The Great Debate: Theism vs. Naturalism. Where Does the Evidence Point?

The Great Debate: Theism vs. Naturalism. Where Does the Evidence Point? November 17, 2016

naturalism Christianity theism debateLet’s conduct an experiment to find the better of two alternate worldviews. First is Christianity/theism. Opposing that is naturalism, the belief that natural explanations are sufficient to explain the world we see.

Each worldview makes predictions about how our world should look. We’ll consider those predictions and compare them against the evidence from reality to see which worldview does the better job.

God’s hiddenness

Theism, by the definition that I’m using, proposes supernatural deit(ies) that engage with humanity. (Contrast that with deism, in which a deity could’ve started up the universe and then walked away.)

Our example of theism is Christianity, which tells us that God should be obvious: “God’s invisible qualities … have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). It makes the same claim when it says that God is anxious to have a relationship with us, since understanding God’s plan and putting our faith in Jesus is mandatory for us to escape hell.

God should be obvious, and his message to us should be unambiguous. But when we look around, there is no good evidence for God, just as naturalism predicts. (I discuss this Problem of Divine Hiddenness in detail here.)

Fragmentation into sects

Even if humans invent religions, theism predicts that clear evidence for the one correct religion would outshine all the rest. Invented religions might always be background noise in the religious environment, but the correct religion—the only one actually supported by evidence of real god(s)—would quickly spread from its introduction thousands of years ago to become and remain the biggest religion by far. There would be no contest to any unbiased observer which religion was correct (more here).

That’s not what the evidence shows. For all of human existence, the majority of people at any moment have always had the bad fortune to not believe in the one correct religion (assuming there is one). Religion is a cultural phenomenon. Christianity is the largest religion at the moment, though it might not be in fifty years when Islam is expected to become number one. Christianity is not the oldest religion, it didn’t become largest until centuries after its founding, and it’s never held the majority of the world’s people.

A single, unambiguous message doesn’t exist even within Christianity. There are 45,000 Christian denominations, a number that is growing rapidly.

The Bible itself documents how God’s fundamental properties have evolved.

  • God was initially just a guy who walked in the Garden to chat with Adam and Eve, but later he said, “No one may see my face and live” (Exodus 33:20).
  • God had to send out agents to get intelligence about Sodom and Gomorrah, but ask Christians now, and they’ll say that he’s omniscient (“New and improved God 2.0—now with 1020 times more omniscience!”).
  • God was initially part of a pantheon, and only later do we get a clear statement of monotheism (Isaiah 43:10, for example).
  • God was initially merely powerful, and he had limitations. Now we hear he’s invulnerable.

The map of world religions shows that religious belief doesn’t change with evidence like science does. Instead, it’s part of culture.

Relationship to science

Theism predicts that sacred texts would be useful in the real world. They wouldn’t be full of just-trust-me-on-this demands. Instead, they would be grounded in the real world so that we could see that their claims are both surprising (far beyond what was known in that society at the time) and reliable. We wouldn’t need faith to accept the supernatural; it would be obvious that this wisdom didn’t come from any human society.

Christianity is again a counterexample. Any scientific statement within the Bible that’s true was known by the culture that produced that part of the Bible, and all other scientific claims within the Bible are false. Mining the Bible to find verses that vaguely anticipate modern scientific discoveries is a popular hobby, but science has learned nothing about reality from the Bible.

You’d think that the Bible would at least have room for simple science that would greatly benefit people. For example, how about a recipe for soap plus basic hygiene rules? It would only take a paragraph, but we find nothing. Even Jesus’s healing miracles are just superstitions of the time.

In the competition between science and religion, “God did it” was the answer for famine, plague, drought, disease, and even war in centuries past. Dogma rather than evidence pointed to God, and science has steadily produced reliable answers to replace God for countless scientific puzzles. The reverse has never happened. Shoehorning God into the remaining puzzles makes him a “god of the gaps,” a pitiful rearguard action that makes a joke of the all-powerful Creator of the Universe.

At best, apologists can say, “Well, science hasn’t answered this question,” unconcerned that Christianity hasn’t answered any question. Yes, science does have unanswered questions on its to-do list—that’s how science works. These aren’t questions that theologians have pointed out but are mostly obtuse questions that only science could raise.

Life

Theism predicts that life is designed and that life is the purpose of the universe.

Neither is true. A Rube Goldberg machine and a Swiss watch are both complicated but in different ways. Cells are complicated, but they’re more like the redundant and inefficient Rube Goldberg machine than the elegant watch. Designer-less evolution is sufficient to explain why life looks the way it does.

DNA is often cited as being so software-like that it must have come from a mind, but I argue that the sloppiness in DNA alone is enough to defeat the Design Hypothesis (the argument that life must’ve been designed).

The theist will say that software invariably comes from minds, but they forget that minds invariably come from brains. So where is the brain that houses God’s mind? And, no, software doesn’t invariably come from minds. Software can be evolved in a computer where it is randomly changed and tested for fitness, analogous to what happens in the real world to DNA.

The theist must look at the hundred billion galaxies in the universe, each with a hundred billion stars, and say that all of that is there because of humans on one planet in an insignificant backwater of one galaxy. Naturalism gets it right when it predicts no design and sees life as just something that happens now and then.

We’ll conclude this worldview comparison in part 2.

We can’t observe quarks or black holes, 

but we should see their effects. 
We do. 
We can’t observe the Christian God, 
but we should see his effects. 
We don’t. 
— Victor Stenger, “Faith in Anything is Unreasonable

Image credit: Image Catalog, flickr, CC

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  • busterggi

    ” theism predicts that clear evidence for the one correct religion would outshine all the rest”

    So, by that thinking, the first religion ever created would have to be the only correct one as all competition should have been automatically eliminated by the obviousness of that original.

    If so then Christianity, as well as all Abrahamic religions, are just newcomers whose believers habven’t had the divine grace to see their false belief for what it is.

    • Herald Newman

      Not necessarily. Think about Newtonian mechanics. NM got it mostly right, and was eventually superseded by relativity, which may itself be superseded by another theory. It’s the iterative refinement that science gives us that I believe Bob is talking about and that, if theists had a reliable way of knowing what they claim, then we should expect the same sort of thing with religions, namely that they converge on “truth”.

      Instead we see fracturing, and disagreement over what is believed. It’s almost like the adherents of world religions don’t have a mechanism to even investigate the truth of their claims.

      • RichardSRussell

        Good observation! Science is convergent, whereas religion is divergent!

        • Ficino

          That’s cuz scientists just don’t know their St. Thomas Aquinas! Bwa ha ha

      • Kodie

        According to all the religions I’m aware of, god made himself known to someone or several people, and left it up to them to write it down and pass it along to the rest of us, and isn’t it amazing how successful it was? I mean, forget how bullshit it is, I mean obviously mythical, but billions of believers of all the religions that exist are impressionable enough to catch a religion from another person. Granted, some of them were too young to know any better, and some of them were threatened with death, but the thing I mean is the marketing tends to work because people aren’t that bright or rational as we’d been led to believe.

        Anyway, if there was one god who was real, and a long time ago, trusted his message to one person, or even checked in personally with some random chosen prophets every few centuries, whatever the real message is hidden. The main message is, very deeply, that humans have sin and make mistakes and insert their own agendas all the time. What kind of perfect god makes it go like that? I frequently ask theists why god would choose to send this person to change our minds with terrible arguments rather than show up? I don’t think any of them have ever answered that question (nor the one where I ask them how much they’ve given to their church so far). If you ask them why other people believe something slightly to drastically different, they walk right up to the edge and miss it – yeah, those people were taken in and fooled. They’re not true Christians because people are capable of being taken in and of being fooled… but not me.

  • epeeist

    You have to distinguish between “metaphysical ” and “methodological” naturalism.

    With the former you are claiming that only the natural exists. This is an ontological commitment and you therefore have the burden to show this is so.

    With the latter you make no such commitment. All you are claiming is that naturalistic methods can be used to investigate reality, not that the natural is necessarily the whole of reality.

    • MNb

      Slight addition: naturalistic methods can be used to investigate natural reality. Then the question rises: which methods can be used to investigate a supposed supernatural reality?
      Dualists are invited.

      • epeeist

        I would disagree to some extent. While methodological naturalism can only investigate natural events it does not follow that the cause of those events must be natural.

        Of course nobody seems to have found anything but natural causes for natural events.

        As for supernatural realities, let’s have a description of what these are first then we can work out how to investigate them.

        • MNb

          I don’t see any disagreement, sorry. You don’t contradict me anywhere.

        • catfink

          While methodological naturalism can only investigate natural events it does not follow that the cause of those events must be natural.

          Why not? Why isn’t the cause of a natural event necessarily also natural? What’s the difference between a natural cause of a natural event and some other kind of cause of a natural event?

        • Ignorant Amos

          I think what he is saying is that ultimately we don’t know for sure, that the cause of a natural event is necessarily natural. We atheists all believe that it is indeed the case it is natural, at least as far as supernatural theistic deities go anyway. But “I don’t know” is the default position when reduced to the basics of what caused everything.

        • RichardSRussell

          I think what he is saying is that ultimately we don’t know for sure, that the cause of a natural event is necessarily natural.

          Even beyond that, we don’t know that some natural events even have a cause!

        • Ignorant Amos

          Indeed.

          Not that I know much about it, but am led to believe one such natural event is radioactive decay.

        • catfink

          I think what he is saying is that ultimately we don’t know for sure, that the cause of a natural event is necessarily natural.

          Then to repeat: What’s the difference between a natural cause of a natural event and some other kind of cause of a natural event?

        • Kodie

          I’m not a philosopher, but I’m not even sure it makes sense. Maybe I am mixing up natural and material? As far as I’m concerned, and a lot of theists agree, if it exists, it is natural. They argue that god isn’t magic or a wizard, and object to the term supernatural. They can’t say how a natural wizard sky daddy breathed the word, or life, or whatever the claim is, but if it happened, I don’t know how it wouldn’t be included in what is considered natural. If it uses mechanisms not found in nature, they describe it anyway as existing as part of his own nature, which can contradict everything we think we know about nature, which is neither here nor there. I don’t have to worry about any actual mechanisms, I just don’t know how a natural effect can have any other kind of cause than natural.

        • Ignorant Amos

          A natural event = a ball rolls.

          A natural cause = gravity.

          Another kind of supernatural cause = a ghost pushed the ball.

          A natural event = a universe comes into existence.

          A natural cause = physics.

          Another kind of supernatural cause = a supreme immaterial mind outside time and space did it, or a god.

          Or at least that’s my take on it anyway.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          “Another kind of supernatural cause = a ghost pushed the ball.”

          Which leads to asking what a “ghost” is XD

        • Ignorant Amos

          Of course.

          Epeeist makes that point in his comments.

          As for supernatural realities, let’s have a description of what these are first then we can work out how to investigate them.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Also hence my igtheism.

          Ignosticism or igtheism is the idea that every theological position assumes too much about the concept of God and other theological concepts; including (but not limited to) concepts of faith, spirituality, heaven, hell, afterlife, damnation, salvation, sin and the soul.

        • catfink

          If a “ghost” can push a ball, and the roll of a ball is a natural event, why isn’t a ghost a natural cause, like gravity? Again, what’s the difference?

        • Ignorant Amos

          I didn’t say a ghost could push a ball. I was saying that an example of a non natural cause, or supernatural cause would be something like a ghost pushing a ball.

          I don’t believe in ghosts.

          why isn’t a ghost a natural cause, like gravity?

          Well it is well understood how gravity would work on the motion of a ball. A ghost, not so much.

          Again, what’s the difference?

          There is a huge body of evidence in science for gravity. There is no such evidence for ghosts, regardless of the millions that believe they do exist. There’s one difference.

        • catfink

          I didn’t say a ghost could push a ball. I was saying that an example of a non natural cause, or supernatural cause would be something like a ghost pushing a ball.

          If a ghost can’t push a ball (or cause some other kind of natural event), it can’t be a non-natural cause of a natural event, so the example is irrelevant to the question of what the difference is between a natural cause and a non-natural one. Still waiting for someone to describe that difference.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I didn’t say a ghost couldn’t push a ball. I was saying that an example of a non natural cause, or supernatural cause would be something like a ghost pushing a ball.

          I don’t believe in ghosts.

          But I’m sure if they existed they could push a ball, I have no idea how they’d manage it, what method they would use, or how to test for it, but that is not the issue here. That’s why it would be a supernatural cause.

        • catfink

          I didn’t say a ghost couldn’t push a ball.

          Either it could or it couldn’t. If it couldn’t, it’s irrelevant to the question. If it could, how does it differ from a natural cause?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Do ghosts exist?

        • catfink

          I don’t think so. There’s no serious evidence that they do.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Agreed. Like gods and all other supernatural woo woo of course.

        • WayneMan

          A ghost pushing a ball would be a supernatural event, not natural, since there is no way to explain the event with the laws of physics, measure the force on the ball, nor repeat (retest) the event.

        • catfink

          Huh? Of course there is. We could measure the force on the ball by measuring its motion, for example. F=ma.

        • WayneMan

          You could estimate the force based on the the ball mass, coefficient of friction of the surfaces, exact horizontal orientation of the surface, but not measure it directly. And the other two points (laws of physics, and repeatability) are not addressed.

          Not sure why or where you are going with this point.

        • catfink

          You could estimate the force based on the the ball mass, coefficient of friction of the surfaces, exact horizontal orientation of the surface, but not measure it directly.

          Then we don’t “measure” any kind of force “directly.” We calculate it from observation of its effects.

          And the other two points (laws of physics, and repeatability) are not addressed.

          The fact that an event couldn’t be explained using the current laws of physics wouldn’t mean its cause was not natural. It would only mean our knowledge of the laws of physics is incomplete.

          And the fact that an event is not repeatable obviously doesn’t mean its cause is not natural either. The history of the universe is full of one-time events, from the Big Bang to the evolution of life on earth.

        • WayneMan

          So a ghost is not a supernatural entity? What is your point?

        • catfink

          That if you can’t describe how a hypothesized non-natural cause differs from natural causes, the hypothesis is meaningless.

        • WayneMan

          OK, except that no “non-natural” cause or event has EVER been verified, so there are no known non-natural things to hypothesis about, and the point is meaningless.

        • catfink

          I don’t know why you write “except…” as if anything I have written suggests that there is any such thing as a “non-natural” cause.

        • Ignorant Amos

          A bit like “nothing”.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Tell that to Professor Higgs, or the most clever human being’s on the planet, ever, pre 1960.

        • catfink

          I don’t know why you think Professor Higgs would disagree.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Are you, or can you be sure 100%, that ghosts don’t exist?

        • catfink

          Depends on your definition of “ghosts.”

          Is this going somewhere, or are you just asking random questions?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Depends on your definition of “ghosts.”

          Exactly.

          I’m just playing along. You asked a question vis a vis epeeist’s comment and stupidly I tossed in my tuppence worth.

          If ghosts, gods, or ghoul’s do supernatural shit that has an effect or reaction on the natural world…like move a ball…or scare folk…what method is employed and how can it be tested?

          I don’t believe in such nonsense and am guessing neither do you, but that is not the point of the assertion.

          It’s all a loada ballix as far as I’m concerned, but then who am I?

          As has been said…“As for supernatural realities, let’s have a description of what these are first then we can work out how to investigate them.”

          Are you a 7 on the Dawkins Richter scale?

        • Myna

          Or that they do? My aunts and my grandmother not only would have said and without hesitation, mind you, Yes they do, but also made some modest coin in helping folks contact them from time to time.

          Were they crazy? Hard to tell, but it’s what they believed. The Anglican church is fairly tolerant of Spiritualism, so the old women were happy campers.

        • Myna

          The fact that an event couldn’t be explained using the current laws of physics wouldn’t mean its cause was not natural. It would only mean our knowledge of the laws of physics is incomplete.

          I often ponder whether the supernatural is actually natural.

          Spooky physics is interesting: http://www.livescience.com/5499-einsteins-spooky-physics-entangled.html

        • MNb

          Where do I find the ghost in F = m.a ?

        • catfink

          In the F. If there’s no F, there’s no ghost pushing the ball.

        • Ignorant Amos

          But what if G=ma?

          Given G as the unknown supernatural cause.

        • catfink

          But what if G=ma?

          Then G is just another notation for the force that moves the ball in accordance with the laws of nature.

        • MNb

          Evidence?
          What does this contribute to our understanding of F = m.a ?
          Without answers I’ll have to call for William Ockham.

        • catfink

          Evidence?

          The laws of physics. How could the ghost move the ball without applying a force to it?

        • Ignorant Amos

          F=ma.

          Whaaaaa?

          That applies in the natuaral realm.

          Would that apply to the ghostly movement of the ball though? I think not.

        • catfink

          That applies in the natuaral realm. Would that apply to the ghostly movement of the ball though? I think not.

          How could the ghost move the ball without applying a force to it?

        • Kodie

          If ghosts existed, we’d be pretty familiar with their effects, and their effects would be incorporated into events we’d find natural and could measure them. At least according to this conversation, we’re supposing that things that are supernatural just don’t exist. If things exist, then their effects would be familiar and measurable and probable within our concept of events that can occur.

          I am saying this as someone who thought I was an atheist growing up but reserved speculation of ghosts as something that could someday be explained in a scientific context. I do not say that I definitely believed in ghosts, but it was an interesting subject to me that did not seem to be theistic or supernatural. Either it exists as something part of our natural world as explainable and/or an explanation for something else, or it was superstitious, mythical bullshit.

          Ghosts are a cross between a lingering spirit type of idea of those dead loved ones, and awareness of death in general, those creepy noises in the house you know aren’t tigers in the bushes, scapegoat of poor memory/organizing habits, pareidolia – generally whatever parts combine to make one accuse an invisible person rather than themselves or nature, whatever one thinks is impossible to have been done by, say, a cat.

        • epeeist

          Sorry for my late response. We are on an extended holiday in New Zealand and my attention isn’t exactly focused on this forum.

          The claim that the cause of a natural event is itself natural is a necessary truth is a very strong one. Could one produce a purely rational demonstration that this is so? I don’t think so.

          In which case we are driven back to Hume. We have no justification for assuming that simply because all the natural events we have seen do have a natural cause that events of which we have no experience must have a natural cause.

          But the real piece of hand waving here is the term “supernatural”. Until we know what it means then even to talk about “supernatural causes” is vacuous.

        • catfink

          The claim that the cause of a natural event is itself natural is a necessary truth is a very strong one.

          It seems I have to keep repeating the same question: What’s the difference between a natural cause of a natural event and some other kind of cause of a natural event?

        • epeeist

          You mistake me. All I am saying is that it is not possible to rule out events with “non-natural” causes a priori. I am not hypothesising that such causes exist, I am merely pointing out that there is no logical entailment.

          As I said I am in New Zealand at the moment. I arrived just after the earthquake. Now these have well understood natural causes. This hasn’t stopped a particular bat-shit crazy bishop claiming that it was his god that caused it (for which he is getting a fair amount of stick in the local press I might add). This would be a supernatural cause of a natural event.

          He therefore has the burden to show the way that his god did this, in at least as much detail as the natural one. If he can’t do this or his explanation has no more power or better empirical fit than the natural one then we are justified in dismissing it.

        • catfink

          All I am saying is that it is not possible to rule out events with “non-natural” causes a priori.

          If you can’t explain how your hypothesized “non-natural” causes would differ from natural causes, yes it is possible to rule them out. You’re not referring to a different kind of cause, you’re just using a different term to refer to the same kind of cause.

        • Ignorant Amos

          This comes down to the unatainable 7 point on the Dawkins Richter scale. Which I, and at least one other here, claim. But I readily admit to being stupid, as witnessed by my peers on these sort of forums.

          Or perhaps last Thursdayism even. Tuesdayism or Wednesdayism. Defo not Sundayism.

        • catfink

          Incomprehensible.

        • epeeist

          Oh FFS read what I actually wrote. I am not hypothesising non-natural causes. Let’s take it one step at a time.

          1. Assume an event which is investigible by methodological naturalism.

          2. If it is the case that this event has a cause then the extreme likelihood is that this will be natural. We can warrant this on the fact that we have never come across events that have anything but natural causes and where events have been claimed to have non-natural causes these claims have inevitably been shown to be false.

          3. At the same time we cannot claim the statement “all causes for natural events are themselves natural” is true, i.e. is universal, necessary and certain since we are reasoning inductively. The best we can do is to claim it is probably true.

          All of this is basic logic from the time of Aristotle.

          But here’s another for you. One speculation in physics is that the universe is a simulation. Assume it is and a character is removed from the simulation. Is the cause of this removal natural or not?

        • catfink

          I am not hypothesising non-natural causes.

          Huh? Of course you are. You wrote “while methodological naturalism can only investigate natural events it does not follow that the cause of those events must be natural.”

          At the same time we cannot claim the statement “all causes for natural events are themselves natural” is true

          Again, why not? If there were such a thing as a “non-natural cause,” how would it differ from a natural cause? I keep asking, and you keep ignoring the question.

        • epeeist

          Sigh, can you really not see the difference between making a positive claim about something and not ruling something out.

          Since you obviously don’t understand the logical approach let’s try a statistical one. Let’s posit two conflicting hypotheses, “Non-natural causes do not exist” and “Non-natural causes do exist”. I am not going to try and type the expression for the Bayesian for this since I am using a virtual keyboard. You can easily find it.

          Now let’s be naive and assume equal prior probabilities. Look at whatever events you like and decide whether they have a natural or non-natural cause. Calculate the posterior probabilities. Lather, rinse, repeat.

          What you will find is an overwhelming posterior probability in favour of the first hypothesis, which of course disconfirms the second. However does this probability ever reach the value of 1.0 exactly?

          And with that i am off to Rivendell.

        • Ignorant Amos

          And with that i am off to Rivendell.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5i1cJIwE7M

        • catfink

          Sigh, can you really not see the difference between making a positive claim about something and not ruling something out.

          If you’re “not ruling out” non-natural causes then your hypothesis is that natural events may have non-natural causes. So, for the umpteenth time I ask, in what way do your hypothesized non-natural causes differ from natural ones?

          Your continuing failure to answer this question suggests that you don’t have an answer, and that your hypothesis is therefore meaningless.

        • epeeist

          Tell you what, why don’t you try answering one of my questions for a change.

          In the scenario above does the probability of all causes being natural ever become exactly 1.0?

        • catfink

          I don’t think there’s any such thing as a “non-natural” cause of a natural event, so I guess my answer would be “yes.”

          For the umpteenth time, in what way do your hypothesized non-natural causes differ from natural ones?

        • Ignorant Amos

          In what way does a non-natural cause differ from natural ones?

          Let’s try a different tact.

          In what way does a deist cause differ from a natural one?

          No one knows. A non-natural cause or deist cause has never been demonstrated. They probably never will as far as us non-believers are concerned. But epeeist’s point is that philosophically, they haven’t, or maybe can’t, be ruled out apriori, not that he believes in “hypothetical” non-natural causes.

        • catfink

          In what way does a non-natural cause differ from natural ones?

          I don’t know why you’re asking me. The hypothesis that there’s such a thing as a non-natural cause was made by epeeist, not me.

          In what way does a deist cause differ from a natural one?

          I don’t know what the term “deist cause” is supposed to mean. Define it.

        • MNb

          He’s not asking you, silly. He’s asking himself.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The hypothesis that there’s such a thing as a non-natural cause was made by epeeist, not me.

          Nope. Epeeist, if I understand his position correctly, is suggesting that we have no way of ruling it out. That’s an entirely different proposition.

          I don’t know what the term “deist cause” is supposed to mean. Define it.

          God exists and created the universe. [The] theology in which God created the universe, set it in motion controlled by natural law and retired from the scene. The question then is, by what means did this creating happen?

          Tell me this, how was everything created?

        • catfink

          Nope.

          No, what I wrote is correct. The hypothesis really was made by epeeist, not me.

          Epeeist, if I understand his position correctly, is suggesting that we have no way of ruling it out.

          The concept “non-natural cause of a natural event” is meaningless. That’s why he can’t answer my question about what it means.

          God exists and created the universe …

          How does this “deist cause” differ from a natural cause?

        • Ignorant Amos

          You failed to answer the most important question…

          “Tell me this, how was everything created?”

          No, what I wrote is correct. The hypothesis really was made by epeeist, not me.

          Nope, it isn’t his hypothesis.

          How does this “deist cause” differ from a natural cause?

          I don’t know. I’m like you and don’t believe such a cause or causes exist either, nor does epeeist, but there is a difference between what I believe and what can be demonstrated to be the case.

          Every example we have of the cause of something being caused, involves methodological naturalism. That will likely very highly probably always be the case, but can it be asserted to a probability of 1.0? Nothing can, though the contrary might be that negligible that to all intents and purposes it might as well be 1.0.

          But as highly regarded philosopher Robert T. Pennock and scientist Stephen J.Gould put it….

          [A]s Pennock observes, as have others such as Stephen Jay Gould, science does not prohibit there being a supernatural realm of objects or properties. It is just that no science could empirically investigate that realm, since the ontology of science derives from theoretical elements required in explanation, and no non-empirical acausal objects appear in scientific theories. Science is both necessarily methodologically naturalistic, and necessarily agnostic about the existence of the non-empirical.

          Pennock’s wiki entry on naturalism.

          Robert T. Pennock contends that as supernatural agents and powers “are above and beyond the natural world and its agents and powers” and “are not constrained by natural laws”, only logical impossibilities constrain what a supernatural agent could not do. He states: “If we could apply natural knowledge to understand supernatural powers, then, by definition, they would not be supernatural”. As the supernatural is necessarily a mystery to us, it can provide no grounds on which to judge scientific models. “Experimentation requires observation and control of the variables…. But by definition we have no control over supernatural entities or forces.” Science does not deal with meanings; the closed system of scientific reasoning cannot be used to define itself. Allowing science to appeal to untestable supernatural powers would make the scientist’s task meaningless, undermine the discipline that allows science to make progress, and “would be as profoundly unsatisfying as the ancient Greek playwright’s reliance upon the deus ex machina to extract his hero from a difficult predicament.”
          Naturalism of this sort says nothing about the existence or nonexistence of the supernatural, which by this definition is beyond natural testing. As a practical consideration, the rejection of supernatural explanations would merely be pragmatic, thus it would nonetheless be possible, for an ontological supernaturalist to espouse and practice methodological naturalism. For example, scientists may believe in God while practicing methodological naturalism in their scientific work. This position does not preclude knowledge that is somehow connected to the supernatural. Generally however, anything that can be scientifically examined and explained would not be supernatural, simply by definition.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naturalism_(philosophy)#Robert_T._Pennock

          A lengthy paper, but informative nevertheless…

          Supernaturalist Explanations and the Prospects for a Theistic Science or “How do you know it was the lettuce?” by Robert T. Pennock

          https://msu.edu/~pennock5/research/papers/Pennock_SupNatExpl.html

        • catfink

          You failed to answer the most important question.

          I’m not interested in discussing that question in this conversation.

          Nope, it isn’t his hypothesis.

          Yes it is. He wrote “while methodological naturalism can only investigate natural events it does not follow that the cause of those events must be natural.” If the cause is not necessarily natural, then it may be non-natural. So his hypothesis is that there may be such a thing as a non-natural cause of a natural event. But he can’t explain what “non-natural cause” means. That’s why his hypothesis is meaningless.

          I don’t know [how a “deist cause” differs from a natural cause]

          Then why aren’t they the same thing?

        • epeeist

          Seriously? Do you have any knowledge of statistics at all? Let’s say I look at one million events, a billion events or a trillion events. How many events do I need to look at before the probability reaches exactly 1.0?

          If you read my posts with some understanding (which I see no evidence you have) you will see that I have offered three arguments against “non-natural” causes, a modal one, an inductive one and a statistical one. Now since you don’t appear to like my arguments then why don’t you present your argument as to why non-natural causes do not exist.

        • catfink

          The problem doesn’t have anything to do with statistics. The problem is that your concept of a non-natural cause of a natural event is simply incoherent.

          For the umpteenth time, in what way do your hypothesized non-natural causes differ from natural ones?

          It’s obvious that you have no answer to this question, hence your endless evasion.

        • epeeist

          It doesn’t? Let’s try some simple arithmetic. Start with my naive scenario and assume a 0.5 probability that non-natural causes exist. Observe an event and its cause. For the sake of argument assume that a natural cause reduces the probability of non-natural causes by 50% (it could be 10% or 90%, it doesn’t really matter). How many events must we observe before the probability of non-natural causes falls to exactly 0.0?

          Still waiting for your argument that demonstrates the non existence of non-natural causes by the way.

          EDIT: most of this post is edit, I hate virtual keyboards.

        • catfink

          It doesn’t?

          No, it doesn’t. As I said, the problem is that your concept of a non-natural cause of a natural event is simply incoherent.

          For the umpteenth time, in what way do your hypothesized non-natural causes differ from natural ones?

        • epeeist

          Your response seems to be missing a couple of things.

          Firstly, you don’t seem to have done the simple piece of arithmetic, why is that? I can only come up with three possibilities; you didn’t understand what I said; you are incapable of doing the calculation; or you are too embarrassed to admit that the probability never reaches zero.

          The second thing is to provide the proof that non-natural causes do not exist that I have been asking you for. This would be incredibly useful in that we could use the same proof to show that other things do not exist.

          Oh, make that three things that are missing. Could you please provide a reference to a post of mine where I claim that non-natural causes do exist.

        • catfink

          I can’t prove that your hypothesized “non-natural causes” don’t exist until you describe what “non-natural causes” means. You haven’t done that. For the umpteenth time, in what way do your hypothesized non-natural causes differ from natural ones?

        • epeeist

          So where have I claimed that non-natural causes do exist. You seem to have missed that out in your response.

        • catfink

          You claimed they may exist. If you can’t describe what “non-natural causes” means, the claim that they may exist is itself meaningless. For the umpteenth time, in what way do your hypothesized non-natural causes differ from natural ones?

        • epeeist

          Did I? Let’s have a reference please rather than just an assertion.

        • catfink

          How many times do we have to go over this? Yes, you did. As I’ve already explained to you. You wrote:

          While methodological naturalism can only investigate natural events it does not follow that the cause of those events must be natural.

          If the cause of natural events is not necessarily natural, then it may be non-natural. So your hypothesis is that there may be non-natural causes of natural events. What does “non-natural cause” mean? How does it differ from a natural cause?

          You don’t have an answer, of course. But you can’t bring yourself to admit that you’re talking nonsense. Hence your endless evasion.

        • epeeist

          So where in that sentence do I say that non-natural causes exist?

          All it says is that a natural event does not entail that it had a natural cause (I am using “entail” in the technical sense given in definition 1.1 of the Oxford dictionary).

        • catfink

          So where in that sentence do I say that non-natural causes exist?

          Good grief, how many freaking times do we have to go over this? I didn’t say that you said non-natural causes exist. I said that you said they MAY exist. That is the inescapable logical implication of your statement that “it does not follow that the cause of those events must be natural.”

        • epeeist

          Oh and just one more thing. The sun is shining here in New Zealand today.

          This makes another day that the sun has risen. Now given that the sun has risen each day for the last 4.5 billion years then this makes it certain that it will rise again tomorrow, right?

        • catfink

          No, of course not. And the relevance of this to your claim about “non-natural causes” is…..?

        • epeeist

          Well it’s been fun though you have constantly misrepresented my position.

          My background is in physics (with the addition of some philosophy of science and logic). I would claim I am a scientific realist and a methodological naturalist. I would also claim to have a tendency towards metaphysical naturalism.

          However I recognise that one cannot prove that metaphysical naturalism is true. As far as I am aware there is no logical demonstration that only the natural exists nor is there a converse proof to show the “non-natural” does not exist (while one can prove something does not exist in restricted domains, such as Andrew Wiles proof of Fermat’s last theorem, there is no proof in a more general domain).

          And as we have seen induction does not generate truth but only reasonable expectations based upon previous experiences. The same is true for statistical arguments, these generate probabilities not certainties.

          So while I tend towards metaphysical naturalism I am willing to admit that I may be wrong.

          Now if I read you correctly then you think that the non-natural does not exist, hence you are making an ontological commitment. As such you have the burden of proof to show your position is correct.

        • catfink

          I haven’t misrepresented anything. I quoted you verbatim. You don’t seem to understand the meaning of your own words.

        • TheNuszAbides

          the continuing failure was in fact yours, to actually respond to the painstaking explanation of why no ‘hypothesis that natural events may have non-natural causes’ was ever made in this thread. which makes your question far more meaningless (since your question was actually formulated, and the hypothesis you keep pretending was put forth by epeeist wasn’t).

        • catfink

          the painstaking explanation of why no ‘hypothesis that natural events may have non-natural causes’ was ever made in this thread.

          Apparently, your grasp of English is so poor you don’t even understand the meaning of the phrase “not ruling out.”

        • TheNuszAbides

          okay, keep leading yourself around in circles while everybody else understands what actually happened (and didn’t) in this thread. and my ‘grasp of English’ is doing just fine, nitwit.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Caveats, they love their caveats to fall back on…ya have to be aware of those comment rescuing caveats.

        • catfink

          You’re not just an ignorant fool. You’re an utterly confused ignorant fool.

        • TheNuszAbides

          epeeist explained to you the difference between hypothesizing something and not ruling it out to 100% certainty. you appear to be convinced that these things are synonymous. they aren’t. now fuck off with your egregious insults until you know better.

        • catfink

          If natural events with non-natural causes are “not ruled out,” then they may exist.

          You’re an ignorant, illiterate fool. Now fuck off.

        • Michael Neville

          It’s is possible that every proton in the universe will spontaneously decay into a pion, a muon and a scattering of neutrinos. However is it likely this will happen? In a similar way, it is possible that natural events can have non-natural causes. The likelihood of that is in the same order of magnitude as spontaneous universal proton decay.

        • catfink

          The problem isn’t that it’s unlikely, but that it’s meaningless. If you dispute this, tell us what you think it would mean for a natural event to have a non-natural cause. What’s the difference between a non-natural cause and a natural one?

        • Susan

          The problem isn’t that it’s unlikely, but that it’s meaningless.

          I understand your point.

          What’s the difference between a non-natural cause and a natural one?

          I wonder myself.

        • Pofarmer

          Exactly what are you trying to argue?

        • catfink

          I’m not sure what part of “the problem isn’t that it’s unlikely, but that it’s meaningless” you don’t understand.

        • Michael Neville

          I don’t understand what your initial argument was. You’ve retreated to “it’s meaningless” but that’s not what you said previously:

          If natural events with non-natural causes are “not ruled out,” then they may exist.

          That has nothing to do with non-natural events being meaningless. It doesn’t even hint at meaning or its lack.

        • catfink

          I don’t understand what your initial argument was.

          Then you need to read more carefully.

          You’ve retreated to “it’s meaningless”

          I didn’t “retreat” to that. I’ve always said that the claim that natural events have, or may have, non-natural causes is meaningless.

          but that’s not what you said previously: If natural events with non-natural causes are “not ruled out,” then they may exist.

          You’re confused again. The claim that natural events with non-natural causes are “not ruled out” is not mine. It’s the claim I am rebutting.

        • Michael Neville

          I did read your post carefully. You said zip point shit about meaninglessness until your reply to my post about probability.. That tells me that you pulled meaninglessness straight out of thin air. Either that or you’re such a poor writer that you obfuscate your conception unintentionally.

        • catfink

          I did read your post carefully. You said zip point shit about meaninglessness until your reply to my post about probability.

          No, I said it was meaningless from the start. You obviously didn’t bother reading that, hence your utterly irrelevant claim about probability. You blundered into the middle of a debate without even bothering to read what had been written previously, and your response was predictably stupid.

        • Michael Neville

          You didn’t mention meaninglessness once in your original post. You only brought it up when I talked about probability. I may be stupid but I’m not a liar, unlike you.

        • catfink

          You didn’t mention meaninglessness once in your original post.

          Yes I did. You just didn’t bother to read it.

          I may be stupid but I’m not a liar, unlike you.

          You’re both stupid and a liar.

        • Michael Neville

          Whereas you’re just a liar. But it is obviously important to you to promote your lie so you can have the last word. I won’t reply to your lying ass because you’re not only a liar but you’re a boring liar.

        • catfink

          No, you’re a liar. And a stupid one, too.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s the claim I am rebutting.

          Piss poorly.

        • catfink

          You are hopelessly confused.

        • epeeist

          It’s the claim I am rebutting.

          An assertion is not a rebuttal.

        • catfink

          If you still think the assertion is false, tell us what “non-natural cause of natural event” is supposed to mean.

        • epeeist

          tell us what “non-natural cause of natural event” is supposed to mean.

          We have been through this before. I have no idea what such a thing would look like and I also think the probability of ever seeing one is vanishingly small. Does that mean I am prepared to rule out “non-natural” causes a priori? No, because I cannot be certain that such things do not exist.

          But you of course have yet to provide anything that looks like a reasoned argument as to why “non-natural cause of natural event” is meaningless.

        • Michael Neville

          After reading catfink’s reply to me I have no idea what the argument is supposed to be.

        • Pofarmer

          I thought maybe it was just me.

        • Susan

          Exactly what are you trying to argue?

          I think catfink’s point is that “supernatural” is meaningless and in that sense isn’t similar to MN’s scenario.

          I agree. The problem is that there’s no clear line of demarcation between natural and supernatural/

          “Natural” means something, supernatural not so much.

          I welcome catfink to correct me if I’m wrong.

        • epeeist

          You’re an ignorant, illiterate fool. Now fuck off.

          Seems to be your modus operandi.

          Essentially you are making a claim for metaphysical naturalism. Fine, go for it. It is however an ontological commitment and you therefore need to demonstrate your position is true if challenged.

          P.S. wining about it being meaningless doesn’t count as a demonstration.

        • catfink

          Seems to be your modus operandi.

          No, it’s “TheNuzAbides”‘s modus operandi. I was just responding in kind.

          Essentially you are making a claim for metaphysical naturalism.

          No, I’m pointing out that the idea of natural events with non-natural causes is meaningless. If you still dispute this, tell us what you think it means. What’s the difference between a “non-natural” cause of a natural event, and a natural cause of a natural event?

        • MNb

          “I was just responding in kind.”
          Ah, toddler level. “He was first!” “No, she was!”

        • catfink

          I’ve seen you engage in this kind of tit-for-tat on numerous occasions with commenters who have insulted you, you hypocrite.

        • Michael Neville

          Are you done feeling superior to everyone or do you want to whine some more? Your whining is even less interesting than your blotched argument for meaninglessness or whatever the fuck you’re trying to argue.

        • catfink

          Are you done trying to distract attention from the fact that you cannot explain what his nonsensical claim is even supposed to mean?

        • Michael Neville

          So you admit your claim is nonsensical. Thanks for that little bit of honesty. Keep it up, try to make it a habit.

        • catfink

          No, I’m pointing out that his claim is nonsensical. That’s why you can’t explain what it means. You are utterly confused.

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          In fact you’re too generous. I’ve behaved far worse than you. The difference is that I never defend myself with “No, I was just responding in kind” but openly admit it’s “my opus operandi.” It totally is.
          So who’s the hypocrite again?

        • MNb: This is totally off topic, but that’s OK, because this is great. This is a great parody of Donald Trump. No kidding—really great. You’re gonna love it, and I know, because I love it. It must be from the Saturday Night Live of the Netherlands. They’re great.

          Enjoy bigly.

          http://mashable.com/2017/01/24/netherlands-trump-viral-video/#UMsdLt7CDaq9

        • Michael Neville

          That was the best video. It’s great! That’s true.

        • WayneMan

          OMG, that was hilarious.

        • Pofarmer

          That was pretty good.

        • MNb

          I’ve already seen it on PZ Myers’ blog. I watched it the second time and yes, it’s a great example of Dutch humour. And indeed, Broadcasting Company VPRO has a long tradition for humour like this like SNL. More than 35 years ago:

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

          The first broadcast of this fake party had lines like
          “There was a time The Netherlands were great thanks to the free guys – big and small entrepreneurs who never felt too good to work their asses of 48 hours a day.”
          This spoken in a low class The Hague dialect.
          It’s scary how relevant they are today.

        • catfink

          SInce you concede that you yourself behave like a toddler (or, rather, “far worse”) I’m not sure why you think I or anyone else should care that you think I do.

          As for the hypocrisy, your response to me was clearly meant as a criticism. Behaving in the same way that you criticize in others is hypocrisy. You’re a hypocrite.

        • MNb

          I don’t think that. It’s up to you whether you care or not.
          Nope, I didn’t mean it as criticism. That’s just your prejudiced interpretation, coming from a strong need to deny all blame. In a reply to Nusz I complimented you for pissing him off. Nobody has managed that before.
          What I criticize you for is not taking responsibility for your behaviour. You still don’t. Lame. I always do.
          So who is the hypocrite again?

        • TheNuszAbides

          and … what obligates anyone to tell you what that might look like? repeating yourself doesn’t in any way address, let alone defeat, how the issue was put to you in Bayesian terms. we’re all still quite comfortable with the position that the mere notion of non-natural causes is absurdly unlikely from the standpoint of naturalism. but you seem obsessed with spewing redundant charges of ‘failure’ and illiteracy. good luck getting over yourself.

        • catfink

          and … what obligates anyone to tell you what that might look like?

          I’m not asking you to tell me what it “looks like.” I’m asking you to explain what you think it MEANS for a natural event to have a “non-natural” cause. In what way is it different from a natural event that has a natural cause? Do you have an answer, or are you just going to keep evading the question?

        • TheNuszAbides

          thank you for dialing back the insulting tone. not to be deliberately dull, but from naturalism (which i’m fairly sure everyone on this thread shares as a coherent perspective), i don’t think there’s any way to articulate/delineate anything ‘supernatural’. (which i assumed was probably your point in asking the question and ignoring all explanations as to why nobody was interested in answering it.) i don’t mean to belabor all of this as an ‘out’ or to give gift-wrapped half-baked quasi-concepts to mushy-headed theists or other woo-aficionados; i was just trying to affirm the distinction between [1] asserting/suggesting the existence of {x}, and [2] the epistemic ‘humility’ (for lack of a better word off-hand) of refusing to declare even the most manifestly improbable thing impossible (because there is generally no such thing as Having All The Evidence).

          in another thread (a few CE posts later than this one; can’t remember offhand but i was responding to Michael) i started wondering whether any science fiction has taken a stab at postulating a force/’realm’ that somehow stands apart from or outside or in some other contrast to naturalism. a couple of [pseudo-hypothetical] ‘leads’ (platforms from which to take imaginative leaps/stabs) were

          (a) the notion of how an object of study – in this case something like an elusive causal factor – may be indefinitely unmeasurable, that is, we generally can’t know in advance when something will, or even is likely to be, discovered (for example, the order/disorder in which the Periodic Table of the Elements was ‘filled in’, at least before labs started using bombardment to generate the ‘artificial’ elements). for instance, it’s my understanding that time travel is speculatively possible but we cannot harness power on the scale that [as far as we know] would be required, added to which we have no way for an observer to survive the process. we can’t Know It’s 100% Impossible and we will perhaps never survive as a species long enough to make any such breakthrough. (i realize that this doesn’t establish anything non-natural–there could still be the underlying fact of the possibility of time travel–but i suspect this is the sort of ‘grey area’ where non-skeptics or poorly-trained skeptics will get a lot of ‘derail-mileage’.

          (b) from the recognition that various animals have more sophisticated sensory resolution than humans, and played off via the question–let’s call it an immersive VR conundrum: how would [x] look/sound/etc. to a human with a dog’s nose, bat’s ears, fish eyes, or what-have you. just one more of those philosophical/sci-fi snacks that is increasing in significance the more we develop genetic modification technology …

          a further riff on (b) is something i’ve briefly wondered about, relating to the search for (or speculation regarding, or etc.) extra-terrestrial intelligence. what basic assumptions are we actually justified in making as far as what forms this intelligence or its expression–e.g. maths, recordkeeping and other communications. i’m also recalling a fictional race of ‘space aliens’ whose form of intelligence was explained as constitutionally excluding the intuitive leaps of which humans are capable. “what would it be like to think like the _____?”

          ultimately, i imagine any potential discoveries in this vein would not ‘reveal supernature’ so much as [again, wild speculation] clarify phenomena that have until now been lumped into the ‘paranormal’ category. sort of like how Thomists will pore over Aquinas and say “see, his divinely-guided insight could tell in the 13th century that scripture was saying Deep Stuff about genetics!” … except this would be making post hoc ‘just-so’ interpretations obsolete, rather than desperately relying on them in a bid for Nostradamus-style wannabe-relevance.

          i think all we really came away with is that even the idea of labeling anything ‘supernatural’ is at best premature. which is of course nothing new in these parts.

        • MNb

          Yeah, that was the funniest part of the fight – you guys basically agree.
          However kudos to Catfink for pissing you off; quite an achievement.
          Now if you two practice a little more and insert some more creativity and imagination in your insults the show will become very good! I still enjoyed it.

        • TheNuszAbides

          when i’m actually annoyed (which i was) i don’t even enjoy my own choice of expletives. a good reminder to lighten up.

        • MNb

          Very sensible and too bad for nasty me.

        • catfink

          If there’s an answer to my question in that verbiage, I cannot find it. It really is a simple question: What’s the difference between a “non-natural” cause of a natural event, and a natural cause? If you cannot explain this supposed difference, then, again, the phrase “non-natural cause of natural event” is MEANINGLESS.

        • TheNuszAbides

          agreed (as everybody else in the thread already pointed out). it’s pure speculation over something fundamentally incoherent on the perspective we share. it’s just more of an effort than the theists (that i’ve seen) ever make, because they are never quite as determined to make sense of their fantasies.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Am trying.

        • epeeist

          Certainly our friend is. Not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

      • Herald Newman

        Fundamentally, if we ever can investigate the supposed supernatural, does that not make the supernatural just another part of nature? If not, what differentiates “supernatural” from “natural”?

        • MNb

          I have no idea and also think it’s not my problem.

        • Herald Newman

          My point was that the way the supernatural has been defined it cannot be investigated. We can only investigate nature. If we start being able to investigate the “supernatural”, I would say that it merely makes the supernatural another part of nature, and the supernatural disappears.

          By the above, we can never justify any supernatural claim.

        • Greg G.

          If we start being able to investigate the “supernatural”,

          … they would redefine the supernatural so as to be uninvestigatable.

        • Herald Newman

          Touché

        • MNb

          Your point is incomplete.

          “My point was that the way the supernatural has been defined it cannot be investigated”
          using induction based on empirical data.
          However it can be investigated using deduction based on some assumptions. That has been done at least since Plato. The problem is that those assumptions cannot be checked because thus far we have nothing but deduction and induction and already have ruled out the latter.
          But who are we to say that deduction and induction are our only two options? Perhaps some smart apologist develops a third one. But like I wrote, that’s not my problem.

        • Greg G.

          The supernatural is contrived to be impervious to natural investigation to protect the beliefs from investigation.

        • gusbovona

          Exactly. There’s nothing in the definition of “natural” and “supernatural” that has any effect or means anything in regards to examining the world we live in. It’s a false distinction with regard to how we determine whether something is true or not.

    • Jason K.

      With the former you are claiming that only the natural exists. This is an ontological commitment and you therefore have the burden to show this is so.

      What determines whether that burden has been met? Is it enough to prove the natural does exist and then simply stop there, assuming no more? It is enough to conclude that naturalism is the best fit for the current evidence, subject to change or revision should new evidence present itself? Or must one take on the impossible task or proving the supernatural doesn’t exist?

      • epeeist

        I think you can take a Bayesian approach. If one has a number of possible explanations then evidence which increases the credence of one lowers the credence of the others.

        And yes, just like everything else this is still an inference to the best explanation. As such it is both contingent and corrigible.

      • MNb

        “It is enough to conclude that naturalism is the best fit for the current evidence, subject to change or revision should new evidence present itself?”
        Given the scientific method I’d say not only that this is enough, but that naturalists necessarily can’t go any further. It’s essential for methodological naturalism that theories are subject to such change and revision. So if we want to make the small step to metaphysical naturalism and we want to be consistent (also essential for methodological naturalism) we can’t suddenly raise the bar.

    • espressionant

      I consider myself a metaphysical naturalist. Yet I don’t claim that only the natural exists but that only the natural is relevant. And all the evidence points in this direction. The famous invisible tea pot and the Flying Spaghetti Monster might exist, but why care?

      We know very well, that our perception of reality is false and we can at best only approximate what is really going on. Meanwhile Quantum Mechanics is constantly showing us the middle finger. Reality might not exist at all! Yet naturalism (note, not nature) is not only delivering you this message but completely shapes your life. It obediently even delivers any “holy” book you like.

      The issue with theism is not it being false (it totally is, don’t get me wrong) but it being superfluous. Even the most fervent believers prefer an AK47 over their god thingy’s power…

      • Herald Newman

        > Even the most fervent believers prefer an AK47 over their god thingy’s power…

        Don’t be so sure about that!

        I remember a few years ago talking to somebody who had trained some of the local militia in Afghanistan, most of whom had come in from the countryside with their own rifles which were from the time of the war with the Russians, and many rifles did not function, or had no bullets.

        When it came time to do target practice some of the men who had non-functioning weapons would point, and “shoot”, then claim to hit the target because “Allah wills it”. Others, with working weapons, would barely aim, and mostly miss the target, again believing that aiming was unneeded, because “If it is Allah’s will, the bullet will hit the mark.”

        Never underestimate the power of some people to believe that their God will bend reality for them.

        • MR

          Interesting story!

          I was in Egypt recently and was somewhat taken aback by that Inshallah mentality. I mean, I knew about it to some degree, but being there I was really struck by how this attitude hamstrings their thinking. If you do something that results in something bad happening, oh, well. “Inshallah.” God willed it so. You kind of absolve yourself of responsibility. If you desire something, “Inshallah.” It will happen if God wants it, but you give yourself almost no incentive to actually try to do something to achieve your goal. It will happen if it happens.

          Life is one big shrug.

        • T-Paine

          Perhaps to many Muslims it’s an automatic cultural idiom in situations like that. Sort of like in Western/Christian countries we say “God knows”, “only God knows”, “God willing”, “thank God”, “thank heavens” “thank the Lord” etc etc.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Or “Good-bye” [God be with ye]….I don’t really mean that at all when departing, though I say it all the time.

          Though in HN’s anecdote about the Afghan’s and the broken weapons, that level of woo-woo certainly raised my eyebrow a wee bit.

        • Michael Neville

          Mine too. Especially since the Afghans are a particularly warlike group who take pride in being warriors. It wasn’t pointing sticks at T-62s and shouting “BANG!” that forced the Soviet army to leave Afghanistan in 1989.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I remember in lesson’s on Soviet mines, being told how the Afghan’s would take the munitions and use them against their owners.

          Particularly impressive was the utilisation of the soviet butterfly mine as a grenade. It was cleared by gingerly picking it up by the “wing” and flinging it against a rock surface, it can’t be defused or disarmed, but on the odd occasion, it was flung at Soviet soldiers….allegedly.

          http://www.robertgalbraith.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/SovietButterflyMines-Afghanistan.jpg

          This aerial deployed surface laid mine was a particularly nasty bit of kit because kids picked it up due to its toy like appearance.

          https://www.buymilsurp.com/russian-soviet-landmine-pfm1-toe-popper-45-across-p-5094.html

        • MR

          I don’t want to overstate, but it went a little beyond that. I’d have these conversations where you’re discussing a social, political or even personal problem, and my comments would run along the lines of, “Well, why don’t you do something about it?” or, “Why don’t you change it?” And you’d get this shrug of, “If that’s the way God wants it, who am I to change it.” It was kind of disconcerting. How do you expect things to improve if you don’t take some kind of charge or responsibility? Inshallah.

        • Machintelligence

          It sounds like they need a healthy dose of the “God helps those who help themselves” meme.

        • MR

          Yes, it’s like that’s one of Christianity’s answer to Divine Hiddeness. “Shit, this isn’t working, we have to come up with an explanation!”

        • MR

          Yes, it’s like that’s one of Christianity’s answer to Divine Hiddeness. “Shit, this isn’t working, we have to come up with some kind of an explanation!”

        • Pofarmer

          In some fucked up way that’s at least consistent.

        • MR

          I agree. And it sheds an interesting light on how Christianity has evolved to counter that I’m-not-responsible mentality. “God helps those who help themselves” might just as well be in the Bible as far as Christians are concerned, at least, American Christians.

        • Without Malice

          When I was a kid “God helps those who help themselves” was the most quoted biblical passage I ever heard. Took me decades to find out it wasn’t in the bible but came from one of Aesop’s fables.

        • Myna

          Indeed!

          A Waggoner was once driving a heavy load along a very muddy way. At last he came to a part of the road where the wheels sank half-way into the mire, and the more the horses pulled, the deeper sank the wheels. So the Waggoner threw down his whip, and knelt down and prayed to Hercules the Strong.

          “O Hercules, help me in this my hour of distress,” quoth he.

          But Hercules appeared to him, and said:

          “Tut, man, don’t sprawl there. Get up and put your shoulder to the wheel.”

          Moral of Aesop’s Fable: The gods help them that help themselves

        • TheNuszAbides

          yup, very bootstrappy.

        • MR

          One other thing I noted, this Inshallah thing could also be used as a bullshit tactic. “I’d really like to do something about this, but, you know, inshallah.” Read: I have no intention of doing a damn thing.

  • Herald Newman

    > The theist must look at the hundred billion galaxies in the universe, each with a
    > hundred billion stars

    I recall seeing an article recently that put the number of galaxies in the Universe to about 10x previous predictions, and we simply can’t see them because our telescopes aren’t strong enough.

    http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2016/10/two-trillion-the-new-hubble-estimate-of-the-number-of-galaxies-in-the-universe.html

    • Good point. I sometimes forget “visible universe” vs. “universe.”

  • Michael Neville

    Greta Christina often points out that natural explanations for worldly phenomena have superseded supernatural explanations innumerable times but a supernatural explanation has never, even once, replaced a natural explanation.

    • Herald Newman

      Until we have some mechanism to investigate the supernatural, this will always be true. The supernatural, like God, is completely hidden to us, almost to the point of appearing non-existent.

      What’s even worse is that if we do find a way to examine the “supernatural”, doesn’t that just make it an extension of the natural?

      • Kevin K

        Not necessarily; but if the supernatural something interacts at all with the natural, then it’s amenable to discernment.

        Which makes “the soul” and “prayers” things that are amenable to scientific exploration/debunking.

        • Pofarmer

          That’s really the thing. We deal with the effects of non-observable phenomena all the time. That’s how infra-red radiation was discovered. Ie, we learn about a non-observable force by noting it’s consequences. Even if we couldn’t directly test the supernatural, we could certainly say that “X is happening and we have no explanation for it.” We simply don’t see that-ever.

        • Adam King

          Before you can investigate any phenomenon, you have to show that it’s not imaginary or fictitious. “Supernatural” phenomena never turn out to be distinguishable from imaginary ones.

  • espressionant

    To the watch analogy. I’d like to point out, that even a human driven design process has many evolutionary (aka “survival of the fittest”) steps in it. A contemporary watch is the end result of many thousand years of time keeping development.

    • Ignorant Amos

      Though people still utilize many of the archaic means of time keeping, mostly for posterity, like a sundial as a garden ornament or something twee to cook eggs by, like a small hour glass. We just love obsolete old stuff for some reason.

      No rational human being walks around with a sundial or candle on there wrist as a means to keep time, yet millions think it just fine to walk around in a perpetual state of ignorance, holding onto the moral compass of a monstrous and vile character in a three thousand year old story. Go figure.

      • TheNuszAbides

        and they get away with propagating such poppycock precisely because there is no such Perfection guiding its Chosen Lambz and/or rewarding any search for Truth, Goodness, etc.

    • Kevin K

      I visited the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England a couple of months ago, and they have a fascinating exhibit on exactly that subject as it relates to designing a timepiece that could keep accurate time on a ship (and therefore solve the longitude problem in navigation).

  • Doubting Thomas

    Number of supernatural explanations that have been proposed = Lots.
    Number of supernatural explanations that have been demonstrated to be correct = Zero.

    What more do we need?

    • Ignorant Amos

      The theist has to hold on to the belief that someday a god will actually fill one of the gaps.

      Clutching at straws springs to mind.

    • Mark Sibley

      If innuendo is all we need, then “nothing”.

      • Doubting Thomas

        I don’t think innuendo is required at all, which is why I gave facts instead. It’s a subtle, yet glaringly obvious difference.

        • Mark Sibley

          If I stated that the Moon orbits around the Earth, that would be a (more) factual statement, but also irrelevant to the topic. You implied something that your statement does not support.

        • Doubting Thomas

          Having no supernatural explanations being shown to be correct is irrelevant in a debate between theism and naturalism?

          I swear Sibs, it’s like you view the entirety of the internet as your own personal stage where you want to demonstrate to everyone just how ridiculously irrational you are.

        • Mark Sibley

          Someone pointed out earlier that the naturalist demand is the the supernatural be proven within the naturalist construct.

          And that is “rational”.

          All you were doing was pointing out that you agree with yourself – no exactly a tough hill to climb, there.

        • Doubting Thomas

          Well maybe you should respond to that person making that claim. The reply button under my comments should be reserved for when you want to respond me.

          And I wasn’t “agreeing with myself.” I was pointing out that your comment was wrong. Another subtle yet glaringly obvious difference.

  • Kevin K

    The original Superman comics had him only being able to “leap tall buildings”…not fly. The ability to overcome gravity without a power source came later.

    • MR

      Get out. I want a source.

      Why do you hate Supermanity?

      • busterggi
        • MR

          This is crazy. You’re saying that the things I’ve been taught about Superman aren’t supported by the actual texts? That they’re just stories that evolved over time? Phht. Next you’ll be telling me Superman never even existed.

        • Greg G.

          Superman is a myth based on Greek tales of Hercules with some of the powers of Hermes added and updated with 20th century Judeo-Christian ethics.

          Edit: Kryptonite is his “Achilles heel”.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Also, Samson, Moses (the authors were Jewish, and Ohioans- WHOO!), and circus strong men.

        • Kuno

          Except when he had “electrical” powers. 😉

        • Greg G.

          …and updated with 20th century Judeo-Christian ethics and Tesla.

  • candide

    The world of sensory perception is the only world. The rest is nonsense.

  • Ficino

    In a reply below, Greg G. said the following. I re-post it here in hope that it won’t be as easily buried as if it hides in a reply box:

    “The supernatural is contrived to be impervious to natural investigation to protect the beliefs from investigation.”

    Upvote. I see this all over.

    I will welcome any further discussion of the claims that some apologists make, that
    1 naturalism is self-refuting
    2 it is a category mistake to ask for evidence about the God of theism
    3 metaphysics supplies necessary assumptions to science, not the other way round
    4 unless something exists necessarily, nothing can exist
    5 by reason, we can demonstrate that there must exist just one first mover/cause that must also be, not have, its own essence
    6 that if you call the above a word salad or ask for evidence for it, you fail to understand metaphysics

    • Greg G.

      4 unless something exists necessarily, nothing can exist

      According to Heisenberg, something could exist and not exist until it is observed, or something like that.

      • Ficino

        Cool. Event ontology?

        The “metaphysics first” boys, however, will say that your reply is an apples-oranges confusion.

        • Herald Newman

          When somebody can provide an actual demonstration that metaphysical claims are true, and comes up with reliable answers to real world problems, I’ll start trusting metaphysics.

          As it stands metaphysics makes a whole pile of claims, many contradictory one another, and I have no way to discern which ones are actually true. If I can’t figure out if the claims of a field are true, the field is useless.

  • RichardSRussell

    At best, apologists can say, “Well, science hasn’t answered this question,” unconcerned that Christianity hasn’t answered any question.

    Actually, Christianity has been around for ~2000 years now, way long enuf to have come up with answers to all the questions that have ever been asked of it. Some of those answers are even right, but that’s not the way to bet.

    This is of little import to the TBs, who aren’t interested in truth per se, only in the assurance of truth, from some authority figure who can soothe their existential angst. Familiar, comforting, and wrong works for them.

    • TheNuszAbides

      they tend to do such a bang-up job of insulating each other from any plainly observable consequences of being wrong, i think it qualifies as Not Even Wrong.

  • RichardSRussell

    Quite irrelevant to Bob’s most recent essay, but an observation which may amuse some of you anyway, is the blurb that appeared (apparently courtesy of Patheos) at the top of the e-mail I got announcing that this essay had been posted. It reads:

    President Hillary and the End of America’s Empire
    Even if Hillary wins in November, this one event will completely doom her presidency even before it gets started. Click here to see what it is.

    I suspect the hand of Harold Camping.

  • See Noevo

    Put simply, Naturalism holds that
    – Something comes from nothing (i.e. the Big Bang),
    – Various laws of nature have no law maker (i.e. the four fundamental forces; universal constants),
    – An unseen, unknown, un-understood something causes an alleged accelerating expansion of the universe (i.e. Dark Energy),
    – An unseen, unknown, un-understood something else is used to try to explain why the universe holds together (i.e. Dark Matter),
    – Life comes from non-life (i.e. abiogenesis),
    – A random, non-rational process produces design and rationality (i.e. evolution),

    and Theism does not.

    • Herald Newman

      Theism also doesn’t assert that elves are the reason that my underwear has a hole in, but then again, theism is only the proposition that a deity of some form exists, and that’s it. Try harder!

    • Susan

      Naturalism holds that… something comes from nothing.

      No. It doesn’t.

      Various laws of nature have no law maker

      The “laws” of nature that you allude to are descriptive, not prescriptive. There is no evidence of a “lawmaker”. No assertion necessary.

      … an alleged accelerating expansion of the universe…

      The evidence points to an expanding universe. No one knows why yet.

      Life comes from non-life.

      What is “life”?

      A random, non-rational process produces design and rationality

      How so?

      Theism does not.

      Theism claims an agent exists and it can’t support that claim.

    • Michael Neville

      An unseen, unknown, un-understood something causes an alleged accelerating expansion of the universe (i.e. Dark Energy),
      – An unseen, unknown, un-understood something else is used to try to explain why the universe holds together (i.e. Dark Matter),

      While both Dark Energy and Dark Matter are matters of conjecture, no cosmologist doubts the existence of these things. There’s nothing alleged about the accelerating expansion of the universe, it’s an observed phenomenon. The NASA Science website’s article on dark energy and dark matter says:

      One explanation for dark energy is that it is a property of space. Albert Einstein was the first person to realize that empty space is not nothing. Space has amazing properties, many of which are just beginning to be understood. The first property that Einstein discovered is that it is possible for more space to come into existence. Then one version of Einstein’s gravity theory, the version that contains a cosmological constant, makes a second prediction: “empty space” can possess its own energy. Because this energy is a property of space itself, it would not be diluted as space expands. As more space comes into existence, more of this energy-of-space would appear. As a result, this form of energy would cause the universe to expand faster and faster.

      If you’re going to complain about dark energy and dark matter, at least read an article or two so you won’t use weasel words like “alleged” when nothing has been alleged.

      • See Noevo

        “While both Dark Energy and Dark Matter are matters of conjecture, no cosmologist doubts the existence of these things.”

        That is one memorable line.
        Thanks for providing the best laugh of the day.
        ………………..

        “If you’re going to complain about dark energy and dark matter, at least read an article or two so you won’t use weasel words like “alleged” when nothing has been alleged.”

        I’ve read more than an article or two about the matter. Here’s a recent one:

        “… a team of scientists led by Professor Subir Sarkar of Oxford University’s Department of Physics has cast doubt on this standard cosmological concept. Making use of a vastly increased data set – a catalogue of 740 Type Ia supernovae, more than ten times the original sample size – the researchers have found that the evidence for acceleration may be flimsier than previously thought, with the data being consistent with a constant rate of expansion.”
        http://phys.org/news/2016-10-universe-rateor.html

        • Michael Neville

          You must be easily amused if you laugh when scientists question data. That’s how science works. Nothing is final in science, everything is tentative. Which is unlike religion, where everything is absolute, no doubt is allowed, and nothing can be questioned or else gawd has a hissy-fit.

        • See Noevo

          “You must be easily amused if you laugh when scientists
          question data. That’s how science works. Nothing is final in science,
          everything is tentative.”

          It’s a matter of conjecture on exactly how easily amused I am.
          But I have no doubt that saying ‘a cosmologist has no doubt of the
          existence of the very things which are matters of conjecture’ is amusing.

    • Machintelligence

      Evolution is not a random, non-rational process. It is an algorithm which produces results which are predictable but it has no direction or goals. It produces design without a designer.

      • See Noevo

        “Evolution is not a random, non-rational process. It is an algorithm which produces results which are predictable but it has no direction or goals. It produces design without a designer.”

        Update:
        Minutes ago I told Michael Neville nearby that he provided me my biggest laugh of the day. You have now surpassed the humor of Neville’s line.

        • Susan

          Minutes ago I told Michael Neville nearby that he provided me my biggest laugh of the day. You have now surpassed the humor of Neville’s line.

          Your amusement is not interesting to anyone but yourself.

          You showed up here with a long list of strawmen provided to you by apologetics. (I’m gussing catholic apologetics but it’s just a guess.)

          And now, you’ve cherry picked a single study that in no way undermines the reliability of the scientific method but rather, shows its benefits.

          Then, you proclaim your amusement when Machinintelligence explains the mechanism of evolution. . (shrug)

          What are you claiming and how do you support it?

        • See Noevo

          “Your amusement is not interesting to anyone but yourself.”

          Obviously not true. It was interesting enough to you to compel
          you to post your response.
          …………
          “You showed up here with a long list of strawmen provided to
          you by apologetics. (I’m gussing catholic apologetics but it’s just a guess.)”

          You “gussed” wrong.
          ………….
          “And now, you’ve cherry picked a single study that in no way
          undermines the reliability of the scientific method but rather, shows its benefits.”

          Oh, there are many other “cherries” to pick from, as I said
          earlier. Here’s another: https://uanews.arizona.edu/story/accelerating-universe-not-as-fast

          BTW, I have no problem with science or the scientific
          method.
          I have a problem with “junk science” and with naturalism and
          atheistic philosophy posing as science. These transgressions are seen most clearly in “evolutionary science” (cosmological and biological).

        • Michael Neville

          I have no problem with science or the scientific
          method.

          Oh really? Why do you question evolution, one of the most strongly evidenced theories in science? I think you don’t understand either science or the scientific method.

          But what you’re really whining about is how naturalism doesn’t support your goddism. You don’t like science because it has no use for gods or the supernatural, which makes you annoyed. You’d much prefer if naturalism was replaced with GODDIDIT. Of course the problem with GODDIDIT is since it can explain everything it explains nothing. Scientists prefer to go where the evidence points since that does explain the real world.

        • See Noevo

          “Why do you question evolution, one of the most strongly evidenced theories in science? I think you don’t understand either
          science or the scientific method.”

          Primarily for the same reasons I DON’T question gravity.
          ……………..
          “But what you’re really whining about is how naturalism
          doesn’t support your goddism.”

          I’m not whining. I’m laughing.

          Evuh budda gots a god. Yous god is “naturalism.” Amen!
          But where’s da natcha come from? Neva mine. Ha ha!
          …………..
          “You don’t like science because it has no use for gods or
          the supernatural, which makes you annoyed.”

          No. I like science, and it doesn’t make me annoyed at all.
          …………….
          “You’d much prefer if naturalism was replaced with GODDIDIT.”

          Naturalism is like… like… DARKMATTERDIDIT.
          Boo!
          Ha ha!

        • Michael Neville

          “Why do you question evolution, one of the most strongly evidenced theories in science? I think you don’t understand either
          science or the scientific method.”

          Primarily for the same reasons I DON’T question gravity.

          That’s an evasion, not a response. I ask again, why do you question evolution? Give us (here’s the word you evolution deniers hate) evidence to support your “questioning”. Or admit that you’re questioning evolution because it contradicts that compilation of myths, fables and lies you call the Bible.

          “But what you’re really whining about is how naturalism
          doesn’t support your goddism.”

          I’m not whining. I’m laughing.

          No, godbot, you’re whining.

          Evuh budda gots a god. Yous god is “naturalism.” Amen!
          But where’s da natcha come from? Neva mine. Ha ha!

          Just because you have a god doesn’t mean I do. I don’t worship naturalism, I accept it because it makes sense. Since you reject reality you don’t need sense being made.

          BTW, don’t try to be snarky. You’re not very good at it. Comments like “Neva mine” just make you look like an idiot.

          I like science, and it doesn’t make me annoyed at all.

          Since science is based on naturalism and you’re annoyed about naturalism then you’re annoyed at science. But everyone lies to themselves, “liking science” is just one of your self-lies.

          “You’d much prefer if naturalism was replaced with GODDIDIT.”

          Naturalism is like… like… DARKMATTERDIDIT.

          I don’t say DARKMATTERDIDIT. I just reject GODDIDIT because it doesn’t explain anything.

        • See Noevo

          “I ask again, why do you question evolution?”

          Because, as I said to Zeta nearby, “I actually believed in
          evolution, for about 30 years, from my teens until my forties. Then, for some reason, about a dozen or more years ago I began actually reading the literature from the biological evolutionary science community. Long story short, I no longer believe in evolution.”
          ………….
          “Give us (here’s the word you evolution deniers hate)
          evidence to support your “questioning”.”

          That would take too long and wouldn’t fit well in this format.
          But maybe we could at least deal with your ONE, favorite,
          most-compelling piece of evidence for evolution?
          And be very specific.
          ……………
          “Or admit that you’re questioning evolution because it
          contradicts that compilation of myths, fables and lies you call the Bible.”

          How about we keep the Bible and religion out of this, and
          just deal with the science?
          …………….
          “I don’t worship naturalism, I accept it because it makes
          sense… Since science is based on naturalism and you’re annoyed about naturalism then you’re annoyed at science.”

          Then, you at least admit that your science is based on
          philosophy, for naturalism is a philosophical position.

          We’ll just have to disagree on whether the philosophy of naturalism makes any sense.

        • gusbovona

          See Noevo wrote: “Then, you at least admit that your science is based on philosophy, for naturalism is a philosophical position.”

          There is a distinction between philosophical naturalism and methodological naturalism.

        • Michael Neville

          I doubt See Noevo is aware of the difference.

          Philosophical naturalists assert that natural laws and forces govern the structure and behavior of the natural universe. Methodological naturalism holds that science is to be done without reference to supernatural causes. A corollary is the assumption that observable events are fully explainable by natural causes without reference to the supernatural.

          Incidentally, there’s also metaphysical naturalism, which claims that the universe consists only of objects studied by the natural sciences and does not include any immaterial or intentional realities.

        • See Noevo

          Me: “Then, you at least admit that your science is based on philosophy,
          for naturalism is a philosophical position.”

          You: “There is a distinction between philosophical naturalism and
          methodological naturalism.”

          Yes, there is. But it’s a distinction without a substantive difference.
          BTW, did you also direct your statement to the author of the above article?
          I don’t think he bothered splitting silly hairs.

        • Michael Neville

          I see I was right. See Noevo doesn’t understand the difference between philosophical and methodological naturalism. His religious masters have told him “they’re bad” so he clicks his heels and shouts, “Jawohl meine religiösen Führern!”

        • Michael Neville

          I actually believed in evolution, for about 30 years, from my teens until my forties. Then, for some reason, about a dozen or more years ago I began actually reading the literature from the biological evolutionary science community. Long story short, I no longer believe in evolution.

          In other words you reject reality and, since evolution is a cornerstone of science, you reject science. So why should we take you at all seriously? Go back to your know-nothing buddies at AIG. We aren’t buying your bullshit.

          That would take too long and wouldn’t fit well in this format.

          So you don’t have any evidence. Why am I not surprised?

          But maybe we could at least deal with your ONE, favorite,
          most-compelling piece of evidence for evolution? And be very specific.

          I quote from Evolution FAQ’s Five Proofs of Evolution

          1. The universal genetic code. All cells on Earth, from our white blood cells, to simple bacteria, to cells in the leaves of trees, are capable of reading any piece of DNA from any life form on Earth. This is very strong evidence for a common ancestor from which all life descended.

          2. The fossil record. The fossil record shows that the simplest fossils will be found in the oldest rocks, and it can also show a smooth and gradual transition from one form of life to another.

          3. Genetic commonalities. Human beings have approximately 96% of genes in common with chimpanzees, about 90% of genes in common with cats, 80% with cows, 75% with mice, and so on. This does not prove that we evolved from chimpanzees or cats, though, only that we shared a common ancestor in the past. And the amount of difference between our genomes corresponds to how long ago our genetic lines diverged.

          4. Common traits in embryos. Humans, dogs, snakes, fish, monkeys, eels (and many more life forms) are all considered “chordates” because we belong to the phylum Chordata. One of the features of this phylum is that, as embryos, all these life forms have gill slits, tails, and specific anatomical structures involving the spine. For humans (and other non-fish) the gill slits reform into the bones of the ear and jaw at a later stage in development. But, initially, all chordate embryos strongly resemble each other.

          In fact, pig embryos are often dissected in biology classes because of how similar they look to human embryos. These common characteristics could only be possible if all members of the phylum Chordata descended from a common ancestor.

          5. Bacterial resistance to antibiotics. Bacteria colonies can only build up a resistance to antibiotics through evolution. It is important to note that in every colony of bacteria, there are a tiny few individuals which are naturally resistant to certain antibiotics. This is because of the random nature of mutations.

          When an antibiotic is applied, the initial inoculation will kill most bacteria, leaving behind only those few cells which happen to have the mutations necessary to resist the antibiotics. In subsequent generations, the resistant bacteria reproduce, forming a new colony where every member is resistant to the antibiotic. This is natural selection in action. The antibiotic is “selecting” for organisms which are resistant, and killing any that are not.

          Was that specific enough for your creationist brain?

          How about we keep the Bible and religion out of this, and
          just deal with the science?

          You’re the one replacing science with a “creator” and we both know that this creator is the Abrahamic god you worship. So you’re the one who, without mentioning any specifics, brought religion and the Bible into the conversation. You’re a lot more transparent than you think. You either forgot or are so ignorant that you don’t know the regulars on this atheist blog have this sort of conversation with creationists all the time.

          You’re likely to claim that you’re not a creationist but rather a devotee of “intelligent design” (ID). Are you aware that intelligent design was invented by a lawyer, Phillip Johnson, to get around the inconvenient Constitutional barrier of teaching the religious mythology known as creationism in public schools. The decision in Kitzmiller v Dover Area School Board (PDF) stated that ID is creationism with Yahweh replaced by an “intelligent designer” who is Yahweh with the serial number filed off.

          Then, you at least admit that your science is based on
          philosophy, for naturalism is a philosophical position.

          So? Philosophy isn’t religion. Here’s another historical fact for you. What’s now called science used to be called “natural philosophy”, therefore science is a branch of philosophy.

          We’ll just have to disagree on whether the philosophy of naturalism makes any sense.

          Since I’ve already shown how you reject science then it’s not surprising you reject naturalism. I prefer reality to religious mythology.

        • gusbovona

          Having heard several times that commonality does not require common descent, I favor the “nested hierarchy” as the best single piece of evidence that requires common descent and therefore evolution (actually, there are two independent nested hierarchies, one from genetics, and one from morphology and fossils, and they confirm each other).

        • See Noevo

          Me: “… about a dozen or more years ago I began actually
          reading the literature from the biological evolutionary science community. Long story short, I no longer believe in evolution.”

          You: “In other words you reject reality and, since evolution is a cornerstone of science, you reject science.”

          No. I accept reality and reject junk “science”.

          As for evolution being “a cornerstone of science”, that’s one of the biggest lies around. A sick joke.
          There is not one single advancement in science for which a belief in evolution was required.
          ………..
          Me: “That would take too long and wouldn’t fit well in this
          format.”
          You: “So you don’t have any evidence. Why am I not
          surprised?
          Me: “But maybe we could at least deal with your ONE, favorite, most-compelling piece of evidence for evolution? And be very specific.”
          You: “I quote from Evolution FAQ’s Five Proofs of Evolution…”

          Pick one.
          …………..
          Me: “Then, you at least admit that your science is based on philosophy, for naturalism is a philosophical position.”
          You: “So? Philosophy isn’t religion. Here’s another historical fact for you. What’s now called science used to be called “natural philosophy”…”

          I’m well aware of the fact that science got its start as what was called natural philosophy.

          “… therefore science is a branch of philosophy.”

          Maybe if evolutionary biologists were more honest and renamed themselves “evolutionary philosophers” I’d have less of
          a problem with them.

        • Michael Neville

          You keep making the claim that evolution is “junk science”. Let’s see some evidence to support this silly statement. I gave you five pieces of evidence to support evolution, which is five pieces more than you’ve given to deny it. So it’s your turn. Why do you make your claim. Be specific or admit, as we both know, that you’re just talking out of your rosy red rectum.

        • See Noevo

          Come back when you pick one.

        • Michael Neville

          I picked five of them, you snotfaced twit. You’ve picked zip point shit evidence to support your “junk science” claim. Is that because you don’t actually have any evidence? Or is it because you know that we’ll rip up any of the “evidence” you plagiarize from Answers in Genesis or other creationist sources?

        • See Noevo

          You blew your chance.
          Farewell
          “you snotfaced twit.”

        • Michael Neville

          Are you leaving, snotfaced twit? Goodbye. Have a mediocre rest of your life.

        • Kodie

          Nobody here blew any chances. You picked the typical Christian copout of “it would be too long explain in this format.” If you know something that would be helpful, you should express it. It’s obvious you don’t, but you continue to creep around pretending to be smart.

        • See Noevo

          “Nobody here blew any chances.”

          Not true. Michael Neville did. Three times.
          See above, starting with my “But maybe we could at least
          deal with your ONE, favorite, most-compelling piece of evidence for evolution? And be very specific.”

        • Kodie

          Your complaint is he gave you too much to read?

        • WayneMan

          I almost spit my soda out reading that post. (LOL)

          He must be from the school of Ken Ham. When science or evidence contradicts the book of Genesis, the science or evidence must be wrong. (more LOL’s)

        • Michael Neville

          He’s following the AIG script, making claims about naturalism and failing to give any evidence to support those claims.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          Maybe if evolutionary biologists were more honest and renamed themselves “evolutionary philosophers” I’d have less of a problem with them.
          Simpler way to have no problem at all with evolutionay biologists?. If you were more honest.

        • See Noevo

          That’s a remarkable picture for yourself, TheMarsCydonia.

        • Michael Neville

          You really are a pretentious, ridiculous excuse for a creationist. The intellectual level of creationists is not high but you are not even in the top 50% of that abysmally silly, ignorant bunch.

        • See Noevo

          It’s very odd, then, that you’d be spending so much time with me.

        • Michael Neville

          I feel that educating the ignorant is a worth-while thing. You’re obviously incredibly ignorant, whether you’re capable of being educated has yet to be determined, but my hopes for doing so are dwindling.

          Now that we’ve got that settled, how about you giving some evidence that evolution is “junk science.” First of all, why don’t you give a short, one or two sentence definition of evolution. Then you can attempt to poke holes in it.

          BTW, why do you creationists always spend your time trying to find faults in evolution? Why don’t we get great expositions on how Intelligent Design™ is truly scientific, able to answer questions and make predictions like a viable scientific theory should be capable of doing? Is it because you know that GODDIDIT isn’t an explanation for anything?

        • MR

          I actually believed in evolution, for about 30 years, from my teens until my forties. Then, for some reason, about a dozen or more years ago I began actually reading the literature from the biological evolutionary science community. Long story short, I no longer believe in evolution.

          Wow, that would make you smarter than hundreds of thousands of scientists worldwide. I can’t wait for your book. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/edda68fa6645f36d5f8929f3a1ce5d974ce3918b62a7c6f693ff5ab3f6973e1f.jpg

        • See Noevo

          “Wow, that would make you smarter than hundreds of thousands
          of scientists worldwide. I can’t wait for your book.”

          Well, I have no plans for a book. Plenty of good ones are
          out there already.

          As an aside, apparently I WAS smarter than hundreds of
          thousands of scientists, or at least political “scientists” (and highly-paid professional pollsters and talking heads), in predicting the outcome of the recent election.
          http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2016/11/02/most-recent-polling-shows-tight-race/#comment-638538

        • MR

          Wow, pretty amazing. You had a 1 in 2 chance.

        • Myna

          x 10

        • See Noevo

          “Wow, pretty amazing. You had a 1 in 2 chance.”

          Like 50%? Not according to the experts.
          Not according to the Huffington Post. They gave Hillary a 98%+ chance of winning, and apparently, with 323 electoral votes.
          Vaunted election prognosticator Nate Silver gave Hillary a 70% win probability. So, 30% chance of Trump getting to 270. I imagine Nate would have given a far smaller % for Trump at 295ish.

        • MNb

          Good to see you don’t understand probability calculation either.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          Congratulations, you are as brilliant as Michael Moore when it comes to predicting election results.

          When it comes to the biological science however… We’re noticing your dodges.

        • MR

          I’m sure they’ll be studying your methodology for years. It was Hillary or Donald; a coin toss could have predicted the outcome.

        • Myna

          Evuh budda gots a god. Yous god is “naturalism.” Amen! But where’s da natcha come from? Neva mine. Ha ha!

          You know, Mark Twain could get away with writing like that because of the world he lived in. That you should think it clever to write in a similar tone in 2016 is beneath contempt.

          To the rest of your ignorant statement, Buddhism does not concern itself with god arguments, so where’s the god?

          H.H. The Dalai Lama of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism has said:

          “If science proves some belief of Buddhism wrong, then Buddhism will have to change. In my view, science and Buddhism share a search for the truth and for understanding reality. By learning from science about aspects of reality where its understanding may be more advanced, I believe that Buddhism enriches its own worldview.”

        • See Noevo

          “H.H. The Dalai Lama…said: “… science and Buddhism share a search for the truth and for understanding reality…”

          I’d say science searches for truth and for understanding reality *on its own philosophical terms*.
          More specifically, science acknowledges, or is supposed to acknowledge, *only* those truths and realities which can be
          revealed by means of observation, measurement, experiment, and verification (i.e. the scientific method).

          The *problem* with many scientists today, is that they step outside their proper philosophical domain and *deny the existence*, or even the reasonable possibility, of truths and realities not
          subject to the scientific method (e.g. a Creator God; objective morality).
          And on the flip side, these same “scientists” *assert the existence* of things *not* subject to the scientific method (e.g. evolution; multiverse).

          I don’t know too much about Buddhism, but as to the Lama…

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X48G7Y0VWW4

        • Zeta

          See Noevo: “… there are many other “cherries” to pick from, as I said earlier. Here’s another…

          You quoted the article “Accelerating Universe: Not As Fast?”. The article says that “Most importantly, the findings hint at the possibility that the acceleration of the expansion of the universe might not be quite as fast as textbooks say.” The research finding casts some doubt on the current claimed rate of expansion of the Universe. Note the careful phrasing of the claim.

          What is the point you are trying to make here? That the expansion of the Universe is “junk science” because of a possible correction to a theory? Isn’t this how science works? It is completely normal that theories are constantly challenged. You claimed that you have “no problem with science or the scientific method.” This example reveals that you are ignorant of the scientific method and how science really works.

          The theory of biological evolution is “junk science” and is a “transgression”? Have you read books on evolution written by genuine evolutionary biologists?

        • See Noevo

          “What is the point you are trying to make here? That the
          expansion of the Universe is “junk science” because of a possible
          correction to a theory? … This example reveals that you are ignorant of the scientific method and how science really works.”

          Regarding the expansion of the universe,
          my secondary point was that so often today scientists present as factual and beyond reasonable dispute things which are not factual and not beyond reasonable dispute.
          My primary point was that such scientists go even further with such non-facts by naming their conjured causes things like “Dark” energy and “Dark” matter. It’s science fiction-y. Or maybe Game of Thrones-y.

          Here’s another cherry:
          https://www.edge.org/response-detail/11392
          ……………….
          “The theory of biological evolution is “junk science” and is a “transgression”? Have you read books on evolution written by genuine evolutionary biologists?”

          Yes, and many of their papers and articles, too. Now understand, I actually believed in evolution, for about 30 years, from my teens until my forties. Then, for some reason, about a dozen or more years ago I began actually reading the literature from the biological evolutionary science community. Long story short, I no longer believe in evolution. In fact, I think that one day, evolution will be revealed to all to be perhaps the greatest mistake and embarrassment in the histories of science and of rational thought. (Hence, my user name.)

        • MNb

          This comment shows the average quality of SN’s reaction to relevant criticism (compare my prediction above).
          It’s worse than many a creacrapper that has entered this blog last couple of years.

        • Rudy R

          Suggest you waddle back to your Breitbart news bubble and congregate with the alt-right believers. You’re arguments are stale, disproven and have been addressed ad nauseum on this blog.

        • See Noevo

          No need for you to be nauseated. Just don’t read my comments.
          But I’ll stick around as long as I’m allowed.
          But you can…
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FPELc1wEvk

        • Machintelligence

          Your ignorance of evolution is exceeded only by your arrogance.

    • T-Paine

      Put simply, Theism holds that
      – Something was made from nothing (i.e. the universe),
      – Various laws of nature have a law maker (i.e. the four fundamental forces; universal constants), but the law maker itself has no law maker (came from nothing),
      – An unseen, unknown, un-understood someone causes an accelerating expansion of the universe (i.e. Dark Energy),
      – An unseen, unknown, un-understood someone is used to try to
      explain why the universe holds together (i.e. Dark Matter),
      – Life was made from non-life (i.e. man was made out of dust/dirt [Book of Genesis]),
      – A random, non-rational agent produces design and rationality (Creationism)

      and Naturalism does not.

    • Rudy R

      Nice try with your strawman argument, but it fails miserably.

      – Something comes from nothing (i.e. the Big Bang).

      “Nothing” is but one default position. The other default position is “something”, so something could have preceded the Big Bang.

      – Various laws of nature have no law maker (i.e. the four fundamental forces; universal constants).

      So-called “laws” are actually descriptions of nature that have been observed to be constant. No law maker required.

      – An unseen, unknown, un-understood something causes an alleged accelerating expansion of the universe (i.e. Dark Energy).

      So Dark Energy cannot be seen by the human eye. Bacteria cannot be seen by the human eye, but are universally accept to exist.

      – An unseen, unknown, un-understood something else is used to try to explain why the universe holds together (i.e. Dark Matter).

      See above.

      – Life comes from non-life (i.e. abiogenesis).

      And the counter argument would be life comes from life. And this other life would be what? God? Just another god of the gaps argument.

      – A random, non-rational process produces design and rationality (i.e. evolution).

      Only theism requires design, science does not.

      • See Noevo

        “So-called “laws” are actually descriptions of nature that have been observed to be constant. No law maker required.”

        Ah, the old ‘descriptive not prescriptive.’ Except that if any
        one of those fundamental forces or universal constants was just the slightest bit different, you wouldn’t be here to make your invalid point.
        ……..
        “So Dark Energy cannot be seen by the human eye. Bacteria
        cannot be seen by the human eye, but are universally accept to exist.”

        Bacteria are *observed* all the time. Did you ever hear of a
        microscope?
        ……………
        “And the counter argument would be life comes from life. And
        this other life would be what? God? Just another god of the gaps argument.”

        Just another example of atheists basing their “faith” on
        flawed philosophy and not on science.
        …………….
        “Only theism requires design, science does not.”

        Then, how does a scientist practice his work? That is, how
        does he design, er, I mean, randomly allow his investigations and experiments to “evolve” on their own?

        • Michael Neville

          Except that if any one of those fundamental forces or universal constants was just the slightest bit different, you wouldn’t be here to make your invalid point.

          If your aunt had balls she’d be your uncle. Since we are here then your argument is moot.

        • Myna

          Your statements are really little less than emotionally juvenile at best, incoherent at worst. You offer nothing compelling as an argument, nothing. Why do religionists never offer anything compelling when entering into a discussion? What makes your position credible?

        • See Noevo

          “Your statements are really little less than emotionally juvenile at best, incoherent at worst. You offer nothing compelling as an
          argument, nothing.”

          That’s pretty close to describing why, after actually
          reading their literature, I ended my 30-some year belief in evolution.

        • Myna

          What literature? Explain how and why. Give compelling detail, not emotion. Summarize any links, if you choose to present them.

        • See Noevo

          “What literature?”

          All of it.

          “Give compelling detail, not emotion. Summarize any links,
          if you choose to present them.”

          OK. See all links to pro-evo literature.

        • Kodie

          GIVE COMPELLING DETAIL

          SUMMARIZE ANY LINKS

          You inarticulate unintellectual piece of human garbage. If you don’t want to participate in a conversation, then don’t try to be in one.

        • See Noevo

          SO SORRY, KODIE.

          FAREWELL, KODIE

          “You inarticulate unintellectual piece of human garbage…”

        • Kodie

          Lol, Christians can’t keep up.

        • Myna

          What a cop out.

        • MNb

          That’s why the warning above.
          Deja vu.

        • Zeta

          SN: “… after actually reading their literature, I ended my 30-some year belief in evolution.
          Myna: “What literature?
          SN: “All of it.

          By claiming that you have read all of the literature on evolution, your credibility has completely gone down the drain. There is such an enormous literature on evolution that you must have your god’s superintelligence and superpower to be able to read them all. Many of such publications are so technical that one needs to be intimately involved in the specific area to be able to follow the research.

          From the evasive responses you have posted, you apparently don’t have a good knowledge of evolution and the scientific method in general. You claimed to have “30-some year belief in evolution” so you must have found convincing evidence that evolution was true. Care to share what kind of evidence you found later that completely invalidated your earlier belief?

        • See Noevo

          “By claiming that you have read *all* of the literature on
          evolution, your credibility has completely gone down the drain.”

          And if I claimed I had read *none* of the literature on
          evolution, my credibility would have completely gone down the drain, in your eyes.

          And if I claimed I had read *only some* of the literature on
          evolution, my credibility would have completely gone down the drain, in your eyes.

          No, my credibility would have completely gone down the
          drain, in your eyes, as long as I disagreed with you on evolution.
          …………….
          “Care to share what kind of evidence you found later that
          completely invalidated your earlier belief?”

          OK. Hold on to your chair …………………………

          ALL OF IT!

          I’ve never seen a single pro-evolution piece that wasn’t, at a minimum, unconvincing. Most are presumptive and/or illogical and/or ludicrous.

        • Kodie

          DOUCHE, you were asked to be specific, to summarize what you’ve read and what you think was wrong with it. You’re just evasive, like a typical Christian. You’ll do anything to get out of actually attempting to apply coherency to the incoherent Christian creationist aversion to accepting evolution. Thanks for telling the world how stupid you know you are. We don’t have to pretend any longer that we expect an actual discussion with you.

        • See Noevo

          “DOUCHE”

          Not going to try to boil the ocean here.
          How about YOU give me your ONE, FAVORITE, MOST COMPELLING piece of evidence for evolution. Again, you’re being “asked to be specific”.

          Let’s see what you got.

        • Myna

          Get real. You were already asked to support your position and give compelling evidence, and you couldn’t do it, so stop with the bullshit.

        • Kodie

          You’ve already been given enough to work with, and your answer was that it was too long to read, this isn’t the right format to give your extensive thesis, and all kinds of general bullshit, which is to be expected from people who don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about. Why should I give you any effort, after you’ve shown us you’re full of shit?

          It’s just fun to make fun of how little you know and how massively willing you are to embarrass yourself to the world.

        • See Noevo

          Boy, you guys and gals sure can be a foul-mouthed bunch.

          I hope your patience is as strong as your potty-pouting.

          Enjoy the wait.

        • Kodie

          I really enjoy how innocent you overly sensitive Christians think you are. I take your approach as hostile expression, I am offended by your stupidity and arrogance, and you should learn to lighten the fuck up.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          You are not expecting us to believe you have an issue with foul-mouthedness, do you? Do you need to be reminded with what words you ran away from my question?

        • TheMarsCydonia

          And we’ve never seen one of your comments that wasn’t, at a minimum, unconvincing. Most are illogical and/or ludicrous at best, obvious lies at worst. All of them addressed and then ignored and ran from.

          So, again, what is your objective here? Because “telling the truth” would require you to tell the truth and we have not seen this happening from you yet.

        • Zeta

          Be honest and don’t be evasive. Is your claim of having read “All of the literature on evolution” true or just an unjustifiable exaggeration?

          If you know anything about scientific research at all (especially in a rich field like evolution), you would not make such a wild claim. As far as I know, no serious academic or researcher in an active and wide field would make a similar claim. Even graduate students frequently have trouble understanding published research papers in their chosen field which cannot be easily read like popular articles in newspapers or magazines. Have you ever read articles from, say, the Journal of Human Evolution or Nature?

          SN: “I’ve never seen a single pro-evolution piece that wasn’t, at a minimum, unconvincing. Most are presumptive and/or illogical and/or ludicrous.

          You must have found evolution convincing for 30 or more years, right? Why do you evade answering my question of what evidence causes you to abandon it completely?

        • See Noevo

          “You must have found evolution convincing for 30 or more
          years, right? Why do you evade answering my question of what evidence causes you to abandon it completely?”

          As to the second question, I already answered that (“All of it.”). But I’ll expand on this a little more below.

          As to the first question, I believed evolution for 30 or more years, starting sometime in my teens, because evolution was just about all I ever heard, or all most anyone hears, regarding origins. Evolution permeates society. It’s assumed as true not only among the intellectual elite of upper academia, but also in high schools
          and elementary schools, on TV, in film, in church, in everyday conversation. I can’t say that I actually studied evolution back then. I didn’t. I just assumed it was true because everyone else did. And what the hell, it didn’t affect my life or anyone else’s one way or the other. Evolution is a big nothing in practical terms, in terms of everyday life. Well, a big nothing UNLESS you questioned the orthodoxy. THEN, you might feel a level of discomfort, shall we say, in your daily life and interactions. But anyway, I guess you could say I believed in evolution partly because it seemed to make sense but mainly through “osmosis.”

          But then, sometime in my mid/late forties, for some reason
          that I honestly don’t recall, I began actually reading the evolutionist
          literature – books, papers, but mainly their literature accessible on the internet. And within a very short time I suspected something was wrong. Sometime later, after more reading and thinking, I came to the opinion that evolution would probably eventually be revealed to be perhaps the greatest embarrassment and shame in the history of science and of rational thought. Really? Yes, really.

          I have read plenty, but I have never seen a single, solitary
          pro-evolution article that was clean, that I didn’t have an issue with.

          That’s the honest truth.
          Now, you can doubt me, of course.
          But I’ll put your doubt to the test:

          Please provide me here a hyperlink to a pro-evolution piece
          that YOU think is exceptionally compelling.
          And I don’t mean a full book or a website with a thousand
          articles/links.
          I mean ONE paper or article that I, and all the others
          reading this, can access and digest in one sitting.

          I look forward to it!

        • Kodie

          I wonder why you don’t feel upset about gravity permeating society. Your response reveals you are vaguely unsettled by a religious paranoia brought on by the power of suggestion and your own puny intellect being ripe for it. In essence, you think evolution is a grand conspiracy, but you don’t have the intellectual capacity to give any specific reasons for it. You certainly don’t have the biology background to dispute it. You just have your petty little religious jealousy that there’s a real answer that isn’t god, and you’re the right kind of ill-informed customer the ID bullshit factory is looking for. Did you ever think of it from another perspective, that you really ought to be investigating the fake sources that make you believe you’re smarter than all the scientists? You admit you’re not! You admit something just seemed “off” to you, and who are you and what do you know?

          Obviously very little.

        • See Noevo

          “I wonder why you don’t feel upset about gravity permeating society.”

          Why be upset about something that I and every living thing
          has observed and experienced, and something that has been accurately measured and “formulized”?

        • Kodie

          You are prejudiced because of your arrogance. You think something is “off” with something you know so little about and are too illiterate to understand. You have the perfect gelatin mush of an impressionable brain to be the perfect target of religious organizations to bolster your ignorance with arrogance and suspicion. You don’t like being talked down to, and ID bullshit factories bank on your inferior intellect to be triggered by superior intellect to resist learning because you think somehow the knowledge is tainted or bogus. You don’t know dick, son. You and the rest of you evolution deniers are a butthurt crew of dummies who were in the market for the “alternative” religious version that filled the demand. You don’t actually know what a fool you are, what a fool you let yourself be, what a gullible dummy for this crock non-science. You have been ranting and mocking evolution for being some kind of money-making operation to brainwash everyone.

          Why? What the fuck do you think evolution scientists get out of it? What or who do you think is cashing in on the worldwide snow job? You don’t know how scientists learn things or test things. You are the brainwashed idiot. You are the victim of an operation to trigger your weak and inferior mind to think “that’s what they want you to think” is a good enough argument to see errors in evolution that aren’t there. You really just don’t like their “tone”. You really have nothing but shallow reasons to reject it. I don’t care, either. I think you’re doing ok. You can be stupid the rest of your life. You can embarrass your dumb self on this blog as much as you like. If that is what it takes to make you feel good about yourself, go for it.

        • See Noevo

          “What the fuck do you think evolution scientists get out of
          it? What or who do you think is cashing in on the worldwide snow job?”

          As I noted nearby, there couldn’t possibly be a conspiracy
          of evolutionists.

          Because anti-evolutionists are hired all the time by the university
          biology departments, chaired by Dr. Smart, evolutionary biologist. (See if you can find one.)

          Because skeptics of evolution are published all the time in
          the premier peer-reviewed science publications, whose editor-in-chief is Dr. Wow, professor of evolutionary paleontology. (See if you can find one.)

          Basically because people who have built their entire
          academic and “scientific” careers and reputations on evolution are always welcoming of challengers to the dogmatic Darwinian orthodoxy. Always happy to give a shovel to those willing to chip away at the foundation of their sand castle.

          Much the same goes for Climate Change/Global Warming “science”.
          The main differences between evolution “science” and CC/GW “science” is that the former has been around longer and is more deeply entrenched, but the latter has more ka-ching potential (e.g. Al Gore +$170 million or so.).

        • Kodie

          I already answered you in another part of the thread, but just so it doesn’t go without saying, you are not smart.

        • See Noevo

          So saith Kodie Koyote.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          So basically, you imagined something was wrong with evolution and you convinced yourself, entirely baselessly, that you were right.

          But you fail to understand that to convince others that you, a lone anonymous and uneducated internet commenter, are right, you need something more than you own imagination.

          Basically, I have not read a single “pro -See Noevo” comment that is clean, that does not have some obvious fallacies or that is not an outright lie. So should we apply your “standard” to your own comments?

          So, I have to ask again: what is your objective here?
          Because “telling the truth” would require you to tell the truth and we have not seen this happening yet. And you can’t seriously expect that your comments, nothing more than dodges or insults, are going to convince anyone.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • WayneMan

          There are a 1000+ peer-reviewed papers in scientific publications, from no less than 84 scientific organizations (like the Academy Of Science) supporting evolution, and there are actually zero scientifically approved papers opposing it. If you are going to claim it to be wrong, you need a rigorous amount of counter evidence for every single prediction evolution has made and shown accurate. Otherwise it is simply your unsupported opinion.

        • See Noevo

          “There are a 1000+ peer-reviewed papers in scientific
          publications, from no less than 84 scientific organizations (like the Academy Of Science) supporting evolution, and there are actually zero scientifically approved papers opposing it.”

          Hey, WaynesWorld,
          Guess who controls peer-review and is the gatekeeper of what
          gets published in those scientific publications?

        • TheMarsCydonia

          So evolution is just a massive conspiracy perpetrated by the scientists…
          Please assert again how you do not reject science? To put it in contrast with your assertion that scientist participate in an anti-science conspiracy.

        • See Noevo

          There couldn’t possibly be a conspiracy of evolutionists.

          Because anti-evolutionists are hired all the time by the university
          biology departments, chaired by Dr. Smart, evolutionary biologist. (See if you can find one.)

          Because skeptics of evolution are published all the time in
          the premier peer-reviewed science publications, whose editor-in-chief is Dr. Wow, professor of evolutionary paleontology. (See if you can find one.)

          Basically because people who have built their entire
          academic and “scientific” careers and reputations on evolution are always welcoming of challengers to the dogmatic Darwinian orthodoxy. Always happy to give a shovel to those willing to chip away at the foundation of their sand castle.

          Much the same goes for Climate Change/Global Warming “science”.
          The main differences between evolution “science” and CC/GW “science” is that the former has been around longer and is more deeply entrenched, but the latter has more ka-ching potential (e.g. Al Gore +$170 million or so.).

        • Kodie

          See if you can find an evolution denier who applies the scientific method to their proposals. For fuck’s sake, you don’t even understand what peer review means. It means scientists read your paper, recreate the experiments, and are in the best position to know if the conclusions check out. You have NO SUCH THING. See if you can find one. See if you can find even one. That’s why they’re not included or taken seriously.

        • See Noevo

          “For fuck’s sake, you don’t even understand what peer review
          means. It means scientists read your paper, recreate the experiments, and are in the best position to know if the conclusions check out.”

          Yeah, I know what it’s supposed to mean.
          And it’s really working out great. You need to get out more.

          Some recent wailing…
          http://www.nature.com/news/1-500-scientists-lift-the-lid-on-reproducibility-1.19970

          http://www.nature.com/news/let-s-make-peer-review-scientific-1.20194

          http://www.nature.com/news/peer-review-troubled-from-the-start-1.19763

        • Kodie

          So I guess you are not able to find an evolution denier who applies the scientific method to their hypothesis and submits it for peer review and publication?

        • Herald Newman

          Why would he? He’s not interested in proposing any alternate idea (you already know what his idea is, and it cannot be falsified), and is just here to shit all over the place.

        • Kodie

          He wouldn’t, but he seems to think he’s keeping up. There goes another question ignored by the guy who can’t answer questions.

        • MR

          He’s not interested in proposing any alternate idea

          Well, that’s his gimmick. I think he laid his hand bare when he complained that religion keeps being raised. His shtick is to try to throw science into question and he’s simply going to focus on that. He’s like one of those Ratio Christi types.

          I don’t believe his story for a minute about reading about evolution and not buying it. He hasn’t shown a basic understanding of it and still hasn’t addressed what “unconvinced” him. His tactic is simply to try to throw science into doubt.

          Unfortunately for him, science permeates our daily lives and it’s hard to throw just one aspect of it under the bus without appearing ridiculous when we can clearly see on a daily basis the results that science delivers.

          If science were somehow wrong, that still gets us nowhere near religion being right. Sure, get back to me when you’ve disproved evolution, but that does nothing to bolster religion’s preposterous claims. The problem with religion isn’t science, the problem with religion is the claims of religion. (Which is another reason why it behooves him to avoid bringing it up.)

        • Ignorant Amos

          An extra special kind of stupid this See Noevo is turning out to be.

        • MNb

          Much the same goes for the Moon Propaganda Hoax.
          There is no moon. The NASA ignores and even excludes challengers to the dogmatic Moon orthodoxy. They never will give a shovel to those willing to chip away at the foundation of their sand castle. Basically because the people from NASA have build their entire academic, “scientific” and “technological” careers and reputations on the Moon Propaganda Hoax.

          http://www.revisionism.nl/Moon/The-Mad-Revisionist.htm

          Face it.
          There is no reason to think the Moon exists.
          Don’t fall for Astronomically Correct Establishment moon propaganda.
          Think for yourself.
          Oh – and the sinking of the Titanic is a Hollywood Propaganda Fraud.

        • Kodie

          Um, who do you think it is? The cabal of science? A scientist has to make sure all their findings agree with the conspiracy of evolution or won’t be published?

        • WayneMan

          Yes, actual scientists in those fields.

          Let’s see now, who approves Ken Ham, Ray Comfort, and friends creationism work? Oh, that would be simply the Book Of Genesis, no science required…

        • Ignorant Amos

          “… after actually reading their literature, I ended my 30-some year belief in evolution.”

          Or the knob jockey is lying. I think the dickhead is lying through his teeth. Do you think he is lying?

          Talk is cheap after all.

        • Kodie

          He didn’t need to read very much to realize it was over his head, and therefore trying to pull a fast one, and then generalize all of it.

        • Zeta

          He lied about having read ALL of the literature on evolution because that is a near impossible task for this field with a relatively long history. There are numerous sub-fields and many research publications are only available in good university libraries or behind paywalls.

          Now he is toning down after I confronted him on this issue. He now claims that he has mostly read material available on the Internet.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yip. I knew the first time he mentioned in a comment about his experience and knowledge on the subject that he is a lying knuckle dragging goatskin. All the non answers and obfuscation he demonstrates is testimony to his imbecility.

        • Kodie

          You rejected a coherent scientific theory because you didn’t like their tone?

        • See Noevo

          Not exactly. I rejected it because it was unconvincing at
          best, ludicrous at worst. But also sometimes, to use Myna’s words, “emotionally juvenile” and “incoherent.”
          But regarding “tone”, per se, I *would* have to say that I find
          evolutionists’ arrogant and presumptive and smarter-than-thou tone to be quite off-putting.

        • Kodie

          Thanks for letting all of us know that you choose to remain stupid.

        • MNb

          No, it’s just his favourite trick. I’ve seen it at Evolution Blog. He loves to claim that he has studied Evolution Theory for gazillions of years and nolens volens had to conclude it’s incorrect. Then the incoherent nonsense begins.

        • Without Malice

          He’s just waiting for the right time to break out the big guns like irreducible complexity or some other BS pulled out asses of ID believers. “Come on now all you evolution believers; tell me what good half a wing is.”

          “Gee, I don’t know,” answered the evolution believer, “go ask an ostrich.”

        • Rudy R

          Ah, the old ‘descriptive not prescriptive.’ Except that if any one of those fundamental forces or universal constants was just the slightest bit different, you wouldn’t be here to make your invalid point.

          And how does those different fundamental forces or universal constants strengthen the “law maker” argument?

          Bacteria are *observed* all the time. Did you ever hear of a microscope?

          And when once humans couldn’t see bacteria without an instrument, so too could humans, in the future, see Dark Energy with an instrument. You seem to miss the larger point, which I failed to articulate, and which you predictably responded, is that science has been plugging the “god of the gaps” holes for centuries with natural explanations, and all the questions that science hasn’t answered, like what caused the Big Bang and the first life on Earth, will in most likelihood, be answered with a natural explanation, and once again filling the god gap.

          Just another example of atheists basing their “faith” on flawed philosophy and not on science.

          There is no faith involved. Science doesn’t claim to know things it hasn’t got proof. Theism does that. Science has not claimed they know the answer to the cause of the first life on Earth. Theism does that.

          Then, how does a scientist practice his work? That is, how does he design, er, I mean, randomly allow his investigations and experiments to “evolve” on their own?

          Another terrible strawman argument. Design is a human concept that describes a creation of a plan. Evolution is a theory that implies life evolved randomly, by chance, and without design. Without brains to create the concept of design, design does not exist.

        • See Noevo

          “And how does those different fundamental forces or
          universal constants strengthen the “law maker” argument?”

          Laws come from lawmakers.
          Generally speaking, these *laws* are meant to establish *order* – dum dum! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8lDYrvTILc
          When laws are violated, bad things happen. Virtually all
          physicists familiar with the matter say that if *any one* of those forces and constants were at a slightly different “setting”, all hell would break lose (as I said earlier, we wouldn’t be around to ask these questions.).

          I think the law maker argument is strengthened by far more
          than about 10 to the 10th power to the 16th power (10^10^16)
          times.
          That’s scientists’ estimate of the minimum number of
          universes in their fantasized *multiverse* theory. One of the reasons they conjured multiverse theory was to try to make the odds slightly more palatable – that is, the odds of “rolling the dice” at the Big Bang and having the numbers/settings of all the forces and constants randomly settling at exactly where they are.
          Others estimate 10^10^10^7 “rolls of the dice.” (Of course,
          that, too, is infinitely understated. Because the possible settings for any one of the forces and constants is infinite.)
          …………..
          “… science has been plugging the “god of the gaps” holes for
          centuries with natural explanations, and all the questions that science hasn’t answered, like what caused the Big Bang and the first life on Earth, will in most likelihood, be answered with a natural explanation…”

          Well, *until* such time that they DO answer with a natural
          explanation beyond any reasonable doubt, don’t you think it would be wise and proper of them to
          1) Say “We don’t know”, and
          2) NOT promote their undemonstrated and unproven theories
          of what might be or what might have happened as if they’re fact or settled, and
          3) NOT castigate as stupid/ignorant/blinded those who question their undemonstrated and unproven theories?

          I do.
          ……………
          “There is no faith involved. Science doesn’t claim to know
          things it hasn’t got proof.”

          Well, ass long as science and its worshipers refrain from denying
          and criticizing the reasonable possibility of the reality of some things not subject to scientific proof, they’ll be OK in their limited realm of science.
          …………
          “Another terrible strawman argument. Design is a human
          concept that describes a creation of a plan. Evolution is a theory that implies life evolved randomly, by chance, and without design. Without brains to create the concept of design, design does not exist.”

          And the un-designed design!
          Your designed wording above is now the top contender for my Quote of the Day award.
          Congratulations, nominee.

        • Ignorant Amos

          1) Say “We don’t know”, and

          But that’s exactly what they do say, until they know something, then they say what they know.

          2) NOT promote their undemonstrated and unproven theories of what might be or what might have happened as if they’re fact or settled, and

          Define “undemonstrated” and “unproven”, but otherwise they don’t.

          3) NOT castigate as stupid/ignorant/blinded those who question their undemonstrated and unproven theories?

          Define “undemonstrated” and “unproven”, otherwise they don’t.

          You must practice really hard to be so asinine with just the one head.

        • See Noevo

          Me: “Well, *until* such time that they DO answer with a
          natural explanation beyond any reasonable doubt, don’t you think it would be wise and proper of them to
          1) Say “We don’t know”…”

          You: “But that’s exactly what they do say, until they know
          something, then they say what they know.”

          Well then, the teachers must “know” something I don’t about evolution:
          http://www.nsta.org/about/positions/evolution.aspx
          ………………
          Me: “2) NOT promote their undemonstrated and unproven
          theories of what might be or what might have happened as if they’re fact or settled…”

          You: “Define “undemonstrated” and “unproven”, but otherwise they don’t.”

          I would say “undemonstrated”, in this context, means “not
          observed in nature and not coerced in a laboratory.”
          “Unproven” means not proven.

          Now, I’d also say something could be both demonstrated and
          unproven.
          For example, with abiogenesis: They never have so far, but IF, one
          day, scientists create life from non-living material in the lab, abiogenesis would be demonstrated, but the experiment would not prove that life on earth necessarily began that way.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Well then, the teachers must “know” something I don’t about evolution:

          Yeah a figured that to be the case a while back. My 7 year old grandson “know’s” more about evolution than you display ffs. It is not a good indictment of the American education system btw to boas about the stupidity.

          You fuckin’ eejits have just voted in Trump as president.

          http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2016/frankie-boyle

          Anyway, regardless of what some teachers in the U.S. have to say…the fact remains…scientists generally say they don’t know, when in fact they don’t know. Address that point ya clown.

        • See Noevo

          You’ve got an apropos user name.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Indeed. It catches cockwombling wankstains like you out every time. The hilarious part is, you don’t know the reason why.

          Did it never occur to you why someone would chose such a moniker? It isn’t like it’s a tatoo or anything so permanent.

          I’ll give you a wee clue…am taking the pish, but it’ll be way over your head.

        • TheNuszAbides

          am taking the pish, but it’ll be way over your head.

          this clown doesn’t even deserve a Golden Arc. he needs a faceful.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I would say “undemonstrated”, in this context, means “not
          observed in nature and not coerced in a laboratory.”
          “Unproven” means not proven, to my creotard level of understanding.

          A fixed that for ya. Personal incredulity really should not be worn as a badge of honour.

          Evolution is observed in nature, that you are too cretinous to see it is no bodies fault but yer own.

          http://listverse.com/2011/11/19/8-examples-of-evolution-in-action/

          If you mean by proven, demonstrate the truth or existence of (something) by evidence or argument, then evolution is well proven.

          For example, with abiogenesis: They never have so far, but IF, one day, scientists create life from non-living material in the lab, abiogenesis would be demonstrated, but the experiment would not prove that life on earth necessarily began that way.

          Correct. But what about god-did-it? Never mind all the other smoke and mirrors obsfucation bollocks you are trying on here, how about you explain the alternative?

          You’re a tit. Evolution is by far the best explanation humans have derived so far…and even if it can be demonstrated as not how it happened at some time in the future, which I don’t think will be the case, you have no rational alternative that doesn’t make ya look like an even bigger dopey cunt. God-did-it is in the toilet. So pahh!

        • See Noevo

          Ignorant Amos.

        • Kodie

          So you have no relevant response and feel all smart and smarmy to make fun of people and the names they choose. Ignorant Amos chooses his name of humility – your own reference to ignorance is like the monkeys who shut their eyes and ignore reality. So go fuck yourself back up a tree, you monkey.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Bingo!

          He was never getting that in a million years, the dopey prick.

        • Rudy R

          The teleological argument is essentially throwing a dart against the wall, drawing a bullseye around the point of the dart, and claiming to have hit a bullseye. It only explains how life as we know it can exist in this universe, excluding all other possible universes and all possible life forms.

          And how again does the concept of design exist outside a brain?

        • See Noevo

          “The teleological argument is essentially throwing a dart
          against the wall, drawing a bullseye around the point of the dart, and claiming to have hit a bullseye.”

          No. It would be more like dropping you randomly to one spot
          next to a million mile wall, then you blindly throwing a dart in its direction and hitting the *one and only* magical pin-point of a spot that would turn-on (i.e. make possible) *existence as we know it*.
          …………….
          “It only explains how life as we know it can exist in this
          universe, excluding all other possible universes and all possible life forms.”

          You’re a “scientific” multiverse man, then?
          ………….
          “And how again does the concept of design exist outside a
          brain?”

          And how again does a brain exist outside a design?

        • Rudy R

          A brain is the result of the evolutionary process, ergo, is not the product of design. OK, now that I answered your question from a question, how does the concept of design exist outside a brain?

        • See Noevo

          “A brain is the result of the evolutionary process…”

          You KNOW that? That’s a fact, demonstrated and proven?

          Ignorant Amos, are you reading this? What do you think of
          Rudy R’s statement?

        • Rudy R

          Evolution isn’t a fact. It’s a well established theory that is consistent across all scientific disciplines. You seem to be puposefully evading my question. Wonder why.

        • See Noevo

          “Evolution isn’t a fact. It’s a well established theory that
          is consistent across all scientific disciplines.”

          OK, so there’s some groupthink going on.
          But evolution isn’t necessarily true, right?
          Right.
          Good!
          ………….
          “You seem to be puposefully evading my question. Wonder why.”

          I assume you mean your question “how does the concept of
          design exist outside a brain?”

          Wonder no longer.
          My answer:
          The concept of design could not exist outside a “brain”
          (i.e. an agent or organ of intelligence.), and where “Design” is defined as the planning and/or execution of the means to achieve a goal.

        • Rudy R

          It’s good that you agree with yourself, but I don’t share your view on evolution. The majority of the evidence points to evolution. You take the preponderance of evidence for and against evolution and you’ll find the science denier crowd on the short end if the stick.

        • See Noevo

          “The majority of the evidence points to evolution.”

          But even if that were true, that doesn’t necessarily mean
          that evolution is true, correct?
          Correct.
          Good.
          …………..
          P.S.
          I’m glad to see you agreed with my answer to your question.

        • Herald Newman

          > But even if that were true, that doesn’t necessarily mean
          > that evolution is true, correct?

          I see you understand just enough philosophy to be dangerous to yourself, and others around you.

        • MNb

          The majority of the evidence at daily scale points to Classical Electricity.

          “But even if that were true, that doesn’t necessarily mean
          that electricity is true, correct?”
          Correct.
          Good.
          Still I don’t see you putting your finger in a plug-socket.
          Hence your skepticism is void.

        • Michael Neville

          But evolution isn’t necessarily true, right?
          Right.
          Good!

          But creationism definitely isn’t true. If you want to replace evolution then you have to come up with something that answers all of the questions that evolution answers and then answers questions evolution doesn’t. GODDIDIT doesn’t answer any questions so it’s out of the running.

          For some reason you want us to believe that you accepted evolution but then you drank the Kool-aid and had someone tell you that Jesus wouldn’t love you if you accepted reality. This person also told you that Jesus wants you to give that person 10% of your income.

        • See Noevo

          “But creationism definitely isn’t true.”

          So, from that I can conclude, among other things, that you
          believe *abiogenesis* is *definitely true*. I’m surprised at you!

          “If you want to replace evolution then you have to come up
          with something that answers all of the questions…”

          No. I don’t have to do anything.
          And science doesn’t have to do anything, other than the honest and prudent thing – saying “We don’t know.”

          But “We don’t know” doesn’t pay well, and doesn’t pollute
          minds well.

          So, science doesn’t say “We don’t know”, but instead puts on a
          show.

          Ka-ching!

        • Kodie

          The argument you think you’re winning is entirely in your imagination. All you are doing is exposing what an ignorant person you are and that you have nothing to rely on but arrogance and evasion to pretend you know a damn thing about anything. All of us know this while you embarrass yourself.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          Science “says” it does not know about things it does not know.
          When it comes to evolution? It knows.

          When it comes to knowledge, science and yourself are two entirely different things.

        • Michael Neville

          Since GODDIDIT isn’t true then abiogenesis is what’s left. Got a better explanation? The 2500 year old creation myth some Hebrew priests stole from the Babylonians doesn’t count as anything other than a story.

          No. I don’t have to do anything.

          No, you don’t have anything. If you did you’d be showing it to us. Instead we get evasions, sneers, ad hominems, and outright refusals to answer questions or give explanation.

          Sneering at the science you hate just shows you to be an idiot. But we knew that about you already.

        • MNb

          “So, from that I can conclude, among other things, that you
          believe *abiogenesis* is *definitely true*. I’m surprised at you!”
          The non-sequitur is yours, not MN’s.

          “I don’t have to do anything.”
          Yes, you have. You’re a creationist.
          And a liar, given

          But “We don’t know” doesn’t pay well, and doesn’t pollute
          minds well.”
          1) Evolutionary biologists don’t get paid well.
          2) The answer to superconductivity at relatively high temperatures is right now “we don’t know”. Still no incomes have been cut and still nobody doubts the observations.

        • MNb

          “But evolution isn’t necessarily true, right?”
          If your 30 years of study had had any useful result you wouldn’t have asked this question.
          Thanks for confirming that your creacrap depends on ambiguity. In a scientific theory a brain is not an agent or organ of intelligence. Mosquitos have brains as well. Saying that a mosquito brain is an organ of intelligence is nonsense.

          The brain is an organ that serves as the center of the nervous system in all vertebrate and most invertebrate animals.

        • MNb

          Facts cannot be proven. Facts only can be observed.
          Another demonstration that you don’t understand science.
          “A brain is the result of the evolutionary process” is a hypothesis and as such part of a very successful scientific theory. There are facts supporting that hypothesis.

        • MR

          No. It would be more like dropping you randomly to one spot next to a million mile wall, then you blindly throwing a dart in its direction and hitting the *one and only* magical pin-point of a spot that would turn-on (i.e. make possible) *existence as we know it*.

          If you read something other than apologist literature–or even put a little thought into things–you’d already know what’s wrong with this argument. You have to presuppose “existence as we know it” as the goal in order for your one in a million argument to work. “Existence as we know it” wasn’t the only option. Had things turned out differently, the odds would have been just as fantastic. You don’t point to the winner of a lottery in hindsight and declare it a miracle that she won.

        • Herald Newman

          > You don’t point to the winner of a lottery in hindsight and
          > declare it a miracle that she won.

          Actually, he probably does!

        • MNb

          So you don’t want to understand the difference between legal laws and scientific laws either.

        • Rt1583

          “Except that if any one of those fundamental forces or universal constants was just the slightest bit different, you wouldn’t be here to make your invalid point.”

          How do you know this to be true?

        • See Noevo

          Well, I personally don’t know it to be true. I’m just going with what many, perhaps all, scientists in the field say. Here’s an example:
          “Faber, a professor at the University of California, Santa
          Cruz, was referring to the idea that there is something uncannily perfect about our universe. The laws of physics and the values of physical constants seem, as Goldilocks said, “just right.” If even one of a host of physical properties of the universe had been different, stars, planets, and galaxies would never have formed. Life would have been all but impossible.”

          http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/blogs/physics/2012/03/is-the-universe-fine-tuned-for-life/

        • Rt1583

          You argue against science on the basis of theism and make the statement I quoted above as your own and now you’re “just going with what many, perhaps all, scientists in the field say.”.
          Interesting way to build an argument. Every expert in the field of Christianity swears that god, jesus, and the holy ghost are real yet they’ve offered no proof nor anything which can lead to proof. The Catholic church honestly believes and teaches that a cracker and wine/juice turn into the body and blood of their Christ yet they can show no proof that it does so nor anything which can lead to this proof (ironic in itself that they rely on magic for this but decry magic as being of Satan, isn’t it?).

        • See Noevo

          “You argue against science on the basis of theism…”

          Wrong. I did not argue against science at all.
          I presented what I think are propositions of *naturalism* and said they are different from those of theism.
          …………………
          “Every expert in the field of Christianity swears that god,
          jesus, and the holy ghost are…
          The Catholic church honestly believes and teaches that …”

          Why do you and others here keep bringing up religion?
          Why can’t you just stick with the science and with naturalism?
          Why?

        • Rt1583

          Why can’t you just stick with your theism and magical sky daddy?
          Why do you keep bringing up naturalism and science?

        • WayneMan

          You might try reading the title of the article being discussed. You obviously do not realize that theism relates a belief in god(s), and for a several billion people, that relates directly to some religion.

    • MNb

      Warning: SN has been banned by Jason Rosenhouse for repeating his arguments endlessly without addressing relevant objections.
      Twice.
      Because as a good christian following the footsteps of Jesus this guy loves to keep on annoying bloggers after they have showed him the door.

      On JR’s blog SN has been pointed out that naturalism and specifically The Big Bang does not hold that something comes from nothing.

      I can’t remember if he has been told that a random non-rational process produces design in slowflakes, but I don’t think that would matter.

      • See Noevo

        “Warning: SN has been banned by Jason Rosenhouse …”

        Ah, yes, Jason. But give me some credit. I’ve been banned by other ScienceBlogs authors, as well:
        Ethan Siegel, Orac, Greg Laden (most of the time).
        Also banned by Patheos’ Atheist Channel’s Neil Carter, among
        others, and by Catholic Channel’s Mark Shea, among others.
        …………
        “I can’t remember if he has been told that a random non-rational process produces design in slowflakes, but I don’t think that would matter.”

        Yes, I’ve been told, but it doesn’t matter. See, “slowflakes”,
        or maybe snowflakes, are not random, but result from laws of nature. Secondly, the design of the snowflake represents zero information/instruction. The existence of design, or the appearance of design, is not really the primary criticism of evolution by those in the Intelligent Design community. The primary criticism is how a random, non-rational “process” could produce the INFORMATION/INSTRUCTIONS embodied in every living thing and in every one of its many systems.

        Farewell, MNb.
        Sayonara, Snowflake.

        • Michael Neville

          You troll atheist and science blogs and brag about being banned. This does not bode well for having a rational discussion with you. Unfortunately some of us suffer from SIWOTI syndrome.

          https://xkcd.com/386/

        • But give me some credit

          … for being a pain in the ass?

          I’m sure the reports of you from other blogs are incomplete and you really are eager to add to the conversation … ?

        • See Noevo

          You can be sure.

        • MNb

          So when will you start adding to the conversation? When Eastern and Pentecost are on the same day?
          You never added anything on Jason Rosenhouse’s blog either.

        • MNb

          Farewell?
          Are you leaving?
          You’d make my day.

        • See Noevo

          Just leaving you.
          Have a great day!

    • Kevin K

      Theism declares something came from magic words spoken by an invisible fairy. Naturalism does not.
      Theism declares that the magic fairy was constrained in its powers. Naturalism does not.
      Theism declares that an unseen, unknown, un-understood something helps you find your car keys and sends homos to hell. Naturalism does not.
      Theism declares an unseen, unknown, un-understood something else that’s the same thing as the other thing but not really loves you and wants you to spend eternity in outer space praising the other thing. Naturalism does not.
      Theism declares that life comes from magic words spoken by the magic fairy. Naturalism does not.

      That last one is actually true. Good on you.

      • See Noevo

        But as to what I actually wrote, you would agree.

        • Kevin K

          Actually, no. But, given your pitifully woeful understanding of even basic science — as evidenced by your original post — I can’t expect you to grok the difference between what you’re trying to say and what the actual physicists who study quantum effects are saying.

          “Something from nothing” as you understand it violates causality. They’re actually saying that “nothing” is an unstable quantum state and so it is highly improbable. And given that we’re here, the model has some “legs”.

          A “stable” state of nothingness would result in … well … nothing. No universe at all.

          There are other models, of course, that do not postulate “nothingness” as the pre-universe conditions. None of those models violate causality, either. However, none of those models, nor the quantum fluctuation model, seem to have any place in their equations for a “god”. God would be what’s known in physics as a hidden variable — and that would violate the known laws of physics. There are no hidden variables. Ergo, no god.

    • TheMarsCydonia

      You’ve certainly noticed that no one here bought your “argument”.
      Was this sincere rather than a parody?
      Is this the first time you’ve tried it?
      What objective did you have in mind when you posted this?

      • See Noevo

        Which of my six bullet points about naturalism do you buy the least? In other words, which do you feel is most a parody, most absurd, most wrong?

        Then, please explain why.

        P.S.
        Greg G and Myna, please feel free to answer, as well.

        • Michael Neville

          All of your bullets are absurd parodies of what science actually says. As to which one is the most absurd, that’s hard to chose, since all of them are the sorts of things that ignorant creationists spout off without bothering to show any evidence for their absurdities.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          So of the three questions asked, you answered: none.

          Was this sincere rather than a parody?
          Is this the first time you’ve tried it?
          What objective did you have in mind when you posted this?

        • See Noevo

          My post was sincere. I meant what I said.
          Now, for the second time, I’ll ask you:
          Which of my six bullet points about naturalism do you buy the least?
          In other words, which do you feel is most a parody, most absurd, most
          wrong?
          Then, please explain why.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          Then for the 3rd time I will ask you:
          Is this the first time you’ve tried it?
          What objective did you have in mind when you posted this?

          You answered 1 question out of three. 2 more to go before you get mine.

        • See Noevo

          “Is this the first time you’ve tried it?”

          If you mean was this the first time I’ve posted statements
          like some or all of the six bullets above, I’d say NO. I’m pretty sure I’ve made similar comments out in internet land in the past.

          “What objective did you have in mind when you posted this?”

          Telling the truth.
          …………..
          Now, for I think the third time, I’ll ask you:
          Which of my six bullet points about naturalism do you buy
          the least?
          In other words, which do you feel is most a parody, most
          absurd, most wrong?
          Then, please explain why.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          You have now answered 2 out of 3.

          So I will ask for the 4th time now:
          What objective did you have in mind when you posted this?

          And please, the truth.

        • See Noevo

          “What objective did you have in mind when you posted this?”

          I already answered and answered truthfully.
          My answer was “Telling the truth.”
          As in speaking truth to power!
          Speaking truth to B.S., baby.

          Now, for the fourth time, please answer my question.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          You have not answered truthfully since your objective cannot be “telling the truth”.

          So I will ask a 5th time:
          What objective did you have in mind when you posted this?

        • See Noevo

          Well, the only conclusion I can draw from this extended but fruitless
          exchange with you is that you actually can’t deny the validity of my
          statements.

          Oh, and one more:
          What an absolute pussy you are!

          Farewell,
          PussyTheMarsCydonia

        • TheMarsCydonia

          So you decide to run away. Run, run, run.

        • Michael Neville

          Sexist insults from SN. Hardly surprising.

        • Michael Neville

          Creationists like SN come to science and atheists blogs to tell us things that we know are wrong and which they know we won’t accept. Some of the smarter ones, and I’m not including SN in this group, attempt to justify their wrongness by offering various evidence from sources like Answers in Genesis.

          I think they come to places like this attempting to convert the heathen. The problem is that people like us have seen their bullshit before and know the answers to things like “you can’t get something from nothing” and “the Second Law of Thermos Bottles says evolution is impossible.”

    • Rt1583

      You’re correct, theism holds that an unseen, unknown and un-understood sky daddy does it all through magic.

      What truly sets the two apart is that what Naturalism holds can be tested to be proven true or false and inquiry can be made to answer the unknown and understand that which is not understood.

      Where and when has theism offered anything of the sort? What has theism offered that is similar?

    • Ignorant Amos

      – Something comes from nothing (i.e. the Big Bang),

      When was there ever nothing?

      What did your immaterial, outside time and space, intelligent designer, make everything out of?

      • See Noevo

        I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and chalk up your question to some form of PTSD?

        • Myna

          I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and chalk up your question to some form of PTSD?

          And you’re just a common slug.

          You find humor in writing blackface vernacular; you admit to knowing nothing about Buddhism and then give some incoherent response to a statement of high regard for science given by the Dalai Lama. You then give further evidence of your vacuity by way of some stupid clip from Caddyshack, not because it is satire, but because you find mockery, itself, amusing. Now, you diminish the serious condition of PTSD when asked a question you cannot comprehend an answer to.

          Why you are not banned just for being an unmitigated asshole and a waste of forum space, I do not understand.

        • See Noevo

          “And you’re just a common slug… incoherent… unmitigated asshole…”

          Myna,
          I’m surprised at you. Don’t blame me. I just evolved this way by mutations I couldn’t control.
          If you’re going to get angry at anyone or anything, get angry at evolution.

          P.S.
          That gives me an idea for some bumper stickers:

          “Don’t blame me. Blame evolution!”

        • Myna

          No, it’s called bigotry and self-conceit. A choice you have made all on your own.

        • See Noevo

          No, no, no, Myna!

          “Bigotry” and “self-conceit” are meaningless (or at least morally neutral) human constructs coming from an organ, the brain, which meaninglessly and randomly and un-designedly evolved.

          For Darwin’s sake, come on, Myna!
          Get with the evo program.

        • Michael Neville

          SN doesn’t understand how evolution works but thinks he’s qualified to label it “junk science”.

          BTW, SN, I’m still waiting for your evidence that evolution is junk science.

        • Myna

          Add dishonest deflector to the list as well.

        • Without Malice

          OK, it’s evolution’s fault that you’re a total asshole who’s proud of his own ignorance.

        • See Noevo

          No, *evolution* is “proud”.

        • MR

          Arrogant ignorance. A real witness for Christ. It makes me want to become a Christian again.

          I’m pretty sure these are the types Jesus was speaking about when he said, “…by their fruit you will recognize them. Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven.”

        • MNb

          He’s not even entertaining.

        • Michael Neville

          It’s a reasonable question and, as usual for you, you don’t have a reasonable answer. So you make it look like its the questioner’s fault that you can’t answer the question.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Questions…plural ya fuckin’ Clampett.

          That you can’t answer is okay, I’m used to it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You are an oxygen thieving piece of shite who has nothing, nadda, zip, zilch, sweet fanny adams.

          And that’s why I win ya tosspot.

        • See Noevo

          Ignorant Amos.

        • Myna
        • Dys

          So…you can’t answer the question, which undermines your ignorant statement, so you’re just trying to dismiss it out of hand.

          You’ve lost because you’re dishonest and don’t know what you’re talking about.

      • See Noevo

        For the benefit of Ignorant Amos, my reply to Dys:

        Dys: “Do me a favour. Demonstrate there was ever ‘nothing’. All
        we have evidence for is ‘something’. Naturalism doesn’t say there was ever ‘nothing’.”

        Me: “Cosmologists say, perhaps to the dismay of some,
        that our universe did NOT always exist, that our universe, all existence as
        we know it, HAD A BEGINNING a specific number of years ago.

        In the cosmologists and naturalism-ists view, what and where did that finite beginning come from if not from nothing?”

        • Greg G.

          The response you gave is not worthy of being repeated. It has been trounced already.

          How can a cause acting on nothing have an effect?

        • Herald Newman

          God can do anything, no explanation needed. /s

        • Greg G.

          We don’t know of anything that magic cannot do and Divine Magic is even more powerful!

        • WayneMan

          So maybe David Blaine is a God? Cool.

        • Michael Neville

          Cosmologists don’t say that the universe came from nothing. They say they don’t know what, if anything, preceded the universe.

          EDIT: It’s quite possible the time began with the beginning of the universe. So the question “what preceded the universe?” could be as meaningful as “what’s north of the north pole?”.

        • Ignorant Amos

          “Cosmologists say, perhaps to the dismay of some, that our universe did NOT always exist, that our universe, all existence as we know it, HAD A BEGINNING a specific number of years ago.

          And that answers the question as to when was there ever a state of nothing how exactly?

          In the cosmologists and naturalism-ists view, what and where did that finite beginning come from if not from nothing?

          I’ll ask you again, because you are toiling with this question badly. When was there nothing?

          Do yerself a favour and take ten minutes time out to view…

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7XDNomPwK0

        • See Noevo

          “I’ll ask you again, because you are toiling with this question badly. When was there nothing?”

          According to Big Bang cosmologists, PRIOR TO when the
          UNIVERSE BEGAN about 13 billion years ago.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          Of course, you are wrong again.

          But no need to ask me why, I will gladly explain to you once you stop running from this question and answer it honestly:
          What is your objective here?

          (I would ask “why is honesty so hard for you” but everyone here already knows the answer to that question).

        • Michael Neville

          You still haven’t defined nothing. What is nothing? How do you know that cosmologists claim there was nothing when several of us have told you that’s not what cosmologists say?

          I know you didn’t bother to watch the video that Ignorant Amos gave a link to because it does talk about various forms of nothing.

        • Ignorant Amos

          According to Big Bang cosmologists, PRIOR TO when the UNIVERSE BEGAN about 13 billion years ago.

          Do they really? Which ones?

        • See Noevo

          I think cosmologists, virtually all of them, say
          ‘the universe began with the Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago.’

          How many say there was ‘something’ before that 13.7 billion
          year ago beginning?

        • MNb

          No cosmologist says that.
          No cosmologist excludes the option either.
          No cosmologist claims there was nothing a priori to when the Universe began.

          Some think there might have been something – and don’t agree what that something was.
          Some think the question is meaningless.
          Some have other ideas.
          None of them says anything definitive.

          Because unlike creacrappers like you cosmologists know and admit when they don’t know something.
          Like the answer to this question.

          Thumb rule: when a creacrapper like you begins a sentence with “I think scientists …..” he is lying – deliberately or accidentally and/or ignorantly and/or stupidly. You just confirmed this thumb rule.
          If you indeed spend 30 years studying stuff like this you are one of the least effective students I’ve ever met, so little you have learned.

        • Kodie

          Although See Noevo may have claimed to have studied evolution for 30 years, he later admitted that he learned by rote about evolution in school and assumed it to be true (like everything they tell you in school) until, for reasons he can’t even remember, he suddenly decided he didn’t like their tone and that evolution was a crock. That is a lie, I mean, he was not even thinking about evolution, he admits like I do, that whether or not it’s true is not something I directly have any reason to think about. One day, spontaneously and without any triggering influence, See Noevo decided that science was a conspiracy and evolution proponents were in it for the money.

        • MNb

          “That is a lie.”
          MNb’s Golden Rule: a creationist lies unless proven otherwise.

    • Dys

      – Something comes from nothing (i.e. the Big Bang),

      That’s not what the Big Bang theory states. You’re simply wrong.

      Various laws of nature have no law maker (i.e. the four fundamental forces; universal constants),

      The laws are descriptive, not prescriptive.

      Your points about Dark Matter and Dark Energy seem to be whiny complaints that science doesn’t have all the answers yet.

      – Life comes from non-life (i.e. abiogenesis),

      There’s some evidence for the possibility of abiogenesis. Ignorant creationists like to pretend that the idea was debunked as spontaneous generation by Pasteur, but they don’t really know what they’re talking about.

      A random, non-rational process produces design and rationality (i.e. evolution),

      That’s not true. In evolution doesn’t say that anything is designed. Quite the opposite. And it says nothing about rationality.

      And of course the other problem is that you’re ignorantly lumping all these things under the label of naturalism. Granted, these things are naturalistic, but they are not naturalism itself.

      Of course, your alternative is the meaningless assumption that a god magicked everything into existence, which doesn’t really answer anything, and acts as a substitute for ignorance.

      • See Noevo

        Dyscredited.

        • Dys

          So you have no credible response, and have no actual interest in answers to your points. You don’t like science and prefer to believe in magic. You’re dismissed as yet another ignorant creationist troll.

        • See Noevo

          Dysmissed.

    • – Something comes from nothing

      Ouch! With that kind of clueless start, why bother with the rest?

      • See Noevo

        Do tell about the “something” that caused the existence of the universe to begin about 13.7 billion years ago.

        • Do tell about the “nothing” that preceded the cause of the universe about 13.7 billion years ago.

        • See Noevo

          “Do tell about the “nothing” that preceded the cause of the universe about 13.7 billion years ago.”

          I couldn’t, because there wasn’t. There was a “something”,
          and you know Who.

        • Dang! I was hoping you wouldn’t drop the “Just cuz!” nuclear bomb.

          I’ll slink away now, defeated.

        • MNb

          Do tell how you know the existence of our Universe was caused. Then write a paper on it; you might be in for a Nobel Price. See, Modern Physics suggests there was no cause.

        • WayneMan

          The honest answer is no one knows. We have no way to look back past t=0+ or beyond yet. Maybe never. It could have been that the last trillion or so universes collapsed back in on themselves, and simply restarted the cycle. It could be the result of some parallel universe we yet do not understand. We just don’t know. However, “God did it” has similar issues, but believers want to use a special pleading argument that “everything must have a beginning and cause”, but God should get a free pass. No, God does not get a free pass just because you need it to make your argument work.

        • See Noevo

          Philosophy and theology are not science.
          But neither is your talk of “the last trillion or so universes”, “parallel universe.”

        • WayneMan

          The point is, no one knows. Your “God did it” is certainly not science.

  • davidt

    geeks on both sides grow up.

    • Myna

      And this is relevant to a discussion blog entitled, Cross Examined, because…?

      • davidt

        oh you are so right. Lets see let me word it more clearly for you, which is the more pure the language Klingon or elfish?

        Aspergers is fascinating, like Persian house cats discussing lions theoretically. Is that a genetic development due to self domestication of the university? now the Asperger elvish crew says that elvish is purer, poetically, while the Klingon crew says Klingon is newer and purer and more accurate. Now we can see that the term alma mater was first outside the domain of the aspergers, eventually it became the nurturing momma of studies that aspergers developed. Interestingly the elvish crew are correct the alma mater was started by momma church but the Klingon crew insists that daddy science if truth.

        In the mean time seagulls don’t care aspergers, you are arguing with yourself and nature isn’t paying attention to you at all.

        • Myna

          Would you like some French or Blue Cheese with that tossed salad, sir?

        • davidt

          Ha ha ha geek so funny read that joke book.
          Why couldn’t the student understand how to simplify 2n + 2n? It was 4n to him.

          Ha ha ha geek get it 4n!!!! ha ha ha geek get it 4n? ha ha ha geek get it 4n!!!!!!!

        • Michael Neville

          Since you appear to have trouble understanding Myna’s comment let me put it another way. Fuck off!

        • Zeta

          I don’t think this davidt guy is interested in a serious discussion. I suggest flagging his comments as inappropriate.

        • Kodie

          I’m not sure what happens when you flag comments, but you can go over to his profile and click the … next to follow and report him to disqus.

        • Myna

          Disqus needs to add a deliberate trolling option to their list.

        • Greg G.

          I don’t think this davidt guy is interested in a serious discussion.

          I have yet to see that he is capable of serious discussion.

        • Myna

          Some crackers, perhaps, with that incoherent soup?

        • Michael Neville

          As someone who has Aspergers I request that you not make rude comments about a subject you’re obviously ignorant about.

        • davidt

          You don’t have asperger you are asperger. There is not a literal asperger quality that happens to an independent spirit, being, soul, self. How christian of you asperger to imagine so. My neurology is synesthesia. We have been carrying on this nonsensical discussion since at least heraclitius vs. Pythagoras. Heraclitus was right pjuthagpreans are idiots, although highly intelligent , very clever, and linguistically strong. So this whole topic is absurdly comical based on the title it’s all in your head about the world around you linguistically mathematically sterile.

        • Michael Neville

          I have what is clinically called “Asperger’s Syndrome”. As I said before, you’re obviously ignorant about it. Otherwise you wouldn’t be making stupid comments about “have” versus “are”. Do us both a favor, shut the fuck up about a subject you know nothing about. You’ll appear to be slightly less of an ignorant asshole. Unless, of course, you like people thinking you’re an ignorant asshole.

        • davidt

          Work on breathing, getting out and actually hiking around in nature l, learn to listen to nature rather than talking about. I know you have hyper extreme poor listening issues, mine is the opposite!!! Same results though. John Muir was not a naturalist not was he a theist as theism is expressed in this story. And btw if it a degree in religious aspergers called systematic/asestetic theology. Btw you make a terrible flawed assumption that theists understand the topic!!! Empirical evidence says they don’t and that is a “scientific fact”.

        • Michael Neville

          I know you have hyper extreme poor listening issues, mine is the opposite!!!

          You really are a pompous, pretentious, patronizing prig.

          Btw you make a terrible flawed assumption that theists understand the topic!!!

          Nowhere have I said that theists understand Aspergers. Nor have I said that they didn’t. Some do and most, like you, don’t.

          I really, truly make the strong suggestion that you just shut the fuck up about Aspergers. All you’re doing is making me angry with your bloviating ignorance.

        • davidt

          All I said was theists don’t understand the topic “theism or god” reading comprehension is fascinating isn’t it. We can bend reality and what we read to fit out perspective!! Man you read my stuff like a religious fanatic reads the bible. Poorly.

        • Myna

          It’s not all you said, and that’s part of the troll fuckwittery you employ.

        • davidt

          my original statement is affirmed I said grow up. Which you are correct, my original statement implies that the listener is incapable developmentally of understanding the statement. Sort of like talking to my infant daughter.

        • Myna

          my original statement is affirmed I said grow up

          “Grow up!” saith the troll.

          Using Asperger’s Syndrome as any component to an argument against the topic, Theism vs. Naturalism, is not a sign of a mature intellect, I don’t care how old you are, it is a sign of the worst kind of self-conceit and ignorance. Your comments have been incoherent word salads. The kind where one could only be inside your own brain to make sense of them.

        • davidt

          Myna the martyr . In a different forum different topic written in a different way someone who posted synesthesia types you can be so dumb I would just laugh and say correcto mundo much dumber than asperger types. Ironic actually, I have given aspergers a big complement in asperger world you are incredibly intelligent bunch and you get your emotional panties in a bunch over it. So this whole naturalism vs theism thing is stupid there are things dictating the dialog deeper than stupid sophist “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin” debates. That’s all this topic is and nothing more.

        • Myna

          Some sanctimonious wine to go with that, sir?

        • Michael Neville

          Still trolling.

        • Dys

          If you don’t care about the topic at hand, you could simply fuck off instead of trolling like a self-aggrandizing moron.

        • Michael Neville

          I didn’t discuss theists’ understanding of “theism or god” because that isn’t the topic of this particular thread, which is “theism vs naturalism.” Reading comprehension isn’t one of your strengths nor is clear writing.

        • MNb

          People like Davidt always comment about subjects they’re obgiously ignorant about and usually rude ones. So it’s better to take those comments as compliments – in this case as a recognition that Asperger patients can be as reasonable and intelligent as Myna.
          I’m happy to confirm that you’re a good example.

        • Greg G.

          People like Davidt always comment about subjects they’re obgiously ignorant about and usually rude ones.

          There doesn’t seem to be any subject he is knowledgeable about but he can’t shut up. I picture him as a chronic victim of bullies desperately looking for someone lower in the pecking order.

    • T-Paine

      …said the geek from the sidelines.

    • Greg G.
  • See Noevo

    Gee, 155 comments and counting!
    Do many articles at Patheos get 155+ comments?
    (Yes, I have a number of those comments, but I’m just a stand-in for millions of others who think like me.)

    So, maybe the Great Debate isn’t over?

    BTW, what’s the significance of the picture at the top?

    • Susan

      Do many articles at Patheos get 155 comments?

      Many articles here at CrossExamined do. A cursory check would have given you that information but you’re not the sort of guy who bothers checking his work.

      I’m just a stand-in for millions of others who think like me.

      You mean lazy people who repeat bullshit and don’t bother to check or show their work?

      So, maybe the Great Debate isn’t over?

      There’s no great debate. You’re a troll.

      • See Noevo

        Me: “Do many articles at Patheos get 155 comments?”
        You: “Many articles here at CrossExamined do. A cursory check would have given you that information but you’re not the sort of guy who bothers checking his work.”

        I didn’t realize “CrossExamined” (CE) was its own separate thing, a special subset of the special Atheist Channel.

        I just now took a look at the first two pages of articles on CE and see that a full 25% of the 20 articles got over 155 comments.
        …………..
        Me: “So, maybe the Great Debate isn’t over?”
        You: “There’s no great debate.”

        Then maybe, at a minimum, you should tell the person who writes the titles for articles at CE.
        …………..
        “…not the sort of guy who bothers *checking his work*… lazy
        people who repeat bullshit and don’t bother to *check or show their work*?”

        Are you a high school teacher?

        • Susan

          You: Naturalism claims that something came from nothing.

          That was your opening statement. One which you never backed up.

          Go on.

        • See Noevo

          “You: Naturalism claims that something came from nothing. That
          was your opening statement. One which you never backed up.”

          Actually, what I said was “Put simply, Naturalism holds that – Something comes from nothing (i.e. the Big Bang).”

          If you have a problem with that then, please,

          Go on.

        • Susan

          You made the claim.

          Go on.

        • See Noevo

          You apparently DO have a problem with my statement
          “Put simply, Naturalism holds that – Something comes from nothing (i.e. the Big Bang).”

          Please, explain your problem with it.
          Go on.
          …….
          And apparently, you ARE a high school teacher!

        • Susan

          Please explain your problem with it.

          I don’t know. I don’t know what you mean yet. You made the claim in undefined terms.

          Define your terms.

          Explain the relevancee of the the Big Bang in modern physics. Define “something” and “nothing”. and what cosmoology has to say about it.

          You claimed that “naturalism holds that ‘ Something cames from noting (i.e.) the Big Bang:.

          What do you mean?

          Be specific.

        • See Noevo

          What do I mean?
          Come now. As a high school teacher you should be able to think harder than that.
          Think about it some more and get back to me.
          And remember to ‘check and show your work.’

        • Adam King

          Are you too uninformed to provide an answer, or too uninformed to understand the question?

        • MNb

          Neither. He’s too dishonest.

        • TheNuszAbides

          or 2/3, or all 3.

        • Michael Neville

          SN drops little turds and, when asked to give evidence to support them or even to define his terms, refuses to answer. What’s more, it’s the asker’s fault that he’s not answering.

        • MNb

          Susan is capable of thinking harder than you ever have done in your pathetic creacrappy life.
          She is not capable of mind reading though and creacrappers like you – one of the millions who think like you, ie whose minds are infected – are notoriously ambiguous. So to avoid attacking a strawman she wants you to specify what you claim.
          It’s telling that you refuse to do so.

        • Myna

          x 10

        • Dys

          Summary: See Noevo is a lazy creationist who can’t be bothered to defend his ignorant statement.

        • Rudy R

          Dare I say it? Debating this knucklehead makes me miss Luke Breuer.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Lukieboy is still about the place if you miss him.

          But yeah, this is one of them special kinda knuckleheads that pitch up periodically. The sort that is so fucking stupid that it gets right on ones nerves. Like Joe Pasquale’s song…

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzt22dSGFKk

        • Michael Neville

          I don’t miss Luke Breuer in the least. This guy is almost as annoying but hasn’t made it into Brueresque trolling yet.

        • Dys

          Except that’s not what naturalism says…that’s what ignorant creationists want naturalism to say.

          Do me a favour. Demonstrate there was ever ‘nothing’. All we have evidence for is ‘something’. Naturalism doesn’t say there was ever ‘nothing’. Essentially, you’ve made up a story and are pretending it’s an accurate summary of a position you disagree with.

          In other words, your statement is nothing more than a strawman.

        • busterggi

          Of course there was nothing, he had it up his sleeve just as every magician does.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Do me a favour. Demonstrate there was ever ‘nothing’.

          Good luck with that…am still waiting for just an answer, not even a demonstration.

        • See Noevo

          “Do me a favour. Demonstrate there was ever ‘nothing’. All
          we have evidence for is ‘something’. Naturalism doesn’t say there was ever ‘nothing’.”

          Cosmologists say, perhaps to the dismay of some,
          that our universe did NOT always exist, that our universe, all existence as we know it, HAD A BEGINNING a specific number of years ago.

          In the cosmologists and naturalism-ists view, what and where did that finite beginning come from if not from nothing?

        • Dys

          You’ve confused “universe had a beginning” with “there was once nothing”. They are not equivalent. All the cosmologists are really saying is that the universe, in its present form, began to exist. Anything before the Big Bang is essentially a giant question mark, so assuming there was nothing before it is a mistake on your part.

          The Big Bang was not nothing – it was the rapid expansion of a singularity.

          Ex nihilo creation is the Christian view, not the naturalistic one.

        • See Noevo

          I see.

          How’s about I revise to
          “Put simply, Naturalism holds that
          – Something comes from a giant question mark something
          because something always existed even though the universe didn’t always exist (i.e. the Big Bang)” ?

        • Dys

          How’s about I revise to
          “Put simply, Naturalism holds that
          – Something comes from a giant question mark something
          because something always existed even though the universe didn’t always exist (i.e. the Big Bang)” ?

          So your basic complaint about naturalism is that it doesn’t know what, if anything, existed before the Big Bang, so you prefer replacing that ignorance with “goddidit” and pretending that’s a better answer? Relabeling “We don’t know” as “God did magic” is intellectually dishonest.

          Oh, and you’re still making a category mistake. The Big Bang is a naturalistic explanation, but it isn’t naturalism itself. You’re trying to impose a dogma on naturalism. There are other models of the universe which are naturalistic that don’t adhere to Big Bang theory at all. It’s not the scientific consensus at the moment, but the idea is out there.

          http://phys.org/news/2015-02-big-quantum-equation-universe.html

          The only thing that naturalism holds is that “only natural (as opposed to supernatural or spiritual) laws and forces operate in the world.”

        • See Noevo

          “So your basic complaint about naturalism is that it doesn’t
          know what, if anything, existed before the Big Bang, so you prefer replacing that ignorance with “goddidit” and pretending that’s a better answer?”

          Where is the “complaint” in my above revision? Where?
          It’s just a statement of fact.
          Why, you could say it’s… it’s… descriptive, not prescriptive.
          …………….
          “There are other models of the universe which are
          naturalistic that don’t adhere to Big Bang theory at all. It’s not the
          scientific consensus at the moment, but the idea is out there. http://phys.org/news/2015-02-b…”

          It is out there, alright. It’s so remarkable that it doesn’t
          deserve to be hidden behind that hyperlink. Here’s the ‘out there’ idea for all to see:

          “(Phys.org) —The universe may have existed forever,
          according to a new model that applies quantum correction terms to complement Einstein’s theory of general relativity. The model may also account for dark matter and dark energy, resolving multiple problems at once.

          The widely accepted age of the universe, as estimated by
          general relativity, is 13.8 billion years. In the beginning, everything in
          existence is thought to have occupied a single infinitely dense point, or singularity. Only after this point began to expand in a “Big Bang”
          did the universe officially begin.

          Although the Big Bang singularity arises directly and
          unavoidably from the mathematics of general relativity, some scientists see it as problematic because the math can explain only what happened immediately after—not at or before—the singularity.

          “The Big Bang singularity is the most serious problem
          of general relativity because the laws of physics appear to break down there,” Ahmed Farag Ali at Benha University and the Zewail City of Science and Technology, both in Egypt, told Phys.org.

          Ali and coauthor Saurya Das at the University of Lethbridge
          in Alberta, Canada, have shown in a paper published in Physics Letters B that the Big Bang singularity can be resolved by their new model in which the universe has no beginning and no end.

          Old ideas revisited

          The physicists emphasize that their quantum correction terms
          are not applied ad hoc in an attempt to specifically eliminate the Big Bang singularity. Their work is based on ideas by the theoretical physicist David Bohm, who is also known for his contributions to the philosophy of physics. Starting in the 1950s, Bohm explored replacing classical geodesics (the shortest path between two points on a curved surface) with quantum trajectories.

          In their paper, Ali and Das applied these Bohmian
          trajectories to an equation developed in the 1950s by physicist Amal Kumar Raychaudhuri at Presidency University in Kolkata, India. Raychaudhuri was also Das’s teacher when he was an undergraduate student of that institution in the ’90s.

          Using the quantum-corrected Raychaudhuri equation, Ali and
          Das derived quantum-corrected Friedmann equations, which describe the expansion and evolution of universe (including the Big Bang) within the context of general relativity. Although it’s not a true theory of quantum gravity, the model does contain elements from both quantum theory and general relativity. Ali and Das also expect their results to hold even if and when a full theory of quantum gravity is formulated.

          No singularities nor dark stuff

          In addition to not predicting a Big Bang singularity, the
          new model does not predict a “big crunch” singularity, either. In
          general relativity, one possible fate of the universe is that it starts to
          shrink until it collapses in on itself in a big crunch and becomes an infinitely dense point once again.

          Ali and Das explain in their paper that their model avoids
          singularities because of a key difference between classical geodesics and Bohmian trajectories. Classical geodesics eventually cross each other, and the points at which they converge are singularities. In contrast, Bohmian trajectories never cross each other, so singularities do not appear in the equations.

          In cosmological terms, the scientists explain that the
          quantum corrections can be thought of as a cosmological constant term (without the need for dark energy) and a radiation term. These terms keep the universe at a finite size, and therefore give it an infinite age. The terms also make predictions that agree closely with current observations of the cosmological constant and density of the universe.

          New gravity particle

          In physical terms, the model describes the universe as being
          filled with a quantum fluid. The scientists propose that this fluid might be composed of gravitons—hypothetical massless particles that mediate the force of gravity. If they exist, gravitons are thought to play a key role in a theory of quantum gravity.

          In a related paper, Das and another collaborator, Rajat
          Bhaduri of McMaster University, Canada, have lent further credence to this model. They show that gravitons can form a Bose-Einstein condensate (named after Einstein and another Indian physicist, Satyendranath Bose) at temperatures that were present in the universe at all epochs.

          Motivated by the model’s potential to resolve the Big Bang
          singularity and account for dark matter and dark energy, the physicists plan to analyze their model more rigorously in the future. Their future work includes redoing their study while taking into account small inhomogeneous and anisotropic perturbations, but they do not expect small perturbations to significantly affect the results.

          “It is satisfying to note that such straightforward corrections can potentially resolve so many issues at once,” Das said.”
          ……………
          ………….
          Far out!

        • Kodie

          I’ll suggest you didn’t read it and can’t articulate any comment about it.

        • Susan

          The only thing that naturalism holds is that “only natural (as opposed to supernatural or spiritual) laws and forces operate in the world.”

          Philosopical naturalism holds this.

          Methodological naturalism is a different beast. It just operates on the basis that so far, natural facts have natural explanations and that “supernatural” claims never provide a reliable methodology.

          Claims of a flat earth look the same as claims of objective moral values emanating from an uevidenced agent which looks the same as the healing powers of magnetic bracelets which looks the same as my Immaterial Snowflake Fairies.

          “Supernatural” has no definition. It just says it’s “not natural” or it’s b”beyond nature” or that it “transcends nature”.

          It’s just special pleading in fancy underwear. It never defines “nature” and shows how you can know where nature’s been transcended.

          It just says, “Whatever the normal rules of knowledge claims are, I don’t have play by them.

          There are these other rules. I don’t have to be clear or consistent about what they are.

          I just get to say “not that” because “transcendence”.

          Ask them to define and support their claims and watch ow ugly it gets.

        • Greg G.

          Our universe appears to have come from the expansion of a very dense region. That doesn’t mean there was nothing. Our universe may be a pocket universe inside other universes.

          Stars are arranged in galaxies. Galaxies are arranged in clusters. Clusters of galaxies are arranged in superclusters. The clusters inside a supercluster are more strongly bound by gravity to one another than the superclusters are to one another. The superclusters are moving away from one another and that movement is accelerating because the space the superclusters are in is moving away from the other regions of space. Nothing can exceed the speed of light through space but space is not limited so the superclusters will continue to accelerate away from one another forever. When they are traveling away from one another at greater than light speed, they will not be visible to one another.

          The distances between them will become greater and greater compared to their sizes. A pocket universe that pops into existence is far more likely to be in the space between superclusters after they have reached superluminal speed so it will appear to be isolated.

        • See Noevo

          “Our universe may be a pocket universe inside other universes…”

          Say no more.
          Greg Gone.

        • Greg G.

          Pocket universe

          A pocket universe is a concept in inflationary theory, proposed by Alan Guth. It defines a realm like the one that contains the observable universe as only one of many inflationary zones.[1][2]

          Astrophysicist Jean-Luc Lehners, of the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science, has argued that an inflationary universe does produce pockets. As he wrote in 2012, “Eternal inflation produces pocket universes with all physically allowed vacua and histories. Some of these pocket universes might contain a phase of slow-roll inflation, some might undergo cycles of cosmological evolution, and some might look like the Galilean genesis or other ’emergent’ universe scenarios. Which one of these types of universe we are most likely to inhabit depends on the measure we choose in order to regulate the infinities inherent in eternal inflation.”[3]

          But, Lehners continues, “the current leading measure proposals—namely, the global light-cone cutoff and its local counterpart, the causal diamond measure—as well as closely related proposals, all predict that we should live in a pocket universe that starts out with a small Hubble rate, thus favoring emergent and cyclic models.” Lehners adds, deadpan, “Pocket universes which undergo cycles are further preferred, because they produce habitable conditions repeatedly inside each pocket.”

          Religion has damaged your brain.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Firing science at him the way you are doing is gonna splode his noodle.

          It’s too hard…the thinking is hurting him.

        • WayneMan
        • Myna

          Brilliant!

        • See Noevo
        • Greg G.

          Your brain on religion, gone.

        • Michael Neville

          Cosmologists say, perhaps to the dismay of some, that our universe did NOT always exist, that our universe, all existence as we know it, HAD A BEGINNING a specific number of years ago.

          You don’t understand the cosmologists’ argument. They say that the universe had a beginning and that we don’t know what, if anything, came before the universe. It may have been nothing (a term you’ve yet to define) or it may have been something else. We don’t know.

          In the cosmologists and naturalism-ists view, what and where did that finite beginning come from if not from nothing?

          You need to read about the various multiverse hypotheses. It may be that our universe budded from another universe or from something completely different. Again, we don’t know.

          Incidentally, it’s only anti-science people like you who claim to have absolute knowledge. In science “we don’t know” is a respectable response.

          “Science knows it doesn’t know everything, because if it did then it would stop.” –Dara O’Briain

        • MR

          You need to read about the various multiverse hypotheses.

          BWAH-HA-HA…!!!! Oh, that’s a good one MN. As if that will happen.

        • Michael Neville

          “Hope springs eternal from the human breast.” –Alexander Pope An Essay on Man

        • MR

          It’s almost as if he hasn’t read all the literature he claims. It’s almost as if he’s basing his scientific views on inaccurate portrayals of science. It’s almost as if those inaccurate portrayals of science are coming from creationist websites full of fallacious arguments. Weird.

        • See Noevo

          You folks are so entertaining.
          Really.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          What is your objective here? And why are you afraid of honestly answering that question?

        • See Noevo

          Maybe it’s to drive you battier than you already are?

          Good night, Pussy.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          So you are running again. Why are you so afraid?

          And why do you think that your blatant dishonesty, willfull ignorance and obvious cravenness would drive anyone batty? I mean except for you, as your comments becomre more and more unhinged.

        • MR

          They are becoming a bit unhinged, aren’t they? This is what happens when you paint yourself into a corner and realize you don’t have the answers you thought you did.

          Gee, what would Jesus do…, become arrogant, flippant and condescending? Not only does he make a lousy apologist, he makes a lousy Christian.

        • TheNuszAbides

          sadly, all it might take to ‘justify’ the shenanigans is for SN to garner petty rewards from just one other cheerleader-for-ignorance. e.g. (and to be clear, this is wild speculation–it’s just more tasty/entertaining than looking at another one of SN’s ridiculous potshots) a hot spouse/lover from a rich theist family. i’ve seen a couple of men, and heard second-hand of a couple of women, who smothered their habitual skepticism or other intellectual integrity in exchange for comfort or conjugal bliss in a tiny bubble of Traditional Values.

        • Greg G.

          See http://disq.us/p/1dufldh

          Maybe he is trying to see how many page views he can get per article so Bob can live on a cruise ship.

        • Michael Neville

          You’re not.
          Really.

        • MNb

          And creationists are so stupid, ignorant and dishonest.
          Really.

        • busterggi

          Try reading your own post. hint – “as we know it”

        • See Noevo

          “Try reading your own post. hint – “as we know it””

          Ah, I see.
          So, instead of a definite beginning of “our universe, all existence as we know it”, maybe the beginning of ‘ANOTHER universe, of all existence as we do NOT know it, and NEVER WILL know it, because
          it’s OUTSIDE our universe’ ?

        • MNb

          Who knows? Not you and I.
          But if I may speculate:

          http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/quantum-field-theory/
          Unlike your god this speculation yields testable predictions.
          As an apologist pointed out to me: quantum fields are not nothing in the philosophical meaning of the word, only in the physical meaning.
          And so far it’s meaningful to say that quantum fields exist they exist in our natural reality.
          Yup – another gap your god can’t find refuge with anymore.

        • Michael Neville

          What’s your evidence that naturalism holds that absurd idea? You didn’t just pull that nonsense out of your anus, you must have some reason for saying something that silly. So what is it? Though there is the possibility you did pull it out of your anus.

        • When you first popped up, you assured me that the reports about you were exaggerated, and you had a lot of substantial material, ideas, evidence, whatever to add to the conversation. So far, it looks like chum.

          Don’t just brag about how big your dick is. Add to the conversation.

    • Myna

      BTW, what’s the significance of the picture at the top?

      But you’re an oh so very clever troll, it is a wonder you cannot see how self-evident the answer to that question is.

      • See Noevo

        I think I got it now.
        The validity of the evolutionary *interpretation* of the fossil record crumbling through the paleontologists’ fingers.

        • Michael Neville

          Want to guess again? Hint: Fossils aren’t found in gravel.

        • Myna

          Well, to be fair, sometimes you can find a few Petoskey stones if the gravel isn’t too finely granulated.

        • WayneMan

          Maybe it represents God, forming Adam out of dust and dirt, since so much of our body composition is dust and dirt (NOT).

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Myna

          The guy is too devoted to being vacuous…and he has, by his own declaration, examined ALL the evidence, to boot!

    • MNb

      Lots of articles at Cross Examined go well over 1000 and some have reached 10 000.

  • See Noevo

    As of about 5:15 p.m. on 11/20/16, comments here total 233.
    Probably most of them are by me or in response to me.
    Whew! So many issues and questions in the “settled” Great Debate.
    I don’t know about you, but I need a short break.
    It IS Sunday, after all. A day of rest.
    So, I’ll go all the way back to some earlier questions,
    numbers 67 and 68.
    Terry Kath’s Stratocaster runs in the intro alone will sooth me
    fine:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qupeVLtXWLY

    • MNb

      “So many issues and questions in the “settled” Great Debate.”
      Let me correct this: so much ignorance, stupidity and dishonesty coming from you.

    • TheMarsCydonia

      I will not disagree with you on this particular comment of yours:
      You do have many (dishonest) questions and have even more issues.

  • See Noevo

    Here’s a question:

    The Great Debate is “settled”, so, why are
    Kodie and
    Myna and
    Zeta and
    Ignorant Amos and
    TheMarsCydonia and
    Michael Neville and
    Rt1583 and
    others here
    so obsessed with me?

    • Kodie

      Are you actually deluded enough to think it’s your intellectual powers that are threatening? There are too many people who believe what you do for the same stupid reasons you do. Stupidity is your superpower. You invite yourself to a blog and decide that you know a whole bunch, you will take any attention as a “good sign” that you are on the right track. I don’t know what it is about you dumb fucking Christians who like to think attracting opposers means your arguments are good or valid. You’re as stupid as you were when you got here. Reality is settled, it’s naturalism. Theism offers nothing in the domain of reality. Just because you don’t accept it, I mean, if it’s settled, what the fuck are you doing here? Why are you obsessed with the blog and the posters who comment?

      • See Noevo

        So saith Kodie Koyote.

    • TheMarsCydonia

      If someone trolled and lied their way in a comment section on a piece about a round earth, would you called the issue unsettled?

      You are confusing not buying your b.s. with unsettled but the only place where the issue is not settled here is in your imagination.

      If the issue was truly unsettled, why would you act the way you do?

      • See Noevo

        So saith Pussy Galore.

    • Ignorant Amos

      Full of your own self importance. A legend in your own lunch time.

      You came here, and stuck around, so tell me who has the obsession?

      Soon you’ll be gone, only to be replaced by yet another dolt for us all to chew on. Hopefully one with a bit more substance, but in the meantime we must make do with the cretin at hand.

      • See Noevo

        So saith Ignorant Amos, the prophet.

    • Greg G.

      You are just the theist du jour.

    • Zeta

      SN: “… so obsessed with me?

      So you are enjoying the attention you are getting? Grow up! From what you have posted, I can’t see any remote chance that you can become an object of obsession. Not here in any case.

      You posted unsupported and disparaging claims. Commenters here rightly rebutted you or asked you for evidence which you mostly failed to produce.

      • See Noevo

        I’m still waiting, Zeta.
        Or did you forget the lengthy post I responded to you with? It ended which a challenge to you:
        “I have read plenty, but I have never seen a single, solitary
        pro-evolution article that was clean, that I didn’t have an issue with.
        That’s the honest truth.
        Now, you can doubt me, of course.
        But I’ll PUT YOUR DOUBT TO THE TEST:
        Please provide me here a hyperlink to a pro-evolution piece
        that YOU think is exceptionally compelling.
        And I don’t mean a full book or a website with a thousand
        articles/links.
        I mean ONE paper or article that I, and all the others
        reading this, can access and digest in one sitting.

        I look forward to it!”
        ………………………..

        I’ll post this at the top of the comments also.

        • Zeta

          I’ll post this at the top of the comments also.

          I have replied. You posted empty claims and evasive non-answers to questions and rebuttals from other commenters. You seem to be proud of them.

          Your smugness is nauseating.

    • MNb

      Because you pollute this very nice blog like you have polluted Jason Rosenhouse’s very nice blog.
      We are obsessed with you like we are obsessed with a flooding toilet.

      • TheNuszAbides

        this thread and particularly your comment reminded me of my obsession–perhaps merely fascination, it’s not like i have any of his trash memorized–with Tertullian.

        EDIT: removed irrelevant tangent

  • See Noevo

    Why hasn’t Zeta responded?
    Did she forget the lengthy post I responded to her with? It ended with a challenge to her:
    “I have read plenty, but I have never seen a single, solitary
    pro-evolution article that was clean, that I didn’t have an issue with.
    That’s the honest truth.
    Now, you can doubt me, of course.
    But I’ll PUT YOUR DOUBT TO THE TEST:
    Please provide me here a hyperlink to a pro-evolution piece
    that YOU think is exceptionally compelling.
    And I don’t mean a full book or a website with a thousand
    articles/links.
    I mean ONE paper or article that I, and all the others
    reading this, can access and digest in one sitting.
    I look forward to it!”
    ………………………..

    Why won’t Zeta post such an outstanding article for us?

    • Zeta

      In an earlier post I asked you: “… what kind of evidence you found later that invalidated your earlier belief (in evolution)“.

      Your reply: “And within a very short time I suspected something was wrong. Sometime later, after more reading and thinking, I came to the opinion that evolution would probably eventually be revealed to be perhaps the greatest embarrassment and shame in the history of science and of rational thought.

      “Something was wrong” What is that “something”? Your reply is a non-answer devoid of any substance. Why do you evade answering?

      SN: “Please provide me here a hyperlink to a pro-evolution piece…

      Michael Neville has earlier quoted Evolution FAQ’s Five Proofs of Evolution which is a succint list of evidence for evolution. There are of course other articles. What was your reponse? An evasive non-answer. In case I missed it, did you refute any of the five points with evidence? If not, why ask me for another similar article?

      • See Noevo

        Zeta,

        WHY do you CONTINUALLY EVADE my SIMPLE REQUEST?

        My request is for ONE article/paper.
        Why do you TRUNCATE my repeated request this way “SN: Please
        provide me here a hyperlink to a pro-evolution piece… ” ?

        Why didn’t you show the FULL intent of my request, which was
        “Please provide me here a hyperlink to a pro-evolution piece
        that YOU think is exceptionally compelling.
        And I DON’T mean a full book or a website with a thousand
        articleS/linkS.
        I mean ONE paper or article that I, and all the others
        reading this, can access and digest in one sitting” ?

        WHY do you say “Michael Neville has earlier quoted Evolution
        FAQ’s FIVE (5) ProofS (plural) of Evolution which is a succinct LIST of
        evidence for evolution. There are of course OTHER ARTICLES (plural). What was your reponse? An evasive non-answer. In case I missed it, did you refute any of the FIVE (5) pointS (plural) with evidence? If not, why ask me for another similar article?”

        Because I did NOT ask for FIVE (5) (plural), I asked for ONE.
        Because I did NOT ask for a LIST, I asked for ONE.
        Because I did NOT ask for other articleS (plural), I asked
        for ONE.

        GIVE ME ONE, ideally, your very BEST.

        I know you’re trying to give the impression you’re like a kid in a candy store and just can’t make up her mind and choose from among all those delicious treats.
        Well, child, if you’re struggling that much, then flip a
        coin or draw straws or something,

        but #$^&$@* PICK one!

        THEN, I WILL show you that “something” you ask about.

        • Kodie

          You have fucking problems.

          So what if you were given 5, take the first one, ignore the other four if you have to, and then SHUT THE FUCK UP.

          You are an angry, arrogant, egotistical, ignorant piece of human garbage who fails to engage with intellectual discussion, because you fucking can’t. You’re a huge crybaby now, your questions have all been answered, our questions have all been evaded by you, you fucking hypocrite, and you complain about everything. Go fuck yourself, dummy.

        • See Noevo

          “You have fucking problems… angry, arrogant, egotistical,
          ignorant piece of human garbage… crybaby… fucking hypocrite…dummy.”

        • Kodie

          Seriously, do you want to participate in a discussion or do you want to complain that everyone isn’t spoonfeeding you exactly the arguments you want, when all you have in response is “ka-ching!” and other moronitudes? You have made a pest of yourself and you are deluded that you are keeping up with your one-liners and idiotic standards, beyond which (and I mean above and beyond) you refuse to offer a coherent response? Are you playing stupid or are you actually stupid? Those are the only two conclusions I can draw from your flavor of discourse.

        • See Noevo

          “You have fucking problems… angry, arrogant, egotistical,
          ignorant piece of human garbage… crybaby… fucking hypocrite…dummy.”

        • Ignorant Amos

          Are you playing stupid or are you actually stupid? Those are the only two conclusions I can draw from your flavor of discourse.

          Good Poe? Nah….he’s actually too stupid to be good Poe.

        • Kodie

          I don’t believe in trying to spot the Poe. It may be a thing, but it’s got low probability. When I accuse someone of playing stupid, I try to hope they have some better argument, I guess, or it’s just something to say, because I think they’re actually stupid. They just don’t realize it. They have been targeted and victimized by a gap in our education system that assumes teaching science means telling people what we already know, and that they’ll learn to repeat what we know. It’s obvious there is an exploitable area here in which people are allowed to graduate from school without knowing how science is performed. I’m one of those people. I was allowed to opt out of science for the last two years, and I did. I learned “the scientific method” in school, but it was not deeply worn in, it was just another thing to memorize for a test. Science as taught did not excite me. And I’m smart. I got high grades and graduated on the honor roll, (.35 from the high honor roll). Think of all the people who had trouble with grades, hated school, didn’t care, didn’t learn, and come out on the other end particularly susceptible to the message that schools are just in the pockets of some conspiratorial authority that brainwashes little children and refuses to let them in on the truth of ID. Think of all those idiots alongside me who are provoked by the idea that school really was an entire lie, that things they learned in school may not be true (like Christopher Columbus – which they never fucking worry about*), and are impressed by clickbait article titles and persuasive illustrations and captions. They are unfamiliar with science and revere the “mavericks” of “science” going against it with opinions and drawings and stories that in no way resemble the scientific method, but what the hell do they know.

          *In the United States, there is about a zero outcry to cancel Columbus Day on account of what we learned in school was totally false and glorified Columbus for “discovering” a continent that was already discovered and settled, and ignoring that he was kind of a monster and deserves no holiday, no celebrity, no honor. Leave it alone, stop whining, who cares about Indians, etc. I mean, if you’re going to be paranoid about misinformation and indoctrination in schools and then ignore an actual example, I don’t really have to listen to your rambling bullshit.

          Anyway, I think there are Poes but I don’t worry about encountering one. Plenty of people actually are that stupid, they can’t all be Poes. That said, I am also starting to mix up See Noevo, Agabu, and JBSchmidt across threads, and many times I am asked if someone is someone else because I have some kind of sock puppet sense. Just because people use the same tired tactics doesn’t mean they are the same person typing with different names. Christians are pretty unoriginal, if you haven’t already noticed.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Christians are pretty unoriginal, if you haven’t already noticed.

          Oh I have, indeed I have.

          As a side note about education, I watched an interesting movie last night called “The Thinning” which was a low budget affair but hit hard on a number of ethical issues.

          In the near future, Earth’s resources are nearly depleted due to overpopulation, so the UN declares that all nations must cut their population by 5%. While some countries remove their elderly and others enforce a one child-policy, in the United States, the answer is 10-241, or more commonly known as the Thinning, a standardized test taken from first grade to twelfth grade. Those who pass continue to the next grade while those who fail are executed.

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

        • MR

          Now there’s some incentive to study for the test.

        • Greg G.

          Pssst. What did you put down for question 42?

        • MR

          Whispers: The answer IS 42. We just don’t know the question.

        • TheNuszAbides

          I don’t believe in trying to spot the Poe.

          Plenty of people actually are that stupid, they can’t all be Poes.

          thank you, i agree but tend to assume i’m in much smaller company in that regard.

        • Michael Neville

          A parrot can repeat back what it’s been told. So all you’re doing is showing you’re as intelligent as a parrot.

        • Michael Neville

          You asked for one bit of proof, I gave you five. I apologize for overloading your creationist mind. When you grow up and can think like an adult you’ll understand that five is better than one. Obviously you haven’t reached that point yet.

          And you still haven’t given the slightest bit of evidence to support your silly claim that evolution is “junk science.” If you were honest you would admit that you can provide such evidence. But you have provided evidence that you’re not honest, just like most other creationists.

          Tell me, does it give you satisfaction knowing that other people think you’re a dishonest, stupid twit? Do you clap your little hands together and rejoice, thinking: “Oh good, another group of people despise me for my ignorance and dishonesty”?

        • TheMarsCydonia

          Let’s make a deal. I will provide you with an article if you answer the question you ran from.

          So, for the 6th time:
          What is your objective here?

        • See Noevo

          You funny, PussyTheMarsCydonia.

          You already know I already answered that question about 5 times.

          What a Pussy you are.

        • Kodie

          Do you think you’re being funny?

        • TheMarsCydonia

          So you are still running away from answering truthfully.

          Follow-uo question then:
          Why are you afraid?

        • Figure out a way to communicate like an adult.

        • See Noevo

          Bob,
          Have you seen the kind of language others here have directed at ME?
          Have you sent a similar comment to THEM?
          If you need some examples, please let me know.

        • Don’t much care. I haven’t monitored this thread closely, but the regulars here usually treat you the way you deserve to be treated and/or as you treat them.

          Up your game. Focus on the arguments and the evidence rather than schoolyard taunts and see if others don’t give you respect when you earn it.

    • MNb

      “I have never seen a single, solitary pro-evolution article that was clean, that I didn’t have an issue with.”
      Nobody here doubts it.
      However our conclusion is somewhat different – you are the one who has a problem, not Evolutionary Biologists.

      Btw you have given an excellent demonstration that you don’t understand how science works and your claimed 30 years of study have been a waste of time.

      “a pro-evolution piece that YOU think is exceptionally compelling.”
      The validity of any scientific theory does not depend on one piece of evidence or one article. In science quantity is the main quality. How more often a theory gets confirmed how more we trust that theory.

  • Myna

    Please Bob S…………boot the troll.

  • Mark Sibley

    “God should be obvious, and his message to us should be
    unambiguous.”

    And we know this, . . .
    . . . how?

    “theism predicts that clear evidence for the one correct
    religion would outshine all the rest.”

    Is theism correct?

    “The Bible itself documents how God’s fundamental
    properties have evolved.”

    At every stage in the process of defining God, the Old
    Testament theism got it wrong. Maybe
    theism still doesn’t know everything there is to know about God yet . . . . . . the
    way science doesn’t know everything about the universe?

    “Theism predicts that sacred texts would be useful in the
    real world.”

    Like, . . . . . . providing people with a social construct
    for a functional society, and personal satisfaction? Or is a recipe for soap the criteria?

    “You’d think that the Bible would at least have room for
    simple science that would greatly benefit people.”

    And, I would think this,
    . . . . . why?

    “The theist must look at the hundred billion galaxies in
    the universe, each with a hundred billion stars, and say that all of that is
    there because of humans on one planet in an insignificant backwater of one
    galaxy.”

    When, in fact, we might be merely a side effect of a
    universe that supports some other – targeted – civilization? Or, our “backwater” is actually quite
    important to a God that can take a personal interest in individual people. (The center of our galaxy, BTW, isn’t that
    great of a place to try to live.)

    • Pofarmer

      is actually quite
      important to a God that can take a personal interest in individual people.

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

      • Mark Sibley

        OK, so IF God takes an intense interest in every single human being, THEN this allegedly unimportant region of the galaxy is, in fact, quite important. . . . . . at least, to God. Declaring it a “backwater” as if the assertion alone makes it unimportant is random and self-serving.

        • WayneMan

          I think that point was, the vastness of the universe, separated by billions of light years, for this one teeny tiny planet makes no sense if designed. Why not make things as literally proposed in Genesis, with everything orbiting the Earth and stars just sky ornaments for our entertainment. Yet every star is another complete solar system, and there are literally trillions of them. This “design” makes zero sense just for Earth.

        • Mark Sibley

          I see your point. but I’m not sure it rules anything out. Taking your point further, why not JUST create a self-sustaining Earth and nothing else? Surely an all-everything God could do that, right? OTOH, there are any number of plausible, sensible explanations why God might choose to do what we see before us. One would have to know what behaviors and thoughts at typical of all-everything Gods to know what patterns of choices they would make. We don’t have that database.

        • WayneMan

          Yes, the proverbial God works in mysterious ways, is not very satisfying. If we were created in his image, and not the other way around, one would think we have similar logic patterns. Yet many realities, like the vast uselessness of a “for Earth only” cosmos, simply makes no sense. Another “design” that always bothered me is his sea and animal kingdom. 99% of all sea and land creatures must brutally kill and eat some other poor creature for their very survival. What omnipotent entity would decide among all possibilities, that this was a great idea (very sadistic)? There is a long list of realities that just don’t make sense.

          As for your point, if a God did not want a relationship, then they would likely provide no instruction at all, and the mass confusion we see, indeed religion itself, is in fact all man-made. If God wants a relationship, but left no clear unmistakable instructions, then they may be omnipotent, but obvious not omniscient, because they blew that one.

        • Pofarmer

          That’s a pretty big unevidenced if.

        • Mark Sibley

          Yes. It’s even in big letters. It is the hypothetical premise of our discussion.

        • Pofarmer

          So then you need to prove the premise.

        • Mark Sibley

          It’s hypothetical, Po. Bob is kind enough to grant the premise so we can all discuss it as if it were true – then tear it apart even after that. Just go with it,.

    • MNb

      “Maybe theism still doesn’t know everything there is to know about God yet . . . . . . the way science doesn’t know everything about the universe?”
      Does theism know anything there is to know about any god? How did it arrive at such knowledge? Which method did it use?

      • Michael Neville

        Which god or gods is theism supposed to know about?

        • Mark Sibley

          Let’s go with the one discussed in the article – the one from Romans 1.

        • Michael Neville

          Why should we discuss that god? Vishnu is a much more attractive god and there’s a whole lot more written in “holy books” than about Yahweh/Jesus.

        • Mark Sibley

          Like, “Let’s go rogue, and discuss something other than “Cross Examined – Clear Thinking About Christianity”? Come on, this is Bob’s blog. Let’s not be rude guests.

          (But, DOES theism know everything there is to know about Vishnu?)

        • Joe

          What does Romans 1 know of this God? All I see are barefaced assertions.

        • Mark Sibley

          Well, ultimately, how do we know anything? We accept premises as fact because they fit what we need to believe. “I exist.” “I have a conscience.” “I experience reality.”

        • Joe

          That didn’t answer my question.

        • Myna

          Well, ultimately, how do we know anything?

          We don’t…ultimately.

          We accept premises as fact because they fit what we need to believe. “I exist.” “I have a conscience.” “I experience reality.”

          What is the “I”, but a compilation?

          “I am not sure that I exist, actually. I am all the writers that I have read, all the people that I have met, all the women that I have loved; all the cities I have visited.” – Jorge Luis Borges

          I would say having a conscience is empathy and awareness, some of it learned, some innate. Sometimes, it is absent altogether.

          What is reality? Does it bend and shift and shape according to any one individual’s experience? Or is it a consensus experience of the collective? Is it a mere biology? The laws of physics? Is it a response or a reaction?

        • Mark Sibley

          For the purposes of Bob’s article, it doesn’t make any difference. He is discussing it in the hypothetical, assuming, if only for the moment, that it does have insider information. Then, Bob proceeds to demonstrate how what Paul claimed about God is implausible.

          The fundamental premise here is that the Bible really only needed a few paragraphs to reveal everything Man would need to know about God in a perfect manner. Based on our vast experience with other perfect Gods, we instantly recognize the Bible does not follow the pattern we have seen so many times.

        • Joe

          Based on our vast experience with other perfect Gods, we instantly recognize the Bible does not follow the pattern we have seen so many times.

          I don’t even know what to make of that quote.

      • Mark Sibley

        Are we talking about absolute knowledge, or just that level that satisfies us? Theism, in its broadest definition (Deism), “knows” that a transcendent Something created everything.

    • TheMarsCydonia

      To answer most of your questions, we would have to ask:
      “Is the christian god all-knowing and all-powerful?”

      • Mark Sibley

        So, the answer to the questions is . . . . a question? Lest i be accused of doing the same, allow me to give the obvious answer – “Yes.” And . . . . . .?

        The next step is that this omniscient, omnipotent God has no option but to do things in the manner you dictate (giving you quite a promotion). God would have a virtually limitless number of options, and could pick and choose what He wants to do.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          Yes it was a rethorical question. So then, we agree that the christian god is all-knowing and all-powerful. Next, the question is “does the christian god want a relationship with us?”.

          In other words, “should god’s message be clear and unmistakeable?”

          If yes, then…
          If no, then…

        • Mark Sibley

          I like where you are going with this – fun stuff!

          OK, so “yes”, then God’s message would be clear and unmistakable (your point).

          If “no”, then it could be clear, unclear, or anywhere in between (my point).

          We probably ought to throw “infinitely wise” into our list of godly attributes, just for good measure.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          So, “your point” is that god does not want a relationship with us but you don’t think your point is flawed?
          – “Clear, unclear, or anywhere in between” is rather meaningless if not completely illogical:
          “If this is the objective then expect this… or expect its complete opposite”
          So it can’t be “clear, unclear, or anywhere in between”.

          So, a god (no longer talking about the christian god then) that does not want a relationship with us so it make no message, how does a god that gives no discernable message distinguishable from a god that we cannot discern exists?

        • Mark Sibley

          Your question was whether God would communicate with such clarity that not even one single human would be unaware of who and what God is. That is a totally separate issue from the nature of the relationship God would want.

          In human relationships, there are any number of means one could employ to achieve a relationship – bribery, kidnapping, stalking, . . . . But, those are inferior to a sincere, loving relationship. We want people to choose to be in a relationship to us. It makes sense to me that a God could want the same kind of genuine, positive relationship.

          That same passage in Romans that Bob quoted from discusses this very topic. It says that God has communicated sufficient information for people to choose to enter into that relationship with Him. Some choose God; some don’t.

        • Susan

          That is a totally separate issue from the nature of the relationship God would want.

          1) Please, define “God”.

          2)Show us that it exists and how anyone could know what it wants.

          It makes sense to me that a God could (emphasis, mine) want the same kind of genuine, positive relationship.

          What do you mean that “it makes sense”?

          1) What is “God”?
          3) What a is “genuine, positive relationship?”

          It says that God has communicated sufficient information for people to choose to enter into that relationship

          So? See 1, 2 and 3.

          Some choose God; some don’t.

          Again, I refer you to 1, 2 and 3.

          Please answer with terms that are less vague, not more vague. .

        • Mark Sibley

          You don’t go for the easy issues, do you? The greatest minds of humanity have struggled with these issues for thousands of years (and that’s just what we have in writing). I, to my dismay, am not one of that group. I, however, am proud to say that I only steal ideas from the best.

          1. a) In the context of a Christianity-focused bog, discussing claims from Romans 1, I’m going with the imperfect description Christians attempt in defining God – an infinite. personal being, which was not created by something else.

          2. As a human, I am limited in my ability to understand things outside of the human context. As a dog, my dog understands me in a dog context – that is his limitation. Throughout the Bible, humans write about God from the perspective of a human understanding. I am analogizing, assuming that humans have at least something in common with the thinking of God. I assume that IF God wants a relationship with humans based on the biblical description (the premise of this article), THEN it would be similar – analogous – to the relationships humans want with other humans – a “genuine, positive relationship”, as opposed to a fake or negative one.

          1. b) So, all of us are left with a nebulous, subjective, kind of “it makes sense to me.” I went down a list of things that “didn’t make sense” to Bob, presenting plausible alternatives that do make sense.

          The theme of this article is that if God wanted a relationship with everyone, He would communicate in such a way that everyone would respond identically. The biblical passage that Bob cited as his source of information states clearly that is not the case. It is a flawed premise; a straw man argument. While God may very well WANT a relationship with everyone, the nature of that relationship is unacceptable to some people. As with human relationships, both parties have to want it.

          That makes sense to me.

        • Pofarmer

          How can an infinite being be personal?

        • Mark Sibley

          I would think that “personal” would be a subset of “infinite”. I certainly don’t view those as being mutually exclusive.

        • Pofarmer

          “infinite” in terms of a being, would seem to be mutually exclusive to “personal”. How can an infinite being be personal? How can an immaterial being be personal?

        • MR

          This goes back to using terms that mean one thing in every day use and something entirely different when it comes to God, and then we pretend they’re the same thing. A personal relationship with a family member doesn’t look at all like a personal relationship with God. Communicating with a family member is not the same thing as communicating with God. They’re simply not the same thing, and it’s a silly child’s game to pretend that they are.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Weasel wording then.

        • MR

          Well, certainly from our dear apologist friends, here. But the term weasel words implies intent. I don’t think the average Christian makes the distinction. That’s why Susan’s efforts in getting people to define their terms is so important. Don’t let them hide in ambiguity–and religious-speak is rife with ambiguity.

        • TheNuszAbides

          there are also parroted weasel-words 😛 not parroty from the source, and not technically weaselly from the go-between …

        • Pofarmer

          “humans write about God from the perspective of a human understanding.”

          Hence, God has anthropological origins, probably not the other way round.

          That’s my one cut and paste, crap.

          Why would you assume that Human thinking would have anything in common with Gods thinking? God is said to be an infinite, immaterial, ground of all being. I’m not sure your conclusion follows.

          The problem is, just because something “makes sense” to someone, doesn’t make it correct. It “makes sense” that heavier objects would fall faster than lighter objects, but they don’t, etc, etc nearly ad infinitum.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          Tell me, if both parties want a relationship, shouldn’t both parties make their existence known unambiguously?

          Particularly if one of said parties has the knowledge and power to do so?

          That was my point and an answer to your first.

        • Mark Sibley

          Would we have a problem with making ourselves known to an omniscient God? So, it’s just the one person (God) who would be the problem. Billions of people are aware of God. This particular passage from Romans asserts that sufficient evidence of God exists (our conscience, for instance).

          You disagree. Great. We’re done. More power to you.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          As you say, the problem is the one person (god), the one in the relationship that is all-knowing and all-powerful and who shouldn’t be the problem.

        • Greg G.

          The Romans passage refers to seeing things that cannot be seen. That means believing on evidence that is imagined which cannot be sufficient except for the gullible. It also means that the billions of people who are aware of God are not actually aware of God, but are simply mistaken.

        • Kodie

          Billions of people are aware of an actual god? Are you sure?

        • Mark Sibley

          I will quickly concede that it is an Appeal To Popularity, but the vast majority of people perceive some sort of Supernatural Something. The simplest explanation is that there actually is a SS. After that, it degrades quickly into speculation that spirituality is some sort of side effect of a survival instinct that’s tough to pin down.

        • Kodie

          Why do you think it “degrades”? Spirituality is a side effect of so-called intelligence. Humans are idea-makers and creators who don’t always have an outlet. The good ideas we’ve come upon take a lot more ideas that are not good or real or worth having. Almost all of our culture is soaking up this tendency. God is one such idea, maybe a very popular type of idea – it satisfies just like gossip rags and junk food, also very popular.

          I don’t think it’s that difficult to “pin down”. You seem to want to promote belief in god as something normal people do, so must be the right thing to do with our intellect, which you have gone greatly to defend, and then call denying a god some kind of rational anomaly, something normal people never think about and is some kind of degraded thinking compared to a fucking imaginary friend in the sky telling you how to behave.

          Learn how brains work.

        • Mark Sibley

          Forgive me, but that is just a wild-ass guess. Atheists demand natural proof for the supernatural, yet cannot prove this very fundamental factual claim. “Surely, if we just wait long enough, science will fill in the gaps.”

          It “degrades” because the facade of science falls away so quickly. (And, this is when the cussing and name-calling substitute for logic and facts)

        • Kodie

          What “facade of science” are you talking about? Can you ever remember a time when you were not thinking about anything at all? Your mind was completely blank? Have all your ideas been good, or does it take some time to zero in on something worth promoting to, say, writing down, or saying out loud to someone? And how many of those promoted thoughts turn out to be garbage? Probably most of them. And look around – how many of other peoples thoughts, popular ones, even, are too stupid to mention? But still people do think and share them, and become committed to a whole stupid-think enterprise? It serves a purpose in keeping us occupied and generating thoughts in the machine of human thinking, for one of those thoughts may be not only helpful, but revolutionary in human progress. We all have the basic capacity, but application is another thing. Religions are about an imaginary character, theology is the obsession with a fiction, just like any tv show fanfic.

          I thought the question was how is it that so many people on this earth think there’s something? They are easily persuaded that there is, usually before they can be shown there is not. Stories are stories, they are origin myths and morality tales, and cautions and superstitious rituals. People believe it because they think it’s real, fallacious emotional arguments, targeting their insecurities. People want and need that sometimes, but it doesn’t make it less false.

        • Pofarmer

          After that, it degrades quickly into speculation that spirituality is
          some sort of side effect of a survival instinct that’s tough to pin
          down.

          Not really.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9T2umUoY00A

        • Mark Sibley

          Do me a favor: Summarize what he said, and then relate it to the issue in my post. What is the proven, scientific survival benefit of belief in the supernatural? While we’re at it, a good next topic is why you guys don’t have it if your DNA dictates that it exist.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s not that there’s a survival benefit to belief in the supernatural necessarily. It’s that there are a suite of evolved traits that lead to supernatural belief. Agency detection. Facial recognition. Social pressures. It would do you much better to watch it than for me to attempt to summarize 45 minutes.

        • MNb

          In the first place I don’t understand why I should make myself known to a god when he’s omniscient. But if there is a reason that this is necessary, yeah, I wouldn’t have a problem.
          The problem is that doesn’t make himself known to me.

        • Mark Sibley

          So, no – we would not have a problem making ourselves known to God.

          And, you’ve never felt your conscience, intuition, or awe at nature? Hey, stick with that.

        • Myna

          Pantheism acknowledges intuition and an awe at nature, but is completely agnostic to supernatural causes. Like Buddhism, Pantheism views god arguments as meaningless.

        • Mark Sibley

          “Pantheism is the belief that the Universe (or Nature as
          the totality of everything) is identical with divinity, or that
          everything composes an all-encompassing, immanent God.” – Wikipedia.

        • Myna

          That’s the wikipedia definition all right. Did you have to look it up? Or did you think I didn’t know it.

        • MR

          And, you’ve never felt your conscience, intuition, or awe at nature?

          Can you show that these require a god?

        • Myna

          This particular passage from Romans asserts that sufficient evidence of God exists (our conscience, for instance)

          Conscience is not evidence of a god, but it is evidence of empathy and is crucial to survival. The smallest children demonstrate it, as do animals. As a response mechanism, conscience, as with conscious awareness, is part innate and part social construct.

        • Mark Sibley

          This is the fundamental problem that we run into. IMO, the evidence is under your nose. You could be drowning in an ocean of evidence and not even recognize what it is. You demand that the evidence be shown to you. When it is shown to you, you deny it.

          I am serving my bias, and you are serving yours. The topic is by its nature a subjective one. There is no common ground.

        • Myna

          I agree that it is your opinion. My position comes from a cold-stone agnostic, anti-religionist standpoint. In saying this, I have no issue with religions that do not disturb the peaceful existence of others or attempt to impose their beliefs. Nowhere did I demand evidence from you, in particular, with regard to the existence of a supernatural being. When I do ask for evidence from someone, it is the evidence that any god(s) of religion take precedence over any other. From my vantage point, there isn’t one that does. I do have an affinity, if one could call it that, toward Tibetan Buddhism and toward Pantheism (as opposed to Panentheism or Pandeism) because neither concerns itself with supernatural claims while maintaining a conscientious philosophy and both are deeply interested in what science teaches about the universe we live in. This is not to be misconstrued as adhering to either philosophical position as the big T.

        • Mark Sibley

          I apologize for making you my stereotype for atheism. My point should have been that we aren’t going to agree about what evidence of God (i.e. conscience) would look like.

          When I speak about a Supernatural Something, I attribute the Universe with a sentience, with Buddhism in mind. I may be cramming a square peg into a round hole.

        • Myna

          No apology necessary. Whether there is a consciousness within the mechanism, I don’t know. If, for the sake of argument, there is, the evidence points more to the impersonal and to that, which has nothing to do with mankind’s wont to personify. When religionists come here to argue, they take their cue from an ancient world that could not, in its wildest imagination, conceive the planet of the 21st century, which really does make their argument cramming that square peg into a round hole.

        • Susan

          ‘we aren’t going to agree about what evidence of God looks like

          Why would you assume that? You attribute it to bias without justification.

          It’s very simple. You are cliaming something called “God” exists. At the very least, you are accepting that claim.

          So, now. Define it and demonstrate that you have sound reasons for accepting it. It’s really that simple.

          What evidence do you have? So far, none. Neither clear definitions.

          I attribute the Universe with a sentience.

          On what basis?

          Show your work.

        • Mark Sibley

          1. The easy answer is because we don’t agree what evidence would look like. We look at the same evidence, and I am convinced that God exists, and you aren’t.

          This is a core issue of our discussion. If we are looking for something, we’ve got to know what it would look like so we’ll recognize it when we see it. How many of the questions you guys have asked me relate to defining what it is that we are looking for? You want something well-defined; tangible that can be easily recognized. It is entirely possible that EVERYTHING – our mere existence and consciousness, included – is what we are looking for. If that is the case, then you are positively drowning in evidence, yet are aware of none of it.

          “So, other than everything, what evidence is there?”

          “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?”

          2. My understanding of Buddhist thought is that the Universe – Everything; Nature – has a personhood, if you will; a cumulative consciousness. For the purpose of including this in the same supernatural sense as other religions, I’m calling it “sentience”.

        • MNb

          “We look at the same evidence, and I am convinced that God exists.”
          That’s why we keep on asking what your method is.

        • MR

          Except we’re not looking at the same evidence. You’ve demonstrated that your grasp of scientific understanding is lacking. We’re asking you for evidence on your side (keeping in mind that many of us were Christians and have a pretty good grasp of that evidence, too.)

          No, we’re not looking at the same evidence.

        • Mark Sibley

          My grasp of scientific understanding has been demonstrated to be lacking? Really? I am definitely sharing this one with my co-workers on Monday!

        • MR

          My apologies, that statement was too broad. Your grasp of specific topics directly related to your faith are lacking in scientific understanding. You’ve brought up many things that underlie your faith (justice, awe, conscience, etc., etc.) and you simply ignored me when I asked you what your scientific understanding on these topics is. From that and from your conversations with others, it’s pretty clear that you don’t understand some of the basic science related to these things and you even balked at their attempts to educate you. This goes back to my comment that we’re not looking at the same evidence.

        • MR

          IMO, the evidence is under your nose. You could be drowning in an ocean of evidence and not even recognize what it is. You demand that the evidence be shown to you. When it is shown to you, you deny it.

          What evidence convinced you and why?

          Why do you believe?

        • Mark Sibley

          I hope I don’t leave anything out, but let me be upfront that it’s all going to be some sort of hazy, “It just feels right” subjectivity:

          1) Everything has a cause . . . . except the very first thing that started everything. That thing must transcend the need to be caused by something else.

          2) That virtually ubiquitous sense that we have been talking about that Something Supernatural exists. It fits with the concept of a personal God tapping us on the shoulder.

          3) Conscience.

          4) Nature. The night sky gives that sense of Something vast and incomprehensible. Microscopically, it blows my mind that cells can do the things they do and those themes run through higher levels.

          5) Justice – that sense that everything will be set right; wrongs corrected.

          6) Curiosity. Why do we ask why?

          7) Self-awareness. We know we are going to die. That inevitability is an enormous, depressing burden. I don’t think other animals have this, and I see no benefit to it other than to guide us to eternal life.

          8) Along those lines, consciousness. One definition of who we are is our thoughts. They uniquely identify us. If my physical body did not exist, but my thoughts continued to exist, I would be alive. If my body lived, but my thoughts died, I am dead. I have a soul.

          9) It’s kind of a catch-all, and an atheist favorite, but “want”. I want to be reunited with people I loved intensely, but died. Love lives on after the loved one is gone. I want for there to be an Organizer that understands why things are the way they are and purposely set it all up. I want things to make sense. I want a Creator that loves me more than any human is capable of doing. Wishful think is no substitute for reality, but if these aren’t the case, the world sucks even more.

          10) Revelation. I used to poo-poo what Christians said about their perception of God. As I have grown in my faith, I have experienced what they described. There are times when I have to laugh audibly when I see God working in my life. More time than I can count, I read a passage in the Bible that I have seen since I was a child, and it’s as if that is the first time I’d ever seen it. “How could I have missed that interpretation?”

          Like I said, it’s all very touchy-feely stuff that won’t show up on a scale, ruler, or spectrometer, but, “You just had to be there.”

        • MR

          Virtually every point you’ve made here is simply your wonder at something you don’t understand. Just plugging God in as an explanation for something you don’t understand does nothing to show that a god actually exists or is connected to the thing you don’t understand. Can you show a definitive link between these and a god? Have you looked at what science has to say about each of these points? (Not that you’re going to necessarily believe the science, but I just want to know if you’ve looked at the alternatives.)

          Just a further comment on a couple of your points:

          2) That “ubiquitous sense”: Supernatural belief has passed to us from generation to generation for millennia and indoctrination begins at the youngest age. Our culture is rife with it. We’ve never not been steeped in it. It’s hardly surprising that it is ubiquitous. Science also has some interesting things to say about this.

          4) This one made me laugh: The night sky gives a sense of something vast and incomprehensible because it is vast and incomprehensible. No god required.

          5) Justice: What evidence do you have of a future event that will right wrongs? Again, as with all of these, science has something to say about our sense of justice. Are you aware of what it has to say?

          8) Hypotheticals. Evidence of a soul?

          10) What do you mean you see God working in your life? You don’t actually see him. How do you determine that he is actually there vs. you imagine he’s there and simply attribute events in your mind? Your last comment in 10 also made me laugh. I just watched a movie that I watch every year and I saw at least half a dozen things in it that I never caught before. We can read books multiple times and make new connections for myriad reasons, no divine intervention required. You can’t tell me you haven’t experienced this outside the Bible.

          Anyway, I really expected, from what you said before about trying to limit your biases, for you to have much less touchy-feely stuff. Touchy-feely stuff is exactly what bias lives off of. None of this is evidence. It’s simply religious woo explanations, indoctrination, for things you can’t explain. We have a better understanding of ourselves and the universe now. There’s nothing here that I didn’t feel or believe when I was a Christian (except point one; I wasn’t a Catholic), and there’s nothing here that now, as a non-believer, strikes me as valid evidence. There are answers that don’t point to a god.

          So, I want to know, is this the stuff that you really base your belief on, or are these the rationalizations you’ve made after the fact? I mean, there are only a few here that I can see a person actually considering or believing he’s experienced, the rest seem like post hoc rationalizations after reading apologetic websites. Especially since you started off with that “everything has a cause” as number one.

          Is this really “why” you believe, or do you have something more concrete? What convinced you, or were you simply raised in the faith?

        • Myna

          As I have grown in my faith, I have experienced what they described. There are times when I have to laugh audibly when I see God working in
          my life.

          The problem, here, is that Muslims, to give just one example off the top of my head, say the same thing within the experience of Islam. There is also the issue that for all the prayers, people in Syria and Nigeria are still starving to death, so how does this compare to “God working in my life.” Do you ever ask yourself, “What is wrong with this picture?”

          Synchronicity and serendipitous events happen all the time…to everyone…regardless of any spiritual belief or lack thereof. The mind searches for patterns. Why can it not be a moment of splendor in its own right, rather than some divine favor?

          I want for there to be an Organizer that understands why things are the way they are and purposely set it all up. I want things to make sense. I want a Creator that loves me more than any human is capable of doing.

          Well, it’s an honest answer and more than most give. It doesn’t bend or shift the space between reality and fiction, but it is honest.

          From Carl Sagan:

          “Some people think God is an outsized, light-skinned male with a long white beard, sitting on a throne somewhere up there in the sky, busily tallying the fall of every sparrow. Others—for example Baruch Spinoza and Albert Einstein—considered God to be essentially the sum total of the physical laws which describe the universe. I do not know of any compelling evidence for anthropomorphic patriarchs controlling human destiny from some hidden celestial vantage point, but it would be madness to deny the existence of physical laws.”

          It appears you want a transcendent entity, not an immanent, impersonal force.

        • WayneMan

          Yes, two things to add to your points.

          First, which religion. If you look at a religious demographics map made from world census data, it is pretty obvious that the vast majority of believers follow the religion they were indoctrinated into. Born in India, probably Hindu. Born in Mexico, likely Catholic. U.S.A., likely some form of Christianity. Iran, Muslim…. It is simply random geography. This should be troubling to most, but is ignore or rationalize it away.

          As for events and a loving God, a child under five years old dies a horrible death from disease or starvation about every 5 to 10 seconds, 24 by 7 by 365. There is no way to rationalize that if some loving omnipotent entity is out there, watching and doing nothing.

        • Myna

          Exactly…on both counts.

        • Mark Sibley

          FWIW, I do not view God as an either/or proposition – either one possesses 100% knowledge or none at all. I think all religions grasp some degree of Truth. My bias is that Christianity grasps a larger percentage than the others. The person who claims to grasp the totality of an entity they claim is infinite in many attributes is a fool.

          When people pray or meditate they ARE making a connection. A little bit of God goes a long way.

        • Pofarmer

          “When people pray or meditate they ARE making a connection. A little bit of God goes a long way.”

          Yes, with the voice inside their head. Are you familiar with brain scan studies of different groups praying?

        • Mark Sibley

          That is an observation, not an explanation.

          Just to make sure the real point was communicated, could we agree – hypothetically – that people would not have to understand everything about God in order to sense His existence?

        • Pofarmer

          It isn’t an observation or explanation. It’s pure ignorance.

        • Kodie

          Could we agree that humans are animals who are able to imagine and even believe things that are not true, and to communicate them to others? And that we’re flawed, I think that’s what the bible implies blatantly advertises as the main feature humans have, requiring the god that story is about.

          I think we’re flawed, as in we don’t get the rationality so good, and it’s pretty common to imagine stuff like personally favorable coincidences, the universe, or in your case, the rate of technological progress humans have made in a few thousand years, MUST HAVE been caused by some creator. Yeah, that “makes sense” in the sense that we create things, and can’t really think past the analogy unless we really mean to.

          Can we agree that maybe that “tap on the shoulder” you think people feel in common is really just a trait of being a flawed human who falls under the power of suggestion? The want you describe? It’s a story, a myth, people have been telling stories for as long as we could. Do you have or know any kids? Haven’t you ever told them some bullshit answer because either you didn’t know or thought it would be funny? Have you ever marketed yourself to an employer, not say, lying on your resume, but maybe trying to make something iffy seem like a really fantastic quality? I mean, to you, you just need the job and think if you could just get it, you could prove yourself later, not really “lie” and be a poor employee, but justify it because you mean to demonstrate a lot more quality than your work history seems like? These are just some examples. Maybe the common human qualities of something like envy, loneliness, insecurity, self-centeredness, you know, the toxic shit, could believing in something that doesn’t exist be one of those things that humans just do?

          Because almost all, if not all, theists, will accuse atheists at some point of having a god-shaped hole, or denying “the reality of” god, etc. I’m willing to admit that it might be handy if things were organized like you wish they were, but they’re not. I accept that there is no evidence and the “hints” that it’s true are illusions.

        • Mark Sibley

          1. To your 1st paragraph, yes.

          2. While I don’t rule anything out (I do believe that the supernatural and the natural intersect at times), in the context of this particular speculation (let’s be clear on that) of mine, I am asserting that God waited billions of years until the right set of circumstances finally presented themselves – Man was ready. The evidence that Man was ready would be the explosion of civilization. In the analogy, God did not cause the crop to ripen, but did plant the seeds some time back (and now begins the harvest).

          3. Again, yes. To help make your point, divine inspiration would be almost indistinguishable from it exact opposite (evil inspiration) and all points in between. Is it one’s imagination, selfishness, wishful thinking, etc.? You stated that very well. I have no argument against that point.

          4. “. . . but they’re not.” If I haven’t gotten around to that accusation, it was only a matter of time (I kinda thought I had). This point ties in so nicely with the core issue of our entire discussion. It is the inflection point around which everything hinges – “Are things organized?”

          “Organization” was on my Laundry List (as was wishful thinking, BTW) of reason to believe. If things are organized, then they can be understood. Science is based on that assumption. That also means they can be manipulated. Theists want a god that we can control. Eliminating God entirely, however, also puts us in total control. Wishful thinking cuts both ways.

        • Kodie

          Things are sort of organized in the bigger picture. We are animals behaving within a (very broad) range of our behavior. Maybe it’s not even that broad. We engage in social behaviors and communicate and create and live in dwellings and organize ourselves culturally and politically. The thing I see that sets us apart from other animals is, we don’t all behave exactly the same. An animal creating its dwelling seems to behave as every other of its species, while some of us can build, some can design, some of us think we know how to build, and some of us contract builders to do things we cannot. I don’t know how other animals develop the ability to construct a dwelling like an engineer would, where I think humans would just be more likely to find a cave than build anything until we got instructions or saw a really groovy hut and wanted to try to recreate it.

          But they’re not organized. There’s no ultimate fairness. We exist on a planet with certain conditions – also variable. You seem to think/want there to be a grand justice, for each individual. There … kind of is. It’s called statistics. Take some fatal and gruesome disease that afflicts maybe .05% of humans. That’s 3.5 million. Not a very small number. Did those people do something to deserve it? Is this justice? What’s the big difference between contracting this awful disease and getting run over by a bus if you’re dead? Life is a gamble, and you’re going to die, and sometimes people get the death penalty even when they’re innocent. Sometimes wrong things don’t get righted, because nobody noticed. God isn’t there to do it. There isn’t a hereafter to shuffle and sort people into the bins you want. There’s really no evidence of it. But statistically, some people get the best and some get the worst. It, at least hypothetically, evens out. If you’re looking for global justice, you can just imagine that when you’re having a terrible day, someone somewhere else in the world is having the best day. When you have no money to sleep somewhere tonight, someone has more money than they know what to do with.

          That’s where you get the … hey, ever notice god has this shit pretty fucked up? Ever notice that all you Christians are trying to rationalize god into a place where he knows where he’s going with this bullshit non-justice-looking justice? Ever notice it’s not organized? Ever notice you wish it was, even though it shows no signs? That when god gives you plenty of good, you think he likes how you do and keep it up, pal, and when he gives you shit, he likes you and wants you to keep the faith that it’s for some dumb unknowable reason?

          Yes, humans have a sense of justice – ever heard two kids fighting and one gets told to knock it off, and whines back, “but he started it!” Nobody wants to take the blame, everyone wants the authority to investigate which one really started it, and hold them responsible? What was the punishment, exactly? Being accused and told to stop this shit? How horrible! Telling someone to stop being bad when they think they are innocent and good? I think most people think they are decent people who deserve good things, not the filthy sinners who barely deserve to live and should be grateful for life even if it is scraps. So, I think their sense of justice is also skewed, and think when they get rotten stuff that they didn’t deserve it, and when someone wrongs them, that the other person deserves a harsh punishment and not to “get away with it.” By singling out the one child, he thinks the other kid “gets away with” something, and shouldn’t.

          So yeah, that sense of justice seems really childish to me. While as adults, we also hope that lawbreakers are caught, tried, and convicted, and even in our culture, that the sentence is long, lonely and harsh, i.e. prisoners deserve to be miserable and have no comfort. It is us organizing society this way, and it’s not always perfect, and it’s not always humane when it works the way it’s designed (by us) to work, but it helps the righteous idiots think they are on top of shit, since there is no obvious god to clean this up. If someone “gets away with it”, well the danger is they might strike again, not that they didn’t serve time. The danger might be that they are living well and have a job and spend time with their family, something their victim was deprived of. The danger is victims may feel pain if there is no justice on earth and can only be comforted by the fairytale that god knows and will do what they would do, what we as a society would do.

        • Greg G.

          My Buddhist friends say there are many paths to Enlightenment. They think they are on the best path.

        • Myna

          I think all religions grasp some degree of Truth.

          What is Truth? Is it static or mutable?

          My bias is that Christianity grasps a larger percentage than the others.

          What do you base your claim on? What do you compare it to in arriving at that larger percentage? Have you made a complete study of those comparisons?

          When people pray or meditate they ARE making a connection.

          To what, though? Some supreme personality? Is the connection internal or external?

          A little bit of God goes a long way.

          Does it? How do you know? First, you need to define what God IS, before you go anywhere with it. If you personify that definition, it only goes as far as the imagination.

        • Mark Sibley

          1. Static.

          2. “My bias”.

          3. Some supreme personality.

          4. That’s kind of the Catch 22, isn’t it? How can I know what percentage of God I grasp until I can perfectly define (infinite) God? Since all religions feature people whose perception is that they are connecting with God, and their beliefs about God vary wildly, then (to me) it logically follows that a) they cannot all possess the same level of knowledge about God, and b) any perception of God – no matter how small – is rewarding enough to convince them (myself included) that they posses 100% (OK, not me) of the knowledge about God.

        • Pofarmer

          4). Or they’re all equally wrong and making it up.

        • Mark Sibley

          I appreciate that you guys are willing to discuss this as a hypothetical proposition. Clearly, you do not think it is true (I know what “atheist” means). When someone asks a question like this, that option is always the unspoken default answer.

          As an exercise in logic, however, saying that the answer must be known before any investigation can occur is kind of absurd. Keep in mind that I also have my own default answer which is the opposite of atheists’. We’re having a discussion int he No Man’s Land between the two defaults.

        • Pofarmer

          You need to realize, that for most here, atheism is a conclusion resulting from examining the evidence. It was not the “default” position.

        • Michael Neville

          To expand on Pofarmer’s comment, most here were originally Christians who became non-Christians after consideration of Christianity and the lack of evidence supporting it. We didn’t become Muslims or Hindus or Sikhs because there was a similar lack of evidence supporting those religions. We not only don’t believe in your favorite god, we don’t believe in any gods due to the shortage of evidence for any deity.

        • Pofarmer

          We not only don’t believe in your favorite god, we don’t believe in any gods due to the shortage of evidence for any deity.

          This. Most of us are arguing against Christianity because it is the major religion where we are. In other places atheists are arguing against Islam, or against Hinduism.

        • Mark Sibley

          I suspect what you mean is that most of you used to be theists.

          In a forum like this, short, written responses tend to come off as sounding a lot more insulting than they were intended. I truly don’t mean this to sound like it probably does, BUT . . . . .

          my experience with atheists has been that, like most people (theists, included) make their decisions based on emotion. “Emotions sells.” Probably half of atheists became so between about age 17 and 23. I wouldn’t let that 19-yr-old know-it-all me decide what I am going to eat for lunch, much less make big, life-long decisions.

          Another big chunk made the switch because there was some behavior they were OK with that their religion wasn’t.

          A bunch have told me that even if there were a Heaven, they’d rather go to Hell than spend eternity worshiping God. They make it sound like they don’t like the idea of someone being superior to them.

          Others were mistreated by Christians who weren’t very Christian in their’ behavior.

          Only AFTER they abandoned religion did the quest for an evidence-based rationale begin. And, surprise, surprise, they found what they wanted to find. The only evidence that qualifies as “evidence” is that which validates their conclusion.

          Doesn’t that almost perfectly parallel your opinion of theists?

        • MNb

          “I suspect what you mean is that most of you used to be theists.”
          I suspect Pofarmer does not mean that someone like me, who even never has been baptized, hasn’t examined the evidence and arrived at that conclusion. I was turned off by christianity the very first time I was confronted by evidence – in the form of the atonement doctrine. It turned me into an agnost (a 4 on the scale of Dawkins). It took me more than three decades to arrive at 7.

          “I wouldn’t let that 19-yr-old know-it-all”
          Maybe this applies to believers like you, but thanks to the science I had learned already at that age that I knew close to nothing.

          “They make it sound like they don’t like the idea of someone being superior to them.”
          Oh? Isn’t the headmaster of Hell supposed to be superior to them as well? Beware of the arrogance called mind reading. It makes you look silly, like here.

          “Only AFTER they abandoned religion did the quest for an evidence-based rationale begin.”
          More mind reading hence arrogance. You know, this is another aspect of christianity I dislike. Apparently it doesn’t urge christians to avoid the behaviour they condemn with their mouths.

          “Doesn’t that almost perfectly parallel your opinion of theists?”
          Of course. Unfortunately for you this parallel puts you in a bad light, given your wild speculations, if not wishful thinking regarding atheists. It says zilch about atheists.
          As for me, before the first time I was confronted with the atonement doctrice, I had learned the Lord’s Prayer by heart and sung in a church choir. I have fond memories of both. And I was a child – I was only 14 when I started thinking (yes, it was superficial and primitive) about the god question. Until then I only had positive thoughts about christianity.
          Call it what you want: bad luck, lack of sense for the divine, disinterest of your god in me, a communication breakdown – your god missed a chance to save a soul. Bad job for that omnipotent being.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          It doesn’t.

          Do you know a lot of atheists who became atheist while trying to prove their version of theism true? That is what happened to me and it didn’t happen at 17 or 23 but at 30.

        • Pofarmer

          43 or 44 for me.

        • Pofarmer

          And many of us, like me, started a quest, albeit for an emotional reason to determine what was true. I started out trying to determine if Catholicism were true. I was going to convert. I discovered that none of it was.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I wouldn’t let that 19-yr-old know-it-all me decide what I am going to eat for lunch, much less make big, life-long decisions.

          And yet theists think it just fine and dandy to brainwash from the cradle?

          WTF?

          Leave religion out of the equation until that post 19 year old you are talking about and watch the whole religious edifice implode. My two children attended church when they were very young, basically because they were looked after by my grandparents on Saturday night while I partied [single parent], that was the trade off for babysitting duties, but I made sure they both were educated at secondary school level in integrated educational institutions. They had religious education, which is the curriculum here, but it wasn’t sectarian. They are now young adults that have no interest in religion and think the concept a lot of nonsense.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I wouldn’t let that 19-yr-old know-it-all me decide what I am going to eat for lunch, much less make big, life-long decisions.

          And yet theists feel the need to start the religious brainwashing from the cradle…fascinating.

          Another big chunk made the switch because there was some behavior they were OK with that their religion wasn’t.

          Seriously? With that asinine remark your credibility is going down the toilet sharpish.

        • Ignorant Amos

          A bunch have told me that even if there were a Heaven, they’d rather go to Hell than spend eternity worshiping God.

          You wouldn’t be fibbing would you Mark? Are you sure you are not misquoting and what they said that spending an eternity worshipping God would be Hell?

          You must know that atheists disbelieve in Heaven and Hell with equal measure.

          They make it sound like they don’t like the idea of someone being superior to them.

          Who likes people being superior? I certainly don’t.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Who likes people being superior? I certainly don’t.

          oh, that’s exactly what The Adversary would say!

        • I wouldn’t let that 19-yr-old know-it-all me decide what I am going to eat for lunch, much less make big, life-long decisions.

          The 19-yo you didn’t know enough to make a reliable life decision, so you fall back on “I know it’s true because I was raised that way”?

        • Mark Sibley

          Just to be clear, that’s YOU saying that, not me. 19-yr-old me is why my knees make funny noise and 40% of my hearing is lost.

        • ?? The 19-yo you may have been imperfect, but I’m talking about you making a continual decision as you go through life, always checking your worldview against the facts.

          What most Christians fall back on is “Well, that’s how I was raised” or “If it was good enough for my old man, it’s good enough for me.” And dismissing evidence like that is obviously no way to pick a worldview.

        • Myna

          1. How can you know? Life is vastly different than antiquity. The texts were written to address the concerns of that era. If understanding has progressed, as it undoubtedly has, then “truth” progresses as well.

          2. While some measure of bias is unavoidable, much of it stems from a lack of intellectual curiosity. Not saying that you have this lack, it’s just that you frequently use the term.

          3. I was being a bit of a trickster with this one. Supreme personality comes from Hinduism. Which godhead that reigns supreme depends on the school of thought.

          4. Catch-22 or the propensity for attaching perception or experience to a story? Alfred Einstein and Carl Sagan, for example, wrote of having had experiences each referred to as deeply religious, yet each rejected religion and were, in fact, both unhesitatingly agnostic. So, these two would be an illustration of having had a mystical experience, or feeling of a deep reverence, without attaching any story to them. The experience, itself, is not exclusive to those who adhere to a specific religion.

        • Mark Sibley

          1. The Truth is always the same. Only our ideas about it change.

          2. And intellectual curiosity (one of my “laundry list” items) is what motivates us to seek Truth. I mean, who among hasn’t at least once in their life wanted to know the truth?

          I cannot take offense at having my own bias pointed out to me. As you point out, it is a (jealous) surrogate for the Truth until it can take its proper place. I wouldn’t be seeking out you guy’s input if I didn’t want that bias to be tortured. OTOH, even a blind hog finds an acorn once in a while (actually, their eyesight is quite bad, and their sense of smell finds their food, but let’s go with it anyway). Sometimes our bias is confirmed to have been in harmony with Truth.

          3. Oh, you! When I use the term, “God”, I realize it carries baggage with it, but it has only 3 letters and I am (YHWH has 4) lazy. In the biblical story, Moses asks for a name, and there just really wasn’t one. Humans need for things to have names.

          4. The problem with having this Something out there is that intellectual curiosity can’t just leave it at that. “I just had a deeply spiritual experience – What are we having for lunch?”

          Sagan famously stated that the universe is all there ever is and all there will ever be. If so, then it had a beginning (if not, then THAT had a beginning). As troubling as my theological issues are, this is a biggie for atheists, and one gets what sound like theological atheism answers (the kind of emotional stuff one gets from theists) when it comes up – intellectual curiosity goes right out the window.

        • Pofarmer

          1. The Truth is always the same. Only our ideas about it change.

          Then we have no reliable access to it, and it’s just a cultural construct.

          2. Work harder.

          4. Intellectual curiosity is why we progress. It’s also why we make up answers when we don’t truly know. We WANT there to ban an answer, dammit.

          The beginning of the Universe isn’t particularly troubling to this atheist at all. We don’t know. Why does the Universe exist? Why not? Is it even possible for there to be a nothing? Interesting questions, but not particularly troubling in everyday life.

        • Michael Neville

          For some reason certain theists, particularly Christians, seem to think that atheists cry ourselves to sleep because we don’t have a good explanation of how the universe got started. I’d be interested in knowing how the universe got started just as I’d be interested in knowing what really happened to the Princes in the Tower or what causes ball lightning. But I don’t spend any time worrying about these things.

        • Mark Sibley

          1. The Truth is always the same. Only our ideas about it change.

          P: “Then we have no reliable access to it, and it’s just a cultural construct.”

          Seriously, that is the ONLY possibility you could come up with?

        • MNb

          How do you know the Truth is always the same if our ideas about it change? One such change is the idea that Truth is a meaningless concept.
          Seriously, that’s the only possibility you should come up with. Even better, you confirmed it yourself with your recognition that human understanding is imperfect. Your claim that there is something like Truth that’s always the same is part of that imperfect understanding and hence must be questioned. As you consistently fail to provide any reason to assume that there is a Truth but your strong emotional wish that there is a Something who/that grounds that Truth and also wrote that emotion is your enemy you have given us a fine reason to reject the idea of Truth.

        • Pofarmer

          Pretty much that’s the logical conclusion, yes.

        • MR

          1) “The Truth is always the same.” Like, ‘Thou shalt not kill,’ coupled with all the instances when it’s okay to kill? I’d suggest that there are fewer immutable truths than you believe.

          2) “And intellectual curiosity (one of my “laundry list” items) is what motivates us to seek Truth.” Yours isn’t intellectual curiosity, it’s emotional curiosity. Yours is: “Give me an answer up to the point that makes me feel good.” But you don’t go beyond that. You avoid the hard answers. It’s not about what “is” it’s about what you “want.” You’ve been presented with the concept of God as “the” answer to pretty much everything, and you’re good with that. But “God” as the answer raises uncomfortable questions which you conveniently sidestep. You cling to that answer, and your curiosity dies there. That is not intellectual curiosity.

          3) “Humans need for things to have names.” Even imaginary things.

          4) “If so, then it had a beginning (if not, then THAT had a beginning).” Why? Would that include God? When was his beginning? Why presume he always existed, but not matter and energy? We know matter and energy exist, you can demonstrate that to me. You can’t demonstrate God, yet you presume he exists/always existed and that he created the universe. With no evidence. As an aside, where does the Bible say that God created the universe out of nothing? Does the Bible rule out the possibility that God and matter have always existed together? Why do you presume that matter had a beginning? When you say everything that had a beginning was created, note that it was always created from previously existing material.

        • Myna

          1. Define Truth.

          2. Truth in what?

          3. Quote: “Humans need for things to have names.” This should tell you something.

          4. Quote: “I just had a deeply spiritual experience – What are we having for lunch?” This is probably why Eastern systems don’t place a lot of emphasis on a “spiritual experience.” Sooner or later, you’ve got to consume some food or you will die. Embracing an experience does not negate other realities. Sagan referred to the mechanism as “Cosmos”. The spiral in that overtakes the finite pages of any text. Intellectual curiosity does not go right out the window, or science, the quest for knowledge, would cease. It doesn’t. The skeptic of story doesn’t say it is the end of the quest, but rather rejects the confinement of a singular story.

        • MNb

          1. Is there a way we can know The Truth? If yes, how is it possible that our ideas about it can change? If no, what sense does it make to talk about it?

          2. Indeed I have wanted to know The Truth (btw why do you change from Truth to truth?). Giving up that wish enabled me to understand our natural reality better.

          4. The problem is solved by accepting that that Something of you isn’t out there.

          Nobody says you should ignore your deeply spiritual experience. We just think your jump from that experience to that Something out there is totally unjustified.

        • MNb

          Well, yes, when a toddler talks to his teddy he/she also makes a connection. It doesn’t follow that the teddy makes a connection with the toddler.

        • MNb

          1) Wrong. Electron-positron pair production doesn’t have a cause. If you think it has I urge you to write a scientific paper on it. You’re in for a Nobel Price.

          2) I don’t have that sense. Neither has my son. Neither have

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

          3) From conscience to some supernatural entity is a non-sequitur.

          4) From your awe for nature to some supernatural entity is also a non-sequitur.

          5) This is circular. You use cosmic justice as a reason for your god, who provides cosmic justice.

          6) Wrong question. The correct one is: how come we are curious? Evolution Theory provides an answer.

          7) Misguided human exceptionalism.

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

          8) One big if. By assuming that you have a soul without any further do you assume what you want to give a reason for.

          9) That’s it – it’s the best reason, because the only intellectual honest one.

          10) Christian exceptionalism. You haven’t experienced what Papua’s from New-Guinea described and they haven’t experienced what christians described unless the latter told the first what to experience.

          Conclusion: I was right when I suspected that your method is just accepting what makes your underbelly feel warm and cozy. All other points follow from point 9; it’s intriguing to see how that point makes you accept logical fallacies as convincing reasons and deny scientific knowledge.

          AfaIc this is not touchy-feely stuff at all – your belief system just doesn’t consist anything worth talking about.

        • Mark Sibley

          Wouldn’t one have to have electrons and positrons in order to have a pairing? What caused them?

        • Greg G.

          AIUI, there is no external cause. If anything, the arrow of time isn’t so relevant on that scale, so the annihilation causes the production. Mathematically, a positron is the same as an electron traveling backwards through time. The annihilation produces a photon which travels at the speed of light which is where time stops. The emission of a photon from at distant galaxy and it’s absorption by a pigment in your eye is the same instant. The annihilation of an electron-positron pair is the production of a positron-electron pair from the perspective of the other direction of time.

        • Mark Sibley

          You know, I was actually expecting the Quantum Vacuum lecture, but denial is far more entertaining.

        • Susan

          I was actually expecting the Quantum Vacuum lecture?

          How does that go exactly? When a person asks “What caused them?”, they are begging the question. Is that what you mean by the Quantum Vacuum lecture?

          denial is far more entertaining.

          Denial of what exactly?

          You haven’t made any kind of case that would imply denial on Greg G.’s part.

        • Mark Sibley

          Certain particles can exist at 2 different places simultaneously, zipping in and out of existence. Therefore, “something” can come into being out of nothing, “nothing” being the QV.

          “Denial” of causation – I take something which exists, and deny that it exists because its existence doesn’t fit my model for reality. It’s the kind of thing one would rip a theist for doing.

        • Greg G.

          I don’t know of an interpretation that says that a particle can exist in 2 different places. One theory says the location is not defined until it is observed while another says its position is guided by “pilot waves” which can interfere with one another.

        • Mark Sibley

          Haroche and Wineland won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2012 for this.

        • Greg G.

          https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/2012/press.html

          The brief description says they won the prize for being able to manipulate individual atoms. Are you referring to “pilot waves”?

        • MNb

          “Certain particles can exist at 2 different places simultaneously,”
          This is a very primitive account of what Quantum Mechanics says regarding the existence of particles related to space. QM rather says that given a space (for instance an electron around a nuclear core) such a particle (and it applies to all elementary particles) exists in all places simultaneously; its existence is described by a probabilistic distribution. It’s exactly this kind of probabilistic distribution that denies causality and predicts that things like positron-electron pair production are possible.

          “zipping in and out of existence.”
          That’s bogus.

          Another famous example of not everything having a cause is quantum tunneling.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_tunneling
          A popularized representation is you trying to walk through a brick wall. According to causal Classic Physics it’s impossible. According to QM you have a very small chance to succeed (though I’d still bet you’d fail if you continuously tried every second of your entire life). However in transistors the probability is much larger.

        • MNb

          Obviously you don’t have the slightest clue what electron-positron pair production is. It’s not like a marriage or something.

          https://www.britannica.com/science/pair-production

        • Myna

          Good luck with that. Mark Sibley just gave Pofarmer his disdain for links. In four steps, no less: https://disqus.com/home/discussion/crossexamined/the_great_debate_theism_vs_naturalism_where_does_the_evidence_point/#comment-3017698835

        • MNb

          Yeah, I remember. In this particular case however he robs himself from the right to question my denial of “everything has a cause” – if he refuses to read that link he implies that this “argument” of his is nothing but the result of his ignorance.

        • MR

          9) That’s it – it’s the best reason, because the only intellectual honest one.

          A couple extra ^1 for this.

        • Greg G.

          1] How can a cause acting on nothing have an effect? How can “nothing” be a cause? The first cause would have to be an entirely different type of thing than the cause and effects we experience, making the leap to a Causer a non sequitur.

        • MR

          The whole idea of there ever having been a “nothing” has grown to be bizarre to me. Even Christians assume there was always “something,” in the form of God. For me the question then is, “Why presume God? Why can’t matter and energy, or whatever it is that underlies them have always existed?”

        • Pofarmer

          “That virtually ubiquitous sense that we have been talking about that Something Supernatural exists. It fits with the concept of a personal God tapping us on the shoulder.”

          It also fits very nicely the idea that humans, and most mammals, want answers to problems. It helps us survive. The problem is, that we can’t intuitively tell an incorrect answer from a correct one. They both “feel” same and the problem becomes a Non problem. This saves us tons of brain energy.

        • Mark Sibley

          No, it really isn’t a very good fit. It is wishful thinking, substituting for science. I am supposed to be the wishful thinking guy around here. You guys are the science-only guys.

        • Pofarmer

          I take it you still haven’t bothered to watch any of the stuff I linked to you. Dunning Kruger is alive and well.

        • Mark Sibley

          1. Most of the time when someone puts up a link, it does not address the issue. While I may do a person’s first link, unless it is really good, I don’t do any more. In general links are the equivalent of busywork – designed to hassle rather than help.

          2. If a person cannot summarize their link, showing the connection and relevance, it’s not going to happen (because there is only a tenuous connection and no relevance).

          3. People hide behind links, insecure in their own position. If the poster isn’t confident enough in the information to pass it on himself, it is not worthy.

          4. I barely have time to read all of the responses you guys are putting up, much less respond to them all. I have a life. Spending 45 minutes slogging through a video is a deal-killer.

          So, no.

        • Myna

          That’s quite a contemptuous diatribe just to say no or, that you just don’t have the intellectual curiosity to investigate any given link. Links are provided to enhance or give a greater scope to an idea or argument; sometimes to provide information against error.

          If you don’t have time to consider what others bring to the table, I wonder why it is that you are here at all?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Links are supporting evidence that might very well show there is nothing behind the curtain. Shit scared of links more likely.

        • Pofarmer

          Believe me, that link exactly addresses the issues you were bringing up. If you don’t have the intellectual honesty to at least look at the answers, from, in this case, a researcher in a relevant field, then you are completely wasting both your and our time. But, the summary is as I’d already said, there are a host of evolved traits that essentially missfire which lead us to supernatutural belief. Hyperactive agency detction, pattern recognition, the fact that we can’t tell an incorrect from a correct answer by feelings, etc. This also has the feature of explaining why religious beleif is so ubiquitous in humans. It’s the same set of traits driving it.

        • Mark Sibley

          OK, I’ll check it out.

        • Susan

          It is wishful thinking, substituting for science.

          How so?

        • Mark Sibley

          It is speculation. . . . . that gives the answer that fits what one wishes to be the case. When we talk about why people sense the existence of God, we’re going to run up against as many anti-survival behaviors as those which promote survival. It’s more of an “out” to keep inconvenient things in harmony with one’s opinions than science.

        • Pofarmer

          I’m going to give you another chance before you continue to look stupid.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9T2umUoY00A

        • Mark Sibley

          OK, I watched it. Now, I am going to put up a link of a 45 minute sermon on how wonderful Jesus is, and claim it is science. I cannot believe how AWFUL that presentation was. That is SO far removed from real science. You gave me a link to a run-of-the-mill atheist apologist pretending to be a scientist. I was WAY too polite to you, and my policy about links is confirmed AGAIN. I am angry with myself because I knew better and did it anyway.

          45 minutes of my life that I will never get back.

        • Susan

          45 minutes of m my life that I will never get back

          Imagine how much more useful it would be if you would addres the issues.

          Your point was that the only model that explained why people believed in an “infinite personal being” is that that word salad must exist.

          Pofarmer provided a model that takes evidence into account and you have nothing specific to say about it.

          Please be specfic about what’s wrong with it.

          I’ve been specific (as hav many others here) about what’s wrong with your models.

          At the very least, you can’t even define them in a way that’s coherent.

        • Pofarmer

          Interesting. What did you find controversial or not well evidenced?

        • TheNuszAbides

          highly-resistant folks like Mark could probably start more effectively at ~3:00, where the actual presentation of science begins

        • MNb

          Speculation is not the same as wishful thinking.
          When first atheist commie Alexander Friedmann and just two years later catholic priest Georges Lemaitre speculated that our Universe had begun with what would be named the Big Bang they weren’t guilty of wishful thinking. They produced scientific speculations.

        • Kodie

          You have an imaginary friend, that’s your “answer.” That’s your full answer. Nothing you have said so far comes from anything other than “makes sense”. Reality is not a good fit for that.

        • Mark Sibley

          So, both of us have idiotic explanations – which of us actually recognizes that?

        • Pofarmer

          What is Kodies “idiotic explanation”?

        • Kodie

          I think he meant you do.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s hard to tell.

        • Kodie

          Mark Sibley responded to you:

          No, it really isn’t a very good fit. It is wishful thinking,
          substituting for science. I am supposed to be the wishful thinking guy
          around here.

          I told him he had an imaginary friend, and he responded to me, like, [between me (Mark Sibley) and Pofarmer], whose own idiotic explanation is more obvious to the person using it?

        • Mark Sibley

          His wishful thinking – what “makes sense” to him.

        • Kodie

          I recognized that you have an idiotic explanation, and it looks like you imply that you also recognize that you have an idiotic explanation.

        • Susan

          both of us have idiotic explanations.

          You were asked what idiotic explnation Kodie provided and you still haven’t produced it.

          Kodie had the decency to explain why your explanation was idiotic. Show her the same respect.

        • WayneMan

          So true. There are realities we know to be true (testable, repeatable) that don’t make sense (time is variable, quantum particles appear and disappear, …). It takes study and testing many times to verify things, so we now know that time is indeed variable, and quantum particles do indeed appear and vanish. If you cannot test it, it is just an opinion.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Pofarmer

          1) Greg G already hit on. A cause acting on nothing produces? I personally like the answer for “Why is there a Universe?” “Why not?

          http://waitbutwhy.com/table/why-is-there-something-instead-of-nothing

          2) I already talked about below. It’s a result of our evolved responses essentially missfiring. This is generally harmless, but does lead us to false positives.

          3) Not sure what you are talking about. Do you mean having a conscience? Other animals exhibit this too.

          4) Our brains are evolved to deal with the world around us. Things that are on our scale and at medium distances. It’s really not terribly surprising that we would be confused or awed by things on grandly different scales than we are used to.

          5) Other animals also exhibit a sense of justice. Monkeys and Dogs are just two well researched examples. And just because we want justice, doesn’t mean there’s some eternal kind.

          6) We solve problems. That’s pretty much what all mammals do everyday to survive. Life is a set of problems. We have the extra brainpower to do a little more, sure, but, really?

          7) Here’s another pretty good link. Don’t ask for the abbreviated answer. http://waitbutwhy.com/2014/10/religion-for-the-nonreligious.html

          8) Begging the question and wishful thinking. https://www.amazon.com/Soul-Fallacy-Science-Letting-Beliefs/dp/1616149620/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1479912646&sr=8-1&keywords=the+soul+fallacy
          The Soul Fallacy: What Science Shows We Gain from Letting Go of Our Soul Beliefs
          9) The world doesn’t suck. It’s just how it is. Well, maybe it does suck. But that doesn’t make wishful thinking correct, even if it is comforting.

          10) It’s not unfathomable, that as you get deeper into your own woo, you get deeper into your own woo. You condition yourself to think in a certain way, and it’s hard to break out of those patterns, believe me. If you google “pattern thinking” you will get thousands of relevant links.

          It’s not touchy feely stuff. It’s just-bad.

        • busterggi

          Then there is my favorite episode of Quiet Please

          http://www.quietplease.org/index.php?section=episode&id=1

        • TheNuszAbides

          oh, look. another noble effort that he failed to respond to.
          i started reading this thread recalling that Mark had seemed to make honest attempts at discussion before. now i’m remembering that he inevitably sticks his head back in the sand. this time he has the gall to blend “oh sure, i recognize that i’m engaging in wishful thinking” with the facepalm-making “oh, that’s just 45 minutes of just another terrible atheist apologist” …

        • Ignorant Amos

          Everything has a cause . . . . except the very first thing that started everything.

          Read that a few times into yourself.

        • WayneMan

          Thanks for sharing your list. I am happy that it works for you. It worked for me in my youth, but I have been a happy atheist now for many many years.

          As for your points, my thoughts are:
          1. No one really knows for sure if there was ever “a beginning”, and our current universe could just be a birth from a previous collapsed or parallel universe. There are many things we still do not know, but that vast knowledge accumulated to date has proven to have very normal, non-supernatural solutions.
          2. Some have that feeling, but by no means is ubiquitous. For a spiritual experience, a Michigan professor has created a God helmet, and subjects report a strong spiritual presence on demand, by applying small magnetic fields to the appropriate areas of the brain.
          3. It’s called millions of years of evolution. And we are not the only animals that have it.
          4. Yes nature is fascinating. Some of it we have considerable understanding, some not so much. But as we figure things out, that just makes many of us want to figure out more, and not resign to a God did it answer.
          5. Yes, I think most of us want justice which is why we make laws and build jails. Some afterlife justice is a great idea, but there has been no verifiable evidence to support it, so probably wishful thinking.
          6. Again, evolution. And also again, humans are not the only animals with curiosity.
          7. No way yet to verify that of other animals, but many animals seem to know something bad is about to happen when that lion rears its head from the weeds, and they run like crazy rather than just stand there. It is not surprising at all that brains evolved to the point of figuring out multivariate calculus, can observe and quickly figure out that no one gets out of here alive.
          8. Another wonderful thought, but I’m afraid likely more wishful thinking for an afterlife. If we can ever figure out how to read and duplicate our entire synapses topography, and transplant that into an android, that may be possible some day. To date, no verifiable evidence of a spirit exists.
          9. Another wonderful idea, that most of us would want. I certainly miss my father and other relatives. But again, after literally billions of deaths to date, not a single case of an afterlife has been verified. None. So again seems like wishful thinking.
          10. Good stuff happens, and bad stuff happens. I see people praying for a better job, a football game, get home safely, … However, given that a child under 5 dies a terrible death from disease or starvation about every 5 to 10 seconds, and 99% of all sea and land animals must kill and eat some other poor creature for their very survival, I cannot accept that some supernatural loving entity is in control of anything. The reality just is what it is.

        • Mark Sibley

          Thanks – I have nothing but kind wishes for my atheist friends to have long and happy lives.
          1. If the universe was caused by some other natural cause, then that cause needs a cause, as well. At some point, there has to be something which has no cause.

          2. The MI prof would be able to show how to simulate the sense, but not why it is there in the first place. LSD can also cause a spiritual event. If we could simulate love through brain stimulation, would we conclude that it was the real thing? If anesthesia simulates health, does that mean the injury never happened?

          3. Man, I sure don’t think so. I like the theory that our culture instills the behavior in us (probably the animal angle, FWIW), and the culture theory is unsatisfying.

          5. Man-made justice is imperfect, punishing the innocent letting the guilty go free, and having punishments unequal to the offenses. People hunger for perfect justice.

          7. Survival Instinct is different than intellectual awareness of one’s own inevitable death.

          8. We wouldn’t need the android. If we could just download our essence onto hard drives, we would still be “alive”, apart from our bodies. The essence of who we are exists, independent of our physical bodies.

          9. Well, the people who could verify an afterlife certainly aren’t around to report their findings, if that’s what you mean.

          10. If someone did claim to have died, came back, and is reporting that there is an afterlife, I’m thinking he’s nuts or a fraud. I trust my perception of God more than I do a guy like that. IMO, the closer I have gotten to God, the more that has been revealed to me about God. It’s as real to me as your delusion that you actually exist (it’s a joke, Son – laugh, I say, laugh).

          Death is tragic. Life, even lived to its fullest, is short. If this life is all there is, then it is all the more tragic that it ends (see #7). OTOH, without life, there can be no death. If God is cruel for taking life away, does He not get some credit for giving it in the first place? If He offers a limitless extension, does He not get some slack for that?

          FTM, life on Earth isn’t THAT great. Yeah, there is more upside than down for a lot of people, but even a charmed life has a LOT of downside. Heaven wouldn’t have a downside.

        • MNb

          1. I already have pointed out to you that not everything has a cause. To this I add that there are good reasons to assume that our Universe isn’t caused either.
          May I conclude you reject this? That would mean you’re not any better than the creationists you think silly – it’s just a different branch of science you reject.

          3. “Man, I sure don’t think so.”
          Given your general scientific ignorance this doesn’t have any weight.

          5. “People hunger for perfect justice.”
          Didn’t you criticize an atheist on this very page for wishful thinking?

          “Heaven wouldn’t have a downside.”
          Of course it has. Playing chess will become unattractive. Either one player loses now and then, which is a downside. Or all games end with a draw, which is another downside. Or there won’t be chess in heaven, which is a total downside.

          This simple logic applies to many issues. Either I’ll have to spend eternity in the company of people I rather avoid, like bigoted christians I’ve met on this blog. That’s a downside. Or they aren’t allowed in heaven, which is a downside for them. The best option hence is that I’m not allowed to heaven nor to hell (if there is such a realm) after I die, which is exactly my wish. That’s exactly what atheism promises.

        • TheNuszAbides

          5. “People hunger for perfect justice.”
          Didn’t you criticize an atheist on this very page for wishful thinking?

          that was just his hunger for false equivalence.

        • Michael Neville

          Man-made justice is imperfect, punishing the innocent letting the guilty go free, and having punishments unequal to the offenses. People hunger for perfect justice.

          According to the propaganda your god’s justice is barbaric. Infinite punishment for finite transgressions is pure sadism. Also one aspect of punishment is to teach the transgressor not to misbehave again. If the punishment is infinite then the miscreant has no opportunity to lapse, making the lesson aspect of punishment moot. Also many of the sins are arbitrary like working on the sabbath and taking god’s name in vain. Nope, I’m not buying the “god’s justice” song and dance.

        • Mark Sibley

          FWIW, IMO, the wages of sin is death. Your expectation is that when you die, there is nothing else afterward. Death is the end of you. You are OK with this arrangement. You are getting exactly what you expect, and yet you are griping about it.

          Now, if there is a Hell, Revelation tells us that it will eventually be cast into the lake of fire and will cease to exist. In that case, you’d be off the hook.

          And, all unpleasantness could be avoided if one chooses. If one chooses Hell, why would one gripe?

        • Michael Neville

          “The wages of sin is death” Actually that should be “are” since wages is a plural noun, but let’s not quibble over a cliche.

          We agree that we’re all going to die. You have the hope or wishful thinking that you’ll get pie in the sky when you die. I have the realization that when I die I’ll go back to the same condition I was in before I was born. I’m not griping about it, reality doesn’t care if I gripe or not so why bother?

          But you’re saying that people like me, because we don’t believe in your magic sky pixie, will be punished forever because we don’t believe in your magic sky pixie. And then with the next breath you claim that your magic sky pixie is a loving, omnibenevolent sky pixie. You don’t see any contradiction in these two ideas?

        • MNb

          I don’t choose Hell. I choose nothingness. However your cobelievers keep on telling me that your god rules out that option. You haven’t exactly made clear what you tell me – if you tell something. Is Hell meant as a punishment or not?
          But it gets worse. They way you picture Heaven fails in my eyes to make any significant difference with Hell. You remain invited to point out such a difference.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ya can’t choose to believe something ya don’t believe in.

        • Zeta

          Michael Neville: “Infinite punishment for finite transgressions is pure sadism.

          This was one of the reasons I rejected Christianity outright when I was told of Heaven and Hell (as in Christianity) by my Christian friends in school in my late teens. Even worse, the “transgression” is rejecting some fairy tales and superstitions.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          5. Man-made justice is imperfect, punishing the innocent letting the guilty go free, and having punishments unequal to the offenses. People hunger for perfect justice.

          Then the god of the bible would be an horrible place to look at for perfect justice, unless you find “god’s justice is perfect because god is perfect, trust it is perfect even if it does not make sense to you” as a valid explanation.

          As far as having “punishments unequal to the offenses” go, I cannot think of anything worse than eternal punishment for temporal “crimes”.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Getting frazzled for burning the wrong incense always seemed a tad overkill for the offence of ignorance.

          http://www.thebricktestament.com/the_wilderness/god_kills_aarons_sons/lv10_02a.html

        • WayneMan

          ” If God is cruel for taking life away, does He not get some credit for giving it in the first place?”

          I am the father that created my three children. If I snuffed them out because they did not attend med school like I wanted, should I get a pass. No, IMHO not even God gets a free pass in that regard.

          “Death is tragic. Life, even lived to its fullest, is short.”

          Yes it is, which is why I it is so important not to waste it. I do everything I can (donate to many charities on a regular basis, tutor students in math and computer science for free, do computer work for friends, neighbors, and relatives for free), because I feel my goal should be to improve life for my family, friends, mankind, and future generations. Not for a better seat in heaven, but because this is the only life I get, and I wish my legacy to be a positive one for them. When it’s over it’s over, and I am just worm food.

          People use to typically die before the age of 50. We have extended life by over 60% through medical advances, and making life easier in general through technology, not because some divine entity somehow changed their mind about our life cycles. There are just too many realities that simply do not make sense with a God scenario, and I gave up long ago trying to excuse the inexcusable and became atheist. We’ll have to agree to disagree my friend. Best wishes.

        • Mark Sibley

          1. Well, no, we no one was there to witness the beginning to the universe, and let’s face it, if they said God did it, we would rip that to shreds, wouldn’t we?

          2. You didn’t “Create” those children. You passed along chemicals, along with another person, in a long line of random chemical reactions dating back billions of years. Killing them is not your prerogative, even under non-religious law.

          3. So, you hunger for your life to have meaning; purpose. I left that one off my laundry list – thanks. After your death, you want people to think nicely of you. And, you have chosen values that are “good”. Sadly, we are all merely bags of DNA who should, logically, only serve our own selfish interests (killing your DNA carriers, BTW, violates this principle). To do otherwise is inconsistent with an atheist world view. Doing otherwise is borrowing from another value system.

          4. I agree with you that, ultimately, we choose the view of reality which “makes sense” to us. Humans are a peculiar bunch. We have a high opinion of ourselves, yet make stunning bad decisions almost daily. I am grateful that we have good people like you out there trying to make things better. I hope you get more than your 60% bonus.

        • WayneMan

          “To do otherwise is inconsistent with an atheist world view.”

          Just one other point to correct. No. Atheism has nothing to do with survival or morals. We have no rule book, no secret handshake, no hidden agendas, no master plan. Atheism is simply a disbelief in God(s), period. Morals and survival come from social evolution. It is using our brains to understand empathy for others, and the learned observation that helping each other is necessary for societies to survive and thrive.

          Oddly enough, our prisons are full of Christians, where the prison atheists population is about .1% (1/10 of 1%). Just on par with the general population, it should be 7% to 10%, so obviously you don’t need a God to follow social morals (mans laws). In fact it seems to be a negative influence.

        • Mark Sibley

          I am not familiar with the stats, but I agree in principle with what you said. In a purely atheist world view no behavior is any more or less moral than any other. Such value judgements have to come from somewhere else. From a naturalistic POV – the topic of this article – survival of the fittest trumps all.

        • WayneMan

          No, I think you completely missed my point. There is no atheist world view. Atheism is simply a disbelief in God(s) in particular, nor the supernatural in general. What follows is a conclusion that there are no “Biblical sins”, but that in no way leads to the atheists conclusion that there are no social morals. That always comes from an ability to understand empathy, and social evolution that has taught us that a society REQUIRES cooperation and helping each other. It also has nothing to do with survival of the fittest. You are getting that confused with “natural selection” which is part of species evolution (Darwin and Wallace), not atheism.

          My prison reference was simply to point out that at least on the surface, religion seems to have a negative impact on peoples social morals.

        • Mark Sibley

          Well, or, when atheists go to prison, they become Christians. Look, I will lead the parade when it comes to pointing out that Christians do not live up to their principles. I am totally willing to concede this point. Please take yes for an answer.

          I also agreed that atheism provides no guidance whatsoever on the subject of morals. Attila The Hun is no different than Mother Theresa. Therefore, moral values MUST come from someplace else. Some of the biggest names in atheism (identifying themselves as being of the naturalism sect) state what I describe.

          By “world view”, I mean one’s philosophy of determining truth. Naturalism rejects anything supernatural. There is no evidence of the supernatural that is acceptable to this flavor of atheist – the view of reality prohibits it.

        • moral values MUST come from someplace else

          They come from our programming and from society.

          Where did you think they came from?

        • Mark Sibley

          Seriously? You can’t take a wild guess at where I might have gotten my moral values?

          The better question might have been where our society got its values.

        • You can’t take a wild guess at where I might have gotten my moral values?

          I can indeed: you got them from the same place that I did.

        • Mark Sibley

          You see, we can find common ground – yours are from Christianity, too, via the Western culture you live in.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          His are not, mine are not and a lot of yours are not either I am willing to bet.

          To use an exemple form Frank Turek: you have to borrow from our worldviews for your morals.

        • True enough–all my morals come from the Bible. After all, no human knew that murder, stealing, and lying was bad until the 10 Cs told us.

          And think about slavery–where would we be if Jesus hadn’t made clear that it was bad?

          Hold on … no, that’s my mistake. Actually, Jesus didn’t do anything to reject slavery. Or genocide. Or even polygamy.

          No, when I think about it, I’m not seeing a lot of unique value coming from the Good Book. It seems more like just a blog of an ancient desert tribe.

        • Michael Neville

          Are you suggesting that it might be acceptable to boil a kid in its mother’s milk? Or that one can trim the corners of the beard? Or we can enjoy shrimp cocktail?

        • Now there you go! How would you know that this random stuff was wicked unless the Bible told you?

        • Ignorant Amos
        • WayneMan

          ” Attila The Hun is no different than Mother Theresa.”

          An absolute fallacy. Of course there is a difference, and the reality of that does not need to come from “someplace else”. Good and bad are primarily learned from your geography (where you are born and raised). Each area has gone through its own social evolution and may vary, like the Galapagos Islands. Fortunately, things like global TV, cell phones, and the Internet has begun to reduce the Galapagos effect on social norms, so that things like female genital mutilation, considered normal in some areas for centuries, is now being scrutinized. There is nothing external or divine about morals at all. They have simply evolved through trial and error over time to benefit the society, influenced by empathy and neighboring social structures.

          I have always been amused at Christians claiming their religion to be the moral authority. And I have often wondered if all Bibles suddenly disappeared, would Christians run wild in the streets raping and murdering everything in sight.

        • Mark Sibley

          Let me try this from a slightly different angle: Where is it written in the Atheist Code that Mother Theresa was good or Attila bad? Atheism is non-belief, and nothing else. It has nothing to say about the relative morality of either person.

        • WayneMan

          It is called common sense. And yes, there is no “atheist code book”. If someone punches you in the face, or robs your home, or murders your family, it does not take anything but that experience to know it was bad. You feel hurt, violated, sad, and anger. If you see someone doing these same things to someone else, unless you have a mental disorder, empathy and logic allows you to understand those same negative feelings for others. Same for happy experiences. No Bible, Quran, Vedas, or Gods are required required.

        • Mark Sibley

          Forgive me for being a smart aleck, but while getting my stuff stolen was bad for me, it was good for the thief. He had a moral choice to make, and decided that assault, murder, and theft were OK if they served his wants.

          Since atheism says absolutely nothing about ANY morals, it does not say this behavior is bad (or good). For input on morals, the atheist has turn somewhere else. So, you, for instance have one area that deals with the issue of Belief, and a totally separate area that deals with morals. Your atheism should not be insulted in the slightest by this. By definition, it has nothing to do with that separate area.

        • WayneMan

          Yes, I think you know you are being a smart aleck. You are arguing from exceptions; a fallacy at best, disingenuous at worst. I have explained several times, morals are learned from our social norm environments due to social evolution. There is nothing magical or divine involved at all. No matter how you want to tap dance to avoid reality, you cannot explain why believers are much more likely to commit crimes than atheists. Since atheists do not have some secret code book, it seems likely that religion is somehow warping some people’s sense of societal morals. Maybe because many religions teach implicitly or directly, that they are special/superior, and that is is OK, or even required to judge and discriminate against certain other groups of people. I really don’t know the reason, but the facts are very clear.

        • Michael Neville

          In Christianity forgiveness is readily and easily available. If a Protestant “sins” then they just have to flop on their knees, say “Jesus, I love you, I believe in you, please forgive me” and they’re automatically forgiven. A Catholic sees a man in a little booth, confesses, and usually receives a minor penance of a few prayers. If forgiveness is effortlessly obtained then sinning is no big deal.

        • WayneMan

          Yes. First, there are always exceptions in any demographic. When someone decides to rob, they are a tiny minority to their demographic at large. Mark is pleading the exception and implying that their morals are somehow different in their choices. I think most criminals (unless actually mentally ill) know robbing is wrong, but choose to override that because personal gain is a higher priority to them. That may come from growing up in a highly criminal environment, or a very harsh childhood where pushing empathy into their subconscious is a common effect. Regardless, it does not change the point that social morals are learned from the associated society, not “somewhere else”. How else could the vast majority of citizens in the south, even their children, have seen slavery as acceptable? It is because most of them simply grew up with slavery being normal.

        • Since atheism says absolutely nothing about ANY morals

          But unfortunately, Christianity does. And much of it is really, obviously, laughably bad. So much for it being a source of timeless morality.

        • WayneMan

          A corrected re-post for my earlier post:
          ————————————————-

          Yes, I think you know you are being a smart aleck. You are arguing from exceptions; a fallacy at best, disingenuous at worst. I have explained several times, morals are learned from our social norm environments due to social evolution. There is nothing magical or divine involved at all.

          Edited to correct:

          Sorry, I just found out that the few articles I had previously seen, showing low atheist level in prison, was using data that cannot be verified, so I must withdraw that premise. However, this does not change the original point that morals are due to social learning, not the divine. Please read my comment to Michael Neville above, and consider my point about slavery. If that does not illustrate that most morals are socially learned and not divine, I don’t know how it could be explained.

        • The Friendly Atheist did some research on this. Atheist numbers in prison are quite low, but IMO the data is suspect if “Christians” are given special privileges, that might be a draw for someone to call themselves that. Or perhaps they’d do it just to be a part of a larger team. (I imagine being alone in prison isn’t a great idea.)

        • WayneMan

          Yes, I saw Hemant Mehta’s post from 2013, where he questioned the validity of this data. However, in his 2015 revisit, he did in fact get a response from the Federal Bureau Of Prisons which showed these same numbers of roughly .1%. However, he still warns that this data was self reported and some categories like “not important” or “other” could have been selected if not closely administered. It does hint by the low order of magnitude that atheist do seem to be much lower than expected, at least in the federal prisons.

        • Greg G.

          I saw something, that I never got around to verifying, that countered that. If convicts were lying about their religion, they would select the one with the best special privileges. Instead, the percentages of each religion matched the population at large with the atheists omitted.

        • TheNuszAbides

          I saw something, that I never got around to verifying, that countered that. If convicts were lying about their religion, they would select the one with the best special privileges. Instead, the percentages of each religion matched the population at large with the atheists omitted.

          please re-find it. (presuming you have the most free time, of course.)

        • Myna

          Religion, if little else, is a coping mechanism in the artificial, de-humanizing prison environment. It takes one out of their guilt without having to look through the glass darkly, which is why it is often abandoned once a prisoner is released. It’s also a diversion, however limited, from deadening routine, from flat-line time. Of course, the pastors are present to reinforce the whole interplay between Jesus loves you v. the anxiety level of incarceration and internally owning one’s actions. You take one of the Manson women, the late Susan Atkins, for instance, who went the religion route. Her attitude was that she was absolved, so why tear your guts out for the heinous acts of inhumanity you committed?

        • Kodie

          Unless I’m very much mistaken, I think proselytizing to prisoners is also a thing, I guess there’s an assumption with people who do such a thing that prisoners are not already Christians, and according to the “ex-atheist” testimony, maybe they don’t feel so much like Christians, at least as far as forgiven and saved, so the proselytizers are somehow allowed to go into prisons and speak directly to an actual captive audience. I have to think, but I’m not certain, that there are certain bonuses to prisoners who attend the meetings with the proselytizing visitor, or privileges that are not taken away if they go voluntarily – which I call out as illegal, but these things don’t seem to be a priority to regulate against. It may not even be a voluntary choice, like when an assembly is presented at school. If there is an option to attend a prayer meeting with a visiting Christian proselytizer and playing basketball, probably basketball would win, but I’m guessing that the alternative is worse, so prisoners take advantage of any opportunity to leave their cell. Some may actually convert as a result, after all, they are in a tight situation, and gaining some sense of self-worth is appealing to them

          .

        • Pofarmer

          I don’t know if you ever watched the FX series “Justified”, but it had a pretty great take on one of the characters machinations on religion at different stages in his development. Loved that show. Sad to see it gone.

        • Myna

          I didn’t get a chance to see that series. I’m always reluctant, though, to get into a series unless I know it is limited, because if I really like it, it gets cancelled or new writers come in and take it in a whole different direction. Either way, I get so bummed.

        • Rudy R

          Assuming the thief thought it OK, and moral, to steal. If a Christian steals, are we to assume that person felt it was OK and moral?

          And you are correct when you state atheism says absolutely nothing about any morals. Atheism only has something to say about there being no gods.

          Before the Ten Commandments were presented in the Torah, how did civilizations and cultures come to the realization that killing was universally immoral?

        • Mark Sibley

          1. I agree that the Christian would feel he was justified. You’d be amazed at the thought process that a person can use to lie to themselves. Christians are just like everyone else in this respect. We break our own (well, God’s) rules on a daily basis. In my own life, I hope that as I get closer to God, such things will lessen in frequency.

          2. I think there was a General Revelation where people had a conscience that murder was wrong, but there were also cultures where humans were sacrificed. The mere fact that there was a need for a written prohibition tells you there was doubt about its morality. The Torah suggests circumstances where Hebrews seemed to feel justified in killing others over seemingly minor insults.

          Rome reminds me of the Mafia – certain murders were immoral (killing a Don), but others were OK (slaves and the lower class), especially with permission from a higher-up, or in a coup. There were long stretches where no emperors died of natural causes.

          So, I’m not so sure that “universally’ is the best adjective.

        • Rudy R

          How did/does this “General Revelation” come about? Is it a gut feeling? A voice from a god?

        • Mark Sibley

          Gut feeling.

        • Your gut says X and someone else’s says not-X.

          Where do we go from here?

          It’d sure be nice if this “god” of yours could communicate clearer.

        • MR

          ISIS has some gut-feelings, too.

        • Mark Sibley

          It took something like 10 days to get to the “gut” comment. There are lots of places to go. People have been running me ragged around here with all the places there are to go. We’ve done History, Physics, Philosophy, and Literature in just he last few days.

          It would be nice if my dog shit doughnuts, too. Looks like neither one of us is going to get “nice”, huh?

        • Greg G.

          Wait, do you know that your dog doesn’t shit doughnuts? How do you know?

          You could put one in a Tootsie Roll wrapper and give it to your brother. If he says, “This tastes like shit,” you’re outta luck.

          Which reminds me of:
          Utah Phillips – Moose Turd Pie – YouTube

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zb1qsVqjwg

        • Mark Sibley

          LOL.

          I was doing some yardwork today, and stepped in one of those “doughnuts”.

          When someone says, “Taste like shit.”, I always want to ask how it is that they recognize that flavor.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It cracks me up every time I see the believer pitch up to a site such as this and set about scolding the non-believer for daring to think, or even suggest, what they would do better if having some of the attributes of this alleged perfect super being. How dare anyone presume to know what gods want, need, desire, would do, etc., such arrogance. Then the theist sets about explaining what gods wouldn’t want, need, desire, would do, etc., like it isn’t every bit as arrogant.

          When dealing with evidence-less supernatural beings, no one has the monopoly on what it could be thinking, that’s the feckin’ reason there is so much different woo-woo’s about the place.

        • Your god can’t communicate clearly. You don’t think that that’s evidence that each person just sees God’s hand with no good reason to?

          When good Christians get different answers to the same question, the mechanism is clearly not reliable. An unreliable message means that “God” is an invention.

        • Mark Sibley

          So, here’s the analogy to help you understand my point:

          We’re all in a room. A voice says something. The religious people all say, “I heard it say, ‘Be nice to each other’.” You say, “It sounded kind of garbled to me, therefore, there was no voice.”

          The fact that you are dissatisfied with the quality of the communication is tangential (I’m speaking your lingo) to the main point.

          Within Christianity, it becomes even more tangential; more irrelevant:
          CHRISTIAN: “I hear God saying we should baptize by sprinkling.”
          GOD: “Yeah, whatever.”

        • TheMarsCydonia

          But the point you are missing here and needs to be repeated, again (and which you’ve been avoiding since you’ve not dared to reply once since I made it) is that:

          You’re basically accusing Mr. Seidensticker, me, and of the other non-religious people of being liars.

          Let’s take your “we’re all in a room” analogy and correct it as with facts that are claimed:
          “We’re all in a room. A voice says something. The voice is all-knowing, so it knows how to makes itself heard and it is all-powerful so it has the power to make itself heard. The religious people hear it and say “I heard” and the non-religious people hear it but say “I did not hear”.

          Now you’re analogy is more accurate IF god existed and was all-knowing and all-powerful and wanted his voice to be heard clearly and unambiguously.

          However, the reality is more like this:
          “We’re all in a room. We have the most sophisticated and accurate piece of recording equipment ever available to man. After a long period of silence, the religious people say “I heard a voice!”. The christians among the religious say “I heard God” but the hindus say “You have it wrong, I heard Vishnu” and other religious people say they heard something different. The non-religious people say “I did not hear anything. Let’s check the recording” and everyone finds nothing. Yet the religious people insist they heard something but few agree on what it is”.

        • Kodie

          And really most of the people haven’t heard any sound at all, but are susceptible to the power of suggestion from others. That “sound” was the message! It “said” xyz! If you admit you didn’t hear it among people who said they also heard it, they might think you’re stupid! That’s what the bible says, “go along with it or everyone will think you’re stupid!”

        • You’re not one of those sad people who can’t see the Emperor’s new clothes, are you?

        • Kodie

          Not only is the emperor naked, he’s not even an emperor.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The Emperor is indeed regaled in the finest raiments.

        • Pofarmer

          In addition to what TheMarsCydonia says below, you are scoring an own goal by noting that not even all Christians can agree on what God says. That doesn’t help your case. In fact, it makes rather the opposite point.

        • Mark Sibley

          What I’m saying is that some issues are important while others are trivial. Disagreeing over trivial matters doesn’t mean much. You guys are the ones with the premise that God’s communication must be perfect. I’m still waiting on support for that one (I won’t be holding my breath).

        • My premise is: God would ensure that his message is clear. That startles you?

          Or perhaps you know as well as I do that the Christian message is anything but clear so, knowing the correct answer, you’re working back to reject this seemingly reasonable hypothesis.

        • Mark Sibley

          It isn’t a an issue of “starling”. It is an issue of supporting your claim. How do you know that God would do what you claim He would?

          Look, as much as I love watching you go through these contortions to try to convince me that this square is a circle, we both know you just made this claim up. You have no basis for it other than that it serves your purpose.

          It’s also obvious that no one here scratched their head and wondered the same thing I did. People who pride themselves on their reason and science didn’t raise a peep about an “experiment” that was nothing but you bias on parade.

          Come on, Bob, either you stand for these principles or you don’t.

        • Kodie

          Jesus Christ, you dimwit. What purpose do you serve the almighty god with these futile and impotent bleatings? There is no sign of god, only sign of the crushingly petulant Mark Sibley, who thinks god is entitled to be as vague as he wants to be, and up to each of us to check our “gut” for evidence and draw a picture of god any way we like. Yeah, so we look at the evidence, that god never says anything, god never communicates, and when you and your other Christians disagree with each other, it’s fine, but when you disagree with us, it’s totally our fault for analyzing what there is – no god so far, but plenty of dummies like you who are compelled to speak up. Tell me what you would think that means about the existence of god?

        • How do you know that God would do what you claim He would?

          I don’t know. I never said that I did know.

          Look, as much as I love watching you go through these contortions to try to convince me that this square is a circle, we both know you just made this claim up.

          Wrong again. Seriously: you really need to state the other guy’s position clearly. You suck at it.

          Come on, Bob, either you stand for these principles or you don’t.

          Scolding is fun. Actually making a point is more difficult.

        • Mark Sibley

          You stated that God should do X. My question was what the basis of your claim was. Now I’m getting this song and dance. If you don’t want to answer the question, I’m OK with that. Just don’t choose that course of action and then claim you value Reason.

        • My question was what the basis of your claim was.

          Yeah. I answered your question.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Seriously: you really need to state the other guy’s position clearly.

          Seriously, you expect Mark to clearly state the other guys position when he struggles so badly to state his own? Good luck with that one.

        • MR

          Like a 13-year-old first trying on logic.

          Still, it’s important to point out when they misrepresent our position. Thou shalt not bear false witness and all.

        • Pofarmer

          You guys are the ones with the premise that God’s communication must
          be perfect. I’m still waiting on support for that one (I won’t be
          holding my breath).

          You are talking about an omniscient(all knowing), omnipotent(all powerful) being. If belief is that important that it entails eternal damnation and torture if you fail in it, and God is also omnibenevolent,(all good) then what’s the excuse? Why WOULDN’T all Christian denominations, or all people for that matter, be receiving the same messages and answers, trivial or not? There is one really good answer for that.

        • Mark Sibley

          Still waiting . . . . . .

        • Pofarmer

          Aren’t you just the cutest thing.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          But holding your breath is all you’ve been doing. I’ve been over this with you and you’ve ignored it.

          Let’s go back: you’ve agreed that the christian god is all-knowing and all-powerful. So it follows that it knows both how to communicate in such a manner that it is clear and unambiguous and that it has the power to do so.

          The question is, would the christian god communicate with its creation in such a way? (Note the difference between theism and deism here, which I’ve pointed out to you elsewhere)

          Well according to christian theology, the christian god wants a relationship with everyone. So what’s stopping it to communicate that in a clear and unambiguous way? As you’ve agreed: It has the knowledge and the power to do it.

        • Mark Sibley

          Your argument is fallacious. Having the ability to do something does not mandate that it be done. We have the power and knowledge to kill ourselves, yet do not do so.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          It is your defense that is fallacious:
          Having the ability to do something does not mean it will be accomplished.
          Having the will to do something and the ability to see it accomplished however? That does mean it should be accomplished.

          Those that have the power, knowledge and will to kill themselves usually succeed.

          I am not sure how you still fail to recognize this.

          Again, if the christian god wants a relationship and it has both the knowledge and the power to accomplish this, what is stopping it?

          At least when you were ignoring me you didn’t have to come up with these fallacies.

        • Mark Sibley

          One of my gripes about logical fallacies is that, just because something does not always lead one to the correct conclusion, it doesn’t tell you anything about the probability of it leading you to the right conclusion. If something is fallacious, it could still offer a 99% chance that it will lead you to the correct conclusion about the truth. Hey, we’ll take that, right?

          I mention that by way of undercutting my point about fallacious logic – just because your logic is fallacious doesn’t guarantee that it will lead us to the wrong conclusion.

          In this case however, this is really low-hanging fruit. To help move things along, allow me to re-state your claim in an easy-to-follow format and then you can review it to see if I have fairly characterized your view:

          A. If God has the ability to do something, He will do it.
          B. God has the ability to communicate clearly and unambiguously.

          Therefore,
          C. God would communicate clearly and unambiguously.

          Your next assertion would use (C) to conclude that God does not exist.

          That is sound logic. My contention is that Premise (A) is not true. As evidence, I point to the thousands of options we have each day which we choose not to exercise even though we have the ability to do them.

          Forgive my length, but I think time can be saved here and I want to do your topic justice. As I read your post above, I see one more possible factor – “will (to do something)”. You may be adding to Premise (A) that God also WANTS to do this thing.

          If that is the case, then for the purposes of this discussion, you have already granted several theological premises (God could exist, has a mind, and has infinite power, etc.). Now, we have to add a couple additional theological premises:

          1) that God wants every human being to join Him in Heaven, and,
          2) that He wants it so badly that He will force that on people who don’t want to be with Him.

          I wish that were the case, and have tried to force that interpretation on Christian scripture, but it just isn’t there. Even at the end of Revelation, God is trying to persuade people to come to Him willingly and they refuse.

          I hope this helps.

        • adam

          “1) that God wants every human being to join Him in Heaven, and,”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9bfb7cbb09a39ae8911c3879d7def113ab5277eb302961e16b02b2a649a0e7d6.jpg

          “2) that He wants it so badly that He will force that on people who don’t want to be with Him.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/25868c89df190f1a1b0c4fea7ddc7591c0d18461fcd81749e02a9ccebceaab91.jpg

        • TheMarsCydonia

          So let’s go over my “argument” as you put it in an “easy-to-follow” format:

          “A. If God has the ability to do something, He will do it.
          B. God has the ability to communicate clearly and unambiguously.
          Therefore,
          C. God would communicate clearly and unambiguously.”

          I entirely agree with you about A but how can that be if that is my argument? Because it is not the argument, never has been.

          So no, you have not fairly characterized my view, you have not even come close. I’ve made that repeatedly clear. You are either willfully obtuse or lack the ability to understand.

          So let’s see if you can finally understand. Try this:

          P1: The christian god (simply god from now on) wants to have relationship with us/know he exists.
          P2: God has the power to establish his want to have a relatiohship/his existence clearly and unambiguously
          C1: (from p1 and p2) If god exist, god’s want to have a relation/his existence should be clear and unambiguous.
          P3: God’s want to have a relation/his existence is not clear and unambiguous.
          C2: (from c1 and p3) god does not exist.

          P1 and P2 are claims from christian theology: god wants a relantionship/wants people to know he exists, is all-knowledgeable and is all-powerful.
          C1 comes from p1 and p2
          P3 comes from our reality: there are a multitude of religions, varying god-beliefs and people who do not believe.
          C2 comes from C1 and P3.

          Repeating and wishing that my logic is fallacious will not make it so nor will it make your logic sound.

          If something is fallacious, it could still offer a 99% chance that it will lead you to the correct conclusion about the truth. Hey, we’ll take that, right?

          I will not take that, hence why I am not religious, and leave that entirely to you.

        • Mark Sibley

          That is such an awesome post. You and I are going to actually communicate. This is going to get weird.

          1. Let me make sure I understand your thinking about logic. Again, correct me if I am mistaken here. Any logical fallacy invalidates the claim being made. No matter what the probability of the claim being true, if the support for it is a logical fallacy, then it should be treated as untrue. Is that correct?

          2. a) I think we need another modifier in both P1 and P2 that is all-inclusive. It would have to be clear and unambiguous to every single person, not just those to whom it is already that way.

          b) We are also going to need something more to modify “want”. It is going to have to be a want that surpasses all other values. As an example to make the point, I have the want and ability to eat ice cream, but I don’t want to put on weight, so I don’t eat ice cream even though I have the want and ability.

          In the Book of Revelation, right up until the final judgement, God is still trying to persuade people to believe in Him, yet the message is still not clear and ambiguous enough for everyone to believe.

          Bob began his article with a quote from Paul saying that there is already sufficiently clear and unambiguous evidence for people to believe in God.

          I’m not even close to being a biblical scholar, yet I was able to come up with 2 quick contradictions to your assertion that P1 and P2 are biblical. If those assertions – even the modified versions I suggested – are not accurate, then the whole thesis fails.

          I also want to point out that P2 contains as an essential part my premise (A), which you harshed. And, I see no difference between C1 and (C). You said it was “not even close” when it was certainly in the neighborhood.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          I doubt it but I’ll continue to try:
          “1… Any logical fallacy invalidates the claim being made. No matter what the probability of the claim being true, if the support for it is a logical fallacy, then it should be treated as untrue. Is that correct?”

          Both correct and incorrect. If an argument contains a logical fallacy, the argument is invalid. That doesn’t mean that the conclusion is untrue but it does mean that believing the conclusion is true based on that argument is invalid.

          “2. a) I think we need another modifier in both P1 and P2 that is all-inclusive. It would have to be clear and unambiguous to every single person, not just those to whom it is already that way.”

          All-inclusive was implied. See the part about “people of other religions, other god-beliefs” etc.

          b) We are also going to need something more to modify “want”. It is going to have to be a want that surpasses all other values. As an example to make the point, I have the want and ability to eat ice cream, but I don’t want to put on weight, so I don’t eat ice cream even though I have the want and ability.

          So a “want” that is not negated by another “want”.

          In the Book of Revelation, right up until the final judgement, God is still trying to persuade people to believe in Him, yet the message is still not clear and ambiguous enough for everyone to believe.

          But here’s a problem… Earlier in our comments, I asked if you agreed that god is all-knowledgeable and all-powerful, did not I not? To which you’ve agreed yet here you are saying that god does not have the power to persuade people: he is powerless to do so.

          I have no problem granting you that god is not all-knowledgeable and not all-powerful as that would solve the issue but then why would you say he is? Can you explain the contradiction with your earlier agreement?

          Bob began his article with a quote from Paul saying that there is already sufficiently clear and unambiguous evidence for people to believe in God.

          The bible does say that. Which is to say, if interpreted this way, the bible is calling everyone that believes in a different god, notion of god or does not believe in a god to be liars (the “without excuse part”).

          Here’s another issue: If the evidence is clear and unambiguous so that everyone is without excuse and knows of god’s existence, then there should be no need to convince of god’s existence, would it? Apologetics is completely useless since everyone has the evidence to believe in god.

          And then why god is trying persuade people he exists in the book of revelations?

          Your statement about Paul: “there is already sufficiently clear and unambiguous evidence for people to believe in God”.

          Your statement about the book of revelation: “the message is still not clear and ambiguous enough for everyone to believe”.

          Can you explain this contradiction?

          I’m not even close to being a biblical scholar, yet I was able to come up with 2 quick contradictions to your assertion that P1 and P2 are biblical.

          A contradiction to p1? Where?
          A contradiction to p2? Well, it’s true you’ve asserted that god is not all-powerful and is not all-knowledgeable. You haven’t explained why this assertion is the correct one, nor why you contradicted yourself, twice, and why you contradicted one of your contradictions.

          If those assertions – even the modified versions I suggested – are not accurate, then the whole thesis fails.

          True. If god is not all-powerful and all-knowledgeable, then the thesis fails. So, is he or is he not? Does he want mankind to know he exists or does he not?

        • Mark Sibley

          ME: b) We are also going to need something more to modify “want”. It
          is going to have to be a want that surpasses all other values. As an
          example to make the point, I have the want and ability to eat ice cream,
          but I don’t want to put on weight, so I don’t eat ice cream even though
          I have the want and ability.

          YOU: So a “want” that is not negated by another “want”.

          ME: In
          the Book of Revelation, right up until the final judgement, God is
          still trying to persuade people to believe in Him, yet the message is
          still not clear and ambiguous enough for everyone to believe.

          YOU: “But
          here’s a problem… Earlier in our comments, I asked if you agreed that
          god is all-knowledgeable and all-powerful, did not I not? To which
          you’ve agreed yet here you are saying that god does not have the power
          to persuade people: he is powerless to do so.

          I have no problem
          granting you that god is not all-knowledgeable and not all-powerful as
          that would solve the issue but then why would you say he is? Can you
          explain the contradiction with your earlier agreement?”

          MY ANSWER: Yeah, I think I can, and it ties in well with the post you were responding to. I asserted that God might have more than one “want”. It makes sense that there might be times when one “want” might conflict with others.

          In the example I provided from Revelation, I see a plausible conflict between the want for mercy and the want for justice. Some people are persuaded and mercy shown, but others are not, and justice served.

          I’m going to have to go off on Free Will for a minute. I think God created people with the FW to make their own choices. God would not have to persuade anyone if people had been created to be like robots. Therefore, it makes sense that it is more important that people have FW than that 100% of them make the choice God would want.

          So, we have multiple “wants”, with conflicts and prioritized compromises at work. You still seem to insist that having power dictates using it in its totality. I don’t see why it would be implausible that God could simply choose not to exercise some of His power in order to serve a more important want.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          You still seem to insist that having power dictates using it in its totality.

          Never have, never will.

          I don’t see why it would be implausible that God could simply choose not to exercise some of His power in order to serve a more important want.

          So his want to have a relation with mankind, his want that mankind knows he exists is negated. What want could that be? Free will? Let’s see:

          I’m going to have to go off on Free Will for a minute. I think God created people with the FW to make their own choices. God would not have to persuade anyone if people had been created to be like robots. Therefore, it makes sense that it is more important that people have FW than that 100% of them make the choice God would want.

          For it to make senses, you need to demonstrate how clearly and unambiguously knowing of god’s existence negates free will.

          For exemple, the bible talks at lenght about someone named Jesus. If it is trusted, Jesus knew clearly and unambiguously about god’s existence. Does that mean that Jesus’ free will was negated?

          Or taken the christian notion of heaven. I would assume that the people in heaven know clearly and unambiguously of god’s existence. Does their free will cease to exist?

          (And we’ve not even ventured on what free will is)

        • adam

          “For it to make senses, you need to demonstrate how clearly and unambiguously knowing of god’s existence negates free will.”

          Satan demonstrates exactly the opposite.
          As do all the angels who followed him.

          And apparently Satan’s free will makes Satan more powerful than God itself:

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/31c0369f60b3e2062c18efaffc8b2dc0e965d1137c84726d22e9f0c641423fb5.jpg

        • Mark Sibley

          ME: You still seem to insist that having power dictates using it in its totality.

          MARS: Never have, never will.

          Then we are done. If having power does not mandate using it, then God can elect not to make Himself known clearly and unambiguously to 100% of the population.

          MARS: “So his want to have a relation with mankind, his want that mankind knows he exists is negated.”

          No, I’m not saying that. Here is where I brought that up in my post:

          ME: “In the example I provided from Revelation, I see a plausible conflict
          between the want for mercy and the want for justice. Some people are
          persuaded and mercy shown, but others are not, and justice served.”

          STILL ME: “Therefore, it makes sense that it is more important that people have FW
          than that 100% of them make the choice God would want.So, we have multiple “wants”, with conflicts and prioritized compromises at work.”

          So, rather than negation, I posited “compromises” in which multiple wants (justice, mercy, FW, in addition to the knowledge of existence, and relationship) are prioritized and properly balanced.

          MARS: “For it to make sense, you need to demonstrate how clearly and unambiguously knowing of god’s existence negates free will.

          For
          example, the bible talks at length about someone named Jesus. If it is
          trusted, Jesus knew clearly and unambiguously about god’s existence.
          Does that mean that Jesus’ free will was negated?

          Or taken the
          christian notion of heaven. I would assume that the people in heaven
          know clearly and unambiguously of god’s existence. Does their free will
          cease to exist?”

          MY REPLY: 1. Jesus and God are already pretty much in total agreement, so both scenarios – FW and no FW – would be indistinguishable. That said, Jesus’ FW cannot be negated any more than God’s can be (and The Trinity beating be far behind?)

          2. FW in Heaven: To do WHAT? I mean, what issues are still unsettled by the time one is in Heaven? Paper vs plastic? Yankees vs Mets? Beatles vs Stones? If you and I were in Heaven (wouldn’t that be lovely?), would we STILL be arguing about evidence of God’s existence? About attributes of God? What God wants?

          3. Keeping #2 in mind, in order for a person to have that level of knowledge, we’re not living this kind of life any more. At the very end of Revelation (Spoiler Alert), after Earth and Hell have been destroyed, it describes a new Earth, in which we return to a Garden of Eden-like existence, living with God, and having the kind of knowledge you are talking about. Until then, it ain’t happening. If we are using scripture as the source of our claims, that’s what we’re stuck with. Yeah, God will make it happen, but long after it matters to our Patheos discussion.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          I’ve addressed parts of this elsewhere so there will be some repetition between the posts but just as in the other comment, it will talk about why your objection to the argument is invalid:

          “Then we are done. If having power does not mandate using it, then God can elect not to make Himself known clearly and unambiguously to 100% of the population.”

          How are we done? It is nowhere part of the argument made so how does that follow? The argument is about god wanting to make himself known to mankind, not about being mandated to do it. Wanting to do it so this objection does not follow.

          “No, I’m not saying that. Here is where I brought that up in my post:

          ME: “In the example I provided from Revelation, I see a plausible conflict

          between the want for mercy and the want for justice. Some people are

          persuaded and mercy shown, but others are not, and justice served.”

          STILL ME: “Therefore, it makes sense that it is more important that people have FW

          than that 100% of them make the choice God would want.So, we have multiple “wants”, with conflicts and prioritized compromises at work.

          So, rather than negation, I posited “compromises” in which multiple wants (justice, mercy, FW, in addition to the knowledge of existence, and relationship) are prioritized and properly balanced.”

          As mentionned in the other comment where I addressed how this objection is invalid, the “conflict” either negates god’s want for mankind to clearly and unambiguously know of his existence or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t negate it, then god would still achieve this objective if he is all-knowledgeable and all-powerful. So, again:

          a) God does not have the objective of making his existence known to mankind

          or

          b) God does have the objective of making his existence known to mankind but does not have the power to achieve it

          But I think the best part is still to come. When I asked if free will ceased to exist in heaven, your reply was:

          “2. FW in Heaven: To do WHAT? I mean, what issues are still unsettled by the time one is in Heaven?”

          Are you implying that FW no longer needs to exist in heaven and so doesn’t? What would free will be used for? How about to sincerely love god?

          See, I asked why would god not want his existence clearly and unambiguously known to mankind. Your answers often badly attempt to justify this with “free will” or “wanting to be sincerely loved”.

          Basically, you asserted that without free will, god cannot be sincerely loved. He doesn’t want to be loved by “robots”. However…

          “I think God created people with the FW to make their own choices. God would not have to persuade anyone if people had been created to be like robots.”

          If free will no longer exists in heaven as you imply, then people in heaven are like robots and cannot love god sincerely as you asserted he wants.

          But I know everything written here will not make you realize how tangled up your theology is just by reading it. Take comfort in that no christians escape this.

        • Kodie

          It’s weird that I have to read these intensive and careful responses just to figure out what Mark Sibley was talking about in the first place.

          “God would not have to persuade anyone…”

          How the fuck is god persuading anyone? By spreading the word through idiots who sound like they don’t have a grip on reality, whose thought processes and ability to explain in a clear thoughtful manner without backpedaling, contradicting, or outright lying are severely impeded by their beliefs? What a gloriously perfect system!!! (/sarcasm, of course)

        • Mark Sibley

          “2. FW in Heaven: To do WHAT? I mean, what issues are still unsettled by the time one is in Heaven?”

          YOU: Are you implying that FW no longer needs to exist in heaven and so doesn’t? What would free will be used for? How about to sincerely love god?
          RESPONSE: Look, we’re pretty far into the theological woods when we are discussing Heaven in the hypothetical, but can you not see how being in Heaven would be a game-changer? The filter of sincerity has already been satisfied – everyone there is sincere, and there is no reason to become insincere.

        • Kodie

          You mean you’re backed into a corner where your beliefs don’t make any sense, even to you.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          You might be unaware of how your comment reads. I’ll help you to evaluate how you come accross by rewording it:

          “Look, I know I’ve asserted that sincere love requires free will but now I’m asserting that sincere love doesn’t require free will but only if it’s in heaven because it’s heaven”

        • Mark Sibley

          Then, clarification is in order. I am saying that God wants souls in Heaven with Him who love Him sincerely. Only the sincere get to Heaven. In Heaven, there is only sincerity. If there is FW in Heaven, 100% would choose sincerity. Based on the choices people make in Heaven, you would not be able to tell whether FW existed or not. People in Heaven would have absolute knowledge for any decisions that could present themselves. Their decisions would be foregone conclusions.

          . . . . . because of who gets into Heaven.

          . . . . . given the hypothetical, based on scripture (your stated – but unsupported – basis).

        • MNb

          Ah, here we have the Mark Sibley method. He declares himself qualified to tell us “that God wants souls …..” but according to him skeptics are disqualified to tell him that a perfect god would want make himself unambiguously clear – then it’s suddenly “who are you to say what a perfect god would want or not?”
          Thanks.
          But no, thanks.

        • Mark Sibley

          “. . . . . given the hypothetical, based on scripture (your stated basis).”

          Come on, MNb, keep up.

        • MNb

          Of course – I forgot that you’re the champ of circularity. God inspired scripture and scripture qualifies you to talk about god.
          Thanks.
          But no, thanks.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Poor Mark is rapidly turning into a train wreck.

        • Mark Sibley

          It’s not easy to discuss god as portrayed by biblical scripture without biblical scripture.

          For the purposes of this topic, we are discussing God in the hypothetical.
          Think of it as if we were discussing Game Of Thrones as described in the books – one doesn’t have to think it is a real place in order to talk about it.

          But one does have to use the books.

        • Kodie

          You’re telling us how to consider the bible as fiction?

        • Ignorant Amos
        • TheMarsCydonia

          Well he’d need to explain the problem of how god’s appears to want souls, he simply doesn’t want everyone’s soul since he is hiding from them.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          Then we’re back to your flawed and unsupported basis and it is back to being invalid.
          If there is something that “compromises” god’s desire that manking know of his existence, it isn’t the “higher priority” of free will.

        • Mark Sibley

          First, I think we need to define “negate”. I’m thinking something is wiped out. So, if scripture says that God gives enough evidence to believe, and people do indeed believe, then God’s objective has been achieved.

          P1: God wants people to believe.
          P2: God gives people the ability to believe.
          P3: People believe.

          C: God’s want has been realized.

          So, rather than having that want completely wiped out, it has been satisfied; it still exists.

          My support for for P1 is from Romans 1:16, “… it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes …”

          My support for P2 is from Romans 1:19, “since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.

          My support for P3 is that there are over 2 billion Christians worldwide, and untold millions in history.

          So, my basis may still be flawed (yet to be demonstrated), but it is no longer “unsupported”.

          Now, your claim is the only one unsupported. Let’s at least remedy that.

        • Pofarmer

          I’m sorry. If God can create a Heaven with only sincerity, he could create an Earth with only sincerity. wake up.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          But then, how could he have put into motion his plan to sacrifice himself to himself appease himself from the punishment he himself inflicted on mankind 😉

          It’s ok if your reaction is the same as Tony Stark with Loki in the Avengers movie: “Not a great plan”. Mine was as well.

        • Mark Sibley

          Heck, why not create an earth with obedient robots?

          Or, rivers of beer instead of water? MMMMM . . . . . . Beer. . . .

        • Pofarmer

          Then why the fallen Angels?

        • adam
        • Mark Sibley

          You know, I’ve confessed to not being a Bible scholar. I’ve always heard this terminology, but I have no idea what the biblical basis of it is. I rise to be schooled by you – Is it from Genesis? Revelation? Somewhere else?

          In general, I am good with the idea of angels and demons either way. However, I think the idea of giving evil a personality is a way of letting us off the hook – “The devil made me do it.” Whether we were tempted by an entity or just our own nature, we still live with the consequences of our actions as our own.

          Before I go any further with your premise, I want to make sure it is sound.

        • The beginning of Gen. 6, just before the Noah story, is 4 verses about the mysterious Nephilim.

        • Mark Sibley

          Yeah, even a non-scholar who chats with atheists is going to be aware of that one. It has got to rank in the Top Ten List of atheists everywhere. It doesn’t say – at least in my version – that they were “fallen angels”. It just names them. Like you said, they are “mysterious”.

          But, what I meant was the backstory. Satan is supposed to be a fallen angel, too, but I’ve never actually read that in the Bible. I know it must be there somewhere.

        • They were “sons of God.” You’re right that their standing (fallen or not) is unclear.

          I’m guessing the “1/3 of heaven fell; Satan = Lucifer” thing is in extracanonical books.

        • Mark Sibley

          The commentary in my Bible says “Nephilim” means “fallen ones” in Hebrew (good for us), but then continues on that it means sinners, like Children of God (humans) who have fallen from grace (nope, not what we wanted).

          You know, I remember something in Revelation about that 1/3rd thing – I’ll look into (tmw, it’s past bedtime). There is a lot of confusing stuff about Hell, Sheol, and Hades. Likewise, I’m not sure about where all the names of the devil came from. Thanks for your interest. I need to pick up the slack here and contribute.

        • The bit about the “men of renown” sounds pretty positive. But the entire story is random. Why put it there?

          Yes, the idea of hell evolved over time, documented within the Bible. Pretty confusing, and it can make for a difficult conversation. You can point out one view of the afterlife and have someone else contradict you by quoting different verses.

        • Mark Sibley

          I’ve been through this with some people who really know their Bible in the last few years.

          HELL: I read a couple of years ago that C. S. Lewis was an annihilationist. He’s thought of highly, so I looked into it. The thought is that all the biblical references to fire relate to the nature of fire – it consumes until nothing is left (but ashes). Whenever I run across a passage dealing with the fate of the unrepentant (give me a better word), I run it through this interpretation to see if it fits. OK, I see where this fits. Plus, “it just feels right”.

          The “experts” (apparently a term from the Pirate’s Code) said I was wrong, and cited some of these passages. Although one came up to me recently and informed me about annihilationism, not remembering that I introduced him to the concept. It has affected his interpretation of those passages, too.

          HEAVEN: I’ve been all over the place with this one, too. So much of what people say about it isn’t supported by scripture. No one is “looking down” at you, much less “smiling” about it. No one is “hugged” by dead relatives there. They would be spirits, and oblivious to us since that would sadden them.

          The experts set me straight on those counts, and their support was airtight, IMO. Beyond that, they shrug their shoulders and say no one living knows for sure. They find it just as confusing as you and I do.

        • I read a couple of years ago that C. S. Lewis was an annihilationist. He’s thought of highly, so I looked into it. The thought is that all the biblical references to fire relate to the nature of fire – it consumes until nothing is left (but ashes).

          I hadn’t heard of that comparison—interesting. But reading Lewis’s views on hell does show how happy Christians are to reshape the immutable Bible. You remember the story of Lazarus and the rich man? We’re very, very clearly talking about hell as an unpleasant place here.

          No, Clive, hell isn’t barred from the inside.

          Here’s an interesting verse about heaven: “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven” (1 Cor. 12:2). What’s that about?

          I also wonder how pleasant heaven can be, knowing of the billions of people frying in hell while you’re enjoying canapés and cappuccino in heaven.

        • Mark Sibley

          This probably isn’t going to help my case, but people in Heaven would be oblivious to what was going on in Hell, . . . . . . or on Earth. And, spirits don’t need to eat or drink (“How do I grab the cup?”), especially in order to feel joy.

          (BTW, It was 2 Cor. – Trump’s favorite book)

          I read a couple of commentaries, and the experts are as baffled as you.

          Interestingly (in light of one of our topics), in the Lazarus parable, the evil rich man (who is still treating poor Lazarus like a servant) is in Hades. The commentaries say that “Hell” is a wrong translation. I thought they were the same thing. Hell is for punishment, but Hades is just a place for the dead. How do we jibe his suffering with being in a non-suffering place? Maybe because it is a parable, and the locations wasn’t the point of the story.

          That same parable has a twist on heaven. It has Lazarus in heaven, standing next to Abraham. Abraham can hear and speak with the dead man, but there is no mention of Lazarus hearing or speaking. And, the jury is pretty clear that people would be spirits in both Heaven and Hell (how do you burn a spirit?). Yet, this account has them in physical bodies.

        • Why are people in heaven oblivious to hell? Would there be a problem with them being aware of it?

          This doesn’t avoid the problem. If enlightened beings in heaven would find hell hideous, then it is. Bad Yahweh.

          The rich man is suffering. A hellish afterlife apparently exists, according to Jesus. Such an afterlife is hideous. Bad Yahweh.

        • Mark Sibley

          The quote everyone points to is:

          Revelation 21:4 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[a] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

          Witnessing suffering, whether in Hell, or Heaven, would cause them to cry. Keep in mind, I am a guy who thinks the wages of sin is death, not Hell. If there is punishment, my first choice would be for it to be in line with the seriousness of the harm done.

          The point of the parable is that we should help those in need (Lazarus). The rich man wanted Abraham to send Dead Lazarus to Earth to warn his rich family of the urgency to help people. Yet, Jesus tells us that no human has ever come back to Earth after being in Heaven. None of this parable fits the other teachings about Heaven.

          The point of the story isn’t the nature of Heaven and Hell; it is the unimportance of wealth. I think you are justified in your conclusions, but these teachings are the exception, not the rule.

        • I am a guy who thinks the wages of sin is death, not Hell.

          Doesn’t matter what you think though, does it? If you see the Bible as a sock puppet like I do, it can perhaps be made to say what you’re saying. Someone else’s hand in there will make it say something else.

          If there is punishment, my first choice would be for it to be in line with the seriousness of the harm done.

          Your problem is that you’re too reasonable. That’s, of course, what the rest of us would want as well. God’s plan is way better. Much more torture.

          None of this parable fits the other teachings about Heaven.

          (1) Doesn’t matter. Jesus has spoken—end of story.

          (2) There’s nothing about wailing and gnashing of teeth elsewhere in the Bible? The idea of torment so dear to the heart of Jonathan Edwards and others of the First Great Awakening was pulled just out of that parable? I’m guessing there’s more.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Keep in mind, I am a guy who thinks the wages of sin is death, not Hell.

          And when we look at the world around us, we see that such a concept is pure unadulterated codswallop. But for some reason you are just too dumb to see how ridiculous that statement actually is…go figure.

          Fidel Castro died this week at the ripe old age of 90. Not a bad innings at all. He survived over 600 assassination attempts, apparently. His life, for the most part, wasn’t a big heave. By any Christian measure, he was certainly a sinner. Contrast him with a child born with Harlequin Ichthyosis (also known as Harlequin fetus or baby), and you’ll understand why such a comment is so fucked up and down right insulting to the more intelligent folk on the planet.

          And don’t get me started on that wizened old evil fucker Mother Theresa.

          If there is punishment, my first choice would be for it to be in line with the seriousness of the harm done.

          Bingo!

          So why can’t your multi-infinite-omni YahwehJesus not fulfill the obvious? Either he’s a useless cunt by even your own standards, or non-existent, what do you think is the most likely…given his alleged attributes and all that jazz?

          http://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/meet-brenna-a-baby-with-harlequin-ichthyosis/

        • Myna

          Keep in mind, I am a guy who thinks the wages of sin is death,

          The wages of life is death, Mark. The earth cannot sustain immortality. If there were immortality, no species, including mankind, could reproduce itself. As it is, human overpopulation and human folly is over-taxing the planet. And you know what will win in the end, Mark? The planet.

          The human ego cannot fathom its own individual extinction, and so it depends on stories, on allegory. Who knows if consciousness recycles itself or absorbs into the ether or goes out like a light. It cannot be contained in a Petri Dish and studied, so it remains the ultimate mystery.

        • Mark Sibley

          We’ve at least got some level of agreement here. The very nature of life is that it ends, right?

          Assuming we agree (if not, ignore what follows), I think there are a number of implications of this truth:

          1) As Dawkins points out, “Nature is not cruel, only pitilessly
          indifferent.” It is not cruel that we die, only a fact. You pointed out that death is necessary due to limited resources.
          2) We should expect to die. Our actions may delay death, but cannot avoid it. “Ain’t none of us gettin’ outa here alive.”
          3) For our lives to continue for, say, tens of thousands (some absurdly high number) of years, would require something supernatural – beyond the nature which dictates death?

          And, humans are not happy about that inevitable fact, right?

          You attribute it to ego. That sounds like a plausible explanation. “Survival instinct” is another good guess.

          I am more intrigued by fact that we are aware of our own mortality. No other animal seems to have this kind of ability to predict its own death long in advance of it. How does this knowledge give us a survival advantage? It allows us to make funeral plans (unless we are Prince!), but is depressing and counter-productive, IMO. The lion works hard to survive because as far as he knows this goes on forever. Humans state the they engage in destructive behavior because, “No one lives forever.”

        • Pofarmer

          You pointed out that death is necessary due to limited resources.

          That was actually not Myna’s point. Holy cow.

          The earth cannot sustain immortality. If there were immortality, no species, including mankind, could reproduce itself.

          Think about this. Why would Myna say that?

          No other animal seems to have this kind of ability to predict its own death long in advance of it.

          Animals are being discovered to have all kinds of abilities that we used to not understand. Ravens can be tool users. Dogs can demonstrate empathy and may indeed be aware of their own deaths. Many animals “mourn” a lost calf or young one. Although decidedly not human, the roots of our behavior are there. That’s why the work of scientists like Patricia Churchland are so illuminating.

        • Kodie

          Crows appear to have funerals. I don’t know why people think animals don’t think about death to the extent that the can think about anything. They’re living on the food chain. I don’t know if I’m giving them too much credit, but if you evolve skills to avoid being eaten by another animal, or you evolve skills to hunt for live prey, or both, I mean, I don’t expect an owl to have a lot of empathy for a mouse, I don’t know that they tell themselves, “nothing bad happened to that mouse” like when we pick up a package of chicken legs at the grocery store, representing about 8 dead chickens, but I feel like, out of all the brain impulses an animal needs to have that necessarily crowds out all other thoughts, depending on the size and degree of sentience of their brains, it’s got to be death. Humans seem to be the only animal that can apparently write about it, get depressed about it, sell insurance for it, calculate actuary tables about it, and make fictional scenarios about what happens after it.

          It’s not that we’re able to contemplate death, it’s that we’re constantly thinking – of something, anything – that it worries people what it would be like to stop thinking. It’s very hard to imagine a day when you don’t wake up anymore, think anymore, etc., and the sensation of that sensation is really weird. I know the Mark Twain quote about not having been alive for billions of years before he was born, but I think it’s kind of normal to wish you could be alive after you died so you can feel what it’s like, even though that makes no sense.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I watched “Richard Attenborough’s Natural History Museum Alive” T.V. movie last night and in it is a piece about a type of Sabre Tooth Tiger called the Smilodon. Apparently they looked after their elderly. Smilodons hunted in packs, and where altruistic (they fed their crippled and elderly brethern).

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWS-lDLQmmA

        • Kodie

          I hope that comes on PBS sometime. Currently they are showing “Fabulous Frogs” from Attenborough.

        • Crows are pretty smart. Researchers built a vending machine for them, that they can operate with real coins.

          http://www.josh.is/crow-machine/

        • Mark Sibley

          I took my clue from his next sentence, “As it is, human overpopulation and human folly is over-taxing the
          planet. And you know what will win in the end, Mark? The planet.”

          I understood him to be saying that if everyone lived forever, we’d be overrun with so many human beings that we couldn’t feed them all.

          What point did you get out of it that merited a “holy cow”?

          I was taught that scientists shouldn’t read emotions into animal behavior.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s two separate thoughts.

          I was taught that scientists shouldn’t read emotions into animal behavior.

          You shouldn’t read human emotions into animal behavior. However, scientists are realizing that the basis of human emotion and bahavior and morality is present in animals, which makes sense, because we’re evolved animals.

        • Mark Sibley

          That’s not exactly the same thing, though, is it? Animals aren’t writing poetry about death, purchasing tombstones for their markers, or talking about leaving a legacy

        • Pofarmer

          OF COURSE IT’S NOT THE SAME THING. YOU AND I AREN’T THE SAME. WE DON’T EXPERIENCE THINGS THE SAME. OTHER SPECIES EXPERIENCE THINGS TO, JUST NOT THE SAME AS US.

          http://waitbutwhy.com/2014/10/religion-for-the-nonreligious.html

        • Myna

          Funerary rites are cultural.

        • Mark Sibley

          Okaaaaay . . . . . . (?)

        • Myna

          Mark Sibley, you have the insight of a pile of leaves. Your statement about poetry, tombstones and legacies are cultural. Ordinarily I would not bother to leave a link for you, but this one will at least give you some information and take you out of your centrism for a couple of moments: http://ideas.ted.com/11-fascinating-funeral-traditions-from-around-the-globe/

        • Mark Sibley

          A “human culture”, right? Animals do not do those things that are a result of higher intelligence. We see an ape using a stick to get ants and conclude he can be a computer programmer, right?

          Animals do not write poetry ABOUT DEATH. They would not make plans for their funeral because they don’t know 20 years in advance that they will die. They do not concern themselves with what people will think about them long after they are dead.

          The point is about the seemingly endless list of human behaviors that show our awareness of our eventual deaths. Bob stated that atheists value their lives more than Xians because atheists know it is so limited. Wayneman stated that his goal is to leave a legacy – things better than when he found them.

          We all know that we will die. And, in the view of naturalism, this should be because this knowledge gave us a survival advantage over other animals, perhaps allowing us to exploit some niche.

          IMO, it serves no natural purpose. We have this self-awareness so we will seek more life through supernatural means. Hey, it’s BS to you guys as much as your lame excuses are to me.

        • Kodie

          IMO, you are a lame-o delusional asshole. I know you like to shield yourself against reality, but humans have the rational and intellectual capacity to fantasize and fictionalize about things that are not true, and convince themselves that those things can be true. It is part of the function of the ability to innovate, which I expressed to you a while ago, and you ignored because your fantasy is so much more rad. Learn how brains work, dummy. You’re not going to convince people what you delude about is real, especially when you so blatantly ignore reality.

        • Myna

          Animals do not do those things that are a result of higher intelligence.

          So what? Intelligence is a variable. They also don’t meet in conclaves to discuss the destruction of buffalo who drink at the antelope’s favorite watering hole either.

          They do not concern themselves with what people will think about them long after they are dead.

          How long? Have you ever strolled through a Medieval cemetery in Prague? Do you think the dead care what you think about them? Do you even care what you think about them? Do you think about your ancestors 500 years ago? Do you even know their names? In one hundred plus years, no one, including you, will care about who you were. Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth in 1865. Do you wear mourning? Attend prayer vigils?

          IMO, it serves no natural purpose.

          Human survival depends on both self and collective awareness . Birth, infancy, childhood, youth, aging, death. It’s a natural cycle. You’re just terrified of the extinction of memory and a story of your particular self in relation to the vast progression of time.

          We have this self-awareness so we will seek more life through supernatural means.

          The “through supernatural means” is nothing more than the human collective’s reach for story. And who’s to say it is supernatural at all. Perhaps consciousness simply recycles itself. It abandons one vessel and enters another. That’s a story, too.

          Hey, it’s BS to you guys as much as your lame excuses are to me.

          Define lame excuse.

        • MNb

          Well, yes, that’s intriguing.
          It’s also intriguing that bats can hear sounds up to 100 000 Hz.
          Swarm intelligence is intriguing.
          Multicellular beings are intriguing.
          Turritopsis dohrnii is immortal – how intriguing.
          Owls have 360 degrees vision – also intriguing.
          The list is endless.
          So what?

        • Susan

          Animals aren’t writing poetry about death, purchasing tombstones for their markers, or talking about leaving a legacy

          All the evidence says they are and that we do that.. We are animals. Are you saying we aren’t?

        • Ignorant Amos

          And then there is not-so-dumb Dumbo…

          Elephants manifest a wide variety of behaviors, including those associated with grief, learning, mimicry, play, altruism, use of tools, compassion, cooperation, self-awareness, memory, and communication.

          Elephants are one of the only species of mammals other than Homo sapiens sapiens and Neanderthals known to have or have had any recognizable ritual around death.

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

        • Myna

          How does this knowledge give us a survival advantage?

          Homo sapiens are self-aware and time aware. I fail to understand how you (or so it appears) grant the species some special dispensation. Animals are well aware of death. They avoid it when at all possible. They sense it when its lurking. Studies suggest animals grieve. They have empathy. They fear. Perhaps it is that nature has given them absence of time and they are the ultimate zen masters, thinking not of yesterday or tomorrow, but only the needs of the present. Who the hell knows.

          If one were to go the god route, one would have a better argument for an impersonal immanence rather than personified transcendence. But I’ve said this before.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s Mark attempting a “gotcha” moment on Po because he used the term “fallen Angel” doesn’t actually appear anywhere in the Bible. It was later ascribed to some fictional characters in his big book by inference. It is another of Mark’s attempts to drag the conversation down a tangential rabbit hole and away from the point that potentially wrecks his argument.

          But anyway, for amusements sake….

          2 Peter 2:4, “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment …”), of angels cast down to the earth in the War in Heaven, of Satan, demons, or of certain Watchers.

          The back story Mark is looking for comes from Revelation.

          Christians adopted the concept of fallen angels mainly based on their interpretations of the Book of Revelation Chapter 12., which plainly states that they fight alongside Satan against Michael and the other good angels, and Matthew 25:41, which states that eternal fire was prepared for them and Satan himself.

          Origen and other Christian writers linked the fallen morning star of Isaiah 14:12 to Jesus’ statement in Luke 10:18, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” and to the mention of a fall of Satan in Revelation 12:8–9. In Latin-speaking Christianity, the Latin word lucifer, employed in the late 4th-century AD Vulgate to translate הילל, gave rise to the name “Lucifer” for the person believed to be referred to in the text.

          Mark needs to be careful opening this can of worms. Christians belief all kinds of shite that is not mentioned in the Bible, and they ignore all kinds of shite that is in there.

          The main one being the Trinity. That Jesus was a carpenter is another. That wine was used in the Lord’s Supper. That Jesus was single and that folk will spend eternity in Heaven, are a few more.

          The phrase “personal relationship with Jesus” isn’t in there either.

        • You’re right–the Bible’s (and Christianity’s) view on hell is all over the place.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Well, when I was growing up, Hell was the place where one got a barbed red hot poker up the hole and down the throat, for all eternity.

          It is pish weak in these modern times. Being excommunicated from YahwehJesus, whoopdy-fucking-do , what a gift. Hell almost sounds like Heaven, if ya believe such ballix.

        • Michael Neville

          The modern concepts of Hell and Satan owe more to Dante and John Milton than they do to the Bible.

        • Mark Sibley

          Thanks. That could be a real time-saver. I still am going to look into how they got their ideas. Both those guys are hard reads. Dante has always struck me as someone who looked into it before he wrote it. But, his source may be the church rather than the Bible. Someone mentioned writings that are important, but not worthy of being in the canon. i feel better about myself if it wasn’t in the book i should know by heart (not . . . .going . . .to . . . . happen).

        • Myna

          Dante has always struck me as someone who looked into it before he wrote it.

          If you know anything about the master poet, Dante, you’ll know that The Divine Comedy was written more with politics in mind than a treatise on Hell. Political and philosophical enemies suffered in accordance to Dante’s pleasure in the Inferno and if not for a life-long grief for an impossible love, Beatrice, the greatest and most influential work of the Medieval era may never have been written.

          Postscript: This, of course, is an extremely simplistic overview of Dante Alighieri, but to understand his work, you need to understand the man who wrote it and the era he lived in. Realizing your distaste for sources, I’ll let you search for any in-depth information on your own.

        • Pofarmer

          Hell, there are still some Christian Church’s who believe in a bodily ressurection. My Grandmother belonged to one. Not exactly sure where hell fits in. M

        • Mark Sibley

          In Revelation, it describes death, spiritual life, and then a bodily resurrection at the end of time. I think JWs skip the spiritual life and cut to the end-times physical resurrection. Most Xians speak of it as physical (IMO, because it’s just easier).

        • Pofarmer

          It’s kind of like everything else. Some sects pick and choose. This was a First Christian Church. And their theology is that the worthy rise up at the end times. It doesn’t mention a spiritual heaven. I hadn’t realized that before her Funeral and then I looked into it. Pretty common.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You need to take the issue up with Bible scholars and theologians then…it isn’t a made up term by non believers.

          https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Bible-Verses-About-Fallen-Angels/

        • Mark Sibley

          ME: “Then we are done. If having power does not mandate using it, then God can elect not to make Himself known clearly and unambiguously to 100% of the population.”

          YOU: “How are we done? It is nowhere part of the argument made so how does that follow? The argument is about god wanting to make himself known to mankind, not about being mandated to do it.”
          REPLY: In another post, you stated,

          “If he has this objective and has the power to achieve that objective, he would necessarily achieve that objective.”
          “necessarily achieve” is evidence of a mandate. It means it must happen. The issue is HOW BAD does God want it? Can there be degrees of wanting? Can there be conflicts between wants? Priorities?

        • TheMarsCydonia

          You cut out a huge part of my comment.

          And we might not thae same thing when discuss “mandate” because or you missed the “necessarily achieve” required two conditions one of which was “want”.

          Do you want me to repeat myself? Because you have not said anyhting nor anything turned your objection into something valid.

        • Mark Sibley

          There’s something to be said for repeating yourself in a discussion with me. I will, eventually wear down and throw in the towel just to get my life back.

          See: “Argument By Repetition”.

          YOU: “If it doesn’t negate it, then god would still achieve this objective if he is all-knowledgeable and all-powerful. So, again:

          a) God does not have the objective of making his existence known to mankind

          or

          b) God does have the objective of making his existence known to mankind but does not have the power to achieve it.

          I say God achieved all of His wants (or, “objectives”, as you now call them), including this one TO THE DEGREE HE INTENDED.

          You say your premises are supported by scripture. Scripture says all people have enough knowledge of God to believe. It doesn’t say that 100% of people WILL believe, and specifically contradicts that notion.

          Perhaps it would help if we backed up and showed the premises that lead to the claims that became your premises of this conclusion?

        • Ignorant Amos

          The question you have been asked repeatedly is how do you know all this shit? What method do you use other than wishful thinking, gut feeling, or pulling it out of yer arse, do you use?

          You make a big song and dance when someone suggests that this god of yours should at least do the basics expected of a god with the list of unlimited attributes it supposedly has. The excuses are far ranging, including the trope that is who are we mortals to know the mind of your god? But then you produce bullshit like this claiming to know all kinds of fuckwittery about what your god wants and needs.

          How do you know and by what method do you check that you are not a delusional fucked up in the head daydreamer?

        • TheMarsCydonia

          So you are going to ignore that you’re equally repeating yourself in a conversation with me? The level of both the dissonance and the dishonesty of your statement astounds.
          See: “Argument by repetition” and don’t try to cope out by ignoring that you’re doing it.

          And why are you ignoring, again, that god is supposed to want to have a relationship with mankind and to let mankind know he exist? Isn’t that the whole of the religion? Should I point out the number of christians who claim “christianity is not a religion, it’s a relationship with god”? Didn’t god sacrifice himself to himself to appease himself of the punishment he himself inflicted on mankind, with the goal that people could be “saved” by their faith in Jesus and be near god?

          So let’s say that god achieved telling mankind he exists TO THE DEGREE HE INTENDED, that means that god INTENDED TO THIS DEGREE that some people “know he exist” and that some people do not know he exists.
          (though we’re all supposed to know he exists as ‘we’re without excuse”, scriptures indeed implies that some people, those who believe in a different god or who do not believe ,are liars),

          Then how would the people INTENDED by god to not know he exists ever know he exists? God intends for them to not know so there’s nothing anyone will ever be able to do for them to know.

          I cannot convince myself that those twists and turns are straight, it appears I was INTENDED to stop believing the moment I thought about it.

        • Mark Sibley

          YOU: And why are you ignoring, again, that god is supposed to want to have a
          relationship with mankind and to let mankind know he exist?

          I have not ignored it before and am not now. My answer is still yes.

          YOU: Isn’t that
          the whole of the religion?

          Well, it’s a starting point.

          YOU: Should I point out the number of christians
          who claim “christianity is not a religion, it’s a relationship with
          god”?

          Yes, I’d like to know that number. I’m not sure I ever remember that quote.

          YOU: Didn’t god sacrifice himself to himself to appease himself of the
          punishment he himself inflicted on mankind, with the goal that people
          could be “saved” by their faith in Jesus and be near god?

          That is a complex topic. The Bible says the price of sin is death. If we want to live (forever, in Heaven), we cannot have sin. One has to be perfect to be in God’s presence. Since we all sin, the price of sin is paid for somebody other than us – Jesus. So, you’ve got a pretty loaded statement there (is God punishing animals and plants, too?), but it’s fundamentally what I understand from scripture. Let’s go with it.

          YOU: … god INTENDED TO THIS DEGREE that some people “know he exist” and that some people do not know he exists.

          You stated that your basis for your claim(s) is scripture. Scripture states that ALL people can know God exists. So, this is a flawed premise. The rest of your post merely builds on this flawed premise, so it fails, as well.

          Now, my Bible knowledge isn’t THAT great. There may actually be passages that support your claim(s). You really should go through each one of them and verify whether they have support.

          You could also take a page out of my book and say “It just feels right” to you that God ought to behave in a way different that what we witness, and that convinces you that God cannot exist. I cannot challenge what you claim you feel. When an atheist says it is their opinion that God does not exist, we can discuss why they feel the way they do, but there’s no arguing they don’t feel that way.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          Let’s go over the “non-relevant to the point” issue first:

          YOU: Should I point out the number of christians

          who claim “christianity is not a religion, it’s a relationship with

          god”?

          Yes, I’d like to know that number. I’m not sure I ever remember that quote.

          Perhaps it can be excused since you’re not often here and so do not see the constant flow of christians who defend their belief by saying it’s not a religion.

          (Something that actually can be said of deism but not of christianity).

          From GotQuestions.org, gty.org, beliefnet.com to the “Christianity is NOT a religion, it is a relationship with Jesus Christ” facebook page with over 10,000 likes, it’s a popular trope.

          Then the point:

          YOU: … god INTENDED TO THIS DEGREE that some people “know he exist” and that some people do not know he exists.

          You stated that your basis for your claim(s) is scripture. Scripture states that ALL people can know God exists. So, this is a flawed premise. The rest of your post merely builds on this flawed premise, so it fails, as well.

          INTENDED TO THIS DEGREE is not my premise, it’s yours.

          I think you have a trouble understanding dichotomies. However, in this case , it’s more one of the three options:

          A) God intends to have all people know he exists
          B) God intends to have some people know he exists
          or
          C) God intends that no people know he exists

          You however assert that it is B because you assert that god achieve his goal to THE DEGREE HE INTENDED, did you not? And since we people who claim to “know” he exists some people who don’t know, then B is what follows from your “this is what he intended”.

          Unless again, you, like the bible, call all the people who do not believe in the christian god (atheists, deists, members of other religions, etc.) liars that already know god exists but deny it.

          While the argument I am making about the christian god is “if he exists, then its A. We don’t see A so there’s good reason to think he does not exists”.

          And to explain this, I’d simply repeat what I’ve written already. Should I go over it again? Let’s:
          P1: God wants mankind to know he exist/wants to have a relationship with mankind
          The whole point of christianity is God “loves” mankind and want mankind to be near him, but since sin, people cannot be near god unless they accept god’s “forgiveness for sin” clause a.k.a Jesus as their savior from their sin. You, yourself stated that god wants souls in heaven.
          P2: God has the power to establish his existence to mankind/his desire to have a relationship with mankind clearly and unambiguously
          Because god is supposed to all-knowledgeable and all-powerful (you’ve agreed) so there is nothing beyond his ability to accomplish.
          C1: (from p1 and p2) If god exists, god’s existence/desire to have a relationship should be clear and unambiguous as nothing would stop from accomplishing this.
          P3: God’s his existence/desire to have a relationship is not clear and unambiguous.
          Since there are a multitude of religions whose adherents sincerely believe in a different god, varying sincere but different god-beliefs (deism, pantheism, etc.) and people who sincerely do not believe.
          C2: (from c1 and p3) god does not exist.

          You’ve attempted to demonstrate that it does not follow by actually attempting to demonstrate P1 is not true. You haven’t exactly succeeded however. Here is what your options are:
          – Demonstrate that P1 is not true
          God does not want all of mankind to know he exists or does not want mankind to know he exists.
          – Demonstrate that P2 is not true
          God is not actually all-knowledgeable or all-powerful
          – Demonstrate that P3 is not true
          There are no sincere believer of other religions, believers in deism/pantheism, etc. or non-believers. They all believe in god’s existence and are simply lying.

          And as explained before, if you go with “P1 is not true”, then how would the people god does want to know he exists ever be able to know?
          Unless “P2 is not true” but then explain why you’ve previously agreed it was.
          Or is it “P3 is not true” and you are calling all these people liars?

          I left the “it just feels right” behind when I left belief in god behind. I can’t convince myself that somethig is true just because I think it would feel good.

        • adam
        • Mark Sibley

          ME: Yes, I’d like to know that number. I’m not sure I ever remember that quote.

          YOU: From GotQuestions.org, gty.org, beliefnet.com to the “Christianity is NOT a religion, it is a relationship with Jesus Christ” facebook page with over 10,000 likes

          Thanks for that. So, assuming that 10,000 likes equates with making this a theological statement (instead of the adorable cuteness it is), that means something like 0.005% of Christians assert this. Now, that means I should ignore the 99.995% of Christians who don’t say this just in order to grant you that this is support for your claim. You know it is BS. I know that it is BS. Why are you presenting something as support that both of us know is hogwash?

          You stated the claim that the support for P1 and P2 is biblical. The opinions of these people are not scripture. Before we even get back to the fact that your conclusion does not follow from your premises, you need to make absolutely sure that your premises are sound. If your premises are not sound, then we are done – all the rest is pointless.

          MARS QUOTE : … god INTENDED TO THIS DEGREE that some people “know he exist” and that some people do not know he exists.

          ME: You
          stated that your basis for your claim(s) is scripture. Scripture states that ALL people can know God exists. So, this is a flawed premise. The
          rest of your post merely builds on this flawed premise, so it fails, as
          well.

          YOU: INTENDED TO THIS DEGREE is not my premise, it’s yours.

          Correct, but the strawman that follows – “some people do not know he exists” is yours. I did not argue that some people don’t know God exists, That is a construction of yours that fills a need your premise must have in order to be valid. Since it is not valid, even a logically sound argument will yield an unacceptable conclusion. It is the Straw Man Fallacy, and we agreed that any fallacy negates the logic.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          I’m rather amazed at the amount of my previous comment you needed to ignore and how flawed your last one was. Do you ever wonder why we don’t buy into your twists and turns?

          “that means something like 0.005% of Christians assert this. Now, that means I should ignore the 99.995% of Christians who don’t say this just in order to grant you that this is support for your claim. You know it is BS. I know that it is BS”

          I entirely agree with you, I know what you wrote there is BS and of course you know it is BS. Because there’s three issues you must not wish to see but they are clear as god isn’t:
          a) Those are christians that like to say “christianity is a relationship” but why would you believe those are the only ones?
          b) You asked for an exemple then you dismiss out of hand, why? Because I provided an exemple and thus it became problematic for your ignorance of it?
          c) You needed to ignore the rest of my comment.

          “You stated the claim that the support for P1 and P2 is biblical. The opinions of these people are not scripture.”

          I know that this is BS and you know it is BS. As mentionned previously, you needed to ignore the whole part of my comment where I explained this.

          And it’s not like your opinion is scripture.

          And you didn’t bother to check the exemples I provided out, did you?
          The quoted scripture for their belief. While you… you have your opinion and that’s just as good I guess.

          “you need to make absolutely sure that your premises are sound. If your premises are not sound, then we are done – all the rest is pointless.”

          Which is why you’ve spent absolutely no part of your comment demonstrating they are not sound.

          “Correct, but the strawman that follows – “some people do not know he exists” is yours. I did not argue that some people don’t know God exists,”

          Exactly, it is mine. If it is mine then it’s not a misrepresentation of your position is it? I never asserted you argued for this, thus not a strawman.

          Do you understand the difference between “you argued some people do not know he exists” and “you argue god accomplished his goal TO THE DEGREE HE INTENDED thus it follows he INTENDED some people to know not he exists since such people exists”?

          The first is a a strawman I never made, the second is an explanation about how your objection is flawed.

          But you can’t seem to understand this.

          “That is a construction of yours that fills a need your premise must have in order to be valid.”

          It’s not a premise of the argument, it’s an explanation of how your objection is flawed.

          I’ve said twice now.

          “Since it is not valid, even a logically sound argument will yield an unacceptable conclusion.”

          It’s not a premise of the argument, it’s an explanation of how your objection is flawed.

          Thrice.

          And the argument, again, is as follows:
          P1: God wants mankind to know he exist/wants to have a relationship with mankind
          The whole point of christianity is God “loves” mankind and wants mankind to be near him but since sin, people cannot be near god unless they accept god’s “forgiveness for sin” clause a.k.a Jesus as their savior from their sin. You, yourself stated that god wants souls in heaven.
          P2: God has the power to establish his existence to mankind/his desire to have a relationship with mankind clearly and unambiguously
          Because god is supposed to all-knowledgeable and all-powerful (you’ve agreed) so there is nothing beyond his ability to accomplish.
          C1: (from p1 and p2) If god exists, god’s existence/desire to have a relationship should be clear and unambiguous as nothing would stop from accomplishing this.
          P3: God’s his existence/desire to have a relationship is not clear and unambiguous.
          Since there are a multitude of religions whose adherents sincerely believe in a different god, varying sincere but different god-beliefs (deism, pantheism, etc.) and people who sincerely do not believe.
          C2: (from c1 and p3) god does not exist.

          You’ve attempted to demonstrate that it does not follow by actually attempting to demonstrate P1 is not true. You haven’t exactly succeeded however. Here is what your options are:
          – Demonstrate that P1 is not true
          God does not want all of mankind to know he exists or does not want mankind to know he exists.
          – Demonstrate that P2 is not true
          God is not actually all-knowledgeable or all-powerful
          – Demonstrate that P3 is not true
          There are no sincere believer of other religions, believers in deism/pantheism, etc. or non-believers. They all believe in god’s existence and are simply lying.

        • Mark Sibley

          YOU: “I’m rather amazed at the amount of my previous comment you needed to
          ignore ”

          Don’t get me wrong – I truly appreciate the depth of thought you have put into this, and want to do justice to it. But, it was already ponderously long, and as I read on, you just kept building on this straw man as if I had said it.

          Our disagreement isn’t over pages and pages of material. It is over implications of just one or two points. Let’s deal with those points first, and a lot of the rest will answer itself.

          If, for instance, scripture says God wants everyone to believe (Calvinists, as I understand them, do not believe this is the case), and you and I agree on that point. OK, let’s put that one into the “Solid, Supported Claim” lock box and deal with other issues.

          Does God give Man enough evidence so everyone can believe? Scripture says yes. You say no . . . . . because some people do not believe. OK, that’s a problem. Scripture specifies that some people will choose not to believe (cue the Calvinists’ “I told you so.”)

          ME QUOTE: “that means something like
          0.005% of Christians assert this. Now, that means I should ignore the
          99.995% of Christians who don’t say this just in order to grant you that
          this is support for your claim. You know it is BS. I know that it is
          BS”

          YOU: “I entirely agree with you, I know what you wrote there is
          BS and of course you know it is BS. Because there’s three issues you
          must not wish to see but they are clear as god isn’t:
          a) Those are christians that like to say “christianity is a relationship” but why would you believe those are the only ones?
          b)
          You asked for an exemple then you dismiss out of hand, why? Because I
          provided an exemple and thus it became problematic for your ignorance of
          it?
          c) You needed to ignore the rest of my comment.”

          Hey, that’s good stuff. (c) sounds like something I might say. I will address the rest of your comment . . . . just not in this post. You deserve to have it addressed in detail and I don’t have the time tonight. I WILL NOT FORGET . . . (probably).

          a) No, I believe there are others. But, I don’t believe a “like” is indicative of deep belief. I also don’t believe Facebook reaches enough Christians to capture the totality.

          I’ve had conversations with Christians about similar propositions. People hold onto a lot of beliefs that just aren’t supported biblically. I’ve had them too. Someone comes up to you and says one of these things that sounds so sweet, but falls apart as soon as you scratch the surface. In the context of a heated argument, forget about them giving it up. So, as they read something like this on Facebook, tons of people are going to like how sweet it sounds and agree to it out of knee-jerk emotions.

          In your conversation with them, if they refuse to acknowledge what “religion” means, well, that’s on them.

          You are in a conversation with me, and referencing them as a substitution for scripture is illogical. They are an Appeal To Authority where the authority has already been shown to have poor knowledge.

          I think we agree that God wants a relationship with every human being, but not every human being wants a relationship with God, and FW allows them to veto that relationship. Could God force it on them? Yes, absolutely. Could God have created a race of robots instead of humans? Ditto. We are not robots, and God created us to say “No” sometimes to a relationship with Him.

          You and I have repeated our positions on this topic numerous times. The only hope of finding agreement on it would be to have scripture be the tie-breaker. Scripture says numerous times that people will not believe. It says even when physical, natural evidence, of the kind you guys say would convince you, is under their noses they will still choose not to believe. It is a recurring theme throughout both Testaments.

          And it’s not like your opinion is scripture.

          I am not writing a new book of the Bible, if that is what you mean. I am, however, accurately representing what it says, and backing up that claim with support. You must do this.

          I appreciate that you have indulged this whole discussion as a hypothetical. I know you believe it is all a load of hooey. The least I can do is to return the favor. Even if you cannot support this claim, I will treat that omitted part of your posts as if you had for the sake of discussion.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          And why not try something new:

          You asserted that god wants souls in heaven, correct?
          Can you say what is needed for a soul to go to heaven?

          Correct me if I’m wrong but wouldn’t it require believing that god exists and that he sent Jesus to die for “our” sins?

        • Mark Sibley

          OK, I am getting a good grip on my ankles because you are getting ready to make a REALLY good argument:

          Yes.
          Biblically? Yes.
          Yes, yes. I can’t correct anything there.

          (Oh, please, don’t let it be, “Therefore, 100% of people MUST believe, or else God is not omnipotent.”)

          (Please. Please. Please.)

        • TheMarsCydonia

          Correct me If I’m wrong but not everyone believes god exists despite god wanting it, why?

          (Oh, please, be the 1st christian in history to have a solid reason for it)

          (Please. Please. Please.)

        • Mark Sibley

          LOL. This (similar humor) is why I love conversing with you.

          It goes without saying that I won’t be that Christian, but . . . . .

          You are giving me the conclusion. Is my task to construct a pathway for us to get there? Heck, you’ve done that, already. My assertion is that one of those premises is going to be the mandate. But, hey, I owe you, so here goes:

          1. God wants human souls in heaven.

          2. For a soul to be in heaven, it must believe in God.

          3. A person can only believe in God through the clear and unambiguous inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

          4. The HS would inspire people to the degree required for them to believe in God.

          5. Some people choose not to believe in God.

          6. God’s want for all souls in Heaven is not a reality.

          Therefore, Therefore God does not reveal his existence in a clear and unambiguous way.

          It took me a while to make it so all statements are those I can agree with and still lead to your desired conclusion.

          Clearly, putting me in charge of this exercise allows me to sabotage it. I did so in (4) and (5). Remove the “to the degree” in (4) and substitute “do” for “choose”, and this sabotage goes away.

          But, so does my agreement with those statements.

          I think “clear and unambiguous” is in the eye of the beholder. IMO, once the threshold has been reached, you can stop trying to make it clear. It’s like looking for your keys – you stop when you find them.

          I think God has granted us the ability to reject Him. In my theology, sin is what separates us from God. Each time we sin, we reject God. I choose to sin.

          Where the Christian does not make the solid argument is when they start with the premise that God exists at all. If God made things the way they are, then as we observe things the way they are, there is no conflict. That is why i say people can choose to reject God – they obviously do just that . . . . . daily. It is circular reasoning.

          You start with the premise that God cannot exist. Even as we discuss it in the hypothetical sense, your reasoning will always lead you back to the non-existence. If it didn’t, you wouldn’t hold the position in the first place.

          And, yeah, I recognize that people can be Christian or atheist at one point in their lives and the opposite later on. But, whenever they go through this exercise, they will have to pick the premise that will guide them through it. The premise guarantees the conclusion. Tell me the conclusion, and I can tell you the premise that inevitably lead to it.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          Didn’t I write that you should demonstrate that your premises are true? And didn’t you mention something about the argument I made being needlessly complicated? Let’s start with the needless complication first:

          “3. A person can only believe in God through the clear and unambiguous inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
          4. The HS would inspire people to the degree required for them to believe in God”.

          That can be 1 premise, no need for 2. “Clear and unambiguous inspiration” to a person would be the “degree” they require.

          So now, let’s go the point of it:
          “5. Some people choose not to believe in God”.
          Demonstrate it to be true.

          And if you can demonstrate one more thing to be true, can you also try demonstrating it about this?
          “You start with the premise that God cannot exist”.

        • Mark Sibley

          YOU: “So now, let’s go the point of it:
          “5. Some people choose not to believe in God”.
          Demonstrate it to be true.

          And if you can demonstrate one more thing to be true, can you also try demonstrating it about this?
          “You start with the premise that God cannot exist”.

          REPLY: I’m not sure I understand what you are asking for regarding (5). Would point to people that don’t believe in God be sufficient? That seems kind of self-evident, given that you do not believe. You must have something different in mind. What?

          As to the premise, again, that seems kind of self-evident – you DON’T believe God exists.

          (3) Your stated support for your POV is scripture. This is mentioned multiple times in scripture. Belief is not something which initiates through people (the other option).

          (4) Since the HS and God are of one mind on such matters, the HS will do as God wants. Again, does this creedal statement of Christian orthodoxy need support? I’m not sure what your point is.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          There is a difference between “there are people who do not believe in god” which I can grant to be true and “there are people who choose to not believe in god”.

          Demonstrate the later to be true.

          Also demonstrate that I “start with the premise that god cannot exist”.

          I don’t grant these assertions as true because they’re not. Prove me wrong.

        • MR

          MS: Some people choose not to believe in God”.
          TMC: Demonstrate it to be true.

          MS: I’m not sure I understand what you are asking…. Would point to people that don’t believe in God be sufficient? That seems kind of self-evident, given that you do not believe.

          Truly fascinating. What do you suppose the root cause is here?

          * Lack of education in critical thinking?
          * Lack of education in logic?
          * Inattention to detail?
          * Apologist indoctrination?
          * Cognitive dissonance
          * Feigned ignorance?
          * Actual ignorance?

          I mean, I just read this stuff and shake my head. Christian after Christian comes in here and its just reboot after reboot. I have to wonder if I was this clueless when I was a Christian.

          I’d be curious to see now that you’ve attempted to set him straight on a number of points if he can give an honest assessment of your position or if he just resets back to his default.

          On a side note, TMC, pity you block your profile. I really enjoy your contributions and would be interested in following you.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          Thanks for the compliment. Unfortunately, I had to block my profile to stop some harrassement who would leap at the opportunity to reply to any comments I made, even those completely unrelated to our previous discussion.

        • MR

          Understand.

        • Mark Sibley

          Proof, as always, is in the eye of the beholder. I think it is not the norm for people to have a moment of decision, if that’s what you are talking about. Most of what we think about reality evolved through countless small decisions. We do not subscribe to the Scientific Method from birth. Our emotions are a runaway train with us as a passenger, making decisions all along the way.

          My point was that when we go through a decision process, whether it is emotions or bloodless calculation, we work under premises about reality. I went through the Math of the percentage of humanity which, IMO, perceives the existence of God as the supernatural. Do I need to do that again?

          I think you’ve got obligations here, too. It (choice) is, after all, a linchpin of your premise. God has no choice but to convince every single human being of His existence. People have no choice but to be convinced.

          I noticed that your reservations about (3) and (4) did not make this reply – Are you Ok with them?

        • Myna

          We do not subscribe to the Scientific Method from birth.

          Actually, we do, by very nature of our curiosity, thus the need for supervision when very small. It is when we begin to ascribe to stories, to uniformity, that decisions become influenced, internally and externally.

        • MR

          Right, the Scientific Method is simply a very disciplined form of observing reality. Something we do every day.

        • Pofarmer

          I went through the Math of the percentage of humanity which, IMO, perceives the existence of God as the supernatural. And we, well, I specifically, attempted to go through just a small portion of the science which explains such beliefs, which you then rejected out of hand as “Atheist propaganda”, subsequently failing to demonstrate where the faults in the arguments lie.

        • Mark Sibley

          “Propaganda” isn’t a word I use very often (I can’t remember the last time). Are you paraphrasing?

        • Pofarmer

          Yes, I’m paraphrasing.

        • Mark Sibley

          I wanted to make sure your weren’t confusing me with someone else. I don’t remember that conversation going the way you are spinning it. What day was this – I will go back and review it.

        • Pofarmer
        • Mark Sibley

          It wasn’t based on anything factual. It was a wild-ass guess – not the kind of thing you espouse as a principle. It was an emotional appeal that told you what your wanted to hear; an enchantment that “just felt right”.

          Hey, Po, on that note, merry Christmas, or as you guys call it, “Sunday”. I hope 2017 is kind to you and all those you care about. Buenos suerte, amigo.

        • Kodie

          After dozens of years of Christians dominating the culture and retail priorities, Christmas is now a secular and not religious holiday. You have learned nothing.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s taking a series of well known responses, and noting that all these responses together correspond to create a sensation of the “supernatural.” It has the benefit of explaining a wide range of religions, and not just one. There’s nothing in there that’s wildly controversial or emotional. Your God goggles have shorted out your logic circuits.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          That was a lot of words that could have been summed up with “I cannot demonstrate that people choose to not believe in god or that you start with the premise that god does not exist”.
          And no, no need for you to ignore the problems with your assertion that people “perceive god”, unless you mean to address said problem.

          “It (choice) is, after all, a linchpin of your premise. God has no choice but to convince every single human being of His existence. People have no choice but to be convinced”.
          Except for the fact that the first part is false (which it seems I need to repeat, again) and the second part is true for the two reasons:
          As mentionned earlier, you did not, because you probably cannot, demonstrate that people are convinced or not convinced by a result of choice.
          I am not convinced or unconvinced as a matter of choice.

          The point I was making about 3 and 4 is that two premises were not needed, the whole thing could fit under one.

          But since 5 was not demonstrated to be true, then your argument did not work. So:
          1. God wants human souls in heaven
          2. For a soul to be in heaven, it must believe in the existence of God.
          3 and perhaps 4, 5, 6 etc. ?
          Conclusion: Therefore God does not reveal his existence in a clear and unambiguous way.

          How do get from 1 and 2 to the conclusion? Care to try again?

        • Mark Sibley

          Then I need to use fewer words. “I can prove it to my satisfaction, but not yours.”

          You did not specify as a premise that people cannot choose to reject God, even if His evidence were convincing. You went with premises that could only lead to the conclusion you wanted, and reject all their potential flaws.

          That is fallacious reasoning, and you agreed going into this that ANY fallacious argument would shoot down your proposition.

          It is within the realm of plausibility that people are created by God to have Free Will to reject God. Otherwise we’re back to “robots”. It is within the realm of plausibility that God would prefer people sincerely respond to Him.

          People have choices.
          God has choices.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          Didn’t you agree with those 2 first premises? I literally took the 1st premise from an assertion you made.

          And you’re doing that christian thing again where “reject = not believing”.

          I won’t even try discussing the rest of the flaws in your comment because they don’t follow if correct the above.

          Try again without that false equivocation.

        • Mark Sibley

          YOU: “P1: God wants mankind to know he exist/wants to have a relationship with mankind

          P2:
          God has the power to establish his existence to mankind/his desire to
          have a relationship with mankind clearly and unambiguously

          so there is nothing beyond his ability to accomplish.
          C1:
          (from p1 and p2) If god exists, god’s existence/desire to have a
          relationship should be clear and unambiguous as nothing would stop from
          accomplishing this.”

          REPLY: No, that does not follow. This would have to be “P3”. Nothing in P1 or P2 dictates that God do this. Again, having the ability and the want do not prohibit God from choosing not to do it.

          I tried to use the ice cream analogy to communicate this idea:

          P1: I want ice cream.
          P2: I have the power to have ice cream.

          Therefore,
          C: It is impossible for me not to have ice cream.

          Does this conclusion seem like the only possible conclusion? It might increase the probability of me eating ice cream, but that is the Fallacy of Probability.

          YOU: “P3: God’s his existence/desire to have a relationship is not clear and unambiguous.
          Since
          there are a multitude of religions whose adherents sincerely believe in
          a different god, varying sincere but different god-beliefs (deism,
          pantheism, etc.) and people who sincerely do not believe.
          C2: (from c1 and p3) god does not exist.”

          REPLY: I view other religions as evidence that vastly more people than just Christians are hearing the message that God exists. Now, what they do with that is an entirely different matter.

          The majority of atheists (their description, not mine), who deconverted, that I have talked to in person still have a spiritual side. Most are agnostic (IMO, based on definitions). Some are Deists (ditto). They still sense that there is Something Supernatural out there, but “it isn’t God as described in the Bible.”

          There is another bunch, not converts, who will say they won’t rule it out. They may be lying, but i take them at their word that there is at least something in the back of their head that says, “Don’t close that door.”

          NONE of this is something you can hold in your hand. It is all subjective – on my part (perception) and theirs (how the feel). It suggests to me that the 80% of the world’s population who identify with belief about the supernatural, combined with a big chunk of “Nones” get us REALLY close to 100% of humanity being aware of God’s existence, satisfying C1.

          Now, you stated that making a statement like that would be calling lots of those people “liars”, because they believe in a “different god.” I don’t think that is the case. I think there is only one God, and these people are hearing the message that He exists. I brought up the idea early on in my time here that (I’m expanding on my thought) if we treat The Truth as a scale from 1 – 100, with 100 being absolute prefect, God-like knowledge, no religion reaches 100. And, at, say 10, people could feel as if they have a grasp on 100% of the truth. It is my conceit (borne of my bias that it just feels right) that Christianity scores higher on that scale than any other religion, for the reasons that I expressed to MN in a lengthy post around that same time. So, I can’t call them liars without condemning myself for doing the same thing. All of us, though, do the same thing.

          YOU: “You’ve
          attempted to demonstrate that it does not follow by actually attempting
          to demonstrate P1 is not true. You haven’t exactly succeeded however. ”

          REPLY: I completely agree, and throw myself on your mercy. In an attempt to mitigate my punishment, I offer the following excuses:

          1. Your premises were needlessly complicated, and the complexity did not improve them. In fact, a crucial modifier – that they applied to all people – was “implied” (complexity should have covered that).

          2. You had just stated that in the draft version I had presented, my (simple, easy-to-understand) premise, “If God has the ability to do something, He will
          do it.” was not part of your argument. I STILL don’t see how that is not part of your argument. If it is optional (doesn’t necessarily have to happen), then C1 cannot possibly follow from P1 and P2. I could not make your objection to the draft version jibe with the your final version.

          3.Keeping that in mind, I worked backward from your conclusion, pointing out that at the end of Revelation, people still didn’t believe, and God was still trying to communicate with them. That was an erroneous interpretation. God would just be upping His game because there were people who just needed a higher level of persuasion (not a beginning of it).

          Thank you for sticking with this and clarifying your points. IMO, the issues are:

          1) How badly does God want to communicate,

          2) #1’s twin, how important is Free Will

          Is there a bare minimum of communication necessary to get the point across, or would it have to be flaming jalepeno poppers falling out of the sky? If sincerity of belief is important, then is God willing to take some losses of people who need more?

          In the Gospel of John, there is a repeating theme of 2 kinds of responses to Jesus’ miracles. There are those who only believe because there is something in it for them in this world (food, water, healing), whom Jesus chastises, and those who believe because they get it, whom Jesus applauds. Judas witnessed it all, yet rejected Jesus. How much clear evidence did HE need?

        • TheMarsCydonia

          Well that was entertaining but was any part of it a good objection?

          “REPLY: No, that does not follow. This would have to be “P3″. Nothing in P1 or P2 dictates that God do this. Again, having the ability and the want do not prohibit God from choosing not to do it.
          I tried to use the ice cream analogy to communicate this idea:
          P1: I want ice cream.
          P2: I have the power to have ice cream.
          Therefore,
          C: It is impossible for me not to have ice cream.
          Does this conclusion seem like the only possible conclusion? It might increase the probability of me eating ice cream, but that is the Fallacy of Probability.”

          Your reply leaves me baffled. Because it exists. And I’m wondering what it follows.

          I would have assumed that you wanted to reply, that you the ability to do and hence reply there is. But you keep on insisting that I am wrong and that action that does not follow want + ability.

          So are you ok? If you did not want to reply then someone must have coerced since reply there is. Or was the reply just a random event, completely undetached from any want?

          So, yes, in my universe, it follows. Actions follow wanting do it and having the ability to dot it. They are not just random events.

          Let’s continue:

          “REPLY: I view other religions as evidence that vastly more people than just Christians are hearing the message that God exists. Now, what they do with that is an entirely different matter.”

          As opposed to viewing christianity of as evidence that vastly more people are hearing the message that the god of another religion exists of course.

          If people from other religions believe in a god, it must be evidence for your religion rather than vice versa.

          But why do you think that helps your case? Don’t you think that a god who has the commandment “I AM THY GOD, THOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GOD BEFORE ME” would avoid sending an unclear message that creates all these other false gods for other religions?

          I view other religions as evidence that vastly more people than just christians are prone to believing in the supernatural without solid evidence. I used to do it too and there’s a perfectly natural explanation about why this happens.

          “The majority of atheists (their description, not mine), who deconverted, that I have talked to in person still have a spiritual side. Most are agnostic (IMO, based on definitions). Some are Deists (ditto). They still sense that there is Something Supernatural out there, but “it isn’t God as described in the Bible.”

          Wait, of the majority of atheists, some are deists? Wasn’t deism a subset of theism a while back? No matter, because you pretty much have the rest of that wrong.

          Yes, most atheists are agnostics, I’m agnostic, even Dawkins is agnostic but what you’re not justified in saying is that being agnostic = having a spiritual side. You might want to look up why atheists are agnostics.

          That is an unjustified conclusion based on… well I doubt you have data so I’ll assume this unjustified conclusion is based like your others unjustified conclusions: gut feeling.

          “NONE of this is something you can hold in your hand. It is all subjective – on my part (perception) and theirs (how the feel). It suggests to me that the 80% of the world’s population who identify with belief about the supernatural, combined with a big chunk of “Nones” get us REALLY close to 100% of humanity being aware of God’s existence. Now, you stated that making a statement like that would be calling lots of those people “liars”, because they believe in a “different god.” I don’t think that is the case. I think there is only one God, and these people are hearing the message that He exists.”

          Indeed, it all based on a subjective gut feeling. Someone could have a similar gut feeling and make the argument that “REALLY close to 100% of humanity is aware of… Xao’s existence”.

          If anything, you’re making the case of the argument for me, a god that wants people to know he exists and who has a commandment that people worship no other gods before him would not send such a mess of a “message” leading people believe he does not exist but that some other god does.

          “It is my conceit (borne of my bias that it just feels right) that Christianity scores higher on that scale than any other religion, for the reasons that I expressed to MN in a lengthy post around that same time.”

          And any member of any other religions feel exactly the same about theirs, with all of your religions scoring 0 with non-believers. “It just feels right” shouldn’t be needed at all because of the premises of the argument, that’s exactly the point.

          Now, let’s continue with your bad objections:
          “1. Your premises were needlessly complicated, and the complexity did not improve them. In fact, a crucial modifier – that they applied to all people – was “implied” (complexity should have covered that).”

          Because you say so, of course. If “People was needlessly complicated” and using “people” confused you and made you ask “does it mean all people or some people?”, replacing it with “mankind” solves that issue.

          “2. You had just stated that in the draft version I had presented, my (simple, easy-to-understand) premise, “If God has the ability to do something, He will
          do it.” was not part of your argument. I STILL don’t see how that is not part of your argument. If it is optional (doesn’t necessarily have to happen), then C1 cannot possibly follow from P1 and P2. I could not make your objection to the draft version jibe with the your final version.”

          This again. How many times have I repeated: it’s not “If God has the ability to do something, He will do it”, “if god wants to do something, he will do it”? Why are you always ignoring the “want” part? How many times will I have to point this to you again?

          “3.Keeping that in mind, I worked backward from your conclusion, pointing out that at the end of Revelation, people still didn’t believe, and God was still trying to communicate with them. That was an erroneous interpretation. God would just be upping His game because there were people who just needed a higher level of persuasion (not a beginning of it).”

          You know that revelation has not happened yet, right? And since you interpret revelation this way, how do you know that words are meant to be taken this way rather than being just another “wild exaggeration”? Because those happens in the bible, don’t they?

          So, that part of the bible makes as much senses as the rest: very little.

          “Thank you for sticking with this and clarifying your points. IMO, the issues are:
          1) How badly does God want to communicate,
          2) #1’s twin, how important is Free Will”

          Oh, this, again.
          1) God wants human souls in heaven, so he’d communicate in a way that gets them there. Since believing he exists is a requirement… You know where you should be going with this.
          2) Not all important to this issue. We’ve been over this at length too.

          “Judas witnessed it all, yet rejected Jesus. How much clear evidence did HE need?”

          Judas suddenly stopped believing Jesus existed? But somehow… that’s the typical “rejecting = not believing” thing christians do. Judas did not stop believing Jesus existed.

        • Ignorant Amos

          He is hoist by his own petard.

          Just yesterday in a comment to me Mark said…

          The atheist view of reality, worldview. is that there is nothing supernatural, right? That would seem to me to be a pillar of the process atheists use to determine what is true – that until something supernatural can be evidence through natural means, it does not exist.

          Since that time he has said…

          The majority of atheists (their description, not mine), who deconverted, that I have talked to in person still have a spiritual side. Most are agnostic (IMO, based on definitions). Some are Deists (ditto). They still sense that there is Something Supernatural out there, but “it isn’t God as described in the Bible.

          Oh what tangled web we weave.

          Evidence that Mark is a lying toerag and talking out of his arsehole.

        • Michael Neville

          Evidence that Mark is a lying toerag and talking out of his arsehole.

          A reasonable conclusion based on this and other threads of evidence.

        • Pofarmer

          They still sense that there is Something Supernatural out there, but “it isn’t God as described in the Bible.

          I would even grant him that. It still doesn’t mean that God is real, and finding the mechanisms that cause these “senses” is much more intriguing than a life wasted on religious worship.

        • Ignorant Amos

          So would I, but it is in contradiction to saying that atheists view of reality is that there is nothing supernatural. Which is in turn an inaccurate assessment of the atheist position which has been explained to him ad nauseam. He is all over the place on this issue.

          Atheist, as ya know, can believe in all sorts of crap, the supernatural included, just not the particular supernatural notion about gods. Mark is struggling to grasp the concept.

        • MR

          …struggling to grasp the concept.

          That would imply that he’s making an attempt. I do not see him making an attempt when he keeps repeating the same mistakes.

          Atheist, as ya know, can believe in all sorts of crap, the supernatural included,

          I know plenty of atheists who hold out that there is some kind of supernatural, or believe homeopathy works, that ghosts exist, psychics, etc. I hold them just as accountable to the evidence.

        • MNb

          I repeat: I used to be such an atheist, sort of.

        • MR

          I held many such beliefs for years in conjunction with my Christianity. Curiously, Christianity killed off some of those beliefs because they ran counter to the religion. But, I think I gave up all such beliefs before finally giving up Christianity. It was pretty much the last hold out–though, I held homeopathy in reserve, but only because I didn’t really understand what was behind it.

          And, I would think we all would agree that we are open to change our minds on any of these subjects given some compelling evidence. Ah, there’s that pesky word again.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Not supernatural, but I had a lengthy to and fro with an atheist back in my RDFRS days who believed without a doubt that we had been visited by aliens and the evidence for said was overwhelming.

          I think investigating and assessing the evidence, or lack thereof, for the existence for gods, sets one on a sound path to skepticism in other areas.

        • MR

          I think it’s appealing to believe in some “other” out there, whether it be religion, a universal force or ETs. People don’t want to let go of that mystery. I have several friends who would describe themselves as hardcore atheists, yet will still talk about the possibility of an afterlife, channeling life spirits, and what not. I’m totally on par with the likelihood of extraterrestrial life out there somewhere, but the whole “aliens amongst us” bullshit, I mean, c’mon people. Everyone knows aliens are really fairies.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’m totally on par with the likelihood of extraterrestrial life out there somewhere, but the whole “aliens amongst us” bullshit, I mean, c’mon people.

          Me too. It would be egotistical arrogance to assert that the only life in the universe is to be found on this wee pale blue dot.

          Everyone knows aliens are really fairies.

          Wow!

        • Mark Sibley

          Help me understand. In the analogy:

          P1: I want ice cream.
          P2: I have the power to have ice cream.
          Therefore,
          C: It is impossible for me not to have ice cream.
          Does
          this conclusion seem like the only possible conclusion? It might
          increase the probability of me eating ice cream, but that is the Fallacy
          of Probability.”

          Your reply leaves me baffled. Because it exists. And I’m wondering what it follows.

          Why is it that I HAVE to eat ice cream? Or can I have just one spoonful and leave the rest? Does all the ice cream have to be eaten? Would not eating all the ice cream disprove my existence?

          I don’t follow why wanting, and the power to achieve that want, DEMAND that the action.

          If God wants everyone to love Him, yet wants it sincerely – excluding those who are insincere – I see the need for a filter that requires sincere effort.

          Point out my error here.

        • Kodie

          I want to say your error is making shit up.

        • Mark Sibley

          Actually, I do want to eat ice cream.

          . . . . . and there is some Homemade Vanilla ice cream in my freezer.

          I am not making that up.

        • Kodie

          So now you’re patronizing me with a useless response?

          And you wonder why people can’t stop thinking of names to call you?

        • TheMarsCydonia

          Let’s go over this, again…

          “Why is it that I HAVE to eat ice cream? Or can I have just one spoonful and leave the rest? Does all the ice cream have to be eaten? Would not eating all the ice cream disprove my existence?
          I don’t follow why wanting, and the power to achieve that want, DEMAND that the action”.

          Maybe you’re seeing something I am not. My point is that “want + ability = action”, yours is that “want + ability = inaction”.

          So demonstrate it, give an exemple. Can you provide a scenario, any scenario at all, where someone wanting to accomplish something and having the ability to accomplish it did not accomplish it?

          Such a scenario needs to exclude any competing want that would negate the original, or any force that would negate the power to accomplish the want.

          “If God wants everyone to love Him, yet wants it sincerely – excluding those who are insincere – I see the need for a filter that requires sincere effort”.

          I take it that you don’t see the obvious and rather immense flaw for your theology from this statement. If you want we’ll come back to it but first, the scenario.

          I’m looking forward to it because repeating over and over “I don’t see how it follows” will cut it, you need to back it up.

          Should I take it you aquiesce to everything else in my previous comment?

        • Mark Sibley

          ME: “Why is it that I HAVE to eat ice cream? Or can I have just one
          spoonful and leave the rest? Does all the ice cream have to be eaten?
          Would not eating all the ice cream disprove my existence?
          I don’t follow why wanting, and the power to achieve that want, DEMAND that the action”.

          YOU: “Maybe you’re seeing something I am not. My point is that “want + ability = action”, yours is that “want + ability = inaction”.

          So
          demonstrate it, give an exemple. Can you provide a scenario, any
          scenario at all, where someone wanting to accomplish something and
          having the ability to accomplish it did not accomplish it?

          Such a
          scenario needs to exclude any competing want that would negate the
          original, or any force that would negate the power to accomplish the
          want.”

          REPLY: I can’t help but think I am still missing something here. In my ice cream example, I wanted to accomplish the eating of the ice cream, had the ability, yet chose not to exercise that power. I even added the scenario where I only ate part of the ice cream I wanted to, compromising.

          If you would address your point in the form of how it would look in this scenario, it would help.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          I agree that you’re definitely missing something. That being a scenario where “want + ability = inaction”.

          I don’t what such a scenario would look like, hence why I am asking because you’re the one asserting that such scenarios happen.

          The scenario where you wanted to eat only part of the ice has you… eating only part of the ice as per your want. The other one, where you wanted to eat ice cream but didn’t… What happened? You wanted to do something and it’s not like you stopped wanting to do it so what prevented you from accomplishing it? Just a random quantum event?

        • Mark Sibley

          “Inaction” is a straw man argument – fallacious reasoning. No fallacious arguments allowed.

          In the first example (partially eaten), I still wanted more.

          In the second (and in the first), I had other factors which weighed into my decision making which were more important than eating (more) ice cream.

          This was the scenario you asked me to provide. I provided it, and now you are making excuses for why your logic fails even in a simple scenario with only 2 competing wants (not quantum events).

          Make this scenario air tight.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          Sorry but that does not work.

          You are the one that asserted that want plus ability does not lead to action. If you want to “no action” something else than “inaction” because calling “no action” inaction is a “strawman”, choose another word and we’ll see it is properly equivalent. Clarify what you mean rather than wait for me to try my hand at it because you don’t.

          I’m simply asking you to demonstrate this.

          “I had other factors which weighed into my decision making which were more important than eating (more) ice cream”.

          Ok, what were these other factors? These factors cannot be other competing wants negating the original or another force negating your power.

        • Mark Sibley

          The other factor, as I have stated numerous times now is my want to control my weight. If you want to make it plural, then add the “because . . .” of health, attractiveness, and cost of new clothes.

          None of those took away my want for ice cream not my ability to eat more of it. Demonstrably, those wants are stronger than my want to eat all the ice cream. I compromised by having some of the ice cream (and washing it down with Diet Coke). My want and ability can lead to 1) total action, 2) partial action, or 3) no action.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          “as I have stated numerous times now is my want to control my weight”.

          While I have stated numerous times that a competing one negating the original does not count.

          “None of those took away my want for ice cream not my ability to eat more of it”.

          I’m sure you believe that but I don’t.

          “I want to eat ice cream that will make gain weight but I don’t want to gain weight so…”.

          Let’s agree to disagree then. I say that your desire to not gain weight negates your want to eat ice cream while you say it doesn’t.

          But do you see the problem?

        • Mark Sibley

          I like the agreeing to disagre because I don’t think we will agree on this. IMO, “negate” means it is totally non-existent – Option (3) from my post you were responding to.

          “mitigated” or “compromised” would be the terms I’d use in my scenario (2).

          I totally see your point, and it is a good one. One of the reasons why I wanted to establish going into this discussion that even a 99% chance of something being true was not good enough was for this very scenario, where the truth could run the full gamut from 100% want to 0% want.

          Having said that, I hope both of us are pleased (I am) with the level of exchange and the thought-provoking nature. You’ve given me a lot to chew on and it may be a long time before it all gets processed. There are going to be some Christians who will regret entering this same conversation with me (in the role of devil’s advocate)

        • TheMarsCydonia

          A “mitigated want” is still a “want”. For exemple, instead of wanting to eat the whole ice cream, you’d rather wanted to partly eat the ice cream.

          Unless something negates that want or negates your power to accomplish that want, you’d still do exactly as you wanted: “partially eat the ice cream”.

          And in the case of god, you’d need to show why god would “partially convince someone” and what that means, especially in the light that someone would need to be convince of his existence to get into heaven, god’s stated desire.

        • Mark Sibley

          God would still want the whole bowl (everybody). But, he also doesn’t want to be fat (force it on everybody). So, he finds the proper balance between that one spoonful (those who sincerely believe) and letting the rest of the ice cream go back to the freezer (those who reject Him).

          Your premise requires all the ice cream be eaten, or none.

          I’ve stayed too long here, Mars. Again, you have been a blessing to me and a torment to quite a few Christians I’ll be dropping this one one. I thank you for it all. I hope there is an afterlife and we’ll have a big laugh over the whole carton

        • TheMarsCydonia

          You’re doing that christian “not believing = rejecting” thing again. It’s a false equivocation.

          We’ve made a number of comments here in the past few days. Was I violating your free will everytime I made a comment? Were you forced to accept me or my comment everytime one was revealed to you?

          Can’t you spot that you go from “those who sincerely believe” to “those who reject him” rather than “those who do not believe”?

          “Not believing” and “rejecting” are not equal, believing is a pre-requisite to the later and believing is a pre-requisite to loving too. I cannot love sincerely or unsincerely something I do not believe exists.

        • Mark Sibley

          I threw out your premises to my first experimental Christian tonight, and, wouldn’t you know it, the guy was a calvinist, and said that God did not want everyone to have eternal life (P1), only the Select.

          . . . . . and then he backed it up with scriptural references.

        • he backed it up with scriptural references.

          And who could be surprised? You can stick your hand inside the sock puppet that is the Bible and make it say just about anything.

        • Mark Sibley

          The premise of your article was that you were following the evidence, which you say is a sock-puppet interpretation that can be whatever you want it to be. Seems like a kind of pointless effort, to me. You merely confirmed what you already believed to be the case.

          You made the claim, “God should be obvious, and his message to us should be unambiguous”, based on the same scripture you say can be interpreted to say anything you want. That doesn’t follow, Bob.

        • “The evidence” doesn’t require a coherent Bible. Indeed, the evidence points to an inconsistent bible.

        • Kodie

          Smells like a reset to me.

        • MNb

          He didn’t claim that. He claimed that god should be obvious and that his message to us should be unambiguous based on the assumption that god is perfect, an assumption accepted by many, if not most christians..
          The Holy Bible does not make god obvious and neither is the message it claims to come from god unambiguous, as your christian guinea pig only confirmed. Hence the Holy Bible is very unlikely to be divinely inspired and christianity very likely is false.
          You have brought up nothing against that and hence you resort to twisting BobS’ words. That’s not only dishonest, it violates your very own 9th Commandment – something very few apologists seem to care for on internet.

        • MR

          Mark often resorts to the dishonest tactic of twisting people’s words, then complains about being dishonest. @Kodie, you were right…, please, just one honest Christian.

        • Kodie

          Not only is Mark Sibley twisting Bob’s words, he’s pretending to introduce a novel comment as though we haven’t already been talking about this, a couple days out of sight since he explicitly thanked Bob for his time and said he’d be on his way.

        • MR

          Just. One. More. Dig.

          So Christian of him.

        • Myna

          I’m starting to think it is a prerequisite. Ignore, divert and when all that fails, believe one’s self oh so very clever with the final dig.

        • Susan

          I’m starting to think it is a prerequisite.

          You must be new. 🙂

          A few more years and you’ll know it’s a prerequisite.

          You missed the bit about accusing your interlocutors of being unconvincable and having an end point from which they cannot be swayed.

          All without a speck of evidence.

          A look at Mark’s participation here will show countless examples of his dishonesty.

          This last one is just the cherry on top. He’s off to join his comrades in Croydon, now.

        • And I thought that Mark was giving me an early Christmas present by walking off into the sunset, but now it’s been snatched away.

        • WayneMan

          It’s an odd relationship. He hates us “heathens”, but then we’re the only people that will even talk to him. lol

        • MR

          I find that if someone is trying to convince me of something that is not obvious with ambiguous information, and that person has the capacity to provide concrete information, alarm bells go off in my head. In real life, that would be a terrible basis on which to make a decision. An honest person would be straight forward with me. How much more a perfect person.

        • WayneMan

          Yes, I have related before that I watched a lecture between a Calvinist and an orthodox minister. As each spoke for or against free will and divine selection, and each backed up their talks with many Biblical quotes that supported their position. As I heard each quote I thought, yes I can see how that supports your view. It was eye opening that these two experts came to opposite conclusions on something seemly critical to the Christian faith. My conclusion was simply affirmation that the Bible is riddled with ambiguities and contractions, and you can support about any belief you already have by cherry picking the right verses.

        • Kodie

          Pardon me for interrupting this bullshit fest, but you’re asserting god, a fictional character, wants to eat ice cream without getting fat, and thus can’t and won’t make himself KNOWN TO ALL so that we may love him sincerely (which you state is his goal), but that we have to listen to the rambling stupid reasoning from idiots like the dolt Mark Sibley, who only pushes us farther from a potential revelation.

          I mean, why would god SEND YOU YOU FUCKING DUMMY.

          If he has any other means to reveal himself and attract sincere love that he so wishes to have, that you claim, why would his choice be Mark FUCKING Sibley?

        • Susan

          The other factor, as I have stated numerous times now is my want to control my weight

          So, you are saying that a perfect being is constrained by factors beyond its control that create conflict for it?

          So, it’s not a limitless consciousness that plucked all of reality out of metaphysical nothingness?

          It is constrained by factors beyond its control?

        • Ignorant Amos

          If God wants everyone to love Him, yet wants it sincerely – excluding those who are insincere – I see the need for a filter that requires sincere effort.

          You think that coercion through the threat of getting tortured in hell-fire for an eternity is the best method to achieve sincerity?

          Get a grip Mark.

        • adam

          “If God wants everyone to love Him, yet wants it sincerely – excluding those who are insincere – I see the need for a filter that requires sincere effort.

          Point out my error here.”

          Satan and all the Fallen Angels

        • Ignorant Amos

          Judas was probably the most important literary device as a character in the yarn.

          Over the ages many philosophers have contemplated the idea that Judas was required to have carried out his actions in order for Jesus to have died on the cross and hence fulfill theological obligations.

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

        • adam

          “The Bible says the price of sin is death. If we want to live (forever,
          in Heaven), we cannot have sin. One has to be perfect to be in God’s
          presence. ”

          Why is this?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/98265d38f8c9a73888180e83402d04fd1421c4b8f148d83327738ec63e349f62.jpg

          “When an atheist says it is their opinion that God does not exist, we can discuss why they feel the way they do, ”

          They same reason that it is your opinion that Invisible Pink Flying Unicorns do not exist.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3da7f08a3390ef2111a626073dd7132a22b19bc1ce34ac9d4883c5e2d74a0eb8.jpg

        • Kodie

          So far, it’s still looking like that “tap on the shoulder” is your delusion. You are looking at the same world everyone else is, pretty much, but you are attributing some feeling you have to an imaginary character, mostly because you don’t know how brains work, and partially because it’s a common behavior in the animal human, and I’m not sure the percentage, you’re just selfish.

          You accuse atheists of serving themselves, but there is nothing more selfish and self-absorbed than believing that everything that happens is for some reason about you.

        • Kodie

          Please don’t come here with that weak crap and then complain when someone uses the word “asshole” to describe the god you describe. You imagine him in such a twisted way, you make claims that he wants this or that, and then you defend he has the prerogative not to, or have some other reason you don’t know. You are so delusional!

          There is no god is much simpler and doesn’t end up in such fucked up paths of logical contortions to try to explain. If god existed and he wanted to persuade me to love him sincerely – let’s cut to the chase here:

          Why would he send you to me? Why would he send such an inferior thinker to pull reasons obviously out his ass to achieve this sincere reciprocal love, and not just you, but piles and piles and piles of you dumb-ass Christians, to tell me this bullshit? You were convinced because you’re gullible, because you want to, because you have very low standards and intellect. The argument in the first place is, if god wants x, why would he hide? Why isn’t he obvious? Why is his only evidence on this earth MORONS?

        • adam

          ” It makes sense that there might be times when one “want” might conflict with others.”

          A ‘perfect’ being has conflict with itself?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/dc554b74af68425056b8a4228b7f09490a1e80f6c6bf14f85bbce2e8015a0bfb.jpg

        • WayneMan

          This is one example of why I love being an atheist. I am not required to be bigoted or discriminate against any groups. If a religion requires that, I say find a better religion.

        • adam

          The nice thing is that almost everyone in the Abrahamic ‘faiths’ have MUCH MUCH better morals than the God they CLAIM to worship.

        • MNb

          1. Incorrect.
          Grass is green hence the Earth is a sphere is a logical fallacy; it’s a non-sequitur. Still both the premise and the conclusion are true.
          The correct version is: any logical fallacy invalidates the claim being made. As a result we cannot say if the claim is true or untrue.

        • Mark Sibley

          . . . . based on the premise presented, right?

          As an exercise in logic, the premise of green grass does not lead us to the conclusion that the Earth is a sphere. We can say, factually, the claim that the Earth is a sphere is true (as you stated) – just not for the stated reason.

          The logic I presented in trying to understand Mars’ point was solid – the conclusion followed from the 2 premises. The problem was that those premises weren’t Mars’ – hence the straw man fallacy. Both of my conclusions were indistinguishable from Mars’, I just arrived at them in the wrong way.

          Now, it is probably worth pointing out that Mars’ conclusion does not follow from his premises. We still have the problem of wanting + ability = doing.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          Then please make the case that they do not follow rather than simply assert it.

          You had plenty and repeated opportunities sonwe have to wonder why you have not done so.

        • Mark Sibley

          P1: If he exist, the christian god (simply god from now on) wants to have relationship with us/wants us to know he exists.
          P2: God has the power to establish his want to have a relationship/his existence clearly and unambiguously
          C1: (from p1 and p2) If god exist, god’s want to have a relationship/his existence should be clear and unambiguous.

          Simplified,

          P1: God wants to have a relationship with us.

          P2: God has the power to have that relationship clearly known.

          C1: God’s want for that relationship would be clearly known.

          Analogized in another post:
          P1: I want to have ice cream.
          P2: I have the ability to have ice cream.
          C1: I will have ice cream.

          No, C1 does not follow. God wants it, has the power to make it happen, but could still opt not to use that power, or might subvert that want to a different, more powerful want.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          So god’s want for a relationship is negated by another want. If god’s want to have a relationship was not negated. he would accomplish it because he has the power to do it, doesn’t he?

        • Mark Sibley

          No, Why do you keep misrepresenting what I said? I said it is “compromised”. I said it was balanced with other wants. If it was negated, none of it would show up. I am saying some of it is there. It still has influence.

          C1 can only follow if you add the mandatory element, taking away God’s choice in the matter. His wants would control Him. If his wants tell him what to do, they are God; they are more powerful. Whatever it more powerful than “omnipotent”, that’s what they are. They are Infinity +1.

        • Kodie

          When you try to make your imaginary friend exist in a logical sense, you can see why it would break down so fast, and why it’s hard for others to find the “gut feeling” you have as convincing of anything. I think your argument included many people having this same kind of gut feeling, and you seem to think being popular is evidence of god instead of evidence that people can be fooled by their own emotions and desires for access to an all-powerful being, eternal life, whatever it is, and the want to belong to a group to validate this nonsense. I don’t know why Christians come here trying to get validated. If you’re honest, you would see how weak your challenges to atheism are, how inferior superstition is to logic.

          You keep trying to make it seem like something else, but the reason at least I do not believe in god is that it takes an obvious butt-ton of distortion in order to get the beliefs to seem real to yourself. You have to go through a lot of warping that maybe seems normal to you, but not to me, to get to that “gut feeling” that you’re trying to demonstrate is actually logical. It’s like trying to listen to a 4-year-old telling you what happened at pre-school, only we don’t have to clench our teeth and pretend that it’s interesting for 45 minutes of nowhere-going story for the child’s benefit, because you’re not a child, and we don’t have to lower our standards to validate you.

        • Pofarmer

          I thought that this from Jonathan Peirce fit well here.

          “In other words, there is something deeply, deeply problematic with
          challenging preconceived ideals and conclusions that such
          fundamentalists hold. You aren’t just challenging abstract ideas about
          how their god works; you are challenging their immortality, their
          infinite and perfect future existence. There is literally nothing more
          amazing you could challenge, in conception. The stakes are enormous.
          Thus the process of being challenged and changing their minds based on
          evidence is fraught with issue. This goes some way to explaining why it
          is so difficult to convince YECs of the incorrectness of their views.
          You are essentially saying they won’t live forever. That’s a really big
          barricade to rational thought.”

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tippling/2016/11/30/theists-believing-ridiculous-unscientific-things-terror-management-theory/

        • MR

          Like God wouldn’t be a god of logic and facts! “Go with the gut feeling and ignore that icky logic and those pesky facts.”

          We know that gut feelings, emotions, are really bad when it comes to making good judgment. In the real world we measure gut feeling against logic and facts to make sure we’re on the right track.

          In any other situation if someone were urging you to ignore logic and facts and to judge with your gut, you’d immediately suspect him as a conman! Why does religion get a pass in our society?

        • TheMarsCydonia

          You are confusing “pointing out your objection is invalid” with “misrepresenting what you said” because this is what I am doing: pointing out that your objection is invalid. And it will remain so until you address what invalidates it rather than ignore it.

          “I said it was balanced with other wants. If it was negated, none of it would show up”

          As pointed out, if was not negated, it would show up, for everyone. Either god wants a relationship with mankind/wants mankind to know he exists or he doesn’t.

          If he has this objective and has the power to achieve that objective, he would necessarily achieve that objective. The reason that this objective is not achieved is either:

          a) God does not have the objective of making his existence known to mankind

          or

          b) God does have the objective of making his existence known to mankind but does not have the power to achieve it

          See, here god still has the choice of having the objective or not but if he does, he would achieve it because he is supposed to be all-knowledgeable and all-powerful and thus nothing could stop it from achieving it.

          “It still has influence” would only be valid if there was something preventing god from completely achieving his objective but as previously mentionned and to which you’ve agreed: god is all-knowledgeable and all-powerful so nothing can prevent him from completely achieving it. There is no competing objective that would prevent god from achieving both unless the competing objective negates the other.

          And clearly, there is something that negates god’s objective of making his existence clearly and unambiguously known to mankind it since obviously people worship dozens of other gods or none at all.

          So, will you ignore how your objection is invalid or will you try something else?

        • MNb

          “As an exercise in logic, the premise of green grass does not lead us to the conclusion that the Earth is a sphere.”
          Thanks for confirming my point. That’s why I wrote it’s a non-sequitur.

          “We can say, factually, the claim that the Earth is a sphere is true (as you stated) – just not for the stated reason.”
          And you do it again! You again confirm my point! But I think thanking you twice rather exaggerated.

          “The logic I presented in trying to understand Mars’ point was solid”
          Perhaps it was, perhaps it wasn’t. Sorry, I’m not interested. You asked a question:

          “if the support for it is a logical fallacy, then it should be treated as untrue. Is that correct?”
          and I answered it. It’s incorrect. Which you confirmed with the first two quotes in this comment of mine.
          That’s all.

        • Kodie

          We still have the problem that you are trying to force logic to aptly describe a figment of your imagination.

        • Pofarmer

          We still have the problem of wanting + ability = doing.

          You really suck at this.

        • Pofarmer

          First off, you need to provide which fallacy is being committed. Merely asserting it won’t do. Thanks.

          One of my gripes about logical fallacies is that, just because something
          does not always lead one to the correct conclusion, it doesn’t tell you
          anything about the probability of it leading you to the right
          conclusion. If something is fallacious, it could still offer a 99%
          chance that it will lead you to the correct conclusion about the truth.

          You seem to be confusing terms here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fallacies A fallacy, at least of the informal type, is a device which is used purposefully to attempt to get someone to come around to a point of view with incorrect logic. What you seem to be talking about is more along the lines of incorrect premises. You can come to the correct conclusion with the wrong premises for the right reasons, even though one of the premises isn’t valid. A fallacious argument is always fallacious.

          Hey, we’ll take that, right?

          No. For the reason stated above.

          I mention that by way of undercutting my point about fallacious logic –
          just because your logic is fallacious doesn’t guarantee that it will
          lead us to the wrong conclusion.

          A conclusion reached by a fallacious argument is always wrong. And, once again, please state the fallacy being committed.

          In this case however, this is really low-hanging fruit. To help move
          things along, allow me to re-state your claim in an easy-to-follow
          format and then you can review it to see if I have fairly characterized
          your view:

          A. If God has the ability to do something, He will do it.
          B. God has the ability to communicate clearly and unambiguously.

          Therefore,
          C. God would communicate clearly and unambiguously.

          Congratulations. You have now Strawmanned the argument, which actually is a fallacious form of argument.

          This IMHO, is the actual argument From TheMarsCydonia

          A. you’ve agreed that the christian god is all-knowing and all-powerful.(we could add all good, so we get all of the attributes.)

          A,.(2) So it follows that it knows both how to communicate in such a manner
          that it is clear and unambiguous and that it has the power to do so.

          B. the christian god wants a relationship with everyone.

          C. God could communicate clearly and unambiguously, yet doesn’t.

          Why?

          That is sound logic. My contention is that Premise (A) is not true. As
          evidence, I point to the thousands of options we have each day which we
          choose not to exercise even though we have the ability to do them.

          Which is why you’ve committed a strawman fallacy. It’s not a part of the argument.

          The rest seems you’re trying to get to a “free will” argument of some sorts.

        • Mark Sibley

          I am so sorry I missed this most excellent post this morning. It is well-thought out.

          As to incorrect logic and incorrect premises, you make a good point. One can use perfect logic, but still arrive at a bad conclusion if just one premise is wrong. OTOH, perfect premises can lead to a bad conclusion also if one uses bad logic (maybe the premises had no relation to the conclusion).

          My 99% comment was that I would be happy if I were right 99% of the time – I’ll take that. Given a choice of being talented or lucky, I’ll take lucky every time.

          Here’s an exchange on the topic that you might find interesting (It was given to me by an atheist):

          “The
          validity of a logical argument has NOTHING to do with the actual
          veracity (rightness or wrongness) of the propositions. This is basic
          stuff. Logic is the process of figure out what other things we know
          based on what we already know. If what we think we know is wrong, then
          we can make all the logically correct arguments we want and we’ll still
          be drawing wrong conclusions.

          bunderbunder 1681 days ago [-]

          And, on the other side of the coin, I
          fear it encourages folks to fall victim to the ‘fallacy fallacy’:
          Thinking that the presence of a logical fallacy in an argument implies
          that its thesis is incorrect.

          On a completely different coin, nobody
          ever won an argument by treating it as a game of Spot the Logical
          Fallacy. All you’ll win playing that game is a reputation for being
          insufferable.

          repsilat 1681 days ago [-]

          > the ‘fallacy fallacy’: Thinking that the presence of a logical fallacy in an argument implies that its thesis is incorrect.

          It’s
          worse than that. Paying too much attention to rigour and the
          mathematical validity of arguments unduly privileges strict logical
          argumentation over “traditional” informal argumentation.

          Outside
          of technical areas there are almost no arguments amenable to pure
          logical argumentation. Think about it – why would you be arguing over
          something that can be mechanically deduced with certainty?”

          My intent here was not to set up a straw man argument for Mars. I
          sincerely did not understand his point and was looking for a way of
          communicating better. I wanted him (or you – thanks) to correct my
          misunderstanding. I went on to discuss my A, B, C construction as if it
          were correct only as a potential time-saver.

          As to your Free Will point, are you talking about God’s FW – that He would have the ultimate choice of doing whatever He wanted?

        • Kodie

          One of the big problems most Christians have with atheism is the mere speculation through the bible that anything else could have happened instead, because supernatural claims need a lot more evidence than you Christians tend to accept.

          You are clinging to logical fallacies on the basis that they do not technically damn your beliefs to the trash bin. Maybe there’s still 1% chance you’re still right, even if it’s totally illogical. No, sorry, that’s not right. You are entitled to continue pretending, but not to us. You have to show us positive evidence that your beliefs are not a total crock, not that there’s a slim possibility that they’re not a crock.

          That’s enough to keep you convinced, but not everyone else.

        • Pofarmer

          What fallacy is being committed?

        • Mark Sibley

          I replied to Mars at length on this topic this morning. Would you do me the favor of reading that post and commenting on it?

        • Pofarmer

          You are welcome to link to your reply. You could also name the fallacy. That would be nice. None of us should want to be proposing fallacious arguments.

        • TheMarsCydonia

          There might have been no fallacy as I am still waiting for him to show one.

          All he showed was a strawman of the argument, either by his lack of reading comprehension or willful misrepresentation.

        • Pofarmer

          I think he just believes his gut very very much, and can’t comprehend that just maybe it’s wrong.

        • adam

          “We have the power and knowledge to kill ourselves, yet do not do so.”

          Even the bible god does as Jesus…

          And of course humans do all the time.

        • Kodie

          Are you talking about god like his powers are limited to human powers, wants, desires, etc.? If you make one claim, like he desires a sincere relationship, it follows that he would act in ways that encourage sincere relationships. If he is toying around with people’s feelings and hiding, he’s like the abusive person you should avoid entering a relationship with.

          Good News! He’s not there. Any jerking around kind of feelings you get from god are imaginary and can be let go, so you can just get on with your life.

        • MR

          One more thing in a long list of things that don’t make sense. Even Mark has shed the bits and pieces that don’t make sense to him (with some kind of justification), but clings to other aspects with no way of knowing, no methodology, to distinguish the truth.

          God’s Not There is always a viable explanation, as hard as it is for Christians to admit that. When something is pointed out to them that doesn’t make sense, they will always shift to “explainable with justification” before they will ever admit that “not there” is even a possibility. It seems to me that anytime we can question if something makes sense, we have three columns with which to evaluate the claim: God Exists, God Exists (with Justification) and Not There. You can always check the Not There column. Column one will never be filled, but column three can always be checked.

        • Mark Sibley

          Just to be clear, I was not making a claim (about relationship sincerity). I was presenting a plausible explanation to someone who had not considered that possibility.

        • Kodie

          It’s not a plausible explanation, and we’ve heard it a million times before. It doesn’t make god seem more plausible or real, and characterizes him as more of an asshole than you probably wish, but there’s nothing you can do about it but try to spin it as though it is perfect.

        • Mark Sibley

          Because “assholes” love you, and want to be sincerely loved by you in return. Honestly, you just spew acid. It’s like a knee-jerk physical reflex more than any kind of thoughtful reflection.

          Was it you I confused Susan with?

        • Kodie

          Because no matter how you try to make it appealing, the god you describe and the reasons you ascribe to this character as “plausibly” trying to have a sincere two-way relationship with everyone sounds exactly like an abusive relationship. He can’t just show up and be a nice guy, he has to play games. If your daughter’s boyfriend did that, you’d want to punch him in the face and forbid her from seeing him.

          It’s not me calling him an asshole, it’s the character of god you describe as “loving” who just is.

        • Mark Sibley

          So, I walk into the room, and my daughter is on the floor, with her boyfriend with his lips on her. I conclude that the only logical option is that he is taking advantage of her.

          His “plausible” explanation was that he was administering mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

          Should I stick with my conclusion (since I thought there was no other option) and still punch him? Or, should I consider a possibility that did not occur to me?

          The answer, of course is that any boy who comes within 20 feet of my daughter needs to be punched regardless of his motivation.

        • Kodie

          That’s what you got out of my post? It’s like you can’t even read.

        • Except that that’s not what’s happening. Not even close.

          There’s a room full of Christians only. They hear a voice. One person says, “I heard, ‘Homosexuality is always bad.'”

          Another says, “But I heard, ‘Homosexuality is unimportant.'”

          And another says, “Huh? I didn’t hear anything.”

        • Pofarmer

          What is it with Christians and shitty analogies?

        • I’m continually amazed. Do they not think them through?

        • Pofarmer

          I don’t think they are used to thinking a lot of stuff through.

        • adam

          “So, here’s the analogy to help you understand my point:We’re all in a room. ” and no voice says anything.

          ” The religious people all say, “I heard it say, ‘Be nice to each other’.” ”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/62da10177de8c12d9feedf1a0ff3d448ed929feef887a1192640edb3a8a15953.jpg

        • Ignorant Amos

          Within Christianity, it becomes even more tangential; more irrelevant:
          CHRISTIAN: “I hear God saying we should baptize by sprinkling.”
          GOD: “Yeah, whatever.”

          God doesn’t say “Yeah, whatever.”

          Other Christian’s say, that’s heretical, you must be burned at the stake…or let’s sort the difference out by having a war.

          Or teh Gayz should be put to death.

          http://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/davidbadash/christian_pastor_says_gays_worthy_of_death_at_conference_with_3_gop_presidential_candidates

        • Mark Sibley

          Yeah, whatever.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s not a “whatever”. Ignorant Amos makes the very valid point that, historically, Christians have been willing to kill both Christians who don’t believe correctly and non Christians for having the wrong beliefs. How would this be possible with a Tri-omni God?

        • Michael Neville

          The Thirty Years War (1618-1648) was fought between Catholics and Protestants. About one-third of the population of Central Europe (Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia) died during the war, mainly from disease and famine. That is not a “whatever”.

          In May 1631 the mainly Protestant city of Magdeburg was sacked by the Catholic forces under Count Tilly and Pappenheim. The population of the city went from 30,000 to 5000. That is not a “whatever”.

        • Mark Sibley

          I had the Religious War and the Crusades in mind when I made that comment about being embarrassed. However, those weren’t spreading Christianity to Europe.

        • Pofarmer

          However, those weren’t spreading Christianity to Europe.

          So fucking what? Really.

        • Mark Sibley

          So, someone had asserted earlier tonight that Christianity was spread through Europe by violent conquest. I took the opportunity of your post to point out that the 2 great violent episodes of Christianity by Europeans did not spread it in Europe.

        • Michael Neville

          The Protestant League and Holy Roman Empire were trying to spread their particular flavors of Christianity throughout Europe. In the 16th and 17th Centuries the King of Spain’s title was “His Most Catholic Majesty” and the Spanish weren’t kidding. Spain spent years trying to convert the Protestant Netherlands to Catholicism, primarily through conquest and the Inquisition.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The Cromwellian conquest of Ireland 1649–53 is another example of Christian blue on blue.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Your naivety knows no bounds.

          Christianity’s climb to dominance was sparked by a single event – the conversion of Roman Emperor Constantine I. Constantine was embattled in a bitter civil war to retain the emperor’s throne. Before the decisive battle against his brother-in-law and chief rival in 312, he was said to have claimed to experience a vision where Christ appeared unto him, instructing him to place the sign of Christ on the banners carried by his troops. He did so, and his army proceeded to demolish that of his rival, securing his position as emperor. He credited the Christian God for the victory, and proceeded to give favor to Christianity over all other religions in the massive Empire.

          Almost overnight, Christianity was propelled to the status of global, theological powerhouse. Roman citizens and subjects converted in droves, as Christians were afforded special tax breaks and other amenities not available to any other religious affiliations. Despite its favored status, other religions were now outlawed by Constantine. It would not be until later in the 4th century (380), when Christianity would be named the official state religion of Rome, illegalizing all other models of worship. This would ensure the conversion of nearly everyone under Roman control, covering much of Europe, West Asia and North Africa. Failing to convert typically elicited deportation or execution.

          Violence, or the threat of violence was a part of the fiasco.

          Christians have also been trying to wipe out other flavours of Christians throughout the Christian era from the get go in order to attain or maintain superiority.

          The God message is very poor indeed.

        • Mark Sibley

          It goes without saying that I am [fill in the negative descriptor of choice], otherwise, I would agree with you.

          So, here is your scenario:

          Christianity is barely growing at all. Only a handful of people believe it is true. Then, Constantine forces it on the multitudes, and the number of Christians goes through the roof, and remains there (in terms of percentage of the population) until the rise of atheism in the 20th century.

          Does that sound fair?

          If so, then we should have the data to go along with that claim. Do you have that data?

        • adam

          “Does that sound fair?”

          Why should I care if it sounds ‘fair’.

          It is certainly history

          But you are IGNORING the christian factors that spread christianity

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b6b5240f53deb4a0141b0d9196de29540d1f8931a4c8d5713b9547eca65cbd2f.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8405941ed9f5c1c9bf717f00591e0b5455633b20f6c5705754c71d7decaa52be.jpg

        • Myna

          …until the rise of atheism in the 20th century.

          The freedom to question religion, indeed debate the very existence of a transcendent deity without bloody condemnation came with the Enlightenment. People began trying on new religions, discarding them altogether, clinging to them, arguing against them all.

          I realize your self-professed aversion to links, but they may be helpful for anyone reading who may be interested:

          History of atheism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_atheism

          List of atheist philosophers: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_atheist_philosophers

          19th Century Freethinkers: https://humanism.org.uk/humanism/the-humanist-tradition/19th-century-freethinkers/

          Agnosticism: https://www.britannica.com/topic/agnosticism

        • Mark Sibley

          By “rise”, I didn’t mean the beginning. I meant when it really caught on and rose significantly in numbers. In 1900, atheists might have been less than 1% of the population. Now, I’d guess 20% or so. That means going from a few million to over a billion people.

        • Myna

          My only argument with this is that we don’t know those numbers. Religious institutions have traditionally been a place not only for the trimmings, but for social networking. This was particularly true for African Americans up to and during the Civil Rights Movement where most of the leaders came out of the church. The advent of social media has changed the dynamics of social networking, and affords a safe anonymity for those who may have once believed, or ever believed, or still believe, or believe strange things like conspiracies, to come together and communicate what they ponder internally. Whether the actual numbers of unbelievers has risen is debatable. People go through the motions all the time, either because it is what they’ve always done, or what they feel is expected of them.

        • Mark Sibley

          I hear what you are saying, but stats are stats. The lion’s share of growth in atheist numbers in the 20th century was in China, alone, where it was gov’t policy. I mentioned atheism’s rise in passing, as a kind of punctuation to a millennium of a high percentage, level Christian demographic.

          I was messing with Amos. I’ve seen the data. Heck, I think one of you may have even uploaded that graphic of the growth of the major religions. If you saw a graph of the growth of Christianity, you might not even be able to pick out Constantine’s reign. What Constantine did was good for Christianity, to be sure, but it was his ending of persecution that did the most.

        • Myna

          Before the 18th century, it was “government policy” across Europe that there be no separation between Church and State. Even then, the separation was not immediate in all countries in legal terms, but the religious wars had ended by the end of the 17th century. For those interested in the history of atheism in France, in particular, here’s a link to start with: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irreligion_in_France

          but it was his ending of persecution that did the most.

          Because he felt compelled to persecute somebody, Constantine apparently thought it good to persecute the pagans under the banner of Christianity to enforce the Christian status. Here is a link for those interested: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_pagans_in_the_late_Roman_Empire

        • Ignorant Amos

          The lion’s share of growth in atheist numbers in the 20th century was in China, alone, where it was gov’t policy.

          You’d love that to be the case, but it is ridiculous, because if it was the case atheism’s numbers would be a lot greater than you proposed.

          It is well documented that Christianity has withered dramatically in Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. The failure of the faith in the west is regularly denounced by Popes and Protestant leaders. Churches are being converted into libraries, laundromats and pubs. Those who disbelieve in deities typically make up large portions of the population, according to some surveys they make up the majority of citizens in Scandinavia, France and Japan. Evolution is accepted by the majority in all secular nations, up to four in five in some.

          The Central Kingdom has never been especially religious, became atheistic under communism, and is striving for world dominance via materialistic consumerism. The finding by the Shanghai university poll that religious Chinese lifted from 100 million in the 1960s to 300 million resulted in headlines along the lines of “Poll Finds Surge of Religion Among Chinese.” But the 300 million figure is far below the 600 million religious estimated by the World Christian Encyclopedia, and is less than a third of the adult population. Nor should monotheists be particularly comforted. The survey uncovered 40 million Christians, about half the inflated estimate in the WCE, and just 4% of the adult population. Most religious Chinese are Buddhists and Taoists, or worship the likes of the God of Fortune, the Black Dragon and the Dragon King. By the way, The Economist says women are using religion as a way to battle traditional Chinese patriarchy. If the survey is correct that over two thirds of Chinese are not religious then they may approach a billion in China alone, expanding the global total even further.

        • Ignorant Amos

          My only argument with this is that we don’t know those numbers.

          The World Christian Encyclopedia and by extension, the World Christian Database seems to think it has the numbers.

          You might find the following item enlightening…

          WHY THE GODS ARE NOT WINNING

          Since 1900 Christians have made up about a third of the global population, and are edging downwards. No growth there. Hindus are coasting at a seventh the total, no significant increase there either even though India adds more people each year than any other nation. The WCE predicts no proportional increase for these faiths by 2050. The flourishing revival of two megareligions whether by democracy, edification, or fecundity is therefore a mirage. Having shrunk by a quarter in the 20th century, Buddhism is predicted to shrink almost as much over the next half century. Once rivaling Christianity, paganism – whether it be ancient or modern as per New Ageism and Scientology — has over all contracted by well over half and is expected to continue to dwindle.

          One Great Faith has risen from one eighth to one fifth of the globe in a hundred years, and is projected to rise to one quarter by 2050. Islam. But education and the vote have little to do with it. Generally impoverished and poorly educated, most Muslims live in nations where democracy is minimalist or absent. Nor are many infidels converting to Allah. Longman was correct on one point; Islam is growing because Muslims are literally having lots of unprotected sex. The absence of a grand revival of Christ, Allah and Vishnu worship via democratic free choice brings us to a point, as important as it is little appreciated — the chronic inability of religion to recruit new adherents on a consistent, global basis.

          What scheme of thought did soar in the 20th century? Although Shah and Toft cite the WCE when it appears to aid their thesis, they seem to have missed key passages near the beginning of the work. The evangelical authors of the WCE lament that no Christian “in 1900 expected the massive defections from Christianity that subsequently took place in Western Europe due to secularism…. and in the Americas due to materialism…. The number of nonreligionists…. throughout the 20th century has skyrocketed from 3.2 million in 1900, to 697 million in 1970, and on to 918 million in AD 2000…. Equally startling has been the meteoritic growth of secularism…. Two immense quasi-religious systems have emerged at the expense of the world’s religions: agnosticism…. and atheism…. From a miniscule presence in 1900, a mere 0.2% of the globe, these systems…. are today expanding at the extraordinary rate of 8.5 million new converts each year, and are likely to reach one billion adherents soon. A large percentage of their members are the children, grandchildren or the great-great-grandchildren of persons who in their lifetimes were practicing Christians” (italics added). (The WCE probably understates today’s nonreligious. They have Christians constituting 68-94% of nations where surveys indicate that a quarter to half or more are not religious, and they may overestimate Chinese Christians by a factor of two. In that case the nonreligious probably soared past the billion mark already, and the three great faiths total 64% at most.)

          Skepticism of the transcendent has not swept the planet with the completeness expected by some in the 20th century. Doing so would have required the conversion to atheism of an unattainable 50 million people a year in a world where the great majority chronically lack the high level of science-oriented education, secure prosperity, and democracy that spontaneous disbelief depends upon. The expectation of global atheism was correspondingly naïve, and will remain so as billions live in, or fear living in, substandard conditions. Which should not comfort theists. Even so, theists are equally naïve when they dream that faith can retake the entire world.

          The whole article can be read in full at…

          https://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/paul07/paul07_index.html

        • Myna

          Thanks for the link, Amos! My thinking is that because agnosticism and atheism in the 18th throughout the 19th century was increasing through the medium of literature and philosophy, the expected norm into the early 20th century may have been higher previously, but not necessarily addressed in the public forum by the average citizen. The surge may have come from the freedom to express skepticism without any interference from the State, but as the article relates, poverty, political oppression and lack of education are religion’s power points.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Do you mean like the LGBT community? Or feminism? Or maybe the freedom to declare ones views in certain parts has been attained?

          Was there less atheists a century ago, or was it just prudent to keep one gob shut about it?

          Good luck proving those figures btw.

        • adam

          “By “rise”, I didn’t mean the beginning. I meant when it really caught
          on and rose significantly in numbers. In 1900, atheists might have been
          less than 1% of the population. ”

          And they might just be the very same 20 percentage of population, or probably higher.

          Because it is probably higher than that now, social pressures being the same.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/374216f2e0b3eec0b3ca6e44550ffe46cb7a5c39f3ef3ac4234d19295d6e933d.jpg

        • MNb

          It sounds fair, but still isn’t correct.

          “Then, Constantine forces it on the multitudes,”
          When Constantine the Not So Great declared christianity the state religion of the Roman Empire huge parts of the Roman Legions already were converted (they mostly where arians from Germanic descent). Funny, isn’t it, how christianity appealed to soldiers used to violence?

        • Mark Sibley

          You win – there was no “going through the roof” growth in Christianity because of Constantine.

          Bit of trivia – The Vandals were Arian Christians, and laid waste to much of Catholic N. Africa, and murdered Augustine – one of the greatest Chrisitian minds ever.

          Do you think those mercenaries were Christian BECAUSE they were in the military, or because their families back in Germany were?

        • Susan

          You win – there was no “going through the roof” growth in Christianity because of Constantine.

          If there is “going through the roof growrth” in the first three centuries, show how it varies from Mormonism in its first three centuries. If you are asking to remove the sword and the culture behind the sword that gives christianity the benefit of repeating its claims without people asking questions about them, show it.

          The trouble with christian cliams is that (whether you’ve noticed it or not), when asked to support one fallacious claim, you respond with another fallacious claim.

          Lots of people respond.

          You complain about being overwhelmed. Not that I’m not sympathetic.

          But that’s what happens to apologetics outside of the compound.

          If there were more to it than that, people from inside the compund would show up in numbers defining and supporting their claims.

          But that never happens.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Does that sound fair?

          Nope, not completely…that’s that fallacy you’ve been discussing over recent days.

          Try reading piece in italics I cited in my comment for a bit more comprehension.

          Christianity is barely growing at all.

          Christianity, such that it was, grew at a speed commensurate with other cult religions. You have to remember that Christianity was not a unified belief system during those first four centuries either.

          This revealing history examines the controversies, maneuvering, and political wrangling that occupied the Christian Church for the first four centuries of its existence.

          Drawing from primary texts, Early Controversies and the Growth of Christianity reveals how the religion was formed through a series of conflicts that occurred primarily between Christian groups. Presenting a close examination of the first four centuries of Christian history through the lens of the controversies that animated, disturbed, and finally formed the Church, the book will enable readers to become familiar with the lives and writings of the early Christians and to better understand the fascinating history of early Christianity.

          The book focuses on several major early controversies. These include controversies surrounding the apostle Paul; controversies concerning the apostolic fathers, especially the idea of a pope and the role of the bishop/priest; Marcion and his influence; Manichaeism and Gnosticism; persecution and the Dontatists; Arianism; the rise of the bishop in the late 4th century; and power struggles between church and state. Each chapter focuses on the primary texts and key players in the battle over what would finally become orthodox Christianity, demystifying many poorly understood events that ultimately helped define today’s Church.

          Then, Constantine forces it on the multitudes,…

          Nope, that would be erroneous too. Until Constantine Christianity increased at a rate equivalent to the spread of Mormonism over the same sort of time period.

          As it turns out, this [increase in Christianity] matches almost exactly the growth rate of the Mormon church over the past century. Mormonism has grown at 43% per decade, and without mass conversions.

          Exponential growth explains the explosion of Christianity perfectly. In fact, it also explains why Christianity seemed insignificant until about 300, when it suddenly became a huge force in the Roman Empire. The growth rate remained the same, but in terms of absolute numbers, Christianity would indeed explode around that time – from 6 million to 33 million adherents – if it tracked with the growth rate of Mormonism.

          Christianity also had a number of advantages that Mormonism did not.

          http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=95

          …and the number of Christians goes through the roof, and remains there (in terms of percentage of the population)…

          Again, nope. I guess you’ve not noticed the increase in numbers of Muslims for example? That religion is on target to overtake Christianity by 2050 all things being equal…apparently.

          …until the rise of atheism in the 20th century.

          Correct. You got that bit right.

          If so, then we should have the data to go along with that claim.

          We should.

          Do you have that data?

          Yes I have. According to the World Christian Encyclopedia…

          The number of nonreligionists… throughout the 20th century has skyrocketed from 3.2 million in 1900… to 918 million in AD 2000… From a miniscule presence in 1900, a mere 0.2% of the globe, [atheism and agnosticism] are today expanding at the extraordinary rate of 8.5 million new converts each year, and are likely to reach one billion adherents soon. A large percentage of their members are the children, grandchildren or the great-great-grandchildren of persons who in their lifetimes were practicing Christians.

          What does that mean in real terms?

          At the early Christian rate of 40% per decade and 3.2 million in 1900, non-believers would have only numbered 74 million in 2000, not 918 million. The growth rate of non-belief in the 20th century was 76% per decade.

          The percentage-of-world-population gain for atheism was even greater. Christianity claimed about a third of world population in 1900, and claims the same today. Hindus stayed at 1/7th of the world total throughout the century. Buddhism and paganism have declined. Islam went from 1/8th to 1/5th – not through freedom or education but through unprotected sex. In contrast, non-belief during the 20th century skyrocketed from 0.2% to 15.2%! Clearly, the gods are not winning.

          Well, ya did ask.

        • Mark Sibley

          My request for data wasn’t about the growth of atheism, although I appreciate a spike of the football as much as the next guy, and that must have felt good to you. I wanted the data for the growth of Christianity so we good evaluate your claim about what happened when Constantine came on the scene.

          Now, if you want to just go with the same kind of growth we have seen with LDS (about which, BTW, I don’t care), I am OK with that – it makes my point (Christianity grew at a steady rate).

          Your only common theme seems to be that no matter what I say, you will have a knee-jerk argument against it. Here is a quote from your previous post that I was responding to:

          “Almost overnight, Christianity was propelled to the status of global,
          theological powerhouse. Roman citizens and subjects converted in droves”

          Your cite described what happened when Constantine gave his stamp of approval to Christianity. I parroted your cite when I asked if it was fair to say the Christian growth rate “went through the roof”. And here in this post you are arguing against the same point the cite you provided made in your previous post.

          I asked if “Christianity is barely growing at all” was fair. You say no, and argue, “Christianity seemed insignificant until about 300”

        • Kodie

          Mark Sibley doesn’t shed a tear for anyone who died for any reason who would have been dead by now anyway, which includes most people who were gassed in the Holocaust.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It took YOU 10 days to tell everyone here you use the “gut feeling” method and even then you needed prompting by Rudy. Had you have said that when asked 10 days ago, all the running ragged you accuse others of could easily have been avoided. You started out with so much potential and lots of folk thought perhaps it might be worthwhile engaging your comments. Perhaps you were the one with the epiphany moment. But alas, “gut feeling” is all you got. Of course I put your “gut feeling” in scare quotes because it isn’t actually a gut feeling in the usual understanding of the idiom.

          Gut feeling, or intuition, actually starts in the brain.

          I know you don’t like links, so I will post a few comments from the article at “Psychology Today” for your perusal.

          The gut itself literally feeds gut feelings; think of butterflies in the stomach when a decision is pending. The gut has millions of nerve cells and, through them, a “mind of its own,” says Michael Gershon, author of The Second Brain and a professor at Columbia University. Still, gut feelings do not originate there, but in signals from the brain.

          While endless reasoning in the absence of guiding intuitions is unproductive, some people, including President Bush, champion the other extreme—”going with the gut” at all times. Intuition, however, is best used as the first step in solving a problem or deciding what to do. The more experience you have in a particular domain, the more reliable your intuitions, because they arise out of the richest array of collected patterns of experience. But even in your area of expertise, it’s wisest to test out your hunches—you could easily have latched on to the wrong detail and pulled up the wrong web of associations in your brain.

          Many of us are sure we could never be deceived, and yet our gut instincts about people’s veracity are usually off. “We don’t pay enough attention to all the channels of communication, and we believe what we want to believe,” says Maureen O’Sullivan, professor of psychology at the University of San Francisco. There are no set rules to follow in order to improve your fib-spotting—liars do not necessarily avoid eye contact, for example. But you can ask yourself questions, such as whether the person you are sizing up is deviating from his or her typical repertoire of behaviors. If your daughter is using strange gestures and an odd tone of voice, she may indeed be hiding something.

          https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200705/gut-almighty

        • TheNuszAbides

          Had you have said that when asked 10 days ago, all the running ragged you accuse others of could easily have been avoided.

          tell me about it. i bumble in over a month late, and i’m never getting back the hours of waiting for browser/disqus to clunk through this fuggin’ thread’s gratuitous Sibley-holes.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I feel for ya….just being half a dozen time zones out of whack can be a pain in the arse.

        • Myna

          People have been running me ragged around here with all the places there are to go.

          No one can run you ragged without your consent, Mark Sibley. Did you have some idea when you came here that you would not be questioned? That perhaps you would say something so profound it would mute inquiry?

          The issue you bring up is very complex, and it does open conversation (but is not limited) to history, physics, philosophy and literature. You have your bias and gut feeling as though these things have some great universal meaning, when they are just thought-forms and self-enchantments. Others are trying to address the question without enchantments and through the use of rational argument.

          In your defense, at least you’re not a troll. You get a point for that. I’m so weary of trolls.

        • MR

          In your defense, at least you’re not a troll. You get a point for that. I’m so weary of trolls.

          Yeah, I probably should have been less harsh for that reason, but I’m not sure the Susan-bashing can be forgiven.

        • Myna

          but I’m not sure the Susan-bashing can be forgiven.

          You’ve got a point there.

        • Mark Sibley

          Excellent post. But you are wrong about me not having troll-y moments. I respond in kind.

          The irreconcilable split between us is the premise of the supernatural. On one side of this watershed, God is possible, and on the other side He is not. Both sides are enchanting themselves with views of reality from their own perspective. IF the supernatural exists, then a rational view that excludes it from the realm of possibility is incapable of leading one to the truth. The premises are pulled out of thin air.

          I expected everyone would acknowledge Bob’s flawed logic, and I would make a quick exit. What was I thinking?

        • TheMarsCydonia

          When you thought, you didn’t expect your own flawed thinking?

          It has been pointed out repeatedly and you still haven’t acknowledged it on most points.

        • Myna

          I didn’t say you didn’t have troll-y moments, only that you weren’t a troll.

          Not everyone is saying the supernatural does not exist, but that there is no direct evidence for its existence, only anecdotal. No, both sides are not enchanting themselves with a worldview. Enchantment is to be beguiled by one’s own imaginings and good feeling. You confuse enchantment with healthy skepticism and intellectual curiosity.

          You appear to desire a personified deity who is limited in tandem with your own limitations. Yes, you might argue such a deity is unlimited intellectually in your mind, but that is because you have no evidence for a personal, transcendent deity to begin with, and there are too many variables that underlie a “spiritual experience” for the experience to be evidence of anything beyond it being merely an experience.

          In my view, there is nothing super in the natural. They are one in the same. Let that be your zen for today.

        • Mark Sibley

          I was arguing with you when you complimented my – what was I thinking?

          When you spoke of “enchantment”, I was thinking of “bias” – the idea that the most appealing finding would confirm what one already believes. I cannot conceive that anyone can ever be totally free of at least some bias. I don’t see how one can ever know if one has totally eliminated one’s bias since the bias would cloud one’s judgement about it.

          My bias is ultra-easy for you to identify – anything that doesn’t agree with your working premise can only be due to bias. It is your own bias which will be difficult to identify because it seduces you with compliments on how wise you are.

          All evidence must conform to the premise that we are correct. Anything which contradicts our premise of reality cannot be real.

        • Myna

          My bias is plucked from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, Act 1 Scene 5:

          “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

          And no, all evidence does not conform to the premise that one is correct, it may only point in a direction, which can easily be diverted in another with more information. It’s not a matter of being “correct”, but what one is open to, or what one merely settles for because it is easier to acquiesce than to discover all that, which might be possible.

          For me, the arguments here are informative, and it’s all about information, in my view, and the prerequisite is that the information has sound reasoning. I can say, for example, one thing or another is intriguing, but what does that even mean if I don’t have as much information as is possible to gather and with what to compare against? I am not saying there aren’t bridges of bias that I won’t cross, I am saying that there must be a compelling reason to consider crossing them.

          Insight into an experience is comparative to the information one holds. What I see you doing is attaching any particular experience to a singular story and disregarding other possibilities. You don’t want information, you want only validation.

        • Kodie

          Why would a perfect god send such foolish people to speak up for him? The more Christians that come through with such lame posture, the less chance god has to be possible.

        • Susan

          Gut feeling.

          Gut feelings don’t make good ontological claims.

        • Rudy R

          Epistemologically speaking, does gut feeling fall between faith and making shit up?

        • Susan

          Since atheism says absolutely nothing about morals

          It says no more about morals than “I’m not buying your snake oil” is a moral statement when I talk to someone in the Snake Oil Pyramid Club.

          the atheist has to turn somewhere else

          A non-acceptance of Yahwehjesus as the centre of reality does not prevent one from developing a consistent and well thought out moral theory any more than a non-acceptance of the Angel Moroni or of my Immaterial Snowflake Fairies does.

          The existence of Yahwehjesus is an ontological claim. Any moral theory derived from it is irrelevant to the claim. (See Euthyphro Dilemma.)

          It’s also a diversion.

          By definition, it has nothing to do with that separate area.

          Agreed. Then, why bring it up when asked to support your ontological claim?

          Atheism is not an ethical system. It just means we don’t believe people who make claims about agents they can’t support. You’re one of those people.

          So, what’s an infinite personal being?

          On what basis do you believe that one exists?

        • Mark Sibley

          I did not bring it up to support my ontological claim. In fact, I even stated that an atheist could be Christian in every way except belief in God. Either you didn’t read that, or did and did not understand what i was saying.

          Susan, this is my gripe about your confrontational attitude. I am answering the questions you ask in replies to other participants. Yet, you are giving me a hard time as if I am lying to you by not specifically addressing you when you ask the same questions. Some people here are actually quite pleasant, and I was willing to repeat myself for them. I am here to have a pleasant exchange, not to participate in a fight. . . . which is what you seem to want.

          An IPB is is a limitless, conscious, living thing.

        • Susan

          I did not bring it up to support my ontological claim.

          Fair enough. It was a diversion on your part. The old “bags of chemicals” schtick as though everything’s laundry detergent without an unevidenced Murkybeing hiding behind the curtain. Why did you bring up something as outrageous as this statement?

          And, you have chosen values that are “good”. Sadly, we are all merely bags of DNA who should, logically, only serve our own selfish interests (killing your DNA carriers, BTW, violates this principle). To do otherwise is inconsistent with an atheist world view

          . (emphasis mine)

          Not believing you is not inconsistent with doing otherwise.

          you are giving me a hard time

          Not intentionally. I’m asking you honest questions directly related to your claims.

          as if I am lying to you

          I never said you were lying to me. I just pointed out that I asked you some very specific questions and you didn’t answer them (and if you answered them indirectly in your responses to others, please link me to the comment in which you did so.)

          Susan, this is my gripe about your confrontational attitude

          K.

          Some people here are actually quite pleasant.

          I agree. Lots of people here are quite pleasant.

          I am here to have a pleasant exchange

          Like when you say that atheism is “inconsistent” with morality?

          Like when, rather providing something persuasive, you accuse me of being unpersuadable?

          Like when you keep accusing us of shifting the burden without acknowledging that you are making an extra claim and we aren’t?

          Like when you accuse me of calling you names more than once when I clearly haven’t done so?

          No. It hasn’t been a particularly pleasant conversation. Leave it to any lurker who’s interested in the picayune details, to peruse our brief comment exchange and judge us each for our efforts to be pleasant.

          An IPB is a limitless, conscious living being.

          Limitless or infinite? They do not mean the same thing. How is it conscious? How is it alive?

          How does that work exactly?

          How would you know it existed? Limitless conscious living being?

          I originally asked you to explain your vague terms without using vaguer terms. Your terms are progressively getting more vague..

          (Infinite became limitless. The rest were just replacement terms.)

          .

          .

        • Mark Sibley

          SUSAN: “Like when you say that atheism is “inconsistent” with morality?”

          Here is what I said: “Since atheism says absolutely nothing about ANY morals, it does not say
          this behavior is bad (or good). For input on morals, the atheist has
          turn somewhere else.”

          Just tell me where I am wrong here. I am standing before you, humble, waiting to be corrected. I am told that atheism is non-Belief in God(s). . . . . . period, end of definition. Tell me where atheism says ANYTHING about morality.

          ME: “An IPB is a limitless, conscious living being.”

          SUSAN: “Limitless or infinite? They do not mean the same thing. How is it conscious? How is it alive?

          How does that work exactly?

          How would you know it existed? Limitless conscious living being?

          I
          originally asked you to explain your vague terms without using vaguer
          terms. Your terms are progressively getting more vague..

          (Infinite became limitless. The rest were just mostly replacement terms.)”

          So, Susan, here’s the problem: I don’t know what you want. You asked for a definition of God, and I gave you “infinite personal being”. You complained that you don’t know what that means because the terms are vague and you need definitions for those words. So, I clarified those words with synonyms to help define them for you. And now you need definitions for those words, too. Clearly, I’m going in the wrong direction. I need your help to point me in the direction I need to go to make these terms clear.

          Can you help?

        • adam

          “You asked for a definition of God, and I gave you “infinite personal being”. ”

          A meaningless phrase, until you demonstrate that it is anything but IMAGINARY…. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e71894366d405a2560c124d806904b75ddf8371641ab58bc4449b6c60b966fb8.jpg

        • Susan

          Here is what I said:

          Here is what you said originally. I blockquoted it in the comment you addressed.

          we are all merely bags of DNA who should, logically, only serve our own selfish interests (killing your DNA carriers, BTW, violates this principle). To do otherwise is inconsistent with an atheist world view

          When pressed, you retreated to something we all agree on. Atheism has nothing to say on any subject except the existence of gods. But it’s not what you said originally. That’s why I blockquoted your original point. I get tired of being water bombed by the same old apologist canards when I ask for clarification and support of a claim.

          It’s the old “just fizzing” argument and you can’t support it. There is no logical or moral connection between the existence of an unevidenced creator and morality. If you think there is one, show it. If you can’t, don’t drop that argument in the middle of a discussion.

          Here’s the problem. I don’t know what you want.

          I want you to be clear about what you are claiming and support that claim.

          You complained that you don’t know what that means.

          I don’t. I’m not convinced you do or you would be doing a much better job at fulfilling a simple request.

          I gave you “infinite personal being”

          Here’s the problem. Personhood is actually a difficult and murky subject. At what point do we confer personhood on anything? This is not a petty detail.

          You haven’t shown that you’ve considered infinities. That is “infinity” brings implications with it that can go in all sorts of directions, depending on how you define it, and you’ve never defined it. You just type it.

          “Being” is a whole other mess. If you can’t show that your “infinite person” exists, “being” is just wankery. An extra word that feels deep but is so far, meaningless.

          They tell me nothing. You might as well say “yellow satisfaction” or “recursive nachos”.

          , I clarified those words with synonyms to help define them for you.

          Respectfully, you didn’t use synonyms. Anyway, synonyms don’t define things better. They just replace old terms with nearly equal terms that tell me nothing.

          Can you help?

          I’m not sure but I’ll try. Define your terms.

          That is, what is “infinite”?
          What is “person”?

          You are claiming there is an infinite person.

          What do you mean and how do you support it?

        • Mark Sibley

          Susan, that was actually very helpful. I’ve got somewhere to go with this now.

          The “DNA” riff was something I stole from Richard Dawkins. Please – rip it to shreds. Be my guest.

          SUSAN: “Personhood is actually a difficult and murky subject. At what point do we confer personhood on anything?”

          This was the one I thought I had done the best job with. “Personal”, to me, means “having a consciousness” in the sense of an essence of thought that defines something other than a physical existence. (Now that I say it, it even sounds New Age-y to me.) What i mean is that you are more than your physical body. It is your thoughts that make you . . . . Susan. Heck, over the internet, your thoughts, as expressed by what you write are all I know. What other life can do such a thing?

          . . . .which brings us to “being.” Now, you seem to grasp the concept of something being alive; existing. Your reply seemed to be something along the lines of until I can prove God exists, then “being” is meaningless. If so, that is circular reasoning. You challenged me to define God, but then deny the definition on the basis that His existence must be proven before He can be defined. If I could do that, we wouldn’t be having this conversation about defining Him. You don’t have to accept God’s existence – this is MY definition. I accept His existence. This is How I define God.

          In a similar manner, you understand what “infinite” means. I don’t think a definition is needed if you understand the word. I used infinite because it is the best word. For each of the attributes I believe God has, they are without limit, going beyond what I can comprehend. Think about infinite in the math sense – where do numbers end? Well, they don’t. Clearly, if God created the universe, He is more powerful than the Sun, than the galaxy, than the very universe since He created it. And that still isn’t he end of it, and that’s just power – one of His attributes.

          And, yes, I know that you don’t think He exists. But, again, we’re asking me, not you. These are my opinions; my terms; my definitions. That’s . . . . what . . . . I . . . .mean.

        • Susan

          The “DNA” riff was something I stole from Richard Dawkins.

          Richard Dawkins said that atheism was “inconsistent” with morality?

          No. You are riffing off of Sye Ten Bruggencate’s ridiculous “argument” that is no argument at all but merely an assertion with no logical or evidential connection.

          If you haven’t heard of him, you are riffing off the countless apologists who repeat the same terrible “argument”. You have simply made an assertion to. There is no argument there. If there is, you’ll have to make it. If you can’t, then never use it again.

          “Personal”, to me, means “having a consciousness” in the sense of an essence of thought that defines something other than a physical existence.

          Give me an example of a thought without a physical brain. You don’t get to state that there is an “essence of thought” without physical existence without showing it. It’s like saying everything must have a cause. It “feels” right to you but it’s not grounded in any way.

          In a similar way, you know what “infinite” means.

          “Infinite” can have many implications, depending on its axiomatic role. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinity

          So far, you’re the kid in the lunch room just saying “That plus one” without defining “that”. So, no. I don’t know what you mean by “infinite”. “Without limit” doesn’t work because 1) it’s not equal to “infinite” and 2) your deity claim is limited by its analogical desire to eat ice cream while desiring not to put on weight.

          Your deity has “limits” when it’s convenient for you. Limits that don’t make sense which is where you digress to poor analogies.

          You can’t define “personhood” or “consciousness” in a way that shows you’ve given any thought to those issues. Nor “infinity”.

          Worse, you can’t clarify a concept like “infinite consciousness” but you are happy to repeat it because it feels right. It makes no sense at all.

          It’s just leprechaun belief with plus 1 plus 1 plus 1… attached to it.

          And you have no evidence for a speck of it. You claim that everything is evidence for it without showing a connection. Good luck with that if you ever bother to try.

          I know that you don’t think He exists.

          And a He. An infinite being who’s a He. So, not infinite. No. I don’t think “He” exists. Do you think the Aztec gods exist?

          Do you think leprechauns exist

        • Mark Sibley

          Susan, you are the one who is pounding me on vagueness. I want you to read the part of your previous post and see if you can distinguish between where you were asking about the DNA part (in my mind, 90% of my point – the morality part was a throwaway comment at the end):

          SUSAN: Here is what you said originally. I blockquoted it in the comment you addressed.

          ME QUOTE: “we
          are all merely bags of DNA who should, logically, only serve our own
          selfish interests (killing your DNA carriers, BTW, violates this
          principle). To do otherwise is inconsistent with an atheist world view”

          SUSAN: When
          pressed, you retreated to something we all agree on. Atheism has
          nothing to say on any subject except the existence of gods. But it’s not
          what you said originally. That’s why I blockquoted your original
          point. I get tired of being water bombed by the same old apologist
          canards when I ask for clarification and support of a claim.

          It’s
          the old “just fizzing” argument and you can’t support it. There is no
          logical or moral connection between the existence of an unevidenced
          creator and morality. If you think there is one, show it. If you
          can’t, don’t drop that argument in the middle of a discussion.

          MY REPLY: Maybe the “just fizzing” part clarified it in your mind (I have no idea what that means)? The DNA quote was, to me, the big letter headline. It was the lead. If the morality quote was your issue, you should have only quoted that one sentence.

          In your reply, you referenced the existence of God and morality. I said NOTHING about that. I don’t think in my entire time here, I have said anything like that, much less “dropped it in the middle of an argument.”

          ME QUOTE: “Personal”, to me, means “having a consciousness” in the
          sense of an essence of thought that defines something other than a
          physical existence.”

          SUSAN: “Give me an example of a
          thought without a physical brain. You don’t get to state that there is
          an “essence of thought” without physical existence without showing it.
          It’s like saying everything must have a cause. It “feels” right to you
          but it’s not grounded in any way.”

          REPLY: OMG, I can’t believe i am having this conversation. You are the first atheist I have ever run across who did not instantly recognize the truth of this. This is probably a good thing for me since all claims, no matter how self-evident should be thought through. I’ve never gone through this exercise before, so I’m winging it. (At the end, I will punish this Theater of the Absurd with my own entry)

          1. Transhumanism. Neurologists point out that at the rate our knowledge about the human brain is progressing, the day when our consciousness can be downloaded to a computer is not far away. A consciousness in a computer would not have a brain (Let me guess – an “artificial brain”?)

          2. Pascal. How do I know I exist? “I think, therefore I am.” Rather than the physical brain proving thought, it is the thought which proves the physical existence.

          3. The opposite. One proof of a case is testing the opposite. Is there a circumstance of a physical brain without thought? Yeah – “brain dead.” (cue the bottom feeders)

          4. “You”. I mentioned this in my post you were responding to, but there’s no guarantee that you took notice. What is it that defines a person? Well, DNA can. So can physical appearance. But, it is our thoughts, independent of the other two, which define who we are. You can argue that there is still a brain behind it, but that reality is still there.

          Recordings. We can know the thoughts of people long-dead by the thoughts they left behind. Pascal’s brain rotted away long ago, but I can still point to his thoughts in books he authored.

          So, now the Theater of the Absurd I promised. Prove your own reality without using that reality as your basis. IOW, suppose true reality were a Matrix-type situation (or insanely delusional, a dream, a fictional character, etc.) where your entire reality were a delusion – how would you know the difference?

          The answer, of course, is that you merely accept reality as you perceive it, without question. It “just feels right”.

          From a practical standpoint, I cannot continue to respond to this kind of post. I only got part way through this one, used up all of my Patheos time, and I’m sure the rest of it and the post it spawns are of the same stuff as this one. The cost/benefit analysis just doesn’t work. The cost (time) is enormous, and the benefit is tiny. I’ll try to give your posts of this sort at least an acknowledgement, but I just can’t respond in the kind of depth you ask for.

        • Pofarmer
        • Pofarmer

          3. The opposite. One proof of a case is testing the opposite. Is
          there a circumstance of a physical brain without thought? Yeah – “brain
          dead.” (cue the bottom feeders)

          Hey. Doofus. Think about this one for a little bit.

        • MR

          “but I just can’t respond in the kind of depth you ask for.”

          You mean the kind of depth you require for your stream of consciousness ramblings.

          You could have just said. “I can’t provide an example,” and the result would have been the same.

        • Greg G.

          1. A thought from a computer still would come from physical entity.

          2. Pascal didn’t prove a physical entity only that the thought existed which implied a thinker. But that still does not show a thought can exist without a physical thinker.

          3. Huh? Can flowers exist without a flower pot? You can point to the dandelions in my yard to show flowers don’t require flower pots but pointing to an empty flower pot doesn’t even address the question.

          4. DNA does not distinguish between identical twins, triplets, etc. because they develop from the same egg and supermarket. Two fertilized eggs can merge and become a person with different DNA in different parts of their body. Personhood resides in the brain, not in the DNA.

        • adam

          ” I just can’t respond in the kind of depth you ask for.”

          Shallowness never can…

        • Susan

          Maybe the “just fizzing” part clarified it in your mind. (I have no idea what that means.)

          That everything is “mere chemicals” no different than a can of pop. It’s an old trope and it’s silly and offensive.

          The DNA quote was, to me, the big letter headline. It was the lead. If the morality quote was your issue, you should have only quoted that one sentence.

          The previous sentence was your attempt to justify this statement:

          should, logically, only serve our own
          selfish interests (killing your DNA carriers, BTW, violates this
          principle). To do otherwise is inconsistent with an atheist world view”

          A throwaway comment at the end? No.

          In your reply, you referenced the existence of God and morality. I said NOTHING about that

          Then, how is atheism logically “inconsistent” with doing something other than serving our own selfish interests? What else could you possibly mean?

          I can’t believe i am having this conversation. You are the first atheist I have ever run across who did not instantly recognize the truth of this.

          I’m sure you’ll find plenty more. Until you establish the “truth of this”, you’re bound to encounter a lot of people in the future who don’t “instantly recognize” its truth.

          A consciousness in a computer would not have a brain (Let me guess – an “artificial brain”?)

          Yes. A physical brain.

          Pascal. How do I know I exist? “I think, therefore I am.”

          It was Descartes.

          Rather than the physical brain proving thought, it is the thought which proves the physical existence.

          No. Read Descartes.

          Pascal’s brain rotted away long ago, but I can still point to his thoughts in books he authored.

          Yes. When Pascal’s brain was functioning, he wrote stuff down.

          So, now the Theater of the Absurd I promised.

          Yay! Solipsism! I love when theists start sputtering about solipsism when asked to give examples of throughts without brains.

          suppose true reality were a Matrix-type situation (or insanely delusional, a dream, a fictional character, etc.) where your entire reality were a delusion – how would you know the difference?

          I wouldn’t and neither would you. That’s the point. I have no reason to believe it’s the case though. There’s no evidence for it.

          From a practical standpoint, I cannot continue to respond to this kind of post.

          Then, you cannot support your claim of an infinite consciousness. I doubt that will stop you from continuing to claim it exists, despite the fact that it remains incoherent and you can provide no evidence for it.

        • Mark Sibley

          First, “Descartes”. Du-uh. Thanks for the correction. now, back to it:

          ME: In your reply, you referenced the existence of God and morality. I said NOTHING about that

          YOU: “Then,
          how is atheism logically “inconsistent” with doing something other than
          serving our own selfish interests? What else could you possibly mean?”

          REPLY: As I stated several times, atheist morals have to come from someplace other than atheism. Would you agree with that?

          The “inconsistent” business is also Dawkins. He, surely, didn’t mean God.

          I stated that “culture” was a good answer. Now, in fairness, I also stated that our Western Culture is steeped in Christian morality. However, I have also pointed out that a person could be Christian in everything but belief in God. Many early Deists praised Christianity for its morals while denying Jesus’ deity.

          It doesn’t point to God.

          ME: “I
          can’t believe I am having this conversation. You are the first atheist I
          have ever run across who did not instantly recognize the truth of this.”

          YOU: “I’m
          sure you’ll find plenty more.”

          REPLY: Shoot me now.

        • MNb

          “atheist morals have to come from someplace other than atheism. Would you agree with that?”
          Yes. And why would that be a problem? How does that demonstrate that

          “atheism logically “inconsistent” with doing something other than serving our own selfish interests?”
          Especially as evolutionary research of which that very same Dawkins was aware of already has shown 150 years ago that a natural explanation of “doing something other than serving our own selfish interests” is far from difficult.
          By now I wonder if you are even trying to make a point.

          You already are shot – you just don’t realize it yet.

        • Susan

          : As I stated several times, atheist morals have to come from someplace other than atheism

          As you stated originally, it is “inconsistent” with atheism.

          This is an entirely different statement and you know it. Stop dodging and admit you said it and that you can’t show it to be anything but the nonsense it is.

          Or stop complaining when someone calls you dishonest.

          The “inconsistent” business is also Dawkins.

          No. It’s not Dawkins. It’s you echoing empty apologetics designed to divert. None of your Dawkins quotes say anything of the sort.

          Shoot me now.

          Well gosh Mark. You haven’t made any effort to show how thoughts exist in any way separate from physical brains. It’s just another thing you say that you don’t seem arsed to support.

          You’ll have to deal with “consciousness” if you’re going to claim a conscious being exists for which you have no evidence. People who’ve actually thought about the subject will expect you to make an effort.

          It seems you’d rather make claims and then roll your eyes when you are asked to support them.

          No reason to shoot you. But it’s an excellent reason not to take you seriously.

        • Michael Neville

          No reason to shoot you. But it’s an excellent reason not to take you seriously.

          Exactly. +1

        • Mark Sibley

          ME: “As I stated several times, atheist morals have to come from someplace other than atheism”

          YOU: “As you stated originally, it is “inconsistent” with atheism.

          This
          is an entirely different statement and you know it. Stop dodging and
          admit you said it and that you can’t show it to be anything but the
          nonsense it is.

          Or stop complaining when someone calls you dishonest.”

          ME: “The “inconsistent” business is also Dawkins.”

          YOU: “No.
          It’s not Dawkins. It’s you echoing empty apologetics designed to
          divert. None of your Dawkins quotes say anything of the sort.”

          REPLY: “Stop complaining when people call me dishonest”? Ouch. You sure know how to hurt a guy.

          I owe a tip of the hat to Amos for flat out saying what you imply here. I would have just kept on thinking someone here would support the claim that I was misrepresenting Dawkins . . . . . if they were capable of doing so. Thinking that someone would concede the point is a wonderful example of a Christian displaying delusional thinking.

          So, let’s go back to my original, unedited rip-off of Dawkins (remember, I only steal from the best, and he is GOOD):

          ME QUOTE: “we are all merely bags of DNA who should, logically, only serve our own
          selfish interests (killing your DNA carriers, BTW, violates this
          principle). To do otherwise is inconsistent with an atheist world view”

          So, let’s take that first sentence (I don’t remember anyone conceding this point) – the basis for the implied second sentence and see if it jibes with what Dawkins has said:

          DAWKINS: “We are machines built by DNA whose purpose i