10 Tough Questions for the Atheist to Answer

10 Tough Questions for the Atheist to Answer April 22, 2017

No one can demand a proof that God does (or doesn’t) exist, but where does the evidence point? Following the evidence without bias is the best we can hope to do.

A number of apologists defend Christianity with the thinking of a courtroom lawyer or detective. One of these is J. Warner Wallace. In his essay “The Christian Worldview is the Best Explanation”* he gives ten tough questions to which he claims Christianity has the better answer. Let’s take a look.

1. How Did the Universe Come Into Being?

Our universe had a beginning, but what caused it? Why is there something instead of nothing?

I don’t know what caused the universe. I don’t even know if asking about a cause (which implies an action through time) even makes sense before time existed. (And I say “I don’t know” simply because I’m parroting the consensus view of physics. If that changes, so will my opinion.)

But there’s nothing embarrassing about pointing out where we don’t know things. Science has plenty of unanswered questions, and highlighting them shows where work needs to be done. It’s not like we’ve ever learned anything new about nature through holy books or divine revelation.

That science doesn’t know something doesn’t mean that Christians do. They still must deliver evidence for the claim “God did it.” Believing by faith won’t do.

Note also that quantum events may not have causes, and the Big Bang was a quantum event. There’s no reason to demand a Big Banger, some supernatural First Cause.

As for “Why is there something instead of nothing?” show us why nothing is the default. Show us that nothing is what a godless universe would contain. In fact, physicist Lawrence Krauss argues the opposite: that nothing is unstable and would spontaneously produce something. (More here.)

More could be said on this and the other questions here, but I’ll keep it short for space reasons. Apologies in advance when I shortchange one or both sides of the argument.

2. Why Does There Appear to Be Design (Fine Tuning) in the Universe?

The constants that govern our universe appear to be remarkably fine-tuned to allow life. What explains that if not a supernatural intelligence?

I’ve responded to the fine-tuning argument before (here, here, and here). The quick answer to this question is the multiverse—an almost infinite number of other universes defined by different constants. Most of them might be sterile, but there are enough to make one or more life giving.

The Christian might imagine frustrated atheists lamenting how the appearance of deliberate fine tuning makes a deity unavoidable and then hitting on the crazy idea of bazillions of universes so that by sheer luck at least one of them will be tuned to allow life. But that’s not how it happened. A multiverse is predicted by well-established physics—both string theory and inflation.

Note also that events and objects aren’t unique in physics. There’s more than one photon, more than one electron, more than one star, more than one object influenced by gravity, and so on. Why must we be limited to one Big Bang?

Wallace says that explaining the appearance of design “is a problem for philosophical naturalists only because they are precluded from considering the possibility of a designer.” If someone is closed minded to the evidence, I agree that that’s a problem. However, I’m happy to follow the evidence where it leads. Science has studied supernatural claims but found only natural causes.

And how designed does the universe look? The vast majority of the universe is hostile to any kind of life that we’re familiar with. Does creating hundreds of billions of galaxies sound like what a cosmic designer would do if life on a single lonely planet was the goal?

Wallace says, “The Christian worldview is founded on the existence and creative activity of a Master Designer, and for this reason, it does not have to struggle with the appearance of design.” Show us that this is grounded with evidence and it’ll be more than just an ancient myth. Until then, not so much.

3. How Did Life Originate?

“Philosophical naturalists are still unable to explain how life began, and more importantly, their work in this area simply reveals how difficult the problem is to explain. . . . This scientifically inexplicable event can be described as nothing short of miraculous; the Christian worldview explains how the long odds against the emergence of life were overcome.”

No, the Christian worldview explains nothing. Christians can show how their theology is compatible with the question, but this isn’t evidence.

The origin of life is called abiogenesis. Though science has lots of ideas, it doesn’t have a good theory. Nevertheless, science not having an answer gives nothing to the Christian side of the question.

And Wallace’s “inexplicable” is a very bold claim. I’m sure biologists will be eager to hear his proof that abiogenesis is impossible by natural means.

Do Christians think that this or any of the scientific questions are fundamental parts of their argument? I doubt it. When science reaches a consensus on any puzzle—and science’s track record for finding answers to nature’s questions is remarkable—they’ll just drop that question and pick up something new and hope that no one notices the switch. Their argument then becomes “Science has unanswered questions; therefore God.”

Continue with part 2.

* The link to this 2012 article at www.pleaseconvinceme.com is now broken.

The universe is simply one of those things 
that happens from time to time.
— physicist Edward P. Tryon

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 11/18/13.)

Photo credit: Wikimedia

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Doubting Thomas

    Substitute Wallace’s answer of “God did it” with “Magic!!!” and you have just as valid an answer and an answer that explains just as much.

    • ORigel

      Pastafarianism works even better. The FSM hit the beer volcano too hard while making the universe. That explains unintelligent design.

  • Max Doubt

    1. How Did the Universe Come Into Being?

    I don’t know… and neither do you.

    2. Why Does There Appear to Be Design (Fine Tuning) in the Universe?

    For the same reason some of Nostradamus’s prophesies appear to have been fulfilled. When you assume there’s some validity to the prophesies (or have a preconceived notion that a designer has meddled in the condition of the universe), and look for events that seem to fulfill them or make them appear true, you’ll find some.

    3. How Did Life Originate?

    I don’t know… and neither do you.

    • ephemerol

      Christian answers:
      1. Through magic
      2. Because of magic
      3. By magic

    • alverant

      I would change 1 and 3 to “We don’t know yet, but we’re looking.” Because those are answers we’re trying to find without resorting to an unnatural explanation.

      • Greg G.

        “We don’t know yet… and neither do you, but we’re looking.”

        • alverant

          And that makes the difference, seeking independently verifiable evidence instead of trusting a book of dubious origins.

    • ORigel

      Many physicists- and I mean secular physicists- think that the universe is seemingly fine-tuned. The multiverse and the “parameters cannot vary” are possible solutions to this. (Not designed for life by a god, of course. The universe isn’t fine-tuned for life, obviously).

      • Ann Kah

        This little planet around this little star in this little back alley of this middle-sized galaxy APPEARS TO BE just right for us – or we are just right for it. To say that the “universe” is fine tuned is specious.

        • ORigel

          That’s planetary fine-tuning. I’m talking about universe “fine-tuning.” (Of course it wasn’t really fine-tuned.

          If the weak force was just a little stronger, there would not be any hydrogen. Can life exist without hydrogen? I don’t know, but the hot-dog-long-and-narrow-to-fit-rolls objection is less potent than for planetary fine-tuning.

          If the universe was a little smoother, large scale structure would have not formed. If the universe was lumpier, it could have collapsed into great black holes.

          That’s the kind of fine-tuning I’m talking about. Planetary fine-tuning has been debunked, and universe totally for life or humans. This universe fine-tuning is still a puzzle to be solved. Not by God of the gaps but by something natural.

          That’s why we mention the multiverse. We wouldn’t mention it if the universe didn’t seem to be fine-tuned. At least when we’re talking about something other than string theory or inflation. The refutation to planetary fine-tuning- the puddle fallacy- would suffice.

        • quinsha

          And that is assuming that changing one variable does not automatically change the others. If the weak force was just a little stronger by itself, we would have not hydrogen. But what does changing the weak force do to the other forces? Instead of hydrogen, what would we have?

        • epeeist

          And that is assuming that changing one variable does not automatically change the others.

          If you allow fundamental parameters to covary rather than insist that they change individually then there are apparently “islands of stability” in which universes look similar to our own.

        • Ann Kah

          My apologies. But doesn’t the multiverse concept merely imply that we happen to be in the right place in the right universe? Or should there be any expectation that a different universe, formed in much the same way, would be quite similar to this one?

          I am personally convinced that (1) there is intelligent life elsewhere, perhaps in many, many places, and (2) we are never going to meet them face to face, although other forms of contact might exist.

      • Susan

        Many physicists- and I mean secular physicists- think that the universe is seemingly fine-tuned

        And this is a project for physics. The unjustified move to “a fine-tuner” is not appropriate.

        I’m pretty sure that’s what you’re getting at. Language is vulnerable to equivocation. What physicists mean by “fine-tuned” is not what apologists spin from it.

        http://quinesqueue.blogspot.ca/2008/06/anthropomorphizing-fine-tuning.html

  • Michael Neville

    I’ve always found the fine tuning argument to be annoying. The universe (99.99 recurring percent of which is hard vacuum at 3K) is not fine tuned for humans, we are fine tuned for the tiny little bit of the universe our ancestors inhabited some 250,000 years ago. So the theist fine tuning is entirely backwards.

    • Doubting Thomas

      Not only that, but even the term “fine tuned universe” begs the question. In order for something to be tuned, there must be a range of possible values that some parameter could have. I have yet to see anyone demonstrate that any universal constant could be anything other than what it is. Until that is demonstrated, the odds of the universe having the parameters it does is 100%.

    • Matt Cavanaugh

      Fine tuning is like being bemused that so many trumps in this hand are Hearts, when someone called Hearts as trumps. Ask instead why we’d expect to find forms of life to which this universe was inhospitable, and you see how silly fine tuning is.

      • Rudy R

        This is one of my favorite fine-tuning responses:

        “Imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, “This is an interesting world I find myself in, an interesting hole I find myself in, fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!” …Douglas Adams

    • Jim Jones

      My prediction is that when we figure out the physics or the math correctly, the constants will turn out to be obvious.

      Think Euler’s Identity.

      • ORigel

        I think that if the constants had to be some value, why would they be one that makes structure possible? I prefer the multiverse solution.

        • Jim Jones

          Maybe. We’ll have to wait until Sheldon (my mother had me tested) Cooper has it figured out.

    • ORigel

      The universe is seemingly fine-tuned for the emergence of structure, not life. Like if the weak force was different, there would be either no heavy elements or no hydrogen. That’s not the same as that the universe was fine-tuned for us, or even life.

      • Michael Neville

        You’re giving the Weak Anthropic Principle which is basically a tautology: If things were different then things would be different.

        • ORigel

          The point is if that the weak force was a little different in strength, things would be radically different. That is not a tautology.

        • Michael Neville

          I’m sorry, I don’t see how it’s not a tautology. Sure, if one or more of the universal constants were changed then the universe would be changed.

          Weak Anthropic Principle (WAP): the observed values of all physical and cosmological quantities are not equally probable but they take on the values restricted by the requirement that there exist sites where carbon-based life can evolve and by the requirement that the Universe be old enough for it to have already done so. (John Barrow & Frank Tipler: The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, p. 16)

          It is apparently a coincidence that, for instance, gravity and the strong force are as strong as they are, or that the Universe happens to be as old as it is. It is also a coincidence that all of these coincidences of physical constants and other phenomena of the Universe have happened together, making the Universe hospitable for intelligent observers like ourselves.

          Or as I said originally: If things were different then things would be different. Which is a tautology.

        • ORigel

          The tautology is if the constants were a little different, the universe would be a little different.

          The physicists claim that if the constants were a little different, the universe would be radically different.

          Not a tautology.

        • Greg G.

          Except for the weak nuclear force. If you mess with one of the other forces, there are big changes. If you mess with more than one of the forces, you can still end up with complex chemistry.

        • ORigel

          That’s interesting.

        • Greg G.

          Look up Victor Stenger books and articles on it.

        • Michael Neville

          I’m still not seeing how the degree of change turns an obvious tautology into a non-tautology. But apparently the WAP not being a tautology is important to you so I won’t discuss it any further.

    • Kodie

      Most of the earth isn’t fine-tuned for human survival at all. Most of the earth, first of all is ocean. Plenty of the earth is too dry or too cold to live “as created”. Humans innovate solutions to adapt to many areas of the earth that are not tuned for our life. I don’t think they care about life, I don’t think they care that blah blah blah fine-tuned for “life in general”, only human life. If we found many planets with life, they would still say where are the people. Only earth has the intelligent life.

    • It’s Douglas Adams’ sentient puddle yet again.

  • Matt Cavanaugh

    Theists and deists posit God as causa sui who created the universe. Cosmologists — based on some serious math and physics — conclude that the universe is causa sui (or perhaps the product of timeless ‘branes’). God is therefore superfluous.

    In any case, it may be that the universe had no beginning as we understand beginnings from our narrow perspective inside a directional flow of time. The Big Bang may be similar to the North Pole, which is not the ‘beginning’ of the surface of the globe, and there is nothing further North.

    • ephemerol

      Physicists have also pointed out that if our universe budded off of another expanding universe in a multiverse, that our expanding universe would look exactly as if it had originated in a big bang, even if its origins lay in a different universe.

      • Ficino

        “The Singularity.”

        Wm Lane Craig’s go-to receiver downfield.

    • GRH

      An idea just came to me, thoughts in response please (no prayers).
      In response to a question about time the expected answer may be analogous to travelling in a given direction (at a constant speed, no change in direction).
      It may be expected to be east or west – you can continue or ever.
      However, if you travel north or south – what then?
      You get to a point where you haven’t changed, but there is no ‘north’ to go to and as such the whole example necessarily breaks down, similar to the beginning of the universe – i.e. what is further north if you are at the pole.
      Kind of like a ‘there’s no there there’.

      • Matt Cavanaugh

        That is one way it is described. The ‘North Pole’ is the beginning of time, one travels only down toward the equator, at which point time is mirrored. No beginning or end from this perspective.

    • Greg G.

      In any case, it may be that the universe had no beginning as we understand beginnings from our narrow perspective inside a directional flow of time.

      I have had that concept in my mind for some time but haven’t found the words to express it. I hope I remember your phrasing next time.

      • Matt Cavanaugh

        I stole it from John Gribbin.

        • Greg G.

          I read some of his books years ago, the late 70s or early 80s. Probably before I took physics classes.

        • Matt Cavanaugh

          Gribbin is always delightful read, making complex scientific concepts accessible without dumbing it down. And you gotta like anyone who titles a book Schrödingers’ Kittens.

    • Yes, the example of “what’s further north than the North Pole?” is a good one.

      • GubbaBumpkin

        Polaris.

  • Michael Neville

    Their argument then becomes “Science has unanswered questions; therefore God.”

    The obvious response is my favorite Dara O’Briain quote:

    Just because science doesn’t know everything doesn’t mean you can fill in the gaps with whatever fairy tale most appeals to you.

  • Dan Tempas

    The thing that pisses me off about this kind of crap is their complete ignorance of the Scientific trajectory upon which we are riding. Go back 100 years and the smirking evangelists would have a completely different set of questions based on what was not known at that time. Go back an additional 100 years and you get an even different set of questions.

    What makes these morons think that this year, this instant, is when the last piece of knowledge about the natural world will be discovered? What makes this moment the evangelical’s moment of victory in that their “questions” will never be answered because no more Scientific progress will be made? Does not the trajectory of Scientific progress tell a completely different story?

    The best answer to this kind of idiocy is to remind them of this very trajectory. To remind them of all the imposing Scientific questions they asked in the past that they thought were sure fire clinchers about their god, but whose answers are now trivially taught in grade school Science. To remind them that their current questions may well be answered in the next few decades, and ask them if they have any more questions waiting in the wings to replace their current questions as they are swept aside.

    • Jim Jones

      For thousands of years men looked at the moon and wondered what it was. For all of that time, religion ‘explained’ it – and was wrong.

      1903: First powered heavier than air flight.

      1969: First man walks on the moon.

      During that same 66 year period, men used religion to murder 6 million Jews in the name of Jesus.

      • guerillasurgeon

        In spite of the fact that German army belt buckles had “Gott Mit Uns” on them all the way through World War II, I don’t think that the Jews were killed in the name of Jesus somehow. Killed by Christians perhaps, but not necessarily in the name of Jesus.

        • Pofarmer

          Have you ever read Martin Luther’s Sermons? They might as well have been.

        • guerillasurgeon

          I did read them 40 years or so ago, but I’m not claiming that anti-Semitism in Europe doesn’t have a heavily Christian history.

        • IAN RAMSAY

          I think you are referring to his Table Talks which are an admixture of cultural preconditions and fundamentalist theology, which in the past 500 has demonstrated many weaknesses of its own.

        • Jim Jones

          Their actions were supported by the churches which had claimed for centuries that Jews killed Jesus, the bible and common sense notwithstanding.

        • IAN RAMSAY

          I agree here. This was a cultural response not a theological one.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Where is the boundary between culture and theology?

          Did thousands of years of Christian preachings about the evil of the Jews contribute to or hinder the Shoah?

    • Chuck Johnson

      The fundamentalists have constructed fraud machinery that resides in their head.
      That machinery instructs them to look inward at themselves at each other and to their ancient superstitions, but to never look outward to the rest of the universe.

    • You might also remind the thoughtless Christian of the equipment they’re using to talk to you (assuming you’re using a computer to chat over the internet).

      Science delivers.

      • Pop Leibel

        God gave the scientists their brains. He delivered first. Or “Her” *whichever you prefer. I rhymed that on purpose.

        • IAN RAMSAY

          I suspect their brains came from DNA statistical probability.

    • Lubed Up Larry

      What does science have to say when someone’s child is killed in a car accident? Or, your wife gets brain cancer? Or, you’re an alcoholic and drug addict living on the street? Or, you’re suffering from extreme depression and you have a pistol pointed towards the back of your mouth? Science is useless in all of these situations, and there are many more examples that I don’t have time to show here.
      Religion, spirituality, God, or whatever you want to call it, can have some of the answers people are looking for; some of the REALLY tough answers, not just “how was the universe created.” Those are questions that are relatively trivial, if you think about it. The hard questions in life about love, beauty, happiness, family, purpose (and others), are answered much better by religion (god, spirituality–your choice). Churches offer friendships and solace for many people. People who have nowhere else to turn. Churches do wonderful things in the community, and even overseas. Some parents like to see their children involved in church activities because it helps point them in the right direction. There aren’t many gangs in Sunday school (he-he!)
      Are spiritual people perfect? No, of course not. Far from it. They’re beset with the same issues any other human is.

      • ZenDruid

        The problem is, within every church, there lives a grasping and demanding church-master, who is no better than a cheap bullshit storyteller.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          But they don’t believe that, and neither does the congregation. They’re all happy-go-lucky with each other. Why are you jealous of that bond? Let them be.
          “None-yo bid-ness”.

        • Michael Neville

          I would love to “let them be.” The problem is they won’t let me be. The Catholic church owns 15% of all US hospitals. Because the bishops think Baby Jesus cries if someone uses artificial contraception the Catholic hospitals refuse to dispense it. Right now we have the Chairman of the Senate Science and Technology Committee who disregards climate change because “after the flood God promised he’d never use weather to punish humanity again.” Creationists are working diligently to replace science in schools with religious mythology.

          If Christians and other godbotherers would keep their beliefs in their homes and churches I’d wouldn’t utter a word about them. But they insist on bringing their religion into the public arena. They want to impose their doctrines on everyone, regardless of whether or not we want those doctrines imposed.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          I agree with you but go after specific people and agendas. You shouldn’t condemn millions of people for the actions of a few in politics. Some Christians are good people, ya know. Most of them could care less about this political bullshit. They just want to work, go to church, raise their children, and live their lives.

        • Pofarmer

          And they give cover, support, and votes to “few in politics” who are the problem. Some 50% of Americans are Young Earth Creationists, for Petes sake. Fuck off.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          Do you talk like that to your kids? You should go back back to Sunday school and learn the basics on how to treat other people.

          This country is mainly Christian. Majority rules. We call the shots. Atheists will always be looked upon as a creepy cult.

        • Pofarmer

          Actually Larry, yes, I do talk like this to my kids. They know how I feel, and why. We talk about religion, and morality, and philosophy of life-a lot. Far more than I ever did as a Christian.

          This country is mainly Christian. Majority rules. We call the shots. Atheists will always be looked upon as a creepy cult.

          And that, right there, is why I will continue to work against you thin skinned assholes.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          Okay.

        • Kodie

          Is it really the same guy who told me I needed to get laid, continued to troll me, followed me after I said don’t follow me, telling you how to talk? Really? What a disturbing guy! Why can’t I report him more than once? I have blocked him but I can still see responses, and I can’t believe this guy gets to stick around.

        • Pofarmer

          I missed all that fun, apparently. Lot’s and lot’s of comments lately. Was this some time back?

        • Kodie

          Couple days ago. He was trolling hard, and now he’s calling atheism a creepy cult? And telling other people how they need to learn to treat others? What a typical fucking Christian hypocrite!

        • Lubed Up Larry

          Your mother needs to wash your mouth out with soap. There’s no excuse for using that kind language. We’re all on here discussing issues in our own way. I don’t have to agree with everything you say. Be civil, young lady. You’re a bright person, you don’t have to show that dark side.

        • Kodie

          You’re an obsessed moron who followed me TWICE. Thanks for asking permission (which is true) and respecting me when I said NO (/sarcasm). You are nothing but a piece of Christian shit. Regular shit that just happens to call himself a Christian.

        • Pop Leibel

          Okay, Kodie.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          Bob likes different views on his blog. It creates excitement and a more lively debate. His site gets a lot more clicks with me on here. My posts aren’t mean spirited (like yours), and they’re humorous. And people like me, darn-it.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          “Do you talk like that to your kids? You should go back back to Sunday school and learn the basics on how to treat other people.”

          You’re right. We should threaten you with torture that we will keep you alive to experience as long as possible if you do not freely choose to unquestioningly follow our commandments. It is the Sunday school way.

          “This country is mainly Christian. Majority rules.”

          You rest on might makes right. What worth will that have when you are not the majority? You only affirm the common experience that religious believers prefer people to shut off their brains.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          Good LORD!!! Why does everyone around here always repeat what the previous person JUST said?? We have memories of what WE just wrote. HELLO!! You don’t need to write it again. I have a scroll bar in case I forgot something, too.

          Now, erase all of the unneeded “quotes” and I shall address your questions. Not until. Is that understood, young man?

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Someone’s got pre-schooler level problems. Maybe grow up and learn some conventions of talking with people on the net. Your poor memory is not my problem.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          G, I notice you don’t “quote” what the next person just said to you. I like that.

          “Someone’s got pre-schooler level problems.”
          (See how annoying this is?)

          You snuck in a personal attack on me, but I’ll forgive you because you’re a foreign person. Italians are rude sometimes. It’s okay.

        • Pofarmer

          Holy shit Dude. The reason that we quote is so that everyone knows what specific parts of a post are being responded to. It’s pretty much convention on every blog I’ve ever posted on.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          No. I’ve been on Disqus forever, and others. Usually, people just have discussions. It’s asinine to repeat everything. Annoying.

        • Pofarmer

          Then go somewhere else. You don’t seem to have anything pertinent or new to add.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          No.

        • Michael Neville

          If I’m responding to one or two sentences in someone else’s post then I quote them. This is extremely helpful if I’m fisking a long post.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          Okay.

        • Greg G.

          Atheists will always be looked upon as a creepy cult.

          Only because their preachers lie from the pulpit. How is a death cult not creepy, though? They wear an ancient torture device as jewelry.

        • Pop Leibel

          In the immortal words of George Costanza, “It’s not a lie if you believe it.”

        • Charles Coryn

          Brilliant Pop…… A creepy cult because they seem to think for themselves? And come to conclusions different from the ones we were brainwashed and lied to about. The prisons are filled with christians not atheists….. what is your problem?

        • Pop Leibel

          Chuck, atheists are a little bit creepy. Most people that don’t believe in god are just quiet about it. They keep it to themselves. They don’t have to come out of the closet and announce to everyone that, “they’re an atheist.”

          “I’m an atheist”

          Well, okay then. I don’t care. Good for you.

        • Dys

          You should go back back to Sunday school and learn the basics on how to treat other people.

          And you should go back to an actual school so you can gain some actual knowledge.

          This country is mainly Christian. Majority rules. We call the shots.

          You really don’t have a clue as to how the government works, do you? One of the primary things the Constitution was written to prevent was the tyranny of the majority.

          Also, you don’t know what the word ‘cult’ means, but I think we’ve already discussed your appalling lack of basic understanding on what words mean.

        • Greg G.

          Pop is a Poe.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Or he’s been on the skunk way to long.

        • Pop Leibel

          Atheists are macabre. They’re like devil worshipping goth people. Gross! There are other colors besides black, you know.

        • Kodie

          For someone who came on here to tell a total stranger who hurt your friend’s feelings that he had nothing nice to say after stalking his disqus profile 15 pages deep, you certainly are a HYPOCRITE TROLL. Christians are dishonest fuckers who can’t wrap their head around you have an imaginary friend, and why would anyone believe that shit who was able to cope with reality. You think atheists should shut the fuck up and let the Christians speak about whatever nonsense and rule the rest of us with that nonsense, well no we won’t shut the fuck up – I don’t care if it creeps you out, you creep, the obsessive lying disqus follower who can’t take no for an answer. You are not a good example how someone should be, and all you do is express your prejudice, nothing sensible, kind, fair, or decent. What a Christian you are, a typical offensive piece of shit Christian trying to get your way. Well, this is an atheist blog and if you don’t like atheists, you’re in the wrong fucking place, feel free to leave!

        • Pop Leibel

          I’m not leaving.

          And, I’m not speaking to you until you stop cursing. Talk TO me, not AT me. Your mother should have taught you stuff like that. If she saw your language, she’d be appalled.

          Try to remember when you were a little girl. Remember that photo of you in a white sundress? You were about seven? Go back to talking like her.

        • Kodie

          Oh, my god, you never stop being an offensive creep trying to analyze my life!!!!!!!

          I will tell you what I think of you any time I want. You’re a gross, disgusting liar.

        • Kodie

          You don’t know how offensive you are talking to me like that, telling me how to respond to you. I’m not after your responses, I am just offended because you’re gross, wrong, prejudiced, a fucking idiot, a stalker, a creep, a liar, and just plain offensive tone troll! You don’t mind your own tone, you don’t mind your words, what a fucking hypocrite!

          I don’t want to talk to you, I will talk at you. I will shout what a lewd disgusting stalker you are.

        • Pop Leibel

          Kodie, read your responses, and then read mine. Which ones are more offensive?

        • Kodie

          You don’t think your sexist double-standard tone-trolling, stalking, and attempts to infantilize me are more offensive than calling you the turd that you are? I take your hostility and then I dish it back out – you started this shit from the very beginning. I’m not giving you a second chance just because Bob didn’t ban you yet. I’m calling out your disgusting behavior whenever I like. If you are offended by being called an asshole, don’t be an asshole. If you are offended by curse words, but you think calling atheists a creepy cult and whipping your dick about how god believers are superior, you sure haven’t demonstrated any superior behavior. Christians think they can come on here and behave like dicks and repeat bad information because you don’t like atheists, and then tell people to talk to you like a 7-year-old girl would and tell me about my mother? FUCK YOU FUCK YOU FUCK YOU FUCK YOU.

          I can’t even pick out your worst quality, they keep getting worse and worse, but I don’t even see you improving. I see a disgusting snake of a guy who thinks he’s chill, wants people to give him a break, but really is a perverted disgusting lying stalker who thinks he can bully people with his beliefs in a silly imaginary character, and tell people they can’t talk to him any way they want even when you feel free to say any disgusting offensive perverted thing you want.

        • Pop Leibel

          God is not imaginary. He lives in all of us. Even you.

        • adam
        • Kodie

          So you didn’t hear a word I said. Why don’t you go back to your street corner, you kook.

        • Dys

          God is a fictional character, which allows nutjobs like yourself to say whatever you like about him. Because you’ll never be able to demonstrate that any of it is true.

        • Pop Leibel

          I don’t agree.

          I think something bad happened to you, and now you’re pissed at god. Work through your problems. Your problems are not because of god. They’re not god’s fault.

          Don’t go through your entire life blaming your problems on god (or me). Take responsibility. He can even help you if you let him.

        • Greg G.

          Is your current handle supposed to be an anagram of “Pope Libel” or just a coincidence?

        • Pop Leibel

          No. Google Pop Leibel.

        • Greg G.

          Vertigo?

        • Pop Leibel

          Yes, Pop Leibel. I love that movie.

        • Dys

          Of course my problems aren’t god’s fault. They can’t be, because god is a fictional character. By definition he can’t be responsible for anything.

          I think something bad happened to you

          If there’s one thing you’ve demonstrated so far, it’s that you’re very good at being repeatedly wrong.

          Where did you get the stupid idea that I was blaming a god I don’t believe in for anything? Apart from your ass, of course? The only thing I blame you for is your trolling, which you are not taking responsibility for.

          Really, you’re not intelligent enough to psychoanalyze anyone. So don’t be a presumptuous asshole and pretend you can.

        • Pop Leibel

          I’m pretty sure you have some relatively severe emotional problems. It’s written all over your posts. Anyone can see it. You’re angry, defensive, and a slight bit paranoid if I do say so myself. Again, it’s not my fault, so don’t transfer your problems in my direction. I’m only here discussing religion. I have a right to be here.

        • Dys

          I’m pretty sure you have some relatively severe emotional problems.

          That’s because you’re an idiot. It’s not your fault, but that’s the reality of the situation. You’re not properly equipped to figure things like that out.

          You’re angry

          I’m slightly peeved that you think you can just make shit up about why people don’t believe in god when you’re clearly don’t have the first clue as to what you’re talking about, but that’s about it. But seeing as how we both know you’re a troll, your dishonesty is hardly surprising.

          defensive

          Um, you’re the one trying to defend your uneducated and incoherent beliefs. And failing miserably.

          I’m only here discussing religion

          You’re definitely not discussing religion. You’re making assertions, and when people call you out on your many, many errors, you just fall back on cop out answers like “that’s just what I believe” or “that’s my truth”.

          I have a right to be here.

          No, you don’t. None of us have a ‘right’ to be here. Bob lets trolls such as yourself hang around for a bit unless you really fuck up, or until he gets bored with you. You really need to go back to school so you can figure out what words mean.

        • Pop Leibel

          If you didn’t have emotional problems you would just ignore me. The issue is, I’m hitting a nerve somewhere, and you don’t like it. That’s your “Jesus Nerve” giving you a little punch in the ribs.

          Look, my views on god and religion are a little whacky, I admit that. I don’t know what to believe. I’m confused. This stuff is complicated. Heaven, hell, god, universes, punishment, love, atheists, Christians, deists, slavery. These are all rather big questions. It’s no wonder I’m in a tizzy. It’s no wonder I’m dizzy.

        • Dys

          If you didn’t have emotional problems you would just ignore me.

          Obviously you haven’t considered the very real possibility that I get some small amount of enjoyment by messing with and insulting idiot trolls such as yourself.

          But here’s a counter: if you were really confident in your beliefs, you wouldn’t be trolling us. And yet here you are. Sure, it’s as much a false dichotomy as the one you presented, but you don’t seem like the type to know what ‘false dichotomy’ means, so it’ll probably pass you by.

          That’s your “Jesus Nerve” giving you a little punch in the ribs.

          You really are giving yourself far too much credit.

          But since you like inventing reasons for why people do or don’t believe things, it’s only fair that I get to do it too, right?

          So I’ve decided that the only real reason you believe in god is because you’re so desperate for attention and acceptance that you’ve created an imaginary friend inside your head that you’re calling god. And you’ve been doing it so long that you’ve lost touch with reality. Which means you’re also suffering from severe mental problems and should check yourself into a ward.

          Ain’t psychoanalysis fun?

          Look, my views on god and religion are a little whacky, I admit that.

          In that they don’t make sense and fall apart as soon as you try to defend them? Yep.

          This stuff is complicated. Heaven, hell, god

          Well, there’s no good evidence those three exist, so crossing them off the list un-complicates things a little bit.

        • Pop Leibel

          My take from this is you (kind of) enjoy talking to me. Likewise. I enjoy talking to you.

        • Dys

          I enjoy making fun of you for and pointing out that you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.

          I suspect you won’t be around for very long anyways, because Bob eventually loses patience with Christians and other theists who don’t even make an attempt at dealing with the topics he discusses. Trolls are only good to laugh at for so long – you’ll wear out your welcome.

        • Pop Leibel

          Make fun. Doesn’t bother me. I know I’m happier and on more solid ground than you. I feel good.

          If Bob wants me gone, then so be it. I don’t care.

        • Dys

          I know I’m happier

          You very well could be happier than me, but that’s irrelevant in terms of the coherency of your beliefs. If ignorance is bliss, then you’re blissed out of your mind.

          and on more solid ground than you

          HAHAHAHA…no. You’ve got no comprehension of science, logic, reason, or much of anything else if your posts here are anything to go by. You’ve got your feels, and that’s about it.

        • Pop Leibel

          Science isn’t solid ground. Changes all the time. What we thought was truth 50 years ago is hogwash today. And don’t give me that,

          “That’s what’s great about science. We allow ourselves to change when we’re wrong.”

          Yes, and you’re wrong all the time. That ain’t solid ground, my friend. “Solid ground” is not a little shamicist scratching around on earth for 40 years only to die alone and get sucked up into the same thing he was just studying. That’s called pathetic.

        • Kodie

          You’re so fucking ignorant, you should get off your scary changing scientific computer.

        • Pop Leibel

          I’ve yet to see your thoughts on god, spirituality, or science. All you do is follow me around barking at my heels.

        • Kodie

          You have a cherished superstition and you’re an asshole about it.

        • Pop Leibel

          You have an asshole for a mouth. And it’s not becoming. No guy (or girl) would date a repulsive person like you. No wonder you’re sad and lonely. Shame.

        • Kodie

          You don’t deserve better from me. You are a total asshole, nothing but asshole.

        • Pop Leibel

          You’ve made that clear.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Your trollish/erroneous observations about Kodie’s prospects for finding romance to one side – I should think that someone suffering from [having a pile of shit for a brain] would be leery of casting aspersions about [having an asshole for a mouth].

          People in ass houses and all that.

          I mean, anal sphincters are at least useful – they control access to the interior of the body, they contain nerves which give helpful information about pleasure, pain, and taste. They keep your trousers clean. (Well, not yours I imagine – but most normal people’s)

          But [a pile of shit] is merely the rejected portions of the useful meal – it is what is spit out by [the asshole].

        • Pop Leibel

          That’s enlightening, Paul.

        • epeeist

          No wonder you’re sad and lonely. Shame.

          Hi Donald, glad you could join us.

        • Pop Leibel

          Glad to be here, Fred.

        • Michael Neville

          Your armchair psychoanalysis is the sort of thing we expect trolls to spew out. If you don’t want to be regarded as a troll or as an asshole, then you might want to stop being a trolling asshole.

        • Pop Leibel

          Okay, Mike. Tell me what to do then. Do I have to agree with everyone to be considered not a troll? Here’s how it goes:

          I state my opinion
          People attack me for being “wrong”
          I defend myself, getting a little chippy (naturally)
          Others get SUPER chippy, and now I’m “troll”

          I’ve never attacked first. Only when provoked. People that talk nicely to me get the same back.
          Right now you’re calling me an asshole. I’ve never said that to you. How am I the troll? You’re being rude and unreasonable.
          Kodie does have a repulsive mouth. There’s no doubt about that. It’s obvious to anyone. You don’t have to be Sigmund Freud to see it.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Kodie does have a repulsive mouth. There’s no doubt about that. It’s obvious to anyone. You don’t have to be Sigmund Freud to see it.

          I can imagine that [a woman creatively and directly speaking her derisive mind] might be unappealing to a sad, shallow man with a fragile ego and a desperate need to feel superior.

          I wonder what Freud would say?

        • Pop Leibel

          Paul, you are such a boring writer. You have nothing interesting or humorous to say. It’s amazing how insipid you are. I’d rather talk to Kodie than you. At least I get a rise out of her.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Paul, you are such a boring writer. You have nothing interesting or humorous to say.

          You find discussion of your own neuroses and pathological behaviors “boring” and “[un]interesting”? I wonder what Freud would say? 🙂

          I’d rather talk to Kodie than you. At least I get a rise out of her.

          We know, Larry: trolls gonna troll.

        • Pop Leibel

          Do you say anything on here besides snarky comments to me? What do you do besides practice atheism? You like film or literature? NBA? I’m a Carolina Panthers fan. Tar Heels. Royals. Hornets. I like sports.

        • Paul B. Lot

          I’m a Carolina Panthers fan.

          Who could’ve guessed you were southern?

          Do you say anything on here besides snarky comments to me?

          My post history is available to you.

        • Dys

          What do you do besides practice atheism?

          You either believe in god(s) or you don’t. There’s nothing to practice, because there’s no atheist rule book.

        • Pop Leibel

          People on here are discussing their lack of religion 24/7. To me, that’s practicing.

        • Dys

          People on here are discussing their lack of religion 24/7

          No, they’re not. You’re being disingenuous. The site’s about discussing and countering the various claims religions (especially Christianity) make. It’s essentially a counter-apologetics blog.

          To me, that’s practicing.

          That’s because you don’t know what you’re talking about.

        • Pop Leibel

          You’re on here all day every day. You’re obsessed with god. I’m on vacation. Got nothing better to do. I won’t be here next week. You live to talk about how god doesn’t exist. That’s creepy. You practice atheism.

        • Kodie

          You spent your vacation on an atheist blog being a troll?

        • Pop Leibel

          Just for you, Kodie.

        • Kodie

          You’re making shit up. Plus, what are accomplishing?

        • Pop Leibel

          I like making stuff up.

        • Kodie

          People like other shit plus they know how to go find other blogs to discuss that shit there.

        • Pop Leibel

          Are you black? Nothing wrong with being black, but I’d like to know. Or, you sound inner city at the very least. You describe everything as “shit.”
          “Stuff” is a good word. “Things” is a good word.
          Why is everything “shit?”

        • Kodie

          You’re shit.

        • Dys

          So the lesson here is that if you get psychoanalyzed, you’ll whine about it, but when you do it, no one should get upset because your conclusions are obvious.

          What a fucking hypocrite you are.

          You have nothing interesting or humorous to say.

          You really have no ability to self-reflect, do you? But you’ve got projection nailed.

          At least I get a rise out of her.

          Because that’s what trolls are after.

        • Pop Leibel

          I’m not a troll. I’m standing up for spiritual people everywhere the best I can. You don’t scare us.

        • Kodie

          You’re a great advertisement for atheism by being a bad example for theism. Don’t be like Lubed Up Larry!

        • Pop Leibel

          Lubed Up Larry was cool. I liked him.

        • Dys

          I’m not a troll

          If that’s true, then your comments here are truly pathetic.

          I’m standing up for spiritual people everywhere the best I can

          With your vague, feeling-based notions of reality? Stop putting on airs. You represent yourself. And your comments aren’t interesting or humorous. They’re vacuous and self-serving.

          You don’t scare us.

          Who’s trying to? I get it – you don’t have any use for education or science, and you won’t let pesky things like logic or reason undermine your lazily constructed ideas about how things work. That’s sad, and puts you out of touch with reality. But unless you can actually back up the things you claim, no one here gives a shit.

          “My feelings tell me I’m right” isn’t compelling or interesting.

        • Kodie

          You admit you have nothing to do here but troll.

        • adam

          ” It’s amazing how insipid you are.”

          Aw, how beautiful…………the ‘love’ of ‘Jesus’….

        • Dys

          I state my opinion

          You state an uninformed opinion.

          People attack me for being “wrong”

          Other commenters point out the errors you’re making.

          I defend myself, getting a little chippy (naturally)

          You haven’t backed up anything you’ve said.

          Others get SUPER chippy, and now I’m “troll”

          Because you make unsubstantiated assertions, and imagine your ignorance is just as good as knowledge.

          Plus you engage in lazy stereotypes, psychoanalyze people (which you’re clearly not intelligent enough to do), and your opinions on god/religion/the universe appear to change about every 5 seconds depending on your mood. Your epistemology is incoherent, incomprehensible, and contradictory at the most basic level.

          And you generally seem to have the education level of a kindergartner.

          In short, you’re an annoyance because you clearly don’t know what you’re talking about in the slightest, but you imagine that your opinions on the topics at hand are just as valid as someone who’s actually spent time educating themselves and contemplating the issues.

          You’re getting a rough treatment because, generally speaking, atheists don’t have much use for anti-intellectuals. You don’t value knowledge or education, so there’s no real basis for an intelligent conversation. You’re not capable of having one.

          Or you’re a troll.

        • Pop Leibel

          I’m doing the best I can. I’m a little high right now. Where did you get your education? I went to UT Chat. Good school. Decent.

        • adam

          “Because you make unsubstantiated assertions, and imagine your ignorance is just as good as knowledge.”

          I am sure he thinks his ignorance is better than knowledge, because it is certain.

        • Kodie

          False. You’re a liar. You don’t even know MNb, you came here to tell a former regular about 2 months later than his most recent post that you had read 15 pages of his disqus profile and that you think he’s mean. You didn’t like anyone telling you our opinion. So far, you think we’re a creepy cult, miserable and need to get laid or find Jesus, satanic, and talk too much for your liking. When we respond to you in a negative way, you think it’s because we secretly long for Jesus or hate god, but nothing to do with you, nothing to do with you being an asshole to people. You aren’t “a little chippy”, you’re a raging asshole spouting diarrhea with no capacity to learn or read.

        • Pop Leibel

          Yes, Mam!

        • Michael Neville

          You’re missing a very important point. People not only tell you that you’re wrong but explain why you’re wrong. Instead of arguing back and explaining how you’re either misinterpreted or misunderstood, you whine about “attacks”.

          You’re right, you’ve never called me an asshole and I have called you one. One important distinction between the two of us is that you are an asshole and I’m not.

          If you don’t like Kodie then ignore her. There’s a semi-regular on this blog named Luke who I strongly dislike and who doesn’t like me. I ignore him and he ignores me. Win-win.

        • Kodie

          Good thing I don’t measure my personal value in what a piece of shit on the internet thinks of me.

        • adam

          “You have an asshole for a mouth.”

          Aw, the beautiful ‘love’ of ‘Jesus’…………

          “No guy (or girl) would date a repulsive person like you. No wonder you’re sad and lonely. Shame.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/681785c573e0e941d7e81f66dd2e305bc7671f7e9b41f0b84b263f098be05d79.jpg

        • Pop Leibel

          I’m not talking to you because you can’t express yourself. These photos are hackneyed. Learn to speak for yourself. Even if you make a mistake, it’s okay. At least you’re making an attempt.

        • Dys

          Science isn’t solid ground. Changes all the time.

          Considering that whatever device you’re using to make comments on this site wouldn’t exist without science, I think it’s perfectly plain to see that you’re talking out your ass again.

          Yes, and you’re wrong all the time. That ain’t solid ground, my friend.

          Yep, science isn’t perfect, no one ever said it was. But it’s certainly better and far more reliable than ignorance and wishful thinking, which are all you’ve got.

          “Solid ground” is not a little shamicist scratching around on earth for 40 years only to die alone and get sucked up into the same thing he was just studying. That’s called pathetic.

          So basically you’re not just against science, you’re against the accumulation of knowledge in general. Which is both sad and pathetic in the extreme.

          Oh, and speaking of pathetic, I refer you to your sad attempt at making “shamicist” a thing.

        • Pop Leibel

          Far from an original thought. Four people have already pointed that out.

          Computers are no big deal anyway. An over-hyped calculator is all they are. People used to read and write and talk and play games. Now they sit around looking at their phones. I’m not impressed.

        • Kodie

          You’re not impressed at having a real-time correspondence with someone who may live on the other side of the world, and how that happens? You’re a real REAL fucking moron. You’re not impressed. Who gives a fuck what impresses an idiot like you.

        • Pop Leibel

          The Indians used smoke signals too. Big whup.

        • Kodie

          You’re an absolute moron.

        • Pop Leibel

          I’ve admitted that.

        • Kodie

          Why do you think your opinions are contributing to a discussion? All you are doing is sounding your siren, warning warning, moron aboard, MORON ABOARD!!!

        • Pop Leibel

          I’m discussing things with people other than you. You don’t want to “discuss.” I’m not sure what your purpose here is. You seem to only writhe in anger and frustration. I don’t know how to make you happy. I’m not leaving unless Bob asks me to, so bugger off.

        • Kodie

          You’re not discussing, you’re spouting diarrhea. I’m not the only one who recognizes what a lack of substance who is only here to troll looks like. If you’ve said what you want to say, why stay?

        • Paul B. Lot

          Do you every write anything interesting or compelling?

          Computers are no big deal anyway. An over-hyped calculator is all they are.

          That’s all your brain is, either.

          Now they sit around looking at their phones. I’m not impressed.

          A) No one cares whether or not you’re impressed.
          B) http://imgur.com/gallery/WkHHpZ1

        • Dys

          Far from an original thought. Four people have already pointed that out.

          Good thing I didn’t claim it was an original thought. Just pointing out that your continued use of the devices makes it clear that you’re completely full of shit, and that you know it.

          Computers are no big deal anyway. An over-hyped calculator is all they are.

          Calculators only work because the science behind them is reliable as well. Also, discounting computers as “no big deal” despite all the things that rely on them and the advances they’ve enabled is yet another confirmation that you’re an idiot and a troll.

        • epeeist

          Science isn’t solid ground. Changes all the time.

          Well as someone said “The Wise man proportions his belief to the evidence”. When the evidence points to a new conclusion then I update my beliefs. What do you do?

          As it is you are typing your posts on devices that relies on a theory that started life just before the start of the 20th century. Your phone and satnav use corrections derived from a theory that arrived a couple of decades into the 20th century.

          In a hundred and twenty years or so the technology built upon scientific ideas has sent people to the moon, has eliminated multiple diseases, has given us communication systems that transmit the equivalent of multiple encyclopedias per second.

          So what has theology done for us over the same period, or any period you like really?

        • Pop Leibel

          Finally, someone says something worth reading. Good points. Theology is an interesting subject as well.
          For many people, theology provides a reason to live. It gives life purpose (real or imagined, either way). We’re talking about making billions of people feel more assured and happy. Those are no small potatoes, my friend. Happiness and contentment are more important than anything.

        • adam
        • Kodie

          Your views aren’t why you’re here. You’re here to tell people how they should be to please you. Fuck off, troll.

        • Pop Leibel

          I’m stating my views, but all ya’ll are ridiculing them. So I bite back like a rabid dog. I’m like Cujo.

        • Kodie

          You are here to bother people and complain when they don’t treat you like some kind of prince. You’re an idiot and a joke. Go back to your corner where they like to hear your views.

        • Yes, you’re hitting the common sense nerve.

          The feeling you get is the same as the “burning in the bosom” the Mormons get. I imagine many other religions have a similar concept. Are they just as correct as you are? Or why not?

        • Pop Leibel

          I’m sorry, I don’t understand that. People get a plethora of feelings.
          The joke was “Jesus Nerve” in the ribs. In the ribs, get it?

          Okay, never mind.

        • adam

          “People get a plethora of feelings. ”

          That they misunderstand as :”God”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2e7c85f83a051737489a88bbc6af7ae1f629a7c020304dd72287796458bc2580.jpg

        • Pop Leibel

          Who’s after you on here? Someone told me you have an enemy. Piqued my interest a little.

        • adam

          “Who’s after you on here? ”

          No one that I am aware of.

          what’s that got to do with delusional people believing that mythology is real?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6cd268fca8f46955d1675a7375470eb6e88362c1ede52780acf6ce1dae1c8b28.jpg

        • Pop Leibel

          I don’t know. Someone claimed you were hiding or something. They said that’s why you use the graphics. Okay.

        • Paul B. Lot

          I don’t know. Someone claimed you were hiding or something. They said that’s why you use the graphics.

          Aha, the trumplestiltskin move: make something up in your head, and then pretend that “someone” said it.

          What does your shrink have to say about this behavior your exhibit?

        • adam

          Really?

          It’s not just you lying again?

          “They said that’s why you use the graphics. ”

          then they would have the same ignorant view that you have.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/81ee54b59cf4e0235557d0b406a45a1b6305403a095f39e7e67d39ac938cbd3e.jpg

        • Pop Leibel

          Amos described them as “lurkers.” They’re after you. I don’t know. I was just asking.

          https://disqus.com/home/discussion/crossexamined/10_tough_questions_for_the_atheist_to_answer/#comment-3284991161

        • adam
        • adam
        • Kodie

          Telling people what emotional problems you think they have is not a right. It’s called being an asshole. Do you not know that, or are you really pretending not to be the biggest troll we’ve ever had? You’re not discussing religion when you tell people what you, an asshole, think is wrong with them. You’re tone-trolling people because you have no idea why anyone gets annoyed when you’re in the room. Instead of listening to people and acknowledging, you attribute it to some offline problems that have nothing to do with you. It’s you.

          I hate the fuck out of you, you’ve been telling people how to talk since you showed up. Like the time you stalked MNb’s profile for 15 pages, like the time you said atheists sounded miserable and needed Jesus or to get laid, the time you picked me out after only a couple comments that you think I needed to hear about Jesus, the time you told me my mother wouldn’t like to hear me curse and to speak like a 7-year-old girl in a white dress (pretty specific and ultra-creepy). Whenever someone speaks in language you don’t like, you think they must have other problems.

          You don’t know what you sound like, or you are keenly aware that you’re annoying as fuck and are doing it for fun. Everything you say about Jesus isn’t the least bit interesting. You’re “just making convo” attitude isn’t convincing. You’re here to troll and tell people how to be more pleasing for you.

        • Take responsibility.

          Why? God doesn’t. He has people like you who will apologize for bad stuff that happens here on earth, explain away his nonexistence, tap dance an excuse for his insanity in the Old Testament, and so on.

          Let’s start with God taking responsibility.

        • Pop Leibel

          There are natural disasters, which is very difficult to square, I admit that. But most of what you’re talking about is Man torturing other Men. Why do you want god to be held responsible for what we do to each other?

          And, again, I don’t believe in the old testament. It’s fiction. We all know that. Written by men, men are failable. Stories.

          That’s hard for me to say, though. Incredible. Scrapes against my inner soul. Rocks my world a little bit.

        • Greg G.

          There are natural disasters, which is very difficult to square, I admit that. But most of what you’re talking about is Man torturing other Men. Why do you want god to be held responsible for what we do to each other?

          Natural disasters are enough to show that there is no being that is both omnipotent and benevolent.

          Why couldn’t such a god make people invulnerable to harm from one another?

        • There are natural disasters, which is very difficult to square, I admit that.

          Then let’s dwell on that. It’s looking like there’s no good evidence for God, and you’re just deluding yourself.

          But most of what you’re talking about is Man torturing other Men. Why do you want god to be held responsible for what we do to each other?

          Am I confused or did God create the world and the people? The buck stops at his desk.

          And, again, I don’t believe in the old testament. It’s fiction. We all know that. Written by men, men are failable. Stories.

          That’s a useful point of agreement, but where do we go with this? The entire foundation of Christianity is fiction . . . so why would you be a Christian?

        • Pop Leibel

          I’m 80% spiritual and 20% agnostic with a definite lean towards Jesus whom I regard fondly. He’s my Bro. I could be deluding myself. That’s something people do all the time. I’m no different.

          I’m not sure why the creator would allow bad things to happen. I don’t know. He’s done wonderful things for me, and I thank him every day. I appreciate the life I’ve been given no matter who or what is responsible. If it’s just a random act that happened by chance, then so be it.

          I don’t like to name myself as this or that, really. I change all the time. I’m not done learning or growing yet.

        • adam

          ” Why do you want god to be held responsible for what we do to each other?”

          Isnt it YOUR claim that such ‘god’ created us and loves us?

        • Pop Leibel

          Yes.

        • adam
        • Greg G.

          Tell that to priests and nuns.

        • Pop Leibel

          Greg, I’ve been on here a week. It sounds to me like you’re mad at the Catholic church, not god. Which is good. Don’t go with religions, go with god.

          In fact, that’s going to be Pop’s mantra.

          “Don’t go with religions, go with god!”

        • adam

          Go with god?

          Why go with an imaginary character from a book of stories?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/60865103a336b5d68f96eb3254e706491af8f8a5dbd80dafef9edf2beab0319d.jpg

        • Pop Leibel

          Again, I respect your opinion. I just don’t agree.

          Thomas Jefferson was an atheist, and he owned slaves. Atheists do bad things too. Don’t just pick on the Christians.

        • Kodie

          Tu quoque. People make mistakes. Theists double down on those mistakes and credit god with giving them dominion and such. Theists like you don’t like to hear criticism and come back with shitty excuses.

        • Pop Leibel

          I don’t mind criticism.

        • Greg G.

          I call Christianity the one great curse, the one great intrinsic depravity, and the one great instinct of revenge, for which no means are venomous enough, or secret, subterranean and small enough – I call it the one immortal blemish on the human race. –Friedrich Nietzsche

        • Pop Leibel

          Nietzsche was a smart dude. I think there’s more than one immortal blemish on the human race, though, so that right there tells me Freddy wasn’t all THAT smart.

        • adam

          If the bible gets the MOST fundamental thing about human beings WRONG, then it FAILS as a moral guide.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f142f77c52e865076a01b3a3efee03253df1fedf08474a3e33c625d3a5aea940.jpg

        • BlackMamba44
        • Pop Leibel

          Deism sounds pretty good.

        • Greg G.

          Jefferson was a deist.

        • Pop Leibel

          I know. Someone pointed that out. I don’t know squat about American history (or religion, or science).

        • Michael Neville

          I doubt anyone will argue with this statement.

        • Paul B. Lot
        • Pop Leibel

          You’re citing Wiki? Your scientist friends would be all over you.

        • Paul B. Lot

          My scientist friends prefer a [wiki] source over [no] source.

          So, how about it smart guy, where are your sources?

        • Greg G.

          People who complain about Wikipedia are losing the argument so bad that they can’t even show the Wiki article is wrong.

        • adam

          “Don’t just pick on the Christians.”

          I dont.

          But there is a big difference.

          Christians have a ‘God’, telling them that owning slaves is perfectly fine.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5fc7ae814c0160c0c443e448af14c3b39fb8f9c14da1a96d478544a03093bbba.jpg

          Atheists have no such doctrine.

        • Dys

          Christianity is a religion. Period.

        • Pop Leibel

          Yep.

        • Dys

          So you’re either not a Christian now, or your “I’m just against religion, not god” is horseshit.

        • Pop Leibel

          I want to be a Christian because I respect the things that Jesus said and did. If, in fact, he said and did them. If not, then still, they were good ideas and like them. Jesus was my kind of guy.

        • Kodie

          I don’t really get that vibe from you, Lubey.

        • Pop Leibel

          You don’t know me very well.

        • Kodie

          The side you want to show is your choice. You chose a hostile, offensive, dishonest side.

        • Pop Leibel

          Goodnight sweet princess.

        • Kodie

          Disgusting sexist creep.

        • Greg G.

          I’m not mad at anybody but I do get after Ameribear when he is defending the Catholic Church regarding sexual child abuse.

        • Pop Leibel

          Of course, I agree. Who is this Ameribear?

        • Greg G.
        • Pop Leibel

          Ameribear makes some goods points here, Greg.

          What he doesn’t admit, though, is if you look at the general population, it isn’t anywhere near 4-5 percent. 4-5 percent is an incredible amount of priests doing horrific things. Big problem for the Catholic church. I can’t believe more hasn’t been done.

        • Greg G.

          That’s only the ones that RCC decided had credible complaints against them. They never considered that many may have been too ashamed to say something.

          Ameribear keeps trying to say that we are accusing all Catholics when we are very clearly referring to the hierarchy. We had the discussion once but Ameribear can’t let it go.

        • Dys

          You continue to demonstrate an incredible amount of ignorance, stupidity, and dishonesty. Since you have nothing of any substance to offer, what’s your actual purpose besides trolling us?

        • adam
        • TheNuszAbides

          your appalling lack of basic understanding

          near as i can figure, P.L. [who IINM was ‘nymed something else a week or two ago] is the scatter-shot-poe brand of troll: either obsessed with its own pretense of enigma or just noxiously bored. maybe both but not much more.

        • adam
        • Pop Leibel

          Adam, again, you’re talking about stuff that people did. Not what god did. People torture. People burn. Don’t blame god.
          And, it’s a fact this country is ruled by Christians and Christian beliefs. Sorry.

          And, Jefferson owned slaves. You’re going by his advice?

        • Kodie

          You’re not really smart at all. Nobody is blaming GOD – Nobody “hates” god. It’s you fuckers who use god as a tool to bully everyone else. There is no god to blame, only fools who fall for this shit jumping on board with the “majority” because, as you state, “the majority rules”. You don’t like minorities speaking out against injustice? You want to misrepresent, misunderstand, and be a dishonest piece of shit who obviously does hate atheist and doesn’t want to have an adult discussion. You don’t like what you don’t like for no good reason. Atheists have a good reason not to like Christianity – it’s an infection that spreads nonsense and makes you stupid. Example: YOU.

        • adam
        • Michael Neville

          Most Christians are good people. I’ve recently explained to a Catholic that most Catholics are good people who are horrified by child-raping priests (the only ones who don’t appear horrified are the bishops and the Catholic apologists). However while the church members are generally good, their usually self-appointed leadership have a nasty habit of wanting to control everyone’s lives, not just their followers’ lives.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          There are bad people in every walk of life, Mike. Teachers molest kids. Are you going to throw all of them under the bus too? For every minister that molests, there’s 1000’s that help.
          Don’t get the wrong idea. I don’t think religion should be mixed up in politics. None. Zero. If I see that, I’ll be demonstrating right along side you. I’ll be the guy with a fat joint and a can of beer.

        • Michael Neville

          I don’t see what your first paragraph has to do with what I wrote. Could you please explain why you’re harping on “bad people” when I said that most Christians are good people?

        • Lubed Up Larry

          Sorry, you’re right. I’ll rethink it. I forgot what I was going for now.

        • Greg G.

          For every minister that molests, there’s 1000’s that help.

          For Catholic priests in the US, it’s more like for every one that has been caught molesting, there’s 24 that do not, or, at least, have not been caught. It’s probably about the same for youth ministers in other religions.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          I doubt it’s that many, but your point is well taken.

        • Greg G.

          Nope, it was 4% of the priests in the US over a 50 year period. That is one in 25, or one molester and 24 others.

          Abuse Study Says 4% of Priests in US Accused

          New York Times article
          TWO STUDIES CITE CHILD SEX ABUSE BY 4% OF PRIESTS

          Catholic sex abuse cases in the United States
          From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

          John Jay Report

        • Lubed Up Larry

          That’s amazing. I had no idea. Do you know boys that have been abused?

        • Pofarmer

          For that matter, the ones that are abusing could be helping someone else. Doesn’t particularly matter though……….

        • Charles Coryn

          Well Pop Leibel, My beef with this argument is that priests and pastors are supposed to be better, more moral, closer to ‘god’, etc…… exemplary in a word, and they are not. A newsletter used to put out a ‘White Collar’ list of all the police cases of molestation against said these ‘sheperds of the flock’. And then the church reassigns them and they’re off the hook. Even sends them back to the Vatican, etc. and so forth, so NO, they are not like you and I, they are expected to be morally superior. Which brings me to my point: what kind of god could there be, that would let, would permit, children to suffer from molestation, all their lives, while he excuses the priests and ministers from worldly suffering. This is obviously a proof that ‘gods’ don’t exist…..

        • Pop Leibel

          Chuck, ministers are human beings like you and me. They do bad things. They should be punished, and if they’re not, then that’s the fault of the justice system. It’s not god’s fault. And, none of this is “proof that god doesn’t exist.”

          Wait, I have to take a drag off of my joint. . . . . . . . . . .Okay, then. Where was I?

          Btw, have you led a perfect life? My guess is no.

        • Charles Coryn

          “It’s not God’s fault” …… Well then, is anything ‘God’s fault? The Bible says at Is 45:7, “I form the light and create the darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster, I, the Lord, do all these things.” It’s not God’s fault yet God says it is? Or at Amos 3:6, or Lam 3:38? Tell me, how do you make any sense out of this?

        • Pop Leibel

          Forget the bible. The old testament, anyway. Trust your yourself. Failable people wrote the bible. Think in a more spiritual way. God is in your mind. He’s in the sky. He’s in the dirt. Don’t look at books!!!!

        • Charles Coryn

          Good Ol’ God ….. it’s just God from here to there, god is everywhere and everything…… And you believe it all with no evidence…… why?

        • Pop Leibel

          He’s in my heart. No joke. I don’t need evidence.

        • Who is “he”? Maybe it’s Satan, masquerading as the good guy. Maybe it’s some other religion’s god. If you don’t need evidence, you’re letting any random demon camp out in your heart. You won’t kick out anyone, since you have no use for evidence.

        • Pop Leibel

          You can’t understand faith if you don’t have it. You’ll come around.

          You’re a good writer, btw. Nice stuff.

        • Charles Coryn

          Of course it’s no joke, Pop, it’s an outright tragedy. Why should you need evidence when you’re completely obsessed with a vision, a hope, a fantasy, who among us hasn’t been in our youth. We take an idea and run with it… we let ourselves go thinking if we can just do this 100% it will be reality. Sure, let me talk with you in 10, 20 years, and we’ll see what’s in your heart then. Will you be the same? Maybe, maybe not. It takes considerable effort and time to create a god, doesn’t it? And each culture does it again and again…. each culture creates it’s own deities. Just read through a history of gods, such as Marjorie Leach has written. (I hope that’s the right name, but there are a couple of books listing the hundreds and thousands of gods throughout history.) And I did my time….. I was a believer, and went to church every sunday and prayed and prayed, again and again, but to my disappointment there was never a response…. never did I feel the spirit, or hear god’s voice in my head, nothing……. and so I learned there was no god to respond to my whims, just as there has never been a god throughout history to aid man. Hundreds of thousands of years and what did any god do for man? Tell him, “Believe in me or you’ll suffer forever”. Imagine telling children that….. that’s child abuse. Enough, the true unbeliever has spoken. I disavow any god or any holy spirit or any of that nonsense, so maybe your god will put me in hell….. right, hold your breath…….

        • Dys

          So you have no evidence, and therefore have nothing to defend your belief with. Which means your faith is no different than gullibility.

        • Pop Leibel

          You used to be Christian. What made you change to the dark side? I’m curious.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Asinine fuckwits like you would’ve helped I should imagine.

        • Pop Leibel

          “fuckwits” is pretty funny. I think “fukwhits” would be better, though.

          Or, “phukwhits”

        • adam

          What is the problem with fuck?

          We are intelligent enough to know what you mean by fuk or phuk.

          Why be so ‘childish’.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3017e5a72eb334b91e052dcd1031b2af510c8d6b8f8fdb0e5fd05dd53c9d8e0b.jpg

        • Pop Leibel

          Your name is ironic. Why not just talk to me instead of posting these idiotic and trite photos?

        • Dys

          Let’s just say I’m not surprised in the slightest that Pop is a big fan of the useless “god works in mysterious ways” non-answer. “Vapid” seems to be his stock in trade.

        • epeeist

          “Vapid” seems to be his stock in trade.

          Personally I prefer “Vacuous”.

        • Dys

          They’re not mutually exclusive, lol

        • Dys

          I realized that the bible makes no sense when you actually investigate it and reason out its claims. The entire Jesus being a sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins thing is laughably inane. There are a myriad of other problems. Once you get rid of them all, all that’s left (beyond meaningless cliched nonsense like “god is love”) is basic deism, which to my mind does nothing more than replace “I don’t know” with “god did it”. “I don’t know” is more honest.

          There was no turn to the dark side. There was a turn to reality.

        • Pop Leibel

          It’s true to me. I look at the concept of god as a semblance of goodness, beauty and love. The poetry of life. My church is outside my backdoor. I have 50 acres in the Appalachian mountains and when I walk outside I see god and I thank him every day. I don’t care if other people believe me or not.

        • Dys

          “It’s true to me”….the slogan of someone who truly doesn’t care whether something is actually true or not.

        • Kodie

          You do care – you think atheists are creepy cults and satan-lovers who went to the dark side because they were abused as children. On the other hand, nobody cares why you believe or what you believe, we care if you are hurting other people using your beliefs as an excuse, which you demonstrably are, and you don’t like the response you get, and you blame it on atheists blaming god when it’s actually YOU.

          “God loves you” even when you’re a dick, which I see you using as an excuse to be just as much of a dick as you want to be, because you never disappoint that imaginary friend of yours.

        • Pop Leibel

          You’re an atheist, and you’re VERY creepy. I rest my case.

          Bob isn’t creepy, though. He’s pretty cool. He’ll come around.

        • Kodie

          You don’t like me because I say things you don’t want to hear, and then you make excuses not to take what I say seriously or personally. You are a real creep. I am reacting justifiably to only your creepiness and disgustingness. If you don’t like to hear about yourself, don’t be that way.

        • Pop Leibel

          I never said I didn’t like you. Creepiness isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I think you have emotional problems, but hey, that’s not unusual in humans. You may have good reasons for those problems.

        • Aram Nurala

          How do you make the leap from deism to your specific Christian god?

        • Pop Leibel

          I’m not sure. I’m fairly deistic, but I like Jesus a lot. He’s kind of like this hippie dude I once knew. Just a cool guy. I respect the heck out of Jesus.

        • Aram Nurala

          Really? Jesus as portrayed in the Bible was quite often a dick. For example, he only instructed how to beat slaves, failing to take the next step of, ‘How about just don’t enslave people.’ He wanted to break up families, told people to abandon their kin, etc. Heck, he was even for men castrating themselves. Nor could he get enough of discussing people going to hell to be tortured for eternity. The list goes on. Your idea of Jesus as a ‘hippie dude’ is nothing but a cultural construct divorced from how he’s actually described in the Bible. In short, you ‘respect the heck out of’ someone you’ve never actually gotten to know. Kind of the opposite of respect, no?

        • adam

          ” Your idea of Jesus as a ‘hippie dude’ is nothing but a cultural construct divorced from how he’s actually described in the Bible. ”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/04123c97f43c100592a9356b051d29658a19bb62db1e23dfa8251addc96aaeb1.jpg

        • Pop Leibel

          1.) Tough love is not always easy.
          2.) Don’t believe everything you read.
          3.) Okay, I only like the good Jesus stuff.
          4.) Nobody’s perfect. Wait, what did I say?

        • Aram Nurala

          5.) ‘Tough love’ is bullshit.
          6.) You’re a flake of the highest order.
          7.) Ignorant arrogance is your forte.
          8.) A Dunning-Kruger, in effect.

        • Pop Leibel

          Personal attacks aren’t nice. I didn’t do that to you. And, mine are funnier.

        • Aram Nurala

          You’re not as funny as you think you are i.e. the aforementioned Dunning-Kruger. They weren’t personal attacks. They were constructive criticism. I know this because I feel it and therefore it is.

        • Pop Leibel

          Thanks for that. Much obliged.

        • adam
        • Greg G.

          Everybody sees Jesus as like themselves and God’s opinions match their own.

          “I said it, God believes it, that settles it.”

        • Pop Leibel

          Probably true.

        • BlackMamba44

          This Jesus?

          Luke 14:26 (NIV)
          26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.

          Matthew 10:34-37 (NIV)
          34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn
          “‘a man against his father,
          a daughter against her mother,
          a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
          36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’[a]
          37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

          Yeah, he’s a really great guy. (s)

        • Pop Leibel

          Taken out of context, and written by a person. No soap. The real Jesus was a terrific guy. I know it.

        • BlackMamba44

          Typical Christian response.

        • Kodie

          You have no heart, you are a prejudiced, hateful, obsessive, dishonest guy. You’re not here to argue for any god, you’re here to say what you hate about atheists and be an asshole to people. Why should I believe in the figment of your imagination? You don’t know what atheists are, you just hate because you have a prejudice.

        • Pofarmer

          I would love to “let them be.” The problem is they won’t let me be.

          That, right there.

        • Questioning54

          Was in churches long time and they are definitely not happy-go-lucky with each other. It is one lie that is propagated to be a “good witness” to outsiders. Same bickering, self-seeking, judgement of others, self-righteousness etc etc that are seen amongst people everywhere, even amongst athiests, dare I say it. There, now I am being judgemental!

        • Lubed Up Larry

          Well, you can see the quarreling on here, so I think you’re right. Atheists and Christians have a great deal in common. Both sides are searching for truth and meaning in their lives. They’re taking different streets, but the journey is very much the same.

        • Aram Nurala

          It’s not a true bond any more than heroin junkies share a real bond. Religious belief’s just an addiction like any other, if rather more insidious. People mutually chasing a dopamine hit. And, for example, much like one’s former alcoholic drinking ‘friends’ don’t usually stick around if one gives up the booze, so too do one’s religious ‘friends’ mostly evaporate if one moves past one’s belief in Jesus.

        • Pop Leibel

          You could say that about most friendships.

        • Aram Nurala

          No, you really couldn’t. Says a lot about your ‘friendships’ perchance.

        • Pop Leibel

          Most friendships fade. It’s true. People move on.

        • Aram Nurala

          Okay, now you’re just being intentionally obtuse. As such, I shall wish you well. Carry on, my wayward son.

        • Pop Leibel

          Before I lay my weary head to rest, let me ask you a question.

          Do you have the same friends you had when you were 5? How about 10? When you 18? When you were 30? Not sure how old you are, but I think you get my point. I wish you peace when you get done. *Don’t you cry no more*

        • Aram Nurala

          Meaning your obtuseness is unintentional? Interesting. Of course friends shift in and out of life as we pass through it. I’m 40 and have maybe three friends left from childhood. But that was never my point. It seems I have to spell it out for you. See, though I may not be friends with people I used to be friends with, when our friendships did exist they were real friendships based on far more than just sharing the same desperate delusion about never dying, etc. As opposed to religious types, where more often than not the ‘friendship’ is completely about their mutual need to live in denial. Meaning ‘best Christian friends’ almost always cease to be ‘friends’ when one of them leaves the church. Immediately, as it were. Not the gradual fading out of real friendships. There are exceptions, yes. But ceasing to be ‘friends’ is by far the norm when one half leaves the faith.
          Does this help you rise above the noise and confusion? Perhaps get a glimpse beyond the illusion? Or will you continue masquerading as a man with a reason? Making your charade the event of the season?

        • Pop Leibel

          That last part hit me pretty hard.

          My friends and I never talk about religion. We never talk about atheistic issues, either. You atheists talk about religion/god much more than Christians do. You’re on here obsessing over it 24/7. You’re on here desperately trying to convince each other that there isn’t a god. It’s pathetic. Atheists are just as obsessed as Christians in their own way.

          My guess, though, is the only atheists on here are the hardcore ones. The ones that had something horrible happen to them. Molestation, loss of a close family member, etc. The regular atheists don’t make a big deal out of it. They work their jobs and move along with life just not believing in god. Only the really creepy ones make it their life passion to prove that there isn’t a god. It’s dumb anyway because you’ll never be able to prove it, and even if you did, you’d never convince any Christians of your findings.

        • adam

          “You’re on here desperately trying to convince each other that there isn’t a god.”

          No, we are already convinced.
          What is PATHETIC, is how poorly christians actually fail to demonstrate their God.

          ” It’s dumb anyway because you’ll never be able to prove it, and even if
          you did, you’d never convince any Christians of your findings.”

          What’s dumb is your proud ignorance.

          ” The ones that had something horrible happen to them. ”

          Yep, people like you. talking about MAGIC Sky Daddies, probably.

          Nice, to see all the “Love” that Jesus has put in your heart.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/681785c573e0e941d7e81f66dd2e305bc7671f7e9b41f0b84b263f098be05d79.jpg

        • Aram Nurala

          Right-o buddy, you just keep on telling yourself whatever gets you through the days and nights.
          Toodles

        • Pop Leibel

          So long, Arum. Watch out for the lightning.

        • Dys

          It takes a special kind of moron to come to an atheist blog on a website dedicated to discussion about religion and then complain about the fact that topics like religion and theism get talked about rather frequently.

        • Aram Nurala

          I was going to point this out, but didn’t feel like talking with the halfwit any longer.

        • adam
        • adam

          ” They’re all happy-go-lucky with each other. ”

          It’s called DELUSION. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7be189b43a8d6da24f528e28fd9c3b3c6b7911182fff825bc06b4beeb99b4e6a.png

        • TheNuszAbides

          who is no better than a cheap bullshit storyteller.

          eh … to mitigate, i’d say that the better ones are ripe for The Clergy Project.

        • ZenDruid

          Yes, if they recognize the situation and decide that they are sick and tired of the bullshit stories.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i.e. their motivations are not ultimately constrained by the bullshit-bubble, i.e. they’re better.

          EDIT: of course, following such a transition, your original assessment will likely stand once again, with yet another cheapo stepping forth to fill the vacuum. it’s almost as though history repeats itself!

          ALSO WIK: was only riffing off “within every church” read as “within every neighborhood chapterhouse”. i wouldn’t for a split-second contest the notion that such scumbags cadge influence within every denomination.

      • Questioning54

        Believe me Christianity has nothing to say that is of real comfort either. Unless blaming your weak faith, or sin in your life, or failure to pray properly, God’s need to win an argument with the devil (book of Job) or God’s need to hurt us severely to somehow make us “stronger” or more committed to him is, by some twisted logic, “comforting”.
        One more point – science has a lot to say and do which provides comfort and relief from depression.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          Very true. Good stuff.

      • adam

        “Or, your wife gets brain cancer?”

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7dd70d1c465eb0e5ca967d351c2844a6822708ef44169fe96b568d3efce6a3e5.jpg

        Science performs.

        “The hard questions in life about love, beauty, happiness, family,
        purpose (and others), are answered much better by religion (god,
        spirituality–your choice).”

        Not even close.
        Religion’s first objective is division.

        Bullshit is not an answer.

      • IAN RAMSAY

        You assume here that God creates evil. Cancer and accidents are explained better by statistical probabilities than by God’s meddling in human affairs to deny freedom of choice.

    • adam
  • mobathome

    Is this the missing essay?
    http://www.apologetics315.com/2010/04/essay-christian-worldview-is-best.html
    It contains no answers.

    • Michael Neville

      Reading the essay is 10 minutes of my life I’ll never get back. Some of the comments were good, especially the guy who kept saying that we don’t know enough about the origin of the universe to rule out either natural or supernatural causes.

      • ORigel

        What caused the designer? Designers have to be at least as complex as their creations to be capable of designing it, and therefore more improbable than the “designed” thing.

        That pretty much rules out theistic explanations for the origin of the universe.

        • Pofarmer

          No, no, no. God is perfectly simple.

    • Jim Jones

      > As a detective, I have an interesting job. I have to enter the crime scene and assess the evidence in front of me: is this a natural death or a homicide? If it’s a homicide, which suspect best explains the evidence at the scene? While there may be a number of potential suspects that account for some or most of the evidence we see, one suspect will usually emerge as the “best” in that he or she most completely (and most reasonably) explains the evidence.

      And that’s how we get wrongful convictions. This is a complete misunderstanding of the legal system. It’s so wrong, it is fractally wrong. The actual killer can be the least likely person to have committed the crime and the most likely system can be utterly innocent.

      > Michael Morton is an American who was wrongfully convicted in 1987
      in a Williamson County, Texas court of the 1986 murder of his wife
      Christine Morton.

      • Hans-Richard Grümm

        A homicide is a “natural death” unless it was done by telekinesis, the Evil Eye or similar methods. That’s what the author of that article wants to obscure.

      • Also, because they got it wrong another woman was killed by the actual perpetrator.

    • Thanks. That’s an abbreviated version of that essay. I still can’t find the original.

      Linkrot seems to be a common problem at apologetics sites. Yes, it’s nice when they update their look, but don’t break links.

  • Tony D’Arcy

    This Wallace guy is evidently infantile in his approach. According to his view, the Jewish carpenter, who was one third of God, made the universe in 6 days ! What did He make it with, bloody dead fig tree wood ? The fact this guy believes in superstition and tries to latch it on the real knowledge, shows he has a disdain for science, but will use its findings when he can.

    I don’t see any mention of so-called ‘fine tuning’ in the works of Aquinas, and myriad other Christian apologists. until the concept started appearing in the late 20th century, when science had actually started to quantify these ‘constants’.

    • TheNuszAbides

      I don’t see any mention of so-called ‘fine tuning’ in the works of Aquinas

      don’t worry, Thomists have a way of ~interpreting~ even his most vague and throwaway musings to suggest that he had a profoundly insightful grasp of genetics, sentience, you name it.

  • Jim Jones

    Science doesn’t know everything.

    Religion doesn’t know anything.

    Centuries of experience have shown us that when we do know the answers, they will turn out to be simpler than expected. (Although atomic physics still seems very complex).

  • guerillasurgeon

    “Science knows it doesn’t know everything. Otherwise it’d stop.”
    Dara O’ Briain

  • ZenDruid

    #2. Fine tuning… Picture a soap bubble, floating in the air. Inside the soap bubble, imagine solid rock. Outside the bubble, imagine a solid vacuum. Only within the confines of the film of the bubble, which represents the biosphere, do conditions for life exist.

    Apologists: Please explain how this “fine tuning” applies to the whole freaking universe, when the volume of biological possibility is vanishingly small.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      My idea is that *life* adapted to the conditions. They’ve found life in scorching sulfur undersea vents, why not elsewhere?

      • ORigel

        Enceladus has hydrothermal vents.

    • Tommy

      Saying the universe is fine-tuned for life is like saying a hospital complex was designed for a dust bunny sitting in a corner of some janitor’s closet.

      • Kevin K

        More like “for the speck of bacteria stuck to the dust bunny”. And even that vastly, vastly, VASTLY over-estimates the sizes involved.

    • guerillasurgeon

      There is a shitload of universe. I think that’s probably enough said.

    • The soap bubble illustrates it nicely.

      The Christian apologists seem to have Eden in their minds, when they should have black, empty space, since that’s far more common.

  • Sophia Sadek

    Back in the day, the most pious people pursued science because they wanted to get closer to the origin of nature. Now the most pious people want to destroy nature altogether.

    • Tommy

      It’s almost like they believe that:

      a.) the universe wasn’t designed
      b.) the universe wasn’t designed by a god
      c.) the universe wasn’t designed by their god
      d.) all of the above

  • Herald Newman

    Frankly, anything that Christians assert is a problem for atheists is also a problem for theists as well. We don’t solve some of the most interesting mysteries we have by appealing to a bigger (if not the biggest) mystery.

    Until such time that we can confirm any god, or gods, and the powers that such a being has, telling me Goddunit tells us exactly nothing, and explains exactly nothing!

    • Dannorth

      Which is the beauty of it.

      The problem is that you left the answer uncomplete: it’s Goddunit so stop worrying about it and start thinking about thiting instead.

      • Klapaucius

        I think about thiting everyday (sorry my “s” key doesn’t work). I try and be regular and do it in the morning.

  • Rudy R

    The load of rubbish theists try to rationalize the existence of their god dudes is utterly nuts. Because this dude had to start it all, he had to live outside of space and time. And because he had to be the first dude, he had to be eternal, so living outside of space and time had to be a requirement, so as to fix that infinite regress problem. So one day, figuratively speaking, living outside of space and time, he decided to create something out of nothing and abracadabra, poof, the universe was created. A magic trick even Penn and Teller would be fooled by.

  • Rudy R

    One of the many problems with the fine-tuning argument is that it’s unfalcifiable. If theists want to use science to justify their claim, they need to describe what a universe would look like if it were not created by a designer.

    • catfink

      One of the many problems with the fine-tuning argument is that it’s unfalcifiable.

      It’s certainly falsifiable. If we discovered a reason why, for example, the gravitational constant has the value it does, rather than some other value that would not allow us to exist, that would falsify the claim that it was fine-tuned for our existence.

      • Rudy R

        If we discovered a reason why…

        First, that’s a “what if” statement; more akin to “what if pigs could fly”. Second, for the argument to be falsifiable, the group of statements in the scientific theory must be considered.

        • catfink

          First, that’s a “what if” statement; more akin to “what if pigs could fly”.

          No, it’s not like that at all. It’s like discovering the reason why life is based on carbon rather than the other elements.

          Second, for the argument to be falsifiable, the group of statements in the scientific theory must be considered.

          I have no idea what this statement is supposed to mean.

        • Rudy R

          To be more specific, life on earth based on carbon. By the implications of your response, your fine-tuning argument would be a failure if it was proven life was based on different chemistry elsewhere in the universe.

          The fine-tuning argument would need to be facified as a cohesive whole. Cherry picking some premises and neglecting others is not falsification.

          Fine-tuning, to be considered a scientific theory, must be facifiable, which it is not. It’s conclusion is that the universe was designed, so it would need to show the properties of an undesigned universe.

        • catfink

          To be more specific, life on earth based on carbon.

          Which means all life, as far as we’re aware.

          By the implications of your response, your fine-tuning argument would be a failure if it was proven life was based on different chemistry elsewhere in the universe.

          It doesn’t imply that at all. It simply means that, just as we have discovered a reason why life is based on carbon rather than the other elements, we may also discover reasons why the fundamental constants of nature have the values they do rather than other values. If we make such discoveries, it would falsify the fine-tuning hypothesis.

          Fine-tuning, to be considered a scientific theory, must be facifiable, which it is not.

          I just explained to you one of the ways in which it is falsifiable.

        • Rudy R

          I just explained to you one of the ways in which it is falsifiable.

          You explained nothing.

          Here’s what you said

          If we discovered a reason why, for example, the gravitational constant has the value it does, rather than some other value that would not allow us to exist, that would falsify the claim that it was fine-tuned for our existence.

          “If we discover a reason why…” is just conjecture and not a premise based on facts. You are concluding that the reason is a god, with no premises based on facts. And humans living on earth is irrelevant to the universe. It exists whether humans exist or not. What you’re really saying is that there was a creator who fine-tuned the universe for human habitation on earth. The universe might not be able to exist without the gravitational constant value that exists, but it might be able to. We can’t know unless that value can be falsified. The thing to consider is that physics is just descriptive, not prescriptive. The laws of physics describes how the universe works; they do not enforce the laws.

        • catfink

          You explained nothing.

          Yes I did. I explained an example of a scientific discovery that would falsify the fine-tuning hypothesis.

          “If we discover a reason why…” is just conjecture

          No, it’s a hypothetical. Not sure why you think that’s relevant.

          You are concluding that the reason is a god

          I haven’t concluded any such thing. You seem very confused about what I’ve written.

        • Rudy R

          Since I’m soooo confused, you can have the last word.

        • Annerdr

          https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/could-silicon-be-the-basi/
          Apparently silicon based life is a possibility. That would be pretty cool to discover.

      • Kevin K

        Well, “why” claims are generally outside of the purview of science. Why is the Plank constant that particular number? Because that’s what it is.

        • catfink

          Well, “why” claims are generally outside of the purview of science.

          In this case, the “why” refers to a question within the purview of science.

          Why is the Plank constant that particular number? Because that’s what it is.

          Wrong. The correct answer is: we don’t know.

      • TheNuszAbides

        agreed; it cannot be falsified at present, but a relevant falsification is conceivable without being fanciful.

  • Ficino

    “God created/did it” isn’t an explanation that conveys robust knowledge because it does not explain the reason, the mechanism, nothing. People thought a god caused thunder. Now there’s a scientific explanation of the conditions, mechanism, etc. For the theist, it’s still true as well that God causes thunder, but “God did it” adds nothing to the scientific explanation. It’s superfluous; it does no work except perhaps as a premise in some further theological argument.

    If abiogenesis is figured out, “God created life” will be superfluous, just as now, “God” is a place-holder for the much fuller causal factor that someday, one hopes, can be explained. (The Placeholder concept I think was voiced by Martin Hughes a few days ago.)

    • epeeist

      If abiogenesis is figured out, “God created life” will be superfluous

      This is an interesting one.

      Assume that we do find a mechanism for abiogenesis, what does this show? It certainly doesn’t show that this was the mechanism whereby life came about on the earth but it does show that a naturalistic mechanism is possible. And given it is possible then this means that god as a necessary being is, as you say, superfluous.

      It doesn’t mean that a god of some kind does not exist, but it does mean theists will have to provide a reason for including such an entity into our theories given, again as you say, that it does no work.

      Of course if we don’t find a mechanism for abiogenesis then this simply means that we haven’t found a mechanism. It isn’t support for a god of any kind.

      • Joe

        We know abiogenisis is possible. If we could manipulate atoms on an individual level, we’d have created life by now.

        • Greg G.

          We can manipulate individual atoms. I recall seeing atoms moved to spell out something that could be read with an electron microscope. It was a few years ago.

        • Joe

          Yes, but we can’t link them together to form a single strand of RNA yet, or 3D print a cell from atoms.

          Yet, we know every single element that constitutes life.

        • Michael Murray

          But usually abiogenesis doesn’t mean intelligent beings with atomic manipulators assembling a copy of life that formed in some other way !

        • Kevin K

          Abiogenesis just means the chemistry involved to compound something that is a self-replicating molecule of the variety we call “life”. “Life” being the tricky thing to actually define.

          Once that’s done, it — by definition — is the “smartest” life form on the planet. And then evolution starts and something else becomes the “smartest” thing on the planet.

          The Earth didn’t have human-like intelligence for 3 BILLION years. But there was plenty of life during that time.

        • Michael Murray

          Thanks. But I was trying to make the point that the fact that, if we could manipulate atoms, we could assemble life doesn’t mean abiogenesis is possible. Note that I’m not disputing that abiogenesis is possible just the argument being put for that.

        • Joe

          No, but no magic is necessary.

        • Michael Murray

          No of course not.

        • TheNuszAbides

          this is [kind of] why i [kind of] wish creationists and alien-astronaut-ists would get cozier with each other. at least the creationists’ imaginations would stand a chance of improvement.

    • Kevin K

      “When” abiogenesis is figured out. Not “if”.

      It’s a chemistry problem; nothing more.

      • GubbaBumpkin

        It’s a historical chemistry problem, so there is no guarantee that it will be fully resolved. We might be able to say at some point “the theories we have suffice to explain what happened” which is not quite the same thing as saying “we can be sure that that is precisely what happened.”

        • Kevin K

          Agreed. I fully expect that sometime — within the next 20 years or so — someone is going to announced that they have created life from non-life in the lab. But that won’t confirm that whatever process those people used was the process that was the “original”. What it will do is belie the claim that such a thing is impossible without a “god” attending.

        • Greg G.

          What it will do is belie the claim that such a thing is impossible without a “god” attending.

          Christians have anticipated that since at least the 1970s. They will say, “Aha! That proves that it takes intelligence to create life!”

        • Kevin K

          Oh yes, I didn’t go so far as to say that it would disclaim that notion. It would, however, remove the notion that the “intelligence” had to be of the supernatural variety. The god gap would get incrementally smaller.

  • Chuck Johnson

    1. How Did the Universe Come Into Being?

    To answer this, I first have to define “universe”.
    I prefer to define the universe as “everything, past and present. (Possibly the future, too.) And this definition refers to limitless distances in all directions.”

    The answer to question 1 is that the universe never did come into being.
    Scientific observation and experiment always find that things do not come from nowhere. Things always come from things that existed previously.

    The universe that we experience at this moment came from the universe which existed a moment before. And so on backwards in time, with no beginning, just changes extending backwards forever.

    • Clement Agonistes

      In this chain of universes which had to come from things that existed previously, where did the first one come from?

      • Greg G.

        It has been shown that mathematically, a positron is equivalent to an electron traveling backwards in time. A virtual positron-electron could cause itself. Two pairs of virtual pairs could interact to cause themselves. A googolplex of them could simultaneously cause each other. No matter how unlikely that seems, if it is possible, it would be inevitable, given no time limits.

        Just because your mind only goes in one time direction doesn’t mean all forms of matter and energy does.

        • Pofarmer

          Pretty sure that Neil Degrasse Tyson says, from the perspective of an Electron, traveling at the speed of light, from it’s perspective it reaches your eye the same instant it left the star.

        • Joe

          That’s a photon, but It might apply to any massless particle, I suppose.

        • Michael Neville

          Electrons have a mass of 0.511 MeV.

        • Greg G.

          The mass of an electron would be Relatively greater as it approached the speed of light.

        • Joe

          Thought so. It’s photons that don’t experience time.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          Yes, electrons approach the speed of light, but never quite get there. A particle accelerator I know accelerates electrons to 99.9999% the speed of light.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          We got one to go a little faster than the speed of light. Hardly ever happens, but this one went 1.000000003% of the speed of light. Incredible. We’re working up our paper on it now. Weird stuff.

        • TheNuszAbides

          1.000000003 times the speed, you mean? where, when?

        • Lubed Up Larry

          Up at Harvard. It was a secret experiment. We went a little over “light-speed.” No big deal. I grew a beard in 8 seconds, though.

        • Pofarmer

          Thanks. Not a physicist!

        • Greg G.

          I have heard that but I’m not sure where. If you see a galaxy a billion light years away, the photons have traveled through space for a billion years but for it, leaving the star and hitting your retina is the same instant in time.

        • Pofarmer

          That’s it, yes. nearly incomprehensible.

        • Pofarmer

          Just because your mind only goes in one time direction doesn’t mean all forms of matter and energy does.

          Which makes it a wee bit hard to comprehend.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “The Science of The Gaps”

        • Joe

          Oh, the irony!

        • Greg G.

          You asked a speculative question, I gave you a speculative answer.

          A cause acting on nothing cannot have an effect. Multiple causes acting in different directions of time is more rational.

        • Clement Agonistes

          You are, of course, right. You are a stand-up guy for taking a shot at it. I’ve been on the receiving end of those kinds of no-win questions more time than I can count, and I don’t appreciate them.

          So, just to make it up to you, here’s a free “Ultimately, there has to be a causeless something that transcends the need to be created by something else, and God fits that description”.

          Knock yourself out.

        • catfink

          Ultimately, there has to be a causeless something that transcends the need to be created by something else, and God fits that description

          In that case, the Big Bang also fits that description. We have evidence for the Big Bang. We have no evidence for God.

        • Joe

          Ultimately, there has to be a causeless something that transcends the need to be created by something else, and God fits that description”.

          There are several things that fit that description.

        • Pofarmer

          That’s just jacking off with definitions,

        • Greg G.

          Invoking the god thingie still leaves the question of where the god thingie came from remains. You are taking a primitive explanation for wind, lightning, and things that go bump in the night that failed and looking for something it can explain.

          As Matt Cavanaugh said:

          In any case, it may be that the universe had no beginning as we understand beginnings from our narrow perspective inside a directional flow of time. The Big Bang may be similar to the North Pole, which is not the ‘beginning’ of the surface of the globe, and there is nothing further North.

          Our minds are the result of evolutionary processes in an entropy driven perspective in one particular universe at one particular scale. The direction of time seems to be less relevant at the quantum scale.

          Think of nothingness. What would keep it stable? If there were such a thing, it would not be nothingness. So an unstable nothingness would be the natural state.

          Alan Guth has presented the idea that the instability would allow particles and antiparticles to form, their total charges are equal and opposite totaling zero. Remember how to calculate potential energy from mass, the strength of a gravitational field, and the height with respect to the gravitational field and that mass and energy are equivalent? Guth shows that the energy of the particles would be like the kinetic energy while the distance between them creates space itself and the total forces between is the potential energy that is equal and opposite to the kinetic energy. So it still adds up to zero.

          So what are the probabilities? That particle/anti-particle pairs will happen seems to be a given. There is nothing to prevent more than one pair forming close to one another so it will happen. What are the chances of enough pairs to amount to a universe spontaneously coming into existence simultaneous in a near-singularity, given that there is no conservation of energy limits nor a time factor? It would be inevitable. There is no limit for how many times it could happen, either. So a multiverse from a true timeless nothingness would be far more likely than a god thingie.

        • eric

          The problem is, many things may fit that description. When you have an argument that supports many contradictory conclusions equally, that argument cannot serve as a rational basis for picking one of those conclusions over the others. IOW “God fits” is not a rational basis for picking god-belief over belief in another causal agent.

          But wait, it gets worse for god-belief. We can somewhat get out of this philosophical bind via induction – i.e., reasoning that causes for events we observe might be reasonable candidates for causes for events we don’t observe. Why did that distant star go nova? Because of the physics of fusion and gravity that we can we empirically investigate here on Earth. But we observe no God-causes here. So we have no inductive reason to think a God-cause is a good explanation for the universe.

        • Raging Bee

          “Ultimately, there has to be a causeless something that transcends the need to be created by something else, and God fits that description”.

          You call that a “description?” All you did there was assert that a certain “causeless something” has to exist (without proving the assertion), and then slap the label “God” onto it. There’s no “description” there to “fit.”

        • Kevin K

          Ultimately, there has to be a causeless something that transcends the need to be created by something else, and God fits that description.

          Ultimately, there has to be a causeless something…

          No, there does not have to be a “causeless” something. Actual-and-real physicists will disagree vehemently with you on that. Strike one.

          …that transcends the need to be created by something else…

          No, you’re hand-waving around the theist’s infinite regress problem. Actual-and-real physicists disagree vehemently with you on on that. Strike two.

          … God fits that description.

          …And “universe building aliens” fit that description. And “all-natural unguided forces” fit that description. Both of which are far superior answers to a superpowered superbeing that cares what type of hat we wear on Sunday. Strike three.

        • Clement Agonistes

          My statement is not a statement of science, but on of philosophy. Very few “actual-and-real physicists” are philosophical physicists. By definition, they don’t touch this kind of thing. They may argue with me, but it is not out of authority.

        • Susan

          My statement is not a statement of science.

          Nope.

          but of philosophy.

          Then, show us the philosophy.

          Special pleading would have weeded you out a very long time ago.

          They may argue with me, but it is not out of authority.

          You probably mean expertise.

          Your reliance on special pleading means no authority in either subject should have to take you seriously.

        • Kevin K
        • GubbaBumpkin

          It has been shown that mathematically, a positron is equivalent to an electron traveling backwards in time.

          Whoa! This could answer one of the more persistent puzzles in physics: where did all the anti-matter go?
          Perhaps all the matter went forward in time, and all the anti-matter went backwards in time.

        • eric

          It doesn’t answer the question without some physical explanation as to why matter preferred one direction and anti-matter the other. But nice try. 🙂

        • Greg G.

          Perhaps they both went in each direction and annihilated each other except for an insignificant few particles that remain because the numbers were not precisely even.

          Or see One-electron universe.

        • Raging Bee

          …and they’ll all circle back around and meet again…

      • Chuck Johnson

        Clement:
        “In this chain of universes which had to come from things that existed previously, where did the first one come from?”

        Chuck:
        Since they all come from things that existed previously, then it is impossible to have a first one.

        This is similar to my “limitless distances” part of the definition.
        If we assert either a limit of time, or a limit of distance, then paradoxes and absurdities arise.

        When you get to the end of the universe, what do you see there (other than a restaurant) ? – – – A wall of iron? A wall of brick?

        How thick is the wall ? What is on the other side ?

        Only by defining a universe as being without limits can we have a foundation for limitation-free scientific investigation.

        Then we can leave it to the theists to slam the door in our face when we try to ask “too many questions”.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Then, you have truly created the perfect Science Of The Gaps scenario. You set up your definitions to fit your conclusion.

          If universes do not cause themselves (they must be caused by a previous one), then regression demands an original universe …. that must be caused by something other than a universe.

          Simple enough, then – we just change the rules (“more guidelines than actual rules”) until they fit. I guess it just depends on which god we worship, eh?

        • Pofarmer

          Yeah, except we don’t know if Universes cause themselves, but it’s certainly possible.

          Accusing Chuck of setting up his definitions to meet his conclusions is nearly unbeleivably rich.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          “i” before “e” except after “c”

        • Michael Murray

          Like in science.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          the more complete rule-o-thum I learned was

          ‘i’ before ‘e’ except after ‘c’, or when sounded like ‘a’ as in neighbor or weigh

          Naturally, there are exceptions.
          height

        • Taneli Huuskonen

          There are still many exceptions to that (just look at Greg’s list), but very few of them sound like “ee” as in “seize” or “species”.

          ETA: Of course, there are cases like “fancies” that obviously fall under a more general rule.

        • Greg G.

          Except in agreeing, albeit, Alzheimer’s, ancient, atheism, beige, Beijing, being, caffeine, concierge, deicide, deify, deign, deindustrialize, deity, disagreeing, dreeing, dreidel, efficiency, efficient, eigen-, eight, either, Fahrenheit, feign, feisty, foreign, foreseeing, forfeit, freight, geitost, gesundheit, heifer, height, heinous, heir, heist, herein, inveigle, kaleidoscope, keister, leisure, madeira, meiosis, neigh, neighbor, neighbour, neither, obeisance, onomatopoeia, peine, poltergeist, protein, reign, reignite, reimburse, rein, reindeer, reindustrialize, reinforce, reinstall, reinvest, reisolate, reissue, safeish, scarabaeid, schlockmeister, science, seeing, seignorial, seine, seismic, seize, sensei, sheik, skein, sleigh, sleight, sovereign, species, stein, surfeit, surveillance, their, theism, therein, veil, vein, weigh, weight, weir, weird, wherein, whereinto, xanthein, zeitgeist, and zootheism.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          Hey, you can google!

        • Greg G.

          Yes, I can!

        • Clement Agonistes

          Oh, good. I was afraid I wasn’t being heavy-handed enough in pointing out the double standard.

        • Pofarmer

          If you understand “Methodological Naturalism” you would know why the double standard is yours.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Could you expand on that? What is my double standard?

        • Pofarmer

          Because Chuck is using a standard whereby everything in the Universe and about the Universe is natural. He’s using natural definitions to determine why the Universe is what it is. At quantum scales and very high speeds, for instance, things aren’t as intuitive as they seem. See the example about a photon traveling at the speed of light hitting your eye at the same distance it was created from the point of view of the photon, even though the star it originated from could be billions of light years distant. You posit a universe where the universe is natural and created, but some supernatural and uncreated thing must have caused it, and then argue that this thing needed no cause. Well if your supernatural thing needed no cause, then you have to explain why the Universe itself couldn’t be uncaused. Claiming causation for one thing and not another is a double standard.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Chuck is just making crap up. The irony is so thick you can cut it into blocks and ship it by truck.

        • Pofarmer

          He may or may not be making crap up, what he’s saying isn’t that far out. It would be interesting to know the sources of his idea. But he certainly isn’t employing a double standard.

        • Clement Agonistes

          He needed an explanation for the universe since thing don’t come from nowhere. Simple enough: universes come from other universes, and it is an infinite regression. There was never a time when a universe did not exist.

          Were he not one of your own, you would be blistering this kind of logic.

        • Pofarmer

          Uhm, no. Because an eternal Universe is one possibility.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          “He needed an explanation for the universe since thing don’t come from nowhere.”

          Even in common laymens experience things don’t “come” at all. Everything is already here and interacting with other things, some of which make up our bodies. There is no human analogy to whatever a “God” is magicking things into existence.

          “Simple enough: universes come from other universes, and it is an infinite regression.”

          As uncomfortable as that may feel, you turn right around and give us an uncaused witch. I have to wonder if this fanciful omniwitchcraft witch were as observable as our universe if believers would then posit there must be a super witch who created that witch and the universe because the clearly there witch as a natral explanation can’t possibly be all there is!

          We have a universe that we observe and experiment within as part of it. We have no idea what a “God” is outside of what a plothole needs to rescue the author or what a charlatan can use to make the credulous masses keep in lockstep and give them their resources.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I admire Bob for being able to admit that there are tough questions out there. Clearly, there are huge numbers of atheists who possess the totality of knowledge. God can’t have supernatural knowledge, but dozens of atheists can.

          Everything must have a cause … except universes (“everything there is or ever will be”).

        • eric

          I don’t know the answer to how the universe began. I don’t know that everything must have a cause. If it does, I don’t know whether that means there has been an infinite regression. If not, I don’t know how to reconcile ‘everything must have a cause’ with ‘no infinite regression.’

          However I do know that the claim ‘everything must have a cause…except God’ is special pleading.

        • Greg G.

          Everything must have a cause … except universes

          That is an inference from things made from parts that already exist. A universe is probably not made from parts that exist. Can you name anything that was caused to exist that was not just a rearrangement of things that already existed?

        • adam

          ” God can’t have supernatural knowledge, but dozens of atheists can.”

          The REAL QUESTION is where does the character “God” in a book of mythology GET supernatural knowledge?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/38a372d179f379b51cdb5f1c227e4a5bd6dd543347d09566c2aedd943b72e754.jpg

        • Lubed Up Larry

          Extremely sad. These always remind me of the Sam Kinison bit.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWnyTHVy5Mw

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          The only people who repeat the “everything has a cause” cannard are trying to sell a con- whatever “God/supernatural” is does not appear to be among the mundane human confidence men.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Well, in that case, there are a LOT of atheist scientists out there trying to sell the con of god(s).

          Honestly, guys, do your fingers just type this nonsense, or do your brains get some say in it?

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Interesting that you say this, but most physicists do not and neither does any God express such an opinion (that would be quite humorous if a God would).

        • Chuck Johnson

          Clement:
          “You set up your definitions to fit your conclusion.”

          Chuck:
          I set up this definition to suit the empirical evidence.
          Beginnings of time and beginnings of space are not part of what scientists have observed.

        • Chuck Johnson

          Clement:
          “If universes do not cause themselves (they must be caused by a previous one). . .”

          Chuck:
          Under my definition, there is only one universe, and it is ongoing.

          Each moment of existence of our universe should not be called a separate universe. All of the moments collectively constitute our universe. – – – It is an ongoing thing.

        • eric

          If universes do not cause themselves (they must be caused by a previous one), then regression demands an original universe…

          No not really. As long as time isn’t quantized, you can fit an infinite number of causes into a finite amount of time. Any infinite series that adds up to a finite value can serve as a mathematical model for that. As just one example, if the cause of the BB took a second, and the pre-BB universal cause took half a second, and the pre-pre-BB universal cause took a quarter of a second, and so on, and so on, then the entire infinite series of pre-BB causes would fit into two seconds.

          Not that I think this is right; I’m perfectly fine thinking of our universe as having a cause. However I wouldn’t (a) rule out the infinite series quite yet, and (b) attribute sentience, knowledge, mercy, caring about humans etc. to any cause without evidence.

      • epeeist

        In this chain of universes which had to come from things that existed previously, where did the first one come from?

        It’s a good question. Do you also ask it about your god?

        • Clement Agonistes

          I’ve been asking atheists that same kind of question for years. Kudos to Bob for confronting it head-on. My version of this will be covered in “10 Tough Questions For Theists To Answer”. For now, just let me bask in the atheists apologetics. We’ll return to our regularly schedule programming soon enough.

          There are, of course questions for which there is no satisfactory answer. We can speculate – the rice cakes of science – but it is doubtful we’ll know for sure in our lifetime. We’re constantly throwing stuff against the wall and every once in a while it sticks. Every satisfactory answer, just raises more, tougher, questions.

        • eric

          What atheist apologetics? Bob said (and many other posters
          have repeated) that the current answer is “we don’t know.” Are you now counting “we don’t know” as atheist apologetics?

      • Kevin K

        Who says there was a “first one”?

        • Clement Agonistes

          “things do not come from nowhere.”

        • Susan

          “things do not come from nowhere”

          Putting it in quotes (especially without references) does not give it more power.

          What do you mean when you say “things”. What do yo mean by “nowhere”?

          There is no foundation on which to consider your claim, let alone reason to accept it.

        • Clement Agonistes

          It was a quote from Chuck’s earlier post. You probably haven’t been following the conversation. Sometimes this format makes it tough for late-comers to get up to speed.

        • Susan

          Sometimes this format makes it tough for late-comers to get up to speed.

          Most of us agree that Disqus is the dog’s breakfast when it comes to coherent discussion.

          But I can navigate it for the most part as long as I stay current

          You and Chuck were having a disucssion. Chuck said that so far, scientific endeavours show tha tthere is an explanation (or at least, the requirement for an explanation) behind every observation.

          You then (with no justification) insisted that thee there must be a first explanation.

          You (without justification) asked about the “first one”.

          And then used your equivocation to state that “things do not come from nowhere” as though that justified your claim that there must be a first one.

          I think I am following you so far.

          Disqus IS the Dog’s Breakfast in many ways but I was folliwing your conversation .

          You just think that because I don’t grant your completely unjustified leap to a first cause being necessary, that I was out of the loop.

          Maybe Disqus ate your explanation for a first cause being necessary.

          Or maybe I missed it.

          Please link me to your comment where you justified that statement, instead of just assumed it.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Chuck said “things don’t come out of nowhere”. You jumped me for putting it in quotes.

          Chuck also said that universes are created by other universes.

          You seemed to be oblivious to oblivious to those then …. and now. You are more interested in spewing acid all over me than having a civil conversation.

        • Kevin K
      • Ficino

        From a turtle.

        • Greg G.

          It’s turtles all the way down.

        • Raging Bee

          From what part of the turtle?

        • Ficino

          You ask this knowing neither the texts nor the power of the turtle. For the Turtle hath neither parts nor passions.

        • Raging Bee

          Okay, that clears things up a lot. :-/

      • Raging Bee

        Who says there has to be a “first one?” Why can’t universe(s) have existed forever into the past? I have a hard time comprehending such a thing, but that doesn’t make it impossible. (If it did, there’d be no Internet.)

      • Susan

        In this chain of universes which had to come from things that existed previously

        Why did they have to do that?

        Where did the first one come from?

        Doesn’t everything have to come from things that existed previously?

        Or just until you say so?

        And where you say so?

    • TheNuszAbides

      Things always come from things that existed previously.

      crucial. because even the concept of “creation” can seem profoundly misunderstood by theists especially (presuming that my [mis]understanding was never unique or even terribly rare among theists, when i was one). and may be part of why vitalism held sway for so long.

      reproduction isn’t “creating” in the mere sense of “the offspring gains size” (ex nihilo as it were, but not that anyone would even articulate it this far — especially if they have been ‘trained’ in the “nothing can come from nothing” apologetic/rhetoric).

      growth isn’t — i’m not sure how to phrase what it isn’t — inherent generation of ‘more body’? to extrapolate from laws of conservation, growth is invariably a function of absorbing and [re]purposing surrounding matter into ‘more body’. the atoms that a zygote [e.g.] doubles and redoubles into were already around before the doubling and redoubling. the expansion is inextricably fueled by the environment, not simply ‘out of itself’. but what would be required for someone who takes pains to remain scientifically illiterate (even if only selectively) to realize this?

      EDIT: slightly more coherent English.

  • Richard Cranium

    42

    • Chuck Johnson

      I prefer 43.
      It takes more into account.
      And I like prime numbers.

      • Richard Cranium

        It’s not in the book, though! It can’t be true if it’s not in the book.

        • Chuck Johnson

          I am a progressive.

      • Raging Bee

        You can’t change the answer after we’ve already committed to finding the question! That’s heresy, as well as a complete waste of the 7.5 million years spent finding the question!

        • Chuck Johnson

          Raging Bee:
          “. . . the 7.5 million years spent finding the question!”

          Chuck:
          That’s entertainment !

  • Chuck Johnson

    2. Why Does There Appear to Be Design (Fine Tuning) in the Universe?
    There are two reasons for this.

    (1) Our universe has natural patterns to it. These patterns have little intelligence in them, but they are not completely random. The patterns of snowflakes is an example.

    (2) When animals (especially humans) came into existence, one of their special and useful talents was to perceive patterns in the universe around them. This intellectual talent is a survival adaptation.

    • Kevin K

      (2) …As well as the ability to see deities on burnt toast.

  • Chuck Johnson

    3. How Did Life Originate?

    Life consists of chemical reactions that have undergone billions of years of evolution here on earth. In the beginning those reactions were simple, but billions of years of evolution has added astounding complexity to them.

    Many physical and mechanical systems of support have also evolved to further enhance the continuation of the chemical reactions. The chemical reactions have the ability to construct the physical and mechanical structures which help the chemistry to continue to survive and to evolve.

    Before there were selfish genes, there were selfish chemical reactions.

  • Ann Kah

    (1) I don’t know. I’m a scientist. We are the people who are not afraid to say that. We don’t have to insert “therefore god”.

    (2) No fine tuning. Just think of all those stars and all those planets out there, millions and billions of them, and probably most of them uninhabited. We are here to ask these questions because of our dumb luck of being on a “goldilocks” planet, not too hot and not too cold, etc. if it had been the wrong type of planet, we wouldn’t be here to ask. It’s that simple.

    (3) We were “designed” by those powerful forces, the laws of physics and chemistry. There’s nothing random about them.

    Why do you say these are “tough questions”?

    • dagobarbz, fine Italian shoes

      I’d respond with “we don’t know yet.”
      And as for that ‘fine tuning?’ Successful mutations win.
      It’s like snow tires and regular tires. Who’s gonna win in a snowstorm?

    • Greg G.

      The fine tuning they argue about are the physical constants like gravity, the strong nuclear force, electric charge of protons and electrons, etc. If gravity was weaker, stars wouldn’t form, so no fusion, so no complex chemistry. If the strong nuclear force was weaker, there’d be nothing but hydrogen, if stronger, there’d be no hydrogen. But if the charge of protons is varied while the strong nuclear force strength varies, there could still be complex chemistry.

      EDIT: Doh! I saw someone else beat me to it.

      • Kevin K

        And the weak nuclear force is actually unneeded. So, four “fundamental” forces of nature — one of which is unnecessary. That’s about as coarse a grind as you’re going to get.

        • Only Some Stardust

          Is it unneeded by logic and mathematics? If we’re looking at things in term of symmetry, electroweak forms a greater, better symmetry than electro does. That’s how electroweak unification was worked out by scientists, by logically working out the symmetric connections.

          I could point out that electromagnetism isn’t ‘needed’ either, because I could imagine a much simpler, workable universe using Platonic blocks. That doesn’t make them logical or workable in practice.

        • Kevin K

          Not arguing with you about that … only that the theist’s common argument is that all of the forces of nature are 1) necessary for the universe to exist, and 2) must have the absolute values that they currently have or else the universe wouldn’t exist. Both of those are … well … lies.

          Sean Carroll points out the many flaws in this “argument” in his new book, which I recommend highly.

    • catfink

      Just think of all those stars and all those planets out there, millions
      and billions of them, and probably most of them uninhabited.

      It’s not just a matter of our planet. The entire universe has the appearance of being finely-tuned. If just one of a number of basic constants had even a slightly different value, the universe would be radically different — no stars, or no molecules, or even no atoms. But as Bob says, the multiverse is an obvious solution to this apparent problem.

      • Raging Bee

        The entire universe has the appearance of being finely-tuned.

        An unfounded assertion, using a purely subjective concept of “appearance.” Seriously, define what you mean by “appearance,” or admit you have no argument.

    • good answers. No, these weren’t tough for me, either, but Christians like to fantasize that they are.

  • democommiescrazierbrother

    I find that most christians’ “tough questions” are nonsensical. They belong in the same circular file as the notions about slavery being a “peculiar institution” ordained by their LOVING GOD.

  • Joe

    Do we get to see the theists answers, along with their working?

    It’s only fair, after all.

    • I bet there’s something about God in there. Being fabulous. And providing the grounding for lots of good things.

      Oh–and you have to imagine that without God, things would really suck.

      • MarquisDeMoo

        “Oh–and you have to imagine that without God, things would really suck.” – That is the nub of the problem. If you are a bronze age goat herder or even medieval peasant life did suck so religion and the afterlife was their mental crutch. The problem is that it still provides a sense of purpose and identity in a harsh world that most of them either fear or are not qualified to understand.

  • Kevin K

    Good grief. PRATTs (Points Refuted A Thousand Times).

  • dluch

    stupid people ask stupid questions. Next time someone asks me something I have no clue to, I will say ‘because God’

  • Kevin K

    I would counter these questions with questions of my own.

    1. What evidence do you have that a supernatural entity “created” the universe, as opposed to universe-building aliens? Get back to me with that answer, and then we can move on.

    2. Why do you think the universe is “fine-tuned” for human existence, if humans only occupy a small part of of a small planet on a small solar system in a vast galaxy which is part of a massively more vast supercluster which is just a tiny part of the overall observable universe? If the universe was “fine-tuned” for us, shouldn’t it be much smaller, with us at the center (objectively speaking, not your theist ego), and much-much-much-much younger? Why did it take 2/3rds of the current age of the universe for life as we know it to appear?

    3. What supernatural physics/chemistry was involved in abiogenesis? Please draw the Feynman diagram that describes the extra field/particle needed to get to life that is outside of our current understanding of the Standard Model.

    • Ficino

      Hey Kevin K, this non-scientist is guessing the answer to #3, based on what you said elsewhere. But I won’t give it away!

      • Kevin K

        Ixnay on the answeryay. 😉

  • RichardSRussell

    Religion’s unbroken record of failure:

    Name one scientific principle revealed thru prayer.
    Name one medical cure discovered by reading the Bible.
    Name one work of literature translated from tongue-speakers.
    Name one catastrophe averted by a holy amulet.
    Name one amputee healed by a miracle.
    Name one supernatural event from the Bible accepted as such by historians.
    Name one flood or lava flow held back by the literal, visible hand of God.
    Name one mountain — or even one grain of sand — moved by faith.

    All these claims of religion — all of them, 100% — have been failures.
    Each time. Every time. All the time.
    Those who made the claims were either deluded fools or outright liars.
    Religion is beyond worthless and well into outright harmful.

    If you knew of a horse which had lost its previous 999 races, would you still bet on it for #1000?

    • Greg G.

      If you knew of a horse which had lost its previous 999 races, would you still bet on it for #1000?

      If the race was against Galapagos tortoises, I would. But the comparison here is more like that horse versus a Lamborghini.

      • Lubed Up Larry

        If I was certain I would burn in hell forever if I didn’t bet it, yes, I would.

        • Pofarmer

          There is no hell. None of us will burn there.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          I know, but people believe that. Put your hand above a 650-degree grill and leave it there for 10 seconds. Now, imagine that for eternity. Eternity is a long time. That’s a strong warning against sin and the denial of god.

        • LotusPrins

          Do you know that there is a hell that exists and why would you serve such a brutal and cruel God in the first place? Run away from that monster.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          The point is, you HAVE to serve him. Otherwise you end up in hell. You can’t run away from god.

          85 % of the people in this world are pretty ignorant and not very bright. This stuff has been drilled into their head since the day they born. It’s hard to let that go. Nearly impossible for most.

        • Michael Neville

          That god doesn’t deserve my belief let alone my worship. If that monster does exist and I’m face to face with him then I’ll spit in his eye. What’s he going to do to me, send me to Hell?

        • Lubed Up Larry

          No, you won’t. You’ll be blubbering and groveling on your knees like anyone else would. God would scare the shit out of you.

        • Michael Neville

          I’ve been really, truly scared that I was going to die or get horribly mutilated and I survived more or less intact. It would take more than some bully saying “I’m the biggest badass around” to impress me. Besides, as I said, what’s he going to do to me? The threat of Hell wears off when that’s all that’s facing me.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          Fair enough.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Besides, as I said, what’s he going to do to me?

          think you’d breeze through your own episode of Job’s Tribulations? 😉

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Why?

        • Lubed Up Larry

          Because god is like the great and powerful Oz, and you’d be like the Cowardly Lion and them friends of Dorothy.

          There really is some pretty solid evidence that God is very similar to the great and powerful Oz. The scary Oz with the flames and stuff, (of course) not the goofy air-balloon old guy.

          They have paintings from that era that Paul references in chapter 6:38. Cool stuff if you get into it.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          Pretty sure everything attributed to “God” was actually done by Clint W. AKA ‘Thought2Much’. Ask him. He will tell you if he did this or that miracle or smiting or other.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          Thank you, Giauz. I’m putting that in my back pocket in case I need it. Cheers!

        • BlackMamba44

          So god is just a human behind a curtain.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          No, not exactly. God is like the scary Oz in the movie. The one with fire around him and a loud voice. Deep down he’s nice, though. Good guy.

          Mamba, what do you think god looks like? **IF** there is a god.

        • BlackMamba44

          Don’t know and don’t care.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          Oh, come on. Use your imagination. I think he could look like Charlton Heston. That would be awesome.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fc820f9bed95d8584af5b946334618ea108c4313c0d30bc06f3c5fbe6f254e6d.jpg

        • BlackMamba44
        • Lubed Up Larry

          Great job!! I like this!

        • Greg G.

          But you have to serve Allah, too. You might have to do it the Baptist way as they think the Catholics are hell-bound, and the Catholics think the Protestants are wrong.

        • epeeist

          The point is, you HAVE to serve him. Otherwise you end up in hell. You can’t run away from god.

          All you poor bastards who believe in Jesus are going to have a real problem when you die and meet the real god

          https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/3c/0c/77/3c0c779deb1798eefd0df62a66409adf.jpg

        • Lubed Up Larry

          Ep, read the whole thread so you understand what I was saying. Or not.

        • epeeist

          Lube, I was pointing out the fact that your post contained something that was essentially a version of Pascal’s Wager, something a bright 12-year old can see the flaws in.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          I was pointing out you can”t run away from god (hello!). God runs like Usain Bolt. In fact, god knows what you’re thinking so he would get a head start on you. Don’t run away from god, Ep. Run towards him. Run and jump into god’s arms. God’s a good guy.

        • Pofarmer

          If I’m running away from God, then that must be the plan.

          Because God made you for a reason, he also decided when you would be born and how long
          you would live. He planned the days of your life in advance, choosing
          the exact time of your birth and death. The Bible says, “You saw me
          before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to
          breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!” [Psalm 139:16]

          There is also this:

          Regardless of the circumstances of your birth or who your parents are, God had a plan in creating you.

          Under this view of the universe, God plans everything.
          when you stop to think about it deeply that the contradictions hit you.

          Now let’s imagine that you say a prayer in this sort of universe. What
          difference does it make? God has his plan, and that plan is running down
          its track like a freight train. If God has a plan, then everyone who
          died in the Holocaust died for a reason. They had to die, and each death
          had meaning. Therefore, Holocaust victims could pray all day, and they
          would still die. The idea of a “plan” makes the idea of a
          “prayer-answering relationship with God” a contradiction, doesn’t it?
          Yet Christians seem to attach themselves to both ideas, despite the
          irresolvable problem the two ideas create.

          Think about what God’s plan means for you personally. If the plan
          happens to say that you will get hit by a bus tomorrow, or that
          terrorists will blow you up, or that you will be shot in the head four
          times, then that’s what will happen. It would be the same with any
          disease. If you contract cancer this afternoon and die three months
          later, that is God’s plan for you. Praying to cure the cancer is a
          waste. God plans for you to die, so you will die. He has pre-programmed
          the exact time of your death. There is nothing you can do to change the
          plan — no amount of prayer will help — because your death will have
          meaning and your death will cause side-effects that are also part of the
          plan.

          So, Akuna Matata baby, it’s all covered.

          Now bugger off.

        • epeeist

          I was pointing out you can”t run away from god (hello!).

          Strange then that having been brought up Catholic god doesn’t seem to have chased after me since I left.

          God’s a good guy

          Not according to the bible it isn’t.

          As it is I remain unimpressed, especially at the use of such a pathetic and outworn device as Pascal’s wager, especially as every fule kno only non-theists go to heaven.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          He works in mysterious ways, doesn’t He?

        • Lubed Up Larry

          I’ve never heard “Pascal’s wager,” but it’s horseshit. If there is a god, he already knows if you believe or not, so pretending would do you no good. In fact, if you fake it, god will send you to a worse hell. It’s even hotter than the regular hell. It hurts real bad, trust me.

        • epeeist

          I’ve never heard “Pascal’s wager,” but it’s horseshit. If there is a god, he already knows if you believe or not, so pretending would do you no good.

          Well I did tell you a bright 12 year old could see through it. You have missed one other aspect though, namely that Pascal assumed one particular god. Even Homer Simpson could see the problem with that

          http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-UaROaLwfUZE/UB9-Q0EOE_I/AAAAAAAABKI/Llanof6dm8Q/s1600/389014_325607777528798_692978549_n.jpg

          if you fake it, god will send you to a worse hell.

          Which rather screws up your claim that your god is a “good guy”.

        • Michael Neville

          Any god who has an eternal hell with even one inhabitant is automatically not a “good guy”.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          He’s stern master. He’s like your drill sergeant when you were in the army. “Tough love”

        • epeeist

          He’s like your drill sergeant when you were in the army. “Tough love”

          In other words, he is a fucking sadist.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          Ep, people are bad. We NEED that strict punishment. Bad kids need tough love and so do bad people.

        • Candy Smith

          In your opinion, he is!!

        • Candy Smith

          Well first of all, he is saying stuff that is based off of the Bible so it cant all be false. If the Bible is true, then it’s true. If U are wrong, U will wish U had listened to me!!

        • Greg G.

          Saying something that is based on the Bible and nothing else is practically a guarantee that it is false.

        • Candy Smith

          Saying something that is based on the Bible and nothing else is practically a guarantee that it is false.

          Of course that’s your opinion.

        • Kodie

          I hear a fly buzzing, do you hear a fly buzzing?

        • Candy Smith

          Let me guess if I say no, then you will say that that is my opinion, right?

        • Kodie

          I didn’t say anything about your opinion.

        • Candy Smith

          Then why are U talking about flies buzzing and asking me if I can hear it?

        • Greg G.

          Don’t worry about her. She’s just wiping her feet on the potato salad.

        • Greg G.

          That’s YOUR opinion.

        • Candy Smith

          Im not understanding whats going on!?

        • Candy Smith

          Yeah ok and?

        • Greg G.

          Of course that’s your opinion.

          Yes, it is. You haven’t shown my opinion to be wrong.

        • Candy Smith

          A 12 year old ghat has been brainwashed by their parents isnt bright

        • Greg G.

          You got something right while being a poster child for it.

        • Candy Smith

          Yeah except what I believe makes sense.

        • Greg G.

          Yeah except what I believe makes sense.

          What you believe doesn’t even agree with reality.

        • Candy Smith

          The universe coming from nothing makes sense in reality?

        • Charles Coryn

          Pop…. Tell us what your god’s Being is. We humans are cells and blood and tissue, we know all that, so tell me what the Being of god is…… You speak of god as if he were a friend, someone whom you’ve met. Is that so?

        • Pop Leibel
        • Charles Coryn

          So you have no idea of god’s Being, where he came from, any siblings, parents….. maybe he just appeared out of nowhere…. he can do that, can’t he if he’s god….. Thanks for not wanting to discuss anything meaningful……

        • Pop Leibel

          God is love. What’s more meaningful than that??

        • Charles Coryn

          You mean ‘what is more meaningless than that’? Love is love, and god is god, and this sentence is meaningless too……. You’re off into the world of abstractions, my friend, with nothing concrete to keep you in reality. Does god have a ‘being’, that is what I’m asking. Is this the god of Deut 28:58, who admonishes us “If you do not carefully follow all the words of this law, which are written in this book, ……. the Lord your God – the Lord will send fearful plagues on you and your descendants…….” What? My descendants who are not even born are already scheduled for punishment?
          Pop, your ‘god’ is a little too human to my mind, he seems to exhibit all the petty characteristics we as humans are driven by, not anything supernatural.

          Well, at 80 I’m about to find out what’s ahead, and my bet is it’s nothingness, eternal nothingness, and not the ‘pie in the sky’ you’ve been telling me about……

        • Charles Coryn

          Pop….. That’s the Big Lie children are taught, without one single bit of evidence to back it up. And then parents continue to threaten their children with it, and the schoolteachers do the same……. Religion is all fiction, myth if you will, although there are, or have been perhaps, legitimate social reasons for it to exist, i.e. to provide identity for an individual, and basically an organization to get something done. Which is inevitably corrupted by a human consciousness in some way….. Such as pederasty……

        • Pop Leibel

          I don’t go to churches. I don’t care about them. You’re right, people do spoil everything. That’s not god’s fault.

        • TheNuszAbides

          how do you run away if it’s everywhere? let alone exclusively in charge of all stuff and things ever. that’s why OneTrueGoddists get in such a tizzy about how we “hate” or “disrespect” TheOneTruGod, only reject Him out of a predilection for “sin”, etc. they can’t/don’t separate the omni- presuppositions from their Godconcept (or false dichotomies from their overarching worldview), thus can’t make sense of the idea that we merely reject the [often-half-baked] concepts, not The Glorious All-Rule Of An Actual Extant God.

        • Pofarmer

          Don’t be a Dick, Larry.

          edit

          I may be missing something.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          I’m not. People believe that.

          I don’t, but millions do.

        • Kevin K

          I think Larry is a theist troll. He’s on a short leash with me.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          I’m not a troll (much). I’m trying to get you to think outside of the small little box you’re in. There’s more out there than brain waves.

        • Greg G.

          Most of us are ex-Christians who thought outside the box. That’s why we aren’t theists anymore.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          Okay, that’s fine.

        • Charles Coryn

          Then how did you get stuck in the christianity box?

        • Pop Leibel

          Chuck, I’m enjoying talking to you, but my game is on. Let me get back to you. You’re a nice guy.

        • Pop Leibel

          I’m stuck in a lot of places. I’m not perfect, that’s for sure.

        • Greg G.

          Other religions make similar claims about the afterlife. It’s like a race between a thousand horses that have each lost their previous 999 races. You would expect one of the horses to win but there is no certainty that any of them would even reach the finish line.

          Christians present Pascal’s Wager as having lost nothing if they are wrong. But Paul refuted that in the first century:

          1 Corinthians 15:19 (NRSV)19 If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          I’m not sure I understand this. The bible says if you accept Christ as your savior, you’ll be saved. If you don’t, you won’t.

          This doesn’t fly with me, though. I can’t get passed all the people who were born into other religions by no fault of their own, or babies, etc. I can’t believe those people don’t get saved just because of who and where they were born. I can’t be convinced of that. Or, that someone like Hitler can do everything he did, then at the very last second commit to Jesus, and that allows him to get in. No way.

        • Kevin K

          Actually, the bible says that Jesus atoned for the sins of the world and that all of mankind is heir to that atonement. Just as we have no choice but to bear Adam’s sin, we have no choice whether or not to accept Jesus’ atonement.

          That’s kinda grisly and disgusting, but whatever.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          That’s good. Breathing a little easier over here.

        • Greg G.

          Yes, Hitler could be in heaven while all the Jews that were put to death would be in hell.

        • That refutation never occurred to me. Nice!

        • adam
      • Tommy

        You would bet on a horse who lost 999 races to a Galapagos tortoise? 😀

        • Greg G.

          The thousandth time is the charm!

    • LotusPrins

      …and still religion works for the ignorant best.

      • Lubed Up Larry

        What religion scares you the most? Or, bothers you the most?

        • LotusPrins

          Pretty much all the religions I have studied have things in it to hypnotize you into offering all your money, body, soul and mind to it.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          What about spirituality, and other such concepts? Are you against them as well? Probably not, I would guess.

        • LotusPrins

          What is spirituality?

        • Lubed Up Larry

          What does it mean to you? Just google it if you really don’t know. It’s different for everybody.

        • Only Some Stardust

          As in, it is so vague you can define it to mean anything you want! Yay!

          My spirituality is about speaking in monotones that sound like Daria and gazing at my navel. What does that mean? Absolutely nothing. Nothing at all. But it sure tricks people into thinking I sound deep!

        • Lubed Up Larry

          No, it doesn’t. I know you have at least a small amount of spirituality in there somewhere. Have you ever cried?

        • Kevin K

          Human emotions aren’t “spirits”. They’re emergent properties of a brain.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          Maybe. A lot of smart people would disagree with that.
          Have you ever been in love?

        • Kevin K

          Again, an emotion, which is an emergent property of a brain.

          Every emotion — positive or negative — that you care to offer is an emergent property of a thing with a brain.

          You’re never gonna find an example for which the answer is something other than “emergent property of things with brains”. Quit while you’re behind.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          You’ve just dismissed about 500 of the greatest thinkers the world has ever known. Have you written anything on the subject of spirituality and how it relates to the human brain/mind? If you have, I’d like to read it. (seriously, I would)

        • Kevin K

          1. Name them.

          2. Sean Carroll – The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself

        • Lubed Up Larry

          This’ll get you started:

          http://www.thefamouspeople.com/philosophers.php
          http://www.ranker.com/list/best-poets/ranker-books
          http://www.apa.org/monitor/julaug02/eminent.aspx
          http://www.thebestschools.org/blog/2013/01/06/50-smartest-people-faith/

          Are you Sean Carroll? Or, did you read a book by Carroll? If you’re Carroll I’ll read your book. And, I won’t dismiss it outright just because you disagree with me.

        • Kevin K

          HA! You provide a list of famous philosophers, but I can guarantee you that that list includes people who violently disagree with the notions you’re declaring with regard to substance dualism (the notion that there is an external “something” to our emotions/thoughts).

          You have a great day.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          Okay, you too.

        • Greg G.

          How many of those great thinkers thought the purpose of the brain was to cool the blood? How many of them thought that thoughts and emotions were produced in the heart and kidneys?

        • Lubed Up Larry

          Not sure.

        • Kodie

          That fucking raging asshole is still here???????????????

        • Lubed Up Larry

          Hi, Kodie!

        • Michael Neville

          Every time I gaze at my navel I end up having to wash it. Do you know how dirty navels get?

    • Raging Bee

      Name one scientific principle revealed thru prayer.

      Prayer doesn’t work?

      • Kevin K

        ^^^Actually…you’re right!!!

        Checkmate, atheists!!

  • Only Some Stardust

    I have to say, I’m really not a fan of the multiverse hypothesis. Rather, I don’t think the universe is ‘fine tuned’ at all! So much of it is incredibly hostile to life – what part of that screams fine tuned?

    • Kevin K

      Well, the puddle is certainly fine-tuned to the hole that it fills.

      The theist has this incredibly myopic perspective — it’s the “what I see is all there is” heuristic. They have no conception of the sheer size of the universe. And so, everything must have been created with them in mind.

      • catfink

        Well, the puddle is certainly fine-tuned to the hole that it fills.

        The puddle is constrained to fill the hole by the laws of physics. The question is why the laws of physics are what they are. Or more precisely, why the fundamental constants of nature have the values they have, rather than a different set of values that would not allow for puddles at all — or perhaps for any kind of structure to the universe beyond subatomic particles.

        • Kevin K

          And, as I stated earlier, the “why” question is not something that most scientists I’m familiar with bother themselves with.

          Why is the speed of light the speed of light and not faster or slower? Who cares?

          Why is the Planck time the smallest unit of time measureable? Who says there has to be an answer to that question?

          Why do the “constants” of nature have the values they have and not some other values? Same thing.

          Science is generally concerned with describing the values, and not assigning some “value” to them, which is what the “why” questions imply. They are what they are.

          From the perspective of those making the “fine tuning” argument, however, the fact remains that those universal constants don’t have to be at their current values in order for the universe as we know it to exist. That is, again, a lie told by theists trying to impose their “fine tuner” into the mix.

          Victor Stenger has a very nice book on the subject. It’s called, appropriately enough, “The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe Is Not Designed for Us.”

        • catfink

          And, as I stated earlier, the “why” question is not something that most scientists I’m familiar with bother themselves with.

          And as I responded earlier, the why questions here may have answers from science.

          Why is the speed of light the speed of light and not faster or slower?

          We don’t know.

          Who cares?

          I care. I think the vast majority of physicists probably care too. They’d probably really like to know if there’s a reason why the speed of light is what it is, and if so, what that reason is.

          Why is the Planck time the smallest unit of time measureable? Who says there has to be an answer to that question?

          No one says there “has” to be an answer. There may be an answer.

          Science is generally concerned with describing the values, and not assigning some “value” to them, which is what the “why” questions imply. They are what they are.

          No, science is concerned both with measuring values and also discovering why they are what they are. Why is the gravitational acceleration on earth 10m/s/s and not some larger or smaller value? Because of the mass of the earth, among other reasons.

          From the perspective of those making the “fine tuning” argument, however, the fact remains that those universal constants don’t have to be at their current values in order for the universe as we know it to exist.

          But if the universe as we know it — or any universe that is compatible with intelligent life — could only exist within a very small fraction of the set of possible values of the fundamental constants of nature, and we have no explanation for why the values of those constants are what they are, that implies fine tuning. One possible solution is the multiverse. Another possible solution is a single universe in an endless cycle of creation and destruction. A third possible solution is that we’re living in a simulation designed by aliens or future humans. But we simply don’t know.

        • Kevin K

          NO. It doesn’t imply “fine tuning” at all. Nor does it imply a “static model” or a “big crunch” either. Where are you getting this stuff from?

          Honestly, is this a class assignment from some Liberty University course?

        • catfink

          NO. It doesn’t imply “fine tuning” at all.

          Er, why not?

        • Michael Neville

          Because there’s no way to tell if the universal constants were designed or just a coincidence.

        • catfink

          If they were just a coincidence it would be a very unlikely coincidence, which implies that they were designed instead — unless the multiverse or cyclic universe hypothesis is correct.

        • Michael Neville

          How do you know the coincidence is “unlikely”? You’re just guessing with nothing, not a damn thing, to support your guess other than your prejudices.

        • catfink

          How do you know the coincidence is “unlikely”?

          That’s the premise: if the universe as we know it — or any universe that is compatible with intelligent life — could only exist within a very small fraction of the set of possible values of the fundamental constants of nature, and we have no explanation for why the values of those constants are what they are …

          You’re just guessing with nothing, not a damn thing, to support your guess other than your prejudices.

          In that case, on what basis other than your prejudices are you assuming that intelligent life would be possible in any more than a tiny fraction of possible universes?

        • Michael Neville

          Both you and I are not going to find out anything about other universes. So why bother speculating? I have better things to do with my time than playing “what if” games.

        • catfink

          So you have no answer to my question.

        • Michael Neville

          Since your question is both unanswerable and silly, then no, I don’t.

        • epeeist

          could only exist within a very small fraction of the set of possible values of the fundamental constants of nature

          Only if you insist that the fundamental constants are only allowed to change individually. If you allow them to covary then there are “islands of stability” which lead to universes like our own.

          As it is you don’t know if these fundamental constants can vary, and if they do vary over what range, and if there is a range then what the probability distribution is over that range.

          In that case, on what basis other than your prejudices are you assuming that intelligent life would be possible in any more than a tiny fraction of possible universes?

          You are begging the question, if the universe is “fine tuned” then why do you assume it is fine tuned for life, and intelligent life at that. Why not for black holes or stars, there are more of them than us, they have been around a lot longer and they will still be here when we are gone.

        • TheNuszAbides

          As it is you don’t know if these fundamental constants can vary, and if they do vary over what range, and if there is a range then what the probability distribution is over that range.

          great concision. i need to practice that.

        • epeeist

          The aim is to try not to leave wiggle room for people to “interpret” my posts. I don’t always succeed of course and it is almost impossible when you are writing for those as monumentally stupid as Wisdom Speak.

        • Pofarmer

          If only Wisdom Speak were a special case.

        • TheNuszAbides

          aggressively stupid. i deeply regret having replied every time she responds. it’s worse than worrying a toothache.

        • TheNuszAbides

          The aim is to try not to leave wiggle room for people to “interpret” my posts.

          i have such an ingrained dread of this happening to any less-than-utterly-casual comment i make that i am prone to over-qualifying every explication.

        • catfink

          Only if you insist that the fundamental constants are only allowed to change individually. If you allow them to covary then there are “islands of stability” which lead to universes like our own.

          I don’t know what “allowed to change individually” is supposed to mean. The relevant ratio is the number of sets of values that would produce universes in which intelligent life is possible compared to the number of sets of values that would produce universes in which it is not. If, say, 99.999999999% of possible universes would not allow for any structure more complex than subatomic particles, the probability of a universe with intelligent life arising by chance would be very, very small.

          As it is you don’t know if these fundamental constants can vary

          As far as I’m aware we have no evidence that the fundamental constants could not have different values than the ones we observe. If the Big Bang happened again, the laws of physics might be radically different.

          You are begging the question, if the universe is “fine tuned” then why do you assume it is fine tuned for life, and intelligent life at that.

          Because we exist.

          Why not for black holes or stars

          It might also be fine-tuned for black holes or stars or anything else in it, but that’s not the issue.

        • Herald Newman

          As far as I’m aware we have no evidence that the fundamental constants could not have different values than the ones we observe

          So what? We only know of one set of values that the fundamental constants can actually take on. Without more information any claims about distribution of possible values
          is completely speculative, and unjustified.

        • catfink

          So what?

          So, there’s no evidence that intelligent life is possible in more than a tiny fraction of possible universes, which suggests that our universe arose through something other than chance — unless the multiverse or cyclic universe hypothesis is correct.

        • Herald Newman

          So, there’s no evidence that intelligent life is possible in more than a tiny fraction of possible universes

          Since when did 100% become a “tiny fraction”?

        • catfink

          I have no idea why you think intelligent life is possible in 100% of possible universes.

        • Herald Newman

          Because there’s only one universe that we know is possible, and it has intelligent life in it. We don’t actually know that any other universes are possible.

        • catfink

          Because there’s only one universe that we know is possible, and it has intelligent life in it.

          That doesn’t imply anything about the possibility of intelligent life in other possible universes, let alone that it’s possible in 100% of them.

          We don’t actually know that any other universes are possible.

          As far as I’m aware, we have no evidence that this universe is the only possible universe. Nothing in science or logic precludes other possible universes.

        • Herald Newman

          Okay, we’re done! Goodnight!

        • Michael Neville

          , which suggests that our universe arose through something other than chance

          You’re guessing again.

        • catfink

          No, it’s a logical conclusion from the evidence. You’re lost.

        • Michael Neville

          No, it’s a pure guess pulled straight out of your rosy red rectum. For some reason you want a designed universe and so you hope that the probability of a universe growing intelligent life is slim.

        • catfink

          No, it’s a pure guess pulled straight out of your rosy red rectum.

          No, as I said, it’s a logical conclusion from the evidence. Your pierced rectum is leaking toxins into your bloodstream that are preventing you from thinking clearly.

          The probability of a universe with intelligent life is 100% based on the only example we have.

          The mere fact that intelligent life exists tells us nothing about the probability of it arising by chance.

        • Michael Neville

          No, it’s not a logical conclusion. It’s an argument which you find appealing. Just because you like an argument doesn’t make it true or appealing to anyone else.

          The mere fact that intelligent life exists tells us nothing about the probability of it arising by chance.

          But it suggests that intelligent life is rather more common than you pretend it isn’t.

        • catfink

          No, it’s not a logical conclusion.

          Back at ya: Yes, it IS a logical conclusion.

          But it suggests that intelligent life is rather more common than you pretend it isn’t.

          No, it doesn’t suggest anything about how common intelligent life is, beyond the fact that it exists at all.

        • Michael Neville

          As I said before and you keep ignoring, the ONLY example we have of a universe shows that intelligent life is possible. For some reason you want intelligent life to be so improbable as to be impossible anywhere else. You’ve yet to give any reason why that is a reasonable conclusion.

        • catfink

          As I said before and you keep ignoring, the ONLY example we have of a universe shows that intelligent life is possible.

          I haven’t ignored that claim. I’ve repeatedly pointed out to you that it’s irrelevant. The mere fact that the universe has intelligent life tells us nothing whatsoever about the probability of such a universe arising by chance.

        • Michael Neville

          You’re sealioning me. You win. I withdraw from the discussion.

        • eric

          To be a ‘logical conclusion from the evidence’ you would have to know the range of the values the fundamental constants can have. You don’t.

          You would also have to know within that range whether their possible values were quantized into a finite number of choices or not. You don’t.

          You would have to know the probability distribution for the values in the range. You don’t.

          The only ‘logical conclusion’ to be drawn here is that even if the fundamental constants can vary, that is not sufficient information to deduce a probability. Varying constants could yield a 99.99[long string]% chance of the constants we have. Or it could yield a 0.00[long string]1% chance of the constants we have. Or anything in between.

          The answer you get depends on the assumptions you make, which makes the improbability argument circular – the conclusions merely a reflection of your premises.

          there’s no evidence that intelligent life is possible in more than a tiny fraction of possible universes, which suggests that our universe arose through something other than chance

          If you’re going to use ‘improbability of conditions needed for x’ to infer ‘designed for x,’ then the inference leads to the conclusion that the universe was designed for the life form that has the strictest requirements to live. That isn’t humans. Offhand I can think of a whole bunch of examples of lifeforms that require more strict, less probable conditions than humans.

        • catfink

          To be a ‘logical conclusion from the evidence’ you would have to know the range of the values the fundamental constants can have.

          No, you don’t have to know that. Without evidence of constraints on the range of values, it’s irrational to assume that they are constrained.

          You would also have to know within that range whether their possible values were quantized into a finite number of choices or not.

          No, you don’t have to know that either. Without evidence that the values are “quantized,” it’s irrational to assume that they are.

          You would have to know the probability distribution for the values in the range. You don’t.

          Strike three. Without evidence that one value is more probable than another, it’s irrational to assume that it is.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s wishful thinking with no real basis. We know that there is one Universe with intelligent(well. We think we’re intelligent) life in it. We are the only intelligent life that we know of in this one universe. We are talking about a Universe with hundreds of billion of galaxies each with hundreds of billions of planets. The Universe is essentially a massively parallel computer doing complex chemistry, just as the Oceans on Earth were a massively parallel computer doing complex chemistry. It may be that, given correct enough conditions, that life is inevitable. It may be that the conditions for life are so rare and specific that it only happens right here on Earth. We simply don’t know, and possibly cannot know. We don’t have enough information to say the Universe is “fine tuned for much if anything.

        • catfink

          Yes, we don’t KNOW. We also don’t KNOW that there isn’t a china teapot orbiting the sun between Earth and Mars. The fact that we don’t know that a particular proposition is true or false doesn’t mean we can’t make reasonable judgments about its plausibility from what we do know.

        • Pofarmer

          Well sure. But the reasonable answer to every question everywhere has always been not Magic.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          Depends on your definition of magic.

        • epeeist

          Nah, what it is of course is a classic example of affirmation of the consequent. The only “logic” associated with it is a formal fallacy.

        • catfink

          What “consequent?” What “fallacy?” If you think you have a logical argument to offer, then present it.

        • epeeist

          P1: If the universe was designed (for life) then we would expect the occurrence of life

          P2: Life exists

          C: The universe was designed.

          As as I said, affirmation of the consequent.

        • catfink

          That’s not the argument. This is the argument:

          P1: The evidence from science suggests that it is very unlikely that a universe with intelligent life would arise by chance.

          P2: The universe has intelligent life.

          C: The universe very likely did not arise by chance.

        • Greg G.

          If the conditions are right for one universe to come into existence then it follows that the conditions are right for many universes to come into existence. Having only one universe would be like preparing a bubble bath and getting only one bubble. We should expect a multiverse.

        • catfink

          How do you know that universe creation is analogous to preparing a bubble bath, rather than, say, blowing a single bubble?

        • epeeist

          I don’t know what “allowed to change individually” is supposed to mean.

          I mean that the estimates for fine tuning tend to be based upon what happens if you change a single fundamental constant.

          If, say, 99.999999999% of possible universes would not allow for any structure more complex than subatomic particles

          Well it’s a good number, but why should I accept it?

          Because we exist.

          A complete non sequitur, you are inferring a causal relationship but you have provided nothing that warrants that inference.

          It might also be fine-tuned for black holes or stars or anything else in it

          Exactly that, or it might not be fined tuned at all. When there is something we don’t know the honest thing ist to say that we don’t know rather than making an argument from ignorance.

        • catfink

          I mean that the estimates for fine tuning tend to be based upon what happens if you change a single fundamental constant.

          The estimates I’m talking about aren’t.

          Well it’s a good number, but why should I accept it?

          It’s not supposed to be the precise probability. It’s an illustration of the fact that the evidence we have from science suggests that intelligent life is extremely unlikely to arise by chance.

          A complete non sequitur, you are inferring a causal relationship but you have provided nothing that warrants that inference.

          My answer doesn’t refer to a “causal relationship” at all.

          Exactly that, or it might not be fined tuned at all.

          Yes, it “might” not be fine-tuned. It’s at least theoretically possible that it arose by chance. But that possibility is highly implausible given the evidence we have from science, and absent some other mechanism that would massively increase the odds, like the multiverse hypothesis.

        • epeeist

          The estimates I’m talking about aren’t.

          Citation required in that case.

          It’s not supposed to be the precise probability. It’s an illustration of the fact that the evidence we have from science suggests that intelligent life is extremely unlikely to arise by chance

          So you want to make an argument from ignorance.

          Yes, it “might” not be fine-tuned. It’s at least theoretically possible that it arose by chance.

          No need for scare quotes.

          But that possibility is highly implausible given the evidence we have from science

          Citation required.

          Since you are discussing probabilities could you also make an assessment of the probability that the a) the universe was created; b) it was created by a deity; c) this deity was the one worshipped by an obscure tribe living on a single planet circling a particular star in a galaxy of several hundred billion, this galaxy itself being one of several hundred billion and; e) all of this was documented in the tribe’s “holy book”.

        • catfink

          Citation required.

          Here’s a few examples:

          The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life.”

          –Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time, 1988

          In any case, there is one constant whose value does seem remarkably well adjusted in our favor. It is the energy density of empty space, also known as the cosmological constant.”

          –Steven Weinberg, Skeptical Inquirer, Sept./Oct. 2001

          Which fundamental fine-tuning problem is one more willing to worry about, the flatness problem or the cosmological constant problem? The latter involves a fine-tuning of over 120 orders of magnitude, if the cosmological constant is nonzero and comparable to the density of clustered matter today, while the former involves a fine-tuning of perhaps only 60 orders of magnitude, if one arbitrarily fixes the energy density of the universe at the Planck time to be slightly less than the closure density.

          — Lawrence Krauss, The Astrophysical Journal, 1998

          So you want to make an argument from ignorance.

          No, for the third time, the argument is based on the scientific evidence suggesting that intelligent life is extremely unlikely to arise by chance.

        • Cozmo the Magician
        • Cozmo the Magician

          Cockroaches. The world was designed for them. We are only here to provide them an abundance of habitat and resources. Even our most dangerous creation (atomic weapons) pose no threat to them. They laugh at our ‘superiority’. Or maybe its the flue viruses. Seems to be a lot more of them than any so called ‘higher lifeforms’. Or maybe its yellow. Seems to be lots and lots of yellow in the universe. OTOH space is filled with a lot of darkness so maybe God aint all that fond of light. The whole ‘fine tuning’ idea is just mental masturbation for those that really don’t think much.

        • TheNuszAbides

          it’s weird that catfink is so aggressively rigorous when demanding an epistemically useful definition for ‘supernatural’, but doesn’t seem to mind smuggling/hurling assumptions into the fine-turning rabbit-hole.

        • Kevin K

          It’s teleology. The notion that the universe is here for some purpose.

          Making human souls, I grok, is the “purpose” that catfink believes the universe is here for. So that a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of them can co-exist “forever” in mansions of gold, while the rest of them are tormented for not believing in Jesus’ rock-hard abs and steely gray eyes.

          Nonsense on a stick.

        • catfink

          Making human souls, I grok, is the “purpose” that catfink believes the universe is here for.So that a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of them can co-exist “forever” in mansions of gold, while the rest of them are tormented for not believing in Jesus’ rock-hard abs and steely gray eyes.

          I’m an atheist. You really are just utterly delusional. Try reading what I actually write, and stop attributing to me beliefs and positions I have not expressed and that exist only in your fevered imagination.

        • Kevin K

          Bullshit.

        • Questioning54

          Many extremely unlikely coincidences occur. But once one occurs it is easy to get trapped into thinking someone really caused it.

        • Kevin K

          Well, since there are about a trillion trillion stars, and they universe has been in existence for 14.7 billion years or so, and the “stuff” that comprises “life” is everywhere in the universe, and chemical reactions occur whether you want them to or not given the conditions, and life is nothing more than a chemical reaction…I’d say the math was not on your side.

          It’s quite a bit more likely for life to appear than not-appear in this universe, even with our current state of knowledge. That’s why it’s likely there is life elsewhere in the universe, including as close as the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, and maybe at one time on Mars (maybe not now, though).

        • catfink

          Well, since there are about a trillion trillion stars, and they universe has been in existence for 14.7 billion years or so, and the “stuff” that comprises “life” is everywhere in the universe, and chemical reactions occur whether you want them to or not given the conditions, and life is nothing more than a chemical reaction…I’d say the math was not on your side.

          Then you’re still utterly confused about the nature of the problem. The number of stars in the universe, and the age of the universe, have nothing to do with it.

        • Kevin K

          And again, which I note for the record that you pointedly and deliberately ignored the first time I offered it.

          https://www.amazon.com/Fallacy-Fine-Tuning-Why-Universe-Designed/dp/1616144432

        • catfink

          What about it?

        • Kevin K

          It’s an entire book written by an actual-and-real physicist which completely and utterly destroys the notion that the universe is “fine tuned” or needs a “fine tuner”.

          Go. Read the book. Come back when you can demonstrate that you have read the book and understand its contents. Then we can continue the discussion about what you as a non-physicist can be “dubious” about or not.

          I’ll hold my breath.

        • catfink

          It’s an entire book ….

          Golly, an entire book. That’s impressive.

          written by an actual-and-real physicist which completely and utterly destroys the notion that the universe is “fine tuned” or needs a “fine tuner”.

          I don’t think the author even claims to “utterly destroy” that notion, let alone actually does so. You seem to be letting your emotions run away with you.

        • Kevin K

          Yes. It is.

          Your “argument from incredulity” logical fallacy has gone as far as it’s capable of going. You’re either intellectually incapable of understanding the science, or you’re willfully and deliberately refusing to.

          Either way, your opinions matter very, very little. And your anti-intellectual stance is here for everyone to see and mock.

          Have a great life.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          I love how when Kevin gets finished dismantling his Disqus opponent he does the “Mic Drop” ending to the discussion. Hysterical!

        • catfink

          Your “argument from incredulity” logical fallacy has gone as far as it’s capable of going.

          There is no argument from incredulity. The argument is based on the scientific evidence suggesting that a universe with intelligent life is very unlikely to arise by chance.

        • Kevin K

          That’s you making an unevidenced assertion. There is no “scientific evidence suggesting that a universe with intelligent life is very unlikely to arise by chance.”

          That’s as bold a lie as anyone’s told in a long time.

          You’re just wanking off right now, and you’re boring me.

        • catfink

          There is no “scientific evidence suggesting that a universe with intelligent life is very unlikely to arise by chance.”

          Yes there is. You really don’t have the slightest idea what you’re talking about. I just posted a comment with quotes from three prominent physicists explaining some of the ways in which the universe appears to be fine-tuned for life.

        • Greg G.

          If it was a coincidence, there would be lifeforms wondering why the coincidence happened as if there might have been some teleology behind it. Meanwhile, anywhere one of the coincidences did not happen, there would be zero lifeforms wondering why it did not happen that way. It’s called the anthropic principle.

        • catfink

          The anthropic principle is only relevant in the multiverse/cyclic universe scenarios. If there’s just one universe that appeared one time, it doesn’t explain why that universe is compatible with intelligent life.

        • Herald Newman

          If they were just a coincidence it would be a very unlikely coincidence, which implies that they were designed instead

          So every time that somebody draws a straight flush in poker, I’m also justified in believing they cheated?

        • catfink

          No.

        • Raging Bee

          How do you know the “coincidence” is “unlikely?” Show your work, or admit you got nothing.

        • catfink

          How do you know the “coincidence” is “unlikely?”

          “if the universe as we know it — or any universe that is compatible with intelligent life — could only exist within a very small fraction of the set of possible values of the fundamental constants of nature, and we have no explanation for why the values of those constants are what they are”

        • Raging Bee

          So how do you know what the “possible values of the fundamental constants of nature?” What’s the possible range, and how do we know this?

          Also, just because you can’t explain WHY something happened, doesn’t automatically mean “design.” I don’t know why my laptop got slow an hour ago, but that doesn’t mean it was caused by a god.

        • catfink

          So how do you know what the “possible values of the fundamental constants of nature?” What’s the possible range, and how do we know this?

          We don’t know. Perhaps for some reason the values couldn’t be different from the ones we observe. But as far as I’m aware we have no evidence for that at present. If the Big Bang happened again, it might produce a universe in which, say, gravity is a million times stronger or weaker than in our universe.

          Also, just because you can’t explain WHY something happened, doesn’t automatically mean “design.”

          Of course not. So what?

        • Raging Bee

          Exactly: “we don’t know,” as you just admitted; therefore the entire “fine tuning” argument is unfounded. QED (that’s Latin for “DUH”).

        • catfink

          You’re another one who is utterly confused. We don’t KNOW that the fundamental constants of nature couldn’t have radically different values than the ones we observe. But we have no evidence that they couldn’t.

        • Raging Bee

          I’m not confused at all. You just admitted you have no evidence to support your “fine tuning” argument. That’s what the word “unfounded” means.

        • catfink

          You just admitted you have no evidence to support your “fine tuning” argument

          It’s not “my” argument, and I didn’t “admit” any such thing. You’re still completely lost.

        • Greg G.

          NATURAL EXPLANATIONS FOR THE ANTHROPIC COINCIDENCES by Victor J. Stenger shows how some of the physical constants can be varied over 10 orders of magnitude.

        • Kevin K

          Very nice paper. Do you have a date for it? I’m wondering if this formed the basis of his book or vice versa.

        • catfink

          The ratio of the strong nuclear force to the gravitational force is 38 orders of magnitude, so 10 orders is just a tiny fraction of possibilities even within that range (and there may be universes in which the range is much greater than in ours — 100 orders of magnitude, millions, billions …). And Stenger’s simulation only varies a single ratio out of countless possible sets of ratios of fundamental constants. So how is it telling us anything meaningful about the probability of a universe with intelligent life (or any life, for that matter) arising by chance?

        • Cozmo the Magician

          I’m sorry about that, it was me. I needed the extra processing power and borrowed some of yours. I needed it to hack tomorrows lottery numbers. I’ll send you some of the winnings after I get back to that Saudi Arabian prince who keeps emailing me.

        • Kevin K

          Sigh…

          But if the universe as we know it — or any universe that is compatible with intelligent life — could only exist within a very small fraction of the set of possible values of the fundamental constants of nature, and we have no explanation for why the values of those constants are what they are, that implies fine tuning.

          This entire statement is a lie. A false statement. There are many “values” that would be compatible with a life-allowing universe. (BTW: Values for what? Demonstrate you know what you’re talking about and not just an AIG shill. Cite your source for your assertions.) In addition, there does not have to be a “why” the current “values” are the way they are in order for them to just “be” what they are. The “why” question is irrelevant.

          But if you want an answer — why? Because those are the “values” that are the most stable for the universe we’re currently residing in. In another universe, the “values” (and again, what “values” are you talking about) could be different but still permissive for the development of life.

        • catfink

          There are many “values” that would be compatible with a life-allowing universe.

          The issue isn’t simply the number of values that would be compatible with a life-allowing universe, but the probability of a life-allowing set of values occurring. If there are a trillion sets of values that would allow for intelligent life, but a trillion trillion possible sets of values, then the odds of a universe with intelligent life occurring by chance are only 1 in a trillion.

          BTW: Values for what?

          The fundamental constants of nature.

          Demonstrate you know what you’re talking about and not just an AIG shill.

          Your comments have repeatedly demonstrated that you are utterly confused about what the fine-tuning problem is.

          In addition, there does not have to be a “why” the current “values” are the way they are in order for them to just “be” what they are.

          Yes, they could be entirely random. But that’s the problem. It seems very unlikely that a universe compatible with intelligent life would have arisen by chance.

          The “why” question is irrelevant.

          I’ve repeatedly explained to you why it’s not irrelevant.

          But if you want an answer — why? Because those are the “values” that are the most stable for the universe we’re currently residing in.

          Why did the universe we’re “currently residing in” (what a weird phrase — are you expecting us to move to a different universe?) arise and not some other universe that is incompatible with intelligent life?

      • TheNuszAbides

        the “what I see is all there is” heuristic.

        terribly compatible with insulated, provincial delusions of Real/True/Original {USAmerica, _____ Civilization, Master Race, etc.}

        • Kevin K

          So true.

    • Greg G.

      The fine-tuning argument is more about the laws of physics. If gravity is too weak, stars don’t form so no fusion and no complex chemistry, for example.

      We don’t know if those constants are adjustable or not. If not, all universes would be the same so the multi-verse theory doesn’t help.

      But their examples only look at just one constant being changed. If two are changed, it can compensate so that complex chemistry is still possible. Victor Stenger tells about a simulation where the constants were varied randomly and about a quarter of the results allowed complex chemistry.

      • catfink

        Victor Stenger tells about a simulation where the constants were varied randomly and about a quarter of the results allowed complex chemistry.

        This sounds very dubious. What constraints did the simulation impose on the values of the constants? For all we know, they could have been many orders of magnitude larger or smaller than the values we observe. There could be trillions upon trillions of possible combinations of values, and possible universes. It seems very implausible to me that complex chemistry would be possible in as many as a quarter of them.

        • Kevin K

          And where did you get your PhD in physics? What papers have you published on the subject? Were they peer-reviewed?

          Demonstrate you have enough knowledge of this subject to declare a proposition “dubious”.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          Hey, you’re using my angles. That’s how I won our argument. Cheater.

        • Kevin K

          You did not “win” any argument. I pointed you to a source where you could learn something. A real, honest-to-goodness expert source.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          Oh, phooey! I won and you know it. I was the Cleveland Cavaliers, and you were the Pacers. Four zip, Baby!

        • Kevin K

          You offered a list of philosophers. The first page of the first link had names listed that would never agree to your proposition with regard to an external “spiritual” reality, including … Karl fucking Marx and Frederich Nietzsche!!

          So, if you want to “win” that particular exchange, you’re going to have to go through those lists you offered and point out one-by-one which ones agree with your contention, and provide a bona fide, verifiable quotation from them that proves it. I’ll give you a head start. Plato. There’s 1. You have 499 to go.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          Can I have until Thursday?

        • Kevin K

          Bye troll.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          Bad news, Kev. Bob sent me a private message saying the contest was over and you lost. Sorry.

          I told him I wanted to break down the entire 500, categorize it, and then list it in rebuttal to your findings, but he said no. Bob’s the boss.

        • catfink

          Do you have a response that actually addresses what I wrote?

        • Kevin K

          Yes. I asked you to respond to the notion that your expression of being “dubious” is based on anything other than an Argument from Ignorance logical fallacy.

          I’m “dubious” you have the intellectual capacity to understand the physics you’re so dismissive of. Since you continue to invoke cosmological models that have been disproven by physics (the static model, Big Crunch), you also appear to lack the capacity to understand the scientific method in general.

          Once you demonstrate that you understand the concepts you’re “dubious” of, then we can move on. Right now, you’re doing nothing but whining that the bad, bad scientists are being mean to you.

          Edited for typo.

        • catfink

          I asked you to respond to the notion that your expression of being “dubious” is based on anything other than an Argument from Ignorance logical fallacy.

          On what basis do you assume that complex chemistry would be possible in more than a tiny fraction of possible universes?

          Right now, you’re doing nothing but whining that the bad, bad scientists are being mean to you.

          You’re not just ignorant. You’re delusional. You’re seeing things that don’t exist.

        • Kevin K

          On what basis do you assume that complex chemistry would NOT be possible in ANY of those universes?

          All it takes is one. Like the one we’re in.

        • catfink

          On what basis do you assume that complex chemistry would NOT be possible in ANY of those universes?

          Because chemistry requires conditions that wouldn’t be present in other universes with different values for the fundamental constants of nature. There could be no chemistry in universes without atoms, for example.

          All it takes is one. Like the one we’re in.

          But if it’s very unlikely that any universe in which chemistry is possible arose by chance, that implies fine tuning.

        • Greg G.

          that implies fine tuning.

          Or chance.

        • catfink

          Like winning the lottery jackpot is chance. It could happen, but it’s very, very unlikely. Hence the implication of fine tuning.

        • Kodie

          Is the lottery fine-tuned?

        • catfink

          Not as far as I know. And your point is…?

        • Kodie

          I just don’t understand why you would compare it to the lottery but still say the fine-tuning of the universe is implied.

        • catfink

          Just as it’s very unlikely that you would pick the winning lottery numbers by chance, it’s very unlikely that a universe that allows for intelligent life would arise by chance.

        • Michael Neville

          I don’t know why you keep insisting that a universe with intelligent life is “very unlikely” when the only example we have shows that the probability of intelligent life is 100%.

        • catfink

          I don’t know why you keep insisting that intelligent life is “very unlikely” when the only example we have shows that the probability of intelligent life is 100%.

          That’s because you just don’t understand the issue. You can’t estimate the probability from the outcome of a single trial.

        • Greg G.

          You can estimate the probability and it is 100% with large error bars.

        • catfink

          No, you can’t. The mere fact that intelligent life exists doesn’t tell us anything about the probability that it arose by chance.

        • Michael Neville

          And you’re GUESSING that a probability is low because for some reason known only to you and your asshole you think it’s low. You’ve done a lot of hand waving, tap dancing, and “it’s so obvious that everyone should agree with me” but you haven’t given any evidence to suggest your GUESS is correct.

        • catfink

          And you’re GUESSING that a probability is low

          No, it’s a conclusion from the evidence we have from science about the conditions required for intelligent life to arise by chance.

          You’ve done a lot of hand waving, tap dancing

          You’re just totally lost.

        • Michael Neville

          I admit that I’m guessing. You’re refusing to admit to guessing even though it should be obvious to the slightest intelligence that you are just guessing.

          If you’re going to have a discussion about intelligent life you first have to define what you mean by life and then what you mean by intelligence. And no hand-waving, tap dancing or bullshitting this time. Be specific.

        • catfink

          You’re refusing to admit to guessing

          Yes, I do generally refuse to “admit” to things that aren’t true.

          If you’re going to have a discussion about intelligent life you first have to define what you mean by life and then what you mean by intelligence.

          For the purposes of this issue, intelligent life means an entity capable of formulating the fine tuning problem.

        • Pofarmer

          You also can’t estimate a probability without knowing all the other outcomes.

        • Herald Newman

          You can’t estimate the probability from the outcome of a single trial.

          Oh this is so fucking rich coming from you!

        • Greg G.

          But someone always does pick the right numbers. Sometimes they have to share it with another lucky winner. One time that I know of, the jackpot was split nine ways.

        • catfink

          But someone always does pick the right numbers.

          Not always, but most of the time. But that’s only because millions of lottery tickets are sold with millions of different combinations of numbers. There’s a good chance that at least one of those millions of tickets has the winning combination. That would be analogous to the multiverse.

          But if there’s no multiverse, if there’s just one universe, it’s like a lottery with just one player picking just one combination of numbers. It’s very, very unlikely that he’d win by chance. If he did win, the lottery authorities would probably suspect — with good reason — that he cheated somehow. That’s analogous to fine-tuning.

        • Kodie

          Why would they suspect he cheated? You’re making that shit up.

        • catfink

          Why would they suspect he cheated?

          Because the odds of him winning by chance are millions to 1 against.

          You’re making that shit up

          You’re not thinking.

        • Kodie

          You’re absolutely making shit up about lottery winners and statistics. You indicate that you have no idea how anything works so you tell yourself stories. That is how religions start.

        • catfink

          You don’t know what you’re talking about.

        • Kodie

          You’re in denial.

        • catfink

          No, as I said, you simply don’t know what you’re talking about. The odds of him winning the lottery by chance are very, very small. For example, the odds of a single play selecting the winning combination of numbers in the Powerball jackpot are 1 in 292,201,338.

        • Kodie

          That’s statistics, not cheating. You don’t understand statistics, so you go straight to accusations of manipulation.

        • catfink

          Since the odds of him winning by chance are astronomically small, if he did win he would almost certainly be suspected of cheating.

        • Kodie

          Why, because you think you have to buy 50 tickets to be allowed to win honestly?

          That’s your hang-up, not statistics’.

        • catfink

          I think it’s past time for you to take your meds.

        • Kodie

          Why would you even say something like that? Because you don’t have a real answer.

        • Greg G.

          I agree with that point the point of just one universe having values conducive to life being unlikely.

          Let’s turn the argument on its head. Something with the power to fine-tune a universe probably wouldn’t need to fine-tune a universe to have life. It could tune things within the universe to fit any universe without having to evolve them or have them obey the laws of physics of that universe. Any scientifically-literate observer in a universe would then think it was obvious that there was a designer because there is no way their consciousness could have arisen in their universe by natural means. Even universes with the physics that could allow life and intelligence to evolve could still have been tuned without the evolution or adherence to the laws of physics of the universe.

          Then the fact that we evolved in accordance with the laws of physics in this universe would put us in the very rare universe where that needs to have happened and where it did.

          To sum up, we can expect that anything with the ability to create life by fine-tuning an entire universe could create life in any universe without that life having to evolve from natural processes of that universe. Therefore, we should not assume that the universe was fine-tuned for us to evolve.

          I haven’t got around to checking responses from last night but I sent an argument for why the multiverse is more likely than a single universe about the time you posted this.

        • catfink

          Something with the power to fine-tune a universe probably wouldn’t need to fine-tune a universe to have life. It could tune things within the universe to fit any universe without having to evolve them or have them obey the laws of physics of that universe.

          I’m not sure how you think there could be things that violate a universe’s laws of physics. If the “law” can be violated, it’s not really a law.

          Any scientifically-literate observer in a universe would then think it was obvious that there was a designer because there is no way their consciousness could have arisen in their universe by natural means.

          I don’t know why you think this, either. If the scientifically-literate observer observed something that appeared to violate “natural means,” why wouldn’t he just conclude that his understanding of natural means was wrong? Just as scientists in our universe do when they have to discard or modify their theory to account for the results of some new observation or experiment.

          To sum up, we can expect that anything with the ability to create life by fine-tuning an entire universe could create life in any universe without that life having to evolve from natural processes of that universe. Therefore, we should not assume that the universe was fine-tuned for us to evolve.

          That doesn’t follow either. If our universe has an intelligent creator, his motives and purposes are completely unknown to us. We might be living in a simulation. We might be a science experiment gone horribly wrong. Who knows? The fine-tuning argument doesn’t rest on assumptions about purposes. It rests on what we know from science about the conditions that appear to be necessary for intelligent life to arise by chance.

        • Greg G.

          I’m not sure how you think there could be things within a universe that violate that universe’s laws of physics. If the “law” can be violated, it’s not really a law.

          I’m going to tell that to the judge the next time they want to send me to prison.

          You are positing that something can alter the laws of physics when the universe is being created. It follows that that thing would be able to do it after it is created. But that is not what I was saying.

          Just as scientists in our universe do when they have to discard or modify their theory to account for the results of some new observation or experiment.

          But when they had ruled out the impossible… cue Sherlock Holmes.

          The fine-tuning argument doesn’t rest on assumptions about purposes. It rests on what we know from science about the conditions that appear to be necessary for intelligent life to arise by chance.

          You are making an assumption that the universe was made for life, though. For all you know, it was made for creating diamonds the size of neutron stars and life is a by-product.

        • MR

          It’s an incredibly egotistical argument. “The universe was made for me!”

        • Cozmo the Magician

          “The universe was made for me!” My invisible imaginary pet dragon would disagree with that (;

        • catfink

          I’m going to tell that to the judge the next time they want to send me to prison.

          You’re confusing human laws with the laws of physics. It’s obviously possible to violate human laws by committing a crime. But if, say, something could go faster than the speed of light, that obviously wouldn’t violate the laws of physics. It would just mean that our current understanding of those laws is incorrect.

          You are positing that something can alter the laws of physics when the universe is being created.

          Huh? The universe’s laws of physics would be created (not “altered”) when the universe is created.

          You are making an assumption that the universe was made for life, though. For all you know, it was made for creating diamonds the size of neutron stars and life is a by-product

          As far as I’m aware, there’s no evidence that life is a by-product of creating diamonds the size of neutron stars. So it’s irrational to assume that it is. If a universe-creator wanted a universe with diamonds the size of neutron stars but no life, that is presumably the kind of universe he would have created. But that’s not the universe that actually exists.

        • Greg G.

          But someone always does pick the right numbers.

          Not always, but most of the time.

          Not in this country. Every jackpot has had a winner eventually. There are some jackpots that are growing now but we expect them to be hit.

        • catfink

          I don’t what “this country” is supposed to be, but in lotteries in the U.S. there is sometimes no winner. No one picks the winning combination of numbers. When that happens, the jackpot may then roll over to the next drawing. In any case, this is irrelevant to the point that in a lottery with just one player picking one set of numbers, the odds of him winning by chance are astronomically small.

        • Greg G.

          I don’t what “this country” is supposed to be

          It means I expect I would have heard about a lottery that ended with no winner if it happened in this country, but I do not expect to have heard such a thing if it happened somewhere else.

          Not every lottery drawing has a winner, but the lottery doesn’t end.

        • catfink

          Still don’t know which country “this country” is. In any case, as I said, it’s irrelevant to the point.

        • Greg G.

          The country isn’t all that relevant. It’s just the current and recent events realm I am most aware of.

        • Kodie

          No, sometimes there is no winner. The numbers come up for no one for the jackpot plenty of times, but the chances increase for ticket holders to have at least one number or several numbers that match. That can’t go on indefinitely, but as the jackpot increases, more people buy tickets which increases the odds that someone will pick the right numbers.

          There is nothing statistically forbidding every ticket holder from choosing the same numbers as each other. I imagine if all of them had used the quick-pick, it would look a bit shady though. People are attracted to certain numbers, and certain birthdates and birth months and anniversary months are more popular than others. That doesn’t make those numbers any more likely to be drawn.

          There is nothing statistically forbidding a sequence 1-2-3-4-5 ^ 6 in one lottery drawing or every lottery drawing. Those numbers are as likely as any other sequence of numbers at every drawing. This kind of blows my mind, but it’s true. But as far as I can tell, it’s never happened in a major lottery. If there’s a 4-pick kind of state lottery, I’m sure 1234 has come up more than once.

          I have a statistics glitch in my own brain – I sometimes play a Powerball or MegaMillions when it gets really huge – I fill out one card, so that’s like 3 draws (been a while). I forget how many numbers are on each play, but when the lottery draws and I get zero numbers across 3 cards, I find that is the best reason to not play the lottery on a regular basis. Well, they didn’t pick these numbers this week, so “by chance” I should play the same card again and some of them should match? There are only 5 numbers, so 70 numbers don’t match. [Jeez I am looking it up, don’t remember the numbers going to 75]

          There is a huge chance no numbers will match, but it seems unlikely that not even one number matches. You don’t get a prize for only one number except the bonus (powerball or megaball), but it just seems like you’d hit one number at least, and increase the odds if you choose 15 different numbers on a card. Powerball says there is 1 in 25 chance of winning A prize, and Megamillions 1 in 14.6. That’s 24/25 you lose.

          The other crazy lottery thing is how people like me, and I think most rational people, know how unlikely the lottery is that don’t buy a ticket because the jackpot is “only” 29 million or something, but if it’s over 250 million, just maybe it could turn up.

        • Kodie

          But you realize lottery numbers hit by chance, then you imply the universe is not by chance. You don’t understand statistics at all. You are taking a presumed small probability of something as indication of design, at the same time you acknowledge that lottery numbers are not fine-tuned for the winner.

        • catfink

          Just as it’s very unlikely that you would pick the winning lottery numbers by chance, it appears to be very unlikely that the universe would arise by chance. That implies that the universe was fine-tuned. Not sure what part of this you’re finding hard to understand.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          Great point, catfink. Totally agree.

        • Kodie

          The part where you make up shit.

        • Susan

          Just as it’s very unlikely that you would pick the winning lottery numbers by chance, it appears to be very unlikely that the universe would arise by chance.

          It’s not impossibe that one would pick the winning lottery number by chance. It happens regularly in the scheme of lotteries based on what we know about how lotteries work.

          If you’d like to compare lotteries to universes, provide the same math (with reliable denominators) that can be applied to lotteries.

          Until you are able to do so, “likely” or “unlikely” coming from your keyboard are just feely terms that we can freely dismiss.

        • catfink

          It’s not impossibe that one would pick the winning lottery number by chance.

          No, of course that’s not impossible. So what?

          It happens regularly in the scheme of lotteries based on what we know about how lotteries work.

          The lottery regularly has a winner only because millions of lottery tickets are sold with millions of different combinations of numbers. If there were just one player picking one set of numbers, his odds of winning by chance would be astronomically small. Similarly, if there is only one universe that arose by chance from all possible universes, the odds that it would allow for intelligent life are also astronomically small.

        • Susan

          No, of course that’s not impossible. So what?

          So, things happen when the conditions make the happening of things possible.

          Here’s where you haven’t made your case and I (and many others here) have tried to explain that you haven’t.

          That implies that the universe is fine tuned.

          It doesn’t even pass the lottery test.

        • catfink

          So, things happen when the conditions make the happening of things possible.

          So what? What does that have to do with the fine-tuning problem?

          It doesn’t even pass the lottery test.

          Of course it does. It’s like a lottery with just one player picking just one combination of numbers. The odds that the combination he picks is the winning combination are astronomically small. Similarly, the evidence from science suggests that the odds of a universe allowing for intelligent life arising by chance are also astronomically small.

        • epeeist

          Similarly, if there is only one universe that arose by chance from all
          possible universes, the odds that it would allow for intelligent life
          are also astronomically small.

          We have been around this loop before. Even if the universe was “fine tuned” you have not established that it is fine tuned for life. I have pointed out before that there are many more stars and black holes than humans, that they have been around a lot longer than us and will be around long after we have gone.

          Let’s look at this supposed “fine tuning” for life anyway. Here is a simple calculation for the solar system. Now life on earth has been discovered in some fairly unlikely places, but let’s assume it occurs between 25Km above the earth’s surface to 25Km below. This gives a volume of some 7.65*10^19 cubic metres.

          The radius of the solar system is approximately 100 AU, from the sun to theheliopause. This gives a volume of 1.4*10^40 cubic metres.

          So the percentage of the solar system in which life is known to occur is 5.47*10^-19%.

          To go back to the lottery analogy, would you consider buying a ticket if the chance of winning was 1 in 18300000000000000?

          Sorry, but all you have got is an argument from personal incredulity.

        • catfink

          We have been around this loop before. Even if the universe was “fine tuned” you have not established that it is fine tuned for life.

          I haven’t claimed to “establish” that, any more than you have “established” that there isn’t a china teapot orbiting the sun. As numerous scientists have pointed out, the evidence from science suggests that it is very unlikely that a universe allowing for intelligent life arose by chance. Since our universe does have intelligent life, these facts suggest that it was finely-tuned to allow for life.

          I have pointed out before that there are many more stars and black holes than humans, that they have been around a lot longer than us and will be around long after we have gone.

          You can point out as many irrelevant things as you like. It won’t make them any less irrelevant.

        • MR

          Perhaps not. intelligent life might be inevitable in a majority of scenarios. And even if it is unlikely, it’s only interesting if you predict it in advance. If some other universe had arisen, it also would have been unlikely, and perhaps even more mind-blowing than a universe with intelligent life. At the end of the day, you don’t know who is going to win the lottery, but someone is going to win it. It’s silly to be astonished after the fact that “x” universe won the existential lottery.

        • catfink

          Perhaps not. intelligent life might be inevitable in a majority of scenarios.

          Perhaps, but it seems very unlikely given the evidence we have. It’s hard to imagine any kind of intelligent life arising in universes that are just a soup of elementary particles, for example.

          And even if it is unlikely, it’s only interesting if you predict it in advance. If some other universe had arisen, it also would have been unlikely, and perhaps even more mind-blowing than a universe with intelligent life.

          Any specific universe is unlikely, but a universe without intelligent life seems much more likely than one with it.

          At the end of the day, you don’t know who is going to win the lottery, but someone is going to win it.

          There isn’t necessarily a winner even when millions of people play millions of combinations of numbers. And if there’s just one player playing one combination of numbers, the odds of him winning are astronomically low.

        • MR

          You simply can’t say that. Argument from incredulity.

          Start the universe over so humans never exist, you’re still going to get some form of universe at the end of the day. There’s a guaranteed winner. Just because you can’t even imagine what it might be like, or what might result, doesn’t mean there isn’t a winner.

        • catfink

          You simply can’t say that. Argument from incredulity.

          No, argument from the evidence we have regarding the conditions necessary to produce intelligent life. Please describe what you imagine to be a plausible mechanism by which intelligent life could arise in a universe that doesn’t even have structures as complex as atoms.

        • MR

          Who says intelligent life is even the goal? Something even more fantastic could arise. Something more fantastic than intelligent life could exist in our universe even, we just don’t know about it. Who says humans are all that intelligent? This is just an argument of “I need to be special.” “I am special, damn it.” You’re trying to appeal to something I don’t even believe. Any and every possible universe is just as improbable as any other. Too point at the one we got and say “Wow, what are the odds?” is naive.

        • catfink

          Who says intelligent life is even the goal?

          The scientific evidence suggesting that intelligent life is very unlikely to have arisen by chance.

          Who says humans are all that intelligent?

          I don’t know what “all that intelligent” is supposed to mean, or why you think the question is relevant to the fine tuning argument

        • MR

          You don’t even understand your own argument. Only by predicting the outcome beforehand is the argument even interesting. Do you have a time machine that can take us back to that first prediction?

          Every outcome is unlikely until it happens. You don’t make your bets after the race. Just because Juan’s chances of winning the lottery were astronomical doesn’t mean it’s surprising that someone did. Your argument is meaningless after the fact. And you have no way of even knowing what the odds are without being outside the system.

          You’re the one that thinks intelligence is relevant. I don’t. You made the argument, remember? For all I know, intelligence is necessarily a byproduct, intelligence may not be all that impressive, mundane or who knows what. We simply can’t know.

          If you’re naive enough to be impressed that Juan won the lottery after the numbers were drawn, well that might impress you, but it doesn’t impress me.

        • catfink

          Only by predicting the outcome beforehand is the argument even interesting. Do you have a time machine that can take us back to that first prediction? Do you have a time machine that can take us back to that first prediction?

          What prediction? “Before” what? Why is the argument only interesting in that case? What are you talking about? You just seem very confused.

          Every outcome is unlikely until it happens.

          Nonsense. An outcome is unlikely if there is a low probability that it will occur.

          Just because Juan’s chances of winning the lottery were astronomical doesn’t mean it’s surprising that someone did.

          As I have already explained repeatedly, it’s not surprising that “someone” wins the lottery because there are millions of “someones” playing millions of different combinations of numbers. If Juan were the only player it would be extremely surprising if “someone” wins, because there would only be one “someone” who could win, and his odds of winning are astronomically small.

          You’re the one that thinks intelligence is relevant. I don’t. You made the argument, remember? For all I know, intelligence is necessarily a byproduct

          You don’t have any evidence that intelligence is a “byproduct,” so it’s irrational to assume that it is. You’re engaging in Special Pleading — making unjustified assumptions to support your predetermined view, like Christians who say “For all I know, God wants ….” to try and resolve inconsistencies or other problems in their religious beliefs.

        • MR

          Eh? You’re the one with the special pleading. It’s irrational to assume what you’re assuming, and you’re blind to the point. And you’re claiming supposed “scientific evidence,” for a conclusion that not even scientists conclude. Major fail. Get back to me when you have an argument that doesn’t require gullibility.

        • catfink

          It’s irrational to assume what you’re assuming,

          What assumption?

          And you’re claiming supposed “scientific evidence,” for a conclusion that not even scientists conclude.

          What conclusion?

          Try to come up with, you know, an actual argument instead of a series of incoherent babbles.

        • MR

          I’m not the one making an argument, Einstein. You chose the flawed analogy. You seem to be impressed by a piss poor argument based on, “I can’t believe it’s not butter; therefore it’s butter.” Fine, you’re convinced. But all you have is a baseless assertion. with no connection between, “Wow, what are the odds” and “therefore God.” That’s quite a gap to bridge. Get back to me when you can convince a scientist with all you’re so called scientific evidence.

        • catfink

          I’m not the one making an argument, Einstein.

          You’re making bizarre, vague claims, professor. I agree that you haven’t offered anything remotely resembling a coherent argument to support them.

          You chose the flawed analogy.

          What “flawed analogy?” Why do you think it’s flawed?

          You seem to be impressed by a piss poor argument

          What argument would that be? Why do you think it’s “piss poor?”

          Again, stop babbling and try to write something serious.

        • MR

          You’re not the sharpest cheddar on the cracker, are you? I’ve made no claim. You’re trying to convince me your lottery analogy is sound. It’s not. Get back to me when you have an argument.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          “At the end of the day, you don’t know who is going to win the lottery, but someone is going to win it.” Umm, not exactly. One of the reasons the jackpots go up and up is that NOBODY wins for days or even weeks on end.

        • MR

          Yes, any analogy is imperfect, but it doesn’t change my point. And even in your scenario, someone eventually wins…, ahem.

        • Kevin K

          BZZZT. Wrong answer.

          You’ve already been presented TWICE with Stenger’s paper showing otherwise.

        • catfink

          You are totally lost. You’ve basically given up on trying to make any substantive arguments in support of your nonsensical claims and are now just throwing mud.

        • Raging Bee

          Nowhere near as dubious, or as unfounded, as the “fine-tuning” claim itself.

        • Pofarmer

          My guess is, if you had the requisite knowledge, you could actually reproduce those simulations yourself. But I’m doubtful that you do.

        • catfink

          I don’t need to “reproduce the simulations” myself.

        • Greg G.

          This a paper Stenger wrote which has a description of his MonkeyGod simulation.

          NATURAL EXPLANATIONS FOR THE ANTHROPIC COINCIDENCES by Victor J. Stenger

          This is a rebuttal to Luke Barnes who reviewed his argument in his book, The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe is Not Designed for Us.

          Defending The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning by Victor J. Stenger

        • catfink

          As I suspected, Stenger simulated only a minuscule fraction of possible universes, so even if intelligent life were possible in all 100 of the universes he simulated — which is itself highly doubtful, given that half of them don’t even have stars that live for more than a billion years — it wouldn’t tell us anything about the probability of intelligent life arising by chance.

        • Greg G.

          He did a hundred just to show the plot chart for the paper. He had the software online for anybody to run.

          The program is to show the probability for there to be complex chemistry and enough time for life to develop.

          The evidence we have on this planet shows that life apparently began almost as soon as the planet was cool enough for it to happen. The chemistry experiments were being carried out thousands of sites on every grain of sand on every beach in the world with all variations in temperature, tides to let it bake for various times and then rehydrate, and more on thermal vents, for millions of years, just to get a rudimentary something that could reproduce imperfectly. Then natural selection takes over which is great at optimizing systems.

        • catfink

          He did a hundred just to show the plot chart for the paper.

          Did he or anyone else do more than 100? How many more? Over what range of ratios? What were the results?

          The program is to show the probability for there to be complex chemistry and enough time for life to develop.

          But it only shows that for a tiny fraction of possible universes, so it doesn’t tell us anything useful about the probability that a universe allowing intelligent life arose by chance. It’s a bit like trying to estimate the probability of life arising on any randomly selected planet by studying the probability of life arising on earth-like planets only. It’s just not meaningful.

          The evidence we have on this planet shows that life apparently began almost as soon as the planet was cool enough for it to happen. The chemistry experiments were being carried out thousands of sites on every grain of sand on every beach in the world with all variations in temperature, tides to let it bake for various times and then rehydrate, and more on thermal vents, for millions of years, just to get a rudimentary something that could reproduce imperfectly. Then natural selection takes over which is great at optimizing systems.

          All true, but again — irrelevant to the issue.

        • Greg G.

          He showed 100 results with the four values ranging 10 magnitudes each, 5 higher and 5 lower. Over half of them had stars lasting at least a billion years. Most of them have high values for N1 and N2, N1 >= 10^33 and N2 >= 10^22, where both are 10^39 in our universe.

          The trend line shows N1 and N2 tending to increase together so it is not scattered.

        • catfink

          As I said in a reply to another comment of yours, 10 orders of magnitude is nothing. As far as we know, the range of possible variation is vastly greater than that. The ratio of two of the fundamental forces alone is 38 orders of magnitude.

        • Greg G.

          But the trend line shows that the ratio of N1 and N2 stays fairly close no matter what values are used. N1 varies from 10^30 to 10^52 and N2 varies from 10^14 to 10^57 but the points are not spread around the rectangle, they follow a diagonal line. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/de2763e842c570ae73ec172b90c719149f9c452f639478fab0b348b6942adb27.png

          Looking at the equations, it comes down to the strong nuclear interaction strength divided by the dimensionless gravitational strength times the square of (the electromagnetic interaction strength times the strong nuclear interaction strength times the mass of the proton divided by the mass of the electron) being between 0.1 and 10. That figure is multiplied by N1 to get N2, so naturally the trend will follow the diagonal.

          According to my understanding, any hits within the yellow lines should be capable of complex chemistry over long periods of time.

        • catfink

          But the trend line shows that the ratio of N1 and N2 stays fairly close no matter what values are used.

          It doesn’t show any such thing. The range of values used to generate the chart are only a minuscule fraction of the possible range of values. As I said, it’s a bit like trying to estimate the probability of life arising on any randomly selected planet by studying the probability of life arising on earth-like planets only. It’s just not meaningful.

        • Greg G.

          If you examine the equations, N2 goes up with N1 because N1 is a factor of N2. Therefore any distribution will show the trend.

        • catfink

          N1 and N2 are the output from varying the four parameters of his program. But he only varies those parameters over a minuscule subset of possible values. You can’t draw any conclusions about the fraction of possible universes that would allow for intelligent life from a sample drawn from just a tiny subset of possible universes.

        • Greg G.

          I was responding to:

          It doesn’t show any such thing. The range of values used to generate the chart are only a minuscule fraction of the possible range of values.

          N2 is proportional to N1 no matter what other values you use. There will always be a trend line along the increasing N1 no matter what values you use.

        • catfink

          Then what’s the point of simulating 100 universes over 10 orders of magnitude if you already know the relationship is true for all possible values?

        • Kevin K

          The r value for that has to be pretty close to 1.

    • Kodie

      If “fine-tuning” is supposed to be evidence for god, then why just the earth (as far as we know) in the whole vast universe? Every planet and moon should have life, he’s so good at it, right? I am also just opposed to the term “fine-tuning” to describe fitness for life on earth or anywhere. These fucks think if the earth were one meter farther from the sun, it might make a difference or something, and then fucking ignorant of climate change and don’t know the difference between climate and weather. Anyway, so “fine-tuned” for life for humans on earth, for what? So they could be so fucking stupid?

      • Susan

        why just the earth… in the whole universe?

        And why just humans, and then only some humans who rely on special pleading, no strong models (when asked to provide them) and no strong evidence that rises above special pleading (when asked to provide it)?

        None of it adds up on an evidential or moral level.

        And the personal and social/cultural biases are obvious.

        Ask a very simple and honest question like… oh… say… “What are you claiming and how do you support it?”

        And… they resort to all kinds of shenanigans.

        Anything but answer a straight forward question.

        It’s like Kryptonite.

      • Lark62

        Yeah. The earth has been here for 4.54
        billion years. During most of those 4.54 billion years the earth was totally inhospitable to human life. Volcanos. Ice Sheets. Barren continents with no life. Dinosaurs.

        Humans have been around for at most 0.001 billion years. If even just the earth was fine tuned for humans, god is a screw up.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          We could have lived with the dinosaurs. It wouldn’t have been easy, but we could have. Bigger brains.

        • Lark62

          Maybe. But what mammals there were back then were tiny and nocturnal, and only thrived after the dinosaurs kicked the bucket.

        • Greg G.

          Our ancestors came out OK. They out-lasted the dinosaurs.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          Right!

        • Greg G.

          But humans just barely survived whatever wiped out the Neandertals. Modern humans probably would have died out with the dinosaurs.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          We may have been the ones that wiped out Neandertal. In the meantime, we were having sex with them.

        • Greg G.

          I have thought that a long time. The brain size of human ancestors grew about 200cc in a million years. Then about a quarter million years after Neandertals split from our line, the brain sizes of Neandertals and our ancestors grew 250cc in about 200,000 years. When the Neandertals began to die off, the increase in brain size tapered off and has diminished in the past 20,000 years, perhaps because we are domesticating ourselves.

          I think a sudden increase in brain size simultaneously in two separate species is an indication of competition.

        • Lubed Up Larry

          I do too.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          Not sure why you think brain SIZE matters. I would think brain efficiency is more important. Getting the same ‘processing power’ using less resources would give us a better advantage.

        • Greg G.

          Size is probably easier to evolve than efficiency when in competition with another species. ISTM that culture developed along with brain size.

        • TheNuszAbides

          along with brain size

          and/or surface-area-optimization by convolution. (is “rugosity” a word yet?)

        • What chance would man have to outrun a pack of velociraptors prior to the perfection of the off-road motorcycle ?

        • Pop Leibel

          They would have gotten the old and slower humans. Kids and whatnot. The rest of us could have escaped.

          We would have laid traps for them. Sophisticated traps. We eat some of them, they eat some us. It’s god’s will. We also have fire. Scares the shit out of them.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          The only reason we have fire is that Loki stole it from Valhalla (or was it Eddie VanHalen.. I get those confused) and gave it to the humans. For this One Eyed Daddy got real mad and punished him. And if you doubt my words, Thor is gonna show you you his hammer and pound some sense in you. See , we can all play make believe games.

        • Pop Leibel

          Good story.

        • That makes for an awful lot of ‘what-ifs”. Let’s try this ‘what if’.

          Since they may have learned to improve their hunting skills just as some dolphins and some orcas have – by “herding” their prey up on to beaches, or by trapping fish inside a bubble curtain; why wouldn’t velociraptor packs have learned to ambush your so-called younger (and faster) humans by having half the pack hunkered down in the long grass ahead of their projected path?

          You posted: “It’s god’s will.”
          Which god? Odin, Zeus, Ra, or Crom?

          You posted: “We also have fire.”
          Primitive man started fires with rotating sticks, or by striking flints. Both methods hard to utilize while running flat-out for one’s life — quite terrified!!!

        • Pop Leibel

          Excellent points.

        • Michael Neville

          Both methods hard to utilize while running flat-out for one’s life

          So remember, kids, when being hunted by velociraptors always have a book of matches or a Zippo® ready for setting fires. Napalm might also be useful.

        • Charles Coryn

          Hear, hear………Curious passage in the Bible of the two Samarian women discussing eating their children during a famine……
          And that was only 2000 yrs ago, what happened the other hundreds of thousands of years before that, did ‘god’ do anything to help the humans NOT eat their children, or their dying or dead relative, in times of starvation?…… Think of all those thousands of years when things didn’t change much, just a struggle to stay alive another day…..

        • Pop Leibel

          Chuck, you’re blaming god for stuff humans are doing. Not fair.

        • Charles Coryn

          That’s right…. even though he says three times in the Bible that he does everything, you’re telling me I have free will?

        • Pop Leibel

          People wrote the bible. I don’t trust the bible. Trust in god, not the bible. I know this is confusing, but it’ll become clear when you go to the light.

        • Charles Coryn

          ‘When I go to the light’? It doesn’t occur to you Pop, that you’re creating a god in your mind? Do you see a god? Does god talk to you and tell you all this stuff?

    • Kevin K

      I admit I have trouble wrapping my head around the notion that the universe (our current universe) did not expand “into” anything. That the entirety of the universe is self-contained and always has been and always will be. It’s not pushing anything out of the way as it expands. Wubba-wubba.

      I’m also not smart enough to figure out why the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics is incorrect. But that’s what the working physicists say these days, which leads to the alternative, “realist” interpretation, which includes the multiverse equations.

  • Mike De Fleuriot

    //They still must deliver evidence for the claim “God did it.”//

    No! They first must bring evidence that gods can actually exist. This must be done before any god is named, claimed and proclaimed. They have not yet, and we could substitute Blue Right Angled Bananas for the word God and it would mean exactly the same thing.

    • Pofarmer

      We could probably breed a Blue Right Angled Banana, though. Although it wouldn’t naturally fit in Ken Ham’s hand.

      • Giauz Ragnarock

        But would Ham try to use it as a boomerang?

      • Greg G.

        Or Ray Comfort’s hand.

        Banana argument – RationalWiki

        • Pofarmer

          God dammit. I can’t keep those two straight.

        • Greg G.

          I mix them up, too. My mnemonic is to remember that the banana fits Comfortably in a person’s hand.

        • Pofarmer

          Lol.

        • adam
        • Kevin K

          It’s OK. Ham is Australian, so the boomerang thing works.

        • Questioning54

          Not sure if you are making fun of the people and their culture that were decimated by white invasion, both through murder and bringing disease, when “the white man came with his bible and his gun” . Why I bring that up here is because I have heard Christians say that it is all ok because at least they got to hear the gospel! Maybe it was just a bit of fine tuning!

        • Greg G.

          Do you always react that way when somebody says “Australia”? Or do you have something against boomerangs?

        • Questioning54

          You may notice I said “I am not sure if”… And the boomerang is only connected to my comment in that it reminded me of atrocities done to its inventor’s people and the Christian way of dismissing it. Or would American athiests dismiss it too? Just wondered..

        • Michael Neville

          While atrocities were committed against the Australian aborigines that has nothing to do with Ken Ham being from Australia.

          Incidentally Ray Comfort is from New Zealand. Are you going to connect bananaman with the extinction of the dodo?

        • Questioning54

          As I said it REMINDED me what was done to Australian aboriginal people and the justification used by Christians to try and overlook it. and I wondered if that was seen as a form of “fine tuning”.
          What comparison does it have with the extinction of the dodo? Was Christianity preached to dodos before they died so it doesn’t matter because they have gone to heaven as long as they believed (too bad if they didn’t)?
          I can see I am trying to be serious while you are just trying to be funny. Sorry about that.
          I personally have no time for Ken Ham. He had to move to America to find enough Christians willing to part with enough money to build his Ark.

        • Wrong extinct bird! The Dodo hailed from the island of Mauritius, east of Madagascar, while the giant flightless bird formerly living in NZ was the Moa.
          http://www.bagheera.com/inthewild/ext_moas.htm

        • Cozmo the Magician

          Actually I just refer to Comfort AS a dodo.

        • Greg G.

          I have great sympathy for what happened to the Aborigines in Australia and the Native Americans in the Western Hemisphere. It continues to this day.

          If you weren’t sure, why jump to that conclusion? Ken Ham is the butt of jokes of atheists and Christians who are not creationists. Ham is Australian. Boomerangs and kangaroos are what most non-Australian people think of when they hear the word “Australia”. It was clearly a joke that had no reflection on the Aborigines.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          Actually when I think of Australia I think of “Crocodile Dundee” or “Young Einstein”. That and my two friends down under who I play WoW with.

  • Lubed Up Larry

    Are you guys all scientists or something? All ya’ll sound pretty smart. catfink is like a damn encyclopedia or something. Kevin could be Carl Sagan for all I know. You guys blow me away.

    The only one that strikes me as phony is Kodie. I don’t think Kodie is a genius like the rest of you. No offense intended. I’m sure she’s good at other things.

    • Kodie

      How does not being a scientist make someone phony? What the fuck, you asshole. It’s when you troll and mean to provoke that means you’re harassing people and not serious. You’re not capable of intellectual conversation on any level if you think catfink is an encyclopedia.

      • Pop Leibel

        I like catfink. He has a cool name. And he’s smart.

  • Lubed Up Larry

    The toughest question for atheists is this one. God covers his tracks completely with one deceleration. Here it is: “God works in mysterious ways.” It’s genius!! No matter what what happens we can always say, “God works in mysterious ways.” It’s even better than Catch 22.

    I always get a chuckle when atheists get pissed off when you use that one on them. “Oh crap, 30,000 people just got swept up in a tsunami. How could God have let that happen?”

    You got it:

    “God works in mysterious ways.”

    It’s great because then we can all rest more easy. We can all breathe a sigh of relief. Throw your hands up. God works in mysterious ways. Say a prayer for the 30, 000 and their families, and then all is well.

    • Fraser

      Right. When something goes your way: “god is good, he answered my prayers!!”. When it doesn’t: “it’s not in god’s plan, which we must trust in”. When it’s inexplicable: “god works in mysterious ways”. Forget moving goalposts, there aren’t any.

      • Pop Leibel

        God ain’t no dummy. “It’s God’s will”

        • Gary Whittenberger

          Are you an atheist?

        • Pop Leibel

          No.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          The troll claims to be 80% Xtian and 20% agnostic. Figure out that one.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          If he said that, I’d ask him to define “Christian” and “agnostic,” but I would not be confident that I’d get a direct coherent answer. I already asked him to define “God” and he’s still thinking.

        • Pop Leibel

          I’m almost there. Doin’ my last calculations. Don’t rush me.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          Let’s quickly review. Here are the questions and requests I put to you:
          1. Define “God.” Or, what is your definition of “God”?
          2. Define “put the wheels in motion.” Or, what is your definition of the phrase “put the wheels in motion”?
          3. What is your good evidence, reasons, or arguments, if any, for the claim “God put the wheels in motion”?
          4. If God did exist, why would there be necessary evils? Checks and balances? Natural disasters? And how would you know any of this?
          5. Are you an atheist?
          6. Define “Christian.” Or, what is your definition of “Christian”?
          7. Define “agnostic.” Or, what is your definition of “agnostic”?
          I am still waiting for specific coherent answers to these questions. Please number your answers 1-7 to correspond to my questions. Thank you.

        • Pop Leibel

          Did you add some on here? Jesus!

        • Gary Whittenberger

          I have listed all these questions previously in the discussion.

          Jesus is dead. He can’t help you with this. You are going to have to work on your own.

        • Pop Leibel

          Jesus is alive and well. He helps me every single day.

      • Cozmo the Magician

        There aint no goalposts in ‘godball’. No umpires. No refs. No score. And certainly no rules other than ‘God Wins, you loose’.

    • What happened to Lubed Up Larry? Lose your lube?

      • Pop Leibel

        Heh-heh! I decided to retire Larry. No one liked him. Thanks for asking.

        • Kodie

          You’re the same fucking troll. Nobody likes you either.

        • Pop Leibel

          Bob likes me. He sent me a private message saying don’t be discouraged when people yell at me. He says I have every right to have my own opinion.

        • Kodie

          Lie some more, show your true Christianity and why we should all be like you. Flagged your comment. If Bob confirms what you said, I’m gone forever.

          Good luck!

        • Pop Leibel

          Bob is a smart guy. He enjoys different points of view. He doesn’t agree with me, but he’ll defend my right to say what I feel.

      • Kodie

        His teachermom found out what he was doing on the internet.

        • Pop Leibel

          I change my name all the time. I get bored.

        • Rudy R

          I’m assuming you now can take it without lube.

        • Pop Leibel

          Humorous. Thanks.

    • Gary Whittenberger

      “God works in mysterious ways.” is useless. It is no better than “It’s a mystery.”

      What is true?
      A. God works in mysterious ways.
      B. God works in non-mysterious ways.
      C. God does not exist.
      And how do you know? Or why do you believe one is true?

      • Pop Leibel

        I would answer A and B are true.

  • Teto85

    The answer “God did it” that xtians give is an exposure of their own lack of intellectual curiosity and a rationalization for their laziness in in any societal improvement.

  • DennisLurvey

    Let’s answer the god question another way, what is the history or the beginning of belief in god and gods? We know past cultures worshipped animals and rock and called them gods, we know leaders of countries claimed to be the only way to their god, the sun or baal or whatever, like jesus. We know the first mention of YHWH is the burning bush or the story of the idea of YHWH from Midian Egypt. That name is on a monument from 840BC. But none of the previous gods had proof either. They invented miracle stories and warrior stories to make them sound powerful, but those are only stories. God says he can move mountains but no one has actually seen him do anything in reality. Elohim is the word for a god, any god, and YHWH is the name of the jewish god of the time. An elohim named YHWH.

    We know that the descriptions of god changed over time to comport with whatever the public would believe or wanted from their gods. We know from science, archaeology and written history not in the bible that there is no proof avail for most of the bible (the whole bible). They have found evidence for only 53 of the names in the entire bible, jesus, moses, abraham not among them. No exodus, no jewish takeover of canaan, (the canaanites became the jews).

    So we can trace back to when and where YHWH was invented as a bush to talk to a man, the idea came from Midian, and YHWH did not exist outside the bible at the time. We have found the sites where the OT was written near the dead sea mostly, we know what they drank and ate. We know they threw together the Torah because Rome required a text in order to be legally practiced in rome, and rome then allowed them to practice in Jerusalem and elsewhere. Christianity didn’t have a text and was an illegal religion to practice, that’s why they were persecuted.

    After 15 yrs of study I believe all this is true, that god was invented as an idea to give commandments authority, there are 613 commandments in the OT. I don’t believe he was ever meant to be an actual thing operating in our environment, just the idea. It was population’s later that made him real and the bible true, I think the authors would be laughing at us. Science is true, the bible not so much.

    That’s why I am an atheist.

    • Greg G.

      I think the god belief goes back before the Hebrews existed. But they did employ the threat of a god to give the 613 commandments authority and they also provided a way to compensate for breaking those commandments, which involved giving food and other valuable things to the people who made up the 613 commandments.

      • DennisLurvey

        of course it did. yhwh wasn’t even the first monotheistic god. but before that they were all things you could see or touch, idols, the sun, all statues they could visit at a temple, etc.
        Most people then didn’t worship just one god, even the jews worshipped pagan and statues along with YHWH for about another thousand years.

      • Gary Whittenberger

        Even though false, the idea of a god had been useful in the past. However, I think we’ve come to the point when it is now obsolete and false.

  • Bob Pattinson

    Belief in God is based on nothing but wishful thinking and a fear of the dark.

  • Pop Leibel

    Another good one that drives atheists crazy is the fact that god is all powerful. Which, of course, means that He can do anything He wants to. He’s magic. He can make it look like dinosaurs are millions of years old when in actuality the world is only 6,000 years old. He baffles scientists all the time.

    The platypus is an egg laying mammal, and scientists can’t figure it out. God had a nice chuckle over that one. God can do anything and scientists are dumb little people scratching around here on earth for just a short time. Of course, god loves them anyway.

    • Gary Whittenberger

      One that drives theists crazy is natural disasters. They wouldn’t exist, if God existed.

      • Pop Leibel

        God put the wheels in motion. After that, it’s a crap shoot. Natural disasters are a necessary evil on this earth. It’s part of the checks and balances of nature.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          PL1: God put the wheels in motion. After that, it’s a crap shoot.

          GW1: Define “God.” Define “put the wheels in motion.” What is your good evidence, reasons, or arguments, if any, for the claim “God put the wheels in motion”?

          PL1: Natural disasters are a necessary evil on this earth. It’s part of the checks and balances of nature.

          GW1: If God did exist, why would there be necessary evils? Checks and balances? Natural disasters? How would you know any of this?

        • Pop Leibel

          I like how your responses look like dialog in a play. That’s pretty cool.

          Anyway, Gary, my theory is that the earth is god’s proving ground. We ain’t in heaven YET, Son. We go through all of our trials and tribulation here on earth, and then He lets us through the pearly gates once we prove our mettle. If everything were easy you’d already BE in heaven, but you ain’t there yet.

          Natural disasters are part of how the earth works. Oxygen mixed with clouds and rain sometimes causes bad stuff to happen. You like breathing, don’t you? Okay, then.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          You evaded all my questions. Please take each one-by-one and actually give an answer.

          You are just talking in vague generalities.

        • Kodie

          He’s just a troll.

        • Pop Leibel

          I’m not a troll. Everything I’m saying is perfectly lucid. I’m being polite and I’m answering questions as best I can. I’m not an expert.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          You don’t have to be an expert to give a direct answer to each of my questions, one-by-one. Would you like to try?

        • Pop Leibel

          Gary, I think you guys are doing a good job trying to explain how the universe works. I don’t need to add to those conversations. That’s not my purpose here. I’m like the color guy on a basketball game TV announcing team. I pop in here and there with smart analysis.

          Besides, all that stuff is boring.

        • Kodie

          Your analysis is as dumb as a box of headless hammers. You tried to follow me again after I EXPLICITLY SAID NO. I have reported you already for harassment of me, and disqus won’t allow me to report you again.

        • Pop Leibel

          If you want I’ll stop following you. Just say so.

        • Kodie

          I said so, and then I had to remove you twice after I said no I don’t want you to follow me, while I HAD YOU BLOCKED and told you I had you blocked. If you keep up this obsession with me, I will contact authorities. Your first creepy comment on here was how you read 15 pages of someone’s profile before giving the extremely opinionated and unconstructive comment that he needs to be in a better mood, after which your extremely Christian sentiment “you need to get laid”. You’re a disturbed, disturbing troll who needs to get the fuck out.

          I don’t want you, stalker!!!! Get a fucking life!

        • Pop Leibel

          I just stopped following you. Happy?

        • Dys

          When does the smart analysis start?

        • Pop Leibel

          Wait, it’s coming.

        • Dys

          Uh huh…to date, you’ve done the basic equivalent of insisting that the moon is made of green cheese.

        • Pop Leibel

          You do a lot of criticizing. What are your thoughts on these subjects? At least I’m coming up with something. Enlighten me.

        • Dys

          On what subjects? You’re not coming up with anything coherent. It’s all been jumbled together nonsense. You haven’t even got the basics of Christianity down. Here’s a crash course on my opinions:

          1) The bible is not a history book, and can properly be characterized as historical fiction. The Old Testament doesn’t say anything about Jesus, and the attempts in the New Testament to try and make OT prophecies about Jesus are obvious storytelling inventions. Jesus himself may or may not have existed, but if he did, there’s no good reason to suspect he magically came back to life after three days. And since moral failings are not banking transactions, he couldn’t die for everyone’s sins anyway.

          2) The Christian god as described in the bible is a terrible, cruel, immoral, and thankfully fictitious character who despite being supposedly perfect has no problem demonstrating a wide variety of imperfect human emotions. The real reason for this is that God in the bible was originally part of a pantheon of gods. The problems inherent in the coherency of the bible arise in part because of God’s transition from a simple tribal god among other gods to the only god.

          3) The current scientific consensus is that the universe, in its present form, began at the Big Bang. What happened before that is almost entirely pure speculation, including what caused it. Attempts to insert God as the so-called “Big Banger” jump the gun in proposing a person as a primary cause. Personally, I like various aspects of some cyclical models of the universe that basically posit an eternal universe.

          4) Young earth creationism, the idea that the world is only 6,000 years or so old is laughably inane, scientifically ignorant, and has been thoroughly debunked. Those who still cling to it do so based on religious dogma, not for rational or logical reasons.

        • Pop Leibel

          Guess what? I don’t disagree with a lot of what you say. We may have common ground after all. I can see you’re a thinking man.

        • Dys

          You’re 80% Christian and you agree with a lot of what I said? Words have definitions for a reason.

        • Pop Leibel

          Can’t argue with that. Maybe you’re changing my mind. Very convincing.

        • Dys

          No. You’re just being transparently patronizing. We both know you’ve nothing to offer, and are just trolling.

        • Pop Leibel

          I’m not trolling.

        • Michael Neville

          You certainly are trolling. For instance, Kodie specifically told you not to follow her and you continue to do so. That is trolling. There are other examples of your trolling I could give but frankly you’re not worth the effort to write them up.

        • Pop Leibel

          Take the effort. I started following Kodie again before I saw she didn’t want me to. I thought it was a glitch or something. I’m not on Disqus 24/7 like some of you.

          It isn’t “trolling” just because someone disagrees with you. You’re not the owner of the site so get lost.

        • Greg G.

          Disqus is not just Cross Examined or Patheos. It is used on many sites. You follow on Disqus wherever they post.

        • Pop Leibel

          Thank you, Greg.

        • Greg G.

          You’re welcome.

        • Kodie

          He’s the kind of reason I had my profile private. I think even if you’re private, people can follow you? I don’t know how that works. I don’t follow people, I got enough email to read without making sure I don’t miss one single comment by one specific person, if what I do see is pretty gold. What would be great is if you report someone, even if disqus doesn’t think they violated their rules, that they can’t follow you. They make a point in the FAQ if you block someone, they can still read your posts, but it creeps the fuck out of me when someone’s first comment is they read 15 pages of an individual’s posting history, and then they want easy access to everything you ever posted. I don’t mind if Lubey sees comments I write, I mind that an obsessive stalking type with no life is making me his hobby.

          So I don’t want to make my profile private again, because people I do like made a good case for making it public again. It would be good if you could block people from following you, but then again, disqus took forever just allowing readers to block other users so you don’t see their comments, while they can still see yours. I don’t like blocking people (a) I can still see the responses, and (b) they say shitty things I want to know about, like when Lubey called me phony. I want to be sure I see his assholery. Forget arguments for Christianity or against – if Christians are like that guy, we should all want to do the opposite.

        • Dys

          Of course you are. It’s blatantly obvious.

        • Kodie

          You’re only a pest. I blocked you and even when you asked permission to follow me and I said no, because you’re a fucking disgusting pervert, you followed me anyway, and when I cut you from followers, you followed me again. What kind of obsessed little-penis moron are you?

        • Pop Leibel

          I like your posts. You have some interesting things to say. Sue me.

        • Kodie

          I will if you keep it up.

        • Pop Leibel

          You keep talking to me (or about me). I’ve yet to make the first post to you. Not once have I said anything to you. You’re always responding to something I said or something I said to someone else. You’re the one stalking.

          The moderators can easily look at the timeline and see that.

        • Kodie

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2017/02/bad-atheist-arguments-atheists-no-use-faith/#comment-3268538620

          Pop Leibel>Kodie•6 days ago
          You Atheists are an irritable bunch. Maybe you should look to get Jesus in your life. Or, get laid more often.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2017/02/bad-atheist-arguments-atheists-no-use-faith/#comment-3269064495

          Pop Leibel>Kodie•6 days ago
          Again, with the potty mouth. Kodie, I’d like to talk to you about coming to Jesus. Jesus can help you be a better person. Jesus makes it possible to have a life without anger and hopelessness. What is there to lose? You can always say no.

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2017/02/bad-atheist-arguments-atheists-no-use-faith/#comment-3269421474

          Pop Leibel>Kodie•6 days ago
          If I leave can I follow you?

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2017/02/bad-atheist-arguments-atheists-no-use-faith/#comment-3269428834

          Pop Leibel>Kodie•6 days ago
          Okay, I won’t follow you.

          If I turn to Satan will you like me? I will.

          After that, I flagged you, reported you to disqus and blocked you, you followed me anyway, I removed you, you changed your name, you followed me again with your new name. Now you’re lying about Bob being your pal and encouraging you to keep this shit up, and lying about never writing to me. I see that you’re still here, and I can still see other people’s responses to you. You called me a phony and you are still obsessed with me.

          Actually, the first disturbing comment you made was out of nowhere, responding to a poster HERE after you claim he said something offending a friend of yours on another fucking blog, and admitted to reading 15 pages of his posting history before being compelled to COMMENT HERE ON A DIFFERENT BLOG that you thought he was a mean guy who needed to get a life, while using the name “Lubed Up Larry”. So far, you haven’t gotten any better. You’re a total creep and a hypocrite. I unblocked you because you are still a fucking turd and if you’re talking about me, I want the comments as proof of harassment.

        • Pop Leibel

          Those were all before you banned me. Since then, I’ve not said a word to you unless you addressed me, or talked about me to someone else.

          A moderator told me as long as you reply to me I’m allowed to reply back. So just stop talking to me and all will be fine.

        • Kodie

          You followed my disqus profile after I told you not to – TWICE. You also invoked me and called me phony after I blocked you. I never claimed to be a scientist, so what am I phony about? Fuck you, you’re disgusting.

        • Pop Leibel

          Wrong Wrong Wrong and Wrong. And, allow me to add one more>> “Wrong.” I followed once after you told me not to. I apologize for that. I won’t do it again. Relax.

        • Kodie

          You followed me after I told you I don’t want you to, and removed you from my list. While I blocked you, you changed your name, and it took me a few responses to your comments using the new name to catch on. I found your new name on my list of followers. Go fuck yourself, liar, creep, douche.

        • Pop Leibel

          I didn’t follow you twice, though. Only once. I change my name all the time, but you can always tell it’s me by the stoner avatar.
          That’s a real picture of me when I was begging on the street for money. I had a really good corner a while, but some big guy beat me up and forced me to move. I’d play guitar and they’d throw money in my case.

        • Charles Coryn

          Pop, are you telling me weed doesn’t help you see through the religious scams? Do you think jesus smoked hashish, like they do over there? How can any god create billions of people who all disagree over religion? Why would a god do such a thing? Why would a god create a world anyway? Would a god create billions of people just so they could worship him? Why don’t god and jesus show up and bring everyone together to get something done? Why would 50 percent of marriages fail? God can’t make men and women that get along? Why would he create two sexes anyway, if he could see the future? Seriously Pop, to any thinking person religions raise more questions than they answer….. And these people are going to threaten me with ‘hell’? Not likely…….

        • Pop Leibel

          Chuck, there is no hell. Don’t worry about hell. God’s not going to let anyone go to hell. Except maybe Hitler.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          I’m beginning to think so. But I’m giving him a second chance to attempt some direct answers.

        • Pop Leibel

          I’m not a troll. I may be peculiar, but I can’t help that. I’m doing the best I can.

        • Pop Leibel

          Honestly, I don’t see how I can answer those questions any more lucidly.
          Everything on this blog is only conjecture. Why do I have to come up with specific evidence? It’s not fair.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          You seem unable to explain and defend your own claims. I don’t think we can have a profitable discussion.

          Everything on this blog is not conjecture. Facts and evidence are also presented. And some conjecture is more reasonable than other conjecture.

          It certainly is fair for someone to ask you for evidence to back up your claims.

        • Pop Leibel

          Good point. Let me think on it.

    • Pofarmer

      God can do anything and scientists are dumb little people scratching
      around here on earth for just a short time. Of course, god loves them
      anyway.

      But then God smites them to hell, which doesn’t seem very loving.

      • Pop Leibel

        God doesn’t do the smiting. YOU do the smiting by not following the rules. You do it to yourself. It’s not god’s fault that you’re being stubborn.

        • Pofarmer

          So the majority of people on the Earth never hear about your God are just being stubborn?

        • Pop Leibel

          They go to Limbo. No harsh temps. Just lie around for eternity. They have Cablevision, so it ain’t too bad.
          Heaven is only so big. Animals go to Limbo too. Your dog will be there.

        • Michael Neville

          So they spend eternity bent backwards going under bars. That makes as much sense as any other bit of made-up theology I’ve come across.

          https://i.ytimg.com/vi/Zq2LflX57g8/maxresdefault.jpg

        • Dys

          They go to Limbo.

          The theology for Limbo is sketchy at best…it’s never even mentioned in the bible. It’s a fictitious place created by men to rectify an obvious problem in Christian theology, nothing more.

          Heaven is only so big.

          We both know you’re pulling this out of your ass.

          Heaven, Hell, Limbo, Purgatory….all imaginary places. No one goes there except in fairy tales and myths.

        • Pop Leibel

          I respect your opinion. I just don’t agree. No problem.

        • Dys

          I don’t respect your opinion…it seems to be based on whatever deluded nonsense you’ve decided sounds good, regardless of how little sense it makes.

          You apparently can’t (and haven’t) defended it, so you’re just stuck making assertions that can easily be refuted with “you’re wrong”.

          You’re a troll using gaps in knowledge to insert your fantasies.

        • Pop Leibel

          I have fantasies. Yes.

        • Dys

          And they seem to form the basis of your religious beliefs.

        • Pop Leibel

          Not exactly.

        • Dys

          Well, if there’s anything more to it, you haven’t bothered presenting it.

          But it’s clear you’re only really here to troll.

        • Kodie

          He’s a fucking ignorant troll who thinks it’s funny to push buttons. He doesn’t even know what he’s saying, his intellect is … maybe 14 or 15. What kind of mature adult Christian who wants a serious conversation names himself Lubed Up Larry?

        • Dys

          God doesn’t do the smiting.

          You mean except where he does in the bible?

          Your theology is laughably uninformed.

        • Pop Leibel

          Never said I was an expert. I have my own ideas that transcend what theists and atheists think and write about. I’m working on a book as we speak. It’s going to blow the top off the way people think about life as we know it. Universe, stars, expansion, heaven, hell, limbo. It’s all in there.

        • Dys

          I have my own ideas that transcend what theists and atheists think and write about.

          I don’t doubt that you have your own ideas…but you’re either a theist or an atheist. There’s no real middle ground or position beyond them.

          It’s going to blow the top off the way people think about life as we know it.

          I’m going to go out on a limb here and say you’re just another mindless troll. That, or suffering from a severe, crippling case of Dunning-Kruger. Either way, no one should take you seriously on much of anything.

        • Pop Leibel

          I’m not asking you to take me seriously.

          I’m 80 percent Christian and 20 percent agnostic. I think those numbers are about correct–depending on what day it is.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          Reading your comments here I would guess about 50% Troll, 50% self admitted ignorant. But, hey go ahead with your book. There is a market for even the stupidest stuff these days.

        • Pop Leibel

          It’s going to make me a bunch of money. May I send you an advanced copy?

        • Cozmo the Magician

          Just like Jesus (god) smote a fig tree because it followed the rules that he made fig trees follow? Damn those rebel figs.

        • Pop Leibel

          He “smooted” more than fig trees back in the day.

    • Michael Neville

      The platypus is an egg laying mammal, and scientists can’t figure it out.

      What is it that scientists can’t figure out about platypuses? Please be specific because the Australian Museum appears to have a good handle on Ornithorhynchus anatinus.

      • Pop Leibel

        Good point. Okay, I was wrong about the platypus.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          “Okay, I was wrong about” get used to typing that. I see a lot of it in your future.

        • Pop Leibel

          Thank you for the advice.

    • Dys

      He can make it look like dinosaurs are millions of years old when in actuality the world is only 6,000 years old. He baffles scientists all the time.

      So your god is intentionally deceitful. In which case trusting him would be a tremendous mistake.

      • Pop Leibel

        If the shamesists would keep their noses out from where they don’t belong god wouldn’t have to fabricate things. God doesn’t play by your rules. God MAKES the rules.

        • Dys

          Your made-up word is useless. You’ve already been forced to admit your god is a deceitful liar. You can’t trust him, by your own logic.

          Come up with something better. What you’ve got is hilariously inept.

        • Pop Leibel

          I’ll work on it.

          It wasn’t my best idea.

  • Inkswitch

    1. How Did the Universe Come Into Being?
    This is a pretty good point. Even accepting the Big Bang Theory, that still leaves us with the problem of where the original “spark” (for lack of a better word) originated from. Without some form of outside intervention, we are left with an infinite regression at best or a paradox at worst. Granted, as science evolves we may discover the key to creation that excludes a god but we are not there yet. Incidently, this very topic was one of my favourites in my senior philosophy course at uni.

    2. Why Does There Appear to Be Design (Fine Tuning) in the Universe?
    Oh dear, and you were doing so well. Any atheist worth their salt would be able to give you a pretty good explanation of how evolution works and how it can trick some (i.e. you) into thinking the universe looks designed when it’s just the result of billions of years of natural selection. If the universe is “designed”, as you seem to think it is, then the designer is pretty bad at their job. There are numerous examples of severe design faults – from redundant limbs/organs to the presence of genetic diseases and birth defects – that make no sense under the “Grand Designer” theory but are easily explained by evolutionary theory.

    3. How Did Life Originate?
    Again, evolutionary theory explains this pretty easily.

    • Gary Whittenberger

      What is wrong with being left with an infinite regression? What is wrong with the idea that the universe has existed forever?

      There is orderliness in the universe, but design is just one hypothesis about it. Strictly speaking, design implies an intelligent agent creating the orderliness. The universe does not appear to be designed to me. It just appears to be orderly to me. Design is a separate hypothesis, belief, or claim.

      No, evolutionary theory explains species differentiation after life began. It probably doesn’t explain how life began.

      • Pop Leibel

        The universe had a beginning. Even dumb scientists know that. The universe is expanding.

        • epeeist

          The universe had a beginning.

          Really? Got evidence?

        • Pop Leibel

          Yes. You’ll have to wait, though. I have to get some work done. My boss is about to pull a vengeful god act upon me.

        • Pop Leibel

          Even the sham scientists who think they know everything (but in reality know zilch about how the universe works) admit that the universe had a beginning.

          In fact, I just figured out my new word for scientists.

          Shamesists.

          Shamesists are scientists who are arrogant enough to think they know all about how the universe began, and how it works.

          Shamesist.

        • Dys

          “Shamesists are scientists who are arrogant enough to think they know all about how the universe began, and how it works.”

          I suspect you’re heavily biased in who you apply that label to.

          What do you call theists who think “goddidit” is a meaningful explanation for anything?

        • Pop Leibel

          I think it’s good, sound advice.

        • Dys

          Considering nothing I said in my reply or you said in the previous comment has anything to do with advice, I’m forced to conclude you’re either deeply confused in general, or you don’t know what the word “advice” means.

        • Pop Leibel

          I’m confused about a bunch of things. I admit that.

        • Candy Smith

          Look at Science.

        • Candy Smith

          If the universe had a beginning, then it
          must have a cause, and therefore cannot be eternal. And every drop of
          evidence we have points to the universe having a beginning,

        • Greg G.

          If the universe had a beginning, then it came from nothing. A cause acting on nothing will have no effect.

          Cause and effect requires already existent pieces. Do you see anything being caused to exist that is not made of things that already existed?

          Perhaps virtual pairs of particles can be said to begin to exist but they are not caused by the rest of the universe. It is more like they cause themselves.

        • Candy Smith

          To date, all key scientific and
          philosophical evidence points away from an eternal universe and toward
          an eternal Creator. From a scientific standpoint, honest scientists
          admit the universe had a beginning, and whatever has a beginning is not
          eternal. In other words, whatever has a beginning has a cause, and if
          the universe had a beginning, it had a cause.

        • Greg G.

          You are about 50 years behind on science.

          What happens when a cause acts on nothing? Think hard.
          Answer: Nothing happens.

        • Candy Smith

          It is more like they cause themselves??
          What does that even mean?? That they just decide to come into existence?? That they come into existence from nothing??

        • Greg G.

          A positron is mathematically same as an electron traveling backwards in time. An electron-positron pair is like the electron travels one way and the positron is like the same electron traveling back in time. Where their paths intersect in our travel through looks like they both came into existence together and their intersection later looks like an annihilation to our movement in time.

          But to the electron, it is like it is bouncing back and forth through time. To us, it would look like they create and annihilate one another with no external cause.

        • TheNuszAbides

          but you have to hand it to Candy, they finally left a comment consisting of nothing but questions (however [missed]pointed).

        • Greg G.

          Double question mark questions, no less.

        • TheNuszAbides

          intense!!!

        • adam

          “It is more like they cause themselves??”

          It is more like they were caused by a Magical Sky Daddy??

          “That they just decide to come into existence??”

          When did your Magical Sky Daddy come into existence??

          Where did it get it’s ability to know and create??

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/102697e7faecdc67306ad919c76a1e01e698f44fbed89fa96dcc85012ac3ce5f.jpg

        • Candy Smith

          Since God is eternal, that means He has no beginning and no end.

        • Candy Smith

          The fact that the universe had a beginning
          is underscored by evidence such as the second law of thermodynamics, the
          radiation echo of the big bang discovered in the early 1900s, the fact
          that the universe is expanding and can be traced back to a singular
          beginning, and Einstein’s theory of relativity. All prove the universe
          is not eternal.

        • Greg G.

          That shows that the universe had an expansion. The physics breaks down before the singularity.

          Alan Guth shows that the product of the sum of the forces of the attraction between two pairs of particles times the space between them is equal to but opposite in sign to the energy of the particles. One is like potential energy and the other is like kinetic energy, so a pair of particles and space coming into being without a cause is a zero-sum game.

          All you need is an unstable nothingness. If there was something to maintain stability, it wouldn’t be nothingness. So you don’t need a god thingie behind the curtain.

        • Candy Smith

          The universe can come into existence from nothing.

        • Candy Smith

          The Law of Cause and Effect.

          This law of science states that every cause has its effect and every effect has its cause. This law is the basis of all science. As such, this law bears a relationship to the origin of the heavens and the earth. In fact, scientists agree that the universe has not existed forever, that it had a beginning at some point in time.

          The theory of relativity, which is almost universally accepted among scientists, has certain implications for this Law of Cause and Effect. One is that the universe, defined as time,
          space, matter, and physical energy had a beginning, that it is not eternal. And it is through Einstein’s equations that scientists can trace the development of the universe back to its very origin, back to what is called the “singularity event” when it actually came into being.
          Science has proven that the universe really did have a beginning. This means that if the universe had a starting point in history, then it obviously began to exist, and it must have a cause for its existence.

          Therefore, if the universe needs a cause for its coming into being, then
          that cause must be beyond the universe—which is time, space, matter,
          and physical energy. That cause must be something similar to what
          Christians call “God.” Even Richard Dawkins, probably the most prominent
          proponent for atheism in our time, admitted in a TIME magazine
          article that “there could be something incredibly grand and
          incomprehensible and beyond our present understanding.” Yes, and that is
          God!

        • Greg G.

          This law of science states that every cause has its effect and every effect has its cause. This law is the basis of all science. As such, this law bears a relationship to the origin of the heavens and the earth. In fact, scientists agree that the universe has not existed forever, that it had a beginning at some point in time.

          That only applies when you already have something to act on. It doesn’t apply to quantum physics.

          You assume the universe was caused to exist. Besides that, name one thing that was caused to exist from nothing. Not just causing things that already exist to take a new form or state of being.

          back to what is called the “singularity event”

          The singularity has been discarded long ago. It fails to take quantum theory into account.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          Every drop? No. See my comment above for a different drop.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          Good point. I believe that the 1st Law of Thermodynamics is evidence that our universe did not have a beginning. The Big Bang is better viewed as a transformation, IMHO.

        • Dys

          The universe, in its present form, had a beginning. It’s creationists who insist it came from nothing.

        • Pop Leibel

          Depends on your definition of “nothing.” I think for billions of years god was here by himself. Then, he got bored. He wanted some company, so he made the universe.

        • Dys

          he got bored.

          So between being deceitful, being bored, and wanting company, you’re outright rejecting the idea of a perfect being. Well, that flushes Christianity down the drain for you.

          But in any case, your mindless speculations don’t really matter. You don’t have a single thing to back it up with.

        • Pop Leibel

          Okay, I’m a complete idiot. I know nothing about theology and I know nothing about science. (This is true by the way.)

          Happy?

        • Dys

          I’m just curious as to why you’re here. Making assertions and refusing to defend them is a waste of time in an online discussion forum.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          No, you are not a complete idiot. You are just uneducated and untrained in some things.

        • Pop Leibel

          This is true.

        • Charles Coryn

          ‘God, here by himself’? Could there be anything more impossible? God got bored? You’re delusional my friend. Think about what you are saying…..

        • Pop Leibel

          God is just like us. He’s more human than god sometimes. I feel sorry for Him at times. He has a lot on his plate.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          You said “He has a lot on his plate.” Would that matter to an omnipotent being?

        • Pop Leibel

          He’s only a little bit omnipotent. He’s getting older.

        • Charles Coryn

          Classic…… “He’s more human than god sometimes.” This is where I bail out Pop…… peace

        • Pop Leibel

          Peace Chuck! Love you, man!

        • Gary Whittenberger

          The terms “god” and “God” refer to two different things. Please be more precise with your language.

        • Pop Leibel

          Thank you for being polite. I use the lower case because our god has a specific name. “god” is more like the generic term. I prefer to use that. That’s just me, though. You may refer to him as “God” if you like. He answers to either.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          The truth of you claim depends on how you define “beginning,” so please define it.

          It is a fact, however, that our universe is expanding, although I doubt that it had a beginning.

        • Pop Leibel

          I’ve always assumed that since the universe is expanding, that means that it somehow had a beginning. I could be wrong. I have zero training in astronomy. None.

    • catfink

      Why Does There Appear to Be Design (Fine Tuning) in the Universe? Oh dear, and you were doing so well. Any atheist worth their salt would be able to give you a pretty good explanation of how evolution works and how it can trick some (i.e. you) into thinking the universe looks designed when it’s just the result of billions of years of natural selection.

      Someone else who doesn’t understand the fine-tuning problem. Natural selection doesn’t explain why various fundamental constants of nature have the values they do, rather than other values that would not allow for life at all.

      If the universe is “designed”, as you seem to think it is, then the designer is pretty bad at their job. There are numerous examples of severe design faults – from redundant limbs/organs to the presence of genetic diseases and birth defects – that make no sense under the “Grand Designer” theory but are easily explained by evolutionary theory.

      Yes, if there is a designer, maybe he’s just not very good at his job. Or maybe he intentionally included bad design as part of an experiment or simulation.

  • Ann

    These aren’t really questions for atheists. They are questions for scientists.

    I — like many other atheists — will abide by the latest findings of advanced scientific evidence, but that is in addition to being an atheist.

    The discoveries of science greatly support atheism by discrediting imaginary and supernatural explanations for natural phenomena, but there were atheists long long before there even was any modern science.

    • Gary Whittenberger

      Oh, I think they are questions for everybody — atheists, scientists, theists, and others. Anyone can ask them, and anyone can give answers. But we must sort the good answers from the bad ones. The religious answers are bad answers.

      • Ann

        Well, yes of course you are correct that “anyone can ask them.”
        But I intended to point out that they are scientific questions, not theological ones.

        And you are SOOO right that the bad answers are the religious ones.
        (mystified) Why can’t everyone see that?

        • Gary Whittenberger

          They are questions about reality, and so anyone can ask and answer them. But scientists are most qualified to answer them.

          Some people are comforted by the religious answers and their desire for comfort exceeds their desire for truth.

  • Linguagroover

    An atheist (and former Christian) with a biological sciences background writes: Science does not know some things because it has not got the evidence. Religions never have any evidence (even when they think they have) but readily assert all sorts of things with arrogant certainty. PS I wonder how the Christian apologists think their preferred sky wizard is a better god of the gaps than Thor.

    • Gary Whittenberger

      I disagree with one thing you said — “Religions never have any evidence…”

      Sure they do! The orderliness of the universe is evidence. The ubiquity of cause-effect is evidence. Even the Gospels are evidence.

      The problem is not lack of evidence, but that the evidence is poor or insufficient to secure the claims which are made.

      • epeeist

        The orderliness of the universe is evidence.

        So something like “if a religion (which one?) was true then we would expect orderliness in the universe; we observe orderliness in the universe; therefore the religion is true”. You do realise that this committing a formal logical fallacy don’t you?

        The ubiquity of cause-effect is evidence.

        It might be ubiquitous but that doesn’t mean to say that the Principle of Sufficient Reason is necessarily true. It is inductive for a start off and may not be true of quantum level processes.

        Even the Gospels are evidence.

        And the Quran is evidence for the truth of Islam, the Vedas are evidence for the truth of Hinduism…

        The “holy books” are claims, not evidence.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          And “The lord of the Rings” trilogy is proof that elves are real. And the fact that I met Spider man at a shopping center is proof that he exists. Ain’t this game fun (;

        • Candy Smith

          The Bible makes claim about the universe. It makes scientific claims and they are correct, science agrees with them

        • epeeist

          It makes scientific claims and they are correct, science agrees with them

          See where in the bible does it provide a solution to the Einstein field equations which forms the basis of the Big Bang theory?

          Where in the bible is it revealed that the biosphere is the result of common descent with modification.

          Where in the bible does it say that the mass of particles is due to the Higgs field?

          Let’s make it easier. Where in the bible does it mention Kangaroos, Brazil or the planet Neptune?

        • TheNuszAbides

          *cue punt to Aquinas*

          EDIT: not that Candy will do any such thing (unless i just gave it the idea), just imagining Thomist lurker(s).

        • TheNuszAbides

          identically bald assertions are made wrt the Qur’an. what method did you employ to sort the wheat from the chaff?

        • Greg G.

          The Bible doesn’t make specific scientific claims. It says things that are so vague that they could be twisted to mean almost anything. You cannot get it to a scientific claim unless science has the answer, then you can twist it that way.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          I did not say that these evidences were sufficient or unequivocal. See my remarks abov e.

      • Jeff

        Sorry, but the orderliness of the universe is not evidence for god. Simple force laws provide for that orderliness. The Gospels are not evidence as they are stories told by people to support their theology, starting with a purely Jewish oral tradition that was emended to support Pauline theology.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          Sorry, but I disagree with you.

          What is evidence? Evidence is the contents of objective experience or the information accessible to multiple simultaneous observers through the five “external” senses, which is used to support, confirm, undermine, or falsify a hypothesis.

          The orderliness of the universe meets this definition. It has been used to support the hypothesis that God exists.

          The Gospels also meet this definition. They have been used to support the hypothesis that God exists and that Jesus came back to life.

          On the other hand, they do not constitute good evidence to support those hypotheses. They are equivocal and insufficient. But they are still evidence.

        • Michael Neville

          First, define what you mean by the “orderliness of the universe”. Then show that, by that definition, the universe would not be “orderly” by purely naturalistic causes.

          The Bible is a collection of myths, fables and lies with no support from any other sources. By your criteria the Lord of the Rings is evidence for the existence of hobbits and Marvel comic books are evidence for the existence of Spiderman.

          But you are right when you say the evidence for god is not good.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          GW1: Michael, please keep in mind that I am an atheist, but I don’t agree with your claim that there is no evidence for the existence of God.

          MN1: First, define what you mean by the “orderliness of the universe”. Then show that, by that definition, the universe would not be “orderly” by purely naturalistic causes.

          GW1: The “orderliness of the universe” is just the regularity in structure and action of the components of the universe, i.e. the physical laws, e.g. E=mc2. This orderliness is what we’d expect if God existed, and so it is evidence for God’s existence.

          MN1: The Bible is a collection of myths, fables and lies with no support from any other sources. By your criteria the Lord of the Rings is evidence for the existence of hobbits and Marvel comic books are evidence for the existence of Spiderman.

          GW1: Michael, you are engaged in question begging here. The Bible is a collection of narratives. You claim that these narratives are myths, fables, and lies, and that could be, but alternatively they could be eyewitness reports of events. Therefore, the Bible narratives are evidence for the existence of God.

          MN1: But you are right when you say the evidence for god is not good.

          GW1: If the evidence is not good, but is poor, then there is evidence. Also, I said the evidence for God is not good. There is a difference between “God” and “god.”

        • Michael Neville

          The “orderliness of the universe” is just the regularity in structure and action of the components of the universe, i.e. the physical laws, e.g. E=mc2. This orderliness is what we’d expect if God existed, and so it is evidence for God’s existence.

          Supposedly gods use miracles, breaking the orderliness of the universe. A lack of orderliness would be evidence for gods. The orderliness, and I accept your definition, is evidence of material naturalism, i.e., the lack of gods or other supernatural critters. Nope, I’m not seeing orderliness as evidence for gods.

          The Bible is a collection of narratives. You claim that these narratives are myths, fables, and lies, and that could be, but alternatively they could be eyewitness reports of events. Therefore, the Bible narratives are evidence for the existence of God.

          And by the same criteria the Lord of the Rings is evidence for the existence of Hobbits. How do you know that Tolkien was making Hobbits up? He gave his sources for LOTR as the Red Book of Westmarch and various translations from the Elvish by Bilbo Baggins. That’s as relevant as supposed “eyewitnesses” who only appear in the Bible.

          If the evidence is not good, but is poor, then there is evidence. Also, I said the evidence for God is not good. There is a difference between “God” and “god.”

          The evidence for gods (that’s any gods, not just the monster that Christians worship) is poor in that it’s full of logical fallacies, wishful thinking and incoherence. I’ve had evidence for gods thrown at me for years and none of it, not a single bit, has been in the slightest way convincing. The evidence for gods is similar to the evidence for leprechauns. On Saturday morning TV I can watch a leprechaun trying to sell a breakfast “food”. So the Lucky Charms® leprechaun is evidence for leprechauns but I’m not convinced there are little Irish pixies mending shoes and stashing gold at the ends of rainbows.

        • TheNuszAbides

          i suspect Gary concedes the couching of ‘evidence’ because he prefers to engage with believers who aren’t ‘productively’ shut down by more or less being told that their apolgetic tradition (or whatever they even think of it as) is a total non-starter. diff’rent strokes ‘n’ all that. some of ’em aren’t gonna slog it out of Plato’s Cave without just a wee smidge of coddling. (though far be it from me to suggest that such coddling is the ‘job’ of atheism-as-movement, or of any particular atheist.)

        • Greg G.

          GW1: The “orderliness of the universe” is just the regularity in structure and action of the components of the universe, i.e. the physical laws, e.g. E=mc2. This orderliness is what we’d expect if God existed, and so it is evidence for God’s existence.

          I disagree. If we exist in a universe with no god, we would expect it to be orderly lest evolution would be impossible.

          A universe with an omnipotence wouldn’t need orderliness as everything could operate according to the will of the omnipotence. Birds wouldn’t need light bones to fly, they could have bones of lead and fly without wings if there was an omnipotence who could just turn off the gravity at will.

          We live in the only type of universe where we could live if there was no god or gods. But a magic god could be in any type of universe.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          GW1: The “orderliness of the universe” is just the regularity in structure and action of the components of the universe, i.e. the physical laws, e.g. E=mc2. This orderliness is what we’d expect if God existed, and so it is evidence for God’s existence.

          GG2: I disagree. If we exist in a universe with no god, we would expect it to be orderly lest evolution would be impossible.

          GW2: The orderliness of the universe is evidence supporting both these hypotheses: 1) God exists and 2) The universe exists without gods.

          GG2: A universe with an omnipotence wouldn’t need orderliness as everything could operate according to the will of the omnipotence. Birds wouldn’t need light bones to fly, they could have bones of lead and fly without wings if there was an omnipotence who could just turn off the gravity at will.

          GW2: Your phrase “a universe with an omnipotence” makes no sense to me. Omnipotence is a trait ordinarily assigned to God in the God hypothesis.

          GG2: We live in the only type of universe where we could live if there was no god or gods. But a magic god could be in any type of universe.

          GW2: The existence of our universe is evidence supporting both these hypotheses: 1) God exists and 2) God does not exist. The evidence is equivocal, but it is still evidence. See my earlier definition of “evidence.”

        • Pofarmer

          So are Marvel comic books evidence for the existence of Spider Man?

          GW1: The “orderliness of the universe” is just the regularity in structure and action of the components of the universe, i.e. the physical laws, e.g. E=mc2. This orderliness is what we’d expect if God existed, and so it is evidence for God’s existence.

          It seems to me that you are mistaking the map for the terrain here. Our understanding of the Universe is that it appears orderly and governed by ordered laws according to us. At the Quantum level, a lot of non-intuitive things are happening. I also agree with Greg,. If there were a God, we wouldn’t need an orderly Universe because that God could make life happen, or whatever it wanted to, irregardless.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          PF2: So are Marvel comic books evidence for the existence of Spider Man?

          GW2: Yes, they are! But they are poor or insufficient evidence that Spider Man exists.

          GW1: The “orderliness of the universe” is just the regularity in structure and action of the components of the universe, i.e. the physical laws, e.g. E=mc2. This orderliness is what we’d expect if God existed, and so it is evidence for God’s existence.

          PF2: It seems to me that you are mistaking the map for the terrain here.

          GW2: It doesn’t seem that way to me.

          PF2: Our understanding of the Universe is that it appears orderly and governed by ordered laws according to us. At the Quantum level, a lot of non-intuitive things are happening.

          GW2: So what? Our universe is orderly! At least on a macro scale. It may even be orderly on the quantum level. See the de Broglie-Bohm theory of quantum mechanics.

          NC2: I also agree with Greg,. If there were a God, we wouldn’t need an orderly Universe because that God could make life happen, or whatever it wanted to, irregardless.

          GW2: You are using “God” when I think you mean “god.” In the God hypothesis, God creates an orderly world.

          GW2: So far, I haven’t heard anything to convince me that the orderliness of the universe and the Gospels are NOT evidences for the existence of God, and I am an atheist! Come on, guys, you can’t defeat a bad idea by simply denying the evidence supporting it. You’ve got to show that it is bad, insufficient, or equivocal evidence!

        • Pofarmer

          Come on, guys, you can’t defeat a bad idea by simply denying the
          evidence supporting it. You’ve got to show that it is bad,
          insufficient, or equivocal evidence!

          Which is what Victor Stenger does in “God, the failed Hypothesis” and what Sean Carroll does here. https://www.preposterousuniverse.com/writings/dtung/

          It’s not that the evidence is bad, insufficient or equivocal, it’s that the whole framework is unnecessary.

          I guess I’d also have to ask, Is a non-orderly Universe even possible?

        • TheNuszAbides

          It’s not that the evidence is bad, insufficient or equivocal, it’s that the whole framework is unnecessary.

          word.

        • TheNuszAbides

          irregardless

          hey, just because that made it into a frigging dictionary is no excuse 😛

          you are mistaking the map for the terrain here.

          i agree he’s at least giving the apologist definition of evidence gratuitous credit. but he did state early enough “that the evidence is poor or insufficient to secure the claims”.

        • Pofarmer

          Therefore, the Bible narratives are evidence for the existence of God.

          It strikes me that the narratives are the claim, not the evidence.

        • TheNuszAbides

          at the very least, they’re evidence that someone wanted someone else to believe and/or be entertained by them. reinforced by the fact that copies were made.

          and then of course there are the as-yet-innumerable interpolations.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          Suppose a person is testifying in court and says “John Doe killed Jill Smith.” Is this testimony evidence or a claim? Or is it both? I think it is probably both.

          Similarly, if you read one the Gospels and the author says “Peter saw Jesus a few days after he had been crucified,” is this evidence or a claim? Why not both?

          Any report by a person that they observed X, whatever X is, is both evidence in support of X and a claim about X. Agree?

          When we are talking about events happening in the past, all the evidence we may have to go on is reports, recordings, or remnants (physical traces).

        • adam

          “Similarly, if you read one the Gospels and the author says “Peter saw
          Jesus a few days after he had been crucified,” is this evidence or a
          claim? ”

          It is a STORY, mythology, so it is NEITHER.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/860b84d69a8f812b237d9d8ad7def7a764f3e50569997caaad549b38514d96de.jpg

          Devout Latter-day Saints believe that the truth of Joseph’s extraordinary revelations was validated by a group of upstanding witnesses. Every Book of Mormon begins with the signed statement of 11 witnesses. The three special witnesses confirm having seen the Angel
          Moroni and the plates. Eight other witnesses attest to seeing and handling the golden plates:

          And this we bear record with words of soberness, that the said Smith has shown unto us, for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken.[1]

          Faithful Latter-day Saints believe witnesses did in fact see and touch the plates, and that even though many of the witnesses later left the church, none of them denied their testimony.

          http://www.mormonthink.com/witnessesweb.htm

          So you ARE Mormon right?

        • Gary Whittenberger

          At the outset I think we must consider these narratives as both evidence and claims. They are written mostly in the form of third-person descriptions of events.

          When you say they are stories or mythologies, I think you mean that they are fabrications invented for some purpose. But that is a CLAIM you are making and you would need to present good evidence, reasons, or arguments to support your claim.

          The narratives could be reports of events which actually happened! I don’t think they are, but to start with we have only the evidence and we must then argue for three competing explanations: 1) They are reports of actual events vs. 2) They are fabrications. vs. 3) They are partly reports of actual events and partly fabrications.

          As I have said, I am an atheist, but I think it is important to get the epistemology correct.

        • adam

          ” They are written mostly in the form of third-person descriptions of events.”

          Like a lot of STORIES.

          “When you say they are stories or mythologies, I think you mean that they are fabrications invented for some purpose. ”

          Of course.

          but you ONLY need a rudimentary understanding of mythology to understand that.

          Myths are the stories people tell to explain nature, history and customs.

          Myth is a feature of every culture. Many sources for myths have been proposed, ranging from personification of nature or personification of natural phenomena, to truthful or hyperbolic accounts of historical events to explanations of existing rituals. Mythologizing continues, as shown in contemporary mythopoeia such as urban legends and the expansive fictional mythoi created by fantasy novels and comics. A culture’s collective mythology helps convey belonging, shared and religious experiences, behavioral models and moral and practical lessons.

          “The narratives could be reports of events which actually happened!”

          Nope, because MAGIC is IMAGINARY, not real.

          “: 1) They are reports of actual events vs. 2) They are fabrications. vs. 3) They are partly reports of actual events and partly fabrications.”

          Just like virtually all fiction.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b5b25761e502c632aaed6d0c167af42157463e47206725f5887b24fe7150d8c1.jpg

          “but I think it is important to get the epistemology correct.”

          ‘Epistemology studies the nature of knowledge, justification, and the rationality of belief.’

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

          It is not rational to believe in MAGIC.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/da3cbe3a4eb298e1b4611506b09555b13c2c8a0f98342cf9ea2a2a6018a60a4e.jpg

        • Michael Neville

          The trouble is the evidence for any gods is like having someone testify “John Doe killed Jill Smith” and then Jill Smith stands up in court and says “Joe Doe hasn’t done anything to me.”

          Evidence and testimony has to be reliable. So far that attribute is missing from theist arguments.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          Keep in mind that I have never said that this is good evidence. But it is evidence nevertheless.

          If somebody testifies that “John Doe killed Jill Smith.” and then subsequently somebody else testifies that “I am Jill Smith and John Doe never killed me,” then you have two pieces of evidence, not one, to consider. One is a bad piece of evidence, and both of them might be.

        • Michael Neville

          So according to you someone saying “arglebargle bim bam boom” is evidence. When everything is evidence for anything then we can just ignore evidence altogether because it becomes literally a meaningless noise.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          No, you are overgeneralizing my claim.

          The words in “”arglebargle bim bam boom” would all have to mean something, they would have to be presented by a person making a description of some thing or some event, and they would have to be presented with respect to some hypothesis.

          I’ll present my definition of evidence again: “Evidence is the contents of objective experience or the information accessible to multiple simultaneous observers through the five “external” senses, which is used to support, confirm, undermine, or falsify a hypothesis.”

        • Michael Neville

          “Arglebargle etc.” is evidence of nonsense.

          I think our major contention is about quantity versus quality. You see pretty much anything presented in an argument as evidence whereas I dismiss fallacious or unreasonable claims as not being evidence.

        • adam

          “Keep in mind that I have never said that this is good evidence. But it is evidence nevertheless.”

          So what purpose does this ‘bad’ evidence serve.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/54c8d1c0c0ee69b482e4c8d13f5c2fb8b2c0eec3f40b07115fd17a69716ed936.jpg

        • Gary Whittenberger

          Go back to my definition of evidence. Evidence is used to support, confirm, undermine, or falsify a hypothesis.

          The claim plus the evidence may then be used as the basis for appeals to others, as in your cartoon.

        • adam

          As it surely has.

          Still not evidence of ‘God’

        • Gary Whittenberger

          I disagree with you. I have presented two different pieces of evidence for the existence of God. However, they are poor, equivocal, or insufficient pieces of evidence. I’m still an atheist.

        • adam

          ” I’m still an atheist.”

          So not even good enough for yourself.

        • adam

          “Any report by a person that they observed X, whatever X is, is both evidence in support of X and a claim about X. Agree?”

          Do YOU agree?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/576b5354eb99d2993f45ae1c298d7ea1beb6be63a081a92e69a99632f9b856b3.jpg

        • Pofarmer

          Was Jill Smith killed?

        • adam

          ” but I don’t agree with your claim that there is no evidence for the existence of God.”

          So why are you atheistic if you have evidence of God?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fe4f85db4759e41e6b97a929743f5278be0c5c5b4ac46c7d4849a954219e949c.jpg

        • adam
        • adam

          “evidence is the contents of objective experience or the information
          accessible to multiple simultaneous observers through the five
          “external” senses, which is used to support, confirm, undermine, or
          falsify a hypothesis.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/576b5354eb99d2993f45ae1c298d7ea1beb6be63a081a92e69a99632f9b856b3.jpg

        • Gary Whittenberger

          And your point is?

      • adam

        ” The orderliness of the universe is evidence.”

        Evidence of order, not evidence of a Magical Sky Daddy.

      • Linguagroover

        Evidence is ‘the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid’… https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/evidence You are trying to redefine what evidence is. If something is not strong enough to prove a belief or proposition, it is de facto not evidence. That’s how courts of law operate – ‘beyond reasonable doubt’. Religions are great at assertion, but hopeless at evidence. I can cite a lot of evidence for evolution. I cannot cite any evidence for a creator. You perceive ‘the orderliness of the universe’ and ‘the ubiquity of cause-effect’ as evidence for a creator. I think you’re in ‘god of the gaps’ country. As for the gospels, and indeed all the canonical scriptures, they are deeply flawed, self-contradictory and unreliable. From a literary perspective, the gospels (and by extension Acts) are best characterised as plagiarised historical fiction. The benign omniscient omnipotent omnipresent revelatory deity has been a notoriously poor communicator over millennia.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          LG1: Evidence is ‘the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid’… https://en.oxforddictionari

          GW1: That definition is consistent with and overlaps with my definition.

          LG1: You are trying to redefine what evidence is.

          GW1: Maybe. I am trying to give a better definition of “evidence” than has been given previously.

          LG1: If something is not strong enough to prove a belief or proposition, it is de facto not evidence.

          GW1: I disagree. Evidence is used to support, confirm, undermine, or disconfirm a hypothesis, claim, or belief.

          LG1: That’s how courts of law operate – ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.

          GW1: The courts have established that standard to be met for a charge of “guilty of committing a specific crime.” Evidence is presented by the prosecution and defense, but the prosecution has the “burden of proof.”

          LG1: Religions are great at assertion, but hopeless at evidence.

          GW1: I think your claim here is too strong. I would say that they aren’t hopeless, but they tend to produce insufficient evidence to confirm their claims.

          LG1: I can cite a lot of evidence for evolution. I cannot cite any evidence for a creator.

          GW1: I can cite evidence for both, but the former is stronger.

          LG1: You perceive ‘the orderliness of the universe’ and ‘the ubiquity of cause-effect’ as evidence for a creator. I think you’re in ‘god of the gaps’ country.

          GW1: What’s the gap? Both those evidences are supportive of the existence of a creator god. They aren’t unequivocal or sufficient, but they are supportive.

          LG1: As for the gospels, and indeed all the canonical scriptures, they are deeply flawed, self-contradictory and unreliable. From a literary perspective, the gospels (and by extension Acts) are best characterised as plagiarised historical fiction.

          GW1: I don’t disagree with you, but the Gospels are still evidence in support of the hypothesis that Jesus came back to life. Of course, you would need to present some evidence for your claim that the Gospels are “historical fiction.”

          LG1: The benign omniscient omnipotent omnipresent revelatory deity has been a notoriously poor communicator over millennia.

          GW1: You mean that if it existed, it would be a better communicator. I agree.

        • Linguagroover

          I’ve worked professionally with words (as a journalistic subeditor/copy editor) for more than 35 years. I admire your chutzpah re attempting to improve on the Oxford dictionary’s definition of ‘evidence’. I find I’m having this discussion quite frequently with people who are religious apologists or at least seem to want to give religious assertion a generous lack of scrutiny that simply would not wash in serious media, Western courts of law, hard-core science or democratic politics.

          To cut to the chase re the gospels, they bear no relation to anything purporting to be proper history or biography. ‘Mark’ was copied and elaborated by ‘Matthew’ and ‘Luke’. ‘John’ goes off on a totally different tangent. They are full of inventions, errors and implausibility. Rather than my reinventing the wheel, I suggest reading Nailed or the three-volume Jesus: Mything in Action, all by David Fitzgerald, for lively yet authoritative surveys of the New Testament material.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          I certainly don’t place much credibility in the stories of the Gospels, but the original documents are evidence anyway, at least according to my definition of “evidence” which I think is a good one, even better than the of the Oxford dictionary.

          Evidence is the contents of objective experience or the information accessible to multiple simultaneous observers through the five “external” senses, which is used to support, confirm, undermine, or falsify a hypothesis.

          Evidence may be poor or good, insufficient or sufficient, sparse or plentiful, unhelpful or helpful, uncorroborated or corroborated. We should have a good definition of evidence and solid standards for evaluating it.

  • Gary Whittenberger

    Bob, I agree with nearly all of this essay and also I like it.

    However, I’d like to focus a moment on your first sentence: “No one can demand a proof that God does (or doesn’t) exist, but where does the evidence point?”

    I disagree. Anyone can demand a proof that God does or doesn’t exist, but can anyone provide one? I think that there are several strong “proofs” that God does not exist. These are formal arguments with premises logically leading to the conclusion “Therefore, God does not exist.” I also believe their premises are true, so it all boils down to a debate on those premises.

    • Pop Leibel

      You don’t have “proof” god doesn’t exist. None of you do.

      By the way, good morning. My name is Pop Leibel. I’m a stoner.

      • epeeist

        You don’t have “proof” god doesn’t exist. None of you do.

        True, but as Bertrand Russell noted:

        I do not pretend to be able to prove that there is no God. I equally cannot prove that Satan is a fiction. The Christian god may exist; so may the gods of Olympus, or of ancient Egypt, or of Babylon. But no one of these hypotheses is more probable than any other: they lie outside the region of even probable knowledge, and therefore there is no reason to consider any of them.

        As it is of course it is the person making the ontological commitment that has the burden. It is the theist who makes the claims about the existence of a god or pantheon of gods, therefore they have a burden to demonstrate this existence.

        Personally I just don’t have any belief in the existence of things such as “god” in that no theist has ever been able to provide me with a coherent description of such an entity.

        • heidi jo bean
        • Candy Smith

          And if Russel is wrong and God does exist then he will be in Hell forever. So I hope you are really like 200% confident that U are right because if you are wrong, then there will be an eternity of pain and regret if you are wrong.

        • epeeist

          So essentially what your god is saying is “Worship me or burn in hell”.

          What a despicable entity your god is.

          As it is your post is essentially a paraphrase of Pascal’s Wager, something a bright 12-year old could see through (though given your spelling and grammar I suspect you wouldn’t be able to).

          I normally post a link to an article which not only refutes the wager but absolutely destroys it, but it takes a modicum of intelligence to understand. Seeing as who I am responding to I think a cartoon might be more apposite:

          https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/1c/13/02/1c1302e9c7a0cc29bb9e964b45572507.jpg

        • Michael Neville

          The threat of Hell is a threat and most people don’t take well to threats. It certainly doesn’t say much about your god and your religion that you resort to threats in an attempt to get us to believe in your sadistic monster of a god.

        • Greg G.

          Read 1 Corinthians 15:19. Paul thinks that if you are wrong, you should be most pitied, so you will be worse off than we will if we are wrong.

        • Candy Smith

          If I am wrong, I lose nothing. Because when I die, I will simply cease to exist. But if I am right, and when I die, I don’t cease to exist, how am I going to lose?? Unlike you, I’ve done what I need to do to go to Heaven. You most likely haven’t, right?

        • Greg G.

          Unlike you, I’ve done what I need to do to go to Heaven.

          God allows unnecessary suffering. Why do you want to put up with that for eternity? Don’t believe the advertising brochure.

        • Candy Smith

          According to what does he allpw unnecessary suffering? How do you know that? Just because you claim that unnecessary sufferinf exists, that doesn’t make it true?!??!

        • Candy Smith

          There isnt going to be suffering in Heaven. Suffering will be in Hell, where I am not going.

        • BlackMamba44
        • Candy Smith

          I will be most pitied. What about those that will go to hell (Like you will if you dont change), should we feel sorry for you? Some will but at some point, you will realize that you deserve it. Every sinner in hell has a full
          realization that he deserves to be there. Each sinner has a fully
          informed, acutely aware, and sensitive conscience which, in hell,
          becomes his own tormentor. This is the experience of torture in hell—a
          person fully aware of his or her sin with a relentlessly accusing
          conscience, without relief for even one moment. The guilt of sin will
          produce shame and everlasting self-hatred.

        • Greg G.

          I will be most pitied. What about those that will go to hell

          1 Corinthians 15:19 says you will be most pitied. Think how much people in hell will be pitied. Paul says Christians would be even more pitied. He couldn’t bear to give details, so it must be even more horrible than hell.

          You should probably get a better religion if you want to play Pascal’s Wager.

        • Candy Smith

          There is no better religion. That makes no sense.

      • Cozmo the Magician

        You can’t prove that my invisible imaginary pet dragon doesn’t exist. That does not make him any more or less valid than big sky daddy. And FYI , one of the basic principals of logic is that you can’t prove a negative. What we do have is a complete lack of any evidence of the existence of a deity. Fairly tales from thousands of years ago are not evidence. Warm fuzzy feelings in church are not evidence. Trump becoming president sure as heck aint evidence.

        • Pop Leibel

          Cossy, you don’t have proof god doesn’t exist. Spin it any way you like. Make jokes. No proof. You lose. Move on to next topic. Why am I talking like a robot? I don’t know.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          Which god are you talking about? Provide a definition and I’ll provide you a proof.

        • Pop Leibel

          The regular old god. Jesus Christ. The Messiah. The Prince of Peace, The Redeemer, The Good Shepherd, The Lord of Lords. You know, The Big Cheese.

        • Otto

          He is really kind of a dick…

        • Pop Leibel

          Me or Jesus? Or us both.

        • Otto

          Since I responded to you with ‘he’ I wasn’t referring to you here.

        • Pop Leibel

          Jesus was a dick then? How do you know that?

        • Otto

          I am just going by the stories of the character of Jesus portrayed in the Bible.

        • Pop Leibel

          It was 2,000 years ago. Times were different. Things were harsh back then. I’m guessing, although I have no idea if that’s true. It sounded good.

        • Otto

          1000 years is like 1 day to God….it shouldn’t matter.

        • Greg G.

          In Mark 7:24-30, Jesus effectively called a woman a bitch when she asked him to heal her daughter. She out-witted him so he performed the miracle.

        • Pop Leibel

          Okay, from now on I’m going to just upvote someone if I’ve already addressed an example presented. We’re going over the same ground, Folks.

      • You don’t have “proof” god doesn’t exist. None of you do.

        We’re not making the claim–the Christian is. It’s their burden of proof, not ours.

        • Pop Leibel

          I was responding to Gary’s claim (above mine) that there are “several strong *proofs that god does not exist.” That’s wrong. No one has proof that god doesn’t exist. Neither side can prove their claims.

        • It’s rather easy to pit one of God’s omni- properties against another to show that they can’t both work as Christians claim, so the Christian God can be proven to not exist.

        • Pop Leibel

          It may sound ridiculous, but I don’t go by the bible. People wrote the bible, and they’re failable. I trust very little of what most people do or say.

          Human race >> 80% jerks >> 20% just okay

          I’m not a religious person. I don’t go to church. I believe in god. Crazy, I know, but it’s true.

        • How would you know what Christianity means/says if you don’t go by the Bible, at least indirectly? And how does your faith differ from the faith someone else has in his religion?

        • Pop Leibel

          “Indirectly” is a good word. My faith is a kind of hybrid. I like the idea of someone saving me, but really, I’m going with a certainty I have in my heart. He’s there. I know it.

          I’ve said on here before, I’m not an expert on the bible (far from it) or an expert on science. I just know what I know.

        • Dys

          I just know what I know.

          No…you believe what you believe. If there’s one thing you’ve adequately demonstrated up to this point, it’s an incredible lack of knowledge.

        • Pop Leibel

          We’ll agree to disagree. No problem.

        • Dys

          And since you can’t back up your side with anything besides your feels, you effectively have nothing to offer here. Beyond empty assertions and made-up bullshit, of course.

        • Pop Leibel

          You sound angry. That’s not a fun place to be. I’m writing a song for you on my guitar right now. It’s in the key of G.

        • Dys

          I’m not angry…I think you’re laughably inept and a waste. You don’t know what you’re talking about, and you’re proud of that fact.

        • Pop Leibel

          You sure sound angry.

        • Dys

          I think it’s clear that you’re not a very good judge about much of anything you’ve tried discussing here.

        • Pop Leibel

          Angry again. Your song is almost finished.

        • Dys

          You’re an insipid troll.

        • Pop Leibel

          It’s finished! Here’s your song.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eB3VTX0pxoE

        • Dys

          Actually, I like REM quite a bit. But the really funny thing is that you in all likelihood don’t have the first clue as to what that song’s really about. Here’s a hint: it’s not about becoming an atheist, giving up religion, or being angry at god.

          So, good song, but in terms of being relevant to the topic at hand…not so much. Song fail for you.

        • Pop Leibel

          Damn-it!

        • Michael Neville

          Don’t give yourself airs. You’re not worth the effort to summon anger.

        • Pop Leibel

          I agree, yet it’s there.

        • Kodie

          I want you to leave or I will leave.

        • Pop Leibel

          Don’t let the door smack your fanny.

        • Kodie

          Oh, you will leave.

        • Pop Leibel

          Don’t care.

        • Kodie

          Telling people how they sound to you is hostile, and not taking responsibility is hostile. You think a song will cheer someone up? Maybe if you would acknowledge the effect of things you say, it would help. You’re a dumb fuck. Pretending you’re not and thinking someone seems angry because of something else is dishonest and a total turd thing to do. You must lack empathy, it seems to be a symptom of Christianity.

        • Pop Leibel

          It’s a good song. I’m halfway through with the melody and middle eight. It’s kind of a rocker type song. Think >> “Spirit in the Sky”

        • Kodie

          So it’s horrible and irrelevant?

        • adam
        • I give a few examples of the self-contradicting omni- properties here:

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2015/06/top-10-most-common-atheist-arguments-do-they-fail-2-of-4/

        • Pop Leibel

          I read them. They’re somewhat convincing, but they’re not “proof.” That’s all I was saying to Gary. Keep it real. Don’t exaggerate. You can give evidence but don’t claim proof.

        • When God’s omni- properties contradict each other, you can’t have them both. Too bad for Christianity if you demand otherwise.

        • Pop Leibel

          Again, you’re applying rules that people wrote up ABOUT god.
          I think your argument, like many on here, is against organized religion, not god. If that’s the case then I don’t have a problem with anything you’re saying. I don’t like organized religion either. Even many churches are suspect. Not all, but some.

        • adam

          “I think your argument, like many on here, is against organized religion, not god.”

          Of course, because organized religion is real and god is IMAGINARY.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7ead1dfb33fc5a434455e6d5ffd090caa7b6e7d822229360729a7a9750b56e83.png

        • Pop Leibel

          Were you abused as a child? If so, I understand your anger towards religion. That’s an awful thing to have endured.

        • Kodie

          What a disgusting assumption. It’s pretty normal for a rational moral person to be disgusted by institutional child rape and systematic cover-up to think “what a disgusting organization” with or without having been abused by anyone. Using “god” to abuse power and people is what you do, what YOU, LUBEY, do. Why doesn’t the church’s abuse of power disgust you, why do you think someone has to have been an abuse victim to oppose religion?

          I mean, that’s exactly what you’re saying, trying to protect your religion from valid criticism.

        • Pop Leibel

          Child rape disgusts me. The priests should be put away forever. You’re blaming god for something priests are doing. God doesn’t condone that behavior.
          God is love and compassion and beauty and poetry. The exact opposite of raping priests.

        • Ignorant Amos

          God is a child rapist.

        • adam

          “God is love and compassion and beauty and poetry. ”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3d75f40886a30963d29f96e7ac5c05cad2aeb7bf5d71b350bbea60643eeff355.jpg

          Poetry for Nazis and Fascists

        • Dys

          So your god isn’t all-good, all-loving, all-powerful, etc.? Then what half-assed concept of god are you going with?

        • Pop Leibel

          He’s all-loving. He loves you too.

        • Dys

          This is probably going to go over your head, but you should realize that you’ve just done what you accused others of doing: inventing rules about god.

        • Pop Leibel

          I know what I know.

        • Kodie

          You are intellectually incapable of keeping up with this conversation. Nobody cares about your delusions here, we care if you can support them. You want to make shit up, you get called out, “knowing what you know” “in your heart” isn’t really an interesting read.

        • Pop Leibel

          I don’t mind getting “called out.” It makes me think. I like to think.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You like to think you think. There’s a difference.

          I remember the conversations we used to have back in the day when I smoked dope. We all thought they were the most well reasoned and thought out and deep conversations being had. We were all just burbling a lot of shite though. Just one step down from the shite burbling we talked while high as a kite after dropping acid.

        • Aram Nurala

          Hey now, not exactly a fair comparison as sometimes ideas on weed do maintain their merit come morning. Pop, on the other hand, is but a flake of the highest order.

        • Pop Leibel

          I’m starting to like you.

        • Dys

          Ah….so it’s ok for YOU to decide what properties god has, but if anyone else does it, even for the most basic ideas about what properties an entity would need in order to be considered a god, that’s “applying rules that people wrote up ABOUT god”.

          No wonder the arguments either for or against god don’t mean anything to you. Your understanding of the topic is so self-serving, contradictory, and hypocritical that it’s meaningless.

          Also, “I know what I know” is useless. I can counter it by simply stating that I know you’re wrong. One of us has to be right, and the other wrong. And the way to determine which of us is right is through evidence. You don’t have (or need) any. Ergo, you have a belief, not knowledge.

        • Pop Leibel

          You don’t have proof either. I have my heart and soul. Those are bigger than anything you can roll into the room.

        • Dys

          Positive claims carry the burden of proof. And there’s plenty of evidence to counter much of the nonsense you’ve been spouting.

          You have nothing but your feels.

        • Dys

          Souls are imaginary too. And a heart is just an organ that pumps blood. So you’ve still got nothing.

        • adam
        • Pop Leibel

          I’m not discussing anything with you until you jettison the pictures. Form your own opinions and express them. You’re taking the lazy way out.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’s funny.

          It’s not all about you though.

          Adam has the lurkers to consider and that is his commenting technique. So pah!

          Plus the memes have entertainment value for the rest of us.

          Have you never heard the idiom…

          http://oels.byu.edu/student/idioms/proverbs/images/pic_thousand_words.jpg

        • Pop Leibel

          Tell me about Adam’s “lurkers.” What in the hell is that?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Too dumb to use a search engine on your glorified computer…that figures.

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

        • adam
        • Kodie

          We don’t need imaginary friends to fill that void.

        • Kodie

          It’s the people, you moron. There is no god to blame. It’s the people who use god as a bludgeon against everyone they don’t think is fit. YOU DID IT YOURSELF. You don’t see that it’s about you, Lubey, not god? It’s about Christians dictating and demanding we speak very little while you speak freely about your imaginary friend, that you infantilize women and tone-troll, but you can say whatever? It’s you, it’s you, not god, it’s you. You’re offensive, then you don’t like to be talked to, talked about, you think atheists should just take your prejudice, be quiet and decide believing in god is just more socially beneficial, that makes LUBEY happy, but you don’t think we’re fit for society and have to change to suit your preferences. That’s not god, that’s just you using god as an excuse to be a dick.

        • Pop Leibel

          You can believe whatever you want. I don’t care. Don’t put me in with organized religion. I was being factitious when we first talked. I was trying to get your goat. Really, I don’t care what others believe. That’s their business, not mine. I’m okay with anything as long as you don’t hurt others.

          My original point was, you don’t sound like a happy person. I don’t think atheism is providing you with the spirituality that you need. Whatever that means to you. You personally. I don’t mean religion. I mean whatever “happiness” mean to you.

        • Kodie

          Can you not read? I didn’t say organized religion, I said people with a religion using that religious belief as a weapon. You did it too, it has nothing to do with lumping you in with another group, it has specifically to do with your religious prerogative to treat other people like trash to make yourself seem superior, like telling me from the beginning that I need god or that I need to talk to you like a meek little girl in a white dress – which is disturbing and perverted thing for you to say, Lubed Up Larry. I know you changed your name but let’s not forget how you view yourself.

          Lubey, why don’t you shut the fuck up about how I sound to you, when I talk to you? You know what might be the cause? YOU. I mean you say the stupidest, most offensive, idiotic gross things, the way you talk to people and then you think they must be upset about something else and not what you do and how you do it. I’m not here to please you, so stop trying to fit me into your double-standards sexist pervert stereotype.

        • Pop Leibel

          I’m not doing it on purpose. I’m just talking to people.

        • Here’s the argument against God: there is insufficient evidence to believe. That applies to both of us.

        • Pop Leibel

          Bob, have you ever been in love? Assuming you have, please explain to me what “love” is to you. How would you describe “love?”

          See? It’s not easy, is it? You KNOW that there is that thing called love, but how do you prove it? You can’t, but you’re sure that there is. Do you have evidence? Maybe, some, but nothing you can put your finger on. Nothing concrete.

          Now, this isn’t a perfect analogy, but it’s the first that came to me. There is stuff out there that we don’t understand.

        • adam

          “How would you describe “love?””

          The result of chemical reaction in the brain.
          It is MEASUREABLE
          http://articles.latimes.com/2010/feb/08/health/la-he-love8-2010feb08

          EASY….

          God has the same kind of ‘love’ that Hitler had.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1e284ecfcf8f4a4da8adb8c8992def60d555414158c237b83a5d3f4c4ffb2fa2.jpg

        • Does Shiva exist? Does love exist?

          Not really a great comparison.

        • Pop Leibel

          I had to google “Shiva.” I thought it was a spice like Herbes de Provence or something. I don’t know much about religions and all that witchcraft stuff you guys mess around with.
          “Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
          Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
          Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
          Lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing,–
          For a charm of powerful trouble,
          Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.”

          Not a great comparison, but I think you get my point.

        • Get your point? You got no point. You referred to love, which we agree exists, as if that were comparable with God, which we don’t agree exists.

          One thing we do agree on is that there are thousands of invented gods. Yahweh looks like just one more.

        • Pop Leibel

          I quoted Shakespeare. He knows a thing or two about love.

          If some people want Yahweh for their god, then so what? Let them alone. Stop ridiculing people because of how they worship. Maybe they need something like that.

          (Not you so much, but the rest of these dingleberries.)

        • When you must ignore the challenge from the other person, ask yourself what that means about the strength of your position.

          If some people want Yahweh for their god, then so what?

          If they’re civil, following the law, and respecting the separation of church and state, then I don’t care. If they’re pushing the boundaries or declaring that they have intellectual backing for their supernatural position, then I might push back.

        • Pop Leibel

          We agree. Simple.
          Except, you know that there are intellectual giants who are believers? People smarter than you and me?

          I see more than that on here, though. There are people on here who would like to see me dead just because of what I believe. Others ridicule and hate me. You atheists are no better than the theists.

        • Kodie

          They don’t believe because of being smart.

          Nobody ever here said they would like to see you dead, and you LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE because you’re dishonest, it’s not because of what you believe, but the disgusting, disturbing, sexist, perverted things you say. Nobody cares that much about what you believe, except that it makes you a dishonest piece of crap with zero reading comprehension skills and instead of being on topic, you like to tell people how to talk to you or try to psychoanalyze people based on their reaction to the shitty hostile arrogant dishonest creepy sexist things you say.

          You lost your first chance day ONE with your tone-trolling asshole, hey you sound cranky, let me tell you about Jesus. You’re patronizing and oblivious. Religious people exist and you think we’re annoyed at you because we hate your beliefs or we hate god. NO, I hate you, the perverted asshole who decided that’s how it was going to be. I don’t give second chances, too bad everyone else did.

        • Pop Leibel

          If I was standing in front of you now you would slap me. That’s if you didn’t fall in love with me first >> because I’m super hot. (I am, this is no joke)

        • Kodie

          Gross.

        • Pop Leibel

          I’m over 50, though. I keep in shape. 3 miles on the treadmill everyday. Under 30 minutes. I lift weights 3 times a week. Not heavy, but substantial. My wife is 20 years younger than me. That’s the absolute truth. Swear to god. I’m not rich, but I do okay. I own two homes. One in the mountains, and one at the beach. The one at the beach is a single-wide, but still, it’s pretty nice. I can see the Atlantic ocean.

        • Pofarmer

          I don’t know that anyone would like to see you dead, but we would like to see you gone. You’ve simply made an ass of yourself.

        • Pop Leibel

          I disagree. I’m not being rude to anyone, and my ideas, although strange, are lucid and quite interesting. I’ve made myself laugh several times.

        • Paul B. Lot

          There are people on here who would like to see me dead just because of what I believe.

          Has anyone made death threats and/or expressed a wish for your death? I haven’t seen it.

          Presuming, for the moment, that you’re not lying – did they utter such things because of your [faith] or because of your [actions here on this blog]?

          Others ridicule and hate me.

          Oh. This – this I find easy to believe. I mean: you seem like a contemptible piece of shit to me. I honor those who ridicule you.

          You atheists are no better than the theists.

          Aren’t we? Has anyone beheaded you?

        • Pop Leibel

          Good point, but I can *FEEL* the hatred. You despise me because I have a spiritual side to me. Look, I can’t help the way I feel. It’s there inside me. There’s no doubt.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Good point, but I can *FEEL* the hatred. You despise me because I have a spiritual side to me.

          Not at all. I despise you because you seem to me like a lying, arrogant, cretin.

          I despise all lying, arrogant, cretins – theist, atheist, deist, igtheist, or _______.

          No, no. You’ve constructed a model of me which allows you to either a) preserve your ego, or b) continue to pretend to be someone you’re not for the sake of trolling….and I don’t care which.

          Either way, it gives me an opportunity to discuss the truth, which I find is a good thing in and of itself.

          The truth is that many spiritual people have my admiration. The current pope, from time to time. The current Dali Lama. My fiancee.

          You? No, I don’t hate you because of your “spiritual” side. I hate you because you present as someone who is worth hating.

          Look, I can’t help the way I feel. It’s there inside me. There’s no doubt.

          I don’t give a shit [how you fee]. I care [how you choose to act]. And you act, from what I’ve seen so far, like a piece of shit.

        • Michael Neville

          You’re too insignificant to be hated. Mild irritation does not equal hatred. Stop pretending that you’re a greater annoyance than you really are.

        • Pop Leibel

          Mike, if I was a mild irritation you would ignore me. Like that rash you had on your butt last week. No, you’re responding because you know I have good points and it’s starting to shake your atheistic foundations.

        • Otto

          I can’t speak for MN but my ‘atheistic foundations’ started with Christianity and your Lord Jesus Christ.

        • Pop Leibel

          What happened? What did Jesus do that was SO bad?

          I said Jesus, NOT the people who claim to be espousing Jesus. Most people are liars. What did Jesus do?

        • Otto

          There ARE ONLY people claiming to espouse Jesus. Jesus never wrote or recorded anything. There are only other people that recorded what Jesus supposedly said or did. Everything you know about Jesus comes from other people…wrap your stoner head around that.

        • Pop Leibel

          I’m rolling one now. No joke. Good stuff too.

        • Otto

          I have smoked plenty, I have asked the questions you are asking.

        • adam

          ” No, you’re responding because you know I have good points and it’s starting to shake your atheistic foundations.”

          As soon as you start demonstrating MAGIC is real.

          For now all hollow bluster…

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e3fd99e48290596c8606a13560d5c916a9da4e2541d2efbf225868e5efe55ff5.jpg

        • Greg G.

          We are here for the entertainment and for some an occasional good argument. You are entertainment.

        • Pop Leibel

          I’ve been on worse blogs. Christian blogs are boring. I’ll admit that.

        • Kodie

          You’re so delusional!

        • Pop Leibel

          I know that. Most people are.

        • Michael Neville

          Why should I ignore you? Holding you in contempt is fun. You should try it some time. As for you having “good points”, when are you going to make any? You really do have delusions of adequacy if you think you’re shaking my atheistic foundations. Only an ignoranus would think that’s happening. Smarter, more knowledgeable people than you (not that it’s particularly hard to be smarter or more knowledgeable than you) have tried to breach my atheism and failed.

        • Pop Leibel

          Okay, we’re going in circles again. I’ll just upvote you.

        • Kodie

          I despise the sexist condescending asshole side of you, which is the whole thing.

        • Yes, some smart people today are believers.

          I’ve seen how the busy commenters here respond to thoughtful Christians. They push back as necessary, but those Christian commenters feel welcome (I think). If you’re getting harsher pushback, maybe that’s a gauge of the quality of your arguments.

        • Pop Leibel

          So, if my arguments aren’t of good quality, I deserve bad treatment? I deserve to be ridiculed? Come again?

        • Dys

          Wait….you think you’ve made an argument? WHERE?

        • Pop Leibel

          What’s your argument? I haven’t seen squat from you. All you do is just follow me around like a little puppy. At least I’m putting my uneducated thoughts on the line.

          Tell me why you don’t believe in god. What are your reasons?

        • Kodie

          To be fair, there is no quality of his arguments. It’s all the douchey asshole being a dick to people part that’s getting “pushback”.

        • BlackMamba44

          I’m sick of his snide little comments about atheists. Apparently, I’m “angry and rude, not good things to be, even for an atheist.

          He’s an ass.

          EDIT: finished quote

        • Yeah, but you’re being mean.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Is there a /s on this post, Bob?

        • Kodie

          He said you messaged him an encouraging sentiment.

        • He lied. I’ve never had any communication with him except for the public comments here.

          To answer Paul’s question, yes, this comment was sarcastic. Apologies if that wasn’t obvious.

        • Pop Leibel

          I didn’t lie. You said theists were welcome here. I was going by that, is all. I’m not exactly a theist, but I will defend them.

          Kodie is about as psychotic as they come. And you know it. She’s probably posting from a mental institution.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Kodie is about as psychotic as they come. And you know it. She’s probably posting from a mental institution.

          Tsk tsk, “projection” is not among the theological virtues Larry.

        • Pop Leibel

          Let’s just say I wouldn’t invite her to the 4th of July picnic.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Let’s just say I wouldn’t invite her to the 4th of July picnic.

          Do you imagine that anyone cares whom you would invite?

          Oh….wait….you probably do.

          See, it’s delusions like this which make me suspect that you have the concept [mental institution] near-at-hand for a specific, personal, reason.

        • You did lie–you said that we had a private email conversation. We didn’t.

          Kodie has been a valuable contributor at this blog for years. She has a lot to offer, though she speaks her mind. That shouldn’t be a problem if you value unambiguous and direct feedback.

        • Pop Leibel

          Okay, a tiny little lie. He-he! I’m a rascal.

        • “Rascal” isn’t the word that comes to mind for me, but thanks for talking me down.

          Atheists often have high moral standards. We can’t ask for forgiveness and wipe the slate clean.

        • Pop Leibel

          Top 5 creepiest cults in America right now:

          5) Jehova Witness
          4) Trump supporters
          3) Transgenders
          2) Gun enthusiasts
          1) Atheists

        • Dys

          Good to see you still don’t really know what the word ‘cult’ means.

        • Pop Leibel

          I meant it in the broader sense. Okay, “weirdos” if you like that better.

        • Pop Leibel

          Dys, btw I’d put the hardcore Baptist hell raisers right in the middle of that group, too. I can go both ways.

        • Dys

          Where do you put “uneducated morons who troll atheist blogs” on your list?

          Just curious as to your level of self-awareness.

        • Pop Leibel

          I got me some schoolin’

        • Pop Leibel

          The sign of an internet creep is saying things that you’d never say to someone in real life. Your “buddies” are doing a lot of that. You need to watch who you hang with. I like you, but the creeps you hang with are bastards. I guess they prop up your ego. Good for you.

        • Otto

          Self awareness is not your strong suit is it…

        • Susan

          The sign of an internet creep is saying things that you’d never say in real life.

          Unless you’re a creep in real life.

          I agree though. It’s easy to troll on the internet.

          Which is all you’ve done since you got here.

        • epeeist

          Looking back through his posts, he never answers substantive questions that are put to him. All he does is produced short posts meant to provoke and which denigrate specific posters.

        • Life is a mirror.

        • Pop Leibel

          Good morning, Bob. Writers think in metaphors, it’s true.

        • adam

          “She’s probably posting from a mental institution.”

          Just because you do, doesnt mean anyone else here does.

          BTW, we can all see the effect that Jesus has had on you.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/681785c573e0e941d7e81f66dd2e305bc7671f7e9b41f0b84b263f098be05d79.jpg

        • adam

          ” I’m not exactly a theist, ”

          But you are exactly a LIAR….

        • Pop Leibel

          Ooohh. I’m a liar. You’ve never lied, I’m sure. And you must be about 14 years old? Why don’t you just talk to me instead of posting these inane pictures and comments?
          I don’t see you saying much. Tell me how things work. Give me some ideas. I’ve put myself out there for criticism. At least I have the courage to do that.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Lol @ you + courage.

        • Kodie

          I didn’t think you were serious, and I know he lied.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Apologies if that wasn’t obvious.

          My shame in not picking up on what everyone else found obvious is great. It shall carry down my lineage. Not even the 7th generation shall be spared this burden.

        • And don’t get me started on the Moabites and Ammonites in your distant past (Deut. 23:3). No entering the Temple for you, sonny boy.

        • adam

          ” There are people on here who would like to see me dead just because of what I believe.”

          No, we feel for your stupidity, we just want you educated.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/526c48e422cf67b5651b29d969287063512b92caef0f4d139debf02de0f981cd.jpg

        • Pop Leibel

          It’s amazing how many of you have biblical names on here. Blatantly biblical. Ironic. I mean the very most obvious names. Crazy. I guess “Pofarmer” would be the exception. He-he!

        • adam

          “Except, you know that there are intellectual giants who are believers?”

          Propaganda and indoctrination are powerful tools, that is why religion relies on it.

        • Pop Leibel

          The tools of truth.

        • epeeist

          The tools of truth.

          I have never come across a theist posting here who has any understanding of what constitutes truth.

        • adam
        • Paul B. Lot

          Stop ridiculing people because of how they worship.

          Why?

          Not you so much, but the rest of these dingleberries.

          Oh, I see: “do as I say, not as I do.”

          Another hypocrite – so unpredictable.

        • Pop Leibel

          “Dingleberries” is an affectionate term I use for atheists. I love the little bastards.

        • Paul B. Lot

          “Dingleberries” is an affectionate term I use for atheists. I love the little bastards.

          Oh, I see.

          “Scum” is a term I use for people like you. I don’t love you.

          But then, the chances are very high indeed that [my love] is not something you ever sought – much more likely that you’re interested in [a reaction , [any reaction].

          Trolls gonna troll, eh?

        • Pop Leibel

          I’m only nasty to the ones who are nasty to me. I’ve never said a cross word to Bob or Greg, and a couple others. They’ve been civil to me, and so, I am to them.

          The others on here can kiss my fanny. You’re phonies. You think you have everything figured out, but you’re clueless. You pretend you know how the universe works, and that’s laughable. You’re worse than the shamicists because at least they went to school to get stupid.

          “A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.”

        • Paul B. Lot

          I’m only nasty to the ones who are nasty to me.

          If that’s true, I unfortunately doubt it. If it’s false, I fortunately doubt it.

          You think you have everything figured out, but you’re clueless. You pretend you know how the universe works

          I doubt it. In particular, I don’t think I’ve ever seen evidence which supports this assertion – and I’ve been a lurker/participant for years now.

        • Pop Leibel

          Well, if you admit you don’t know “how everything works,” how can you be sure there wasn’t a creator? I’m not going to get into pissing contest with you, but doesn’t it seem logical that there **is a possibility** that something or someone started all of this? Why is there something and not nothing?

        • Paul B. Lot

          Well, if you admit you don’t know “how everything works,” how can you be sure there wasn’t a creator?

          Who said I was “sure”?

          Why is there something and not nothing?

          How do you know that this question means anything?

        • Paul B. Lot

          Well, if you admit…

          BTW, what does [what I do or don’t admit] have to do with supporting the claim

          You think you have everything figured out, but you’re clueless. You pretend you know how the universe works

          which you seem to have made regarding > 0 other people on this blog.

          Do you have any evidence which supports it?

        • Pop Leibel

          Paul, your last two posts are all over the place. Coherence is important on Disqus.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Like I said: tolls gonna troll.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Also, does that mean that you do not, in fact, have evidence to support your claim that

          [others on here] think [they] have everything figured out, but [they]’re clueless. [Others on here] pretend [they] know how the universe works

          ?

          Come on, Pop, put your money where your copiously-sized mouth is.

        • Michael Neville

          What sort of affectionate term should we use for you? Clueless gobshite might be appropriate. Possibly fucking troll would do. But I think that ignoranus (a portmanteau of ignorant asshole) fits you well.

        • Pop Leibel

          Nice portmanteau! I like that.

        • BlackMamba44

          Fuck you. You’re being ridiculed because you’re an asshole. It has nothing to do with how you worship.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f71b86167c2424649d7f8bc2442b3ec1c4409c54f84eed782d04be02704bf349.jpg

        • Pop Leibel

          You’re angry and rude. Not good things to be. Even for an atheist. Grow up.

        • BlackMamba44
        • Paul B. Lot

          Nah, anger is often the appropriate response to behavior, especially behavior like yours.

        • Pop Leibel

          I’ve stated my position on that already. I’ll just upvote you.

        • Paul B. Lot

          I’ve stated my position on that already.

          Did you state it somewhere? I hadn’t noticed. No matter.

          I’ll just upvote you.

          Even a broken clock!

        • Greg G.

          A blind squirrel with a broken clock.

        • adam
        • adam

          ” Stop ridiculing people because of how they worship. Maybe they need something like that.”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3e8cf5b743bdb737ae0f6745e608eb426f0017f72b3c6aa58fa138ca0b9ff0eb.jpg

        • Dys

          I don’t know much about religions and all that witchcraft stuff you guys mess around with.

          Sorry, but it’s the god-botherers that believe in magic.

        • Pop Leibel

          I used to be a wicca

        • Ignorant Amos

          Another shite analogy from another deluded believer.

          Love is all about the brain chemicals. You should know all about that Larry.

          Arthur Aron, a social psychologist at Stony Brook University in New York, has done brain scans on people newly in love and found that after that first magical meeting or perfect first date, a complex system in the brain is activated that is essentially “the same thing that happens when a person takes cocaine.”

          After the dopamine surge, research suggests that two key hormones — oxytocin and vasopressin — enter the picture, encouraging couples to form emotional bonds.

        • Pop Leibel

          That’s your explanation of love? Horse dookie. That’s not love. Shamiscists are idiots.

        • Otto

          ‘Love without evidence is stalking’

          -Tim Minchin

        • Pop Leibel

          That’s a good one!

    • Anyone can demand such a proof, but I think it’s unreasonable to do so. However, it’s quite reasonable to demand convincing evidence of a claim.

      About your proofs that God doesn’t exist: I’ve seen proofs that the Christian god doesn’t exist by showing that some of his omni- properties conflict. Is that what you’re thinking of?

  • Jeff

    These questions aren’t tough for atheists to answer because all we have to do is use science. Science and religion are incompatible. Science is based on evidence and rejects faith while religion is based on faith and rejects evidence. So, taking the first question, How did the universe come into being, science indicates that all we can surmise is the Big Bang, but nothing about what existed before it or what triggered it.

    Believers on the other hand can make up anything that they want because that’s what belief is, well, belief. The problem though is that any religious answer, isn’t a factual answer because it isn’t based on anything factual.

    Because god doesn’t exist, one can make up any story one wants and as the story must merely be believed to be considered true, it is considered true without requiring any evidence.

    While atheists are comfortable with not knowing all, religious people just make stuff up! So, what’s the point of this article?

    • Pop Leibel

      Actually, there are several renowned scientists that are Christians.

      • Jeff

        I didn’t say that scientists didn’t believe but that science and religion are incompatible for the reasons that I state. That people have little problem accepting both is another issue entirely.

        • Pop Leibel

          Those scientists would disagree, but okay.

        • Jeff

          Humans are incoherent on many levels, so yes, they my disagree but they conveniently compartmentalize their rational from irrational sides.

        • Pop Leibel

          I don’t understand this.

        • Michael Neville

          We’re not surprised.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Compartmentalization is an unconscious psychological defense mechanism used to avoid cognitive dissonance, or the mental discomfort and anxiety caused by a person’s having conflicting values, cognitions, emotions, beliefs, etc. within themselves.

          Compartmentalization allows these conflicting ideas to co-exist by inhibiting direct or explicit acknowledgement and interaction between separate compartmentalized self states.

        • Pop Leibel

          Okay. That sounds reasonable. I do that too.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          Says who? Cite some references. By actual scientists. Who are ‘those scientists’.

        • Pop Leibel

          There are hundreds of acclaimed scientists who are also Christians. You doubt that?

          Do your own leg work. I’m not here to be your evidence gathering librarian. I’m here to spread the good news. I’m the trumpet for 80% Christian/20% agnostic worshipers everywhere. I don’t have time to acquaint you with all of the well-known facts the world has to offer. Get Kodie to help you. She has time on her hands.

        • Michael Neville

          Sure there are competent scientists who are theists of various flavors. One of the first formulators of the Big Bang theory was Monsignor Georges Lemaître, a Catholic priest. However he was careful never to insert his religious views into his science because he knew they were incompatible. Religion and science have nothing to do with each other. Religion deals with the mythological, science deals with reality.

          There is a probably apocryphal story that when the early 19th Century scientist Pierre-Simon Laplace gave a copy of his book on the solar system to Napoleon, the latter asked why there was no mention of God in the work. Laplace answered, Je n’avais pas besoin de cette hypothèse-là. (“I had no need of that hypothesis.”)

        • Cozmo the Magician

          When you make a BS claim , it is YOUR job to provide evidence. But I guess you didn’t learn that in troll school.

        • Pop Leibel

          It’s not a BS claim that hundreds of scientists are also Christians. That’s not a troll statement. That’s a fact. I’m not going to go get your evidence for you. Do it yourself if you doubt me.

        • Otto

          The fact that Christians are scientists is no more interesting than the fact that many scientists are Bridge players.

        • Pop Leibel

          That’s an ignorant comment. Read the entire thread.

        • Otto

          No it isn’t.

        • Pop Leibel

          Otto, did you read the thread? He said it was a BS statement that >> “there are good scientists who are also believers.” And then he wants ME to go get evidence! That’s nonsensical.

        • Otto

          I didn’t find a quote of anyone saying that. All I see is that Jeff said Science and Religion are incompatible and other responses to that statement.

        • Pop Leibel

          Convenient. Thanks for the intellectual honesty.

        • Otto

          So is there such a quote or did you make it up?

        • TheNuszAbides

          it is YOUR job to provide evidence. But I guess you didn’t learn that in troll school.

          does not compute. where are the graduates of Long Game Troll College?

        • Ignorant Amos

          By 1951, Pope Pius XII declared that Lemaître’s theory provided a scientific validation for Catholicism. However, Lemaître resented the Pope’s proclamation, stating that the theory was neutral and there was neither a connection nor a contradiction between his religion and his theory. When Lemaître and Daniel O’Connell, the Pope’s science advisor, tried to persuade the Pope not to mention Creationism publicly anymore, the Pope agreed. He persuaded the Pope to stop making proclamations about cosmology. While a devout Roman Catholic, he was against mixing science with religion, though he also was of the opinion that these two fields of human experience were not in conflict.

      • Greg G.

        They are renowned by their use of science. Their Christianity was not relied upon for their scientific results.

        • Pop Leibel

          So?

    • gaveitagoodgo

      The Big Bang was first theorized by a Catholic priest. The periodic table, as well, was developed by a priest. I have, at different times, been both a practicing religious person and an atheist. I do not think religion and science are incompatible. And I am not alone. If God is an abstract concept, like Truth or Beauty or Love, the point of it being provable is missing the point entirely. Is the concept of God useful? Does it have value? Why are humans seemingly wired to believe and to search for meaning?

      • Greg G.

        A person can do good science no matter what religion they have. We have yet to see someone derive good science from their religious texts. Doing that tends to impede science.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          I have yet to see ANY science derived from religion.

      • Jeff

        The point is that religious people have no need to prove anything, faith is enough. In fact, that people believe is considered evidence.

        There is nothing that implies that we are wired to believe. That people believe in irrational stories in no way implies that we are wired to do so.

      • Pop Leibel

        Excellent points. You’re better than I am at expressing this stuff.

      • a r tompkins

        “Why are humans seemingly wired…” probably because early evolving humankind was easier to organize around something that was comforting, unifying and organizing. Genes for existentialism have a harder time expressing their phenotype, but they’ve always been there. You know, just like today.

        I do find it one of the great ironies of evolution that it selects for religion. If there is a god, she’s got a sardonic sense of humor. 🙂

      • Cozmo the Magician

        And the catholic church banned Galileo. And fights against the distribution of condoms to prevent AIDS and other disease. And a whole list of evils. The fact that a few catholics made advances in science DESPITE the church is not exactly much of an endorsement.

      • 70happyatheist

        Why would humans not search for meaning especially when we consider the thousands of years when people understood very little and still today are being indoctrinated to where searching for evidence and facts are not what many are encouraged to do instead it is how you feel about something or we do not know how the pyramids were built and many such claims. Like ABC putting on tv program about finding Noah’s Ark. Bullshit stories are most of what is on tv programming! Jesus believed people were sick because they were possessed by demons! And Christianity flourishes with corporate and govt assistance. Break the law and teach religion in public schools. That is just fine. Fire teachers? Heck no! Just do not hire any known unbelievers. Get ride of teachers who do not believe or just do not rehire! Christians get a free pass to break all kinds of laws with state and federal leave alone policy!

        • IAN RAMSAY

          Actually, I have taught in American and British public schools and have pointed out much of what you have presented here. Except in rural fundamentalist enclaves, the kinds of discrepancies do not present real problems when teachers can substantiate what they are teaching with verifiable facts. Your rant is from 50 years ago.

    • The point is that the Christians aren’t on board with my conclusion. Some of them think that these questions are indeed tough ones for the atheist.

    • TheNuszAbides

      it’s possible there’s some tongue-in-hand/sleight-of-cheek at work here: “tough questions” aren’t “questions which ‘the atheist’ will find tough” (though of course, atheists are by no means thoroughly/monolithically alike in scientific literacy, skepticism et al.) but “questions which ‘the theist’ [or at least JWW’s ilk] think are tough, or want the choir/fence-sitters to think are tough”.

      then, “for the atheist to answer” — indicating that, since the theist ultimately relies on the non-answer of “because superpower beyond puny mortal comprehension”, the questions are left for nonbelievers (or at least anyone paying honest attention to scientific method/discovery, i.e. not filtering their investigation through anti-critical dogma) to mop up.

  • billwald

    Agree 100% with all 10.

  • Jeff

    Regarding the first question, here’s the fundamental problem for believers: They consider it an impossibility that an inanimate universe appeared at a finite point from nothing and that we are the result of fundamental forces of nature but an absolute certainty that an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent being always existed an infinite period of time prior to his/her creation of the universe and us.

    Whereas scientists are more than willing to accept that we may never know the ultimate truth, believers simply answer every unknown with “god” and disregard the irrationality of their belief based stories.

  • i’mjustaskingthequestion

    All these questions are tired arguments. Each and every one have clear explanations in science. They are just hard concepts that don’t jive with a standard “common sense” understanding of the world.

    And regardless of your level of scientific understanding, the alternative view supplied by the religious makes far less sense to me.

    • But incredibly, the list of questions came from an ex-atheist Christian who, on the face of it, seems like a thoughtful guy. I’m sure that his atheism was simply a lack of god belief, with little understanding of the arguments pro and con Christianity. Still, millions of smart people like this exist, and they’ll say with a straight face that these are tough questions.

  • Cozmo the Magician

    “The quick answer to this question is the multiverse” actually its a silly question to ask in the first place. Of course we would live in a universe that would allow creatures like us to exist. The universe also allows other forms of life to exist. There is ‘alien’ life that loves the volcanic vents at the ocean floors. Completely different biochemistry. There are things that just luvs some arctic conditions. We even know that there are bacteria that survive just dandy in space. The mighty cockroach can look an a-bomb in the face with a smile. And lets not forget the stuff that grows in tuperware left overlong in the fridge. Give life an inch, it will grow a thousand miles.

    • catfink

      No, it’s not a silly question. No one is challenging the idea that we live in a universe that allows us to exist. The problem is that it seems very unlikely that a universe that allows for any kind of intelligent life to exist would arise by chance. Hence the need to invoke the multiverse or some other solution.

      • Cozmo the Magician

        And again you make this bold statement without ANY evidence to back it up. What evidence is there to support the claim “The problem is that it seems very unlikely that a universe that allows
        for any kind of intelligent life to exist would arise by chance.” Heck just because is ‘seems’ unlikely does not mean that it IS unlikely. It seemed unlikely to many people that Trump would win the election. Reality proved different. It seemed unlikely that the Earth went around the Sun, reality proved different. It seemed unlikely that heavier than air flight was possible. Wilbur and Orville proved different. You still need to back up this BS claim that it is unlikely for us to be here when all evidence (ie the universe we live in) says you are 100% wrong.

        • catfink

          And again you make this bold statement without ANY evidence to back it up. What evidence is there to support the claim “The problem is that it seems very unlikely that a universe that allows for any kind of intelligent life to exist would arise by chance.”

          There is strong evidence for it. Numerous scientists have raised the problem. Here, for example, is Stephen Hawking, in A Brief History of Time:

          The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers [the fundamental constants of nature] seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life. For example, if the electric charge of the electron had been only slightly different, stars either would have been unable to burn hydrogen and helium, or else they would not have exploded [which is necessary for the creation of heavy elements] … it seems clear that there are relatively few ranges of values for the numbers that would allow the development of any form of intelligent life.

        • MR

          And yet when you actually read the book, he concludes something quite different. Nice quote-mining. That you don’t tell the whole story demonstrates how dishonest you are.

        • catfink

          And yet when you actually read the book, he concludes something quite different.

          No he doesn’t, liar. He doesn’t reach a conclusion on the question at all. In other writings, Hawking has cited one possible scenario in which the universe would be finely-tuned to allow for our existence — the possibility that we are living in a simulation or other computer-generated “reality.”

        • MR

          You’re the liar. You’re implying he’s saying something he’s not. You use deceit. Hawking would be the first to say he could be wrong. He may or may not be. You, however, are quite comfortable with deceit. That tells me what I need to know. Some of the others like to toy with liars like you. (I do miss MNb); I tend to lose interest. I’ve seen your name, but never really followed your conversations. Now I know. Thank you for showing your cards.

        • catfink

          You’re implying he’s saying something he’s not.

          I just QUOTED him. Your claim that Hawking “concludes something quite different” is completely, utterly, totally false, which is why you can’t back it up with any actual quotes. You’re just lying through your teeth.

        • MR

          Says the person who hides her comments. Ri-ight. It’s easy enough to google your quote-mining deceit. You’re free to go try to deceive other people. You’ve shown your cards to me. Go find other people to lie to.

        • Joe

          I too have read the book, and you are lying.

        • catfink

          I think you’re lying about even having read the book. Quote the text where you think Hawking reverses himself and rejects what he wrote in the quote I provided.

        • Joe

          How about in the conclusion:

          If the noboundary proposal is correct, God had no freedom at all to choose initial conditions. God would, of course, still have had the freedom to choose the laws that the universe obeyed. This, however, may not really have been all that much of a choice; there may well be only one, or a small number, of complete unified theories, such as string theory, that are self-consistent and allow the existence of structures as complicated as human beings who can investigate the laws of the universe and ask about the nature of God.

        • catfink

          Huh? So you believe the universe was created by God? I thought you were opposed to that hypothesis.

        • Joe

          I am. You have a comprehension problem.

        • catfink

          No, you just seem confused. I’m not sure what you think the text you quote has to do with the issue. Hawking isn’t arguing that God actually created the universe.

        • Joe

          No he isn’t.

          So what do you think fine tuned the universe?

        • catfink

          Still waiting for you to explain what you think the text you quoted has to do with the issue, or why you think it contradicts Hawking’s previous statement about fine-tuning that I quoted.

        • Joe

          You don’t deserve an explanation, but if you’re really too dumb to comprehend it’s an statement that the universe isn’t fine tuned.

        • catfink

          No, it’s a series of speculations based on the premise that the universe was created by God. It has nothing to do with the fine-tuning problem. Hawking clearly states that the fine-tuning problem is real:

          it seems clear that there are relatively few ranges of values for the [fundamental constants] that would allow the development of any form of intelligent life

        • Joe

          No he doesn’t “clearly state that”, because he answers it with his No Boundary proposal.

          You don’t even seem to know what you’re arguing for, let alone the concepts involved. Why are you wasting our time here? Do you have anything of value to say?

        • catfink

          No he doesn’t “clearly state that”, because he answers it with his No Boundary proposal.

          No, he doesn’t “answer” it. He states the fine-tuning problem and suggests that the “no boundary” scenario MIGHT offer a solution to the problem.

          You don’t even seem to know what you’re arguing for,

          You are completely, utterly, totally confused about the issue.

        • Joe

          You are completely, utterly, totally confused about the issue

          Funny, you keep saying that about everyone here that calls you out on your lack of understanding. It must be everyone else who is mistaken, not you.

        • catfink

          No, I keep calling out you, and the other commenters who share your confusion, on your lack of understanding.

          You’re all completely irrational on this issue because you’ve somehow managed to convince yourselves that if the fine-tuning problem is real it’s a threat to your atheism.

        • Joe

          See, you don’t understand.

          You can’t grasp a point, so you made up a straw-man position and now berate us for calling you out on it.

        • catfink

          The only thing you’re “calling out” is your own ignorance, stupidity and insecurity.

        • Joe

          Again, like another poster already pointed out, you only think I’m being ignorant.

          Your opinions don’t change the fact that I may or may not be ignorant. Only facts can point to the truth.

        • catfink

          Yes, you’re ignorant regardless of my opinion that you’re ignorant.

        • Joe

          I would say the opposite, especially as your judgement has been so demonstrably poor in this thread.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You’re all completely irrational on this issue because you’ve somehow managed to convince yourselves that if the fine-tuning problem is real it’s a threat to your atheism.

          You do realise that you are talking a loada shite?

          Even if it is clear that the current equations with different constants cannot produce life, completely different equations (and constants) might still be perfectly life-producing. We do not know enough about mathematical physics to say, and may well never. And arbitrarily dictating that only the constants may be tweaked in this exercise amounts to begging the question.

          The universe is fine tuned for black holes.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6FQdyHUXwc

          Lee Smolin, in “Life of the Cosmos,” proposed the “theory of cosmological natural selection,” which predicts that the parameters of physics are fine-tuned to produce many black holes, which is the case in our universe, as we see by its great chemical and astrophysical complexity. It turns out that a universe that makes many stars, and hence many black holes, is also filled with the oxygen and carbon needed for life. This theory made a few falsifiable predictions that have so far held up, despite several opportunities to contradict them with real observations in the last two decades. One of these predicts that no neutron star can have more than twice the mass of the sun. These predictions involve properties that are otherwise very surprising; were they to be confirmed there would be no other explanation on the table.

          http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/blogs/physics/2012/12/scientific-approaches-to-the-fine-tuning-problem/

        • catfink

          You do realise that you are talking a loada shite?

          You’re utterly confused. Neither of your quotes denies that the fine-tuning problem is real. Your first quote (for which you provide no source or citation) just says that there may be “different equations and constants” that produce life. That’s obviously true, but it’s completely irrelevant to the point that the evidence suggests that it’s very unlikely that a life-producing universe would arise by chance.

          And your second quote doesn’t deny that the problem is real, either. In fact, the very TITLE of the piece affirms that it’s a problem: Scientific Approaches to the Fine-Tuning Problem

        • Pofarmer

          That’s obviously true, but it’s completely irrelevant to the point that
          the evidence suggests that it’s very unlikely that a life-producing
          universe would arise by chance.

          Except we don’t know what the chances are, or what the possibilities are, or what the possible co-variants are, or any of a host of other things. It might be simply that in any universe with complex chemistry life will eventually develop. You’re talking a Universe 14 and someodd billion lightyears distant in all directions. You’re talking a Universe with Hundreds of Millions of Galaxies, each with Hundreds of Millions of planets orbiting Hundreds of millions of stars. So, even if the odds are VERY long, they’re still pretty good considering the vastnest just of what we can see. Our brain doesn’t do very well on scales like this.

        • catfink

          Except we don’t know what the chances are

          No, not “except” that. For the umpteenth time, the evidence suggests that the probability of a universe with intelligent life arising by chance is very small. That’s why scientists say that the universe appears to be “fine-tuned” to allow us — or some other kind of intelligence — to exist.

        • Pofarmer

          So we know all the possible covariants that would allow a Universe that would evolve life? We know all the conditions under which life can arise?

        • catfink

          So we know all the possible covariants that would allow a Universe that
          would evolve life? We know all the conditions under which life can
          arise?

          No, we don’t know those things. We don’t need to know them to make rational judgments about the plausibility of life, especially intelligent life, arising under other conditions. It’s hard to imagine any kind of plausible scenario by which life could arise in a universe that had no structures larger than subatomic particles, for example.

        • Pofarmer

          I don’t see how this follows. If I am going to inter a raffle, for instance, one where they give out a pack of cards, my chances of winning are going to be better than one where they sell 100 tickets, than a national lottery where they sell 100 million tickets.

        • MR

          “I’m not content with having won the lottery by chance, I want to believe it was rigged in my favor!”

        • catfink

          I don’t see how this follows.

          Seriously? Then describe what you consider to be a plausible scenario under which intelligent life could arise in a universe that was just a soup of subatomic particles.

          If I am going to inter a raffle, for instance, one where they give out a pack of cards, my chances of winning are going to be better than one where they sell 100 tickets, than a national lottery where they sell 100 million tickets.

          I have no idea how you think this supports the idea that we need to “know all the conditions under which life can arise” in order to make rational judgments about the plausibility of life arising under various conditions. Like several others here, you seem to have trouble distinguishing possibility from plausibility. We don’t know that there isn’t a china teapot orbiting the sun. It’s possible that there is. But it’s very implausible that there’s a china teapot orbiting the sun. The same applies to speculations about life arising in other universes that are dramatically different from our universe.

        • Pofarmer

          Think about this for a minute. This is a quote from a question I asked epeeist, who is a physicist, afterall.

          What we have is a set of “fundamental constants” which appear to have to
          be just so in order to produce our universe. However this may just be
          that our current theories are not good enough (we know that both quantum
          mechanics and relativity are incomplete). We don’t know whether these
          “fundamental constants” can vary (though the paper I linked to would indicate that some parameters can)

          Now, think about this for a moment.

          Shut up and think some more.

          We don’t know if any other type of Universe is possible. It may be that the “constants”(which are the map, not the territory) can only arrange in the way they are arranged in this Universe and have a Universe. We simply don’t know. Everything else is-conjecture. Maybe if the constants were changed, there would be Universes that were all Subatomic particles, hell, maybe that’s what the Universe WAS before the Big Bang. We simply don’t know. But that doesn’t stop folks from saying how it’s monumentally unlikely for the Universe to allow life, even though we don’t know what the possibilities even are!!!!!! Now, stop being an embecile.

        • catfink

          You’re the one who’s being an imbecile. As I have already pointed out numerous times, we don’t need to “know” the answers to those questions to make rational judgments from the evidence we do have about the plausibility of life arising under various conditions.

        • Pofarmer

          Then what evidence did you use to come to that conclusion?

        • catfink

          The evidence from science about the conditions required for life.

        • Pofarmer

          And those are?

        • catfink

          Carbon, an energy source, liquid water…

        • Pofarmer

          So, those are all products of hydrogen fusion, right?

        • catfink

          No.

        • Pofarmer

          Really?

        • Greg G.

          Carbon: a product of hydrogen fusion

          an energy source:
              a: hydrogen fusion itself
              b: the nuclear decay of atomic nuclei which are the product of hydrogen fusion

          liquid water: composed of hydrogen and oxygen. The latter is a product of hydrogen fusion. To be a liquid, it requires on of the energy sources above to replace energy lost to space.

        • epeeist

          Carbon: a product of hydrogen fusion

          Strictly of helium fusion, but given that helium is a product of hydrogen fusion then hardly significant.

          This is the standard example of “anthropic reasoning”, except of course it isn’t. Hoyle reasoned there must be a mechanism to produce carbon from simpler elements but he never invoked “fine tuning for life” in his paper.

        • catfink

          Carbon is created through the fusion of helium.

          Is this going somewhere relevant to the fine-tuning problem, or is it yet another trip down an irrelevant rabbit hole?

        • Greg G.

          Was your answer “No” going anywhere? That was wrong. We discuss many things in this forum. You seem to have one topic that you cannot advance.

        • catfink

          Was your answer “No” going anywhere?

          No, not really. I was humoring him.

          That was wrong.

          It’s not wrong. As I said, carbon is created through the fusion of helium.

          So do you think this has anything to do with the fine-tuning problem or not? If you do think it’s relevant, what is your point?

        • Greg G.

          As I said, carbon is created through the fusion of helium.

          Most of that helium comes from the fusion of isotopes hydrogen or the fusion of hydrogen and lithium. which is the result of hydrogen fusion. Yes, you are wrong.

          So do you think this has anything to do with the fine-tuning problem or not? If you do think it’s relevant, what is your point?

          In case you have not yet noticed, the title of the blog is Cross Examined, not Fine Tuning Examined. We talk about a lot of things. You are as boring as a monotone.

        • catfink

          Most of that helium comes from the fusion of isotopes hydrogen or the fusion of hydrogen and lithium. which is the result of hydrogen fusion. Yes, you are wrong.

          No, you’re wrong. Carbon is created from the fusion of helium, not hydrogen.

          In case you have not yet noticed, the title of the blog is Cross Examined, not Fine Tuning Examined. We talk about a lot of things.

          So it’s not relevant to the fine-tuning problem? Then I’m not interested in discussing it here, other than to correct your factual errors.

        • Pofarmer

          I apologize, I should have said Helium.

          The point, is, in any Uinverse that allows Helium fusion, life might be inevitable.

          https://map.gsfc.nasa.gov/universe/uni_life.html

          Can other types of Universes exist?

          We don’t know.

        • catfink

          The point, is, in any Uinverse that allows Helium fusion, life might be inevitable.

          It might, yes. And there might be a china teapot orbiting the sun. What evidence do you have that more than a tiny fraction of possible universes would allow helium fusion?

        • Pofarmer

          That’s kinda the point.

          https://map.gsfc.nasa.gov/universe/uni_life.html

          Understanding the Evolution of Life in the Universe

          We don’t know what the possibilities of other Universes is. We don’t know what properties another Universe could have. We don’t know that it’s even possible to have what we would call a Universe without the conditions present in ours. We only have a linear concept of time, and a very skewed sense of scale. And yet you’re trying to assign a probability, without have even a fraction of the relevant answers. It’s quite possible that our Universe is the only type of Universe that could survive, or has so far. There are models of a cyclical Universe, for instance. Once again. We simply DON’T KNOW. And if someone says they DO know, then I’d like to see their evidence.

        • catfink

          We don’t know what the possibilities of other Universes is. We don’t know what properties another Universe could have. We don’t know that it’s even possible to have what we would call a Universe without the conditions present in ours.

          For the umpteenth time, we don’t need to “know” any of those things to make rational judgments from the evidence we have that it is very unlikely that a universe with intelligent life arose by chance. As various prominent scientists have pointed out, the universe appears to be fine-tuned to allow for life.

        • Greg G.

          Scientists have also pointed out that it is not so cut & dried.

          You keep using the phrase “umpteenth time” a lot. Maybe it’s time to realize that you are not getting anywhere with your argument.

        • catfink

          That phrase is not an argument. I use it to point that you are repeating a statement that has already been made and answered numerous times.

        • Greg G.

          It is obvious why you use the phrase. It is not so obvious why you are stuck on this topic and pitch a fit if the topic seems to stray in the least from your fixation.

        • catfink

          You seem to be pretty stuck on it yourself. If you don’t want to talk about it, then don’t.

        • Greg G.

          I have been involved in several topics of conversation since you showed up. How many have you been in for the past couple of weeks?

        • catfink

          Many topics. Again, you seem to be pretty stuck on this topic yourself. You keep talking about it. If you don’t want to talk about it any more, then don’t.

        • Pofarmer

          That the one Universe we know with helium fusion has life.

        • catfink

          Nonsense. The premise “the one universe we know with helium fusion has life” does not support the conclusion “more than a tiny fraction of possible universes would allow helium fusion.” The premise doesn’t imply anything whatsoever about the fraction of possible universes that would allow helium fusion.

        • Pofarmer

          I seems odd to me that now you’re suddenly worried about possibilities.

        • Pofarmer

          What it does support, is the idea that a universe that supports hydrogen fusion would support life. We don’t know what fraction that would be, which is the point. And, it mght be irrelevant, because we know there’s one. The idea that it’s so fantastical that it must be designed, I think comes from a missunderstanding of both probabilities and the nature of time.

        • catfink

          What it does support, is the idea that a universe that supports hydrogen fusion would support life.

          It supports the idea that a universe that supports hydrogen fusion may allow for life, but not that life would necessarily arise, or even be likely to arise, in such a universe.

          In any case, this is irrelevant to the point that ANY universe that supports hydrogen fusion may be very unlikely to arise by chance.

          The idea that it’s so fantastical that it must be designed, I think comes from a missunderstanding of both probabilities and the nature of time.

          No, it comes from the EVIDENCE. To quote Hawking yet again: “The remarkable fact is that the values of [various fundamental constants] seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life.”

        • epeeist

          In any case, this is irrelevant to the point that ANY universe that supports hydrogen fusion may be very unlikely to arise by chance.

          You keep on saying this, so let’s move the discussion on.

          What is your alternative to “chance”?

        • Ignorant Amos

          “The remarkable fact is that the values of these numbers seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life … For example, if the electric charge of the electron had been only slightly different, stars would have been unable to burn hydrogen and helium or else they would not have exploded. It seems clear that there are relatively few ranges of values for the numbers that would allow for development of any form of intelligent life.

          Note that in the full quote, Hawking leaves room for different values.

          You have all these physicists that you think support your position, yet they are atheists that don’t hold your intelligently designed universe hypothesis…why is that do you think? Is it because they really don’t support your position and actually think it is a loada ballix?

          You are puddle thinking….

          imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, ‘This is an interesting world I find myself in, an interesting hole I find myself in, fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact, it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!’ This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, it’s still frantically hanging on to the notion that everything’s going to be all right, because this World was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for. ~ Douglas Adams

        • Pofarmer

          Ya know, it’s quite remarkable. I decided to check the context of catfinks quote of Hawking.

          “The remarkable fact is that the values of [various fundamental
          constants] seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the
          development of life.”

          And I got this message from Google.

          Your search – “The remarkable fact is that the values of [various fundamental constants] seem to have … – did not match any documents.

          Suggestions:

          Make sure all words are spelled correctly.

          Try different keywords.

          Try more general keywords.

          Do you know how hard that is? I’ve searched for all kinds of obscure quotes and not had any trouble finding them. Surely catfink(or whoever they are parroting) wouldn’t just make shit up?

          edit

          Well nuts, I see you found it. I wonder why it didn’t come up for me?

          2nd edit

          apparently the added ellipses threw it out.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I searched minus the box bracketed bit added to catfinks quote.

        • Pofarmer

          Where does that Hawking quote come from? I can’t find it anywhere.

          Here is an actual Hawking quote.

          https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/s/stephenhaw447551.html

          Science predicts that many different kinds of universe will be spontaneously created out of nothing. It is a matter of chance which we are in.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You won’t…as catfink writes it.

          You can read it in context at…

          A Briefer History of Time, page 118

          https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Kkuwn_ed6HgC&pg=PA117&lpg=PA117&dq=%22The+remarkable+fact+is+that+the+values+of+these+numbers+seem+to+have+been+very+finely+adjusted+to+make+possible+the+development+of+life+…+For+example,+if+the+electric+charge+of+the+electron+had+been+only+slightly+different,+stars+would+have+been+unable+to+burn+hydrogen+and+helium+or+else+they+would+not+have+exploded.+It+seems+clear+that+there+are+relatively+few+ranges+of+values+for+the+numbers+that+would+allow+for+development+of+any+form+of+intelligent+life.%22&source=bl&ots=kuwpruwD_A&sig=8VbPkYPcHsm9qHSy3I5S0pSl6ug&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiwl-bBteDTAhUJBsAKHao_AS4Q6AEIPjAG#v=onepage&q&f=false

        • Pofarmer

          Another Hawking quote from “The Grand Design”

          “Because there is a law like gravity, the universe can and will create
          itself from nothing in the manner described in Chapter 6. Spontaneous
          creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the
          universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to
          light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.” p180

        • Ignorant Amos

          No, it comes from the EVIDENCE. To quote Hawking yet again: “The remarkable fact is that the values of [various fundamental constants] seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life.”

          Hawking says in that quote that the values seem to have been very finely adjusted to make possible the development of life. That’s a far cry than that they are very finely adjusted for said development of life. You are using that quote to erroneously add more weight to your position than is actually warranted.

        • epeeist

          The premise “the one universe we know with helium fusion has life” does
          not support the conclusion “more than a tiny fraction of possible
          universes would allow helium fusion.”

          So what you are saying is that we can’t generalise from a single case…

        • Greg G.

          We have evidence that every universe we have investigated allows helium fusion.

        • catfink

          We have evidence that every universe we have investigated allows helium fusion.

          So what?

        • Vic Stenger’s monkey god simulation suggests that universes with stars roughly as long-lived as we have aren’t rare.

        • catfink

          How does it suggest that?

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’s obviously true, but it’s completely irrelevant to the point that the evidence suggests that it’s very unlikely that a life-producing universe would arise by chance.

          What evidence?

          (for which you provide no source or citation)

          http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Argument_from_fine_tuning

          And your second quote doesn’t deny that the problem is real, either. In fact, the very TITLE of the piece affirms that it’s a problem: Scientific Approaches to the Fine-Tuning Problem

          It’s only a problem in that creation eejits like you want to make it some kind of problem that you think can’t be answered. I’ve lost count of the number of times you’ve been told why the problem isn’t real and is just in your imagination. While it might be the best of a bad bunch of argument’s you holy rollers have got in your armoury, it is still a pathetically piss poor argument that only impresses the woolly minded woo woo head of someone like you.

        • Kevin K

          The ever-popular fallacy of retrospective improbability. The likelihood of a universe that allows for any kind of intelligent life is 100%. That’s not “unlikely” at all. It’s the opposite of “unlikely”.

          I cannot grok why this argument has such long legs. It’s counter-factual.

      • adam

        “he problem is that it seems very unlikely that a universe that allows
        for any kind of intelligent life to exist would arise by chance. ”

        Then WHAT allows for the ULTIMATE kind of intelligent life to arise by chance?

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bd86b396150dc2e11b7542790ee0d34f2a9d437b2262747fb7047679f85e9cec.jpg

        • catfink

          I don’t know what the phrase “the ultimate kind of intelligent life” is supposed to mean.

        • Greg G.

          I take it to mean “omniscience”.

        • catfink

          In that case, I think his question is irrelevant. I don’t think we have evidence that there’s any such thing as omniscience.

        • Greg G.

          adam is a regular but he has been away for a few days. He probably doesn’t have a handle on your argument yet.

        • adam

          “”The problem is that it seems very unlikely that a universe that allows for any kind of intelligent life to exist would arise by chance.””

          Then what are you suggesting?

        • catfink

          Suggesting about what?

        • adam

          You stated that it seems unlikely that universe that allows for any kind of intelligent life to exist would arise by chance.

          What is more likely?

          How does happen by non-chance?

        • catfink

          You stated that it seems unlikely that universe that allows for any kind of intelligent life to exist would arise by chance.

          Right.

          What is more likely?

          Lots of things are more likely.

          How does happen by non-chance?

          If it were designed, for example.

        • epeeist

          If it were designed, for example.

          For which you do of course have oodles of evidence and stacks of results from critical testing…

        • catfink

          For which you do of course have oodles of evidence and stacks of results from critical testing…

          I don’t think so, no. But like many scientists I think it’s highly plausible that we live in a universe that was designed. The Simulation Hypothesis, for example.

        • adam

          “Lots of things are more likely.”

          Demonstrate

          “If it were designed,”

          So where did this designer come from?
          Did it arise by chance?
          Where did it get its ability to design universes?
          What are the odds of that?

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a63d19539181ef83c5c9b26f2051c404fb109c69260954c83cf22c3c5572b371.jpg

        • catfink

          Demonstrate

          Demonstrate what?

          So where did this designer come from?

          We don’t know.

          Did it arise by chance?

          We don’t know.

          Where did it get its ability to design universes?

          We don’t know.

          What are the odds of that?

          We don’t know.

          Do you have, you know, a clear proposition to offer and an actual argument to support it? Or just more random, irrelevant questions?

        • adam

          These are not random, irrelevant questions, consider you are claiming such a designer.

          Just want to ensure that I was correct and that you are using the God of the Gaps argument.

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bbc059c59722f549e3f76ea6e8cf55cdca89fdefd019022112e0cdf5318bde24.png

      • Otto

        The multiverse is not ‘involked’ as a solution to that issue.

        • catfink

          The multiverse is not ‘involked’ as a solution to that issue.

          True, it’s not “involked.”

        • Otto

          Nor is it invoked…

        • catfink

          That’s where you’re wrong.

        • Otto

          No I am not

      • Paul B. Lot

        Hence the need to invoke the multiverse or some other solution.

        Hmmm, you seem to both misunderstand the history/origins of multiverse theories and misconstrue its implications.

        A) No one “invoked” this class of ideas in order to avoid what you claim is “unlikely”.
        B) Nothing about any “multiverse” theory I’ve ever read logically excludes a creator.

        • catfink

          You’re another one who seems utterly confused…

          No one “invoked” this class of ideas in order to avoid what you claim is “unlikely”.

          Many prominent scientists have invoked the multiverse as a solution to the fine-tuning problem.

          Nothing about any “multiverse” theory I’ve ever read logically excludes a creator.

          So what?

        • Raging Bee

          “Many” prominent scientists? You have yet to name even one.

        • catfink

          I’ve named them repeatedly.

        • Paul B. Lot

          Many prominent scientists have invoked the multiverse as a solution to the fine-tuning problem.

          1) The “Fine Tuning” problem might very well not be a problem at all.

          Consdier this, perhaps apocryphal, story:

          “Tell me,” Wittgenstein’s asked a friend, “why do people always say, it was natural for man to assume that the sun went round the earth rather than that the earth was rotating?” His friend replied, “Well, obviously because it just looks as though the Sun is going round the Earth.” Wittgenstein replied, “Well, what would it have looked like if it had looked as though the Earth was rotating?”
          ― Ludwig Wittgenstein

          The “unlikeliness” of our finding ourselves in a universe/on a planet “fine tuned” for us to exist is 0 – since in order for us to be here, scratching our heads about our being here, we would have to live in a universe/on a planet which was “fine tuned” for us to be here.

          In other words, our presence here tells us nothing about how likely or not it is that we should be here. The probability is exactly 1 that we should find ourselves in a universe/in a corner of a universe suitable for life. This is called “the anthropic principle” – you should learn about it before calling others “confused.”

          2) The concepts which, when bundled together, we label “multiverse” were not invented for the purpose of avoiding fine tuning/the need for a creator:

          https://youtu.be/rEr-t17m2Fo?t=2368

        • catfink

          The “Fine Tuning” problem might very well not be a problem at all.

          If it’s not a problem, how do you account for it?

          The “unlikeliness” of our finding ourselves in a universe/on a planet “fine tuned” for us to exist is 0 – since in order for us to be here, scratching our heads about our being here, we would have to live in a universe/on a planet which was “fine tuned” for us to be here.

          This irrelevance yet again. The anthropic principle is only relevant if there are lots of universes. It doesn’t account for the existence of our universe given the evidence that it’s very unlikely that our universe arose by chance.

          the concepts which, when bundled together, we label “multiverse” were not invented for the purpose of avoiding fine tuning/the need for a creator

          It’s irrelevant what they were invented for. The point is that the multiverse is a possible solution to the fine-tuning problem.

        • Paul B. Lot

          The anthropic principle is only relevant if there are lots of universes.

          A) Not at all – it is pertinent in many realms besides merely the discussion of [whether or not the number of extant universes is > 1].
          B) There are many reasons to believe that there might be other “universes”.

          It doesn’t account for the existence of our universe given the evidence that it’s very unlikely that our universe arose by chance.

          You’re begging the question. Why should I assent to the proposition “it’s very unlikely that our universe arose by chance”?

          It’s irrelevant what they were invented for. The point is that the multiverse is a possible solution to the fine-tuning problem.

          You’ll forgive me for pointing out that this sentence:

          Hence the need to invoke the multiverse or some other solution.

          is awfully easy to read in such a way that it is countered by this sentence:

          The concepts which, when bundled together, we label “multiverse” were not invented for the purpose of avoiding fine tuning

          It’s very easy to assume that you meant that [the multiverse idea] was constructed specifically to avoid fine tuning – and it wasn’t.

          If, instead, you want to claim that [some scientists sometimes use “multiverse” as a short-hand answer to the question “what if our universe’s configuration is unlikely”]:
          Meh. Maybe some do. Many scientists also do not think of “fine tuning” as the problem you’re making it out to be.

          In any case, the number and magnitude of unknowns is so large that statements like “it seems very unlikely that a universe that allows for any kind of intelligent life to exist would arise by chance” are uttered by someone who needs to learn the value of a good old fashioned “hmmm, interesting” or “I don’t know”

        • catfink

          A) Not at all – it is pertinent in many realms besides merely the discussion of [whether or not the number of extant universes is > 1].

          With respect to the fine-tuning issue, it’s only pertinent if there are many universes. It doesn’t account for the existence of our universe given the evidence that it’s very unlikely that our universe arose by chance if it’s the only one.

          B) There are many reasons to believe that there might be other “universes”.

          Yes, there “might” be. But I don’t think we have any clear evidence that there actually are other universes.

          Why should I assent to the proposition “it’s very unlikely that our universe arose by chance”?

          Because that’s what the evidence suggests. Many prominent scientists have pointed out that the universe appears to be finely-tuned to allow for life.

          It’s very easy to assume that you meant that [the multiverse idea] was constructed specifically to avoid fine tuning – and it wasn’t.

          I don’t think anything I wrote supports your assumption. In any case, the assumption is false. The multiverse is often invoked as a possible solution to the fine-tuning problem, but I’ve seen nothing to suggest that it was invented for that purpose.

          Many scientists also do not think of “fine tuning” as the problem you’re making it out to be.

          Then how do they account for the evidence suggesting that it’s very unlikely that a universe capable of supporting life arose by chance?

          In any case, the number and magnitude of unknowns is so large that statements like “it seems very unlikely that a universe that allows for any kind of intelligent life to exist would arise by chance” are uttered by someone who needs to learn the value of a good old fashioned “hmmm, interesting” or “I don’t know”

          It seems that you need to learn the difference between possibility and plausibility. We don’t know that it was very unlikely that the universe arose by chance. But the evidence suggests that that outcome was very unlikely. Just as the evidence suggests that, for example, it’s very unlikely that you’ll win the lottery next week.

        • Paul B. Lot

          With respect to the fine-tuning issue, it’s only pertinent if there are many universes.

          This is false.

          If there exists only a single universe which is very large, the anthropic principle might explain why we live in a corner of the universe which is amenable to life.

          Yes, there “might” be. But I don’t think we have any clear evidence that there actually are other universes.

          I am not interested in whether or not you believe that “clear evidence” exists for the multiverse hypothesis – I prefer to listen to experts.

          Because that’s what the evidence suggests.

          To you, perhaps.

          Many prominent scientists have pointed out that the universe appears to be finely-tuned to allow for life.

          And others have pointed out the reverse.

          I don’t think anything I wrote supports your assumption.

          I disagree, and I invite you to show how [my initial understanding of your words] is not a good fit for [the words themselves].

          multiverse is often invoked as a possible solution to the fine-tuning problem, but I’ve seen nothing to suggest that it was invented for that purpose

          While I don’t necessarily agree with your premise, I’m glad to see that your conclusion aligns with my understanding.

          Then how do they account for the evidence suggesting that it’s very unlikely that a universe capable of supporting life arose by chance?

          I applaud your curiosity! My answers are:
          1) You should do this research yourself.
          2) “the evidence suggesting that…” you’re begging the question. Circular reasoning will get you nowhere – remember Wittgenstein and the Sun.

          It seems that you need to learn the difference between possibility and plausibility.

          Does it seem that way to you? So be it. Dunning-Kruger informs us that to many inept people those who are not inept will seem inept.

          We don’t know that it was very unlikely that the universe arose by chance.

          More agreement!

          But the evidence suggests that that outcome was very unlikely.

          “…the evidence suggests….”…….to you.

          Just as the evidence suggests that, for example, it’s very unlikely that you’ll win the lottery next week.

          “Just as”? No. Not “just as”.

          It is the case that everyone who can do math agrees on the proposition [my winning _____ lottery next week is very unlikely]. It is NOT the case that everyone who has a deep understanding of best information and models available concerning the origin of our cosmos agrees on the proposition [the universe being able to support life is very unlikely].

          Your inability to properly deal with even the basics of this subject lead me to believe that the confidence which you displayed early on, while admonishing others for “seem[ing] utterly confused” was, in fact merely the fool’s bravado.

          Ah well, Dunning-Kruger is a harsh mistress. :-/

        • catfink

          This is false. If there exists only a single universe which is very large, the anthropic principle might explain why we live in a corner of the universe which is amenable to life.

          No, it’s not false. The evidence suggests that it’s very unlikely that a universe capable of supporting life AT ALL would arise by chance.

          I am not interested in whether or not you believe that “clear evidence” exists for the multiverse hypothesis – I prefer to listen to experts.

          If you think there is clear evidence that there is a multiverse, present it.

          To you, perhaps.

          No, to anyone.

          And others have pointed out the reverse.

          Which ones? Where have they said this?

          I disagree, and I invite you to show how [my initial understanding of your words] is not a good fit for [the words themselves].

          Which statement of mine do you claim supports the assumption that I “meant that [the multiverse idea] was constructed specifically to avoid fine tuning?” Quote it.

          While I don’t necessarily agree with your premise, …

          Why don’t you necessarily agree with it?

          1) You should do this research yourself.

          It’s not my job to research it. YOU claimed that “many scientists also do not think of ‘fine tuning’ as the problem you’re making it out to be.” So who are these “many” scientists, and why don’t they think it’s the problem I have described?

          2) “the evidence suggesting that…” you’re begging the question. Circular reasoning will get you nowhere – remember Wittgenstein and the Sun.

          Huh? What question? What circular reasoning? You seem very confused.

          Does it seem that way to you?

          Yes, it does. It really does seem like you’re confusing possibility with plausibility, because the fine-tuning problem asserts only that it is very implausible that the universe arose by chance, not that we “know” it didn’t arise by chance. That’s why your claim that the observation “I don’t know” is a satisfactory response to the problem makes no sense.

          “Just as”? No. Not “just as”.

          Yes, JUST AS. The evidence suggests that that outcome was very unlikely. JUST AS the evidence suggests that, for example, it’s very unlikely that you’ll win the lottery next week.

          It is the case that everyone who can do math agrees on the proposition [my winning _____ lottery next week is very unlikely]. It is NOT the case that everyone who has a deep understanding of best information and models available concerning the origin of our cosmos agrees on the proposition [the universe being able to support life is very unlikely].

          I don’t think you have any evidence to support your first sentence. Your second sentence is probably true, but it’s irrelevant. If you don’t agree that it appears very unlikely that our universe arose by chance, why don’t you agree? What’s your argument?

          Your inability to properly deal with even the basics of this subject …

          As I said, you just seem very confused.

        • Joe

          . The evidence suggests that it’s very unlikely that a universe capable of supporting life AT ALL would arise by chance.

          What evidence?

        • catfink

          The evidence from the values of various fundamental constants, for example. If you had actually read Hawking’s book, as you claim to have done, you’d already know this, since Hawking describes it himself.

        • Joe

          What evidence?

          Don’t just point to a book you probably haven’t read and certainly didn’t understand.

        • catfink

          What evidence?

          I just told you. You don’t seem to understand though.

        • Paul B. Lot

          As I said, you just seem very confused.

          Indeed. Look: I accept whole-heartedly that you feel like I am “very confused”. What do you propose that I do with that knowledge though, catfink?

          If you were right, and I were wrong – you would feel that way.
          If you had such a poor grasp of english, physics, math, and the topic at hand that you couldn’t understand why what you say is open to criticism….you would also feel that way.

          In other words, [the fact that you feel that way] doesn’t help me to know whether you’re above or below me on the competence scale.

          Do you know what does help me know that, though?

          Statements like this:

          No, it’s not false. The evidence suggests that it’s very unlikely that a universe capable of supporting life AT ALL would arise by chance.

          having been made in response to this:

          This is false. If there exists only a single universe which is very large, the anthropic principle might explain why we live in a corner of the universe which is amenable to life.

          IF we lived in a universe as hypothesized by Boltzman (from the Carroll video I linked before) which was infinite and full of high entropy particles subject to random fluctuations – it would still be possible for universes to fluctuate into existence through those random movements.

          A single universe. Random action. Life arising.

          The anthropic principle would apply to that scenario. Therefore, your assertion that “With respect to the fine-tuning issue, [the anthropic principle is] only pertinent if there are many universes.” is false.

          Again: since you have such basic, fundamental, remedial, novice comprehension and analysis issues – I don’t think it’s worth it to spend any more of my time discussing this issue with you.

          Have a good one.

        • catfink

          I accept whole-heartedly that you feel like I am “very confused”.

          The problem is that you don’t understand that you are very confused.

          If you were right, and I were wrong …

          I am right. You are wrong. Your statements indicate that you simply don’t understand the fine-tuning problem, as I explained in my previous comment.

          IF we lived in a universe as hypothesized by Boltzman (from the Carroll video I linked before) which was infinite and full of high entropy particles subject to random fluctuations – it would still be possible for universes to fluctuate into existence through those random movements. A single universe. Random action. Life arising. The anthropic principle would apply to that scenario.

          This is just another version of the “many universes” solution. We don’t have any evidence that there are many universes.

          Therefore, your assertion that “With respect to the fine-tuning issue, [the anthropic principle is] only pertinent if there are many universes.” is false.

          Now you’re contradicting yourself. The scenario you just described has multiple universes. You wrote “it would still be possible for universes to fluctuate into existence through those random movements.” Again, you just seem utterly confused.

        • Paul B. Lot

          The problem is that you don’t understand that you are very confused.

          This might be true! I’ve been very confused about _____ before now, and I will no doubt be very confused again about _____ down the road. Your task is now to use English, logic, math, history, philosophy, and physics to show me why you think so. Good luck. 🙂

          as I explained in my previous comment

          Unfortunately for me, and most unfortunately for you since you seem to believe something to the contrary, you have yet to explain anything. :-/

          This is just another version of the “many universes” solution.

          How so? It is a hypothetical which was devised before any ‘many universes’ were hypothesized, indeed before [things outside our galaxy] were known about.

          You wrote “it would still be possible for universes to fluctuate into existence through those random movements.” Again, you just seem utterly confused.

          Ah, indeed. I used unfortunately sloppy language in my paraphrase – I apologize. Let me re-work it for you:

          IF we lived in a universe as hypothesized by Boltzman (from the Carroll video I linked before) which was infinite and full of high entropy particles subject to random fluctuations – it would still be possible for universes [local regions capable of supporting life] to fluctuate into existence through those random movements.

        • catfink

          This might be true!

          Not only might i