each exactly the same distance from a dimensionless point. A perfect circle is greater than an imperfect model of a circle. An imperfect model of a perfect circle can exist in reality but a perfect cannot cannot exist in reality but can exist only as a concept. The same goes for a perfectly straight line of one dimension, a perfect square, a perfect equilateral triangle. Your concept of a perfect being is no more real than a perfect polygon.

        • TheNuszAbides

          No, a perfect being would not give a clam such a delusion, there is no good in doing so.

          if you believe WhateverYouWantToCallHim moves in mysterious ways then you have no grounding with which to make such an assumption. (if it’s not an assumption, give it some legs for once.)

        • If you look at Anselm’s 2nd argument as being an exercise in Modal Logic

          “You can’t dismiss God’s existence until you have thoroughly understood every obtuse variation on every Christian apologetic!”

          Ever ask yourself why God’s existence is so not obvious? Why isn’t he as obvious as the sun?

        • gw

          To some people He is.

          It is not what we know that is most important, it is what we believe.

          As an act of belief reveals our will and it is a charitable will that is best for us and thus what God wants for us, not a doctoral dissertation on rational reasons to know that God exists.

        • To some people He is.

          The same kind of people who, in a different religion, would say that that guy is obvious. Maybe the lesson is that people’s beliefs about the supernatural aren’t especially reliable. A lesson for all believers, perhaps?

          It is not what we know that is most important, it is what we believe.

          Good point. “I know it’s safe to cross the street” isn’t worth much. It’s just what I believe. And I believe that God will see me safely across any street. That’s why I cross with my eyes closed.

          As an act of belief reveals our will and it is a charitable will that is best for us and thus what God wants for us, not a doctoral dissertation on rational reasons to know that God exists.

          You have the faith of a child! How nice for you. Just don’t use that thinking process to do anything important, OK?

        • gw

          Not speaking of differing god(s) but the Creator.
          To some people the Universe is so wonderful they have no doubt there is a Creator – God.

          If you want to cross the street with your eyes closed, you will find out,
          very quickly on a crowded street, whether your beliefs are valid or not.

          Thank you for the compliment on my faith.

          One should only have faith in God, not in anyone/thing else.

        • Remind me again of why you should be allowed to exist?

          I’m about to pull the lever on the trap door.

        • Dys

          Because gw falsely believes he’s capable of teaching us poor atheists about the ontological argument despite the many mistakes he’s made in presenting and defending it?

        • busterggi

          PLEASE

        • It’s your lucky day!

        • Dys

          One should only have faith in God, not in anyone/thing else.

          Considering the deplorable and immoral behaviour of that biblical character, it’s best not to have faith in him either.

        • Greg G.

          To some people, Ganesh is obvious. People are prone to making those types of mistakes. When you are alone in a house, a loud creak evokes the idea of person with evil intentions.

        • gw

          Just reporting on how some people believe in a Creator.
          If what is sufficient for them is not for you such is the human condition.

        • Greg G.

          Yes, the human condition tends to set the bar against gullibility too low for religious claims and superstitions.

        • Dys

          and that to exist is better than not to exist

          There’s no reason to grant this, since attempting to treat existence as a property in this manner doesn’t really hold water. Kant pretty much shredded the existence as a predicate portion of the argument.

          And then of course there’s the problem that perfection is, by necessity, subjectively defined. And even if the argument holds up, logical possibility doesn’t equate to actual possibility.

          not wholly contingent, that at least one thing necessarily had/has to exist to get the
          Universe a-going then that necessity is God.

          This makes the unwarranted assumption that the one necessarily existing thing is a person.

        • gw

          Kant was addressing Anselm’s first version.
          Existence is not a predicate, a mistake Kant made,
          but no Anselm.

          No, the one thing that is not subjectively defined is
          perfection. Aristotle can help you understand this better.
          If something is perfect, no fully rational mind could understand such a being as anything but perfect.

          In Modal Logic if something is logically fully possible
          then it must exist.

          No, it is not un-warranted, we are only persons because
          God is a person.

        • Dys

          No, the one thing that is not subjectively defined is perfection.

          That’s a joke. On you. Perfection is most definitely subjectively determined.

          If something is perfect, no fully rational mind could understand such a being as anything but perfect.

          Well, that rules out the Christian God then. Although I should point out that there’s no such thing as a fully rational mind, so your attempt at a point here is still hosed. If anything, you just bolstered my case that perfection is defined subjectively. So thanks for that.

          In Modal Logic if something is logically fully possible
          then it must exist.

          Which is precisely why S5 modal logic can lead to absurdities that don’t really hold water. As in the case for the ontological argument for the existence of God. It doesn’t prove that God exists. It just tries to define him into existence.

          No, it is not un-warranted, we are only persons because God is a person.

          For someone purporting to be capable on this topic, you’re committing a number of fallacies willy-nilly. In this case, begging the question.

        • gw

          If you don’t have a fully rational mind, then no wonder you keep thinking that Perfection is subjectively determined. [ Read your Aristotle ! }

          David Lewis found no fault with Modal Logic, so why do you ?

          Anselm argument, the second one, shows that it is not illogical for God to exist, and since God exists, the conclusion is true. [ Aquinas noted that the
          argument was sound/valid and true, but it would take an intelligence as
          God’s has to know it was.

          No fallacies have been committed, you seem not to grasp the subtleties
          involved as you do not want to admit the conclusion, which makes sense
          for you.

          As said before, you are only a person because God is a person.

        • Dys

          If you don’t have a fully rational mind, then no wonder you keep thinking that Perfection is subjectively determined

          No one does. You certainly don’t. And you’re severely out of touch with the realities of the human condition if you think anyone does.

          David Lewis found no fault with Modal Logic, so why do you ?

          Yet another fallacy. I think you must enjoy committing them. If you were truly as brilliant at logic as you desperately want everyone to believe you are, you’d be a bit more careful in making such infantile mistakes.

          Anselm argument, the second one, shows that it is not illogical for God to exist, and since God exists, the conclusion is true

          And now you’ve gone and begged the question. Again. Anselm’s second argument doesn’t show that it is not illogical for God to exist – it’s one of the premises. And as I’ve said already, the argument doesn’t demonstrate that the concept of God existing necessarily translates into the actuality of God existing.

          No fallacies have been committed,

          Your failure to recognize your faulty logic and bad assumptions is your own. Suffice to say, you have most certainly committed a number of fallacies. But at least you managed to avoid inserting Anselm’s first ontological argument into the second one this time. So you’re marginally improving.

          As said before, you are only a person because God is a person.

          And as I said before, this is nothing more than an assertion on your part. You can’t, and haven’t, demonstrated it to be true.

  • gw

    Happy Feast Day, April 23rd, of Saint George.

  • David Hennessey

    Faith excludes reason, my Mom can explain this one to you, God protected the versions that were true, that’s why they are in the true Bible, if versions of the Bible changed and interpretations changed, it was all overseen by God so we are getting the best versions right now.

    All that is written is for the sole purpose of allowing you, nonbeliever, to embrace faith and save yourself from certain punishment and death, not necessarily in that order. Embracing faith requires you to give up reason and just accept that the Bible is the Word of God and you just can’t fathom God’s purposes.

    All arguments about everything contained in scriptures or added in traditions and rituals is irrelevant if reason is always trumped by faith.

    In the end, it is an argument from victory, whatever survives and can be spread around the world must be true or it couldn’t be triumphant. It’s the spiritual companion to the OT rule that the nation that wins must worship the true God, unless it’s not us.

    It is also, curiously, the rule of evolution, whatever survives in nature must be the best, extinct species, like extinct scriptures, are the rejects of God’s creation.

    The twist is that their particular take on God is a persecuted minority understanding which doesn’t need to fully conquer until some later resurrection of a hero Savior so they don’t need to even show that they are winning to continue having faith, their faith is piled on top of faith, even reasoning about faith is unpersuasive to the faithful.

    When the faithful use reason to refute you, they are not refuting what you say but are really trying to refute reason, itself, so faith can reveal truth, instead.

    • Wow! There’s so much there that needs a response. I’ll simply observe that you’re presupposing God. Around here, we need evidence of so remarkable a claim.

      • David Hennessey

        Ummmm…yeah, that’s the point, Bob, my Mom and every Christian presupposes the existence of God, that’s why it is pointless to discuss anything else with them. 99% of commentators on this site are pastors, priests, imams and other devout believers who are here to convert, not to reason together.

        The only thing that can reasonably be discussed is the question you ably pointed out, is there a Christian God or not? Then, God must be excluded from the conversation or my Mom automatically wins.

        Any argument can be easily won by the theist by appealing to God, yet you keep arguing details as though you have a chance to win, you don’t.

        This article is not about the existence of God yet foolish atheists and agnostics argue about whether the Bible is accurate when that could only be true if God exists. Every time you discuss some other subject without agreeing on the first premise, you are the one letting God be presupposed.

        Talking about whether the Bible is accurate is like talking about whether Shakespeare’s plays are accurate, if you don’t presume that God wrote them, they are obviously not accurate, you would never consider the inerrancy of any other collection of short stories.

        Sure, I understand your frustration, I agree completely, this article should just ask that question and the formula is simple:

        A: God exists, therefore the Bible is inerrant because He wrote it and protected it men can’t judge it.
        B. God doesn’t exist, therefore the Bible was written by men and is inaccurate by definition.

        All Christians want to reason backwards and get you to consider whether the Bible is accurate, if they convince you of that, they’ve convinced you of the existence of God. You have no hope of convincing a Christian that the Bible is inaccurate unless you first convince them the God didn’t write it, otherwise my Mom’s arguments are unassailable.

        So, if you are accepting that God MIGHT exist, then you’re accepting that God might have written the Bible, then you’re accepting that in might be completely inerrant, then your arguments are foolishness, it might be accurate no matter how inaccurate it might appear, God doesn’t make mistakes.

        It is only Jehovah we are concerned about here, of course, you have to go through this with every sacred writing and every possible god and you are back in the same dilemma every time, you either believe based on faith or you don’t.

        If you are writing this for the atheists, you are singing to
        the choir, if you are writing to convince Christians, you haven’t proved anything, faith trumps reason, God wrote it, God re-wrote it, God edited it, God abridged it and God translated it, God even allowed seeming contradictions just to confound those who rely on reason, not faith.

        Personally, I believe the Universe(Universes?) is eternal and needs no cause and may also be conscious but with no desire or power to intervene except to favor life and love over death and hate or else nothing would exist.

        Sorry if I offended, your arguments are completely sound if you presuppose NO GOD, if you even allow the possibility of God, you have no argument at all.

        • your arguments are completely sound if you presuppose NO GOD, if you even allow the possibility of God, you have no argument at all.

          I’m delighted to allow the possibility of God. Now, show me any of my arguments that fail.

          my Mom and every Christian presupposes the existence of God

          Being facetious, I assume? Many Christians claim that there is good evidence that should bring the thoughtful and open-minded atheist to belief in the Christian claims. I’ve yet to see a compelling argument of this type.

          is there a Christian God or not?

          I don’t believe in the supernatural at all. We can talk about that as well.

          yet foolish atheists and agnostics argue about whether the Bible is accurate when that could only be true if God exists.

          Is the Bible accurate? No, it doesn’t seem like it. I guess that’s compelling argument against God.

          Talking about whether the Bible is accurate is like talking about whether Shakespeare’s plays are accurate, if you don’t presume that God wrote them, they are obviously not accurate, you would never consider the inerrancy of any other collection of short stories.

          It doesn’t matter who wrote Shakespeare’s plays. They’re compelling regardless.

          That’s quite a contrast with the Bible. If it’s not divinely inspired, it’s just supernatural nonsense.

          No, I won’t presuppose God. That’s not an argument. I need evidence (blame God for making me that way).

          A: God exists, therefore the Bible is inerrant because He wrote it and protected it men can’t judge it.

          B. God doesn’t exist, therefore the Bible was written by men and is inaccurate by definition.

          Who thinks about it that way? No atheist here.

          We ask, Does God exist? We look at the evidence. (So far, it’s not looking good for the believers.)

          if you are accepting that God MIGHT exist, then you’re accepting that God might have written the Bible, then you’re accepting that in might be completely inerrant, then your arguments are foolishness

          I accept that God might exist. Now show me what arguments fail.

          you either believe based on faith or you don’t.

          OK. So then you agree with me that there are no good evidence-based arguments for the Christian position?

          if you are writing to convince Christians, you haven’t proved anything, faith trumps reason

          In thoughtful circles, Christians are facepalming when they read that.

        • David Hennessey

          Bob, I won’t continue arguing foolishness, you ignore or twist what I say, you are not being serious at all, I have already made my points and you have not touched my basic premise.

          I will only answer one or two points to illustrate the non-serious nature of your replies, your first point.

          “I’m delighted to allow the possibility of God. Now, show me any of my arguments that fail.”

          Good, we’re done, God wrote it, God revised it, God protected it, God re-wrote it, God translated it and God interprets it to those who believe it. God filled it full of apparent contradictions so that evil people who trust reason over faith would be unable to believe and would go to hell.

          Now, with God being permissible, how do you refute the basic Christian argument: God wrote it, man can’t judge it nor should he try?

          Your other complaints fall along the same lines, you think logic has a place in the discussion but read the arguments of your supposedly reasonable Christian apologists, with a little fancy language, they all boil down to faith being the master, reason the servant and you going to hell. (me too).

          None will concede one inch to you just because you list all these contradictions, inconsistencies and historical inaccuracies, these have been common knowledge for 2000 years and have convinced no churches to close their doors.
          “Who thinks about it that way? No atheist here.”

          If you are writing just for other atheists, why state that you will accept the possibility of the existence of God?

          “OK. So then you agree with me that there are no good evidence-based arguments for the Christian position?”

          That’s what my whole premise was, I stated it clearly, there is no evidence-based argument for the Christian position, THEY DON’T NEED ONE, you just allowed them (through me) to use a God-based argument, that is my basic point.

          “In thoughtful circles, Christians are facepalming when they read that.”

          Seriously, Bob, there are Christians who don’t believe that faith trumps reason? I have been around the block a few times, sonny, don’t try to snow me. If Christianity is subjected to reason and logic, it falls apart like a rotten banana, there will never be a Christianity based on thoughtful reasoning but don’t let me discourage you from trying.

          I’m really sorry I engaged with you at all, you give juvenile, smart-ass answers even when I actually disagreed with NOTHING you stated in your piece, NOTHING.

          I only pointed out that your arguments are easily discounted when you let God be used as the explanation for everything and anything. Yes, Bob, God is even the explanation for why the Bible doesn’t make sense and that is not something that causes facepalms, that’s found in scripture, itself, “I speak in parables because … ‘When they see what I do, they will learn nothing. When they hear what I say, they will not understand. Otherwise, they will turn to me and be forgiven.'”

          Paul says, “I will be a fool for Christ”, the idea that the real truth is hidden behind apparent lies or misdirection is hardly a new idea or a cause for outrage.

          Your article was fine but discussing anything with you is torture, please enjoy yourself, I have nothing further to add. If you take no value from what I have said, I wasted my time and yours.

        • I won’t continue arguing foolishness, you ignore or twist what I say, you are not being serious at all, I have already made my points and you have not touched my basic premise.

          Your basic premise is that faith is the tool to use. That’s the part that I’m ridiculing.

          Good, we’re done, God wrote it, God revised it, God protected it, God re-wrote it, God translated it and God interprets it to those who believe it.

          And there’s the problem. Me, I need evidence.

          I wonder that you don’t apply that same gullibility to some other religion. Y’know, Allah wrote it, Allah revised it, etc. Or Quetzalcoatl wrote it, Quetzalcoatl revised it, etc. Have you ever thought to go there?

          God filled it full of apparent contradictions so that evil people who trust reason over faith would be unable to believe and would go to hell.

          Wow—what a dick. And you worship this guy?

          Now, with God being permissible, how do you refute the basic Christian argument: God wrote it, man can’t judge it nor should he try?

          I ask the Christian for evidence, obviously. None appears to be forthcoming.

          read the arguments of your supposedly reasonable Christian apologists

          Reasonable Christian apologists? Never heard of such a thing. Show me.

          you list all these contradictions, inconsistencies and historical inaccuracies, these have been common knowledge for 2000 years and have convinced no churches to close their doors.

          And what does that tell you about the value of evidence to the church? (Or perhaps that’s a stupid question—you already seem ready to grant that there is no good evidence or argument.)

          If you are writing just for other atheists, why state that you will accept the possibility of the existence of God?

          (1) The facts don’t change depending on who I’m talking to.

          (2) My main audience is thoughtful Christians.

          “OK. So then you agree with me that there are no good evidence-based arguments for the Christian position?”

          That’s what my whole premise was, I stated it clearly, there is no evidence-based argument for the Christian position, THEY DON’T NEED ONE

          Do you need good evidence to know when it’s safe to cross the street? Do you need a good argument to change your mind on a political position? If you use reason and evidence in these mundane areas of life, I wonder why you don’t for the most important question of all, the existence of God.

          Seriously, Bob, there are Christians who don’t believe that faith trumps reason?

          Of course there are. I get it. It’s just an amazing sight to see someone like you parading around that attitude like a nudist walking through a mall.

          If Christianity is subjected to reason and logic, it falls apart like a rotten banana, there will never be a Christianity based on thoughtful reasoning

          OK, hold on now. Are you a Poe?

          I’m torn between wanting to give you a hug for being a Christian who realizes that the emperor has no clothes and there are no good arguments for Christianity and laughing with you at this ridiculous caricature that you’ve invented.

          I’m really sorry I engaged with you at all, you give juvenile, smart-ass answers even when I actually disagreed with NOTHING you stated in your piece, NOTHING.

          Agreed. We agree that there’s nothing of value behind the pompous Christian apologists’ grand claims.

          I only pointed out that your arguments are easily discounted when you let God be used as the explanation for everything and anything.

          And again I agree. If you presuppose that God exists, it’s rather easy to prove that God exists. I can’t imagine why anyone would go there, but whatever.

          that’s found in scripture, itself, “I speak in parables because … ‘When they see what I do, they will learn nothing. When they hear what I say, they will not understand. Otherwise, they will turn to me and be forgiven.'”

          (1) Yes, God is an asshole. He went to a lot of effort to make hell suck, and it’d be a shame if nobody roasted there. I do wonder, though, how good Christians like yourself will be able to enjoy heaven knowing all the torment that God is inflicting.

          (2) Early Christianity was influenced by mystery religions like Gnosticism. You’re reading a fragment of that.

          I have nothing further to add. If you take no value from what I have said, I wasted my time and yours.

          It wasn’t a total waste. I got a laugh.

        • David Hennessey

          Sorry, I didn’t read your reply, glad you got a laugh (I saw the last line when replying) but I don’t talk to people who are insincere and unable to express themselves coherently.

          I skimmed a little and saw nothing but your nonsensical smarm and outright lies about what I clearly stated.

          I won’t waste my time throwing pearls your way, or even slop.

        • I love it! You run away from the argument but poison the well by declaring that it’s all my fault for being insincere, lying, and incoherent.

          Your Christian playbook must be a hoot to read.

          Dang–I had wanted to get some of your pearls, though. I guess I’ll have an eternity with a skewer up my ass to wish I’d been nicer to you.

        • Dys

          As near as I can tell, he’s not a Christian. He just takes way too many words to point out that presuppositional apologists can hand wave away all the arguments against their position. And seems to be a bit too self-important besides.

        • He’s against a lot of things, but I thought he was in favor of presuppositional Christianity. No?

          What a shame that he’s run away. Think of the wisdom we could learn if we sat at his feet!

        • Dys

          I think he imagines he’s the first to realize that presuppositionalists can escape any criticism of their position via circular reasoning. And because of this, he thinks he’s in a position to tell atheists everywhere that pointing out problems with the bible, theology, etc. is pointless. The fact that not all Christians are presuppositionalists appears to have escaped his notice.

          From what I’ve read of his comments, I think he’s an ignostic, and is perfectly exemplified by this xkcd cartoon

          http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/atheists.png

        • David Hennessey

          Yawn.

        • OK–your position is much clearer now. Thanks.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You lucky, lucky bastard, I dream of an eternity with a skewer up my arse. Me? I’m destined for a red hot poker up my ass for eternity.

        • Greg G.

          Red hot poker? Luxury. As I understand it, I will be roasted at such high temperatures, a red hot poker would be like a strawberry popsicle up my ass.

        • Dys

          “I had to get up in the morning at ten o’clock at night, half an hour before I went to bed, eat a lump of cold poison, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad would kill us, and dance about on our graves singing ‘Hallelujah.'”

        • Ignorant Amos

          But you try and tell the young people today that… and they won’t believe ya’.

          https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Xe1a1wHxTyo

        • Wow–tough childhood.

        • Ignorant Amos

          In all fairness, a red hot poker, or “Das heiss eysen,” up the ass is something Christians are well versed in given the inquisition.

        • I figured the heat would come from the fire underneath me, but I forgot that the skewer would probably be red hot as well.

          Thanks for bursting my bubble, mate. Now I’m sad.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Damn it!

          I thought it was only the religidiots that made you sad…soz.

        • Ignorant Amos

          One person’s pearls appear to be another person’s shite. You are flinging a lot bull, pearl’s they are not.

        • MNb

          “God wrote it”
          What do you mean with this? Did your god himself use pen and paper? Use a computer?
          That’s what I do when I write.

        • Dys

          Not every Christian engages in presuppositional apologetics. Those guys, I agree, don’t do anything other than follow the typical circular argument and then just mindlessly go around in a loop.

        • adam

          “The only thing that can reasonably be discussed is the question you ably pointed out, is there a Christian God or not?”

          No there are millions of claimed “Gods”

    • MNb

      “save yourself from certain punishment and death”
      Death – more accurate not existing – is not a punishment. Eternal life is.

      • sandy

        So true Mnb, to live forever doing what? The same miserable life you just experienced? I guess the con is a life that is full of happiness that you never got on earth, wow, so how exactly does that happen..cars? house? looks…no that can’t change, cash…to spend on what?, basically nothing changes…fuck…and I get to do this for eternity…with a jew god…(no discrimination intended but true). I would love to spend eternity with Dionysus if I had a choice duh…caymus forever!

        • Greg G.

          What if you get 70 virgins for your 70 sex organs to have 70 simultaneous eternal orgasms?

        • sandy

          I think it’s 72…so ya I’m in! I have used that argument with my christen friends. Basically it goes like this…You believe what (the fuck) you believe based on faith (no evidence) so when a muslin blows himself up to achieve heaven for himself and family how can you deny his faith? His belief is true. Can you deny he is about to receive his 72 virgins? Yes it’s total bs hard to believe we need to discuss this. Christianity is as true as the 72 virgins.

        • sandy

          Just to clarify to a christian. When a muslim blows himself up to achieve paradise for himself and family how can you prove him wrong?

        • Greg G.

          The monks who have received a vision of heaven thought everyone was praising God continuously because they had never heard people saying “Oh, God” during sex.

        • I think it’s 72…so ya I’m in!

          Those extra 2 virgins make all the difference.

          I don’t know what you’re planning on doing that means 70 virgins aren’t quite enough, but it sounds pretty interesting.

        • busterggi

          Even Busby Berkeley couldn’t choreograph that.

        • Since Muslim men are continually told how terrible carnal desire is, one wonders why they would want to satisfy that in Eternity.

        • busterggi

          Especially considering that as its after death it also qualifies as necrophism.

        • MNb

          Even Dionisos is not interesting enough to spend eternity with.
          No, my life is not miserable. It would become miserable would it last forever though.

      • David Hennessey

        LOL. Tell it to my Mom, you purely speculate that eternal life would be horrible, she speculates it would be wonderful, I think being prepared for reincarnation or heaven or a non-physical mindplace or a space ship cruise are all a good idea, I don’t accept your fantasy as fact either.

        I expect to die soon, if there is nothingness, I’m ready, otherwise I will die expecting to be utterly surprised and having preconceived expectations will only slow me down when adapting to my new plane of existence.

        Sorry if you thought I was presenting my own views, I thought I made it clear that this is a common Christian argument which I don’t expect to disabuse my mother of before we both die because, as I pointed out, there is no reasoning with faith.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Believers savor the idea of eternity because few of them have any idea what the concept entails.

          To quote James Joyce….

          What must it be, then, to bear the manifold tortures of hell forever? Forever! For all eternity! Not for a year or an age but forever. Try to imagine the awful meaning of this. You have often seen the sand on the seashore. How fine are its tiny grains! And how many of those tiny grains go to make up the small handful which a child grasps in its play. Now imagine a mountain of that sand, a million miles high, reaching from the earth to the farthest heavens, and a million miles broad, extending to remotest space, and a million miles in thickness, and imagine such an enormous mass of countless particles of sand multiplied as often as there are leaves in the forest, drops of water in the mighty ocean, feathers on birds, scales on fish, hairs on animals, atoms in the vast expanse of air. And imagine that at the end of every million years a little bird came to that mountain and carried away in its beak a tiny grain of that sand. How many millions upon millions of centuries would pass before that bird had carried away even a square foot of that mountain, how many eons upon eons of ages before it had carried away all. Yet at the end of that immense stretch time not even one instant of eternity could be said to have ended. At the end of all those billions and trillions of years eternity would have scarcely begun. And if that mountain rose again after it had been carried all away again grain by grain, and if it so rose and sank as many times as there are stars in the sky, atoms in the air, drops of water in the sea, leaves on the trees, feathers upon birds, scales upon fish, hairs upon animals – at the end of all those innumerable risings and sinkings of that immeasurably vast mountain not even one single instant of eternity could be said to have ended; even then, at the end of such a period, after that eon of time, the mere thought of which makes our very brain reel dizzily, eternity would have scarcely begun.”

        • David Hennessey

          I would agree that the angels with harps idea of eternity sounds dismal, at best, but living forever as an astral being, seeing millions of years at a glance and traversing whatever expanse of space and time I choose doesn’t sound bad at all.

          I don’t understand why some atheists (most?) insist that they will never be conscious after death or that being conscious after death would certainly be horrible. Some even suggest that life here on earth is all suffering, why would you want to extend it? Wha???

          As I approach death, I long for a chance to learn one more thing, to think one more thought, to express one more feeling, if not for the pain that comes with age and death, I would certainly want to go on living even on this benighted earth.

          If I die, I will never know how things turned out in so many areas of life and learning, unless some consciousness that I participate in goes on after my death. If the afterlife is nothingness, I won’t care but I sure don’t hope that there is nothing, I don’t understand that attitude at all.

          Scientifically, of course, our lives are eternal even if brief, because time is just an illusion, everything that ever existed will always exist, our lives will never be obliterated, they are part of the eternal universe now, it’s too late.

        • Greg G.

          I would agree that the angels with harps idea of eternity sounds dismal, at best, but living forever as an astral being, seeing millions of years at a glance and traversing whatever expanse of space and time I choose doesn’t sound bad at all.

          But when you seen each of the million year segments in great detail for the 97,304,652,894,185,718th time, will you be so enthused to see them all for 97,304,652,894,185,719th time? And it would eventually be the same for everything, then do it all another 97,304,652,894,185,718 times. But if heaven is like being on rufees where you can’t form new memories, then everyday being like Groundhog Day would be exciting.

          I enjoy life a great deal. I appreciate every moment because life is short, the moments left are decreasing which makes them all the more precious. The first time I drove a car was thrilling. The driving part of my drive to work is mostly monotonous now. I would like to live a long, long time as long as it doesn’t become boring.

        • martin_exp(pi*sqrt(163))

          But when you seen each of the million year segments in great detail for the 97,304,652,894,185,718th time, …

          that’s nothing, especially if you imagine watching the scenario described in the youtube video “Math Magic” by vsauce (/watch?v=ObiqJzfyACM at time 16:04), still less than 122 liters of the pacific ocean after all this time.

        • You say you can’t understand someone who doesn’t share your hope for the afterlife. I’ll hope for the afterlife after I have good reason to see that it exists. Until then, it’s just mental masturbation.

        • Susan

          I don’t understand why some atheists (most?) insist that they will never be conscious after death

          Everything we observe about consciousness seems to be based on brains. There is no evidence of consciousness without brains. I am not making the claim that there is no consciousness without a brain, but you’ve provided no reason to think there is.

          that being conscious after death would certainly be horrible.

          It would depend on the circumstances, wouldn’t it? But we’re in imaginary land, so it’s not important how any particular atheist “feels” about it. It’s an imaginary promise/threat that invokes different responses from people who consider it hypothetically. While that makes for interesting discussion, it’s not really central to the point that no reason is provided for considering it has any basis in reality.

        • David Hennessey

          There is no evidence of consciousness without brains, true, furthermore, I have been drugged for medical procedures and I experienced no consciousness during the time my brain was deactivated, no dreams, no passage of time, I became unconscious and one second later I was told to wake up, the operation was a success.

          My anecdote confirms your observation, I should agree with you except that I place no faith in anecdotes and trust my own less than anyone’s.

          So, no one has ever seen a non-biologically based consciousness yet, not a surprise since everything is biological on earth, especially things we can relate to as similar to our consciousness. Maybe that’s the only possibility, maybe not.

          I’ve never seen any evidence that extraterrestrial life forms exist but if I were forced to bet, I’d say they are out there. I know that life doesn’t require an earth, it just requires certain characteristics that earth happens to have.

          The same is true of consciousness, it certainly doesn’t require a biological brain but it does require a medium for an information system and sensory input of some kind. These things could occur in many places, the interior of the sun or inside the molten core of a planet, for instance, but the simplest place it could reside is in the space-time fabric of the Universe itself. The basic building blocks of the universe are eerily similar to the inside of a computer, oh yeah, that’s another place consciousness could be found.

          If the Universe is conscious, it could be automatic for your consciousness to merge right in with that larger network since your brain is part of the fabric of the Universe. I’m not sure you would have an individual consciousness in that scenario and you wouldn’t be getting any input from your old sensory system but I think it is as possible as life on other planets.

          Consciousness elsewhere in the universe need not be meat-based either, there is plenty of evidence that there are some crazy things out there and we didn’t know about any of them 100 years ago, we had no evidence that black holes existed but you would look like a fool if you had said they were impossible.

          There are things that are impossible and, of course, no evidence exists for them but there are things that could exist, the conditions for their existence are there even if they are not observed. With consciousness, it can’t help but occur if the conditions are right, I think we are watching computers become conscious right before our eyes, check out the latest AIs and what Hawkins and others say about them

          Consciousness ain’t just for meatheads anymore.

          I’m not counting on anything, of course, I’ll die and que sera, sera.

        • MNb

          “The same is true of consciousness, it certainly doesn’t require a biological brain”
          How do you know this?
          If you want to understand why an atheist like me insists that I won’t be conscious anymore after I die it’s because I was not conscious yet before I was conceived by my parents either. Consciousness without a brain doesn’t make any sense. Your “if this” and “could exist” doesn’t change that even a tiny bit.

        • Tyler Willis

          It’s crazy-epic-cool to think that a bunch of molecules becaume conscious and could be aware they are alive.

        • Myna A.

          I don’t understand why some…insist that they will never be conscious after death or that being conscious after death would certainly be horrible.

          My perspective would be that one would have to distinguish between consciousness as a life force from the mechanism of cognition, which would be a brain function, and not even a stable one.

          The perception of having a distinct and familiar intelligence (or personality) can be jarred by brain trauma, aging, disease, prolonged stress, etc., but consciousness, as a life force hosted by the brain, remains encased as the body continues to function. Whether consciousness disperses from the host upon physical death or simply fizzles out with it, is impossible to know.

          It’s the ego that fears dying and it is the ego that conjures the fantasy of an awareness beyond death because it cannot imagine extinction. What religion does is place the ego as a trustworthy agent of information about a complete unknown.

        • You’re in for a surprise, pal. God will ask you to account for his gift of the human brain. Did you use it? Or just believe shit that pleases you? I’m likelier to get into heaven than you, since I didn’t simply follow pleasing ideas but rather followed the evidence.

        • adam

          “Tell it to my Mom”

          Call her down to the basement so that we can.

        • MNb

          Of course I speculate. But there is more.
          Fact: before I was conceived I did not exist either. It was not a punishment at all to me that I didn’t exist say 80 million years ago..
          Fact: sooner or later I get bored of everything. Extrapolation (which is more than mere speculation): hence eternal life would become eternal boredom, which I feel is a punishment.
          In terms of Pascal’s Wager: atheism, ie descending into nothingness after I die is the safe bet, especially given the cost of believing.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Exactly.

          Eternity gives one the time to do everything an infinite amount of times and still be a lazy bastard. Fuck that for a game of soldier’s.

          As good auld Samuel Langhorne Clemens put it…

          “I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”

        • TheNuszAbides

          meh. granting eternal consciousness, there has been no speculation that it would be omnipresent or omniscient (probably some pre-Ockham musings discarded along the way, but none clearly adopted by any sizable cult), and i don’t see why a) it wouldn’t continue to be true that it’s impossible for any individual to learn everything, and b) learning should become boring.

    • Dys

      In the end, it is an argument from victory, whatever survives and can be spread around the world must be true or it couldn’t be triumphant.

      So your argument from victory is nothing more than an ad populum fallacy.

      It is also, curiously, the rule of evolution, whatever survives in nature must be the best, extinct species, like extinct scriptures, are
      the rejects of God’s creation.

      That’s not how evolution works, and your reasoning here is a non-sequitur.

      When the faithful use reason to refute you

      They don’t.

      they are not refuting what you say but are really trying to refute reason

      And they fail at that, because all it really amounts to is mindlessly repeating “you just gotta believe”

      so faith can reveal truth, instead.

      And since faith is, at its core, indistinguishable from gullibility, it doesn’t lead to truth at all.

      You’re just proposing the typical presuppositionalist circular reasoning.

    • adam

      “Faith excludes reason”

      Which is the whole problem.

  • David Hennessey

    First Cause is an oxymoron.

    So… someone is still arguing that a First Cause is necessary?

    No one has offered even the slightest reason why Existence itself had a beginning, in fact, every religion presupposes that Existence is eternal since God or Allah is eternal, scientists consider the possibility that THIS universe is not eternal and have speculated about a “big bang” but that is not a scientific theory and it presupposes something before the Big Bang from which the energy could emerge, another universe, for example.

    If this universe is not eternal, then it came from something else, another universe that is eternal, perhaps, or a pile of turtles. Nothing is created or destroyed in nature, Existence exists, look around you, if something exists then something has always existed. Whatever exists is referred to as “the universe” which just means “everything”, something always existed if anything exists and we know something does exist.

    The theist trick is to define God as being separate from the universe (a logical absurdity since the definition of the universe includes everything), thus God can exist before the universe existed and he can create it. Once the theist gets you to change the definition of the universe to “everything except God”, all arguments are just silliness and you have accepted the premise of theism – that God exists.

    So, it’s simple:
    1. I think, therefore Existence.
    2. There is a Universe of everything that exists, including God or gods and other universes.
    3. The Universe must have always existed since nothing can be created or destroyed.
    4. Change is always occurring, causation requires that the Universe has always been changing, observation confirms it.
    5. The Universe can never be static nor could ever have been static, nor can God. If God existed absolutely alone, He would have to change His mind in order to create the Universe since He had already existed without the rest of the Universe for an eternity. If God changed his mind, He is not God, by definition.
    6. The Universe of all Existence is eternal, was never created and is ever changing, it will never end since nothing is finally created or destroyed.

    Not only is a First Cause unnecessary, a First Cause is impossible without changing the definition of the Universe to allow something which is separate from everything, huh? Everything is everything, including powerful beings which could certainly exist but would not fit the definition of a First Cause.

    The Big Bang? That’s not a scientific theory, the evidence for an initial singularity doesn’t exist, this universe could endlessly cycle from very small to very large or each universe could slow down until it collapses into the largest of its black holes and explodes into another universe which will still be part of the Universe of universes. The big bang pseudo-theory contains no argument for a First Cause, if neither of my explanations is confirmed, there are many others that make more sense than a magical being.

    Even if a First Cause is imagined, it is highly unlikely since nothing within the Universe ever has a first cause, everything has a cause but it is never the first cause, to observe that causes are always preceded by prior causes and to use that observation to imagine a ’cause that has no cause’ is arguing against the evidence.

    If causation is accepted as a fact, causation can’t come from the Uncaused, causation assumes that there is nothing that is uncaused, the whole idea of a First Cause is a logical absurdity and has been since a conniving Catholic Deist invented this oxymoron.

    • Mister Two

      “Existence exists, look around you, if something exists then something has always existed.”
      That may not be true. Not that I understand quantum physics at all, but to hear Lawrence Krauss explain it, matter comes into existence and goes out of existence all of the time, and it’s perfectly reasonable to expect that everything came from nothing.

      Of course, there’s plenty of criticism of Krauss, but the criticism is telling, as well. You said that a first cause is highly unlikely, because we observe that all causes have preceding causes. Those who criticize Krauss point out that his problem is that the physics he’s using says nothing about how things came into being — it only explains how existing things work.

      That seems true of the first cause / no first cause “debate” — we simply know nothing about that. I can neither wrap my head around the idea that matter and/or energy always existed, nor the idea that it came from somewhere or out of nowhere. Maybe someday the maths will give us an answer, but for now it’s only philosophy. “… causation cannot come from the Uncaused,” except that, at the same time, it had to! (Mind you, I’m not picking a side here, I’m just suggestion that nobody can pick a side with any degree of confidence at this point.)

      • “The universe may just be one of those things that happen from time to time.”

      • David Hennessey

        Why must causation come from the Uncaused? Causation insists that each effect must have a cause and that a cause is just another effect which must have another cause.

        There is nothing in nature that has a first cause, everything comes from what went before, a First Cause would be a huge, unnatural anomaly, not an expectation.

        • Causation? What’s that?

          Read up on the Copenhagen model of quantum physics.

        • David Hennessey

          Oh Bob, you are tiresome, the First Cause argument has nothing to do with quantum physics, it is a theological definition proposed centuries before quantum physics.

          Quantum physics makes no attempt to deal with creation, you are full of smoke.

          But, I’ll bite, show me how quantum physics proves that there is no god.

        • Oh David, you are clueless. You can ask someone else to argue that QM proves that there is no god; that wasn’t my claim.

          QM shows that some things don’t have causes.

        • Greg G.

          I agree. The First Cause would be a cause acting on nothing so we shouldn’t expect an effect.

          My understanding of physics is rather vague with well-defined hand-waving but I have read that a positron and an electron are mathematically equivalent to one another with one traveling in the opposite direction in time. Perhaps that is true of vacuum particles in general. So a virtual quantum pair may be able to cause one another by traveling in opposite directions in time, completely apart from outside influences.

        • TheNuszAbides

          My understanding of physics is rather vague with well-defined hand-waving

          i’m hesitant to delve deeper than first-year Mechanics, out of fear that i’ll keep shoehorning wishful thoughts of the One Electron [quasi-]hypothesis into everything. but i really think i should know more about electricity before i, hmm, i dunno, own property or something …

        • Mister Two

          I didn’t say it /must/ be uncaused. I said that the idea that everything must have a prior cause seems just as illogical as — no more probable than — the idea that at some point, there must have been a first thing. It’s an infinite set of prior causes, a first cause that is infinite, or a first cause that came from nothing. You think you’re certain that it’s the first, but upon what basis? The basis that you’ve made your choice and you’re sticking with it?

        • David Hennessey

          I’m not sure I understand your point, if we posit that everything has a cause and we can observe the cause and effect relationship all around us, we depend on this concept to guide research and study in many areas.

          We try to find the cause of cancer because we’re pretty dang sure it has one, if we thought things springing into existence from nothingness was as likely as them having a cause, we’d expect to find no cause for about half the effects.

          We are all, except you, maybe, positive that we can find the cause of anything if we keep looking and that’s how it has always been. We never see anything new just pop into existence except perhaps a quark or something but we are on the very edge of our knowledge base on that, they may pop in from somewhere, not get created out of nothing. It is slim evidence.

          So, when someone hypothesizes that there was once something that had no cause, that requires extraordinary proof and we have none, all we have is a thought experiment from the antiquity.

        • when someone hypothesizes that there was once something that had no cause, that requires extraordinary proof and we have none

          Quantum physics says that some events have no causes.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “So, when someone hypothesizes that there was once something that had no cause, that requires extraordinary proof and we have none, all we have is a thought experiment from the antiquity.”

          Indeed, which is why I reject the notion of a “god(s)”.

        • busterggi

          “if we posit that everything has a cause”

          And that is your first error of presupposition.

      • Dys

        The only thing I’d note is that Krauss’s definition of ‘nothing’ is very specific, and doesn’t translate to absolute nothing. IIRC, Krauss’s nothing is a quantum vacuum.

        • TheNuszAbides

          is there an instructive formulation of ‘absolute nothing’? i.e. are the philosophical objections to Krauss’s label of ‘nothing’ important in a sense other than “don’t redefine that word, we need it to illustrate purely abstract counterfactuals”?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Here’s Matt and Tracy on the Atheist Experience dealing with a George type on the subject of nothing…

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7XDNomPwK0

        • TheNuszAbides

          heh, that’s one of the handful i’ve already seen. hundreds and hundreds to go … talk about patience training!

        • Dys

          Not that I’m aware of.

    • This is all quite enlightening. I thought that you needed a PhD in physics to have something valuable to say about cosmology, but here David has made clear that you can just sit on the fence with you butt crack hanging out, picking your nose, and invent insightful observations about the origin of the universe.

      • David Hennessey

        Which puts me light years ahead of you, Bob.

  • David Hennessey

    One thing I know for sure, atheism is utterly absurd and useless.

    It took Bob to convince me, I actually thought I was moving from agnosticism to atheism until Bob made me realize that atheism doesn’t exist as an independent philosophy, it can only express one negative thought consisting of four words and then has no more to offer to anyone.

    Theism may be wrong, maybe not, but it offers some material to consider, some moral codes, some building projects and even some wars and errors, atheism offers four words, “Gods do not exist”, but doesn’t even attempt to define “gods” or “exist”.

    I rejected creationism as a child because I wanted to study it more, after 6000 years there must have been more discovered about the days of Creation than a few paragraphs. If not, maybe I could expand on the creation story, someone should be studying something so important but I was disappointed. All anyone was permitted to do was mull over those same confusing passages and try to drag more meaning out of words that had no more to give.

    Atheism is much worse, it offers one negative statement which it has never proven and then relies on ridicule and insult to address any questions.

    What does atheism say about slavery? Nothing.
    What does atheism say about beauty? Nothing.
    What does atheism teach about living life well? Nothing.
    What does atheism say about relationships? Nothing.
    What does atheism say about happiness or love? Nothing.

    Atheism says nothing and it permits nothing to be said about it, it is solely concerned with a single negative idea and you can only examine those four words for a short time before you realize that there is nowhere to go with them.

    Not only does atheism say nothing about anything, it also does nothing and that is not a small difficulty. A philosophy without utility is highly unlikely to contain truth. I won’t concede that Russia and China’s failures were primarily due to atheism but they are they only real world examples of even attempting to put atheism into practice.

    No governance philosophy derives from atheism, (not marxism)
    No economic system flows from atheism.(not communism)
    No charity has been started because atheism inspired it.
    No hospital has been built because of atheism.
    No art has been produced because of atheism.
    No beauty can be found in atheism.
    No new thing can ever come from atheism, it is four dead words.

    You can’t study atheism, you can read all the books ever written about it and there will be nothing about atheism in them except, “There are no gods.” There will be reams of criticisms of Christianity, theism, agnosticism and every other philosophy except atheism.

    I rejected creationism for evolution because there was meat on the bones, it could answer questions and find new discoveries, it could even be wrong and correct itself. Creationism could do none of those things and neither can atheism.

    I can understand now why Bob could only pick a sentence or half sentence from my writing and make a snarky comment, its not his fault, his atheism gave him no positive claims to offer, no further explanation to explore, no opportunity for any give and take that you expect from a mature philosophy.

    After existing for millennia, all atheism can say is “We don’t know anything, all we know is that everyone else is wrong.”

    I’m not actually an agnostic as most would define it, I may be an ignostic but that would describe practically nothing about me, I believe the universe is eternal and conscious so it may be a god, maybe not. The universe prefers life over death, that’s obvious, that might qualify for some definition of god. The universe is probably all-knowing if it’s conscious, that’s another point for god status.
    I kind of worship the universe, I guess, it allows me to exist for a time.

    Christians would say I’m an atheist but I don’t think anyone is an atheist because the term is meaningless, it is like the hole in a donut, we have a name for it but it is empty air. Show me the hole in the donut without the donut.

    Show me atheism without theism or some other positive philosophy to contain its emptiness, go ahead, Bob, I’ll give you a last chance but I’ll bet dollars to donuts you will respond with insults again.

    The very worst thing about atheism, however, is that it is utterly boring, that’s enough to flush it down the nearest toilet with its boring companion, creationism.

    I’ll check back so you won’t waste your insults on my backside, I’d never rob you of the joy of pointless abuse.

    • Dys

      Wait…you’re just now realizing that atheism isn’t an ideology, belief system, or worldview? Of course it isn’t – it’s not supposed to be. Neither is theism or agnosticism for that matter. They’re all words describing positions on a single topic – the existence of god(s). That’s it.

      Your comment is basically an incredibly long rant admitting that you don’t really know what you’re talking about and were committing a category error the entire time. Get over yourself – you’re not speaking from some enlightened position.

      • David Hennessey

        Now, we’re getting somewhere, there’s on enormous difference between theism and atheism, they both define a position and that is all that atheism can do, it’s just a definition and a poor one at that.

        The big difference is that a person who describes themselves as a theist must have an actual god to back up that claim. You can be a Christian theist, a Muslim theist or a pagan theist but you can never be just a theist. The definition requires you to believe that there is a real god, not just the concept of a god.

        Look at Bob’s mission statement “Bob explores intellectual arguments in favor of Christianity from an atheist perspective”, and then ask yourself, what is “an atheist perspective”?

        If atheism is nothing more than a definition, what the heck is an “atheist perspective”? A definition is not a perspective and he’s not about to reveal whatever perspective he might have on it, he’s just attacking Christianity, he attacks it from the same perspective that a Jew attacks it, where’s the atheist part?

        All religions attack each other, they attack themselves sometimes but what does it have to do with atheism?

        As an atheist, your task is to prove atheism and you can’t do it by destroying just one religion, that’s meaningless, you also can’t prove all religions wrong so you have to prove your own position by showing that it is correct.

        If you are just defining atheism in four words or less and stating that you are one, you can just hand everyone a dictionary and be done with it. If you are defending atheism, you better be able to go beyond defining it, don’t you think?

        • Dys

          Now, we’re getting somewhere, there’s on enormous difference between
          theism and atheism, they both define a position and that is all that
          atheism can do, it’s just a definition and a poor one at that.

          That’s all theism does as well. Theism, in and of itself, is nothing more than a belief that a god exists. It says nothing about that god at all, because it can’t. Theism is just three words: ‘a god exists’. That’s it. As I said, you’re making a category error.

          You can be a Christian theist, a Muslim theist or a pagan theist but you can never be just a theist.

          Likewise, you can never be just an atheist. Atheism is merely a component of a worldview, in the same way that theism is. For instance, atheism is a component of secular humanism, as theism is a component of Christianity.

          Look at Bob’s mission statement “Bob explores intellectual arguments in favor of Christianity from an atheist perspective”, and then ask yourself, what is “an atheist perspective”?

          A perspective from someone who is an atheist. In that particular case, it would perhaps more appropriately be labeled a skeptic’s perspective.

          As an atheist, your task is to prove atheism

          Since there’s no dogma or rules to atheism, where did you get this silly notion? Atheism is a single belief. It doesn’t tell you to do or not do anything. So no, it’s no one’s task to prove atheism, just as there no directive within theism itself to prove a god exists.

          If you are just defining atheism in four words or less and stating that you are one, you can just hand everyone a dictionary and be done with it. If you are defending atheism, you better be able to go beyond defining it, don’t you think?

          So it’s escaped your notice that god is ultimately an unfalsifiable hypothesis, and can’t be definitely proven one way or the other. In fact, due to the fact that atheism is a negative position, it will always be in a position of criticizing the positive claim that a god exists.

          You’re still complaining that atheism isn’t an ideology, worldview, or belief system, despite the fact that neither theism nor agnosticism aren’t either. You’re just going to continue happily making the same error over and over again. You’ve confused a tree for the forest, and are ignorantly yelling at the tree for having the nerve to not be a forest.

        • David Hennessey

          You really are dense, I have no objection to you defining atheism or believing it is true, you still have to prove it, it is not a presupposition which I have to disprove.

          I simply say that you have no proof and you make no effort to provide any, you are simply retreating from the battlefield with no weapons.

          I don’t suggest that you MUST expand on your atheism, I just say you have no proof unless you do, stating that you believe something or don’t believe something is just an opening position for a debate.

          If you just spend the entire debate reiterating your opening position, you will lose every debate. Heck, you don’t even do that, you just define a word and wave a victory flag.

          Your big boast is that you can prove the Bible to have errors, that proves nothing about the existence of god.

        • Dys

          You really are dense

          Not really. The problem is that you’ve been consistently wrong and are just floundering at this point. You’re pretending to know what you’re talking about, while going out of your way to demonstrate you don’t have the first clue. Honestly, it’s like you developed this whole line of thought in 5 minutes and didn’t consider any of the problems with it.

          you still have to prove it

          Says who?

          it is not a presupposition which I have to disprove.

          Didn’t say it was. But if you make a positive claim, you have to support it. Atheism isn’t a positive claim, it’s the null hypothesis.

          I simply say that you have no proof and you make no effort to provide any, you are simply retreating from the battlefield with no weapons.

          I see you still don’t have the first clue as to how the null hypothesis or burden of proof work.

          I don’t suggest that you MUST expand on your atheism, I just say you have no proof unless you do, stating that you believe something or don’t believe something is just an opening position for a debate

          Atheism is the lack of belief in gods. Theism is the belief in a god. They’re both beliefs, and for both, that’s all there is to them. You’re trying to insist that atheism and theism be something more than a single position on whether a god exists or not, and they aren’t. Each one is a side of a coin, that’s it. Theism isn’t a philosophy, worldview, or ideology either.

          If you just spend the entire debate reiterating your opening position,
          you will lose every debate. Heck, you don’t even do that, you just
          define a word and wave a victory flag.

          You haven’t watched many debates between atheists and Christians, have you? I’ll ruin the surprise you’ll get – they don’t involve the atheist trying to demonstrate that no gods exist at all.

          Your big boast is that you can prove the Bible to have errors, that proves nothing about the existence of god.

          No kidding. Pointing out errors in the bible merely demonstrates the problems of one particular postulated god.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Atheism is the lack of belief in gods. Theism is the belief in a god. They’re both beliefs,

          i take it, then, that you don’t find the active/passive or strong/weak distinction within atheism worth making? (or was it only clearly not worth getting into with Straw-Man-King Hennessy?)

        • Dys

          The latter more than the former. I figured that since he couldn’t even grasp that atheism wasn’t a philosophy, et al. and that theism had the exact same weaknesses he perceived in theism, that making the distinction between strong and weak atheism would be a complete waste of time with him.

        • TheNuszAbides

          so would you ‘normally’ say “they’re both beliefs”, or was that just to keep it simple for his sake?

        • Dys

          I think there’s a bit of a difference between “a lack of belief in god” and “a belief that there is no god”, even though they often wind up amounting to the same thing.

          Lack of belief, or “I don’t believe” is what I normally would go with, as it properly treats atheism as the null hypothesis to the idea that god exists.

          “I believe there is no god” strikes me as a bit unnecessary, as atheism is essentially a negation, and this phrasing is an affirmation of a negation, instead of just the negation itself.

        • TheNuszAbides

          agreed on all counts. just checking! 😉

        • MNb

          “I simply say that you have no proof”
          As long as you don’t define, even provisionally, what you mean with “proof” what you say is meaningless.

        • adam

          “I have no objection to you defining atheism or believing it is true, you still have to prove it,”

          Definition of atheism Merriam Webster

          2 a : a disbelief in the existence of deity

          I have disbelief in the existence of deity

          That is proof of atheism…

        • David Hennessey

          Read what you just wrote, each sentence, you will see why you don’t deserve an answer, nice semantics, no substance.

        • adam

          I proved atheism.

          ALL SUBSTANCE….you should try it.

        • Dys

          David Hennessey complaining about comments with no substance. The absence of cognitive dissonance astounds.

        • Greg G.

          The big difference is that a person who describes themselves as a theist must have an actual god to back up that claim. You can be a Christian theist, a Muslim theist or a pagan theist but you can never be just a theist. The definition requires you to believe that there is a real god, not just the concept of a god.

          The word “theist” doesn’t tell you what kind of a theist a person is nor which gods they are atheistic about. A theist could be a deist, too. It is a general term. A key might be a car key, a house key, a key to a safe deposit box, or a Florida key, but it is still a key.

          it is more common to refer to a Christian theist as a Christian, a Muslim theist as a Muslim, or a pagan theist as a pagan to eliminate the redundancy.

        • that is all that atheism can do, it’s just a definition and a poor one at that.

          Atheism isn’t convinced by the god claim. Is that a poor position to take? Show us.

          The big difference is that a person who describes themselves as a theist must have an actual god to back up that claim.

          And do they? If there is poor evidence for their god claim, why should they believe it?

          As an atheist, your task is to prove atheism

          Wrong again. Atheism is the null hypothesis. If the theist arguments fail, atheism is the conclusion. A positive argument for atheism is nice (I do it all the time) but not required.

          Lucky us that you dropped by to point out reality.

        • David Hennessey

          Since the vast majority of people claim to know that a god exists, the null hypothesis is that they are telling the truth. The null hypothesis is defined as the one most commonly accepted.

          However, the null hypothesis is NEVER assumed, the null hypothesis must be tested equally with the alternative hypothesis to achieve valid results.

          I am not a theist, I am an anti-atheist, my hypothesis is that the existence of gods cannot be disproven.

          I now have the null hypothesis, prove me wrong.

          It’s easy to defeat emptiness with twice as much emptiness, I don’t need theism to challenge atheism, I can do it directly. Please quit this null hypothesis nonsense, you don’t seem to know the meaning of it.

          You can call your hypothesis null or alternative, it doesn’t give you a free pass on proving it.

        • Dys

          Since the vast majority of people claim to know that a god exists, the null hypothesis is that they are telling the truth. The null hypothesis is defined as the one most commonly accepted.

          You’re trying to shift the burden of proof away from the positive claim based on a fallacious ad populum argument. Nice try, but it doesn’t work that way. The null hypothesis to the statement “a god exists” is “a god doesn’t exist”. Ergo, atheism is the null hypothesis.

          I am an anti-atheist, my hypothesis is that the existence of gods cannot be disproven.

          Which is a double negative. Anti-atheism is either theism or agnosticism. You’re just trying to rebrand them with a semantic word game. And failing miserably in the attempt.

          Please quit this null hypothesis nonsense, you don’t seem to know the meaning of it.

          Actually, you’re demonstrating quite clearly that you still don’t have a clue as to what you’re attempting to discuss, despite being corrected multiple times now.

          You can call your hypothesis null or alternative, it doesn’t give you a free pass on proving it.

          Translation: David doesn’t understand how the burden of proof works, and doesn’t want to.

        • David Hennessey

          Really, you tell people that your hypothesis needs no proof because it is negative? Dunning plays this same game but it simply not the meaning of a null hypothesis, the “null” just refers to the numbering system.

          Traditionally, the position you are challenging is labelled zero or null, while your hypothesis that you think might better explain the data is labelled “1”. You could have a third or fourth hypothesis, if you choose.
          You then use the identical procedure on the same data for each of the hypotheses, INCLUDING the null.

          You then observe whether there is any statistical difference in the results proving that one of the new hypotheses was more accurate in its predictive ability.

          You are the only one with a hypothesis you claim is better than others, you assert that atheism fits the evidence better than Christianity, I don’t disagree, however, I don’t get a vote.

          What data are you using to compare Christianity with atheism? I don’t have any, I’m not trying to prove atheism is better. Without data, there is no evidence that atheism is a better fit for the known facts than Christianity, they must be left as equal probabilities.

          ” The null hypothesis to the statement “a god exists” is “a god doesn’t exist”. Ergo, atheism is the null hypothesis.”

          You just said that the null hypothesis is that “god doesn’t exist”, therefore it is the null hypothesis, of course it is, you just said so, LOL, ring around the rosie, but it is irrelevant, choosing a hypothesis as null lends it no additional credibility, dude, get it through your head.

          Please just run this by a statistician and quit trying to smoke everybody, heck, just google “null hypothesis” for yourself, this is beginners statistics, even a computer programmer should understand it.

          Still think you understand the concept of a null hypothesis better than I do? Show me one authoritative source for your definition.

          I’m only toying with you because you annoyed me with your snarky insults, just apologize, ask me to leave you alone and you can go back to being the unchallenged genius of Bobville.

        • Dys

          Please just run this by a statistician and quit trying to smoke everybody

          The null hypothesis is the negative claim, not the positive. Ergo, those claiming that a god exists carry the burden of proof, not the atheist. As I said, you apparently don’t understand how the burden of proof works. You should work on that.

          Still think you understand the concept of a null hypothesis better than I do?

          Well, when your first attempt to describe it was complete and utter nonsense, you can hardly blame people for assuming that you once again didn’t know what the hell you were talking about. You have been setting that trend pretty heavily. And to answer you, no, I still think you have your head firmly planted in your posterior.

          I’m only toying with you because you annoyed me with your snarky insults, just apologize, ask me to leave you alone and you can go back to being the unchallenged genius of Bobville.

          If by “toying” you mean that your attempt at an argument should be laughed at rather than be taken seriously, then you’ve really been wasting your time and everyone else’s by tying to prop up an obviously defective argument. I don’t have anything to apologize for. You’re clearly an immature blowhard with a misplaced superiority complex.

          My criticisms of your position were valid, and you still haven’t dealt with them. You just keep repeating yourself, apparently in the vain hope that if you just keep doing so, your position will magically become true. So your condescension is entirely misplaced, and you’re just another in a long line of egotistical wannabe pseudo-authorities who can’t handle being criticized.

        • David Hennessey

          “…you’re just another in a long line of egotistical wannabe pseudo-authorities who can’t handle being criticized.”

          Much better, I love a creative insult, I not only love being criticized, I literally chuckle delightedly when I get a really decent insult directed my way. I’m not that good at insults, I just want to say FU but not to you, I like you.

          I like this one particularly because its true, of course I am, is there something wrong with that? I’m also an asshole, a douchebag and a fartbreath but I’m bragging now.

          So, yeah, I took that explanation of a null hypothesis right out of a statistics web page, where did you get yours?

          Where was that again? Your ass?

          I googled your claim that the null hypothesis is the negative hypothesis and the only people saying that are atheists, I guess you can make up anything you want but you ain’t convincing anyone of anything.

          Just for fun, I’ll concede you that, let’s pretend that a negative claim gets privilege, nobody made any claim but you. You say that “There is no god.” That’s pretty negative, I’ll give you that, but what is the counter claim?

          You say that it is theism, of course, why? Why not one of a dozen other philosophies or religions? I don’t care what you call your wild assertion, if it is your null hypothesis, what is your alternative hypothesis? Christianity? Ignosticism? Gnosticism? Buddhism?

          You can have a null hypothesis and keep it in your closet, who cares, when you bring it out in public you have to compare it with some other claim that you dispute.

          I can claim any wild assertion and as long as its negative, am I’m right? Of course not, I just asserted it, like your silly black swan example.

          No black swans exist.
          That’s true because it’s a negative hypothesis, right?
          Then, someone shows you a black swan, oops.
          But, until you see that black swan, the negative assertion that there are none stands.

          The problem is, your null hypothesis was always wrong, it might have been the null hypothesis, it might be the best procedure to assume it is true until proven wrong, maybe, but it resulted in people being wrong about swans for centuries, pretty poor performance.

          So, the guy that called BS and said you have no proof that there are no black swans, since there are black birds of many species, there’s just as good a chance we haven’t seen one yet as that none exists. Maybe less of a chance but based on no evidence its hard to say, how do you measure the probability?

          That guy was right to suspend judgement because he knew that absence of proof was not proof of absence, that’s why real science never uses that ridiculous definition of a null hypothesis, they are not seeking to play word games, they want to actually find out the objective truth.

          You could give a rat’s ass about actually finding out the truth, people who want the truth challenge themselves and their own propositions with the same fervor that they examine another hypothesis.

          Who cares if you assume you are right, I’m not playing semantics with the truth, if I think I have the right idea about something, I find the evidence, I challenge my presumption, I don’t sit there idly waiting for someone else to do the work for me.

          Sure, I know you are just playing a game of prove me wrong, its all in good fun but you won’t get anyone but your fellow atheists to play along.

          So, I won’t claim that there are no black swans and leave it to a real man to go out and look, if I really want to know, its up to me to do the work, you really don’t want to know, you just want to say it and that’s just fine, I don’t know why anyone would take you seriously, though.

          If you love your atheism, if you want everyone to see the truth, you better come up with something more substantial than “I say it, prove me wrong.”

          I guess that’s why atheism was left in the dust even by the fakiest of religions, you’re too lazy to convince anyone with positive evidence and nobody else is going to bail you out by finding evidence for you.

          You see, nobody I know wants to change your mind, we’re all happy to let you believe anything you want, we only want your philosophy to remain where it is, on the fringes of modern thought with nowhere to go. As long as you depend on me to test your theory, it will never get tested, no evidence will emerge and you will be stuck playing word games with yourself while the world moves on.

          Oh, I’m a windbag made from the stomach of a dead goat, too, I can help you with a few more if you get stuck.

        • I’m not that good at insults

          Now that’s false modesty. You’re quite good at insults.

          Don’t hide your light under a bushel basket. This might be your best trait.

        • Dys

          Much better, I love a creative insult

          It wasn’t an insult. I was merely describing your exhibited traits.

          So, yeah, I took that explanation of a null hypothesis right out of a statistics web page, where did you get yours

          What’s that? You copy/pasted an explanation of the null hypothesis in order to pretend you were some type of expert on the subject? Colour me shocked. I noticed you conveniently avoided all the problems I pointed out with your shirking of the burden of proof.

          You say that it is theism, of course, why? Why not one of a dozen other philosophies or religions

          Ugh…apparently you need it reiterated that theism is not a philosophy or a religion. Neither is atheism. This really isn’t difficult to understand, but it continues to elude you.

          The problem is, your null hypothesis was always wrong, it might have been the null hypothesis, it might be the best procedure to assume it is true until proven wrong, maybe, but it resulted in people being wrong about swans for centuries, pretty poor performance.

          And? I don’t recall ever saying the null hypothesis had to be correct. The note about poor performance is a bit funny, since it can only be a post hoc judgement. I fully admit I could be wrong on a god existing. But, to date, no one’s provided anything approaching a compelling argument supporting the idea that a god exists. And I have reasons for not thinking a god exists that I haven’t bothered to share with you.

          Who cares if you assume you are right, I’m not playing semantics with the truth

          You’ve given no indication that you care about the truth…it seems you just like to type semi-coherent diatribes to your own imagined superiority.

          Sure, I know you are just playing a game of prove me wrong, its all
          in good fun but you won’t get anyone but your fellow atheists to play
          along.

          In other words, you can’t stand to be corrected on your blatant errors. Thanks for reaffirming my suspicion.

          So, I won’t claim that there are no black swans and leave it to a real
          man to go out and look, if I really want to know, its up to me to do the
          work, you really don’t want to know, you just want to say it and that’s
          just fine, I don’t know why anyone would take you seriously, though.

          Quick, puff your chest out a little more and pretend you’re “a real man on a search for the truth” instead of a poser pretending to intellectual superiority despite getting shown up repeatedly by a bevy of commentators. It’s fun watching you play your little ego game.

          I guess that’s why atheism was left in the dust even by the fakiest of religions

          Since when? Intellectually, the religious arguments for religion have been dealt with and refuted. You’re merely making an unsupported assertion based on your own biased wishful thinking.

          You see, nobody I know wants to change your mind, we’re all happy to let
          you believe anything you want, we only want your philosophy to remain
          where it is, on the fringes of modern thought with nowhere to go

          Once again, atheism isn’t a philosophy. You really are thick. As for it being on the fringe of modern thought…it isn’t. It’s rather prominent actually. There’s a reason science operates on the principle of methodological naturalism, and why many prominent scientists and philosophers are atheists.

          As long as you depend on me to test your theory, it will never get
          tested, no evidence will emerge and you will be stuck playing word games
          with yourself while the world moves on.

          But I don’t depend on you. You’re just an somewhat amusing diversion, not worth taking seriously. And considering how frequently you’ve mangled definitions and categories, you should probably refrain from accusing others of playing word games. Especially when you hypocritically engage in such behavior yourself.

          Oh, I’m a windbag made from the stomach of a dead goat, too, I can help you with a few more if you get stuck.

          Oh, you’re in need of too much help yourself to be in a position to offer help to others. Plus, let’s face facts – you’re not qualified.

        • Since the vast majority of people claim to know that a god exists, the null hypothesis is that they are telling the truth.

          Oh? Ask that majority what the name(s) of the god(s) are. What the name(s) of the god(s) are. What these god(s) need to be satisfied.

          Your “majority” claim doesn’t amount to much.

          However, the null hypothesis is NEVER assumed, the null hypothesis must be tested equally with the alternative hypothesis to achieve valid results.

          You know how the burden of proof works in a courtroom? How the default assumption is “innocent,” and the Prosecution tries to move from that position? If they fail, the default assumption wins.

          my hypothesis is that the existence of gods cannot be disproven.

          I agree. I further claim that the evidence points to there being no gods and no supernatural.

          I now have the null hypothesis, prove me wrong.

          A friend of a friend saw a leprechaun. That’s good enough for me—leprechauns exist. Prove me wrong.

          You can call your hypothesis null or alternative, it doesn’t give you a free pass on proving it.

          Atheism is the null hypothesis, and I win when I show that Christian apologetics fail.

          I also claim that the evidence points to there being no god. I win again.

        • MNb

          “Since the vast majority of people claim ….”
          That’s an argumentum ad populum.

          No, the null hypothesis not defined as the one most commonly accepted.

          http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/null-hypothesis.html

          “my hypothesis is that the existence of gods cannot be disproven.”
          Depending on your standards for “proof” I can.

        • adam

          “my hypothesis is that the existence of gods cannot be disproven.”

        • Ignorant Amos

          My hypothesis is that the existence of Space Ponies cannot be disproved.

          Susan’s hypothesis is that the existence of Snowflake Fairies cannot be disproved.

          Sagan’s hypothesis was that the existence of an Invisible Dragon in his garage couldn’t be disproved.

          Except that an hypothesis needs to be falsifiable, so the use of the word hypothesis is erroneous. It’s not even fair to say educated guess. It is just an idea pulled out of the arse.

          Are people really that thick that think that any idea that can be conceived [pulled from the arse] that cannot be disproved is an hypothesis that has any veracity in any meaningful sense?

        • Look at Bob’s mission statement “Bob explores intellectual arguments in favor of Christianity from an atheist perspective”, and then ask yourself, what is “an atheist perspective”?

          It is the perspective of someone who thinks that God does not exist. Since the existence of God is a central part of Christian doctrine, such a perspective involves a point of disagreement with Christianity and is likely to produce a number of criticisms of Christianity.

        • David Hennessey

          Sure, I’ll buy that piug in a poke, LOL.

        • Myna A.

          You can be a Christian theist, a Muslim theist or a pagan theist but
          you can never be just a theist. The definition requires you to believe
          that there is a real god, not just the concept of a god.

          Is there a prerequisite in being a theist? One can certainly believe in a conscious force behind the universe and not set any preordained definition to it. I know those who do. As believers go, I find them easiest to get along with.

      • Your comment is basically an incredibly long rant admitting that you don’t really know what you’re talking about

        But he doesn’t!! Why the hell won’t people listen to him?! He doesn’t know what he’s talking about!

        • Dys

          At least now he’s unwittingly admitting it…that’s progress of a sort, right?

        • David Hennessey

          Poor Bob, he’s yelling and talking to himself because lots of folks are agreeing with me, its your blog Bob, if I’m upsetting you, just erase me. LOL

        • Dys

          Wow…you are delusional. Where is this multitude of supporters for your mind-numbingly vapid criticisms?

        • Every village needs its idiot, I guess.

          But I missed who is agreeing with you. Point that out when you get a chance.

        • TheNuszAbides

          his first thread-starter got a couple of atheist upvotes; then after your misapprehension that he personally supports the Christian hypothesis, other than a few intermittent affirmations that he isn’t a theist, he went full-blown blowhard and stopped getting any encouragement.

    • Tyler Willis

      I have wondered about this and thought that being an atheist doesn’t say anything much about a person

      • Dys

        And it’s not supposed to, which is unfortunately the part David doesn’t seem to grasp.

      • TheNuszAbides

        importantly, neither does “being a theist”. as Dys explained, either one is a label regarding belief, requiring no other property. there are all kinds of backgrounds and attitudes underlying either atheist or theist positions. some will argue that various self-identified theists aren’t real/true/proper representatives of their higher power, but even that does nothing to alter the fact that they have a theistic belief (assuming they apply a clear, logical definition when they identify). something similar happens with atheism, since various folks (on both sides of the fence) insist on incompatible/overly-narrow definitions, such as “must declare unequivocally that no gods exist” vs. “lacks or has lost faith” vs. “simply has not thus far been persuaded by anyone or anything that any deity exists”.

    • 90Lew90

      You’re right on just about everything there, apart from calling atheism a philosophy. It’s not even that. But at least you’ve understood the very simple point that atheism is the rejection of claims that there is a god or gods. That’s not to imply that atheists believe nothing at all, because then it would follow that theism is all there is to believe. I hope we can agree that that’s not the case.

    • …atheism doesn’t exist as an independent philosophy, it can only express one negative thought consisting of four words and then has no more to offer to anyone.

      Well yes. Atheism is nothing more than one answer to one question. I’m not sure why a simple question like “do any gods exist?” necessarily needs to be answered in the form of a wide-ranging independent philosophy, rather than a yes or no.

      A philosophy without utility is highly unlikely to contain truth.

      Atheism is not a philosophy. You seemed to understand this a paragraph earlier.

      I won’t concede that Russia and China’s failures were primarily due to atheism but they are they only real world examples of even attempting to put atheism into practice.

      “Putting atheism into practice” would entail hunting down any gods that might exist and persuading them to stop existing. The USSR and communist China were examples of trying to force atheism onto everyone else. It’s probably a bad idea in general to force my opinions on other people, but I don’t take that to mean that I should not have any opinions.

      Show me atheism without theism or some other positive philosophy to contain its emptiness, go ahead, Bob, I’ll give you a last chance but I’ll bet dollars to donuts you will respond with insults again.

      Without theism, there would be no atheism (or at least, nobody would think of themselves as atheists). Without Jews, there would be no category called “gentiles”. Since gentilism has no positive content, does that mean I must cease to be a gentile and convert to Judaism?

      • David Hennessey

        You are conflating the Jewish religion with the Jewish race, a gentile can convert to Judaism but still be a gentile. You are using “Jewish” as a religion but “gentile” is a racial category.

        That said, I have no problem with your point, “gentilism” is very much like “atheism”, nobody ever promoted or believed in “gentilism” because it just defines a race or races.

        I have no problem with atheism being an empty bag of wind, if you have nothing more than a definition, that’s all it is.

        Atheists like Bob pretend they have a philosophy and are eager to attack other philosophies from an “atheist perspective” but where are all the arguments to support the assertion that no gods exist? What perspective demonstrates the truth and value of atheism? What reason and logic underpin the philosophy?
        No body of research or authoritative sources are mentioned so others can examine it. Has no atheist ever given their precious belief the slightest attention in between insulting others?

        Attacking one religion, Christianity, has absolutely no bearing on the validity of atheism, it is spitting in the wind.

        • Dys

          I have no problem with atheism being an empty bag of wind, if you have nothing more than a definition, that’s all it is.

          It’s as empty as theism.

          Atheists like Bob pretend they have a philosophy

          He does have a philosophy. It’s just that atheism isn’t a philosophy. Neither is theism.

          Attacking one religion, Christianity, has absolutely no bearing on the validity of atheism, it is spitting in the wind.

          No, it’s recognizing that positive claims carry the burden of proof. As atheism isn’t a positive claim, it doesn’t have one.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Atheists like Bob pretend they have a philosophy

          He does have a philosophy. It’s just that atheism isn’t a philosophy. Neither is theism.

          looks like David has very strict arbitrary rules about what ‘philosophy’ an individual can ‘have’, like it has to have a one-word label. i bet he can be even more bombastic defending the rights of Religions over those filthy little Cults, seeing as how they’re utterly different things, nudge-nudge.

        • Dys

          Dave struck me as someone who has a difficult time understanding what words mean.

        • adam

          He strikes me as one who HAS to be dishonest with words because he is promoting a DISHONEST claim.

        • TheNuszAbides

          but he sure does seem to love flinging them around anyway!

        • where are all the arguments to support the assertion that no gods exist?

          The evidence does indeed point to no gods (I avoid “there is no god”), and this blog has lots of arguments like this. Search and you will find.

          What perspective demonstrates the truth and value of atheism? What reason and logic underpin the philosophy?

          You just gloated that you were the first to discover that atheism is not a philosophy, simply a statement about one question. Have you forgotten your triumph so quickly?

          Attacking one religion, Christianity, has absolutely no bearing on the validity of atheism

          I attack Christianity because I live in the US. Shintoism, Sikhism, and others don’t much matter. I’ll get to those once Christianity is gone.

        • I was under the impression that a gentile is simply a non-Jew, and that conversion to Judaism would therefore be equivalent to ceasing to be a gentile. I might be wrong, and I probably need to find a rabbi to clear up the details. Anyway, that’s all tangential, just replace gentile with non-Jew if you like (or non-Muslim, non-Mormon, non-Scientologist, etc.). I think you get my point.

          Would you have any problem with Bob saying that he was examining Christianity from an outsider’s perspective, or from a non-Christian perspective? “Non-Christian” isn’t a philosophy, but it would be useful information to provide in a description of the blog; it tells the reader that it is a critical examination of Christianity, rather than a sympathetic one, that is being conducted here.

          Describing Bob’s perspective as an atheist perspective tells the reader what kind of non-Christian Bob is, and why he is a non-Christian (i.e. because he disagrees with Christians about the existence of God). It also gives some information about the particular variety of critical examination likely to be conducted on the blog (presumably the Christian belief in God is going to be challenged at some point).

          The fact that atheism is not a philosophy in itself doesn’t make that information less useful to someone reading the about page (who, presumably, wants a succinct description of what the blog is “about”).

          Atheists like Bob pretend they have a philosophy and are eager to attack other philosophies from an “atheist perspective”

          Bob presumably does have a philosophy (depending on how narrowly or broadly you define “philosophy”). He has an outlook on the world at least. But that philosophy is not simply atheism; atheism is only one part of a person’s worldview. Just as a Christian’s worldview cannot be fully described by the word “theism”, the whole worldview of any particular atheist cannot be described simply as “atheism”.

          but where are all the arguments to support the assertion that no gods exist?

          If you look back through the previous posts on this blog, I have a suspicion that the question of God’s existence and the arguments for and against it may have come up once or twice.

          What perspective demonstrates the truth and value of atheism?

          The empirical perspective, in which claims are evaluated based on the evidence available.

          What reason and logic underpin the philosophy?

          It’s not a philosophy.

          No body of research or authoritative sources are mentioned so others can examine it. Has no atheist ever given their precious belief the slightest attention in between insulting others?

          Bob tends to provide references when necessary. As for atheists more generally, several books have been written about this subject, and those books also tend to provide references.

        • Since I forgot to address your final point:

          Attacking one religion, Christianity, has absolutely no bearing on the validity of atheism, it is spitting in the wind.

          Well it has some bearing, since if Christianity is true, atheism is necessarily false. But criticism of Christianity in particular tends to be the result of living in a society in which many people are Christians, rather than being done out of a desire to defend atheism. If atheists are correct, then Christianity is a widespread error, and some atheists (such as Bob) wish to address that error.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Has no atheist ever given their precious belief the slightest attention in between insulting others?

          if you dare, read some reviews for Sense and Goodness Without God (merely one example, but one written by someone with an obvious grasp of logic and philosophy in general) and see whether you want to come back here and pretend you knew what you were rambling about subsequent to your opening salvo (which was relatively well-received–you just went apeshit after Bob misunderstood you and you appear incapable of any form of humility when (e.g.) someone like Dys smacks you down for being obstinately uninformed).

    • You weren’t much of an atheist if you didn’t understand what “atheism” means. But I’m glad I was helpful.

      Unlike Christianity, atheism has no moral stand. It’s like chemistry or physics in this regard–morality is simply not part of its domain. There are other philosophies that do–secular humanism might be one to consider.

      all atheism can say is “We don’t know anything, all we know is that everyone else is wrong.”

      Gee–and you were doing so well for a while.

      You just made it clear, bonehead, that atheism is simply a position on the god question. You might want to shove this claim back where you pulled it from.

      I’d never rob you of the joy of pointless abuse.

      If you want abuse, you came to the right place. I hear the knives being sharpened even now.

      • Ignorant Amos

        As one leaves, another enters.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Abattoir of the Sacred?

    • Ignorant Amos

      One thing I know for sure, atheism is utterly absurd and useless.

      For what?

      I think you are confusing atheism with something else, what though, is the $64,000 question.

      • Tyler Willis

        someone here said atheism is skepticism or a skeptics perspective. Arggh…Dammit, I can’t find the comment
        but anyway… this is useful and not absurd right?

        • Dys

          Atheism and skepticism are sometimes used interchangeably, although they really shouldn’t be. But it occurs because atheism is generally the end result of skepticism when applied to god claims.

          The problem with David is that he wants atheism to be something other than a position on whether a god exists, and it’s not. He doesn’t understand that atheism isn’t supposed to “do” anything. Atheism is descriptive, not prescriptive or proscriptive, so he keeps making the same mistake.

        • Tyler Willis

          sounds reasonable i think
          Amos asked ‘for what?’ and i thought there probably is an answer to that question. THe end result of skepticism is useful and not absurd. Each person defines that differntly

        • Dys

          Well, it’s definitely not absurd. But saying that atheism is useful would seem to imply that it’s supposed to do something. And it’s not. It’s just a description, much like theism is.

        • Tyler Willis

          personally I’m agnostic but I disagree that atheism is not useful.

          Atheism is the end result of skepticism and its also the end result of following hte evidence in a rational way…….and that conclusoin is useful because its thought to be true.
          Isn’t the truth supposed to get you to do something?

          I gots to leave for a while but will come back to hear what you have to say.

        • Dys

          Isn’t the truth supposed to get you to do something?

          But that would be trying to impart some type of rules to atheism. And atheism doesn’t tell anyone to do or not do anything. It just describes the position that no gods exist.

          The only way I can see to frame atheism itself as useful is that it could possible spur one to seek justifications for their beliefs that don’t require magical spirits in the aether. In other words it might invite the question “no gods exist, now what?” But that seems, to me, to just be an extension of philosophy, which is the actual useful part.

          Basically, my objection to calling atheism useful is that it’s not supposed to do anything – ideologies, belief systems, philosophies, methodologies, etc…those are supposed to do things. And while atheism can be a component of those things, it isn’t one itself.

          Asking “What is atheism for?” doesn’t really make sense because it’s just a description of a single belief. To me, it’d be like asking “What is the definition of a car for?”. It’s not for anything other than describing something.

        • Tyler Willis

          No gods exists, now what?
          Yes, good way to put it.

          My personal struggle is I think we are supposed to do something with the truth so where do we go to find the answer? I include everyone in that statement, atheists, theists, agnostics all have to deal with that question.

          If atheism isn’t useful because it’s a decriptiion, what about the process that gets a person there? Skepticism and evidentialism (is that a word?) Are those just descriptions too? I think agnosticism is just a description so that wouldnt be useful either.

        • Dys

          That’s kind of what I was getting at…the process is what’s actually useful. Skepticism and evidentialism aren’t just descriptions. Skepticism is an attitude, a philosophy. Evidentialism is a theory. Those are actually useful, because they actually do something.

        • Tyler Willis

          I never knew they were a philosophy. I thought they were both ways to get to the truth, but were silent on what to do when you got there. I hesitate to ask you to do any work, but can you tell me what each one says about that?

        • Dys

          I’m not sure what you mean…philosophically, skepticism is the theory that certainty is not possible. More colloquially, it’s the notion that claims should be investigated and researched before being accepted. Evidentialism is the notion that conclusions are valid only if they have supporting evidence.

          I hope that helps…I’m not sure exactly what you’re asking for.

        • Tyler Willis

          You’ve helped me understand them better so thankss for that. Im rambling a bit here because I’m not sure how to say what’s in my head but let me try. If you don’t wan to continue on with me I understand. Sometimes i ask too many questions lol.

          skepticism combo’d with evidentialism means you investigate claims and accept them only if they have supporting evidence but even then certainty isn’t possible. That makes a lot of sense

          Now…gettting back to my question about usefulness and what are we supposed to do with the truth. Earlier you said atheism is the end result
          of skepticism. OK. We’ve arrived at the end result, but your
          question “now what?” (a good question) remains unanswered. A lot of work has been done but the answer isn’t found in atheism or skepticism or evidentialism. I’m not seeing the usefulness anywere.

          Where do you turn for the answer to your “now what?” question?

        • Dys

          but your question “now what?” (a good question) remains unanswered

          And that’s what philosophy’s for. There isn’t a final answer to the question.

          A lot of work has been done but the answer isn’t found in atheism or
          skepticism or evidentialism. I’m not seeing the usefulness anywere.

          It depends on how you phrase the question, I suppose. Skepticism and evidentialism can both inform personal philosophy, and are useful in that sense.

          Where do you turn for the answer to your “now what?” question?

          Generally speaking, secular humanism.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Sometimes i ask too many questions lol.

          i dare say (i’m not a Mod or anything) that’s entirely welcome here as long as the questions are ‘in good faith’, so to speak, which yours rather obviously are. when you see the atheist denizens gang up on someone here, by far the two most probable explanations are:
          1) the individual presents arguments (or words they imagine constitute arguments) disrespectfully, inconsiderately, incoherently or otherwise displaying a lack of awareness regarding the topic of the post, or atheism in general, or the fact that most of us are familiar first-hand with a religious upbringing and/or the variety of stock ‘arguments’ and scripture-bites used in debates and apologetics (see P.R.A.T.T.), and rather than ask pertinent questions or attempt to improve their articulation of their viewpoint, behaves dismissively, evasively or hyper-defensively towards initial responses without justification (though of course they may think the attitude is justified);

          2) the individual is trying to say something relevant but is difficult to understand for one reason or another (writing style, typo, or other language barrier) and for whatever other reason (which could be that someone else is having a bad day, got rubbed the wrong way, had a pet peeve triggered etc., but could also or instead have something to do with the resilience of the subject’s ego) becomes combative, smug, etc.

          for example, David Hennessy’s grand entrance began as category 2) and has subsequently been found to overlap somewhat with category 1).

        • TheNuszAbides

          Atheism is the end result of skepticism

          that’s debatable. you certainly describe a possible sequence of thought processes, but it always depends how one directs one’s skepticism. skepticism is not an automatic or comprehensive process, it’s (at best) a way we can actively attempt to focus when seeking truth. there are a great number of professional scientists who have rigorous habits of skepticism, yet also maintain some level of theistic belief and either do not apply their skepticism to that belief, or apply it sparingly or with boundaries (which would be necessarily arbitrary).

        • Ignorant Amos

          I was curious to see what David thought was the purpose of being atheist. Maybe then follow up why it was unfit for that purpose.

          Like not collecting stamps is unfit for purpose. WTF?

          What is the purpose of not collecting stamps and why would anyone with even an amoeba sized brain claim it unfit?

          Believers trope out such meaningless ridiculous shite thinking it deep…usually without thinking it through…or even just reading in back to themselves before hitting the post button.

        • TheNuszAbides

          to be fair, he’s as much as said he’s not a believer–but it does appear as though his mum and/or others really did a number on his stunted thirst for knowledge and misplaced confidence.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Indeed, he has stated…

          PS-I’m neither theistic nor atheistic,…

          Strange enough position to take….unless agnostic, then why not just say agnostic. Something smells wiffy methinks.

          Regardless whether he is a believer or not, my comment to Dys is about believers and those that display believer type thinking.

          I agree there is something enigmatic going on upstairs though.

          It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve seen someone who says they are not a believer per se, but it turns out they are just that when the nitty gritty is got down to.

        • TheNuszAbides

          aye, the proverbial foxhole-fodder.

        • It’s perfectly clear to me. He believes in the existence of one half of a god.

    • MNb

      “it can only express one negative thought consisting of four words and then has no more to offer to anyone”
      Yeah – just like “invisible dragons do not exist”. How exactly is that useless and absurd?
      There are secular philosophies though that don’t involve any god. Several of them have influenced christianity and other belief systems. Some of them even have christian origins, like humanism, which stems from the 16th Century, long before god was removed.

    • adam

      “One thing I know for sure, atheism is utterly absurd and useless.”

      And yet YOU practice atheism for all gods but one….

  • David Hennessey

    I have about twelve people writing replies to me on seven different threads and I am overwhelmed at the positive responses but I have no time to give any of them sufficient attention. I’ll come back from time to time and read some of it more thoroughly, some of you are quite amazing, IMHO.

    I also want to read all the slurs, I can’t get enough of that, I know it’s some kind of perversion but I almost get a boner over a well-crafted insult, I’m a sick man.

    I’m writing a book that will trace the history of religion in fiction form from the time people lived in trees through the earliest death rituals and afterlife beliefs to the shamans who merged into priesthoods and collaborated with chiefs and the wise women too and controlled society for selfish and honorable reasons, both.

    I’ll go right through the creation stories to the real life events of the Babylonian and Egyptian priesthoods leading to Moses and eventually to Jesus and the Catholic church. It will all be fictional and as simple as I can manage, just great adventures with the interactions of religion, government and the rest coming into it naturally.

    There’ll be a flood, of course, an asteroid triggering an ice age and sex, you have to have sex.

    I’ve already written a chapter or two but I want someone to criticize it, not for content but for tone, that’s why I laugh so hard when Dys called me a pompous
    windbag and a few similar names.

    When I get some professional help, I expect to be told something like that, I want someone to say,”This all needs re-writing so it won’t sound like self-righteous, pompous BS, Dave!” I want to get that tone corrected before I write a lot more and have more re-writing.

    When Dys does it, it only confirms what I already suspect but I can’t get offended, I have no ego anymore, lost the damn thing in my second divorce.
    I don’t trust Dys though, he just wants to get rid of me, can’t blame him.

    I’ll check back in a few days, cheerio.

    • Dys

      Eh, I’m just waiting for you to actually defend your argument and correct the errors you continually make, instead of deflecting and outright ignoring criticism. Perhaps your issue with being criticized here is that you’re getting it for both content and tone?

      Much like some of our other more recent commenters, you aren’t automatically recognized as an authority or expert on a topic on your own volition. So attempting to lecture people on a topic while making blatant mistakes is going to get people pointing out that you really don’t sound like the expert you think you are. Case in point, your repeated category errors when referring to atheism.

      I don’t particularly care whether you stay or go…I suspect your behavior will eventually wind up getting you banned, however. Hopefully if it happens you don’t lie to yourself and pretend it’s because we couldn’t handle your arguments. And as for the claim that you don’t have an ego…after everything you’ve posted here, you can’t expect anyone to take that seriously.

      I’ve posted it previously today, but in your pseudo-argument against atheism, this is precisely how you come across:
      http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/atheists.png

      Good luck with the book.

      • David Hennessey

        The point of your cartoon is what? When you state your position, you make no bones that you consider yourself to be superior to me, a skeptical anti-religionist and to my mother and all theists, you’ve found a way to feel superior to everybody.

        But, do I think I’m right (superior), in most of what I say? Of course, why would I say something and not believe I’m right?

        Are you inferior to the theist then? These cartoons are fun nonsense and my ego has zero bearing on anything, that’s just personal attack disguised as argument. BS

        • adam

          “Of course, why would I say something and not believe I’m right?”

          Liars for Jesus do it all the time.
          they must believe that it is Holy

        • David Hennessey

          I guess I never heard of that denomination, something new?

        • adam

          Nope, same ol’ shit

        • Dys

          When you state your position, you make no bones that you consider yourself to be superior to me

          Actually, the fact that you repeatedly got the basic definition of atheism wrong is what convinced me that, as far as the current topic of discussion goes, you don’t really know what you’re talking about. I lost count of the number of times you had to be corrected on the fact that atheism is not a philosophy, worldview, ideology, etc.

          These cartoons are fun nonsense and my ego has zero bearing on anything, that’s just personal attack disguised as argument.

          Your rants reek of egotism. It’s not a personal attack at all – it’s precisely the way you come off here, which you’ve previously admitted to.

        • David Hennessey

          Of course, I come across that way to people who believe themselves to be superior to Einstein, anyone who dares to make a peep on your precious page is an overbearing egotist to you.

          I don’t answer you to stroke my ego, if I wanted that, I’d go somewhere where everyone agrees with me just like you do.

          Oh, I’m a free thinker BTW, maybe a surrealist or ignostic today but tomorrow I might be a theist, that’s my business, isn’t it?

          I fully intend to die without deciding on a position, I’m not afraid of the Christian’s hell and you don’t have one, I’ll just see if anything happens after I die. I think people with big egos go to the head of the line, I’ll put all my eggs in that basket, it gives me a leg up.

        • Dys

          Of course, I come across that way to people who believe themselves to be superior to Einstein, anyone who dares to make a peep on your precious page is an overbearing egotist to you.

          Not true. But people who insist that they know what they’re talking about while making extremely basic errors demonstrating the opposite? Yeah, those tend to get that label. It seems appropriate, especially when they do it multiple times after being corrected.

          I don’t answer you to stroke my ego, if I wanted that, I’d go somewhere where everyone agrees with me just like you do.

          It’s amazing that you think you know so much about me. Also, you’ve apparently never heard of trolling. In any case, your inane diatribes and rants are for whose benefit? Certainly not anyone here – they’re easily dismantled. But your silly assertion that atheism is absurd and useless? Not only did you abysmally fail to support your contention, it’s also clear egotism.

          Oh, I’m a free thinker BTW

          Sure you are.

          I fully intend to die without deciding on a position, I’m not afraid of the Christian’s hell and you don’t have one

          You either believe in a god or you don’t. Sorry, but there’s no middle ground.

        • David Hennessey

          “You either believe in a god or you don’t. Sorry, but there’s no middle ground.”

          So, shoot me.

          I don’t believe you can define god, how can I be forced to take sides on a non-sensical issue? If you let me define a god as any entity that is worshipped whether real or not, gods exist. I say the same to the theist, define god and I may take a position, maybe not, nobody’s business but mine.

          You know the danger of defining your terms, however,
          you use the term “gods” to include false gods, you have to, you don’t believe in real ones. If you admit that the term includes false gods, you can’t say they don’t exist, do thoughts exist, do beliefs exist?

          Do lies exist?

          So, you can’t or won’t define either “exist” or “god”, yet insist everyone must believe something about it, really?

          No thanks.

        • Dys

          I don’t believe you can define god

          Plenty of people have defined god. But if you’re going to say that the concept of god itself can’t be defined, then it’s fairly obvious that you don’t believe it.

          You know the danger of defining your terms, however, you use the term “gods” to include false gods, you have to, you don’t believe in real ones

          Not that it’ll do any good, but I feel the need to point out that this makes absolutely no sense. As an atheist, there’s no such thing as a real god. Your distinction between real and false gods is completely meaningless to an atheist.

          So, you can’t or won’t define either “exist” or “god”, yet insist everyone must believe something about it, really?

          It’s like you think you’re making some deep statement, yet don’t understand that it’s barely a scratch. There are fairly standard definitions of god out there, but you’re avoiding them because you want to escape into linguistics. You’re running away from any definition, because then you’d have to actually have an opinion. But the pervasiveness of actual definitions for god essentially means you’ve already taken a position. Earlier you described yourself as something approximating pantheism. So yeah, you’ve got a belief about it, by your own admission.

          The other problem with your avoidance is that even if it were true that you have absolutely no knowledge concerning any concept of god, you’d meet the definition of atheist anyway. If you don’t know anything about something, how could you possibly believe it exists?

        • adam

          ” If you don’t know anything about something, how could you possibly believe it exists?”

          The same method that has defined gods throughout history:

        • adam

          “I don’t believe you can define god,”

          It is one of two things

          1. IMAGINARY
          2. Gaps in human understanding.

    • I have no ego anymore

      I sure guessed wrong on that one!

    • MNb

      “I have no time”
      Nobody here expects you, but we do appreciate it if you address what we write when you post a comment.

    • TheNuszAbides

      I also want to read all the slurs,

      did your mother give you a martyr complex?

      ^ you mean like that?
      seriously, your only identifiers have been agnostic, “anti-atheist” (kind of nonsensical) and indirectly, son of at least one theist. where are the slurs against the first or last identity, prior to my joke in this post? Dys addressed how silly a label “anti-theist” is and there was no slur whatsoever involved. but your reaction is strikingly similar to that of theists who just want an excuse to be offended, to feel attacked (or at least accuse others of attacking them), whether or not you follow up with “eh, water off a duck’s back” (and as far as that goes, you might want to practice not protesting too much before you expect to persuade us of anything).

  • David Hennessey

    Chris Hitchens was not an atheist and I can prove it.
    There, I just did.
    Is there anything wrong with my proof?

    Oh ,you need additional explanation? Why? I said it, it is absolutely guaranteed to be the truth unless somebody can prove me wrong.

    I’ll state it as a hypothesis then:

    Null Hypothesis: Chris Hitchens was not an atheist.

    Oh, I’m using atheist logic on this so bear with me, I have to twist my mind in a pretzel to use atheist logic but I’ll try. I stated a hypothesis in the form of a negative statement, that’s called the “null hypothesis” in pretzel (atheist) logic.

    Prove it, you say? I don’t have to, if you are claiming he was an atheist, you must prove it, can you? You say he wrote a book and claimed he was an atheist in it, what proof is that? If he wrote a book claiming he was a chair, would you believe that too? People lie all the time or are self-deluded and Chris had every reason to lie, he made a bundle pretending to be an atheist but I just proved he wasn’t.

    The burden of proof to establish that he was an atheist lies on the one making the positive claim that he was, if nobody can offer proof that he was, my hypothesis must stand.

    Ridiculous? Of course, it’s atheist logic.

    Now, replace my hypothesis for one that says: “Gods do not exist” and Bob will use this same flawed logic to prove it, well, he will say he doesn’t have to prove it because… NULL HYPOTHESIS!

    If that not enough for you, here’s a skeptic who can give at least five reasons why the Null Hypothesis Theory of Logic is bunk https://theethicalskeptic.com/2015/08/17/the-four-types-of-null-hypothesis-fallacy/ and he gives wise advice to the novice skeptic, before you become skeptical about someone else’s arguments, be twice as skeptical about your own, nobody can fool you the way you can fool you.

    Of course, I can prove there is a god, that there is only one and I can identify that entity using only real logic, it took me about a half hour and half my brain but unless you cheat and refuse a reasonable definition for god, it’s pretty easy. Anyone else want to try?

    I could use the same logic to prove that Bob is not an atheist but I don’t want to force him to close his blog and starve to death. Heck, if my hypothesis was that “atheists do not exist”, you’d all disintegrate according to atheist reasoning, none of you can prove you are atheists, should we accept it on faith?.

    • TheNuszAbides

      be twice as skeptical about your own, nobody can fool you the way you can fool you.

      we don’t sweep Feynman under the rug either, but it was swell of you not to give him any credit, you honesty-seeker, you.

    • adam

      “Chris Hitchens was not an atheist and I can prove it.
      There, I just did.
      Is there anything wrong with my proof?”

      What proof?
      You made a claim…

      Atheism by itself is, of course, not a moral position or a political one
      of any kind; it simply is the refusal to believe in a supernatural
      dimension. C Hitchens.

      • David Hennessey

        I used Bob’s method, my negative hypothesis must be true unless you can prove it wrong, the method is wrong when atheists use it, it’s wrong when I use it.

        Tell atheists to stop using it and I’ll be happy to do that as well, whatever you think about atheism, using stupid logic to prove it is just…well, stupid.

        Dragging out pink unicorns is silly, all I say is atheists can no more prove gods don’t exist than theists can prove that they do, nobody asserted anything about unicorns, that is called a red herring.

        • adam

          No you didnt use Bob’s method, so you are a LIAR…

          “Dragging out pink unicorns is silly, ”
          No more or less silly than dragging out imaginary ‘Gods’ and claiming they are real. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/56ecbe663be50eb6f7c7407977ae6e6084276d9b1503ab94f6cf839ee8405007.jpg

        • David Hennessey

          Oh, you confused me with your god, only a perfect being is not a LIAR, you can’t answer me so you hope to rile me?
          You, I will assert for all to hear, are 100% honest, if my endorsement helps your cause, print it on a billboard, print on the same billboard that I am a LIAR, I will sign it, of course I am.
          So, now that we settled that, have a nice day.

        • adam

          I have no god.
          I answered you.
          You LIED about using Bob’s method

          So, now that we settled that, have a nice day. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3e3f9693ce2510c1f2037cdf458c483fed59e0e0d865b56de46c5496818b52c8.jpg

        • MNb

          Dragging out pink unicorns is as silly as dragging out imaginary sky daddies like yours.
          The irony is that you actually have a point, but formulate it so poorly that I don’t think it worth the effort anymore to remedy it for you …..

    • The null hypothesis is whatever hypothesis should be accepted in the absence of any other evidence. I am happy to accept “not an atheist” as the null hypothesis in the absence of any other information about a person (on probabilistic grounds, since most people are not atheists). That means if I hear of a person called John Smith and do not know anything about him relevant to his religious opinions, I should not assume that he is an atheist until I have a particular reason to do so.

      If I then find out that John Smith has written a book in which he proclaims and attempts to justify his own atheism, then I now have relevant evidence on which a hypothesis can be established, and it is no longer necessary to assume the null hypothesis by default. This is the situation we are in with Hitchens; relevant evidence is available regarding his beliefs about God, in the form of easily obtainable writings and video/audio recordings.

      The “burden of proof” is poorly named in this case (presumably as a result of lifting the phrase out of its legal context, where it is more accurate). “Burden of evidence” or “burden of argument” would probably be better, but we’re stuck with “burden of proof” due to common usage. A reasonable belief does not have to be a certain belief; a person’s claim to be an atheist does not make it absolutely certain that they are an atheist, but it does make it more probable than not that they are an atheist. Your counter-example of a person claiming to be a chair is different; the tendency of genuine chairs not to make such claims, and the evidence from the appearance of the person making the claim, means that this claim does not make it more probable than not that they are a chair. Such considerations are inapplicable in the case of someone claiming to be an atheist.

      An atheist stating that the non-existence of gods is the null hypothesis, and that the burden of proof lies with the theist, is not (or at least, shouldn’t be) claiming that absolute 100% certain proof is required before we deviate from the null hypothesis; instead, (s)he is claiming that a god or gods should not be assumed to exist unless there is particular evidence to suggest that they exist.

      • TheNuszAbides

        The “burden of proof” is poorly named in this case (presumably as a result of lifting the phrase out of its legal context, where it is more accurate). “Burden of evidence” or “burden of argument” would probably be better, but we’re stuck with “burden of proof” due to common usage.

        excellent point. wouldn’t it be grand to have a widely-agreed-upon set of terms and their definitions for each and every substantive debate? the one i sink the most probably-futile effort into is that horrid “the very definition of insanity” meme. (fortunately i’ve found a reasonable article that distinguishes between perseverance and perseveration, which is occasionally helpful to someone who’s inclined to pay attention and/or learn something.)

      • David Hennessey

        You agree with me then, there is no null hypothesis theory that permits one side to claim victory while presenting zero evidence like Dys and Bob argued, Christians and Muslims present evidence, if atheists present none, the burden of proof has been met.

        Atheists- no evidence.
        Theists- lots of evidence, all circumstantial.

        How does that make atheism the preferred position?

        PS-I’m neither theistic nor atheistic, I’m just as skeptical of both of you I just want proper logic to be used. You seem to be an atheist with integrity, good for you.

        • If atheism is accepted as the null hypothesis, then “claiming victory” would consist of showing that deviation from the null hypothesis is unjustified. If the theist presents evidence, then it is necessary for the atheist to show that the evidence is flawed, and that the flaws in the evidence are severe enough that they do not justify deviation from the null hypothesis. Showing that that evidence is flawed is basically what Bob and other atheist writers are trying to do when they write rebuttals to Christian and other theist apologetics.

        • David Hennessey

          Bob can speak for himself, atheists I have read here, say that no evidence is needed to prove that there is no god, someone else has to prove there is but it depends on who you want to prove it to. On the debate stage, you can’t prove anything by asserting that you don’t have to. The audience is the judge.

          In the real world, all arguments are fair, appealing to emotion is completely acceptable, bribing people with food here and paradise later is fine and chopping off your opponent’s head and debating his dead body is standard procedure if you have the power.

          Whatever circle jerk you have in private means nothing, there is one rule, if you have the most converts, you win. If you want to win on Bob’s blog and lose on the big stage where losing means your taxes get used to promote creationism, fine.

          Bob presented some obscure reasoning that churches have completely unfair answers to but they are still logical answers, most importantly, they are satisfying answers to your real audience, if you won’t address them, you are likely to keep losing in the real world.

        • Paul B. Lot

          1) “churches have … answers [which] are satisfying answers to your real audience, if you won’t address them, you are likely to keep losing in the real world.”

          IFAIK, all the data point towards an inexorable decline, month after month, year after year, in “christian” “church” memberships. Islam is another beast, but in general the highly-developed world is moving towards greater secularization, not away from it.

          Your doom-and-gloom speech here is…unmoving.

          2) ” atheists I have read here, say that no evidence is needed to prove that there is no god”

          Can you point to one single instance of an atheist here saying that “no evidence is needed to prove that there is no god”?

          I’ve never seen anyone write something that stupid, and I would like to think I would call them on it if I did.

        • David Hennessey

          1. I guess I’d kind of like to see you do better in the debate, you sure ain’t winning yet, religious wars are killing and displacing millions.
          2.As I said, if you don’t make that claim, we agree, I really have zero interest in re-hashing what someone else said, I already called them on it, you don’t need to.

        • Paul B. Lot

          1) ” I guess I’d kind of like to see you do better in the debate, you sure ain’t winning yet, religious wars are killing and displacing millions.”

          War != Debate

          We are winning in “the debate”, that is; in the arenas where ideas and language and argument hold sway.

          When and where people don’t have access to food, water, shelter, information; I agree. The developed world isn’t doing nearly enough.

          In the war zones, however, where there’s not just privation but active organized killing – “debate” isn’t on the menu.

          You’re conflating different scenarios and their standards-of-conduct unnecessarily – confusing yourself and the conversation.

          2) “I really have zero interest in re-hashing what someone else said, I already called them on it, you don’t need to.”

          I didn’t ask you to “rehash” anything – I asked you for evidence, you know, proof of your assertion that even a single person here has said: “no evidence is needed to prove that there is no god”.

          I mentioned the bit about ‘calling them on it’ because I doubt it has ever occurred, not because I feel like being your white-knight.

        • Dys

          Dave thinks declaring atheism as the null hypothesis means atheists believe that no evidence is needed to prove that there is no god.

        • Michael Neville

          So far you’ve shown that you don’t understand the null hypothesis, you don’t understand burden of proof, you’re quite hazy on what atheists do or do not believe, and you’re condescending and pompous. Also you’ve shown that you prefer to argue with the straw atheist who exists only in your imagination rather than real atheists writing on this thread.

        • adam

          “religious wars are killing and displacing millions.”

          All because they believe some IMAGINARY being tells them kill and displace millions.

        • Dys

          Davey mistakenly thinks the null hypothesis proves things. He’s a bit confused, and doesn’t understand the burden of proof either.

        • Dys

          churches have completely unfair answers to but they are still logical answers

          Not so much. They have plenty of answers that can’t be demonstrated to be true, of course. But logical? Only if you blindly accept their presuppositions.

        • David Hennessey

          Of course, their presuppositions are wrong, so are yours, when you have presuppositions that are wrong, your logic can be sound but lead to wrong conclusions.

        • Dys

          Oooh…now you’re a mind reader and know my presuppositions? You’re silly Davey. Of course some of my presuppositions could be wrong. So could yours. Or does your absence of logic mean you think you don’t have any presuppositions?

        • Winning a debate by beheading one’s opponents may be common in some times and places, but I would nevertheless dispute its validity as an epistemological method (how publicly I dispute it depends largely on the proximity of the beheaders).

          And I have no objection to presenting a case differently depending on the situation and the audience; for example, when encountering people who are in the habit of beheading their opponents, I would not recommend a detailed explanation of the use of the null hypothesis as a viable method of dealing with them.

          Bob presented some obscure reasoning that churches have completely unfair answers to but they are still logical answers, most importantly, they are satisfying answers to your real audience, if you won’t address them, you are likely to keep losing in the real world.

          What exactly do you think remains unaddressed?

        • adam

          “atheists I have read here, say that no evidence is needed to prove that there is no god,”

          Nope.

          We all say that evidence is needed to PROVE your ‘god’.
          Because of the supernatural claims surrounding gods, the default position is disbelief in said ‘god’.

          Same with Invisible Pink Flying Unicorns, fairies and other supernatural stuff.

        • David Hennessey

          I’m not a theist so I have no god to prove but neither does the theist, the theist simply states the he believes there is a god, you seem to understand that the atheist doesn’t need to offer proof but neither does the theist, you are both expressing belief, you both have faith.

          I don’t need faith, I’m not expressing a belief that there is a god or that there isn’t one or two, I also have no belief that there are no pink unicorns in the universe, we have gray unicorns(rhinos) and pink flamingos and the universe is virtually limitless, I can’t say there aren’t pink ones on some planet somewhere.

          A beast that defied the laws of physics would be different but a creature with one horn that has pink skin, feathers or scales is just combining characteristics we already know and observe, given infinite time and space, that creature may have evolved somewhere.

          Many people believe there are creatures on other planets with no more evidence than for gods, are they crazy?

          So, you don’t believe that pink unicorns exist, your belief means nothing to reality, if they do, they do.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “I have no god to prove but neither does the theist, the theist simply states the he believes there is a god”

          Unfortunately, you are wrong.

          There are many, many theists who claim to be able to “prove” the existence of “G(g)od(s)”.

          Would that every one of them were as rational as you.

          Here are some resources which might help you locate yourself in the dialogue and the terminology:

          http://lh3.ggpht.com/-q2d4A4N5arw/TmEoB9jCjOI/AAAAAAAAC5k/daRnstnWPJE/Agnostic%252520v%252520Gnostic%252520v%252520Atheist%252520v%252520Theist.png?imgmax=800

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

        • David Hennessey

          You can’t just add to the definition of theist, some theists may believe lots of things, I’m sure they do, but theism by itself is just as I stated.

          A nice chart, of course, if you believe that it represents the universe of all possible beliefs about gods, it’s doesn’t.

          The ignostic believes that there is no way to define god, therefore we can’t believe anything about it, we don’t even know what is being discussed. The surrealist, perhaps, believes that nothing is what it seems, whatever you believe about it, you’re wrong.

          There are other “isms” that are possible, atheism and theism don’t get to mandate to the world.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “There are other “isms” that are possible, atheism and theism don’t get to mandate to the world.”

          Quite.

          “A nice chart, of course, if you believe that it represents the universe of all possible beliefs about gods, it’s doesn’t.”

          I didn’t say it did.

          I should apologize to you, though. I took your use of “theists state” to refer to [the set of all theists’ beliefs], which of course includes some individuals who claim to “know” that “G(g)od(s)” exist.

          It seems, however, that you mean “theists state” to refer to merely [having a belief in “G(g)od(s)”] – and there I would agree with you that it does not entail “certainty”.

          I guess that was the point of the graph – theism vs. atheism are insufficient to delineate all the stances possible. We AT LEAST need to have another axis/parameter for “level of epistemological certainty” – which the graph-drawer expressed as “gnostic” vs. “agnostic”.

          Perhaps a third axis/parameter is appropriate for [level of conviction that the questions/terms make sense], in which case I can see “igtheist” and “surrealist” being data points along that line.

          I’m not sure how many other axes we could add…although no doubt my primate brain is biased towards “3D” manifolds.

        • Susan

          in which case I can see “igtheist” and “surrealist” being data points along that line.

          I see “igtheist” as the dot right at the intersection of the x-y axis.

          What exactly is the claim and how is it supported?

          “God” is a trojan horse made of jell-o. It is at worst a tactic and at best, an error.

        • Dys

          The ignostic believes that there is no way to define god, therefore we can’t believe anything about it

          What’s that? An ignostic doesn’t think there’s any way to define god. So they lack a belief in god. Which is atheism.

          Any form of gnosticism (agnosticism, ignosticism, etc) is about knowledge, not belief.

        • adam

          “you seem to understand that the atheist doesn’t need to offer proof but
          neither does the theist, you are both expressing belief, you both have
          faith.”

          I do not have biblical ‘faith’

          I dont wish or hope for there to be no god, I just dont see justification for the god claims made.

          And I believe I already offered you proof of atheism.

        • adam

          ‘you both have faith’

          No, disbelief is the lack of faith.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Many people believe there are creatures on other planets with no more evidence than for gods, are they crazy?

          If they believe it as a certainty without evidence, as believers in gods do, then yes?

        • adam

          “Atheists- no evidence.
          Theists- lots of evidence, all circumstantial.

          How does that make atheism the preferred position?”

          Theist have no circumstantial evidence, only emotional experiences. On the same level as alien butt probing and fairies in the garden. Emotions do not demonstrate “God”

          So the preferred position when the CLAIMS are of MAGIC is skepticism.

    • Dys

      So you’re response to everything is to post a link to a site that you incorrectly assume states that using a null hypothesis is bunk? The website you brought up doesn’t do that – it points out problems that some people make when establishing one.

      Considering you don’t see the glaring error in your farcical attempt to criticize the null hypothesis, that’s a bit funny.

      You don’t understand how the null hypothesis works, and your attempt at a counter example is actually the Type 1 error portrayed in the article you linked to. As a counter point, atheism as a null hypothesis doesn’t commit this error. Note that simply by being the null hypothesis doesn’t demonstrate that atheism is actually correct – it’s not a proof (another error you’ve repeatedly made). Rather it establishes the default position.

      Your attempt to “prove” Hitchens was not an atheist doesn’t depend on “atheist logic”, it depends on “David Hennessey blather”. Besides which, there is a mountain of emprical evidence that your attempt at a null hypothesis is wrong. Therefore, your null hypothesis is bunk, and doesn’t stand. But unfortunately for you, the same doesn’t hold true when trying to dismantle atheism as the null hypothesis to the claim “a god exists”.

    • You might want to read up on the null or default hypothesis. I also suggest: burden of proof.

      Then come back and tell us about your ideas of pretzel logic.

      • Ignorant Amos

        Away with the fairies poor David appears to be. He needs to up his game.

  • Matthew46

    I think the verse you mean is Matthew 28:19 which, in today’s bible reads: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,”

    .
    In the The Demonstratio Evangelica, Eusebius quotes the early book of Matthew that he had in his library in Caesarea. According to him, an eyewitness of an unaltered Book of Matthew that could have been the original book or the first copy of the original of Matthew. Eusebius informs us that Jesus’ actual words to his disciples in the original text of Matthew were – 28:19: “With one word and voice He said to His disciples: “Go, and make disciples of all nations in My Name, teaching them to observe all things whatsover I have commanded you.”
    .
    Obviously, this verse was altered in order to accommodate the newly invented trinity.

    • Greg G.

      I checked this out at Demonstratio Evangelica, chapter 3. Eusebius seems to be quoting from Matthew 28:19-20.

      Hence, of course, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus the Son of God, said to His disciples after His Resurrection:

      “Go and make disciples of all the nations,” and added: “Teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded you.”

      The “and added” seems to indicate that something was skipped. The context of the chapter is about the requirements of the Jews to follow the laws of Moses so the key part of the Matthew quotation would be “whatsoever I have commanded you”, with the emphasis on the “I”. [This was where I was going but I shifted gears.]

      I was doubting your claim as I got this far but I read further on. Near the end of chapter 4, I found:

      This law going forth from Sion, different from the law enacted in the desert by Moses on Mount Sinai, what can it be but the word of the Gospel, “going forth from Sion” through our Saviour Jesus Christ, and going through all the nations? For it is plain that it was in Jerusalem and Mount Sion adjacent thereto, where our Lord and Saviour for the most part lived and taught, that the law of the new covenant began and from thence went forth and shone upon all, according to the commands which He gave his disciples when He said:

      “Go ye, and make disciples of all the nations, teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded you.”

      So it appears that Eusebius did quote a full sentence from Matthew 28:19-20 and the Trilogy bit wasn’t in it.

      The NRSV has a footnote that says “Amen” at the end of verse 20 is not in all manuscripts and the NIV drops the word without comment so it seems that is another subsequent interpolation.

  • Zachariah ​†

    “How do we know that they made it through that Dark Ages period—during much of which those books were considered by Christians to be merely important works, not sacred or inspired scripture—without detectable change?”

    Thank you for proving my point.

    • Ignorant Amos

      You really are this thick, aren’t ya?

      You missed this important bit off…

      Are our earliest manuscripts a fairly complimentary set of traditions simply because they happened to be the viewpoint that survived, with competing ones ignored and not copied or even deliberately destroyed?

      To which the answer is a resounding YES.

      The canon of the RCC wasn’t ratified until the Council of Trent.

      Apocrypha texts have been used as scripture in various flavours of the Christian cult throughout it’s 1,600 years of orthodoxy.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apocrypha#Christianity

      During the first three and a half centuries, Christians in numbers had all sorts of scriptures and believed all sorts of woo-woo nonsense. The crude available today is a politically sanitized version after centuries of infighting. Hardly divinely inspired.

      Try actually learning about the history of your faith and it’s scriptures…read a book.

      “While most people think that the twenty-seven books of the New Testament are the only sacred writings of the early Christians, this is not at all the case. A companion volume to Bart Ehrman’s Lost Christianities, this book offers an anthology of up-to-date and readable translations of many non-canonical writings from the first centuries after Christ–texts that have been for the most part lost or neglected for almost two millennia. Here is an array of remarkably varied writings from early Christian groups whose visions of Jesus differ dramatically from our contemporary understanding. Readers will find Gospels supposedly authored by the apostle Philip, James the brother of Jesus, Mary Magdalen, and others. There are Acts originally ascribed to John and to Thecla, Paul’s female companion; there are Epistles allegedly written by Paul to the Roman philosopher Seneca. And there is an apocalypse by Simon Peter that offers a guided tour of the afterlife, both the glorious ecstasies of the saints and the horrendous torments of the damned, and an Epistle by Titus, a companion of Paul, which argues page after page against sexual love, even within marriage, on the grounds that physical intimacy leads to damnation. In all, the anthology includes fifteen Gospels, five non-canonical Acts of the Apostles, thirteen Epistles, a number of Apocalypses and Secret Books, and several Canon lists. Ehrman has included a general introduction, plus brief introductions to each piece. This important anthology gives readers a vivid picture of the range of beliefs that battled each other in the first centuries of the Christian era.”

      https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lost-Scriptures-Books-That-Testament/dp/0195182502/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_14_t_0?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=JXSD1QF9KBK5CECW9E2G

      There are numerous others by scholars on the subject.

    • And what’s your point–that I use words?

      Guilty!