8 Reasons to Reject C. S. Lewis’s Argument from Desire

8 Reasons to Reject C. S. Lewis’s Argument from Desire September 4, 2018

The Argument from Desire looks at innate desires and sees the shadow of God. We feel hunger, so therefore there must be food. We thirst and therefore there’s water; we yearn for companionship and therefore there are companions; we yearn for god . . . and therefore there is a god.

C. S. Lewis said,

Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. . . . If I discover within myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.

Lewis was popularizing a concept that theologians have expressed for centuries. John Calvin referred to the sensus divinitatisa sense, not of the environment like sight or smell, but of God. Blaise Pascal proposed a “God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man.”

This apologetic is easy to understand and has an intuitive appeal, but it fails under closer inspection.

1. Why do we fear death? If our inclinations are a reliable instinctual pointer to the supernatural, then why the fear of death? If we instinctively know that there is a god and an eternal place for our soul to live after life on earth, humans should differ from other animals in having an ambivalence about death or even a longing for it. We don’t.

2. The puddle problem. Lewis imagined that hunger points to the existence of food, but it’s the other way around. Consider Douglas Adams’ puddle, which marveled at how well-crafted its hole was: “Fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well; must have been made to have me in it!”

Lewis’s error is the same as the puddle’s backwards thinking. We don’t notice hunger and then conclude that food must exist; rather, creatures need food to survive, and evolution selects those that have a hunger to successfully get it.

3. Desire for God isn’t an innate desire. If the desires for food, water, sex and other basics are never fulfilled, the human race dies out. The “hunger” for the supernatural has nothing to do with survival. Lewis doesn’t show that this very different desire for God logically fits in with the fundamental desires necessary for life.

4. This is just a deist argument. If you find this argument compelling, this should point you to deism. Like many other arguments, this one only claims that there is some anonymous clock maker behind the universe. There is nothing here to argue for the Christian god over any other god or supernatural pantheon. (More here.)

If you argue that this god desire actually does point you to the Christian god, you must explain the myriad ways God belief plays out in practice. And why would the Christian god give you a vague sense of some sort of celestial clockmaker instead of pointing our desire specifically to him? What we see instead is that the specifics of god belief are just a local custom. (More here and here.)

5. Consider what else comes along with the argument. C. S. Lewis said, “It would be very odd if the phenomenon called ‘falling in love’ occurred in a sexless world.”

And would it also be odd if the phenomenon “belief in magic” occurred in a magic-less world? It’s not odd at all, because that’s the world we’re living in. Belief in magic is still widespread and was even more so a few centuries ago. We in the West shouldn’t be too smug that we’ve largely turned our backs on magic, because our thinking is still influenced by superstitions and evidence-less beliefs in things like coincidences, fate, and homeopathy.

We don’t need to puzzle over falling in love, because we know that love and sex exist in our world. But, despite Lewis’s efforts, the God belief looks like just another human belief poorly grounded in evidence.

6. The Ontological Argument again? You can imagine perfect justice, world peace, or a loving god, but that doesn’t make them reality. As with the Ontological Argument, thinking of it doesn’t make it so.

7. What is “innate”? Proponents of this argument list fundamental innate physical needs and drives like food, drink, sex, safety, and sleep. They may also throw in higher-level desires for beauty, justice, knowledge, friendship, love, and companionship.

The skeptic can retort with demands for Aladdin’s lamp, Shangri-La, or superpowers. Because they’d be great to have, does that mean that they exist? To avoid this, the apologist may distinguish between innate desires (the first sort—things that actually exist) and contrived desires (the second).

Let’s work with that distinction. In several ways, God desire does not appear to be innate.

7a. The category of innate desires is those things for which there is a clear target of the desire. No one doubts that food and drink exist, but there’s plenty of doubt about superpowers. (Guess which bin God desire fits into.)

7b. Everyone must satisfy the needs of hunger and thirst. Not everyone finds satisfaction for a God desire, and not everyone even has such a desire. The apologist may respond that that might also apply to the higher-level desires such as beauty and justice, but this only makes the innate category seem more arbitrary.

7c. Another way of seeing the innate/contrived distinction is that the innate desires (for food, sex, and companionship, for example) are those we share with other social animals. Since no animal desires God, why call that desire innate?

8. Don’t let your desires run away with you. We must be skeptical of fluffy arguments guided by desires.

Even C. S. Lewis himself argues against trusting too much in desire and Joy because the sane, rational person must be very suspicious of where moods and emotions might lead: “Unless you teach your moods where they get off, you can never be either a sound Christian or even a sound atheist, but just a creature dithering to and fro, with its beliefs really dependent on the weather and the state of its digestion.” The C. S. Lewis of this passage would insist that we regard our inner states, including desires and Joy, with suspicion if not discount them entirely. (Source: About.com)

Searching for the best spin on this argument

If the list of innate desires were 10,000 long, the apologists’ argument would have some weight. They’d say, “Every single item on this enormous list is a desire for which we know that a corresponding target exists! The only question left is our yearning for god. How likely is it that this one thing is a counterexample?”

But even with the cerebral desires (justice, love, etc.), the list of innate desires is maybe a dozen items long. At its foundation, this is a weak argument. And given the problems highlighted above, the argument no longer has credibility.

God belief is a poor fit as an innate belief, but here’s a better comparison. Wishful thinking in religion is like wishful thinking in the health and beauty aisle, or in diets, or in end-of-life care. What’s the loss of a little money when you could look better, be thinner, or live longer? Hope springs eternal, in religion as in more mundane areas. It’d be great to look younger or more fit, and it’d be great to have an all-powerful Friend looking out for me. That doesn’t make it true.

As with claims for cosmetics and cure-alls, we must be skeptical.

In the factory we make cosmetics;
in the drugstore we sell hope.
— Charles Revson (founder of Revlon)

.

This is an update of a post that originally appeared 11/19/14.)

Image via Dawn, CC license

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • epicurus

    Humans need for air and food and water and sleep is a design flaw on God’s part. Never mind that the act of swallowing food is always dancing on the edge of choking.

    • Kevin K

      If I lie on the “wrong side” at night, I occasionally will have a reflux episode where the contents of my stomach are spilled out and all the way up. Let me tell you … that is NOT “intelligent design”.

      • epicurus

        Yikes!

      • Raging Bee

        God’s design is PERFECT…if you believe hard enough.

      • Have you considered the role of sin, my brother?

        • Otto

          Mat 15:11

          A man is not defiled by what enters his mouth, but” by what comes out of it.

        • heleninedinburgh

          In other words, swallow don’t spit.

      • Ignorant Amos

        When my partner lies on her back while sleeping her sinuses cause her to stop breathing until she has to choke and either wake or role over, It’s a nightmare to listen to and I have to nudge her sometimes. ID, my arse.

        • Kevin K

          She needs a CPAP machine. It will definitely change her life. And yours.

        • Greg G.

          It took God long enough to design the CPAP, I’d say.

        • Ignorant Amos

          She has a litany of ailments….fibro being the top of the list.

          She couldn’t wear the mask.

          It takes a bottle and a glass of rose wine…or a sleeping tablet…to get her over.

        • Kevin K

          I am not a clinician, but when was the last time she tried? There are quite a number of new masks/breathing apparatuses that have been developed. She may find one useful.

          I do know that the type of sleep apnea you’re describing is not good for the heart. Particularly the right side of the heart.

          But I completely understand the frustration with the masks. My dad tried wearing one — he was living with me at the time. Poor guy just could not get used to it. It was one of the happiest moments of his later years when I finally said “Dad, do you just want to not use this anymore?”

      • David Peebles

        Can’t help wondering how many “intelligent design” proponents wear glasses, get cataracts, have artificial knees and hips, have chronic back pain, have reflux disease, any of the myriad forms of cancer, dementia, Parkinson’s, etc. Evolution looks much like the renovation of an old building. You don’t tear out the old plumbing and wiring, you just plug up that old stuff, then put in new stuff, leaving the old stuff to cause problems eventually.

        • Jack Baynes, Sandwichmaker

          That’s just the vast reality warping powers of sin at work. If God hadn’t been a dumbass and put the tree in the garden Adam and Eve hadn’t eaten fruit we wouldn’t have any of those.

        • Well, keep in mind that God was new to parenting. Cut the guy some slack–he didn’t know how to childproof stuff.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Feck sake Bob…he left his kids alone with a snake…not just any snake mind, the worst snake possible…no slack being cut.

          The welfare shoulda been brought in and the kids taken into care, because of his blatent negligence.

        • The neighbors call Child Protective Services on God–that’s a nice image.

        • Greg G.

          They did that. They even put guards at the gate to make sure they didn’t go back.

        • Ignorant Amos

          They are all part of a gods plan….and it’s a mystery.

    • sandy

      Design flaw #2, putting the sewage plant right next to the pleasure centre or in the case of gay men….

      • Jack Baynes, Sandwichmaker

        The sewage plant is integral to the pleasure center. The penis gets far more use as a urine spigot than a sperm depositor.

    • Len

      God’s not well known for his skill in designing us. Take planned obsolescence, for example.

      • RichardSRussell

        You or I or your 8-year-old kid could probably design a better knee.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Teeth and eyes too…the lens could be a lot better…I’ve had to wear glasses since I was 45…but then we aren’t really supposed to live as long as we do…god couldn’t even get that right…what a fuck up.

        • Greg G.

          Even the vertebrate retina would be better if it was like that of squids and octopi. Creationists will say that it is because they live in water but they realize that doesn’t work because fish eyes are like mammal eyes.

          My 81 year old mother had the lenses of her eyes replaced with synthetic lenses recently. Now she can do crossword puzzles without glasses.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I wish I could afford it…maybe that’s why God invented money…In God We Trust…wise up fer feck sake….meanwhile there’s children in third world countries starving to death so I need to grab what I’ve got and be thankful for it, thankful to whom is the question…?????

        • Greg G.

          A coworker told me her sister had it done several years ago. It was good at the time but she developed scar tissue, so it’s not perfect.

  • Anthrotheist

    The argument also appears to clash with Christian morality regarding sex. The existence of abortion and contraception (neither of which are new), and the reality of infanticide (which is older yet), indicate that humans have an innate desire for sex but don’t necessarily have an innate desire for children. That would mean, by the desire argument, that no-strings sex is natural and therefore must exist; this flies in the face of Christian morality which maintains that sex’s “natural function” is procreation and therefore anything else is sinful (and especially ‘the gays’).

    This is definitely one of the sillier arguments I have seen for God.

    • Nice. That’s a clever angle.

    • skl

      “The existence of abortion and contraception
      (neither of which are new), and the reality of infanticide (which is older
      yet), indicate that humans have an innate desire for sex but don’t necessarily
      have an innate desire for children.”

      So, humans have an innate desire to kill their little products of sex and so an innate desire to bring the family line, and the
      entire species, to extinction.

      “That would mean, by the desire argument, that no-strings sex is natural and therefore must exist”

      And a man willingly offering his woman to other men (and his woman happily giving her man to other women) must therefore
      exist. Except it doesn’t, normatively.

      • Kit Hadley-Day

        Nope, it is not a desire to kill children and end the human race, it is desire to have sex without the consequences. why do you always try to re-frame a quote that is directly above your own and so you dishonesty is obvious, i mean at least try and be sneaky about it.

        Polyamory is a real thing that real humans actually do, just because you aren’t interested is no reason to pretend it doesn’t exist. Next you will be telling me that BDSM is not a thing because you find it personally distasteful. As i have said before reality does not give a fig about your opinions.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Polyamory is a real

          It is, but that wasn’t even being punted too in the original comment…I don’t think…that’s skl’s twisted reading. Casual sex was my take on the original comment…there’s shed loads more of that going on than polymorous relationships. And in this day and age it is much more prevalent given all the tech at everyone’s hand. I dabbled a bit in it myself about 20 years ago when I first got on the internet and was free to do so. And quite enjoyable it was too until I got bored.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          Oh i quite agree, SKI is doing the usual of derailing a conversation by whipping out one of his preferred hobby horses and then flogging it, to mix a metaphor. I was addressing his banal comments rather than commenting on the op

        • skl

          “Nope, it is not a desire to kill children and end the human race, it is desire to have sex without the consequences.”

          So, we have both a desire for sex without consequences and a desire for children. I would agree with that.

          “Polyamory is a real thing that real humans actually do”

          So is bestiality.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          Some people have both, some people have one and not the other, it’s almost like people are complex and hence making sweeping generalizations about complex topics is a fairly silly thing to do.

          And yet these are not the same, one is unethical and immoral and one is not, would you like to play again and try to pick something that is not so laughably easy to dismiss. what are you going to do for your next trick? equate homosexuality with pedophilia

        • Ignorant Amos

          Engaging the idiot skl is like shooting fish in a barrel.

          I once thought he was being moronic on purpose, but not now.

        • skl

          “Some people have both, some people have one
          and not the other, it’s almost like people are complex and hence making sweeping generalizations about complex topics is a fairly silly thing to do.”

          I agree that the comment which started this thread –
          “The existence of abortion and contraception (neither of which are new), and the reality of infanticide (which is older yet), indicate that humans have an innate desire for sex but don’t necessarily have an innate desire for children.

          was fairly silly.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Fuck all silly about it ya fuckwit.

          Human beings…at least the normal ones, enjoy having sex just for the fun of it.

          Lots of people couldn’t give a fiddlers fuck about having children, but still like fucking…or whatever else that floats their boat to get there sexual jollies.

          You do know why prostitution is the oldest trade, yes?

          How many Gay people are having sex for the procreation of children?

          You have no idea how much a complete moron you are…it’s very sad.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          you do realise that you are not making any sense. the op statement is very clear. you, on the other hand, seem to think that conversation is an unconnected series of statements. could you attempt to clarify your point.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Beastiality isn’t consensual ya fucking moron.

          Do you have a special stupid school ya go to?

        • epeeist

          Do you have a special stupid school ya go to?

          He is somewhere in the crowd below:

          https://tommygirard.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/wicker-man-2006-burning-of-the-wicker-man-ending.jpg

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’s a weeker…a mean wicker….

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          “Do you have a special stupid school ya go to?”

          Yeah, it’s called “church”. And based on skl’s posts, it’s the Catholic sort.

      • Anthrotheist

        You are hilarious. Surely you jest?

        So, humans have an innate desire to kill their little products of sex and so an innate desire to bring the family line, and the
        entire species, to extinction.

        How does that go exactly?
        “Oh, how I wish I had a baby to kill! But alas I do not. Darling, come to me, let us make a baby together so that we might kill it!”
        “Oh my dear, but we would have to have sex to do such a thing! How awful I tell you, I simply can’t stand the thought of it.”
        “Please, my love. My burning need for infanticide is too great to bear another moment.”
        “Very well, and only because I love you. Do try to be quick, and for pity’s sake don’t give me one of those dreadful orgasms.”

        And a man willingly offering his woman to other men (and his woman happily giving her man to other women) must therefore
        exist. Except it doesn’t, normatively.

        Aha! Yet another desire that has manifested in reality that must be natural and true! Slavery! Yes, the desire to own or possess another human being for one’s own benefit. That institution is also ancient, also reveals a desire, and must therefore reflect a real thing that fulfills that desire.

        Thank you, that was fun.

        • skl

          Surely you jest.

        • Anthrotheist

          Of course I am! The desire argument is a bad joke. But it’s fun to ridicule.

        • skl

          “a bad joke”

          Yes. Like
          “The existence of abortion and contraception
          (neither of which are new), and the reality of infanticide (which is older yet), indicate that humans have an innate desire for sex but don’t necessarily have an innate desire for children.”

          Much like
          And the existence of rape and murder (neither of which are
          new) indicate that humans have an innate desire for extreme and unreasonable violence but don’t necessarily have an innate desire for consent or for bodily protection.

        • Jack Baynes, Sandwichmaker

          Do you not understand the argument that is being made?
          Yes, the “Argument from desire” is garbage.
          Lewis’s logic leads to conclusions that conservative Christians would not accept, and ones that even moral people would not accept.

        • skl

          “Do you not understand the argument that is being made?
          Yes, the “Argument from desire” is garbage.”

          I find certain twisting of the argument to be garbage, as in
          Anthrotheist’s comment.

        • Jack Baynes, Sandwichmaker

          Then why don’t you show what is wrong with Anthrotheist’s reasoning, rather than supporting it?

        • skl

          I was never supporting Anthrotheist’s reasoning.
          Apparently you missed my sense of sarcasm.

        • Jack Baynes, Sandwichmaker

          Yes, you were. You were continuing to show how Lewis’s logic falls down.

      • Ignorant Amos

        So, humans have an innate desire to kill their little products of sex and so an innate desire to bring the family line, and the
        entire species, to extinction.

        Pure fuckwittery from the faux atheist again…that’s how we know your not an atheist…even the stupid of us are not as imbecilic as you are skl.

        The other clue is the Christian inability to read for comprehension. Something witnessed around here regularly. Moron.

        Do you know why most a lot of women have abortions? Do you know why a lot of folk use contraception? Do you know why a lot of the infanticide was committed?

        I’ll give you a clue…think resources and practicality?

        Many Neolithic groups routinely resorted to infanticide in order to control their numbers so that their lands could support them. Joseph Birdsell believed that infanticide rates in prehistoric times were between 15% and 50% of the total number of births, while Laila Williamson estimated a lower rate ranging from 15% to 20%. :66 Both anthropologists believed that these high rates of infanticide persisted until the development of agriculture during the Neolithic Revolution. :19 Comparative anthropologists have calculated that 50% of female newborn babies were killed by their parents during the Paleolithic era. From the infants hominid skulls (e.g. Taung child skull) that had been traumatized, has been proposed cannibalism by Raymond A. Dart. The children were not necessarily actively killed, but neglect and intentional malnourishment may also have occurred, as proposed by Vicente Lull as an explanation for an apparent surplus of men and the below average height of women in prehistoric Menorca.

        Infanticide continues today in some places because there just isn’t enough resources for everyone.

        And a man willingly offering his woman to other men (and his woman happily giving her man to other women) must therefore
        exist. Except it doesn’t, normatively.

        Where do you pull such mindfarts from skl?

        Try reading for comprehension and wise up fer feck sake.

        No strings sex doesn’t equate to an open relationship ya Bozo. No strings sex means having a good shag with no obligation on each party to hang around and the freedom to move on for another good shag with someone else, ya dopey tit.

        • skl

          “Pure fuckwittery…”

          And we’re done.

        • Susan

          And we’re done.

          Done with what? Your pure fuckwittery?

          Wouldn’t that be nice?

          Off you go then.

          No one will miss your pure fuckwittery.

        • Greg G.

          4 hours ago
          “Pure fuckwittery…”

          And we’re done.

          Hey, everybody say “Pure fuckwittery” to skl.

          Pure fuckwittery. Pure fuckwittery. Pure fuckwittery.

        • Is it a Beetlejuice kind of thing? He’ll go away?

        • Greg G.

          It could work two ways – either by a Beetlejuice curse/spell or by a mental situation that that has the same effect.

        • Susan

          either by a Beetlejuice curse/spell

          Every now and then, I wish curses would work (but only for me).

          or by a mental situation that has the same effect

          In a perfect world, everyone on the internet would say it and he would block them one by one.

          And poof! He’d disappear.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Bob knows an easier and far more efficient method.

        • epeeist

          All Amos has done is identify you as a stupid cunt, the rest of us had done this long ago but were too polite to say it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Nope….ya dopey bastard….we’re not done. You might be done, but I’m not done…yet.

          Wherever I see you posting asinine shite, I’ll be calling you out on it. You don’t get to decide when I’m done ya oxygen thieving, knuckle-dragging, moronic cunt.

          I owe it to society.

        • Tommy

          And we’re done.

          Good. Get the fuck outta here.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          “And we’re done.”

          We pretty much all wish we could believe you when you say that. But we know your just a lying liar who lies.

      • Guestie

        Abortion is normative in human history.

  • Raging Bee

    Blaise Pascal proposed a “God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man.”

    So we yearn for a God who’s small enough to fit inside each of us? That says a lot…

    • Kevin K

      Mine’s filled with pizza. And Pringles.

      • Raging Bee

        SACRILEGE!!!

      • Greg G.

        In college, we bought Pringles mainly to have battles where we squeezed the container to fire the lids at each other. They didn’t give us our degrees until we stopped that.

        • Raging Bee

          Pringles — the least edible potato-based product EVER. Seriously, they never even advertized them as a tasty snack, just an elegant-looking symmetrical one.

        • Greg G.

          They weren’t even aerodynamic enough to be a projectile.

        • Raging Bee

          They weren’t supposed to fly, they were supposed to look pretty on a sterling silver tray.

        • It was just an excuse to eat salty greasiness. And, as you say, not particularly good salty greasiness at that.

        • Raging Bee

          WHAT salty greasiness?! That’s why they sucked — they didn’t have nearly enough salt or grease. If I want to eat potato-stuff without salt or grease, that’s what baked or mashed potatoes are for — with plenty of butter, of course, or gravy.

        • Jack Baynes, Sandwichmaker

          And I used to eat the french fries that had fallen out of the frier cage and floated in the oil for a couple hours.

      • Well, that’s smart. It was empty, so you might as well use it for something.

  • Raging Bee

    Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists…

    Has this guy EVER experienced the phenomenon of wanting something and not being able to get it, or not knowing whether the thing/person/experience he wants even exists at all?

    Wishful thinking by any other name…of all the silly and ignorant things Lewis has ever been quoted as saying, this has gotta be the stoopidest.

    • LastManOnEarth

      Well, as Confucius says: “You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes you might find
      You get what you need.”

      • Ignorant Amos

        Fer feck sake…a thought that was The Rolling Stones, dammit.

  • Raging Bee

    The only question left is our yearning for god. How likely is it that this one thing is a counterexample?”

    VERY likely, given that God is (real or not) so totally different from all the other things we yearn for…

  • guerillasurgeon

    “Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. . . . ”
    He seems to know very little about my desires. The potential for satisfaction of some of them is infinitesimally small. 🙂

    • Zeropoint

      “Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. . . . ”

      Wait, this means that hoverbikes and robot catgirl maids are REAL!

      • guerillasurgeon

        Yeah…. Come to think of it, I remember a headline in Popular Mechanics years ago that said something like “Where’s my Flying Car?”

        • Greg G.

          I think it is the liability issues more than the technological issues.

        • Jack Baynes, Sandwichmaker

          Hard enough getting drivers to keep an eye out for people to the right and left of them when driving. Wouldn’t want to have to add two more directions to that.

        • Greg G.

          People with jetpacks would be the pedestrians.

          People think about how it would be when there are a few dozen flying cars. What happens when there is three dimensional gridlock?

        • Jack Baynes, Sandwichmaker

          And even professional pilots, in air-traffic that is nowhere near as heavy as traffic on an average freeway, needs the help of air-traffic controllers to safely negotiate passage around airports.

      • Bob Jase

        Heck, I’d settle for a real catgirl.

  • Grimlock

    John Calvin referred to the sensus divinitatis God-detector—a sense, not of the environment like sight or smell, but of God.

    Fixed.

    • Kevin K

      My god detector is busted.

      • Greg G.

        You can have mine. I’m not using it.

      • Raging Bee

        How do you know that? Was it detecting gods before?

  • Grimlock

    Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. . . . If I discover within myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.

    Formalized, I guess this’d look a bit like this:
    1. The desires of creatures can be satisfied by something that exists in our world.
    2. Lewis desires within himself an experience that can’t be satisfied by something that that exists in our world.
    3. There exists something outside our world that satisfies the desire Lewis possesses.

    This… is a rather silly argument. While I might be constructing a straw man, I’m not really sure how to make this strong. Off the top of my head…

    (i) No distinction is made between different types of desires; desire for experiences, desire for objects, desire of states of existence, etc. Clearly this is rather too wide.
    (ii) Premise (1), even if we make it probabilistic, isn’t really justified.
    (iii) It seems blatantly obvious that experiences that are interpreted as being experiences of something transcendent exists. So the desire appears to be satisfied without the actual existence of something transcendent, and (2) is false.
    (iv) Let’s accept (1), and agree that our desires always can be satisfied by something in our world… How can one then generalize this so that a desire that is the exception from (1), rather than contradicting (1), means that a desire can be for something outside of – transcendent of – our world? That just doesn’t follow.
    (v) Some Christians will make a big deal out of some atheists – like Thomas Nagel – who claim to have a desire for a godless universe. Can this desire be satisfied? Unless a distinction can be made between this desire, and a desire for god, then the argument appears to be undercut.

    • Good point. Formalizing it does help shine a light on the flabby parts of this argument.

      • Grimlock

        […] the flabby parts of this argument.

        Does it have any other parts?

        There are, I guess, a couple of good things about this argument. One is that, when an apologist uses it, it’s a nice way to illustrate how low standards that apologist has. Another good thing is that it is a nice way to illustrate some objects that are analogous to objects to other apologetic arguments. For instance, the argument from desire appeals to how something is the case inside our world to generalize to something outside our world, while the Kalam appeals to something inside our world – cause and effect – in order to justify cause and effect outside our world.

  • skl

    “1. Why do we fear death?”

    The argument in question is the “argument from desire”.
    Point #1 could consequently be restated as
    “Why do we desire to live forever (and so, not die)”.

    I suspect the C.S. Lewis answer would be ‘Because eternal life exists.’

    “2. The puddle problem.”

    I don’t get this one. Puddles are not necessary for one’s
    happiness. I’m not aware of anyone desiring puddles. I’m aware of people desiring, usually, to keep their feet clean and dry.

    “3. Desire for God isn’t an innate desire.
    If the desires for food, water, sex and other basics are never fulfilled, the
    human race dies out.”

    You and me and, eventually, the entire human race will die out.
    But virtually all people don’t warm to this idea. And we return to #1 above.

    “4. This is just a deist argument.”

    Possibly so. But as in my comment on #3, we return to #1.

    “6. The Ontological Argument again? You can
    imagine perfect justice, world peace, or a loving god, but that doesn’t make
    them reality.”

    Neither does it make them not reality. The desire for these things could be considered evidence, however weak or strong,
    of their existence.

    “7. What is “innate”?”

    Good question. Possible answer: That which is normative in humans.

    A belief in god/gods appears to be normative in human history. True atheism continues to be ab-normal, a viewpoint espoused by a small
    percentage of the world’s population.

    “8. Don’t let your desires run away with you.”

    Virtually everyone would agree with this. But not all
    desires are created equal (e.g. desire for pornography vs. desire for truth).

    • Raging Bee

      How can you not “get” the puddle problem, when it’s pretty clearly explained here?

      A belief in god/gods appears to be normative in human history. True atheism continues to be ab-normal…

      Ignorance and irrationality appear to be normative in human history. True intelligence continues to be ab-normal. What was the point of that argument again?

      • A belief in god/gods appears to be normative in human history.

        And yet religion can’t even agree on how many gods there are.

        Some consensus.

        • Kevin K

          Poking other people with sharp objects is normative in human history. Doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

      • Kit Hadley-Day

        Poking the troll can be fun, its a shame they so quickly fall back on the pretense of stupidity and claiming all around them cant explain themselves

    • eric

      I don’t get this one. Puddles are not necessary for one’s
      happiness.

      [Facepalm]
      …just…
      [Facepalm]

      Bob explains it in the very next paragraph. Did you not read the next paragraph, or not understand it?

      • Raging Bee

        I really don’t think he understood what Douglas Adams meant. The satire was that far above him.

        • Susan

          I really don’t think he understood what Douglas Adams meant.

          No. This is skl. One of his strategies is to say “I don’t get it.”

          skl is a disingenuous weasel who likes to shit disturb.

          He likes to pretend he doesn’t get things, no matter how clearly people spell them out.

          It’s a game. He’s a complete ass.

          The best thing we can do is ignore him.

          He is more banworthy than many people who’ve been banned here.

    • I’m glad you’ve dropped the “but I’m totally an atheist!” shtick. It was tedious right from the start.

      I’d respond to your questions, but, as Raging Bee explained with one point already, it’s all there in the post.

      • skl

        No reason for you to be glad. Because I’ve never had a “but I’m totally an
        atheist!” “shtick.”

        I’m not an atheist. I’m just a nonreligious skeptic.

        No need to say anything more to you on your points. It’s already all there
        in my post.

    • Kit Hadley-Day

      ‘Neither does it make them not reality. The desire for these things could be considered evidence, however weak or strong,
      of their existence.’

      This is not evidence for the existence of anything, weak or strong, stating a thing can be imagined (or desired) is not the same as evidence that it exists, otherwise there would be a good deal more dragons around these parts. reality does not give a fig what you want.

    • Guestie

      “A belief in god/gods appears to be normative in human history.”

      A willingness to say that one believes in gods appears to be normative. So is lying.

      “True atheism…”

      What the heck is that and how is it different from atheism?

      • Ignorant Amos

        What the heck is that and how is it different from atheism?

        That’s the doucheness of skl…deepity city. Maybe he’s the only “true atheist” and we’re all pretending.

    • David Peebles

      My interpretation of the puddle problem is not that we desire puddles, but that puddles think the universe was designed for them. Similar to the anthropic principle, which in essence says that the universe must have been designed for intelligent life (specifically, us). There’s something about that argument that I find extremely annoying.

      • skl

        Maybe you can say some words about Bob’s “Lewis imagined
        that hunger points to the existence of food, but it’s the other way
        around.”
        .

        If it’s the other way around, then Bob must mean that,
        because X exists, a desire for X must exist. I don’t agree with that. Perhaps you do.

        • David Peebles

          Please don’t guess as to what I agree with or don’t agree with. Your response to what I said makes no sense. The whole “desire creates existence,” or the other way around, is gibberish as far as I can tell.

        • skl

          So you’re saying Bob’s comment was gibberish, as far as you can tell.

        • epeeist

          Hey, skl is good with gibberish, in fact gibberish is what skl does best.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You realize that just because what we label food, isn’t actually it’s purpose for being here…right?

      • Ignorant Amos

        There’s something about that argument that I find extremely annoying.

        The unnecessary size of the feckin’ hole for starters. What sort of buck eejit digs such a big hole [universe] for such a small puddle [we humans]. Pure unadulterated nonsense of an apologetic argument.

    • “The argument in question is the ‘argument from desire’. Point #1 could consequently be restated as ‘Why do we desire to live forever (and so, not die)’.”

      I don’t know how anyone who’s really thought about it could retain that desire. But even before really considering it, it’s not something I’ve ever wished for. When I was a believer, Heaven was not a selling point. (Nor did Hell scare me.) I was a Christian because I thought it was the right way to live. A desire to live forever just doesn’t register in my brain.

      Now that I’ve actually given thought to the idea of living forever… no way would I want that! Of course, popular Christianity tells you you’ll be unimaginably amazed and happy to be at Yahweh’s throne and that the feeling will never go away, but that’s beyond my ability to imagine.

      • skl

        “Now that I’ve actually given thought to the
        idea of living forever… no way would I want that!”

        If one is greatly enjoying life, one normally doesn’t want the enjoyment to end. Such a one normally wouldn’t want to die in such circumstances.

        Perhaps you’re saying a) life is not enjoyable and so you want it to end, or b) life is enjoyable but you want the enjoyment to end.

        “… but that’s beyond my ability to imagine.”

        Perhaps you’re saying that if you can’t imagine something, it can’t exist.

        • Regarding the first “perhaps”, no. I enjoy parts of life, and of course there are the struggles as well, but life changes and remains interesting. The brevity of it makes it seem precious. Eternal life would not be precious at all, as it would be eternal, and one would truly have nothing to live for… for eternity!

          Regarding the second “perhaps”, no, I’m not saying that. I’m saying that there’s no appeal.

          You’re really into the deepities, aren’t you?

      • Pofarmer

        And the funny thing is, those that are supposed to believe they are going to live forever in Heaven, seem to be some of the most terrified of death.

      • Ignorant Amos

        Most people really don’t think about what forever entails…here’s a James Joyce quote I keep for these kind of occasions…

        “What must it be, then, to bear the manifold tortures of hell [heaven] forever? Forever! For all eternity! Not for a year or an age but forever. Try to imagine the awful meaning of this. You have often seen the sand on the seashore. How fine are its tiny grains! And how many of those tiny grains go to make up the small handful which a child grasps in its play. Now imagine a mountain of that sand, a million miles high, reaching from the earth to the farthest heavens, and a million miles broad, extending to remotest space, and a million miles in thickness, and imagine such an enormous mass of countless particles of sand multiplied as often as there are leaves in the forest, drops of water in the mighty ocean, feathers on birds, scales on fish, hairs on animals, atoms in the vast expanse of air. And imagine that at the end of every million years a little bird came to that mountain and carried away in its beak a tiny grain of that sand. How many millions upon millions of centuries would pass before that bird had carried away even a square foot of that mountain, how many eons upon eons of ages before it had carried away all. Yet at the end of that immense stretch time not even one instant of eternity could be said to have ended. At the end of all those billions and trillions of years eternity would have scarcely begun. And if that mountain rose again after it had been carried all away again grain by grain, and if it so rose and sank as many times as there are stars in the sky, atoms in the air, drops of water in the sea, leaves on the trees, feathers upon birds, scales upon fish, hairs upon animals – at the end of all those innumerable risings and sinkings of that immeasurably vast mountain not even one single instant of eternity could be said to have ended; even then, at the end of such a period, after that eon of time, the mere thought of which makes our very brain reel dizzily, eternity would have scarcely begun.”

        Heaven or Hell…an eternity of anything would eventually become a Hell.

    • Ignorant Amos

      Good question. Possible answer: That which is normative in humans.

      Like wanking…but not infanticide ya clown.

    • Ignorant Amos

      “2. The puddle problem.”

      I don’t get this one. Puddles are not necessary for one’s
      happiness. I’m not aware of anyone desiring puddles. I’m aware of people desiring, usually, to keep their feet clean and dry.

      Of course ya don’t get it…and you’re too dumb to go find out before cramming you’re foot in your mouth and demonstrating to everyone the arsehole you are…hilarious. Cretin.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDC_NcihiV8

  • Kevin K

    Shorter Lewis: There IS a pony under all that manure!!!

    I completely desire to be 6-foot-2 and have a 3 handicap.

    • Greg G.

      I am 6-foot-2 and have 3 handicaps. The first one was that I was born with no teeth.

      • I was born with no teeth.

        A handicap for you, perhaps, but not for your mother.

      • Ignorant Amos

        I have 3 handy caps in the cloakroom….well more than 3, but ya get the jest of it.

    • Raging Bee

      What if someone else wants his pony?

    • Zeropoint

      “I completely desire to be 6-foot-2”

      Yeah, being shorter would make some parts of life more convenient.

    • sandy

      Hey I’m 5 foot 7 and a One HNCP. Shorter IS better. lol

      • Kevin K

        The best I ever got to was a 10. I’m greatly impressed with anyone whose handicap is in the single digits.

        • Otto

          It took me the better part of 40 years to get to a 7, but the funny part is that when I quit caring as much (having a desire) about being good, and just played for the enjoyment, that is when I improved.

        • Pofarmer

          That’s not really all that uncommon, actually. I coach shotgun. We teach trap a lot to first time shooters. We sometimes play a game called “Annie Oakley” or knockout, where if the shooter before you misses you can knock that shooter out by getting that bird. It’s amazing how much better kids do when playing that game. The concentration changes and they are having FUN, not just repetitive rote shooting.

        • Otto

          I never used to drink when I played because I wanted to do well, I often did not do well and was grumpy. I finally let go of that and would have some drinks, either I did well and enjoyed a few drinks, or I didn’t do well and enjoyed a few drinks…it became a win-win.

        • Pofarmer

          No drinking and shotgunning, unfortunately. Lol.

        • Jack Baynes, Sandwichmaker

          Yeah, it’s not safe. You could spill your beer!

        • sandy

          Thanks. I’m a retired golf pro and as a lifelong golfer you quickly realize there is a god, the golf god and…he’s not very nice.

        • Greg G.

          All I know is that if the shot turns to the right, it is a slice. If it turns to the left, it is a hook. If it goes straight, it is a miracle.

        • Otto

          You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, and 99% of the shots you do.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Duffer!

  • Raging Bee

    I desire a body that stays young, healthy and energetic forever. So where is it already?!

    • Ficino

      It’s right here if you buy the supplements that I’ll sell you.

      • Raging Bee

        Will they make my dick bigger and reverse the circumcision?

        • Len

          God can’t grow lost limbs back, so I’d not hold my breath for your foreskin.

          On the other hand (in the other hand?) maybe he has to start small and work up to bigger things. I’d better stop now.

        • Greg G.

          God can’t grow lost limbs back, so I’d not hold my breath for your foreskin.

          Then how do you explain all of those foreskins of Jesus at the medieval churches?

        • Bob Jase

          Jesus was the penile version of the Hydra.

        • It’s a gosh-darned miracle, that’s how!

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’d 22 stitches that looked like a crown of thorns after the procedure….does that count?

        • Pofarmer

          Holy crap. A muslim guy here talks about a local man being found, I think in Pakistan, uncircumcised, and a mob basically grabbed him and did it with a machete.

        • Ignorant Amos

          There is a medical risk factor to having the procedure later in life…even in the sterile environment of a hospital day procedure.

          Fuck that machete Malarkey…my eyes are watering just thinking about it ffs.

        • Greg G.

          A guy goes to the hospital and demands to be castrated. The doctors argue with him but he still demands a castration for his religious reasons. So they do it.

          He comes to in the recovery room and sees another guy who had just come from surgery. He says, “What kind of surgery did you have?”

          The guy replied, “I had a circumcision.”

          The first man says, “Dammit, that’s the word I was looking for!”

        • Sam

          Although, IRL, he’d have realised this once the procedure was explained to him.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Unless he was a follower of Attis of course.

        • heleninedinburgh

          You had a crown of thorns on your cock? You should have got in touch with the Vatican so they can award you a miracle certificate!* Mind you, they’d probably chop it off so that they could stick it in a church somewhere and have it start earning its keep. All that gold-plated shit’s got to be pricey, not to mention the massive payments to survivors of child abuse.

          *Quick OT on miracles. I had an argument with Dave Armstrong and Jim ‘argument from authority boy’ Dailey on Dave’s blog about medical miracles, and at one point said that I was open to believing in their god given enough evidence but would never worship it as if the stories in the Bible were accurate it belonged in Broadmoor. A quick quarrel with Dave over the morality of killing every single person in the world ensued. He subsequently copied the exchange (minus a couple of my points and a question which he hadn’t answered) into a new article without telling me. How exclusive a club have I (accidentally) joined?
          (Sorry that didn’t have much to do with lopping bits of people’s penises off.) /OT

        • Sorry–not that exclusive a club. I’m in it, and a few other commenters here as well.

          You would think that repurposing comments as a blog post, while technically probably legal, would need a warning up front (or request for permission afterwards), wouldn’t you? But that’s not have Dave rolls.

        • heleninedinburgh

          If I hadn’t gone back to check a link I’d never have found out that he’d… recycled the comment skirmish. (Upcycled? Downcycled?) The annoying thing was that he’d described it as ‘a conversation with atheist/agnostic (?) heleninedinburgh,’ when just by being polite he’d have been able accurately to describe his opponent’s views. Of course he might have wanted to imply that I was being evasive, there is that.

        • Dave gets the last word, and if you’re getting in too many words, he has a solution for that.

          I wouldn’t have thought that his asshole tactics (I’d say “hardball,” but that’s not really the right word) wouldn’t reflect well on the philosophy he’s trying to support, but if he wants to shoot holes in the bottom of his boat, whatever.

          What’s frustrating is that he’s a smart guy, and we could’ve had some back-and-forth blog posts exploring apologetics, but by the time he got into his “Bob is an Incredible Doofus” series, it was already clear that thoughtful debate wasn’t where he wants to go.

        • Greg G.

          (I’d say “hardball,” but that’s not really the right word)

          Spitball? Scuffball?

        • heleninedinburgh

          “he’s a smart guy”
          Bloody hell, he’s a master of disguise.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You are in the “lying straw man club” with Bob S, so good company. That Dave Armstrong is a real lying for Jesus pious fraudster piece of shit fer sure.

        • MR

          I’m not sure how exclusive a club it is when virtually anyone who dares to challenge him is summarily packaged into a post and banned. It doesn’t take much to join!

        • Grimlock

          How exclusive a club have I (accidentally) joined?

          Not particularly exclusive. I got six or so such blog posts before I got banned.

          I hung around for a few months (until I got banned – not quite sure why, and he declined to explain when I asked). Based on that time I’d say there’s around a 50 % chance of getting such a post if you have an exchange on his blog.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Best thing that happened to me was a medical circumcision…though I didn’t think that at the time.

          P.s. the other thing is just fine,

    • Anthrotheist

      Surely you were paying attention?

      That body is in another world. Presumably you will go to that world after this one and it will be absolutely divine, just heavenly.

      • Greg G.

        1 Corinthians 15:51-54 (NRSV)51 Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled:

        “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

        Paul seems to have got that idea from:

        Daniel 12:2-3 (NRSV)2 Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

        But Daniel purports to have been written several centuries before Paul. Its prophecies are very accurate and detailed up to 167BC but completely wrong after 164BC. A sensible person would figure that the prophecies were written around 165BC. This was pointed out about 18 centuries ago.

      • Jack Baynes, Sandwichmaker

        Yeah, but if you can’t do anything FUN with that body, what’s the point?

        • Raging Bee

          Sure you can, but only if it results in pregnancy.

      • heleninedinburgh

        “absolutely divine, just heavenly.”

        Oh darling, it’s fabulous.
        As it were.

  • Polytropos

    This has to be one of the most ridiculous arguments for God in the history of theism.

    • Raging Bee

      Maybe it was carefully crafted to make all the other arguments look solid and unimpeachable by comparison.

      • Taneli Huuskonen

        Maybe all of them were.

    • Taneli Huuskonen

      The competition is fierce, though.

  • igotbanned999

    Christians do believe in magic though.

  • Sastra

    If I discover within myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.

    One big problem here is that the basic elements of people’s idea of God are not at all unworldly. The concept involves love, justice, authority, explanations, comfort, forgiveness, gratitude, parenting, beauty, awe, morality, and so forth. We desire these experiences in this life, they can all be satisfied in this life — and routinely are.

    The only extraordinary factor ‘God’ brings to the table is an implausibly massive abundance. Otherwise, God simply piggybacks on nature.

  • eric

    Ah yes, the sensus divinatus argument. But which way did Lewis go with it?
    1. All atheists are liars and secretly know God exists, and God damns us to hell for that.
    2. God took it away from us, and then damns us to hell for not listening to it
    3. We broke ourselves, it’s all our own fault for not having it, and God damns us to hell for that.
    4. You have to be Christian before you get it. Just try it!

    • Ficino

      With C.S. Lewis, I go as far as his argument that Jesus wouldn’t have been a lunatic on the order of the man who thinks he is a poached egg. Then I reach for my revolver.

      • Pofarmer

        Lewis seems really good at ignoring the obvious to make his arguments, although, granted, we’ve learned a lot about the Bible in the last 60 years.

  • Ficino

    Just this morning in Aquinas I was reading how human happiness will be incomplete if it does not consist in the vision of God. So, yeah, I want my happiness to be complete, so therefore it will be fulfilled in the vision of God. QED

    • sandy

      Apparently Paul McCartney found true happiness as he said he saw god on a drug trip years ago.

      • I hope he said Hi for me.

        • sandy

          I’ll pass that on.

      • epicurus

        He probably was thinking of John Lennon

        • sandy

          mmmm Paul thinking John was god? I don’t think so but then it WAS John’s band.

        • epicurus

          Sorry I should have posted the story of John announcing to the other Beatles that he was Jesus, then it would hsve made more sense. Here it is along with link:
          On 18 May 1968, Lennon summoned the other Beatles to a meeting at Apple Corps to announce that he was the living reincarnation of Jesus: “I have something very important to tell you all. I am Jesus Christ. I’m back again.”[41] The meeting was adjourned for lunch and Lennon never mentioned the subject again.

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

    • Pofarmer

      I’m probably just missing something, but I’m not sure that even means anything.

  • Raging Bee

    If I discover within myself a desire which no experience in this world
    can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for
    another world.

    Translation: “I can’t handle this reality, therefore I was meant to be in another one.”

    Escapism romanticized is still escapism.

    • heleninedinburgh

      I wanted a three-inch-high talking cat which I could carry around in my pocket when I was little. Where can you get three-inch-high talking cats?

      • Ignorant Amos

        You’re a bit picky…where can ya get an any size talking cat?

        Anyway, yer showing yer age….that would be a 7.62 cm cat.

        • Otto

          So basically a cat you could fire in a number of guns?

        • Pofarmer

          That would be 7.62 mm cat.

        • epicurus

          African or European?

        • Pofarmer

          Mediterranean.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Nope…your thinking of the NATO round 7.62 mm….my favourite calibre as the SLR was a stopping weapon, unlike that 5.56 mm piece of crap SA80 introduced during my time.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5.56%C3%9745mm_NATO#Criticism

          Yer arms would be sore carrying a weapon that fired a 3 inch round.

          BTW…a gun is an artillery piece.

        • Pofarmer

          I dunno, firing 7,.62 cm cats sounds kind of fun, in retrospect.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Like those potato canons that is a thing over there.

          I could launch my daughters cat without a second thought. I hate the fucker and it knows it. She makes a beeline for me as soon as I walk into the house…pish taking bastard.

        • heleninedinburgh

          Yes, but employment laws…

        • Ignorant Amos

          No such thing in the third world…firing cats of any size with abandonment…hey, there’s an enterprise opportunity to exploit.

        • epeeist

          Something to remember, that: cats for missiles.

          Mervyn Peake,Titus Groan

        • Otto

          They tried halfheartedly to teach the metric system to us back in the 70’s…the results speak for themselves.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Same here…except I had no choice but to adopt the metric from the imperial…still, that means knowledge in both…for what it’s worth.

          We still drive here imperially ffs.

        • Jack Baynes, Sandwichmaker

          Americans know that a “2 liter” is a unit of measure for soda, and a newton is fruit and cake.

        • Bob Jase

          Don’t forget that a meter is what you put quarters in so you can park your car and not get a ticket and a cubic centimeter, a cc, is what you type when you send a copy of a letter to someone other than the main addressee.

        • Jack Baynes, Sandwichmaker

          And a joule is a pop-singer from the 90s.

        • Bob Jase

          I thought Joule was the name of the character Samuel L. Jackson played in Pulp Fiction.

        • epeeist

          Nah, it’s a brewery here in the UK.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Or the metaphorical measuring instrument that explodes here on a regular basis when engaging fuckwit religidiots who abuse irony.

        • Ignorant Amos

          “2 litre” get it right…the French came up with it.

          Never heard of a newton fruit cake…internet thinks it might be a cookie.

        • Jack Baynes, Sandwichmaker

          the litre might be the metric unit, but soda is sold in 2 liters.

          The Fig Newton (available in other flavors, but fig is the standard) had a series of commercials were people snootily insisted they weren’t cookies but were instead “Fruit and cake”

        • Ignorant Amos

          the litre might be metric unit, but soda is sold in 2 liters.

          Really? Naaaaaah….

          http://seesoftinc.info/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/coca-cola-2-liter-bottle-target-coca-cola-2-liters-as-low-as-each-thru-5.jpg

        • Will the US be dragged into a metric reality with soft drinks rather than logic?

          Whatever works, I guess.

        • Jack Baynes, Sandwichmaker

          besides, I fully support the changing of spelling of foreign words so that they fit English norms (to the extent that they exist)

        • Ignorant Amos

          I go to the pub and drink pints….but I buy beer from the off-licence or supermarket by the milliliter, but when it reaches a 1000 milliliters, it miraculously morphs to a litre…unless I’m stateside of course.

        • Pofarmer

          Lol. I build cabinets part time. I use European hardware that is all metric on the “32mm system” which is common in Europe. So I have a couple of tape measures that are both metric and English, and the charts for things like hinge setback and slide mounting have charts to convert metric to english. It’s a pain in the ass. lol.

        • Ignorant Amos

          A just got maself a new Kreg jig and and a can’t wait to get it into action.

        • Pofarmer

          Yeah, the Kreg jigs are pretty awesome. I used to use a biscuit joiner a bunch but it mainly just sits in the case now unless I need a completely hidden joint for whatever reason. The Kreg Jigs make finished ends on cabinets much less of a hassle.

        • Greg G.

          If you think the conversions are complicated in cabinetry, try landing a spacecraft on Mars. Even rocket scientists can screw it up.

        • epicurus

          I had a photo darkroom as a kid, and the measurement beakers would list British gallons quarts etc, but the American Kodak chemicals I bought listed American gallons etc. I screwed that up many times when I was mixing chemicals.

        • Pofarmer

          Speaking of chemicals. I’m a farmer. When mixing, a lot of the stuff I’m mixing is in so many ounces per acre. The problem is, some of it is fluid ounces and some of it is dry ounces, and 16 ounces per pound is WAY different than 128 ozs per gallon. I think I’ve messed up once, and luckily, it was converting from liquid to dry so I just wound up with a very low rate of one product on one field, instead of 7x.

        • epicurus

          My parents refused to use it – communist plot. I would always have to translate the weather forcasts for them from degrees F to C. Although, 40 below is the same in both, and we got our fair share of those days.

        • epicurus

          Just to nitpik I should have said C to F

        • heleninedinburgh

          I’m not being picky. If you were carrying a talking cat in your pocket, you wouldn’t want it to be six feet long. Especially if you were five. And in any case, I would have been prepared to accept a talking cat of any reasonable size, not necessarily exactly 7.62 centimetres.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yer just being daft now…who the fuck has a pocket that can hold a six foot cat…especially if they are only five foot….am 5′ 6″ btw…and a six foot talking cat is more practical if one wants to make money and go on tour.

        • heleninedinburgh

          No, I didn’t mean five foot, I mean aged five. It would be a bit more practicable if you were 5′. You would probably be able to construct some kind of pouch, even if it had to be disguised as a shoulder-bag or rucksack or something similar.
          Of course if you got a talking cat that could shrink and grow at will, that whole problem would be eliminated.

        • Ignorant Amos

          No, I didn’t mean five foot, I mean aged five. It would be a bit more practicable if you were 5′.

          Even worse…what 5 year old has a pocket with space for a cat…period?

          You would probably be able to construct some kind of pouch, even if it had to be disguised as a shoulder-bag or rucksack or something similar.

          There’s a weight factor to be considered…unless the cat is indeed a pooka.

          Of course if you got a talking cat that could shrink and grow at will, that whole problem would be eliminated.

          Now yer talking…a still don’t like cats though.

        • Greg G.
        • Bob Jase

          You need to have several tabs set up in advance I believe.

  • eric

    C. S. Lewis said, “It would be very odd if the phenomenon called ‘falling in love’ occurred in a sexless world.”

    Well, he always was a bad science fiction writer. Took me about 30 seconds to think about how emotionally supportive partnerships could be a asset/adaptation for animals that reproduced through parthenogenesis. Doesn’t take much imagination to think of “you help my kid, I help yours.”

    • Grimlock

      It’s reminiscent of both his argument for God from universal morality, and the reliability of our cognitive faculties. All the arguments seem to rely on a rather limited conception of how selective pressure through an evolutionary history can form behavior.

      • eric

        All the arguments seem to rely on a rather limited conception of how selective pressure through an evolutionary history can form behavior.

        I think there’s also a huge dollop of confirmation bias going on. IOW the fundies we’re talking about are perfectly intellectually and educationally capable of understanding at least the basics of evolution, they just avoid putting the mental effort into doing so, in order to preserve their beliefs.

        As a great example, I give you skl, below, who evidently didn’t understand Adams’ puddle/Bob’s evolutionary argument in the OP, even for a trait as obvious as the adaptive value of feeling hungry. Think about that: he implies he doesn’t understand Bob’s response to Lewis’ ‘we feel hunger, so food exists’ argument, which is basically that feeling hunger is a useful adaptation. I look at that and I say to myself “which is more likely – that this is really beyond him, or that he reflexively rejects an argument included as part of an atheist post against theism?” Call me optimistic, but I gotta think it’s the latter.

        • Grimlock

          Agreed!

        • Pofarmer

          There’s a poster, I believe it’s Mathew Newland who posts on Strange Notions who told me that he knew God was real because he got this incredible warm feeling when he though about God. And I said, Oh, Ok, it’s like when you think about Grandma hugging you? And he was like, “No, No, No, it’s nothing like that.” So, the moron has basically conditioned a physical response into himself and things it’s something divine. This is apparently what advanced degrees in theology and metaphysics are good for.

        • Ficino

          I get incredible warm feelings from just thinking about kitties, and then when I play with and hug a kitty, desiderium in bono quiescit!!

        • Pofarmer

          xactly.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Cats torture their prey.

  • Jack Baynes, Sandwichmaker

    While “falling in love” might be connected with the physical act of sex (though the two are not inseparable), what about strong bonds of friendship? Should we assume there is some direct physical act associated with that?

  • Bob Jase

    Damn but Lewis was nothing but the beta test for The Secret and a few dozen other wishful thinking scams.

  • RichardSRussell

    I continue to be puzzled over why C. S. Lewis is often considered the most compelling of all the huckster apologists out there. Maybe it was just that he was a better writer? Because he sure as hell isn’t a better logician!

    • Grimlock

      Maybe it’s because he sounds good to Christians? An accessible writer, perhaps? Also he’s famous, cause of, y’know, Narnia.

    • I’ve wondered that myself. Maybe he was a pioneer, one of the first to popularize these silly arguments?

      • Bob Jase

        Well he did have a British accent.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Indeed…he was a fellow Belfast man.

    • I agree. When I first started to realize that Christianity was bullshit and I wanted to be sure I wasn’t missing something, someone told me “read C.S. Lewis… he’s amazing!” This was a smart guy, too, but I read Mere Christianity and found it to have critical logical flaws. He claims every human has a common sense of morality so it must have come from a god, then turns around and says we’re all totally depraved. Can’t be both! In fact, it’s neither. Most individuals have an aversion to, and most cultures prohibit, murder, but there are still sociopaths who don’t comprehend sympathy. And beyond murder, I can’t offhand think of anything that would constitute a moral rule in common.

      So basically, because of the “that’s all you got?” principle, it helped me to deconvert.

    • Jack Baynes, Sandwichmaker

      I guess because even atheists and lukewarm Christians may be familiar with Narnia and thus have a certain affection for Lewis, and they hope that affection will lead to people believing his arguments.

    • Doubting Thomas

      Because the rest of the apologists set the bar really low? It’s easy to be the best when everyone else sucks.

      • Ignorant Amos

        The thing is, Lewis isn’t the apologist that they all think he is…maybe they’ve read as much of his works as they’ve read their holy text…not much that is of course.

        • Pofarmer

          Lewis confirms what’s they believe, so, perfect.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The thing is, he doesn’t…at least a lot of not what they’re supposed to believe anyway.

        • Pofarmer

          You and I both know they pick and choose what to beleive anyway.

        • Ignorant Amos

          True dat!

    • Raging Bee

      Because he got famous for rewriting the Bible to make it more interesting to kids? That’s pretty much how my dad tried to introduce me to his apologetics: I was raving about the Narnia books, and he tried to say “Well, if you liked those books, you might like his apologetics.” He had to explain what “apologetics” was, and right away I knew it was bullshit. He gave me “Mere Christianity,” and I never read it.

      • Jack Baynes, Sandwichmaker

        If Christianity is so great, why does he have to apologize for it?

        • Raging Bee

          That was pretty much my reaction. I also noted that it was called “apologetics” and not “reasoned argument,” “proof,” or “information.”

    • eric

      Because Narnia!

      No seriously, I expect his success at writing children’s fiction with Christian elements made a much broader spectrum of people pick up and read his theology. And since for probably 90% of his readers that was the only theology they’d ever read, they thought it was great.

      • Raging Bee

        Perhaps he also got extra cred by pissing off the rigid doctrinaire old guard by re-packaging Christianity as adventure-fantasy stories for kids, with Jesus as a bold, inspiring lion instead of the sacrificial pawn preaching passivity and forgiveness. That made him look like a maverick inspiring kids to question “the Establishment,” even as he repackaged the established religion.

      • heleninedinburgh

        The only reason I read ‘The Screwtape Letters’ was that it was written by the person who wrote the ‘Narnia’ books so I thought it would be just as good and fun. All I got from it was that I would be tortured forever if I didn’t say the magic words, and it didn’t tell you the magic words, you were supposed to already know them, and I didn’t know the magic words so I would be tortured forever. I was seven at the time. So thanks for that, C. S. Lewis. Twat.

        • Pofarmer

          I think I started reading “The Screwtape Letters” once when I was in high school, or maybe college, and I was like, “What the hell is this shit?”

          I was an atheist long before I admitted it, I guess.

        • Raging Bee

          I saw the play. I might have found it convincing if I’d seen or read it when I was younger and still kinda-sorta-maybe thinking Christianity had to be true. Or…not. It at least pretended to be the work of someone who is definitely a believer, but thinking outside the rigid old doctrinal box and showing us God’s Plan from a new and (relatively) interesting angle.

        • eric

          The Screwtape Letters is great fiction compared to his sci-fi. Don’t pick it up. Don’t buy it. Not even for your enemies.

    • Pofarmer

      I was told yesterday that I just needed to read “Mere Christianity” with an open heart, that it was “Really Profound”. I kind of let it drop, because it wasn’t going to end nicely. But, Bleh.

    • Ignorant Amos

      Particularly by Catholics…to whom he had to be a heretic…as he was to most Christians.

      https://yuriystasyuk.com/cs-lewis-the-most-beloved-heretic/

  • “7. What is ‘innate’? Proponents of this argument list fundamental innate physical needs and drives like food, drink, sex, safety, and sleep. They may also throw in higher-level desires for beauty, justice, knowledge, friendship, love, and companionship.”

    I was listening to a discussion about yawning on the Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast. Part of the discussion had to do with why we yawn when we see someone else do it, and the possibility was pointed out that there may be no benefit at all to it, but, rather, that it’s a side-effect of some other trait that evolved. Just because our minds are “wired” to do a certain thing doesn’t mean it necessarily serves a purpose.

    Atrial fibrillation, a heart condition that causes the heart to “flutter” rather than to beat in a solid rhythm, occurs when a nerve near the one that’s supposed to control the beat “learns” to do the same thing as a person ages. The ability of that nerve to do that may be the result the of evolution of a beneficial trait, but it doesn’t serve a purpose… it eventually causes death!

    It’s often impossible to say why or how some trait exists. People tend to try to speculate as to why or how something evolved, and make the mistake of thinking that the trait evolved toward a goal, i.e. the body could use this function, so it develops a way to do it. That doesn’t happen — ever. That’s not how evolution works. Evolution progresses when the results of mutations help an organism survive in such a way that it produces more offspring. It’s results based, not goal based. The ability to detect agency allows organisms to avoid danger, but it results in an over-abundance of caution, assuming agency where none exists. It’s easy to see why people would have started thinking there must be gods. It’s the by-product of a beneficial function.

    • Pofarmer

      Thing is, it’s not just people who yawn when other people yawn. Watch dogs. Or better yet, if you have a dog, yawn around your dog and see if he yawns back. It’s a trait much older than humans.

  • Douglas Bailey

    Even if you accepted the “god” desire, why would it be just one? Using the watchmaker analogy, there are different components made by different people and perhaps even assembled by different people. And “love” leads to sex, or is it the other way around? Doesn’t he really mean lust?

  • Rennyrij

    “Why do we fear death?” – I wonder if that is the real question. I wonder how many people really Fear Death, as opposed to Fearing The Process of Dying; that is, fearing the possibility of long suffering, of extreme, unremitting pain and the consequent indignities and loss of capabilities that all-too-frequently accompany dying. I would agree that the idea of dying before one is sure of their children’s abilities to fend for themselves in this world, and worries about other loved ones and friends, can be dismaying, but for one’s self, Death should be, if not totally welcome, certainly not something to fear.

    Rather than a “God-desire”, I think that we humans may feel, in differing amounts, a “need to say thank you” in certain circumstances, such as when something wonderful happens to us, or when we observe something from nature that amazes us, like star-filled night skies, or spectacular lightening, or the Northern Lights, and we are filled with awe. Since there isn’t a noticeable person to whom we can sensibly give credit for these things, we invent Super Notable Person(s). If we can get a whole community to “believe” in these Super Notable Persons, we’ve got a religion, and the community begins to depend on this religion to keep us together. We know we need community. We know we need to express gratitude. Religion is one way we may choose to fill those needs. Or we may walk a more honest and lonely road, and hope to find some community along the way.

    • “I’m not afraid to die, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” — Woody Allen

      • Greg G.

        “Why should I fear death?
        If I am, then death is not.
        If Death is, then I am not.
        Why should I fear that which can only exist when I do not?”
        ― Epicurus

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          “Is this dying? Is this all? Is this what I feared when I prayed against a hard death? Oh, I can bear this! I can bear this!”

          –Attributed to Cotton Mather

          (this always struck me as a powerful statement, maybe in a EUREKA! kind of way…)

      • Greg G.

        Vae, puto deus fio. (Oh dear, I think I’m becoming a god.) –Vespasian, Emperor of Rome, on his death bed.

        • “Either this wallpaper goes or I do.” — last words of Oscar Wilde

          (Yeah, that’s right–you don’t want to play dueling quotes with me.)

        • Greg G.

          Don’t let it end like this. Tell them i said something. –last words of Pancho Villa.

    • Greg G.

      I wonder how many people really Fear Death, as opposed to Fearing The Process of Dying

      Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It’s the transition that’s troublesome. –Isaac Asimov

      • Tommy

        But for many, Life is unpleasant, Death is peaceful, and the transition is violent.

    • Gary Whittenberger

      The desire (not need) to say “thank you” grows from a social context. The universe as a whole is not a social context.

    • epicurus

      I’m doubly chicken – I fear both the act of dying and the cold dark void of eternal death.

      • heleninedinburgh

        Scaredy-cat.

        • Lark62

          Just a word of warning. It is not an “honor” when Dave Armstrong uses and twists your words for a plagiarized blog post.

          There is a reason why no other atheists are commenting at Dave Armstrong’s site. He has a long track record of using an atheist’s words but banning them so they cannot reply. He will string you along for a bit, but sooner or later he will make a post that totally twists your words and you won’t be able to reply. But that won’t stop him from mocking you for not replying on a site you’re banned from.

          He did this to me, even bringing in out of context excerpts from posts I made on other sites. He mocked me for not defending myself, but he blocked me before using my words. He has done this to dozens of others.

          Just be careful. And if you can help it, don’t give him more fodder.

          (For obvious reasons, I couldn’t make this comment at that other place.)

        • heleninedinburgh

          Is Bob banned at Dave’s place?

        • Susan

          Is Bob banned at Dave’s place?

          Yes.

        • MR

          Oh, who isn’t?

        • heleninedinburgh

          I think I might ban myself from Dave’s, actually. This is a man whose pageful of links about how his god seriously totally really really really exists contains articles from the 1980s which assert that the Turin Shroud is authentic. There are people who are worth arguing with. There are people who are not.

        • Susan

          Oh, who isn’t?

          I first became aware of Dave Armstrong because of an exchange Andrew G. (Evil Overlord of Estranged Notions) had with him in 2015.

          http://outshine-the-sun.blogspot.com/2015/10/galileo-vs-bellarmine.html

          You can read about that (in the link) and also about the exchanges others had (in the comments).

          (He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named tries to frame it as an ingroup/outgroup thing as though Dave’s behaviour might be no different than Andrew’s.

          But that was a standard schtick of HWMNBN. And continues to be so. Thank goodness he was banned here.

          Other than that, the comments are an interesting read.)

        • heleninedinburgh

          Ah, thanks for that link.

          I love the fact that Dave calls his blog posts ‘papers.’ Do you think if I ask him nicely he’ll name me as a co-author on the conversation he ripped off, so I can put it on my cv? Any future employer will be impressed by my authoring a paper with renowned professional apologist Dave Armstrong.
          … ‘Papers.’ Bitch, please, build a bridge and get over yourself.

        • MR

          😀

        • That reminds me of a David Thoreau story. Apparently his publisher had him take possession of 800 copies of one of his books (I forget the circumstances). At a later date, he bragged to a friend (in jest, I’m sure) that he had a library with about 1000 books, 800 of which he wrote himself.

        • Sample1

          Still laughing at a new word DA used: sub-infallible.

          It evokes the nonsensical power of Poseidon at the tiller or the foam of doctrine evaporating upon the sand.

          Mike

        • Lark62

          Yes, and I understand it was long before he began his current series of “let’s misquote Bob” posts
          – in which he mocks Bob for responding.

        • heleninedinburgh

          My lack of god, what a tit.

        • Twice, in fact.

        • heleninedinburgh

          Twice? How does that work?

        • It doesn’t just happen, my friend. You have to earn it.

          I apparently got banned long ago, and then I went to make a new comment and was told I was banned. So I protested, and Dave released me from Ban Jail. Then I got banned again. (Will I never learn? Don’t contradict Dave!)

        • MR

          Don’t contradict Dave!

        • heleninedinburgh

          ” It is not an “honor” when Dave Armstrong uses and twists your words for a plagiarized blog post.”
          Well… I’m not honoured honoured. In fact I was a bit worried when I saw he’d ripped me off, since I thought he wouldn’t quote an argument that he hadn’t won.
          I was pleasantly surprised to find that that was not the case, and even with his editing (euphemism) he made himself look a pillock. Of course it is difficult to defend the proposition that ‘it’s morally right to kill everyone on earth,’ so he was at a bit of a disadvantage.

        • Otto

          >>>”Of course it is difficult to defend the proposition that ‘it’s morally right to kill everyone on earth,…'”

          I would be willing to place a large bet Dave brought up abortion rather quickly.

        • heleninedinburgh

          “I would be willing to place a large bet Dave brought up abortion rather quickly.”

          PING PING PING we have a winner! A round of applause for Mr Otto, please!

        • Otto

          He is like a doll with a pull string.

        • epeeist

          Of course it is difficult to defend the proposition that ‘it’s morally
          right to kill everyone on earth,’ so he was at a bit of a disadvantage.

          Didn’t his god do just that, or as near enough as makes no difference?

          Yeah, yeah, he is a Catholic and the story is just a metaphor it isn’t meant to be taken literally. Though what killing 99.99996% of the world’s population with the rest of the biosphere as collateral damage is a metaphor for escapes me.

        • Grimlock

          Though what killing 99.99996% of the world’s population with the rest of the biosphere as collateral damage is a metaphor for escapes me.

          It’s a metaphor for how overkill is a good thing.

        • Pofarmer

          and even with his editing (euphemism) he made himself look a pillock.

          He does that regularly but can’t see it.

        • Susan

          it is difficult to defend the proposition that it’s morally right to kill everyone on earth.

          That is a toughie.

          Bonus points for use of the word “pillock”.

          Perfect.

          🙂

  • wannabe

    How is the fact that billions of pagans, over the centuries, have found comfort in worshipping idols evidence for the existence of the god who prohibits worshipping idols?

    The Argument from Desire is, at best, an argument against monotheism.

    • Pofarmer

      I wish I’d had this yesterday when someone on facebook posted C.S. Lewis argument from Desire. That’s pretty great.

  • Doubting Thomas

    I passed a billboard today and apparently the world famous Christian apologist Kirk Cameron is coming to town later this month. This directly contradicts what I desire.

    • Ignorant Amos

      I’d say “world famous” is stretching it a wee bit.

    • heleninedinburgh

      Kirk Cameron’s billboard-worthy?

      • Doubting Thomas

        It was actually an electric sign in front of the church, but it was billboard sized and even had a picture of Kirk on it. It’s the kind of sign that lets you know that the churches around here aren’t hurting for funds.

        • heleninedinburgh

          And that shows you their priorities.

          Treasurer: Pastor, I’ve checked the accounts and we’ve got an extra thousand dollars! What do we do with that – shall we donate it to the soup kitchen?
          Minister: Nah, bollocks to those wasters. What we really need is a huge fucking picture of Kirk Cameron out front.

        • Jack Baynes, Sandwichmaker

          But apparently they are hurting for taste.

  • Jessi Khan

    Haha apparently this person knows the desires of animals? Aaaay?
    So what was the point of this article? To pretend to be “rational” against philosophical thought/religious thought or to counter philosophy with philosophy?
    As if not being a believer makes one more “rational”..
    As if the counter theories presented here are anything more than just that..

    • Tommy

      What’s YOUR point?

    • Ignorant Amos

      As if not being a believer makes one more “rational”..

      You think believing that imaginary stuff exists is rational? Dime Bar.

      • Jessi Khan

        You think believing in nothing makes you “rational”? Or that *believing* something came out of nothing makes you smart? What a joke. Your username works for you..

        • Ignorant Amos

          You think believing in nothing makes you “rational”?

          Oh dear…what a wooden one. Who believes in nothing?

          Or that *believing* something came out of nothing makes you smart?

          But I don’t “believe” that something came out of nothing…creatio ex nihilio is a religious belief…try again. Btw, when was there nothing?

          What a joke. Your username works for you..

          I have to say, you are the quickest ever to fall for that one…hook, line, and sinker.

          I’m quite aware of the limitations of my knowledge. We are all ignorant about most things. You included. But ignorance can be remedied with learning. Your idiotic stupidity will take a bit more effort.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          What persons believe in nothing? I don’t know any.

          Don’t people who believe in God believe that he created something (the universe) out of nothing? Does that make them smart or the opposite?

        • Otto

          According to Christianity God created something from nothing, so it is rather ridiculous for you to say it can’t happen.

        • Greg G.

          He believes in everything that has a rational reason to believe it. There is nothing irrational about that. People who believe in things with no rational reason to believe it are the irrational ones.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          You think throwing around strawmen in a way that vividly illustrates either your ignorance, your bad faith, or both, is helpful in any way?

          I mean, c’MON…that believing in nothing trope went out *decades* ago for anybody willing to examine the evidence.

          The only ones who still use it are YOUR KIND, who need it to strawman and demonize our moderate and reasonable position.

        • Jack Baynes, Sandwichmaker

          Believing in nothing doesn’t make us rational. Being rational makes us not believe in gods.

    • You have reasons for us to change our beliefs? Tell us what your supernatural beliefs are and give us good reasons to change. It’s easy.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Observation allows us to discern animals’ preferences.

    • Jessi Khan

      Actually the belief is that God CREATED something. Everything has a creator. So no, it’s not the same as a random poof that happened out of absolutely nothing and was done by no one.
      Not just a random poof that happened to create the universe without a purpose. It’s funny because to believers this is irrational.
      And no, you have no evidence to prove otherwise either. “For anyone willing to examine evidence”, isn’t that a strawman? lol.. What evidence do you have to prove that it DID NOT happen from nothing? And if you do have evidence, then you would have to prove where that something came from as well.

      Lol yeah “observation” allows one to know what the beliefs of animals are? So “rational”..

      As for the “ignorant amos” person, sure, we should all be learning. But many atheists are the arrogant ones pretending to “know” the answers yet not able to answer the simple “something out of nothing” argument. At least a lot of believers can admit that they *believe* a Higher Power (God) is the Creator.
      You should admit your beliefs too.

      Your idea of an arbitrary universe without any intelligent system behind it just does not work for everyone.

      Have fun.

      • epeeist

        Everything has a creator.

        Really? Got evidence?

        What evidence do you have to prove that it DID NOT happen from nothing?

        Ah, number 2 on the all time theist fallacy list, the illicit attempt to shift the burden.

        As ever, “he who avers must prove”. If you want to claim that the universe was created from nothing by your particular deity then the burden is yours to demonstrate this, not ours to show that it did not happen.

        As for me, I don’t know how the universe came into existence, but there again neither do you.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        “Everything has a creator.”

        As a good skeptic, I won’t believe this until you demonstrate it.

        And actually demonstrating it, were that possible, presents you with a paradox, because if EVERYTHING is ‘created’, then what created your ‘god’? And what created *that*? etc….

      • Everything has a creator.

        And modern physics says that some events have no cause. As usual, it gives evidence for this.

        How about you? Got any evidence?

      • Dom Saunders

        And I suppose you see dolphins and whales going to church everyday? That’s how you want to start off your argument?

        You just lost it by writing the first few words. Belief in a deity is not needed to survive in the world, contrary to other things we’ve developed desires for, like food, water, relationships, and sex. Hell, the fact atheists exist at all should prove that to you. As for why any of us are uniquely susceptible to deist beliefs, it’s because we’re naturally inquisitive. We have the intelligence to not only live and survive but also to contemplate our existences in ways most other animals don’t, and that often leads to an inflated sense of self-importance. There’s a reason god or most any other deity is spoken of in terms that would be used to only describe humans, or otherwise given qualities that would primarily subscribe to people.

        Basically, most of us can’t or refuse to see beyond ourselves and God or whatever you want to call it is a projection of that feeling. You practically screamed at Bob that you refuse to accept we live in a universe that doesn’t care at all people (i.e. “has an intelligent system”) and would moreover, be perfectly normal without us in it. That’s a projection of your own existential insecurities. That doesn’t mean a god or creator has to exist simply to fulfill that need for you, so grow up and get over it, or at the very least, don’t come here and talk down to people like you have all the answers. We don’t care what doesn’t work for you, all the article states is why this argument fails to hold up to common sense.

        Now you can go have fun, sis. Or better yet, just relax.

      • Jack Baynes, Sandwichmaker

        Everything has a creator

        Not really. Very few things have a creator.

      • Raging Bee

        The idea of a round Earth doesn’t work for everyone either. Your point…?

      • Doubting Thomas

        Everything has a creator.

        So who created god?

  • Brianna LaPoint

    Desire leads to pain and suffering. Oh wait, that probably belongs in the Buddhist section. But, regardless of where it belongs, that is how i feel on the matter. CS lewis although im sure he meant well, is not the best philosopher and i take what he wrote with a grain of salt.

    • Pofarmer

      Oh, I’d say he took himself pretty seriously.

  • Ignorant Amos

    Released today…I’ll just leave this here…

    The most recent British Social Attitudes survey reveals that the number of Brits who identify as Church of England has more than halved since 2002, falling from 31% to 14%.The sharpest decline happened among 45 to 54 year olds (35% in 2002 vs 11% in 2017). The proportion of people who describe themselves as Roman Catholic (8%), belonging to ‘other Christian affiliations’ (10%) and ‘of non-Christian faiths’ (8%) have remained fairly stable. 52% of people now say they have no religion, compared with 41% in 2002. Men are more inclined to say they follow no religion than women (57% compared with 48%).

    http://www.natcen.ac.uk/news-media/press-releases/2018/september/church-of-england-numbers-at-record-low/

    That and this…

    https://disq.us/url?url=https%3A%2F%2Fyoutu.be%2Fe29aHS4zYZY%3AKMjs92A63_mS5OaO8f2Kef9UKpA&cuid=2796044

    …the day just gets better and better. A celebration is in order methinks.

    • Pofarmer

      Hold on. I thought the Muslims were taking y’all over?

      • Ignorant Amos

        A loada ballix….they just make a lot more noise for their size and the authorities are shit scared of offending them.

    • epeeist
      • Ignorant Amos

        And I thought I was having a gud’n.

        • epeeist

          Finally managed to upload some of the photographs – https://www.flickr.com/photos/10983076@N08/albums/72157701679236655

        • Ignorant Amos

          Great pics…I had a wee flick through your other albums while I was there too. Handy enough with a camera.

          I noticed a few of the gang off the auld RDFRS forum at the Valedictory Lecture. Have ya kept in touch with any of those folk, or know where they comment, if it all? I remember Steve Zara was going to write a book, but nothing seems to have come of the project. He hasn’t posted on FB since May and he was complaining about suffering depression. Though a see his Twitter account was recently active. A wonder what those guys are all up to these days. I got a free education from reading the interactions of youse guys beck then.

        • This is random, but I read somewhere that with a failure on a steam train, finding the problem took 5 minutes, but it was an hour to fix. With diesel locomotives, it only took 5 minutes to fix the problem … but it was an hour to find it.

        • epeeist

          With diesel locomotives

          We have plenty of those here in the North of England, whenever London gets new train sets we get their cast-offs. Quite a number of these are diesel and they are extremely unreliable, it doesn’t help that most of them are over 40 years old…

        • they are extremely unreliable

          Now and then I visit the drag strip when the NHRA comes to town, which it does yearly. The top fuel (nitromethane) dragsters make more horsepower than a locomotive, but they can’t even do a single 5-second quarter-mile run without fouling some of their spark plugs. Then they’re rebuilt before the next run.

          That’s extremely unreliable.

        • Greg G.

          I long ago read (and did the math) that if an F1 racer was doing 200 mph when it reached the starting line and held that speed and a dragster took off at that time, the dragster would reach the quarter mile mark first.

        • These dragsters do 0 to 100 mph in one second, and they’re still accelerating at the quarter-mile mark, less than 5 seconds later.

          It’s the most ridiculous, impractical event you can imagine, but it’s a pretty cool display of technology.

        • Greg G.

          I have read that the acceleration is approaching the limits of human physiology.

    • Good news, indeed!

  • Greg G.

    SMBC slays Calvinism in Dungeons & Dragons:

    http://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/cleric

  • Gary Whittenberger

    Another good article, Bob. I agree with you. I’d include this:

    Human persons are not born with a desire for God. Babies and young children know nothing about God. They have to be taught the concept. Some may come to wish and to desire that God would exist.

    • eric

      I think it’s a reasonable hypothesis to say humans have a natural, innate tendency to assume/attribute agency to the unknown. I don’t know whether that’s true or not, but it seems a reasonable evolutionary bias to expect. If the grass is blowing and one guy thinks “wind” and stays around while the other guy thinks “tiger” and runs, the first guy might be more accurate most of time but the the second guy lives longer. Finding God in the lightning bolt that hit your village is simply a side effect of the healthy paranoia needed to survive in a world where tigers not often, but occasionally, lurk in the grass.

      • heleninedinburgh

        Also the reason we have pareidolia.

      • Gary Whittenberger

        E: I think it’s a reasonable hypothesis to say humans have a natural, innate tendency to assume/attribute agency to the unknown.

        GW: That may be. I think there may be some evidence for this in children. It may, however, just be an overgeneralization from the parent concept.

        E: I don’t know whether that’s true or not, but it seems a reasonable evolutionary bias to expect. If the grass is blowing and one guy thinks “wind” and stays around while the other guy thinks “tiger” and runs, the first guy might be more accurate most of time but the the second guy lives longer.

        GW: That may be true in general, but the other thing to remember is that every time there is a false positive, i.e. running when there is no tiger or similar threat, this takes energy, and the over expenditure of energy may work against survival. Imagine a hypervigilant or oversensitive primate who expends lots of energy and then has none to respond to a real threat. There is probably some kind of “break-even point” in the evolutionary “wisdom.”

        E: Finding God in the lightning bolt that hit your village is simply a side effect of the healthy paranoia needed to survive in a world where tigers not often, but occasionally, lurk in the grass.

        GW: Yes, we have a tendency to overgeneralize. Also, if we believe that a super-person is in control of the lightning bolts and other forces of nature, we may come to believe that we can pray and/or worship this super-person in order to influence it to favor us.

        • Greg G.

          GW: That may be true in general, but the other thing to remember is that every time there is a false positive, i.e. running when there is no tiger or similar threat, this takes energy, and the over expenditure of energy may work against survival. Imagine a hypervigilant or oversensitive primate who expends lots of energy and then has none to respond to a real threat. There is probably some kind of “break-even point” in the evolutionary “wisdom.”

          This tends to be a matter of the build of the creature. A bird that is built to fly away from danger does not have a skeleton that can survive heavy combat, so they usually fly to safety at the first hint of a threat. A bully bird can bully other birds. It has been shown that the flight-fight response is optimized for that scenario.

          An adult lion cannot be chased away from a kill by a single hyena but there is a ratio of hyenas to lions where lions will give it up.

          Natural selection is an excellent way to optimize the trade-offs.

          Mazlow’s Hierarchy of Needs plays a role, too. Hunger adjusts the risk-reward strategy. Safely starving is not a good evolutionary strategy.

        • Pofarmer

          Also keep in mind humans and other primates nearly always exist in groups, probably for this very reason. Now you only need one hyper vigilante individual to watch out for many.

        • Greg G.

          There are advantages to having eyes pointed in the same direction, but it would be easier to evolve that in a species that lived in a social group to watch one another’s backs than it would be to evolve another eye or two.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Anecdote time.

          Back in the day when I was a young Sapper out on exercise, “stagging on” guard through the night while the rest of the troop got some much needed shut eye was a thing.

          The death stag, 02:00-04:00 and 04:00-06:00 hrs, was the time when ones HADD would work overtime. I lost count how many times I challenged a bush or a tree as it morphed right before my eyes into a potential enemy. Better to challenge a bush and stand the unit to, than everyone get wasted as they slept.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          GG: This tends to be a matter of the build of the creature. A bird that is built to fly away from danger does not have a skeleton that can survive heavy combat, so they usually fly to safety at the first hint of a threat. A bully bird can bully other birds. It has been shown that the flight-fight response is optimized for that scenario.

          An adult lion cannot be chased away from a kill by a single hyena but there is a ratio of hyenas to lions where lions will give it up.

          GW: Yes, it may depend on the matter of the build of the creature, but I think the same trade-off principle would apply. In the end survival value (and reproductive value) is what counts, so the minimization of false positive and false negative errors in the right balance is what counts, given any creature build.

          GG: Natural selection is an excellent way to optimize the trade-offs.

          GW: I agree.

          GG: Mazlow’s Hierarchy of Needs plays a role, too. Hunger adjusts the risk-reward strategy. Safely starving is not a good evolutionary strategy.

          GW: I agree. If a species is always being over-reactive to threats, making many false positive errors, and feeding in interrupted, this can’t be a good thing.

        • Greg G.

          GW: Yes, it may depend on the matter of the build of the creature, but I think the same trade-off principle would apply. In the end survival value (and reproductive value) is what counts, so the minimization of false positive and false negative errors in the right balance is what counts, given any creature build.

          About 15 years ago, I read an article in a magazine that said some scientists used Games Theory to find the optimal strategy for fight or flight. Never fighting was not optimal when bullied but always fighting took away from time eating. Then they observed the behavior of birds and saw the same percentage of reactions as predicted. It was something like fight 5% of the time.

          I don’t recall whether it was Scientific American or something like OMNI. I got rid of those old magazines when I got married. It was for the better.

        • Gary Whittenberger

          That sounds accurate to me.

  • Otto

    It seems to me that what humans desire are answers to questions and we will make up the answer if one is not available.

    I think Lewis just assumed what the desire was because it fit the conclusion he wanted.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    “Why do we fear death? ”

    I don’t fear death because I do not believe I will experience death.

    The dying is another matter……

  • Clement Agonistes

    3. Desire for God isn’t an innate desire. The “hunger” for the supernatural has nothing to do with survival.

    Then where does it come from? Wouldn’t there have to be a survival benefit?

    4. This is just a deist argument. If you find this argument compelling, this should point you to deism. Like many other arguments, this one only claims that there is some anonymous clock maker behind the universe. There is nothing here to argue for the Christian god over any other god or supernatural pantheon.

    1. Deism – generally – argues that God does not interact with humans. A “call” is an interaction. It may be more than strict deism.
    2. If there is a good argument for a call to deism, then there is a good argument the call exists. From there we would begin the doctrinal arguments. In science, one answer merely leads to the next question(s).
    3. At deism, atheism has been rejected. It would be a good argument against your view.

    7. What is “innate”? Proponents of this argument list fundamental innate physical needs and drives like food, drink, sex, safety, and sleep. They may also throw in higher-level desires for beauty, justice, knowledge, friendship, love, and companionship.
    7a. The apologist may respond that that might also apply to the higher-level desires such as beauty and justice, but this only makes the innate category seem more arbitrary.

    I’m not sure I get all of your point here. Beauty is something we all seem to view as a real thing, yet can’t really pin it down. “Show me the evidence” . . . . beauty exists. Well, it’s personal.. . . . accept my testimony . . . Yeah, it is kind of arbitrary. Now we are back to the analogous doctrines of beliefs about God – we would have satisfied ourselves that God exists, but are having a tough time nailing it down precisely. We’re then theists, arguing the details of theism, and no longer atheists.

    • Grimlock

      Then where does it come from? Wouldn’t there have to be a survival benefit?

      I suspect this means you accept the following proposition:

      Given naturalism and the theory of evolution, it is expected that every biological feature (including internal desires) has had some evolutionary advantage, at some point in an organisms evolutionary history.

      Is this, or some version of, correct?

      • Clement Agonistes

        You state it far more eloquently, but yes.

        • Grimlock

          Thanks.

          However, the proposition that I stated is false. There are many ways that such a feature can come about it other ways. Off the top of my head…

          1) Random genetic drift. If a feature in some environment is neutral with respect to selection, then it can – and if enough such features pop up, some will – spread through the entire population.

          2) A genotype can have multiple phenotypes. Meaning that a gene can express itself in many ways. It is the net effect of the ways that a gene expresses itself that determines whether it will be selected for. Meaning that if a gene has two effects – one advantageous and one detrimental in some environment – the gene will be selected for if the advantage outweighs the detrimental.

          Note that this is even more pronounced if the non-advantageous effect is simply neutral.

          3) Bi-effects. Presumably, we didn’t evolve our thumbs to easily type on a phone (such as I’m doing now), but it is undeniably a feature of my thumbs. Yet it was not selected for. Meaning that even though some part of an organism evolved due to a specific selective pressure, that doesn’t mean that part can’t be used for other stuff. Particularly, our brains are sufficiently complex and flexible that it’s no surprise they have bi-effects.

          This is a roundabout way of getting to it. But my point is that your objection relies on an erroneous premise, which basically boils down to a very common misconception of evolutionary theory.

          What do you think?

        • Ignorant Amos

          He knows already…

          3) Bi-effects. Presumably, we didn’t evolve our thumbs to easily type on a phone (such as I’m doing now), but it is undeniably a feature of my thumbs. Yet it was not selected for. Meaning that even though some part of an organism evolved due to a specific selective pressure, that doesn’t mean that part can’t be used for other stuff. Particularly, our brains are sufficiently complex and flexible that it’s no surprise they have bi-effects.

          Exactly.

          There is general agreement among scientists that a propensity to engage in religious behavior evolved early in human history. However, there is disagreement on the exact mechanisms that drove the evolution of the religious mind. There are two schools of thought. One is that religion itself evolved due to natural selection and is an adaptation, in which case religion conferred some sort of evolutionary advantage. The other is that religious beliefs and behaviors may have emerged as by-products of other adaptive traits without initially being selected for because of their own benefits.

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

          Theory of Mind and Hyper Active Detection Device…may help explain it.

          http://www.humanreligions.info/hyperactive_agent_detection.html

          http://www.humanreligions.info/causes.html#Conclusions

          Clement has been on this merry-go-round, he is a dishonest interlocutor. Good luck on your journey with him. Let’s see how long your patience survive where others here have failed.

        • Clement Agonistes

          The exception to the rule was the kind of thing I was asking for.

          Your Point 3 used the example of thumbs and I certainly agree they did not evolve for the purpose of texting. I would argue that texting merely exploited an existing adaptation. I would speculate that the opposable thumb developed as an advantage at some point in human evolution – perhaps a climbing advantage. So, if I asked, “Where did it come from?” we have a plausible – albeit speculative – answer.

          I like Point 2, as well. The hunger for God (shorthand for a Supernatural Something) would be tied to some other characteristic that is a survival benefit – it is of no benefit (at a minimum), itself. Were we able to isolate the gene for that hunger and remove it, we’d discover the linked characteristic (since it is missing, too), as well.

          Neutrality (Point 1) also makes sense. Would it explain the ratio of hunger:not-hunger we are seeing?

          Bob asserted that the hunger is not innate, as a genetic characteristic would be. If it is not innate – natural – then what is it? It could be learned, but that seems like a natural explanation, as well. And, if the relationship between the hunger and some other – survival – characteristic is indirect, the relationship still exists, right?

        • Grimlock

          First off, can I take this as an assertion that you withdraw your commitment to this proposition?

          Given naturalism and the theory of evolution, it is expected that every biological feature (including internal desires) has had some evolutionary advantage, at some point in an organisms evolutionary history.

          Beyond that, your make some further remarks. I’ll note that my examples weren’t particularly fitted to the discussion of “desires” towards God. Regardless…

          1) I disagree that we’re seeing some specific ratio of desire for God vs a lack of such a desire, because I don’t find this alleged “desire” for God to be well defined.

          It would need to be specified in some detail, and I expect we would see, as you touch on, that this so-called “desire for god” is a melting pot of distinct desires. Such as a desire for belonging or control in the world.

          2) As noted, the alleged desire seems to plausibly be a collection of different desires. Calling everything that can be considered a desire for something supernatural a desire for God is also not something I find plausible. Theism is after all a small subset of supernaturalism.

          While I’m not a biologist, my understanding is that something as complex as a desire is expressed through the brain, which in turn is the result of many different genotypes, and not one specific gene.

          3) And I think that what a person calls a desire for god is an expression of the brain, which probably didn’t evolve to believe in supernatural beings. So, leaving aside numerous other problems with the argument from desire, we have a plausible, albeit somewhat speculative, explanation for desires of the supernatural. An explanation that doesn’t needlessly bloat our ontological commitments.

          Additionally, it is clear that our societal circumstances also impact our desires. An alleged desire for God can not easily be separated from the cultural context in which it originated. (This is yet another way the proposition in the beginning of this post is, if not erroneous, then misleading.)

          Bob asserted that the hunger is not innate, as a genetic characteristic would be. If it is not innate – natural – then what is it? It could be learned, but that seems like a natural explanation, as well. And, if the relationship between the hunger and some other – survival – characteristic is indirect, the relationship still exists, right?

          Here I think you’re being unreasonable in your interpretation of Bob. Reading it in context, it seems clear to me that Bob intends to contrast the alleged desire for god with the more basic desires with which such a desire is often compared. Your focus on whether the alleged desire can be considered natural or not strikes me as an irrelevance.

          I think this objection of Bob’s succeeds.

          What I think is required to move the discussion forward is one or more of the following.

          (I) A more detailed specification of what this alleged desire actually is. Is it a desire for a leader, as Jim Jones suggests above? Is it a desire for the community and societal support provided by Christianity? Is it a desire for moral certainty? (I don’t think such a detailed specification can be done without revealing fatal flaws in the argument.)

          (II) Some way to identify how common these desires are in the population.

          (III) An argument for why these desires can’t be satisfied in some other way.

          (IV) A comparison of the alleged desire with desires of a similar nature. For instance, a comparison with other comparably abstract desires.

          What do you think?

        • Clement Agonistes

          First off, can I take this as an assertion that you withdraw your commitment to this proposition?

          Given naturalism and the theory of evolution, it is expected that every biological feature (including internal desires) has had some evolutionary advantage, at some point in an organisms evolutionary history.

          LOL. No, don’t throw me in that briar! I, of course, don’t find Bob’s claims to be strong ones. Here, he presents 2 premises:
          1) Desire for God isn’t an innate desire, and
          2) The “hunger” for the supernatural has nothing to do with survival.

          If it is not “innate” (“inborn”; “natural”), I ask, then what is it – acquired; unnatural? Our discussion of genetics may be a red herring.

          His second point is the one we seem to have settled on. Your argument seems to be one of plausibility – we can speculate about plausible alternatives that are indirectly related to survival. We don’t KNOW that it has nothing to do with survival, but it is at least plausible that it might not. This sounds a lot like the argument in favor of God’s existence – since it is plausible and we can’t know for certain it isn’t true, then it must be true. I don’t think you guys really want to make this the standard for supporting claims.

          I’m pressed for time right now. I haven’t forgotten your other points, but before we go off on some interesting discussion, I didn’t want us to lose sight of the relevance to Bob’s original points.

        • Grimlock

          I can certainly agree to go back to Bob’s original point. But let’s not forget my original point, which was to rebut the proposition you commited yourself to. From your response, I’m not quite sure if you still hold it as valid. Do you consider the proposition you previously commit to as being valid? (I think it’s a fairly straightforward yes or no question.)

        • Clement Agonistes

          I don’t think that is being fair to you. YES, I reject the premise that the sense that God exists has a survival benefit! That makes my alternative more plausible. My purpose in asking was to see if you guys were giving that one up.

        • Grimlock

          That’s not what I’m asking.

          I’m asking whether you still accept this general proposition:

          Given naturalism and the theory of evolution, it is expected that every biological feature (including internal desires) has had some evolutionary advantage, at some point in an organisms evolutionary history.

          You said you held this proposition as true. Do you still do so?

          Basically, when acknowledging that this proposition is false (and that the mechanisms i outlined above are valid ways for features to develop), one acknowledged that on naturalism and evolution, features can develop that are not selected for.

          This has some interesting consequences, not just for the argument from desire, but also for Plantinga’s EAAN and moral arguments.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I think we have a miscommunication here. The proposition we have been discussing was the premise of my original question. It was not “my” proposition in the strictest sense that I created it. It is a proposition that assumes nature as the only reality. I, of course, assume there is more to reality. God most assuredly uses natural means to achieve His goals, but that is not the same as saying that nature runs on its own without divine influence. I could conceive that God might use genetics to implant the desire for God that we are discussing. It could also be some spark of inspiration that is individually implanted.

          My purpose in asking was to clarify Bob’s comment. He asserted as fact that the desire for God was not innate. He clarified by asserting as fact that it had no survival benefit. Given the naturalist understanding of reality (presumably Bob’s), this did not make sense. Clarification was needed.

          I can take the proposition or leave it. It does not impact my hypothesis one way or another. OTOH, it strikes me as crucial to the naturalist hypothesis. If you want to throw it under the bus, be my guest.

          You want a simple “yes” or “no”. I’m OK with either one. Yes, I accept it as a means of clarifying Bob’s comment. No, I reject it if ti rules out God’s influence.

        • Grimlock

          Perhaps we’re talking past each other. I’ll try again.

          Let the following proposition be called A:

          Given naturalism and the theory of evolution, it is expected that every biological feature (including internal desires) has had some evolutionary advantage, at some point in an organisms evolutionary history.

          I asked if you agreed with A, as it seemed to be an underlying assumption in something you wrote.

          You agreed to A. [1]

          I then explained why A is false. [2]

          Now I want to know if you have changed your mind about A, seeing as I put some effort into explaining why it’s false.

          Do you now consider A to be false?

          [1] https://disqus.com/home/discussion/crossexamined/8_reasons_to_reject_c_s_lewiss_argument_from_desire_75/#comment-4085650496

          [2] https://disqus.com/home/discussion/crossexamined/8_reasons_to_reject_c_s_lewiss_argument_from_desire_75/#comment-4085681269

        • Clement Agonistes

          1. You put me in the position of defending a proposition that I am happiest being untrue.

          2. Your “explanation” worked best as showing that it could plausibly be untrue under certain, specific circumstances. As logic, it is not a lock-solid guarantee of being true 100% of the time. The best it can do is give a high probability of being true. Assuming naturalism, that is sufficient.

          3. My agreement was that it was the underlying assumption of the proposition i was asking about. Yes, i agree with that. That has not changed. It is still the underlying assumption. You have not changed my mind that it was the underlying assumption. Your arguments against the proposition haven’t been THAT good. It’s not in my interest to explain to you why your objections are weak/invalid (see #1), but i am willing to do for the enjoyment of an good intellectual discussion.

        • Grimlock

          1. You put me in the position of defending a proposition that I am happiest being untrue.

          How so?

          2. Your “explanation” worked best as showing that it could plausibly be untrue under certain, specific circumstances. As logic, it is not a lock-solid guarantee of being true 100% of the time. The best it can do is give a high probability of being true. Assuming naturalism, that is sufficient.

          Not really. What it did was provide three distinct mechanisms by which evolution provides features that aren’t due to selection on those features. As proposition A was phrased as a general statement, this is sufficient to demonstrate that it’s false. If you are uncertain of any of the mechanisms, I can of course elaborate.

          3. My agreement was that it was the underlying assumption of the proposition i was asking about. Yes, i agree with that. That has not changed. It is still the underlying assumption. You have not changed my mind that it was the underlying assumption. Your arguments against the proposition haven’t been THAT good. It’s not in my interest to explain to you why your objections are weak/invalid (see #1), but i am willing to do for the enjoyment of an good intellectual discussion.

          Interesting. Turns out you misunderstood what I asked, then. That’s good to know. I am then left to wonder, on whose part was it an underlying assumption? Yours or Bob’s?

          Feel free to criticize any of my arguments. I really don’t see why you would prefer A to be untrue, though.

        • Clement Agonistes

          1. You put me in the position of defending a proposition that I am happiest being untrue.

          How so?

          Let’s look at both claims:

          1) Desire for God is not innate. The alternative is that it is unnatural/external/not genetic. That opens the door wide open for it to be supernatural. I would prefer this option. I am happiest if an atheist sees ANYTHING as being of unnatural origin.

          2) DFG has no survival benefit. If this is true, then evolution has a tougher time explaining it. Again, the door that had previously been closed, locked, and barricaded has been cracked open. I’ve made this argument myself and been called a lying idiot for it. Now, the same people who called me names for saying this are nodding their heads in agreement. Why would I argue against my own position?

          2. Your “explanation” worked best as showing that it could
          plausibly be untrue under certain, specific circumstances. As logic, it
          is not a lock-solid guarantee of being true 100% of the time. The best
          it can do is give a high probability of being true. Assuming naturalism,
          that is sufficient.

          Not really. What it did was
          provide three distinct mechanisms by which evolution provides features
          that aren’t due to selection on those features. As proposition A was
          phrased as a general statement, this is sufficient to demonstrate that
          it’s false
          .

          Right – if it is false 0.1% of the time, that is sufficient to prove plausibility. If it is true 99.9% of the time, that is a “high probability”. Normally, I am the one arguing plausibility and the atheist is arguing probability. I’m loving this!

          Interesting. Turns out you misunderstood what I asked, then.

          Don’t think so. I think I understood you arguments, but didn’t find them that persuasive. You argued the exceptions, not the rule. DFG has not survival benefit . . . . except that it might be indirectly linked to one. “Maybe it’s wrong” is not a strong argument.

          And, why did you quote that paragraph of mine when it had nothing to do with your comment?

        • Grimlock

          Let’s look at both claims:

          1) Desire for God is not innate. The alternative is that it is unnatural/external/not genetic. That opens the door wide open for it to be supernatural. I would prefer this option. I am happiest if an atheist sees ANYTHING as being of unnatural origin.

          2) DFG has no survival benefit. If this is true, then evolution has a tougher time explaining it. Again, the door that had previously been closed, locked, and barricaded has been cracked open. I’ve made this argument myself and been called a lying idiot for it. Now, the same people who called me names for saying this are nodding their heads in agreement. Why would I argue against my own position?

          1) Except this is not something I’ve argued, and when considering how Bob uses “innate” in #7 (such as in 7a) clearly doesn’t mean that non-innate desires (in those terms) are “unnatural”. Not genetic, perhaps, because beliefs and desires are shaped by culture, but that’s not the same as unnatural. Those terms are vastly different from each other.

          2) Evolution has multiple mechanisms for explaining features that doesn’t have explicit survival benefits. I mentioned three mechanisms for this:
          a) Genetic drift (Wiki link)
          b) Selection on one of many phenotypes of a genotype.
          c) The adaption of existing general tools for new problems. (This one depends a bit on what one considers to be a feature.)

          The first two are well-established parts of the theory of evolution. They’re not new, they’re not surprising. It’ not a “crack” in the door – it’s the door not being there in the first place. I don’t know with whom you’ve been discussing before, nor do I particularly care.

          I’m not asking you to defend anything, though, nor am I asking about those two cases you mention here. I’m asking whether you accept proposition A as being true. I’m inclined to think that you do [not].

          Right – if it is false 0.1% of the time, that is sufficient to prove plausibility. If it is true 99.9% of the time, that is a “high probability”. Normally, I am the one arguing plausibility and the atheist is arguing probability. I’m loving this!

          Last I checked, it’s not clear to what extent these mechanisms affect the features. But sure, selection is probably the most influential of the effects. But that’s neither here nor there, as I was pointing out how the general principle is false.

          Don’t think so. I think I understood you arguments, but didn’t find them that persuasive. You argued the exceptions, not the rule. DFG has not survival benefit . . . . except that it might be indirectly linked to one. “Maybe it’s wrong” is not a strong argument.

          I discussed the general principle, not specifically as applied to the alleged desire for god. I believe I’ve made it clear that I don’t think there is one specific “desire” for god, and that the burden to establish that there is such a desire is square on the shoulders of the proponent of the argument from desire.

          And, why did you quote that paragraph of mine when it had nothing to do with your comment?

          To imply why I believed you held to that general principle, so it wasn’t entirely unrelated.

          I’m still curious as to on whose part you believe it was an underlying assumption, by the way.

          ETA: Was missing a “not” at a vital place. Change in [brackets]. Also added a missing parenthesis.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “Right – if it is false 0.1% of the time, that is sufficient to prove plausibility. If it is true 99.9% of the time, that is a “high probability”. Normally, I am the one arguing plausibility and the atheist is arguing probability. I’m loving this!”

          Last I checked, it’s not clear to what extent these mechanisms affect the features. But sure, selection is probably the most influential of the effects. But that’s neither here nor there, as I was pointing out how the general principle is false.

          The nature of a generalization is that it is true most of the time, but has exceptions. You are pointing out that the generalization has exceptions. In an argument to probability, the generalization is sufficient. Given a choice of being correct 0.1% of the time or 99.9% of the time, which would you choose?

        • Grimlock

          The nature of a claim without exceptions is that it’s wrong when a counterexample is provided.

          I assume your last question is rhetorical. I also assume you want to apply this reasoning to the alleged desire for God. But then you’ll note three things.
          1) I don’t accept that there’s one desire for God. I think that there are multiple desires that people conflate for a desire for God.
          2) These desires, such as a desire for a sense of control, can be satisfied in natural ways. As I’ve argued before.
          3) You would still need to provide an argument for how that type of desires is primarily a result of selective pressures, and not other drivers or evolution.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I’d like to take a shot at clarifying, so I’d like to backtrack and find where I veered off.

          *Generally*, any genetic characteristic is going to have a survival benefit, right?
          There are exceptions to this generality. The cliché is that “the exception prove the rule”.
          Yes, I want to apply the rule to DFG because
          It is the topic Bob was addressing, and claimed it was not innate – natural, inborn, genetic, inherent, inbred, instinctive, untaught, etc.
          Your assertion is that it is none of those things because it might be indirectly a survival benefit by virtue of being linked to some other genetic characteristic.
          If it is not innate, then evolution plays no role in explaining its existence. It exists independent of evolution and genetics. If that is the case, then there is an alternative explanation that does not involve evolution or survival.
          You pointed to exceptions that fall within the scope of innate causes.
          I don’t see how this refutes ANY arguments on the table, Bob’s or mine.
          Is it possible that you are just correcting an error that is unrelated to the conversation – an interesting bit of trivia not meant to relate to the conversation?

        • Grimlock

          A couple of quick remarks:

          I’d like to take a shot at clarifying, so I’d like to backtrack and find where I veered off.

          Judging from the rest of your comment, I think that was a good idea, and I think this will clarify quite a bit.

          Is it possible that you are just correcting an error that is unrelated to the conversation – an interesting bit of trivia not meant to relate to the conversation?

          Somewhat, yes. I’d argue it’s at best a digression from the objection of Bob’s that you objected to. I’ve made my own objections to the argument from desire somewhere in the comment section. (Not in my interaction with you.)

          Moving on to the meat of your comment:

          *Generally*, any genetic characteristic is going to have a survival benefit, right?
          There are exceptions to this generality. The cliché is that “the exception prove the rule”.
          Yes, I want to apply the rule to DFG because
          It is the topic Bob was addressing, and claimed it was not innate – natural, inborn, genetic, inherent, inbred, instinctive, untaught, etc.
          Your assertion is that it is none of those things because it might be indirectly a survival benefit by virtue of being linked to some other genetic characteristic.
          If it is not innate, then evolution plays no role in explaining its existence. It exists independent of evolution and genetics. If that is the case, then there is an alternative explanation that does not involve evolution or survival.
          You pointed to exceptions that fall within the scope of innate causes.
          I don’t see how this refutes ANY arguments on the table, Bob’s or mine.

          I do not agree that it is generally true that any genetic characteristic is going to have a survival benefit. For the following reasons that I can think of right now:
          1) I’m not aware of the consensus of the influence of the different mechanisms for evolution. Selective pressure might be the primary driver for evolution, but I’m not convinced it’s generally the case.
          2) Do you mean genotype (the genetic sequence) or the phenotype (the expression(s) of the genetic sequence)?
          3) Something might have been advantageous with respect to selection in the past, while not being advantageous in the current environment.

          What I might agree to is something like the following: The most common reason for the existence of a genotype is that at some point in our evolutionary history, the corresponding phenotypes were the most selectively advantageous of the available genotypes at the time.

          I have, however, not been trying to say that the alleged desire was not “natural, inborn, genetic, inherent, inbred, instinctive, untaught, etc.” Instead, I’ve been saying that considering the way Bob used the term “innate”, you’re not justified in using “natural” (and most/all of the other terms there) as synonymous with “innate” in this context.

          What I do think is that the alleged desire(s) for god is, to some extent, a result of evolutionary processes.

        • Clement Agonistes

          That is an excellent post, and I’d be nit-picking to find fault with it. It rises to the threshold for be generally correct. 🙂

        • Clement Agonistes

          “And, why did you quote that paragraph of mine when it had nothing to do with your comment?”

          To imply why I believed you held to that general principle, so it wasn’t entirely unrelated.
          I’m still curious as to on whose part you believe it was an underlying assumption, by the way.

          You stated that my comment showed that I misunderstood what your were saying, but never pointed to anything in the quote that related to that conclusion.
          The underlying assumption – that we have been discussing – is that there is no relation between DFG and survival benefits as a justification for concluding DFG is not innate. Your counter is that . . . . maybe . . . there might be . . . an indirect relationship. Since, it might be false in some tiny fraction of cases, therefore the proposition has no value.

          My argument against probability is that the supernatural interacting with the natural world IS an unlikely event. The odds of a miracle ARE slim. The claim of theists is that such things are exceedingly rare. Assuming naturalism, however, probability makes enormous practical sense. Assuming the supernatural, no odds are so low as to be impossible. That’s why I threw in the modifier, “assuming naturalism”.

        • Grimlock

          […] The underlying assumption – that we have been discussing – is that there is no relation between DFG and survival benefits as a justification for concluding DFG is not innate.[…]

          No. As I’ve made clear several times, I was discussing the following general principle:

          Given naturalism and the theory of evolution, it is expected that every biological feature (including internal desires) has had some evolutionary advantage, at some point in an organisms evolutionary history.

          You’ve been discussing something else. Hence the misunderstanding.

          I can’t see that I’ve taken a position on whether the desires people conflate for desires for God having been selected for due to survival value or not. Don’t attribute the position you’ve attributed to Bob to me. I’m not Bob.

        • As I understand it, you can find individual downsides to a feature that, overall, is a net positive. For example: flight is a positive, but for birds to be able to fly, their bones must be much lighter, which makes them more fragile.

        • Grimlock

          Yeah, that’s my (layman’s) understanding as well.

          On a sort of related note, I recently read a book on octopuses (no garden involved, alas), where the author touched a bit on the mechanisms for aging. One of the basic ideas is that statistically speaking, an individual has some probability of accidentally dying each year. So after N years, pretty much everyone is dead. So whatever happens after N years for an organism has little to no impact on selection. Meaning that a gene that has a positive impact on an organism in its early years can have a negative impact in later years, but the negative impact is pretty much irrelevant for selection.

          These types of selections accumulate, and amount to one of the factors for what we call aging.

          I thought that was pretty neat. I mean it kinda sucks, but it’s a neat idea. Also a bit irrelevant.

        • I’ll pursue that irrelevancy. Getting to be older than N years for a caveman, as I am, this interests me.

          One does hope that elders were an asset to a primitive tribe–holders of wisdom, babysitters when the strong adults went out hunting, counselors when there were arguments, and so on. For these tribes, genes that conveyed longevity would be selected for.

        • Grimlock

          Hmm, perhaps. But for each of these elders, they’d still have some chance of dying each year. Even with a 5 % chance of dying each year, only one in twenty would live to be 60 years old. So genes with disadvantages after 60 years of age really wouldn’t make a lot of difference.

          I mean, sure, there are situations where there’s advantageous for surving. But I suspect that our inclination to age were established well before elders would be useful for social interactions.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “1) Desire for God is not innate. The alternative is that it is unnatural/external/not genetic. That opens the door wide open for it to be supernatural. I would prefer this option. I am happiest if an atheist sees ANYTHING as being of unnatural origin.”

          1) Except this is not something I’ve argued, and when considering how Bob uses “innate” in #7 (such as in 7a) clearly doesn’t mean that non-innate desires (in those terms) are “unnatural”. Not genetic, perhaps, because beliefs and desires are shaped by culture, but that’s not the same as unnatural. Those terms are vastly different from each other.

          You don’t have to argue for my POV, just shoot down the argument against it. In my original post, I asked if it isn’t innate, what is it? I got no reply to that point.

          In my 3rd post, I said, “If it is not innate – natural – then what is it? It could be learned, but that seems like a natural explanation, as well. We’re finally back to coming up with an alternative – MAYBE it’s culture . . . . . as opposed to “learned”? And, no, as I pointed out, it IS natural. But, is culture genetic? Isn’t it a survival benefit; a spin-off of the genetic demand for leadership, companionship, etc.? We’re going to have to throw one hypothesis (stated as fact) under the bus in order to make room for another.

          And, as I discussed in a different post, Bob’s discussion in #7 is all over the place. He finishes with the highly-problematic, if animals don’t have it, it isn’t innate. 7a is about doubts about reality, asserting that if anyone doubts God’s existence, then the desire for God cannot exist. Hey, let’s subject my conclusions to claims that don’t have to be supported, too! If you got a coherent definition out of 7a that matches up with the dictionary, this is your mutant power. It looks to me like he was just stacking the deck there; setting up a false goal and then achieving it. He was not defining previous terms. You’re going to need to walk me through that one.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I got no reply to that point.

          Lying cunt.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Your reply was, “You’ve been told…a number of times…now here you are with the “reset button” pressed.

          LOL. You might as well have given me football scores. Pressing the “Reply” button doesn’t automatically make what follows a reply.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Whether you agree on the explanation or not, don’t pretend ya never got one…ya lying cunt.

        • Clement Agonistes

          You have me on a technicality, counselor. A cat walking across the keyboard could make the same claim.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I have you lying yer arse off again.

          You agree with very little here, so strictly speaking, you could pull that defence everytime you lie.

          You hand wave away explanations right, left, and centre…but don’t pretend you don’t get any, that’s being a lying cunt and highlights your lack of intellectual integrity.

          Scientists are working on these mechanisms. They’ll probably one day nail it down, but they might not. That doesn’t allow you to shoe horn in your my-particular-god-did-it fuckwittery.

          Anything that has ever been investigated and resolved, the answer has never been a god-did-it…never, nadda, nothing, zero, zip, zilch…ever…in the history of mankind. The belief that a god-did-it has in each and every case been resolved by an alternative reason. Every time. So I have reasonable expectation based on prior probability that the answer to this question will not be a god-did-it.

          But if you have evidence to the contrary, put up or shut up.

          You claim to be on the side of science. At some point in our evolution we weren’t humans, there was no innate desire for something like a god to fill a god shaped hole. We were like all those other animals with no god desire. It developed as a bi-product of other evolutionary traits that were useful for something else. You don’t like the answer, but don’t lie like a hairy egg about not getting an answer.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Scientists are working on these mechanisms. They’ll probably one day nail it down, but they might not.

          Scientists are working on understanding God’s creation. They’ll probably one day nail it down, but they might not.

          There, now we’ve got Science Of The Gaps and God Of the Gaps covered. No matter what happens, each of us will be able to claim we were right all along. Truly, you are the Jar Jar Binks of this Star Wars episode.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Whateva!

          It’s you that everyone is laughing at ya cretin.

        • Clement Agonistes

          No, no, like this:
          Me-sa tinkin’ it you-sa dat everyone be laughin’ at, you-sa poo-poo head. Oooh, moi.moi!

        • Ignorant Amos

          And still ya haven’t a valid response. Ya cretin.

        • Susan

          Your reply was, “You’ve been told…a number of times…now here you are with the “reset button” pressed.”

          No. While that’s a common reply to you (because you have shown a marked pattern of not supporting your points but returning to the reset button without shame.), that’s a separate issue from the fact that you did receive a reply to the “point” which you claimed received no reply.

          Pressing the “Reply” button doesn’t automatically make what follows a reply.

          No, it doesn’t.

          As you have demonstrated for over a year now.

        • Clement Agonistes

          It was an exact quote, Susan – of the ENTIRE post. Please, check into the facts if you doubt me. I did not edit out substance from Amos’ post (as if .. . . .).

        • Ignorant Amos

          This was discussed weeks ago….but the most recent reference was when I informed Grimlock that you were playing the silly bugger here….

          https://disqus.com/home/discussion/crossexamined/8_reasons_to_reject_c_s_lewiss_argument_from_desire_75/#comment-4085770488

        • Clement Agonistes

          Amos, I am sure that you truly believe that you addressed the issue. You didn’t. I doubt if you even know what point you would have been addressing, much less what your cite was saying. No self-respecting atheist would equate “general agreement” with “fact”. Any discriminating reader would recognize “two schools of thought” means a maximum of one can be factual.

          I have no hope of making you into something you cannot be, but go back and read Bob’s point #7, and see if you can twist your response into fitting. The contortions you would have to go through to make it fit would convince any rational person that it was a pointless endeavor.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Amos, I am sure that you truly believe that you addressed the issue.

          Me, and others. Explained why gods are not necessary, for anything. Desire for a god is not innate in and of itself. It might be a bi-product created to fulfill more basic desires as one professor hypothesis’s.

          https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/611824/Why-humans-believe-god-Professor-Steven-Reiss

          You didn’t.

          Yeah, a did. A god belief is a bi-product of HADD and ToM.

          And I’m not alone…

          Psychologists, philosophers, anthropologists and even neuroscientists have suggested explanations for our natural predisposition to believe, and for the powerful role religion seems to play in our emotional and social lives.

          You might not like them, but they’ve been given. So quit lying about it.

          This particular latest attempt you make, supporting the argument from desire…is fuckwittery.

          https://tafacorianthoughts.wordpress.com/2013/11/26/a-critique-of-the-argument-from-desire/

          What is a desire and the problem with it?

          https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/hide-and-seek/201411/the-problem-desire

          I doubt if you even know what point you would have been addressing, much less what your cite was saying.

          Not a problem I’m struggling with, you on the other hand…

          No self-respecting atheist would equate “general agreement” with “fact”.

          Oh I think they would be okay with it. Facts are provisional on the evidence and they are derived from general agreement aka the scientific consensus.

          Apart from the fundamental inquiry into the nature of scientific fact, there remain the practical and social considerations of how fact is investigated, established, and substantiated through the proper application of the scientific method. Scientific facts are generally believed independent of the observer: no matter who performs a scientific experiment, all observers agree on the outcome. In addition to these considerations, there are the social and institutional measures, such as peer review and accreditation, that are intended to promote factual accuracy (among other interests) in scientific study.

          Any discriminating reader would recognize “two schools of thought” means a maximum of one can be factual.

          Correct…it’s called contrasting hypotheses…but none involve innate belief in gods. So whichever one wins the day, it won’t be a god-did-it as that has never been the conclusion of anything that we have ever concluded.

          I have no hope of making you into something you cannot be,…

          Something most of us here…even the most patient, discovered about you. You remain a dishonest turd. But maybe Grimlock will come up with the goods.

          It was Grimlock that most recently addressed the issue. I was pointing out that you had already been given an explanation from a scientific perspective…which of course, you have ignored each time it was presented.

          …but go back and read Bob’s point #7, and see if you can twist your response into fitting. The contortions you would have to go through to make it fit would convince any rational person that it was a pointless endeavor.

          I’ve no interest in engaging you on your terms anymore…you are a lying piece of shite. I’ll leave that to Grimlock. At least until he too see’s you for what the rest of us already have.

          Ignoring an explanation and claiming not to have received one, are not the same things. The later is a lie.

        • Susan

          if it is not innate-natural-then what is it?

          Innate and natural are not synonyms.

          If you are suggesting it’s “supernatural”, then, you will have to define the limits of “nature”, show where nature ends and supernature begins and show that a supernatural explanation is a good one.

          Something neither you nor Lewis do.

          Instead, you dodge requests that you define your terms and that you support them, and pretend that inserting a god of the gaps is an argument.

          It’s not.

          It never has been.

          It never will be.

          Take a month off and try to come back with something less fallacious.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Innate and natural are not synonyms.

          This is low-hanging fruit, Susan. Not only are they synonyms, “natural” is the very definition of “innate’. This points out how pointless it is to provide you with definitions because you plunge on with your denials regardless of how absurd your position has become.

          Challenging you to support your claims always gets the boilerplate “burden-shifting” accusation. I invite you to consult a dictionary to satisfy your demands, but you steadfastly refuse to seek out the facts or accept them when they are presented to you.

          If you are incapable of admitting even the most obvious factual errors, what chance is there that you would ever acknowledge a more nuanced error? You make it so easy to dismiss your arguments that you do more harm than good.

        • Susan

          This is low-hanging fruit, Susan.

          LOL. 😉

          NOt only are they synonyms, “natural” is the very definition of “innate”

          EDIT:

          No. “Innate” is not the “very definition” of “natural”.

          That’s why “innate” is not a synonym for “natural”.

          . It’s just a synonym in a very specific definition of many of the terms of “natural”. It is not the “very definition”.

          Paricularly when you seem to be trying to ask “If it’s not natural, what is it?”

          I flat out asked you if you are suggesting it’s supernatural if it’s not innate.

          If you’re not, then be more specific. “Not innate” is not equivalent to “supernatural”.

          I should point out here that you’ve never even defined God or supernatural, let alone shown them to be any sort of valid model.

          For more than a year, you’ve misrepresented physics, logic, morality/ethics and now, natural selection.

          Never once, have you made a case for your position.

          LIterally, not once.

          Just attacked strawmen and pretended that made a case for a “God” that you are unable to represent by answering a perfectly basic question:

          “What are you claiming and how do you support it?”

          Rather than answer, you accused me of shenanigans for asking what is considered in most fields to be a basic and charitable question.

          Challenging you to support your claims always gets the boilerplate “burden-shifting” accusation

          Pointing out that “innate” and “natural” are not synonyms is not an unsupported claim.

          You have shifted the burden since you got here. That’s why I keep pointing it out. You have never supported your deity. You don’t even have the wherewithall to define it

          you steadfastly refuse to seek out the facts or accept them when they are presented to you.

          Lol.. 😉

          You make it so easy to dismiss your arguments that you do more harm than good.

          Lol. ;-).

        • Clement Agonistes

          Susan, 2 days ago:

          It’s just a synonym in a very specific definition of many of the terms of “natural”.

          Susan, 7 days ago:

          Innate and natural are not synonyms.

          Say . . . . . anything.

        • epeeist

          Innate and natural are not synonyms.

          You know that, and I and just about everyone here knows that. But it isn’t going to stop Clement from using them as though they were and indeed using them as synonyms with any other words he needs to claim are the same.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I extend the same offer to you that I extended to Susan – go definition shopping, consult as many dictionaries as you want, searching for a definition that supports your claim, and present the one most friendly to it. FTM, since we are talking about “synonyms”, go thesaurus-shopping and present one that doesn’t have “natural” as a synonym.

          Of course, should you find that to be impossible, then you’ll understand why your argument-by-insinuation rings so hollow. You would not have to present a suggestion of my error if a true obvious error existed. Since you are using the same tactic on other points, those arguments will also ring hollow. This kind of thing would never pass muster in a scientific paper.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s all about the context though, isn’t it?

          Words are defined by their use in common parlance…dictionaries are guidelines.

          Natural is a related term of innate. Innate is a related term of natural.

          As adjectives the difference between innate and natural is that innate is inborn; native; natural; as, innate vigor; innate eloquence while natural is that exists and evolved within the confines of an ecosystem.

          In that context, is god belief innate or natural. I’d say that it isn’t there from birth. It is more the later. But it isn’t a natural state for all. It is a vestigial remnant of evolution that developed from HADD and ToM.

          Natural works and will probably be understood in context but natural can be interpreted to mean things other than possessed at birth. If your talent is playing the violin and my talent is shooting lightning bolts from my fingers, your talent might be called natural and mine might be called unnatural. Although it’s doubtful that either is innate.

          https://ell.stackexchange.com/questions/99746/natural-vs-innate

        • Clement Agonistes

          Yeah, I couldn’t find a dictionary or thesaurus that supported you guys’ contention, either. The context of “inborn” works for my question about genetics also. I asked if it was not innate, was it something taught (like the violin), or unnatural (like lightening bolts from the fingertips). If it has a vestigial or indirect survival benefit, then Bob’s claim that it had no survival benefit component needs clarification.

        • Ignorant Amos

          If you are using the two words as synonymous, then to what point?

          While natural and innate can be synonymous, they are not necessarily so.

          If you are using them as synonyms then you’ve committed a tautological pleonasm (see what a did there?) and it is a nonsense redundancy. So which is it?

          If it has a vestigial or indirect survival benefit, then Bob’s claim that it had no survival benefit component needs clarification.

          What had a survival benefit may not have been god belief in and of itself, but god belief flourished as a by-product from what had the survival benefit.

          This has been explained, but you just keep ignoring it.

          God belief is not innate, Hyper Active Detection Device and Theory of Mind are what is innate.

          There are a number of schools of thought, and it could be that all played a part.

          A by-product of our HADD and ToM.

          Adaptive value.

          Memes.

          The evolutionary psychology of religion is the study of religious belief using evolutionary psychology principles. It is one approach to the psychology of religion. As with all other organs and organ functions, the brain’s functional structure is argued to have a genetic basis, and is therefore subject to the effects of natural selection and evolution. Evolutionary psychologists seek to understand cognitive processes, religion in this case, by understanding the survival and reproductive functions they might serve.

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

          These are the hypotheses scientists are looking into…none of them are the god-did-it hypothesis, because gods have never been the answer to why anything. Ever.

          http://www.apa.org/monitor/2010/12/believe.aspx

          That god belief is innate is nonsense, because we have one example that proves it isn’t, and one example is all it takes to refute the hypothesis that god belief is an innate human trait.

        • Clement Agonistes

          If you are using the two words as synonymous, then to what point?
          While natural and innate can be synonymous, they are not necessarily so.
          If you are using them as synonyms then you’ve committed a tautological pleonasm (see what a did there?) and it is a nonsense redundancy. So which is it?

          It is more than just a synonym; it is the very definition:

          in·nate
          [iˈnāt]

          ADJECTIVE
          inborn; natural.

          If it has a vestigial or indirect survival benefit, then Bob’s claim that it had no survival benefit component needs clarification.

          What had a survival benefit may not have been god belief in and of itself, but god belief flourished as a by-product from what had the survival benefit.

          So, “what had the survival benefit” would be a direct benefit, and god-desire would be indirectly related to the benefit.

        • Susan

          and god leprechaun desire would be indirectly related to the benefit.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I stipulated as much early on.

        • Susan

          go definition shopping, consult as many dictionaries as you want, searching for a definition that supports your claim, and present the one most friendly to it

          Except that it’s standard to ask a person in the field of philosophy, physics, biology, etc. what they mean by the terms they use. It’s basic. If you can’t define your terms with some sort of precision, don’t use them.

          This kind of thing would never pass muster in a scientific paper.

          Give me an example of anything that passes muster in a scientific paper where the paper doesn’t refer to definitions that have already been agreed upon and/or in which the paper doesn’t have to go to some pains to define its terms.

          That you see it as a “tactic”, not a fundamental step, says much about your thinking.

          You won’t define your terms.

          When people guess, you say “nuh uh”.

          When people point you to standard definitions, you mock them and provide no further definitions.

        • Pofarmer

          So, you’ve read and understood Churchland et al. already?

        • epeeist

          So, you’ve read and understood Churchland et al. already?

          ROFL

        • Clement Agonistes

          Yes, and I think I’ve got a grip on it. What specifically would you like to discuss from it?

        • Pofarmer

          You’ve read “Braintrust”. In like 3 days?

        • Susan

          You’ve read “Braintrust”. In like 3 days?

          No.

        • Clement Agonistes

          More like 10 days. I’d prefer time to digest it, but if you are chopping at the bit, we can at least start discussing it.

          I thought it had a feel a lot like Dawkins’ Selfish Gene theme of self being served first, then offspring, family, clan, friends, community. Her twist was describing the motivation in terms of neurochemicals. As an aside, scientists can duplicate, to some extent, a spiritual experience by selective stimulation. LSD is famous for doing this kind of thing. So, what she is saying makes sense.

          I think you or Grimlock had commented on Plantinga’s rejection of pure chance evolution as an explanation for what we observe. The issue of whether God gave us some sort of undetectable spark, or whether He guided a tangible characteristic isn’t something I struggle with. In the theist view, there has to be an intersection between the supernatural and that natural at some point, or else we’d have no possibility of sensing its existence. I think this is at the core of what Lewis said and what Bob is arguing against.

          What did you get out of it?

        • Ignorant Amos

          I thought it had a feel a lot like Dawkins’ Selfish Gene theme of self being served first, then offspring, family, clan, friends, community.

          You think that was the theme of The Selfish Gene? Wow…it’s even worse than I suspected.

        • epeeist

          Yes, it’s almost as though the comment had come from someone who hadn’t read the book but an apologetics review of it…

          Or alternatively, someone who had read it but didn’t understand it.

        • Greg G.

          I thought it had a feel a lot like Dawkins’ Selfish Gene theme of self being served first, then offspring, family, clan, friends, community.

          No, it’s gene first, and that’s it.

          Butterflies that taste bad to birds, live a while after laying their eggs. If it teaches a young bird that a butterfly of that color tastes bad by dying, that bird will not eat its descendants. That bird might live in the same area for many butterfly generations.

          Moths that rely on camouflage tend to die shortly after laying its eggs. It wouldn’t be good for a young bird to get practice recognizing the camouflage.

          It is about making more copies of the gene in whatever genome it is in. A gene for extended life is detrimental in one case and beneficial in another for making more copies.

        • Ignorant Amos

          But, but, but, Clement is so clever and he knows better.

        • Clement Agonistes

          My memory is certainly fallible, but I understood him to say that altruism (equating with morality – possibly a mistake) existed as genetics only as a means to the preservation and propagation of the gene. A spouse , for instance, does may be a different gene, but is necessary for propagation and survival of the gene. One would be altruistic toward the spouse for that – genetically determined – reason. The clan shares many genes in common, and offers protection. It is not as important as the immediate family, but is worthy of altruism to the extent that it can aid in survival of the gene. Churchland discussed it in terms of the neurochemicals produced by the genes.

        • Greg G.

          From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kin_selection

          J.B.S. Haldane in 1932 set out the mathematics of kin selection, with Haldane famously joking that he would willingly die for two brothers or eight cousins.

          This page discusses the quote and its variations more as literature but covers a lot of the science:
          https://quoteinvestigator.com/2016/05/05/brothers/

        • Clement Agonistes

          The point being that the more distantly related, the less valuable (to the DNA being propagated)?

        • Greg G.

          I do not recall that argument but I doubt that it would have used “spouse”.

          Aside:
          Last night, I got email notifications of replies in near real time, but I got this one about 18 hours later.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Guilty as charged, Greg. I am lazy, and used “spouse” as shorthand for “relationship as breeding and/or child-raising partner”.

          I’m baffled about the delay, but it’s possible that I got interrupted in the process of writing, and didn’t post it until much later. Then again, sometimes Disqus feels like demon possession of my computer.

        • Greg G.

          I have seen delays in the email notifications before but I have never noticed them being out of order before.

          Maybe they have different servers with different databases. When one stops sending emails, they may not notice immediately, then they have to reload the software to send out the emails from the database. But I am SWAGging.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Last night, I got email notifications of replies in near real time, but I got this one about 18 hours later.

          Happens to me quite regularly. Another thing that bugs the life outta me, is the send e-mail notifications field unchecks itself and it is a sudden lack of e-mails when lots are to be expected is what alerts me to go to my settings and recheck the feckin’ thing. Demon possessed Disqus…the Devil done it.

        • Greg G.

          I did the settings when Patheos switched to Disqus and haven’t checked them since then. I should check to see if there are improvements once in a while.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ave just got 4 notifications for comments posted a day ago by The Destroyer.

        • Greg G.

          I got one a short time ago. I saw it yesterday in Recent Comments. I think that is the last of them until he changes his socks.

        • Ignorant Amos

          This brings me to the first point I want to make about what this book is not. I am not advocating a morality based on evolution. I am saying how things have evolved. I am not saying how we humans morally ought to behave. … If you wish to extract a moral from it, read it as a warning. Be warned that if you wish, as I do, to build a society in which individuals cooperate generously and unselfishly towards a common good, you can expect little help from biological nature. Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish. Let us understand what our own selfish genes are up to, because we may then at least have a chance to upset their designs, something that no other species has ever aspired to do. ~ Richard Dawkins, “The Selfish Gene”

        • Sample1

          Haha, I started reading your reply to CA thinking at first, for many sentences, that they were literally CA’s words (the italics threw me). By the fourth sentence I was thinking holy shit CA is making sense, he gets it! It was the strangest yet happiest sensation, to think a person had figured something out.

          And then I got to the last sentence (before seeing the true authorship) and my sense of elation dropped off faster than an spent erection. Hang on, I know this tune. I know these words. Dick Dawkins himself.

          Well, it was good while it lasted. 😉

          Mike
          Edit done

        • Clement Agonistes

          How does this quote support (and not contradict) your argument?

        • Ignorant Amos

          What argument of mine does it contradict?

          You wrote…

          I understood him to say that altruism (equating with morality – possibly a mistake) existed as genetics only as a means to the preservation and propagation of the gene.

          Not possibly a mistake, I was quoting Dawkins to show you are mistaken

          Dawkins doesn’t equate morality to altruism…because the one has nothing necessarily to do with the other.

          The empathy-altruism hypothesis states that empathic concern produces altruistic motivation. In this hypothesis, empathic concernrefers to other-oriented emotion elicited by and congruent with the perceived welfare of a person in need; it includes feelings of sympathy, compassion, tenderness, and the like. Altruistic motivationrefers to a motivational state with the ultimate goal of increasing the welfare of the person with the empathy-inducing need. Over 35 experiments designed to test the empathy-altruism hypothesis provide remarkably consistent support. One—possibly surprising—corollary of this hypothesis is that empathy-induced altruism is not necessarily a source of moral behavior. Like egoism, it can promote violation of one’s moral standards.Experimental evidence supports this corollary. The evidence suggests that altruism and moral motivation are distinct goal-directed motives, each with strengths and weaknesses as a source of moral behavior. Wise orchestration is needed to harmonize their strengths.

          http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199969470.001.0001/acprof-9780199969470-chapter-2

        • Clement Agonistes

          My question related to your quote from Dawkins. In your quote, he mentioned altruism and generosity in the context of morality as being contrary to our genetics. Our biology would not be helpful to those – like Dawkins – who wished for there to be morality. In his series on PBS that I have been citing, I understood him to be saying that the only circumstances in which altruism would be genetic would be in the sense that the selfless act would promote a selfish end.

          Did I misunderstand either the series, or the quote you provided?

        • Sample1

          Well, you’re demonstrating some jumbliness of thought with group and individual selection ideas but that’s ok for now. You’re trying. Evolution is both easy to understand and also very slippery when delving deeper into its presumed mechanism of action: natural selection.

          One way to think of it is that an organism is the vehicle for its genes. Even if an organism only makes one generation and goes extinct that is a small success for that prior vehicle. Of course, we add the meaning that many successful generations is better than just one. But a gene doesn’t think, to anthropomorphise, beyond its next destination, it just has to get there once for evolution to technically take place. To support this one only needs to think about aging. Antagonistic pleiotropy is a term which means, briefly, genes can have more then one function. In early life one gene may be important for initial development of the vehicle but later, that same gene may be detrimental to the vehicle. As long as reproduction occurs before the detrimental gene can go to work, the gene survives. Take calcium. Early on, it is important for bone development in humans, without good bones we couldn’t get to mating age. But in advanced years the same calcium may be deposited in the vascular system, compounding arteriosclerosis, hardening of the arteries which increases mortality. So, one genetic trip, one destination is a success technically.

          Longer road trips by the vehicle allow for further destinations. And with further destinations come new opportunities for the genes. It may also help to think of genes as packets of information rather than objects (an orthodox view espoused by Williams though not sure by Dawkins, but probably). Longer trips, more potential information opportunities. At any rate, those opportunities manifest in all kinds of ways, including, for us, the vehicle, the imparting of human meanings about our lives. Those imparted meanings could be beneficial for even longer road trips or, also possible, they could mean the extinction of the genetic line (Shaker beliefs).

          If altruism is an imparted meaning we give at the large vehicle level and it works in one’s environmental niche, then all that means is the tiny packets of information, the genes, were successful in doing what they do. We could call that a selfish success for genes but of course, packets of information aren’t thinking, they’re just doing. At least, that is one way for the vehicle to use a manifested opportunity via longer road trips: reason and meaning, which we find useful and, well, even sexy.

          Mike

        • Clement Agonistes

          Please, set me straight if I make any mistakes, but I think the twist to Dawkins theory was treating it on the small scale – genes – rather than to large scale – species. I recall him also saying that he spoke in terms of anthropomorphizing the genes, but doing so as a shortcut of sorts to communicate the idea.

          Churchland, IMO, pointed to the products of those genes – chemicals. If the gene was successful (beneficial) in being passed on to future generations, then that explained why we see the chemical we see where we see them.

          You make an interesting point about the Shakers. They would seem to point to our ability to overcome our genetic instinct through some other factor. If we only sacrifice in order to see our genes thrive, then it is tough to explain sacrifices that accomplish the opposite.

        • Sample1

          Haven’t read Churchland but have been meaning to. Darwinian evolution is emergent from chemistry. It is a stand alone observation that meets its own experimental facts. I think when you go lower, to chemistry and certainly to physics you don’t have evolution in the same biological sense anymore. And that’s fine as long as you’re careful to see the reasons behind the distinctions. The important part is the scalability. Evolution is in harmony with underlying science even if that science isn’t about evolution.

          That scalability is utterly lacking for faith based models of reality. Whether that is a problem completely depends on what one finds intellectually honest.

          Mike
          Edit done. Shortened up.

        • Sample1

          Most evolving lineages, human or otherwise, when threatened with extinction, don’t do anything special to avoid it. -George C. Williams

          Genes provide the information for structure. The human brain is one such structure and structure determines behavior. So there are two levels here. Our behavior stemming from structure and information that builds the structure.

          I opened with the GCW quote because it recognizes observable facts. The last few passenger pigeon pairs did not do anything special to reverse their impending extinction. This suggests that structures can be said to be negatively susceptible to certain factors even if genetic information is good for a particular gene.

          Consider bipedalism. Genes that gave rise to the evolution of humans walking upright survived because the information was housed in a species that faired better with them. But the structure itself is susceptible to lower back pain whereas that isn’t so prevalent for animals walking on all fours.

          It should come as no surprise that genetic information can build structures that contain susceptibilities to its survival. One susceptibility is a species that can end its own genome should good enough reasons be held, as with humans. Another susceptibility is a species without an ability to reason beyond its immediate needs, like the passenger pigeon.

          Neither of these examples, humans or pigeons, provide evidence that extinction isn’t possible in Darwinian evolution or that genes must provide information for structures that always serve the gene’s continued survival.

          tldr; genes build structures and structures determine behavior. The behavior is levels removed from the information and not guaranteed to safeguard the gene.

          Mike

        • epeeist

          tldr; genes build structures and structures determine behavior.

          This sounds overly deterministic to me, personally I would go with “form the basis for” rather than “determine”. We build on top of this basis, for example with the various normative systems of ethics.

        • Sample1

          A paragraph follows with three sets of sentences alternating with the use of determine or forms the basis for to see what happens, if anything.

          1. The structure of a kite determines its behavior in the wind. The structure of a kite forms the basis for its behavior in the wind. 2. The structure of a neuron determines its behavior. The structure of a neuron forms the basis for its behavior. 3. Information (genes) determine behavior. Information (genes) form the basis for behavior.

          Arguably, the first two examples (kites and neurons) using for the basis for can also sound deterministic but not when using determine. Using the specific word basis, seems to denote a very property of the structure (perhaps not in evidence) while the verb determine only describes the observed effect without an arguably deeper claim of knowledge.

          I can’t say you are wrong but I can say how things are described well, often depends on the particular audience being addressed. Both of us know some audiences will see agency in words where none is intended or needed. Genetics could also be written in terms of mathematical probabilities or biochem’s use of math models, but there too someone may claim to see agency in their simplicity while others would see no room for that.

          I’ll be the first to admit biology is difficult to express cleanly only in words but among the big three disciplines (physics, chemistry, biology) it is arguably the easiest to explain in the vernacular unless, that is, a reader is hyper-aware of agency!

          Mike

        • epeeist

          I can’t say you are wrong but I can say how things are described well,
          often depends on the particular audience being addressed.

          And I am not going to claim I am right.

          My worry is that “determine” makes it sound as though everything from the reciprocal altruism of many species all the way up to, say, consequentialism, is biologically determined. Given that there are a number of nomological ethical systems (and the list may not be exhaustive) I have difficulty accepting this.

          Amongst other things one would have to ask, do other animals have the same nomological ethical system(s) or are we special in having them. If we are special, then where did the differentiation come from? Are things that are built upon ethics, systems of justice for example, also biologically determined or are they social constructs? If they are biologically determined then why are there multiple systems of justice which vary both geographically and also temporally?

        • Pofarmer

          So, as kind of an aside here. Do different primates, or even different groups within the same species say, have different ways of dealing with different behaviors from group to group or individual to individual? Might the idea of normative ethics being simply a human construct be too simplistic?

        • Sample1

          My worry is that “determine” makes it sound as though everything from the reciprocal altruism of many species all the way up to, say, consequentialism, is biologically determined.

          Well, your level of worry will not affect how nature behaves. It may very well be that way. But.

          I’m not attempting to interpolate an explanation beyond the level of genes to structure. I don’t see an explanatory error in stating, for instance, that cardiac tissue, its structure, determines involuntary contraction (behavior).

          Mike

        • Sample1

          Clarification. I am not saying bipedalism is the necessary or the only reason for the survival of the organism. It is extremely difficult to assess with confidence the reasons for adaptations above the level of allele survival. I’m only remarking that genes for bipedalism survived but that doesn’t necessarily mean the organism doesn’t incur a potential downside (back pain) only that those genes, so far, aren’t the basis for a statistically important reproductive maladaptation.

          Mike

        • Greg G.

          I think the twist to Dawkins theory was treating it on the small scale – genes – rather than to large scale – species.

          A majority of human genes are also chimpanzee genes. Humans and chimpanzees share a great deal of non-coding DNA, too. Primates have genes for Vitamin C that are all broken the same way. (Guinea pigs also have a broken Vitamin C gene that is broken in a different way. Primates and Guinea pigs have diets that are rich in Vitamin C so it is a waste of energy to produce more.) The last common ancestor of humans and chimps is extinct but its genes live on.

        • Pofarmer

          Hell, the genetic coding in our Gene’s that processes sugars is the same as in a frickin oak tree.

        • Sample1

          They would seem to point to our ability to overcome our genetic instinct through some other factor.

          It is a sort of fun philosophical paradox to observe that humans are both part of nature and also seen by many to be apart from nature when we say we can deviate from some innate behaviors. I’m not sure how important it is to know if this is a meaningful phenomenon or an illusion. On some scales it doesn’t seem to be true.

          An argument can be made, for instance, that our species is behaving much like the last passenger pigeon pair when one considers the Earth’s sixth mass extinction event may already be irreversibly underway at least in part due to our collective behaviors. Another argument can be made that killer asteroid detection could be a higher priority but it isn’t. And so on.

          When I dwell on all the ways we are susceptible to extinction as a species, I’m less inclined to think we’ve earned any serious justification to think of ourselves as apart from nature.

          I prefer a metaphor for reality as being a boiling brew of chemistry with some bubbles capable of awareness but never entirely free from the cauldron. It wouldn’t make sense, in that metaphor, to speak of totally independent bubbles unless there was evidence for a different reality to occupy. There may be a teapot orbiting Jupiter but that doesn’t help much!

          Mike

        • Greg G.

          An argument can be made, for instance, that our species is behaving much like the last passenger pigeon pair when one considers the Earth’s sixth mass extinction event may already be irreversibly underway at least in part due to our collective behaviors. Another argument can be made that killer asteroid detection could be a higher priority but it isn’t. And so on.

          See Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal from two days ago:
          http://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/cyanobacteria

          And today:
          http://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/death-2

        • Clement Agonistes

          We seem to always bump up against the “evidence” problem. We can certainly conceive of numerous conditions – hypotheses, if you will – but we’re ultimately playing hunches. If we are putting science out there as the final say, it is always uncomfortable to throw out a conclusion that lacks the requisite proof. We throw out conjecture, speculation, and wishful thinking as if they were established facts. It’s fun, and could be true, but we don’t know. Stating these things as fact sounds like an act of faith, not science.

          Your analogy to the Passenger Pidgeon is a tough one. The pigeon was passive in dealing with the threat to its existence. I mean, what adaptation could it manage in such a short time period? OTOH, climate change or a killer asteroid is a different matter. Ultimately, like on the planet is doomed over the next 100 million years or so anyway – “If the right one don’t get you, the left one will.” We would have to take active action to save both ourselves and the mass of other life forms on Earth. I’m not sure that is a realistic criteria.

          It is a sort of fun philosophical paradox to observe that humans are both part of nature and also seen by many to be apart from nature when we say we can deviate from some innate behaviors. I’m not sure how important it is to know if this is a meaningful phenomenon or an illusion. On some scales it doesn’t seem to be true.

          I’m not entirely sure I accept your premise here. Man would be a part of nature – I agree – but also apart from nature? I would agree that Man is certainly different from other life forms in our degree of awareness of ourselves, our environment, and the supernatural (Lewis’ point). Some beliefs definitely view reality as a total blending of nature and the supernatural – nature is, itself supernatural. The sense of the existence of God (“supernatural” has too many letters) would be a part of nature, IMO.

        • Sample1

          If we are putting science out there as the final say, it is always uncomfortable to throw out a conclusion that lacks the requisite proof.

          I appreciate, understand, that this is your understanding of science: final say and proof. Somebody failed you when explaining what is meant by science. I don’t know who it was, a school system, family, perhaps a doctor of some sort? Perhaps rather than me stating the framework of definitions that comprise the word science, could I respectfully ask you to post a reply on what you think science is about? No judging. I just want to understand where you are coming from and how you see things. Science is…?

          Stating these things as fact sounds like an act of faith, not science.

          Why is that not acceptable? Perhaps I misunderstand you but an act of faith is a beautiful thing for many I know, is science therefore not beautiful if it’s behaving like faith in your view? What I gather is that you do seem to make a distinction between faith and science. Perhaps if you help me understand what you mean by science I’ll understand your sentence more clearly.

          I know I didn’t address all your points and I apologize for that. We could revisit them later.

          Mike

        • Clement Agonistes

          Stating these things as fact sounds like an act of faith, not science.

          Why is that not acceptable? Perhaps I misunderstand you but an act of faith is a beautiful thing for many I know, is science therefore not beautiful if it’s behaving like faith in your view?

          My main point was the difference between an unsupported hypothesis – speculation – and established fact. This is the standard to which people here say propositions must be subjected. As I stated in my post, if the scientific method has the final say, then we are both playing hunches. If you want to maintain that playing a hunches acceptable, I will totally agree with you – that is how we make most of our decisions in life. Playing a hunch is an act of faith – trust that one’s perception of reality is correct.

          The topic was being discussed on a scientific level. You were pointing to pigeons as evidence of a scientific fact. We were discussing the role of genetics, rather than just some sort of random process.

          When I say “science”, I mean as it relates to the Scientific Method – we have a hypothesis, test it, and then conclude whether it is valid or not. As I stated in my previous post, you presented a hypothesis, and assumed it to be valid. Well, that is skipping several steps there if we are going to subject it to a methodology to determine whether it is really valid or not. In discussions like this where there is disagreement, we need some sort of agreed-on methodology for discernment. If the topic is scientific in nature – genetics and evolution – then it should lend itself easily to the SM.

        • Sample1

          You mentioned earlier that evidence seems to be the problem we (people of faith and faith free empiricists) run up against.

          Faith does have a problem with evidence. What you may not appreciate is that science also has a problem with evidence albeit a different way. Often the interpretation of evidentiary data is difficult. Just because evidence is in hand does not mean science is done so to speak.

          When you say science has “the final say” what do you mean? Science is a powerful fact finding and predictive tool but its findings are always provisional, in principal. If you’ve ever met a scientist that says otherwise, call the police.

          Mike
          Edit done

        • Clement Agonistes

          What I said was, “if the scientific method has the final say, then we are both playing hunches

          And, I was repeating myself. If there is something there that you did not understand,
          I doubt that repeating the clarification from that post is going to clarify anything. Could you be more specific about what I said about the SM that wasn’t clear? It would at least give me a direction to go with this.

        • Sample1

          Well, I guess I’m confused about “final say” regarding the SM.

          The SM does not have the final say in anything. My opinion about this is that people can choose to have a final say about, well, anything.

          For instance, a cancer patient’s owner (if the patient is a dog) can be presented with evidence that a certain treatment is the gold standard for their companion’s condition. Let’s say it’s surgery followed by radiation.

          The owner can be told that veterinary medical research is their dog’s best current hope for effective care. But the owner can say no, I can’t afford that and then in that case the owner has the final say.

          I’m pretty sure that you’d agree with me that there is a spectrum of action that can be taken for any given circumstance with degrees of likelihood for being effective.

          Let’s say we have veterinarian informing you that she has three ideas for you to consider regarding your cancer stricken dog. One is a blind assumption, another is a hunch, and another is a treatment plan that has a cure rate of 90% based on data.

          Assuming you have pet insurance (which I recommend) or have the means to pay for any treatment, and you loved your dog 🙂 which would be the option you’d choose? I’m guessing the third because you realize that a plan with data based on evidence is likely going to be more effective than any blind assumption or hunch.

          Now, if we are not talking about dogs or cancer or anything else in the natural world but rather theology, I’m with you. There are many seemingly equal hunches one can arrive at. In the natural world hunches are usually not as reliable as evidence based data. I’m guessing you’d agree. In the conceptual world of theology, where claims are not falsifiable, then yes, many people are approaching things on hunches.

          In the natural world there are consequences to always playing the hunch card rather than the evidence card. Dogs usually suffer and die.

          If you want me to care about hunches in theology, I’d have to know what the consequences to me are.

          Make sense?

          Mike
          Edit done (hit post before finishing).

        • Clement Agonistes

          Well, I guess I’m confused about “final say” regarding the SM.

          The
          SM does not have the final say in anything. My opinion about this is
          that people can choose to have a final say about, well, anything.For
          instance, a cancer patient’s owner (if the patient is a dog) can be
          presented with evidence that a certain treatment is the gold standard

          It means it is the gold standard for determining gold standards.

          Let me know if there is anything else I can do to be of help. . . ..

        • Sample1

          Enjoyed our brief back and forth too. We didn’t have to think through every word or contemplate each claim and question.

          I’ll let you get back to your regular programming.

          Cheers,
          Mike

        • Susan

          Science is a powerful fact finding and predictive tool but its findings are always provisional, in principal.

          I see you are trying to engage in honest dialogue with Clement.

          You are one in a very long line.

          Beware. He avoids honest engagement.

          Check his comment history for clarification.

        • Sample1

          ;-j

          It doesn’t matter to me if he is honest or not.

          Mike

        • MR

          I second the warning, Samp. Your contributions deserve better than the dishonesty you will get in return with this one.

        • epeeist

          I will add my voice to this too. As I have said before, this is a poster to whom truth is subservient to is what is convenient and useful at the moment. He is the epitome of Christian Taqiyya.

        • Greg G.

          If we are putting science out there as the final say

          Why would anybody do that? Science is the best method we have to explain things but it is always subject to correction. As soon as we have a better method, we will change to that.

          The pigeon was passive in dealing with the threat to its existence.

          Individual creatures do their part to preserve their species by surviving and reproducing. They don’t care whether the species itself survives. If they cared about anything, it would be their offspring but they wouldn’t care if they were the same species. Most species go extinct. The last common ancestor between passenger pigeons and rock pigeons should be thrilled to have extant descendants.

          The sense of the existence of God (“supernatural” has too many letters) would be a part of nature, IMO.

          A fear reaction to a creak in the night evokes the sense of a malevolent entity. It is almost always wrong but the occasional chance that it is right makes it a valuable trait to preserve through natural selection. Applying that sense to other scary things like thunder and lightning does no harm so it would not be selected against.

          We know what causes thunder and lightning and it was wrong to ascribe it to a hairy thunderer. But some still want to attribute these wrong feelings to anything science has not yet explained. It is just comforting to have an explanation that feels like it explains the unknown even if it never really explains anything and has always been wrong in the past.

          The priest class of people have been clever enough to use various inherent fears and doubts that have had survival benefits to threats that they alone can assuage if you bring them meat and vegetables (but money is has been preferred since it was invented) by telling comforting lies.

        • Clement Agonistes

          You respond to me with this:

          If we are putting science out there as the final say

          Why would anybody do that? Science is the best method we have to explain things but it is always subject to correction. As soon as we have a better method, we will change to that.

          But then say this:

          The priest class of people have been clever enough to use various inherent fears and doubts that have had survival benefits to threats that they alone can assuage if you bring them meat and vegetables (but money is has been preferred since it was invented) by telling comforting lies.

          You present a hypothesis without the rest of the science. If science is the best methodology for discovering the truth, why not use it? Construct the experiment that would verify or shoot down your hypothesis.

          Our initial hypothesis was that desire foe the existence of a supernatural, controlling force as part of reality is not something innate (inborn; natural; inherent) in humans. You presented the counter-hypothesis that it was acquired, not innate. This hypothesis has the premise that people have an inherent (innate) fear and malicious priests are exploiting this innate desire for God by fabricating a lie.

          You are throwing out hypotheses which contradict each other, hoping one will stick. Is that how our scientific methodology works? Do we get to declare our facts to be true merely because we want them to be true?

          If you goal is to present either one of these as plausible explanations, I grant that. I don’t think they address the original topic (innate DFG) in a coherent manner, and have the feel of something ad hoc to satisfy conflicting, contradictory needs.

        • Greg G.

          Actually the ideas I presented came from an online university class about religion on Youtube from about a decade ago. I had it in a playlist but YouTube has done away with those.

          I see that YouTube has removed most of my channel subscriptions from a few dozen to four. I know that some of them are still active channels.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Oh, YouTube. Why didn’t you say so earlier??! YouTube is excluded from the normal restrictions of the Scientific Method, and its hypotheses are automatically fact. All Hail YouTube! Have mercy on us!!

        • Greg G.

          It was a video of a professor teaching an actual class. Search YouTube for “Yale Courses New Testament Dale Martin” for a sample of the genre of videos. Martin’s course is twenty-four videos. The one I have in mind was like that but I do not recall the professor, the college, or the title. I had it tagged to my YouTube account but YouTube apparently deleted that whole option.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I’ve seen some of his Yale videos. I got them through iTunes U.

          The problem is I’m not even sure which point this would be in support of. If it’s the priestly class preying on the inherent (innate) fears of their people, that’s going to be REALLY tough to support scientifically. He’s got a conspiracy, and the conspirators have been dead for a very long time. Maybe someone took notes (before written language existed) at the meetings?

        • Greg G.

          If it’s the priestly class preying on the inherent (innate) fears of their people, that’s going to be REALLY tough to support scientifically.

          Look at how many Christians come here reminding us of death and the threat of hell. It is the basic M. O. of street preachers. Where are they getting this? Who is making a living with that? How many religions are not concerned with the afterlife? Have you never been to an Evangelical or a Fundamentalist church? Have you never seen people talk about how hard it was to get rid of the brainwashing about hell?

        • Clement Agonistes

          Ok, let’s walk through this in an organized fashion and see where I go off the rails:

          1. Back in the day, the priestly class invented religion.
          2. They did so, for financial gain, in order to take advantage of peoples innate fears.
          3. We can know that these are true because modern laymen prey on the fears of atheists for no financial gain.

          Here’s my #3:
          We don’t know exactly when (or where) belief in god (clarifying by using lower case as requested; most general sense) was invented.
          But it was a very long time ago.
          Until it was invented, there could not be a priestly class.
          We have no records of the conspiracy to fleece people.
          We have no way to know the thoughts (motivations) of the priestly class from back then.
          We have no data with which to test your hypothesis
          If we cannot test a hypothesis, no conclusion can be made about its veracity.
          Your claim is not validated by science.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The sense of the existence of God (“supernatural” has too many letters) would be a part of nature, IMO.

          Something you have repeatedly failed to demonstrate or support. And why just your favorite big “G” god?

          What do you mean by the sense of the existence of God and how does it differ from the supernatural?

          http://richardcarrier.blogspot.com/2007/01/defining-supernatural.html

        • Clement Agonistes

          I’m not making the argument here for “my favorite God”. That is a different topic for a different time. Here, we are discussing Lewis’ topic of Desire For God, as expressed in the countless supernatural beliefs people have about supernatural controlling forces. As I explained above, I am just using “God” as the term for that because it has fewer letters. It is generic to the extreme. I put have mentioned that reminder several times to prevent the kind of misunderstanding that you are demonstrating here.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ffs Clement…why does it matter? Quit with the pedantic semantic fuckwittery…big “G” god is belief specific. It is an alternative moniker for YahwehJesus. You can’t be bothered to type 8 more letters? Bullshit. We can all see what yer at.

          God, gods, or the supernatural…whateva…another example of your disingenuous mode of interaction.

          There’s no misunderstanding on our part.

          You have failed to demonstrate or support the supernatural, gods, God. You reject reasonable scientific hypotheses as explanations for why humans have the desire for believing these now considered silly things, but offer fuck all else reasonable in their place. Wise ta fuck up, will ya?

        • Greg G.

          Why not use “god” then? It doesn’t give the impression that you are using it as a proper noun and it eliminates the use of the shift key if it is to reduce keystrokes.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Will do.

        • Pofarmer

          would agree that Man is certainly different from other life forms in our degree of awareness of ourselves, our environment, and the supernatural (Lewis’ point).

          Yeah, not so much. Other primates engage in behaviors that seem “superstitious” to us. Our behaviors don’t originate in us, and, generally, aren’t ours exclusively. It’s just shoddy thinking.

          The sense of the existence of God (“supernatural” has too many letters) would be a part of nature, IMO.

          More shoddy thinking. What else can you “sense” that you can’t demonstrate to someone else?

        • Clement Agonistes

          I think you need to consider my sentence in the context of that paragraph and the point I was responding to. Overall, our topic is Lewis’ thesis that desire for God is an integral part of humans. If it is not part of our nature, then his point flops. If that point flops, then it is of no use in moving on to your question here (“demonstrate”).

        • Pofarmer

          What in the hell are you talking about? The whole fucking point is that there isn’t some magical “God Sense” that humans have. The behaviors associated with it are also shared with other animals.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “There is no ‘God Sense’, and its existence has a natural explanation.”

          . . . . and you’re asking me WTH I am talking about??

          You guys are the ones beating your chests about how logical, scientific, and factual you are, yet you can’t make a coherent argument, present speculation you can’t support, and make assertion that have no evidence. Dude, that’s supposed to be my turf (if we accept your incoherent, illogical, and un-evidenced claims).

          Sit down, organize your thoughts, see if they withstand your own stated criteria, THEN present them in that organized manner if they pass the test.

        • Susan

          There is no ‘God Sense’, and its existence has a natural explanation.

          That is NOT what Pofarmer said. Just more of your dishonesty.

          You guys are the ones beating your chests about how logical, scientific, and factual you are

          I haven’t seen anyone here do that.

          What would you do without strawmen?

        • Pofarmer

          I’m kinda past wondering if Clement is actually this stupid or not.

        • Otto

          He is smart enough to know he can’t support his position so he makes the discussion anything else in an effort to hide that fact.

        • Pofarmer

          At some point you would think he would process at least of the little bit of information given too him.

        • Otto

          So I thought too…you all saw how long I tried, but he always circled back and hit the reset button.

        • epeeist

          I’m kinda past wondering if Clement is actually this stupid or not.

          Given the behaviours identified by Susan and confirmed by others I am going for “devious little cunt” rather than “irretrievably stupid”.

        • Pofarmer

          I could stand to be corrected, I suppose.

        • epeeist

          I could stand to be corrected, I suppose.

          Well I am not going to make a claim to be correct, but his straw men, his constant misreading of people’s posts and his abuse of language amongst many other things lead me to the conclusion of malice aforethought (and yes, I am aware that one should not assign malignity where incompetence is a valid explanation).

        • MR

          Without doubt.

        • Pofarmer

          Dude, you’re being a turd, and a purposefully ignorant one at that. Other posters have certainly attempted to explain things like Hyperactive Agency Detection to you. There are mulitple studies reporting “religious” acting behavior in other primates. It’s not hard to find if you look at all. These aren’t just my claims, they are well researched fields of study, and the power that they have is that they pretty much explain all religious behavior, not just your pet one.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I’m “being a turd” because I am asking you guys to apply your own stated standard – science – to your own claims of fact. Heck, I would be happy if you guys could present your arguments in an organized fashion.

          Here’s an example just from you:

          What else can you “sense” that you can’t demonstrate to someone else?
          Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I read that as you saying that a sense of god’s existence can’t be demonstrated (doesn’t exist).

          Here, you point to multiple studies showing religious (sense of god) behavior in animals, offering a natural explanation for what you say doesn’t exist.

          The sense of god is almost ubiquitous, throughout time, culture, and geography of humanity. It is demonstrated. It’s so obviously demonstrated that I shouldn’t even have to point this out. Yet . . . .

          Science isn’t about accepting hypotheses as fact. It’s about testing hypotheses to weed out the wheat from the chafe. “Oooo, look, fluffy is acting religious.” isn’t science. It is not wishful thinking. Science isn’t about one’s talent at name-calling. Again, I shouldn’t have to point these out to someone who truly values science. Yet, . . . .

        • Michael Neville

          I’m “being a turd” because I am asking you guys to apply your own stated standard – science – to your own claims of fact.

          No, you’re being a turd because you’re purposefully ignoring the data given to you and pretending it hasn’t been presented. Reread Pofarmer’s comment, this time for comprehension.

        • Clement Agonistes

          The “data” is subjective opinions, not scientifically-confirmed facts.

        • Pofarmer

          offering a natural explanation for what you say doesn’t exist.

          No, this is your own ignorance firing up again. It’s clear that our cognitive functions cause us to have god beliefs, the question is, why? Well, since you can’t demonstrate your god, then, maybe there’s something else? If, say, Chimpanzee’s display ritual like behavior that looks an awful lot like superstitious god play, then maybe, just maybe there’s something further back down the evolutionary line?

          The sense of god is almost ubiquitous, throughout time, culture, and geography of humanity.

          No, what has been ubiquitous has been religious behavior. Humans are social, pattern seeking animals. We need answers, it takes energy for our brains and bodies to find answers. We want the answer to “Why does it rain”. Well, “the gods did this” is just as good an answer as the actual meteorological answer if it satisfies our need for answers and doesn’t have any strong negative consequences. Which leads us to another little fact. You can’t tell, cognitively or emotionally, whether an answer is right or wrong. Just because an answer is pleasing, is no sign it’s correct, but if it satisfies the need for an answer, it will be accepted. So, religious “answers” get accepted as long as there are no strong negative consequences. As our knowledge base has grown, religious “answers” have dwindled significantly.

          It is demonstrated. It’s so obviously demonstrated that I shouldn’t even have to point this out. Yet . . . .

          Yes, many, many different gods and religions have existed. So, what science does, is look for the mechanism which cause religious beliefs, independent of specific religions.

          There’s no wheat to sort from your chaff. It’s all the same muddleheaded fluff.

        • Ignorant Amos

          We seem to always bump up against the “evidence” problem. We can certainly conceive of numerous conditions – hypotheses, if you will – but we’re ultimately playing hunches.

          Well some hypotheses are less “hunches” than others.

          The Relativity of Wrong

          https://chem.tufts.edu/answersinscience/relativityofwrong.htm

          If we are putting science out there as the final say, it is always uncomfortable to throw out a conclusion that lacks the requisite proof.

          Nope…until something better than science comes along, it’s the best we’ve got. It’s track record is demonstrable. Have you got a better method?

          We throw out conjecture, speculation, and wishful thinking as if they were established facts. It’s fun, and could be true, but we don’t know.

          Perhaps…but if they are based in science, they are much more preferable than the alternative you propose. Everything that we’ve ever found an explanation for, god-did-it has never been that explanation, never. So a scientific conjecture, speculation, even wishful thinking, is preferable to a the same based in the supernatural. That’s because based on prior probably I have reasonable expectation that a scientific explanation will turn out to be the most accurate one.

          Stating these things as fact sounds like an act of faith, not science.

          Showing you don’t know what ta fuck yer blathering on about…but at this stage of the game, that will surprise very few here.

        • Pofarmer

          Ok. I was so incredulous that I missed this.

          In the theist view, there has to be an intersection between the
          supernatural and that natural at some point, or else we’d have no
          possibility of sensing its existence.

          This, quite simply, is nonsense. I’m with Susan. You need to define your damn terms. What are you calling supernatural and how do you define it? If there’s an intersection between the Natural and the Supernatural, then, by all accounts, we should be able to detect it. We Cannot. It’s just that simple. The things you’re attributing to the supernatural are much more easily attributed to a misfiring of our Natural tendencies.

          What did you get out of it?

          That all life on Earth is related, and what we see in ourselves as moral tendencies are also seen right down the evolutionary ladder in basic processes that ensure survival.

        • epeeist

          If there’s an intersection between the Natural and the Supernatural, then, by all accounts, we should be able to detect it.

          If Descartes wasn’t able to show how the interaction between two substances how do you expect Clement the Liar to be able to do so?

        • Clement Agonistes

          This, quite simply, is nonsense. I’m with Susan. You need to define
          your damn terms. What are you calling supernatural and how do you
          define it?

          As always . . . . . as the dictionary defines the terms. As always . . . . . i invite you to go definition-shopping and find the most slanted, favorable dictionary definition you can find, and we’ll use that.

          I am using it in the most broad terms – beyond nature.

          My statement that you call nonsense here is one of those Capt. Obvious claims that is low-hanging fruit. From the theist POV, IF something is SN we cannot detect it because nature is all we can observe. So, in order to observe the SN, it must interact with the natural – us. It must present itself in nature for us to have an awareness of it. You say as much immediately after calling the proposition “nonsense”.

          That all life on Earth is related, and what we see in ourselves as moral
          tendencies are also seen right down the evolutionary ladder in basic
          processes that ensure survival.

          . . . .and you don’t see thet as Dawkin-esque? Again, we seem to be in agreement, yet you are arguing as if you disagreed.

          BTW, my neighbor is a neuroscientist at our local state university. I bounced this one off him. It turns out that he not only knows Churchland, but has had dinner at her house and knows her children (who are also NSs). His opinion is that what she describes is in harmony with belief in God.

          The issue would be how the desire becomes innate. We have left Bob’s claim far behind.If God can use, say, an earthquake (natural) to achieve His end (supernatural), using genetics and the chemical reactions genes cause (natural) to implant a DFG 9supernatural) is also possible.

        • Pofarmer

          From the theist POV, IF something is SN we cannot detect it because
          nature is all we can observe. So, in order to observe the SN, it must
          interact with the natural – us. It must present itself in nature for us
          to have an awareness of it. You say as much immediately after calling
          the proposition “nonsense”.

          But yet, theists insist we can’t scientifically study this “supernatural”. That’s why it’s nonsense.

          If
          God can use, say, an earthquake (natural) to achieve His end
          (supernatural), using genetics and the chemical reactions genes cause
          (natural) to implant a DFG 9supernatural) is also possible.

          This is why Christianity is useless for actually discovering anything. It can conform itself to any claim. “What describes everything, describes nothing.”

        • Clement Agonistes

          But yet, theists insist we can’t scientifically study this “supernatural”. That’s why it’s nonsense.

          This ties in nicely with Bob Theology – If god really did exist, then all prayers would be answered predictably. If I wished for my Mother-in-Law to die a slow painful death so I could use the inheritance for prostitutes and drugs, god must grant that prayer or else he doesn’t exist. The problem is repeatability – can other scientists replicate the miracle?

          This is why Christianity is useless for actually discovering anything. It can conform itself to any claim. “What describes everything, describes nothing.”

          This is the same point I tried to make about you guys’ arguments a while back: If they look the same in every respect, how can we know it’s god? I think it’s a great argument for your side. As you point out here, it settles nothing one way or the other.

          The 2 sentences before the one you quoted was where the meat in that paragraph was. Bob was countering Lewis’ claim by asserting that the DFG that we witness across humanity is not innate, . .. . but comes from somewhere else. Regardless of whether we accept my position, Dawkins’, or Churchill’s, Bob’s argument is not supported.

        • Pofarmer

          If god really did exist, then all prayers would be answered predictably.

          No, Clement. The argument would be, if there were a statistically significant outcome to prayer, we would see it. Or, let’s say, if Catholic hospitals outperformed secular instutions, or Baptist hospitals, or, whatever. But, if you say the supernatural is affecting the natural, but can’t demonstrate how we can tell, then don’t be surprised if you’re not believed.

          If they look the same in every respect, how can we know it’s god?

          Because, once again, science is universally applicable. There isn’t Christian algebra and Hindu algebra or Christian Physics and Muslim Physics. There’s just algebra and physics. The whole point, is that as we find natural mechanism, the supernatural is relegated to a smaller and smaller space and now you have to argue that the supernatural actually isn’t detectable at all. I think we agree on that.

        • Clement Agonistes

          The argument would be, if there were a statistically significant outcome to prayer, we would see it.

          In order to have a statistically significant outcome of prayers, . . . . . they have to be answered predictably. If we could not predict how they would be answered, we wouldn’t know what stats to look for.

          But, if you say the supernatural is affecting the natural, but can’t demonstrate how we can tell,

          Your premise of what I am saying is not correct. I claimed that the supernatural and the natural would have to intersect in order for us to be aware of the SN.

          In the case of this article, the SN is the Desire For God that C.S. Lewis was talking about. God works through nature to instill in Man an awareness of god’s existence. Statistically, 95% of mankind possesses this awareness. That is statistically significant.

        • Pofarmer

          In order to have a statistically significant outcome of prayers, . . . .
          . they have to be answered predictably. If we could not predict how
          they would be answered, we wouldn’t know what stats to look for.

          Than you have no basis to make the claim. So you can STFU about it now. Thanks.

          Statistically, 95% of mankind possesses this awareness. That is statistically significant.

          First of all, really? Where did you pull this number from?

          Second of all, if man were aware of “gods” existence, then wouldn’t all religious belief be compatible, or at least similar? How do you account for Pagan beliefs? Hinduism? Early Egyptian Poly and Monothiesm and on and on and on indeterminately? The simple fact is that you can’t, except for special pleading that your “God” is the real god, and all them guys were just wrong. The fact of the matter is, the whole “God sense” thingy doesn’t work outside of The Abrahamic religious, and possibly only with Christianity. Scientific answers for religious faith can answer for all religious sentiment, and can back up it’s findings by noting religious behaviors in other frickin species. The long and short of it is that Lewis was an uneducated dumbass when it comes to this subject, and you are content to follow him. It’s first order sophistry with no substance.

        • epeeist

          The long and short of it is that Lewis was an uneducated dumbass when it comes to this subject

          And indulging in motivated reasoning.

        • Greg G.

          Third of all, why is this awareness geographical and cultural?

        • Otto

          “This ties in nicely with Bob Christian Theology – If god really did exist, then all prayers would be answered predictably.”

          John 14:14 “If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”

        • Clement Agonistes

          . . . . whatever that means (I’m betting “dead M-i-L and drugs” isn’t it, but that’s just me.).

        • Otto

          Whatever that means? Your God said it so I would think you would find it interesting since it contradicts your point.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “… in my name …” This is from Jesus’ – lengthy – Upper Room Discourse. He is speaking to the Disciples, here, in response to Phillip’s request, “Show us the Father.” They are a part of a process that will bring glory (another confusing term) to God. Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will come to them, guiding them in this.

          I find this extremely interesting and have been struggling to understand its complexity for years. I have read several commentaries on this passage over that time, and the experts are not of one mind – they also struggle with it. They do, however, agree with “my interpretation” (They should since I stole it from them). Their interpretation does not contradict my point.

          On so many passages like this, I have been working for decades to understand them. With some passages, I get different things out of them at different times. I see this as an ongoing learning process for me that goes hand-in-hand with spiritual growth. In looking back, I marvel at how little I understood early in my life. That leaves open the possibility that at some point in the future I may come to share your interpretation and level of understanding.

          As of now, I don’t foresee a day when merely inserting “in Jesus’ name” will result in answered prayers for things contrary to God’s will(drugs, prostitutes, murder, etc.). I think we all wish that God were so easily manipulated and our own will could be substituted for His.

        • Greg G.

          “in Jesus’ name”

          Why would you pray in the name of the greatest prayer failure of all time? See John 17:20-23.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Because not all prayers get answered in the way I want them to be?

        • Greg G.

          But Christians have lived and died without believing as one since the prayer was recorded. Many generations have lived and died without be so impressed with the unity of belief of Christians that they would believe. So it cannot ever come true. That makes Jesus the greatest prayer failure of all time.

        • Clement Agonistes

          This prayer was not answered in the manner either one of us would have preferred. That is a disqualifier IYO. Now you have a rationale to do what you were already doing.

        • Greg G.

          Don’t you just hate having to say the answer to a prayer was “Fuck NO!” just to get out of admitting that prayer are not answered.

          If a person does not get what they pray for, the prayer was not answered. This reduces prayer to coincidental happenstance or Christian doubletalk and equivocation.

        • Otto

          I don’t see Bob arguing that God will answer all prayers, good or bad. If God is only going to answer prayers that fit in his will, well that makes those prayers unnecessary and the verse I quoted moot. Since your God did say that he would answer prayers from his followers you have to figure out how to square the circle. I have doubt you and others can come up with a rationalization but that does not mean it makes any sense.

          If what Jesus said was true I would expect his followers to have a better outcome of healing their own children of cancer, but that that doesn’t happen. So therefore you have to figure out how kids with cancer fit ‘God’s will’ and still not have him come out like an asshat, and even if you are able to do that it still does not explain the issue.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I don’t see Bob arguing that God will answer all prayers, good or bad.
          If God is only going to answer prayers that fit in his will, well that
          makes those prayers unnecessary and the verse I quoted moot.

          It would depend on what the purpose of prayer is. IMO, the only purpose is not asking for goodies. Prayer brings the pray-er closer to God. Prayer might not even ask for anything at all. It might just be gratitude. It could only be one of praise. If a person prays for someone they don’t really like, the mere act of praying might take away a lot of that dislike.

          But, I think your point about God’s will is that there would never be an occasion when God would say, “I didn’t see that one coming.” God would be able to know what you were going to say before you said it . . . . So why say it at all? And, if you only get the goodies that were coming your way anyway, why bother?

          It would be tough to know if there was an alternative. If you didn’t pray for those things, would you have gotten them? I think there was something in James about people not having things happen because they didn’t ask. If a person is the kind not to ask for something, then maybe they didn’t get it. So, there may be value in the asking. A person in harmony with God is going to ask for things that would be amenable to God’s Will was how I understood that verse (assuming it didn’t only apply to those in the room).

          If what Jesus said was true I would expect his followers to have a
          better outcome of healing their own children of cancer, but that that
          doesn’t happen. So therefore you have to figure out how kids with cancer
          fit ‘God’s will’ and still not have him come out like an asshat, and
          even if you are able to do that it still does not explain the issue.

          Then, we are back to that old question about why God allows evil at all – another of Bob’s (well, every atheist’s) tough questions. Does an infinitely knowledgeable, infinitely wise being have a good reason for what He is doing? If the kid dies, it is horrible if this life is all there is – as atheists believe. OTOH, if the kid is joyful, pain-free, and loved beyond all measure for eternity, then maybe it wasn’t a horrible thing at all.

          You expect better outcomes – why? Because your theology of what God should be like states that would be the case. Suppose your theology is wrong? Suppose the proper measure of good outcomes doesn’t even involve our short time here on Earth?

          Jesus said a lot fo things. When he talks to the Disciples, he does not paint a pretty picture for them. Later on in John, Peter asks what is in his future, and Jesus says he, too, will be executed. In the Synoptics, Jesus says their faith will bring them the sword. Paul, Peter, and John’s letters discuss the hard times Christians should expect because of their faith. Their joy will not be “better outcomes” on Earth.

        • Otto

          >>>”You expect better outcomes – why? Because your theology of what God should be like states that would be the case.”

          It’s not my theology…it is what God is supposed to have said. Another case of Christians needing to take a straight forward verse and make it as convoluted as possible in order to try and make it fit what is actually seen in reality.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Disqus has been playing havoc with my computer (or my computer just sucks) this morning, so I apologize if this response is s repeat.

          It’s a belief about the nature of God – that all prayers get answered the way we expect them to be. That’s theology, Otto.

          A while back, Bob stated that a “straight forward reading of the Great Commission would tell us that it was only addressed to those who heard it – the Disciples (“Apostles” by then – nod to Greg). Applying Bob’s definition of straight forward, the scripture you pointed to only applied to the Disciples. Atheists are faced with the same interpretive problems Christians face. You can’t even agree on what “straight forward” means. Just imagine the challenges more difficult issues present.

          Both of you are constructing arguments on behalf of those you disagree with – always a dangerous path IF getting at the truth is your goal.

        • Otto

          No, theology is taking scripture and reading into it. All that is being done here is taking the words at face value.

          John 14:14 “If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”

          We both know that followers of Jesus do not get the results that would be expected if that statement was read at face value, that is why it has to be explained away theologically. One possibility is Jesus meant something else entirely, and one possibility is that Jesus was not God and was just another huckster in the history of mankind.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Definition of theology
          1: the study of religious faith, practice, and experience
          especially : the study of God and of God’s relation to the world

        • Otto

          Yep…thanks for proving my point.

        • Clement Agonistes

          The definition doesn’t mention your point (“scripture”). It does mention mine – “God’s relation to the world”.

          If we take the passage at pure face value, Jesus is only talking about the Disciples, not current followers. You point falls on every front.

        • Otto

          So what Jesus says only applies to his disciples…good to know.

        • Clement Agonistes

          It’s your (absurd) interpretation, not mine. You could make the case with other passages that he is saying people in general should do X. He commands a man to wash his eyes in the Pool of Siloam, yet no one thinks it applies to everyone. Most people are going to make a sincere attempt to understand what is being said and the audience. You are not being sincere. Why?

        • Otto

          I am not being sincere because I don’t think you are. If you look at the passage in John 14 (which I am fairly confident you have) Jesus is said to have proclaimed…

          12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

          So therefore Jesus is speaking to all those who believe, he is not just referring to the disciples. I think you know that and just want to dishonestly hand wave the problem away. Like I have told you I have lost any confidence that you actually want an honest discussion and this just another example of that.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Jesus converted, maybe, 100 people. Today, there are something like 2.2 billion Christians. There are any number of possible interpretations of this passage. I think, in the next thought, Jesus says He is sending the Holy Spirit, through which these wonderful things would be accomplished.

          I do not think Jesus was just talking to the Disciples, but IF you are going to limit your interpretation to face value, it is only whoever in the room believes. You can’t argue both face value and a broad interpretation at the same time.

          I know you are messing with me, but this is part of the enjoyment we get from this kind of thing – the give-and-take.

        • Otto

          >>>”There are any number of possible interpretations of this passage.”

          Of course there is, because a straight forward reading would require anyone to admit the statement is not true. So there are 2 options. 1) Come up with a rationalization and/or excuse as to why the statement should not be taken at face value, you guys have to square the circle somehow. And the reason there are so many different interpretations is because if this statement is not going to be taken at face value the only other option is to make it as convoluted as possible, and not everyone is going to agree as how to accomplish that. 2) Admit Jesus was obviously delusional and not who Christians claim he is.

          >>>”I do not think Jesus was just talking to the Disciples, but IF you are going to limit your interpretation to face value, it is only whoever in the room believes.”

          Why? Jesus didn’t qualify that remark, he specifically said whoever believes in him. What reason is there to think he was only talking to believers in the room and not all who believe in him? “Whoever believes in me” not “Whoever in this room believes in me”. It always astonishes me that Jesus is supposed to be God and yet according to his followers he can’t communicate worth a shit.

          I am only messing with you because I have no other choice, you are not willing to dialog honestly.

        • Greg G.

          Where does it say in the Bible that prayer brings you closer to God? I see lots of verses saying you get what you ask for if you have faith. I don’t see any verses that limit prayer to asking to be close to God.

        • Clement Agonistes

          This is why participating here is so valuable. Here’s something that I just assumed to be true (if for no other reason than the more one invests oneself in any proposition, the more real it seems). Now, I need to see if it is biblical. Thanks.

        • Greg G.

          How is your search going on biblical support for prayer bring one closer to God?

          Really, when you come right down to it, there are only four basic prayers: Gimme! Thanks! Oops! and Wow! –Rabbi Gellman

          Gimme!

          Matthew 7:7-8 (NRSV)7 “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

          Matthew 18:19-20 (NRSV)19 Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”

          Mark 11:24 (NRSV)24 So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

          Luke 11:9-10 (NRSV)9 “So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

          John 15:7 (NRSV)7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

          John 15:16 (NRSV)16 You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name.

          John 16:23-24 (NRSV)23 On that day you will ask nothing of me. Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.

          James 1:5-6 (NRSV)5 If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. 6 But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind;

          James 4:3 (NRSV)3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures.

          1 John 3:22 (NRSV)22 and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him.

          1 John 5:14-15 (NRSV)14 And this is the boldness we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the requests made of him.

          Thanks!
          =============

          Oops!

          Mark 11:25 (NRSV)25 “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.”

          James 5:15-16 (NRSV)15 The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.

          Wow!

          Matthew 17:20 (NRSV)20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”

          Matthew 21:21-22 (NRSV)21 Jesus answered them, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only will you do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ it will be done. 22 Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive.”

          John 14:12-14 (NRSV)12 Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.

          Closer to God
          =============

        • Clement Agonistes

          Sadly, I’d pretty much forgotten it, Greg. I guess I just assumed it would bite me on the butt. Those must be your teeth marks, right? I agree with the rabbi about the elements of prayer. It might be analogous to listing off the MLB teams without addressing the reason for their existence.

          I think all of your quotes implicitly say prayer brings one closer to God. ” For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”

          We have people who are believers. That already demands closeness.
          They are gathered because of Jesus (in his name). They are taking action to get closer.
          Jesus will be among them – close – when they do this. If they don’t do it, then Jesus will not be as close.

          If one prayed in the name of Shiva, would they move closer to Jesus? I’ve seen atheists argue that prayer is part of the process of deluding oneself into thinking God is real. The delusion moves away from reality toward (closer to) God. Things we dwell on, we get closer to. Having an actual discussion (albeit, somewhat one-sided) with a person creates closeness; baring your soul to that person, even moreso.

        • Ignorant Amos

          How ya fuck does one get closer to something that is supposed to be everywhere? Regardless if one believes it or not.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Develop a relationship with it. It’s not physical closeness we are talking about here.

        • Ignorant Amos

          What sort of “relationship”?

        • Greg G.

          The sort you have with an imaginary friend but you take relationship advice from a book written when people thought it was a coincidence that the sun was only seen in the day time.

          ETA: The Bible is used as a pre-scientific Dear Abby.

        • Ignorant Amos

          At least those people had an excuse for why they thought such nonsense…Clement has no such excuse for his ignorance in this matter.

        • Greg G.

          I think all of your quotes implicitly say prayer brings one closer to God. ” For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”

          We have people who are believers. That already demands closeness.
          They are gathered because of Jesus (in his name). They are taking action to get closer.
          Jesus will be among them – close – when they do this. If they don’t do it, then Jesus will not be as close.

          That does not say that prayer does it. It implies that the gathering does it, that it is temporary, and that GodJesus is not omnipresent.

          If one prayed in the name of Shiva, would they move closer to Jesus? I’ve seen atheists argue that prayer is part of the process of deluding oneself into thinking God is real. The delusion moves away from reality toward (closer to) God. Things we dwell on, we get closer to.

          Praying to an imaginary Shiva would have the same psychological effect of praying to any other imaginary deity.

          Having an actual discussion (albeit, somewhat one-sided) with a person creates closeness; baring your soul to that person, even moreso.

          That works with a real friend. It works with a stranger on a plane, too, although the other passenger may have the opposite reaction. Talking to an imaginary friend has advantages, like they won’t walk away or betray your confidence.

        • Clement Agonistes

          That does not say that prayer does it. It implies that the gathering does it, that it is temporary, and that GodJesus is not omnipresent.

          Gathering . . . . . to do what? Play poker? Or grow closer to God?

          For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” No, that merely says that Jesus will be there. It doesn’t say, “I will arrive”. But, I know what you mean. In conversations among Christians, we tend of speak of God not being there at times. We correct ourselves to say we just don’t have an awareness of God’s presence.

          Praying to an imaginary Shiva would have the same psychological effect of praying to any other imaginary deity.

          That’s the kind of atheist comment I was referring to. The sense of closeness can be dismissed as nothing more than a natural process. Praying would create the closeness, but it would be a delusion. You grasp the point.

          That works with a real friend. It works with a stranger on a plane, too

          Agreed. You grasp the concept of getting closer through conversation.

        • Greg G.

          Gathering . . . . . to do what? Play poker? Or grow closer to God?

          If Jesus is there when two or three are gathered in his name at the golf course, you still can’t play as a foursome.

          “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” No, that merely says that Jesus will be there. It doesn’t say, “I will arrive”. But, I know what you mean. In conversations among Christians, we tend of speak of God not being there at times. We correct ourselves to say we just don’t have an awareness of God’s presence.

          Why are two or three necessary? Does that mean praying alone is worthless because Jesus isn’t there?

          Matthew has Jesus saying to do the opposite:

          Matthew 6:6-8 (NRSV)6 But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.7 “When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

          The Bible authors were just making shit up.

          That’s the kind of atheist comment I was referring to. The sense of closeness can be dismissed as nothing more than a natural process. Praying would create the closeness, but it would be a delusion. You grasp the point.

          That works with a real friend. It works with a stranger on a plane, too

          Agreed. You grasp the concept of getting closer through conversation.

          I don’t think you are grasping the point. One person might enjoy the conversation while the other person wishes the first person would shut up, such as the video in this comment http://disq.us/p/1wd0lpm It’s like having a relationship with someone when she calls it stalking.

          You are a grownup who hasn’t grown out of the imaginary friend stage, yet.

          Edit: Added the penultimate word.

        • Clement Agonistes

          If Jesus is there when two or three are gathered in his name at the golf course, you still can’t play as a foursome.

          OK, so you interpreted that passage as saying Jesus must physically be there?

          And when Jesus says he will be “in you”, that means . . . . . physically?

          Why are two or three necessary? Does that mean praying alone is worthless because Jesus isn’t there?

          1) Du-uh – it’s plural.
          2) It doesn’t say that, Greg. It points to the value of group worship.
          3) Jesus also says praying by yourself is important.
          4) Jesus prays multiple times with a group
          5) . . . . . and multiple times by Himself. Both are important.

        • Greg G.

          If Jesus is there when two or three are gathered in his name at the golf course, you still can’t play as a foursome.

          OK, so you interpreted that passage as saying Jesus must physically be there?

          No I didn’t. If Jesus was physically there, you and two friends could play as a foursome. I said that if Jesus shows up, you still can’t play a foursome.

          1) Du-uh – it’s plural.

          Do we have a verse of Jesus saying to pray in groups of more than three?

          2) It doesn’t say that, Greg. It points to the value of group worship.

          Small groups of few people. It doesn’t say “two or more”, it says “two or three“.

          3) Jesus also says praying by yourself is important.

          This group excludes praying alone and the verse that describes praying alone excludes praying in front of people.

          4) Jesus prays multiple times with a group

          5) . . . . . and multiple times by Himself. Both are important.

          Jesus was physically there in the story.

          But so what? We know that prayers are not answered as the Bible says. Christians tells us this when they give excuses about “mysterious ways,”, “God is not a vending machine,” and, especially, “sometimes God says ‘no’.”

          So, if you pray alone in your closet, you are praying to a wall. If you pray in public, you are lying to people.

        • Greg G.

          You will probably want to read the following as a point for prayer bringing you closer to God. But the “wonder upon wonder” would be bad things like siege machines, per the preceding verses.

          Isaiah 29:13-14 (NIV)13 The Lord says:“These people come near to me with their mouth    and honor me with their lips,    but their hearts are far from me.Their worship of me    is based on merely human rules they have been taught.14 Therefore once more I will astound these people    with wonder upon wonder;the wisdom of the wise will perish,    the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.”

          But the take-away Jesus that remarks on is:

          Mark 7:6-7 (NIV)6 He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:“‘These people honor me with their lips,    but their hearts are far from me.7 They worship me in vain;    their teachings are merely human rules.’

          Matthew 15:8-9 says the same thing. Jesus is quite explicitly saying that prayer will not bring you closer to God. If you are not already close, your worship is in vain.

          If you feel you are getting close to the Lord, it is your imagination. Even the Bible doesn’t support your fantasy. If the Bible is right, you may end up like this:

          Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV)21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

          Matthew 7:22.5 might say “Didn’t we get close to you through prayer?” Then read verse 23.

        • richardrichard2013

          is there a variant reading of isaiah 29:13 which says that the people are not using their hearts but only following actions without understanding? In this variant then there is no “merely human rules”

        • Greg G.

          I read a half-dozen commentaries on the passage and none mentioned variants but the commentaries tend to be from and for the religious who ignore the Septuagint.

          Isaiah 29:13
          And the Lord has said, This people draw nigh to me with their mouth, and they honour me with their lips, but their heart is far from me: but in vain do they worship me, teaching the commandments and doctrines of men.
          [Brenton Translation of the Septuagint, first published in 1844]

          Compare the Greek versions. I added a line break where Mark appears to have started quoting.

          Isaiah 29:13 (LXX)
          13 και ειπεν κυριος εγγιζει μοι
          ο λαος ουτος τοις χειλεσιν αυτων τιμωσιν με η δε καρδια αυτων πορρω απεχει απ᾽ εμου ματην δε σεβονται με διδασκοντες ενταλματα ανθρωπων και διδασκαλιας

          Mark 7:6-7 (MGNT)
          6 ο δε ειπεν αυτοις καλως επροφητευσεν ησαιας περι υμων των υποκριτων ως γεγραπται οτι
          ουτος ο λαος τοις χειλεσιν με τιμα η δε καρδια αυτων πορρω απεχει απ’ εμου 7 ματην δε σεβονται με διδασκοντες διδασκαλιας ενταλματα ανθρωπων

        • Clement Agonistes

          … but their hearts are far from me.

          I read that as saying they are not sincere.

        • Greg G.

          Hebrews 5:11-14 (NRSV)11 About this we have much to say that is hard to explain, since you have become dull in understanding. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic elements of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food; 13 for everyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is unskilled in the word of righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties have been trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.

          Why would any Christian train their faculties to distinguish good from evil? God hates that. That is why Adam and Eve got banished from the Garden of Evil! Isn’t that why Jesus had to die?

        • Clement Agonistes

          Atheists have such an interesting theology. God’s people move away from God, and suffer for it every time. God’s people move closer to God , and benefit from it. Yet, “God hates that” when His people move closer to Him. Go figure.

        • Greg G.

          Atheists have no theology.

          God’s people move away from God, and suffer for it every time. God’s people move closer to God , and benefit from it. Yet, “God hates that” when His people move closer to Him. Go figure.

          People claim to be their god’s favorite. They get oppressed so they blame their neighbors for moving away from their god thingy. Things go good for them so they claim they moved closer to their god.

          They have a plague so they make up a story about their king taking a census be the cause of it.

          It’s full of crazy. What is crazier is believing the crazy.

        • Clement Agonistes

          You stated, “God hates that. That is a theological statement.

          You could argue that it is a (Judeo)Christian theological statement, but that still makes it a theological statement.

          The second part of my post was commenting on how good your theology is as J-C theology. You have to ignore the thrust of both Jewish and Christian understanding of scripture in order to come up with your interpretation. It is forced and insincere.

        • Greg G.

          I don’t need a theology to comment on the inconsistencies of Christian theology.

          The Bible tells you in the first few chapters what God thinks of people getting close to him.

          Genesis 3:22-24 (NRSV)22 Then the Lord God said, “See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— 23 therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a sword flaming and turning to guard the way to the tree of life.

          Yet Hebrews 5:11-14 is about doing just what God kicked Man out of the GoE for. Why do you need to be “trained by practice to distinguish good from evil” when you already have it? Why would you want to get better at it when you were rejected for being too good at it? You are being “forced and insincere” when you try to reconcile the passages like these.

          If you want to be a good person, then be a good person. Being a good person because some Bible passages tell you to be a good person while other Bible passages tell you that you are rotten to the core only makes it more difficult.

          Genesis 6:5 (NRSV)5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually.

          Jeremiah 17:9 (NRSV)9 The heart is devious above all else;    it is perverse—    who can understand it?

          Mark 7:21 (NRSV)21 For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder,

          John 3:19 (NRSV)19 And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.

          Romans 3:9-20 (NIV)9 What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. 10 As it is written:“There is no one righteous, not even one;11     there is no one who understands;    there is no one who seeks God.12 All have turned away,    they have together become worthless;there is no one who does good,    not even one.”13 “Their throats are open graves;    their tongues practice deceit.”“The poison of vipers is on their lips.”14     “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;16     ruin and misery mark their ways,17 and the way of peace they do not know.”18     “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
          [quotes from Psalm 14:1-3; 53:1-3; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Psalm 5:9; Psalm 140:3; Psalm 10:7 (see Septuagint); Isaiah 59:7-8; Psalm 36:1]

          Romans 3:23 (NRSV)23 since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God;

          Galatians 5:17 (NRSV)17 For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want.

          2 Peter 2:14 (NRSV)14 They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children!

        • Ignorant Amos

          You stated, “God hates that. That is a theological statement.

          Since Greg believes YahwehJesus is imaginary, might you not suppose he is being hypothetical and playing Devils Advocate?

          You could argue that it is a (Judeo)Christian theological statement, but that still makes it a theological statement.

          Whaaa? Holy fuck! How then, does it make the statement an atheist theology? Soft Boy.

          The second part of my post was commenting on how good your theology is as J-C theology.

          How many different theologies are there/have there been in the Judeo-Christian worldviews….here’s a clue for ya…it’s in the thousands.

          Once one recognizes that Christianity has historically engendered antisemitism, then this so-called tradition appears as dangerous Christian dogma (at least from a Jewish perspective). For Christians, the concept of a Judeo-Christian tradition comfortably suggests that Judaism progresses into Christianity—that Judaism is somehow completed in Christianity. The concept of a Judeo-Christian tradition flows from the Christian theology of supersession, whereby the Christian covenant (or Testament) with God supersedes the Jewish one. Christianity, according to this belief, reforms and replaces Judaism. The belief therefore implies, first, that Judaism needs reformation and replacement, and second, that modern Judaism remains merely as a “relic”. Most importantly the belief of the Judeo-Christian tradition insidiously obscures the real and significant differences between Judaism and Christianity. ~ Stephen M. Feldman (1998), Please Don’t Wish Me a Merry Christmas: A Critical History of the Separation of Church and State

          You have to ignore the thrust of both Jewish and Christian understanding of scripture in order to come up with your interpretation.

          Which interpretation are you punting to, and how do you know it is the correct one?

          That’s the problem with interpretations, there are lots of them…that’s why there are so many different Jesus’s.

          Exegesis, eisegesis, and herneumatics…that’s why the stupid book is all things, to all men…and why it has been used to excuse all manner of bad shite throughout history.

          http://www.spirithome.com/bible_exegesis.html

          It is forced and insincere.

          Because you say so? Wise up.

          There is a holy roller arguing on this blog elsewhere that the Bible nowhere advocates an ancient belief in a Flat Earth…and the eejit cites that other eejit William Lame Craig in support of that assertion…so competing exegesis on the same texts. Which one is “forced and insincere”?

          “It is as if the same object has been moulded and reshaped in each age of history. The Bible has sometimes been a public symbol and sometimes a book of extremely private devotion. It has been remote and sacred; it has been aggressively popularized. The Bible has been used by emperors, nuns, professors, ploughboys and imperialists, for hugely different purposes, all in the absolute belief that their use was the right one”

          http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2413-94672015000200010

        • Grimlock

          Here’s the bottom line again.

          You insist that innate is synonymous with natural. But since that’s not how Bob used it your assertion, applied to Bob’s position, is false. Get over it.

        • Clement Agonistes

          The elephant in the room is Bob (who is trim, and not elephant-like at all in appearance, based on his photos). He could end our suffering in a heartbeat. Since that hasn’t happened yet, I assume it won’t. We (well, “I”) are discussing going to be discussing #7 in another post. It would be helpful if you could go through #7 with me without skipping to your conclusion.

        • Grimlock

          Someone with the power to stop our suffering, but does not? Sounds rather like God.

          We (well, “I”) are discussing going to be discussing #7 in another post. It would be helpful if you could go through #7 with me without skipping to your conclusion.

          Are you doing it in another comment in response to me? I’ll try to respond properly when I get to it.

          I have to say our discussion is getting a bit messy. Oh well.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Someone with the power to stop our suffering, but does not? Sounds rather like God.

          Luckily, I wasn’t drinking my coffee when I read that or I would have spray-painted the computer screen with it. LOL! Clearly, Bob sees value in our suffering (or doesn’t exist).

          Speaking of coffee, when you came back with yours, it was in response to a point-by-point discussion of #7 by me.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Right – if it is false 0.1% of the time, that is sufficient to prove plausibility. If it is true 99.9% of the time, that is a “high probability”. Normally, I am the one arguing plausibility and the atheist is arguing probability. I’m loving this!

          Last I checked, it’s not clear to what extent these mechanisms affect the features. But sure, selection is probably the most influential of the effects. But that’s neither here nor there, as I was pointing out how the general principle is false.

          It’s false . . . . except when it is true. Let’s not mix our terms here. Your point is that when those exceptions happen, THEN the rule doesn’t apply. You can only say it is false in the sense that it is not true 100% of the time. This has the feel of one of those Capt. Obvious issues. Surely, we agree on this? And, ultimately, whatever truth exists must be applicable to the DFG (our topic), right?

        • Grimlock

          A proposition that is phrased in such a way as to be a rule without exceptions is disproven if a single counterexample exists.

          If you wish to apply this to the alleged desire for God, feel free to make the attempt.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Are we talking about Bob’s proposition, or Lewis’? We can’t even agree about what Bob’s assertion of fact is, and Bob is right here among us. If we can’t even agree about something this easy, how much more difficult will a proposition without conclusive evidence be? Talking about absolute truth or falsity is pointless. We can’t distinguish between nature and god working through nature. If there is no god, then the 2nd proposition is impossible. If there is a god, then it is possible.

          I think we’ve got a shot at discussing nature. We can observe it and gather evidence. We can put the issue of god – Lewis – aside. “Innate” has a meaning. If Bob defines “innate” in some sense other than what dictionaries say, then let’s pin that down, and change the word choice to one that fits. At that point, we may actually agree. I don’t foresee Bob stepping in here and changing his word choice for us. We can change it on his behalf.

          You argue that he means “innate” in a non-genetic, non-inherited, non-inborn sense. That rules out “innate”. That rules out “side effect of a different innate characteristic”. We need an alternative. “Cultural” works like a charm, as does “environmental”. It could be “taught” from an early age.

        • Greg G.

          You are still equivocating with the word “innate”. Being a synonym does not mean the two words are completely interchangeable. Cats have a natural and innate fear of snakes, particularly being surprised by one. They do not have an innate fear of cucumbers but the innate fear of snakes can illicit the same reaction:

          https://youtu.be/cNycdfFEgBc

          We have a natural and innate fear of falling so the fear of falling out of an airplane in flight is natural. We may have many natural reactions to powered flight but none of them are innate with regard to powered flight.

          We are social creatures with natural and innate instincts to be part of a group and to act as a group which means following a leader. We also have natural innate instincts to obey our parents. We are not that much different than chimpanzees. Religion just exploits these innate desires but the desires are not innate because of religion.

          Ideas of demons, spirits, life after death, gods, goddesses, and Karma, but they are just invisible “cucumbers” painted by religion with language and equivocation fallacies to exploit natural and innate tendencies.

          If your proposition was correct, there should be only one religion possible.

        • Greg G.

          The one I happened to select doesn’t play unless you go to YouTube. I’ll try this one, pretty much the same videos.

          https://youtu.be/pXv44YL_Gio

        • Clement Agonistes

          We are social creatures with natural and innate instincts to be part of a group and to act as a group which means following a leader. We also have natural innate instincts to obey our parents. We are not that much different than chimpanzees. Religion just exploits these innate desires but the desires are not innate because of religion.

          You were doing awesome right until that last sentence when you made a massive, unwarranted leap of logic. Religion is not innate, IMO. It is taught. It is cultural. I think you pointed out in a previous post that religion exploits innate characteristics. I agree with that (minus the editorial dig).

          Desires must come from some place. If they are not innate, then that limits where they can come from. In your example, if we say, “Fear of cucumbers is not innate because it is confused with fear of snakes”:
          1) We have to know that the cat is confusing cucumbers with snakes. That seems like a tough one to me. Perhaps if we have a unique locale in the brain for snake fear that lights up in the presence of cucumbers, that would do the job. I’ve never heard of such a thing (but there are a lot of things I haven’t heard). That sounds like imposing our thoughts on the cat.
          2) If fear of cucumbers is really fear of snakes – which is innate – that sounds innate to me.

          Then, after constructing a argument based on a leap of logic, you use that construct to make yet another massive unwarranted leap – that only one religion is possible. I don’t follow that at all:

          Premise1: There are innate characteristics which lend themselves to belief in god.
          Premise 2: Religions exploit those characteristics.

          Conclusion: Therefore there should be only one religion.

          There is at least one step in between Premise 2 and your Conclusion. Perhaps P3 would be something like, “Unlike other characteristics that are genetic in origin, belief in god could only be expressed in one manner.”?

          I think we would do well to re-visit what “my” (Lewis’, but I’d be honored to have it thought to be from me) proposition would be. In this narrow context (#4 on Bob’s list), it would be that DFG is innate. In that context, all supernatural beliefs fall under that umbrella. Lewis argues that mythologies that preceded Christianity anticipated Christianity – Jesus was when the myth became reality. We would expect to have a variety of expressions of genes, especially if there are multiple genes involved.

        • Greg G.

          Desires must come from some place. If they are not innate, then that limits where they can come from. In your example, if we say, “Fear of cucumbers is not innate because it is confused with fear of snakes”:
          1) We have to know that the cat is confusing cucumbers with snakes. That seems like a tough one to me. Perhaps if we have a unique locale in the brain for snake fear that lights up in the presence of cucumbers, that would do the job. I’ve never heard of such a thing (but there are a lot of things I haven’t heard). That sounds like imposing our thoughts on the cat.
          2) If fear of cucumbers is really fear of snakes – which is innate – that sounds innate to me.

          When I was about 12 or so, a friend of my grandmother was working in her garden when she ran into her house to tell her husband there was a snake in the garden. He went out to where her utensils were flung and found a turtle. She had only seen the head and just assumed it was a snake.

          As a young adult, I used to have a few pet snakes and caught wild snakes with my bare hands. But I was going to handle one of my friend’s pet lizards and saw a head move near my hand unexpectedly. I thought “snake” and my hand jerked out before I could think about it. Even though I could consciously subdue the innate fear of snakes, I still reacted with a reflexive fear response.

          I had a Jackson’s chameleon and a garter snake. I put them on the floor near one another and the chameleon did all it could to make itself look bigger to the snake even though the snake was too small to do anything to the chameleon.

          Land vertebrates have evolved with snakes for tens of millions of years with ancestors being potential prey of snakes.

          I am comfortable with the assumption that cats react to cucumbers that weren’t there a minute earlier as being a snake.

          Then, after constructing a argument based on a leap of logic, you use that construct to make yet another massive unwarranted leap – that only one religion is possible. I don’t follow that at all:

          Premise1: There are innate characteristics which lend themselves to belief in god.
          Premise 2: Religions exploit those characteristics.

          Conclusion: Therefore there should be only one religion.

          There is at least one step in between Premise 2 and your Conclusion. Perhaps P3 would be something like, “Unlike other characteristics that are genetic in origin, belief in god could only be expressed in one manner.”?

          Nope. That is not my reasoning.

          Creatures without memory would have to find food by searching the entire landscape. If a creature can remember where food has been found in the past, it narrows the search pattern. If food is available for a particular reason, a fruit tree for instance, it is beneficial to search there. If food was found in a location as a random thing, it is no more detrimental to search there as any other random place. That is why confirmation bias is not entirely bad for survival.

          Having false beliefs in that way may not be detrimental if it results in some behaviors that have a beneficial effect.

          Having a religion might be of some benefit in maintaining a group. But if the religion had true beliefs that offered tangible benefits, it would give a greater selective advantage. The true memes (that is, ideas that are spread analogous to physical genes) would survive as it helped the individuals thrive and reproduce. As these religions mixed, they would be left with more of the beneficial memes.

          So if there was a religion that was most beneficial, different societies would converge upon it. On the other hand, a religion that was actually true but detrimental would pass by the wayside as its followers died out, such as the Shakers of the 17th and 18th centuries, because they were convinced Jesus was coming soon.

          I think we would do well to re-visit what “my” (Lewis’, but I’d be honored to have it thought to be from me) proposition would be. In this narrow context (#4 on Bob’s list), it would be that DFG is innate.

          Remember when John Lennon mentioned that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus? Remember how crowds reacted to them? It was a cultural phenomenon, not an innate desire for Beatles.

          Ducks do not have an innate desire to follow humans but if a human is the first thing the duckling sees and it imprints on them, it may start following the human.

          You have been brainwashed so severely that you think your desire for God is universal. It isn’t. Get over it.

          Jesus was when the myth became reality.

          Jesus is a myth about a myth becoming reality.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I am comfortable with the assumption that cats react to cucumbers that weren’t there a minute earlier as being a snake.

          And I am satisfied that god exists. The quality of the evidence is the issue

          .Having a religion might be of some benefit in maintaining a group. But if the religion had true beliefs that offered tangible benefits, it would give a greater selective advantage. The true memes (that is, ideas that are spread analogous to physical genes) would survive as it helped the individuals thrive and reproduce. As these religions mixed, they would be left with more of the beneficial memes.
          So if there was a religion that was most beneficial, different societies would converge upon it. On the other hand, a religion that was actually true but detrimental would pass by the wayside as its followers died out, such as the Shakers of the 17th and 18th centuries, because they were convinced Jesus was coming soon.

          What you say makes sense. You present several hypotheses that should be tested. I think verifying (or disproving) your hypotheses would be very difficult. What little evidence there would be would be far from conclusive. Just assuming yourself to be factual puts you in the same boat as me. Pass the salt.

          Ducks do not have an innate desire to follow humans but if a human is the first thing the duckling sees and it imprints on them, it may start following the human.
          You have been brainwashed so severely that you think your desire for God is universal. It isn’t. Get over it.

          Everywhere we look – throughout time, culture, and geography, we see DFG. The duck’s innate desire is for the parent. It substitutes the fake thing for the real thing. The desire of the duck points to something real. Your point would be that the duckling is following a human, and it would be a mistake to say the duck desires a human. God is a substitute for something that is real – a desire for community, for instance. We’re still stuck with an intuitive hypothesis claiming to be a fact. My intuition is not science, either.

        • Otto

          >>>”And I am satisfied that god exists. The quality of the evidence is the issue”

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/88ce040b10e2042cc46adc32c607c5a8a275001d6916c1fca9e67637443a52b7.jpg

          Your turn.

          >>>”Everywhere we look – throughout time, culture, and geography, we see DFG.”

          That is not necessarily the case as has been pointed out to you by me and you seemingly agreed, at least to some extent, so making this statement as a fact is dishonest and is another example of you hitting the reset button.

        • Clement Agonistes

          You are going to have to refresh my memory on that second point.

          Is the picture of the cat in reference to cat psychics?

        • Otto

          That the supposed Desire for God is not necessarily a ‘desire for God’…that it can be a desire to get answers for the unexplained, and to gain power over things we really do not have power over. You make a basic assumption and declare it as a fact.

        • Clement Agonistes

          If you followed my discussion with Greg, you saw him make a similar argument. He stated that DFG is another innate desire that has been mistaken for DFG. I replied to him, “Just assuming yourself to be factual puts you in the same boat as me.“, acknowledging that I also am “making a basic assumption and declaring it as fact.”

          You quoted me as saying that I was satisfied that what I am saying is true. I was responding to Greg essentially saying the same thing (“comfortable”) about his conclusion. My point was that both of us have hypotheses that we cannot prove scientifically, but are content to assume as fact. At the end of my post, I stated that both of us have hypotheses we assume to be fact based on intuition.

          I freely, repeatedly, acknowledged what you point out here. Traditionally, once I agree with you, you quit arguing the point. There is certainly no point to calling me dishonest for being honest.

          What we could be discussing is whether DFG is innate if it is indirectly so. IOW, if we are mistaking an innate desire for control for DFG, does that make DFG not-innate?

        • Otto

          >>>”I replied to him, “Just assuming yourself to be factual puts you in the same boat as me.”

          No it doesn’t, because you are assuming DFG is actually a real thing. You are putting the cart before the horse…again. You need to show there is such a thing as a DFG…not just point to some vague information and assert it.

          >>>”I freely, repeatedly, acknowledged what you point out here. Traditionally, once I agree with you, you quit arguing the point. There is certainly no point to calling me dishonest for being honest.”

          It is dishonest to hold your conclusion as fact when you have admitted it is not, you don’t even acknowledge the possibility…even though you have already admitted it is possible to me and others. If you said… ‘hey I admit that my conclusion is only one possibility, but I think my reasoning makes a better case for the following reasons….’ I would be fine with that…but you are pretending like you have not already admitted in my discussion with you that both hypothesis are reasonable…and then asking Greg to support his position scientifically when you have not even attempted to support yours.

          You said… “Everywhere we look – throughout time, culture, and geography, we see DFG.”…when 1) We don’t even know if there is such a thing as a DFG other than some vague hand waving in a general direction and 2) even if for arguments sake DFG is granted there is nothing to actually connect DFG to a ‘desire for God’, and not a desire for something else for which God being used as a placeholder…like a desire to have power over things we cannot rationally have power over.

          *Edited for clarity

        • Clement Agonistes

          I have stated my hypothesis, identified it as such, and even stated that my evidence is subjective. Yet, you call me dishonest for stating my case honestly. Any time any of us here make a claim, I think it is fair to ask for support for that claim. I think it is fair to subject that support to scrutiny. It is fair whichever side of the argument I am on.

          Greg’s specific challenge to my support for DFG was its universality. You and I defined god as a supernatural force exerting control over nature. You even stated that DFG might be confused with some innate desire for control . . . . which I guess has been assumed to exist rather than been proven to exist. We assume so many of these human desires exist (beauty, justice, love, etc.) because we experience them personally. When we look in every nook and cranny of the planet, throughout time, we see people with this desire for supernatural control – over things we cannot rationally have power over. Yeah, it is a hypothesis. It could be something else. You are the “take it as face value” guy. I’m making an argument on the weak basis that the most probable explanation is the most likely explanation. Like Greg, I’m content with my support, weak though it may be.

        • Susan

          I have stated my hypothesis, identified it as such

          By what criteria do you identify it as a “hypothesis”?

          even stated that my evidence is subjective

          Then, it’s not a hypothesis.

          https://www.britannica.com/science/scientific-hypothesis

          You either already know that or can’t be arsed to justify your terms.

          In your case, as we have all learned, it can be either or both.

          You and I defined god as a supernatural force exerting control over nature.

          Then, a leprechaun can be god.

          When we look in every nook and cranny of the planet, throughout time, we see people with this desire for supernatural control – over things we cannot rationally have power over.

          No. When we look in every nook and cranny of the planet throughout time, “people” are barely there. We see a planet on which single-celled organisms first appeared about a billion years after it formed.

          About 1.4 billion years later, there is a record of multicellular life forms existing.

          There is a vast history of life forms since then, including a couple of hundred of million years of non-bird dinosaurs.

          We have long, complicated stretches of biology since then, in which “humans” are fingernail dust.

          In human history, Yahwehjesus belief represents a tiny dot on a much larger graph of supernatural beliefs.

          No reason to take human supernatural belief seriously about the facts of the history of the earth.

          Supernatural belief doesn’t provide those facts. It acted as a placeholder when humans didn’t have facts.

          So, no.

          When we look in every nook and cranny of the planet, throughout time, we do NOT see that.

          =====

          ETA link

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

        • Susan

          Any time any of here make a claim, I think it is fair to ask for support for that claim.

          You are such a liar.

          I think it is fair to subject that support to scrutiny.

          You are such a liar.

          It is fair which side of the argument I am on.

          See above.

          I’m making an argument on the weak basis that the most probable explanation is the most likely explanation.

          You haven’t provided a thing to show that your explanation is “probable”, nor that you know nor care what “probability” even means.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The problem with your “hypothesis” is that it sucks shite through a smelly sock.

          Why?

          Because based on prior probability, science wins. Every time. God’s did fuck all. So given that scenario. I have reasonable expectation that the scientific explanations will be the ones that if and when the matter is settled, it will the science that will win the day.

          Now you are making the fuckwit argument that all assertions are on an equal footing, because to date the matter ain’t settled. So Lewis’ navel gazing has merit. We get it. It doesn’t. You’ve been given the reasonable alternatives. Ignored them all, preferring a deist approach. And that’s all you’ve got. Only mindfucked woo woo merchants like yerself are buying that snake oil, and then from there extrapolating their favourite flavour of supernatural. We get it. You have nothing better than the wishful thinking of a story book author. Why not move along? You are at this point, just a big waste of time other than as an example to everyone how fucked up religion can make an individual.

        • Otto

          >>>”Yet, you call me dishonest for stating my case honestly.”

          I call you dishonest for pretending like alternative answers, that you have admitted are at least equally plausible, do not exist.

          Asking for support for an argument is fine, but when Greg (or others) offers support you then ask for rock solid scientific support, something you do not demand for your own claims, heck the support you offer for your argument consists of “hey look at all the people that have believed in God throughout the ages…therefore there is an innate DFG”, which has in no way been supported with ANY science whatsoever.

          >>>”You even stated that DFG might be confused with some innate desire for control . . . . which I guess has been assumed to exist rather than been proven to exist.”

          I am not trying to prove there is an innate desire for control, just that such is equally supported by the facts that you are using to conclude a DFG. If both are plausible the best response is to conclude “we don’t know one way or the other”.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I call you dishonest for pretending like alternative answers, that
          you have admitted are at least equally plausible, do not exist.

          Asking for support for an argument is fine, but when Greg (or others) offers
          support you then ask for rock solid scientific support, something you do
          not demand for your own claims

          I subjected you guys’ claims to the same standard you demand of me for mine. I freely – honestly – admit that i do not have a rock-solid scientific case. In this case, Lewis presents his support – a logic-based argument. You guys find his support doesn’t rise to the level of persuading you. You present alternative explanations . . . . with equally weak support.

          In addition to claims about alternative sources for DFG, Greg made the further claim that it was not universal (presumably, if he granted its existence). Again, I presented support for my claim. Your support for his is to call me dishonest.

          I don’t demand it of my claims because I am honest and the scientific case is weak. Now, what is your excuse?

        • Otto

          The difference is that when Greg or I are presenting our hypothetical’s we are not stating them as fact, they are only being used to show that there is other possibilities and NOT that ours are the only possibility.

          >>>”Lewis presents his support – a logic-based argument.”

          One that is lacking and is far too vague to be taken seriously as a foundation for his conclusion.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Lewis doesn’t present a logic based argument ya Dime Bar…that’s the point.

        • Ignorant Amos

          On a basic level…

          Critics of the Lewis’s argument from desire, such as John Beversluis and Gregory Bassham, claim that neither the deductive nor the inductive forms of the argument are successful. Among the questions critics raise are:

          Is Joy, as Lewis describes it (as a “pang,” “stab” “fluttering in the diaphragm,” etc.), more properly characterized as an emotion rather than as a type of desire?

          If Joy is a desire, is it a natural desire in the relevant sense? (Is it innate and universal, for example, like the biological desires Lewis cites?)

          Is Joy (in the sense of a spiritual longing for the transcendent) relevantly similar to the kinds of innate, biological desires Lewis mentions (desires for food and sex, for example)? Or does the argument depend on a weak analogy?

          Do we know, or have good reason to believe, that all natural desires have possible satisfactions? Is this Aristotelian claim still plausible in the light of modern evolutionary theory? Don’t humans naturally desire many things that don’t seem to be attainable (e.g., to possess superhuman or magical powers, to know the future, to remain youthful and unaffected by the ravages of time, and so forth)? Is the natural desire for perfect and eternal happiness more like these fantasy-type desires, or more like the innate, biological desires that Lewis mentions?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah, it is a hypothesis. It could be something else.

          Just over two weeks ago, it was a hunch. And you assert that it is a hunch on equal footing with all hunches any fuckwit asserts. I gave you a link to an essay then, doubtful you read it, that not all hunches, hypothesis, or whatever ya wanna call it, are to be treated equal.

          The Relativity of Wrong

          https://chem.tufts.edu/answersinscience/relativityofwrong.htm

          Science hunches versus Religious hunches…science wins…every time…no religious hunch has ever, in the history of human endeavor, been the explanation for anything that an explanation has been realised.

          But yet you still hang onto the naval gazings of a fantasy writer from the middle of the last century.

          You are the “take it as face value” guy.

          Nope…Otto isn’t. That you come that conclusion after all this time, says a lot about you.

          I’m making an argument on the weak basis that the most probable explanation is the most likely explanation.

          But you haven’t made an argument. All you’ve done is asserted that everyone is making an argument from wishful thinking and they are all on an even keel. But you disregard the substance of everyone else, while at the same time providing fuck all substance of your own. Except that is, to say that if evolution is the answer, then a god driven evolution is is as good as any. Such contrived fuckwittery, and you claim to be a rational thinker that supports science…my arse.

          Like Greg, I’m content with my support, weak though it may be.

          A god did it and CS Lewis thinks so, very weak support indeed. But we get it. You have made it quite clear you have bugger all, now do us all a favour and do one already, you are stinking the place up.

        • Greg G.

          And I am satisfied that god exists. The quality of the evidence is the issue

          I provided evidence for my view. I provided the evidence we would expect if your view had any validity, and it is not there.

          Everywhere we look – throughout time, culture, and geography, we see DFG.

          China has had one of the largest populations and it didn’t have a massive god culture through history. You are cherry-picking.

          What we see are many wrong religions with a priest class spinning yarns and living off the offerings of the working people.

          When humans do reality, they converge on the same ideas. When humans do religion, they diverge, diverge, diverge.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I provided evidence for my view.

          You provided what satisfied you. You confirmed your bias. Scientifically, it was nonsense.

          China has had one of the largest populations and it didn’t have a massive god culture through history.

          It has always had a supernatural controlling force.

          When humans do reality, they converge on the same ideas. When humans do religion, they diverge, diverge, diverge.

          When you mentioned this idea the first time, I thought you were making the opposite point – that religions borrowed from each other, converging, and therefore disproving god. I thought it was a good point, and didn’t challenge it. I applauded your point. Now, apparently any argument can be made by the same evidence . . . . . . meaning it is evidence of nothing.

        • Greg G.

          You provided what satisfied you. You confirmed your bias. Scientifically, it was nonsense.

          Science? You are talking about the supernatural which is defined to be unempirical. You cannot distinguish it from imagination. If the Bible was true, you would have answered prayers instead of excuses.

          It has always had a supernatural controlling force.

          But not a god thingy. You are equivocating again.

          When you mentioned this idea the first time, I thought you were making the opposite point – that religions borrowed from each other, converging, and therefore disproving god. I thought it was a good point, and didn’t challenge it. I applauded your point. Now, apparently any argument can be made by the same evidence . . . . . . meaning it is evidence of nothing.

          It’s like Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina principle: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” There are few ways to be right but many ways to be wrong. Science tests its ideas to weed out the wrong ones in order to leave ones that are closer to being true. Religion may understand that prayer doesn’t really work, that baptism is nothing but symbolism, that they can never know what happens after death, so they change their ideas without any evidence that the new idea is better or worse.

        • Grimlock

          Are we talking about Bob’s proposition, or Lewis’? We can’t even agree about what Bob’s assertion of fact is, and Bob is right here among us. If we can’t even agree about something this easy, how much more difficult will a proposition without conclusive evidence be? Talking about absolute truth or falsity is pointless. We can’t distinguish between nature and god working through nature. If there is no god, then the 2nd proposition is impossible. If there is a god, then it is possible.

          Well, I’ve been talking about this proposition quite a lot:

          “Given naturalism and the theory of evolution, it is expected that every biological feature (including internal desires) has had some evolutionary advantage, at some point in an organisms evolutionary history.”

          Which I understood it to be an underlying assumption on your part. My initial aim was simply to demonstrate that this assumption is erronous.

          Precisely how that relates to Bob’s objection to Lewis… well, that I am not sure of.

          I think there is some differences between “nature” and “god working through nature”. One of which is that “nature” is more ontologically parsimonious. Though we should perhaps let that particular digression lie.

          As for “innate”, I simply point out that Bob uses it in such a way as to not be synonymous with “natural”. I habitually try to limit the scope of my arguments.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Which I understood it to be an underlying assumption on your part. My
          initial aim was simply to demonstrate that this assumption is erronous.

          Precisely how that relates to Bob’s objection to Lewis… well, that I am not sure of.

          Let me take a stab at it.

          1. Lewis argues that DFG is built-in to humanity. Bob argues it is not. IF it is innate, then it is built-in. If it is not innate, then it is external; not part of our genetic nature.

          2. The innate desire to eat is driven by something real – food. Bob and Lewis agree on this point. Lewis argues that the innate DFG is driven by something real – god. Bob argues that since it is not innate, then neither is god, using this (Lewis’) argument.

          If there is a natural, genetic explanation for DFG, whether it be direct (specific genes) or indirect (linked to other genes), it is innate. The only way it is not-innate is if there is a non-genetic – external – explanation. Greg posited that a priestly class of people preyed on the linked characteristics, externally creating a DFG. That’s a tough hypothesis to verify, and iffy as to whether the egg came first or the chicken.

          Can god work through nature? For instance, if a farmer prays for rain, and it rains, could god have used a natural event – rain – to accomplish a supernatural purpose – answering prayer? The naturalist says it was just rain; the farmer, prayer. The event is the same, only the interpretation is different. Entering into a discussion of clouds, barometric pressure, and dew points sheds no light on the proper interpretation. If god can use evolution, then discussing the finer points of evolution sheds no light on why the characteristic exists.

        • Otto

          Clement is starting from the faulty premise that there is a Desire for God, when it very easily could be a desire to try and control things that are typically beyond our control…and/or a desire to have access to answers to questions that are beyond our ability to answer. I have brought this up to Clement but he just hits the reset button and goes back to pretending it is a Desire for God. Rinse, repeat.

        • Grimlock

          I agree that there has not been established that such a desire actually exists, and that the entire argument relies on that faulty premise. (I’m also dubious of the other premise – that every other desire has some “real” object that satisfies it, or some such phrasing.)

        • Grimlock

          I’d appreciated it if you noted it when you made significant edits. As far as I can tell, you edited in this part:

          […] but that is not the same as saying that nature runs on its own without divine influence. I could conceive that God might use genetics to implant the desire for God that we are discussing. It could also be some spark of inspiration that is individually implanted.

          My purpose in asking was to clarify Bob’s comment. He asserted as fact that the desire for God was not innate. He clarified by asserting as fact that it had no survival benefit. Given the naturalist understanding of reality (presumably Bob’s), this did not make sense. Clarification was needed.

          I can take the proposition or leave it. It does not impact my hypothesis one way or another. OTOH, it strikes me as crucial to the naturalist hypothesis. If you want to throw it under the bus, be my guest.

          You want a simple “yes” or “no”. I’m OK with either one. Yes, I accept it as a means of clarifying Bob’s comment. No, I reject it if ti rules out God’s influence.

          I realized that you asked in order to clarify his position. Incidentally, I also asked in order to clarify your position.

          While it is a common position among theists that God somehow guided or tinkered with the universe, I find it to be redundant in terms of explanatory power. And redundant ontological commitments are something I prefer to dismiss.

          You mention that the proposition discussed, that I in my other response to this comment called A, is crucial to the naturalistic worldview. However, I explained to you various ways in which it is false on the naturalistic worldview, so I find this assertion of yours to be erroneous.

          As to whether it clarifies Bob’s comment, I don’t know. I don’t speak for him. I only speak for me.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I’d appreciated it if you noted it when you made significant edits. As far as I tell, you edited in this part:

          Yeah, somehow that got posted in mid-sentence. I finished it a minute later. I don’t get the rationale for announcing a correction – is the thought that days later I would be changing what I said? I didn’t see it as a big deal, but I will make the effort in the future.

          Your explanations still didn’t shed light on the theme of “not-innate” that the sentence you would have been clarifying referred to. His “survival benefit” comment was a clarification itself – an aside, if you will – not the main focus. And, we’re still stuck with a claim supported by speculation, not science.

          Speaking of which, I edited this post to put a “/” before the final “blockquote”.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I don’t get the rationale for announcing a correction – is the thought that days later I would be changing what I said?

          Well that…and other deceptive reasons.

          I didn’t see it as a big deal, but I will make the effort in the future.

          Why does that not surprise me?

          So it wouldn’t be a big deal if someone went along behind your responses to their comments and changed them to make your responses look ridiculous and in doing so, making you look a prize dick to anyone reading the thread later?

        • Grimlock

          Yeah, somehow that got posted in mid-sentence. I finished it a minute later. I don’t get the rationale for announcing a correction – is the thought that days later I would be changing what I said? I didn’t see it as a big deal, but I will make the effort in the future.

          I consider it basic courtesy to facilitate an honest interaction. Whenever one makes an edit, it is clear that one cannot expect one’s discussion partner to be aware of the edit. Thus it seems reasonable to acknowledge the edit, both to acknowledge that it was indeed added at a later time, and to make it easier for other readers to understand the flow of a conversation.

          Your explanations still didn’t shed light on the theme of “not-innate” that the sentence you would have been clarifying referred to. His “survival benefit” comment was a clarification itself – an aside, if you will – not the main focus. And, we’re still stuck with a claim supported by speculation, not science.

          I wasn’t attempting to clarify Bob’s position with the explanation for why proposition A is false. I intended to explain why proposition A is false. As I’ve noted, I don’t speak for Bob.

          I’m not sure what claim to which you’re referring.

          You didn’t follow up on this particularly part of our exchange. (The innermost quote is yours.)

          I can take the proposition or leave it. It does not impact my hypothesis one way or another. OTOH, it strikes me as crucial to the naturalist hypothesis. If you want to throw it under the bus, be my guest.

          You mention that the proposition discussed, that I in my other response to this comment called A, is crucial to the naturalistic worldview. However, I explained to you various ways in which it is false on the naturalistic worldview, so I find this assertion of yours to be erroneous.

          Do you concede that A is not crucial to a naturalistic worldview, in light of my explanation of why A is false? (An explanation which basically boils down to how well-established mechanisms in the theory of evolution implies that some features develop for non-advantageous reasons.)

          I’d also like to follow up on this part from your previous comment:

          You want a simple “yes” or “no”. I’m OK with either one. Yes, I accept it as a means of clarifying Bob’s comment. No, I reject it if ti rules out God’s influence.

          (Emphasis mine.)

          I’m a bit surprised you don’t accept or reject a proposition on its own grounds. This could be interpreted to read that if a proposition somehow goes against your view of God, then that is sufficient reason for you to dismiss it. However, that doesn’t seem like a very charitable interpretation. Would you mind clarifying what you meant?

        • Greg G.

          Yeah, somehow that got posted in mid-sentence. I finished it a minute later. I don’t get the rationale for announcing a correction – is the thought that days later I would be changing what I said? I didn’t see it as a big deal, but I will make the effort in the future.

          The instant the comment is first posted, that version goes out as an email and any browser window on that page is open will receive that version as a new comment notification. Edits do not correct versions that have gone to someone else’s computer. Someone may respond to the version they received the next day. If you change it after the other person has quoted you in a reply, then one of you will look bad.

          If you note that you altered the original, it will be clear that neither person is being deceptive.

        • Clement Agonistes

          That makes sense. Thanks.

        • Clement Agonistes

          1) I disagree that we’re seeing some specific ratio of desire for God vs a lack of such a desire, because I don’t find this alleged “desire” for God to be well defined.
          It would need to be specified in some detail, and I expect we would see, as you touch on, that this so-called “desire for god” is a melting pot of distinct desires. Such as a desire for belonging or control in the world.

          It reminds me of the famous quote from the Supreme Court case on pornography – “I know it when I see it. I liked your “control” point. People long for some controlling force in the world that will set things straight in the end. When you go down the list of attributes of God, they all seem to center around this point. Even with Buddhism, this rings true.

          Bob asserted that the hunger is not innate, as a genetic characteristic would be. If it is not innate – natural – then what is it? It could be learned, but that seems like a natural explanation, as well. And, if the relationship between the hunger and some other – survival – characteristic is indirect, the relationship still exists, right?

          Here I think you’re being unreasonable in your interpretation of Bob. Reading it in context, it seems clear to me that Bob intends to contrast the alleged desire for god with the more basic desires with which such a desire is often compared. Your focus on whether the alleged desire can be considered natural or not strikes me as an irrelevance.
          I think this objection of Bob’s succeeds.

          Here is what Bob said:

          Lewis said,
          Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. . . . If I discover within myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.

          3. Desire for God isn’t an innate desire. If the desires for food, water, sex and other basics are never fulfilled, the human race dies out. The “hunger” for the supernatural has nothing to do with survival. Lewis doesn’t show that this very different desire for God logically fits in with the fundamental desires necessary for life.”

          I read Bob as pointing to Lewis’ claim that creatures are not born with desires unless a satisfying counterpart exists, and claiming the desire for God is not innate (inborn). So, he would be contrasting – as you say – a desire for God (not-inborn) with desires for food, water, etc. (inborn). Bob clarifies with his claim about survival benefit and says Lewis needs to show that a desire for God is necessary for life. I don’t even see how that relates to the contrast – all desires must be necessary for life? Surely, Lewis acknowledged that atheists were alive – he had debates with them. Lewis did not make the claim Bob points to. Logically, Lewis should not make that point. Yet, it is the argument Bob is knocking down. And, in your mind, Bob’s argument succeeds?

          The point about the desire being innate (natural; inborn) is in bold on Point #3. The entire paragraph is claims about the nature of the desire for God, contrasted with desires that are necessary for life. I agree with your interpretation that Bob is making a contrast, but my issue is whether his arguments are rational or not. He makes unsupported premises that do not follow logically. Map out Bob’s logic vs Lewis’. See which one makes sense and which one doesn’t.

        • Grimlock

          When quoting both of us, could you put the quotes in nested blockquotes?

          1) I disagree that we’re seeing some specific ratio of desire for God vs a lack of such a desire, because I don’t find this alleged “desire” for God to be well defined.
          It would need to be specified in some detail, and I expect we would see, as you touch on, that this so-called “desire for god” is a melting pot of distinct desires. Such as a desire for belonging or control in the world.

          It reminds me of the famous quote from the Supreme Court case on pornography – “I know it when I see it. I liked your “control” point. People long for some controlling force in the world that will set things straight in the end. When you go down the list of attributes of God, they all seem to center around this point. Even with Buddhism, this rings true.

          That quote by the Supreme Court strikes me as a bit of a cop-out by the SC.

          I don’t think you’re addressing my point, but that might be because I wasn’t quite clear enough. Let me try to rephrase a bit.

          When Christians are asked about why they believe they give various answers. Some do so because they find the idea of an unguided universe to be utterly baffling, others because they think it simply too unfair if there’s no eternal justice, and so on.

          To my mind, this translates to different needs. Needs for a sense of justice, or control, or moral certainty, or whatever. But these are distinct needs (or desires, if you will). They are not one specific need or desire.

          Do you agree?

          The control thing is fascinating. It’s probably why there is – as a general trend – more religious people where there is greater existential uncertainty. See for instance: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1069397111402465

          What this implies is that this need for control can indeed for most people be satisfied in the natural world. (As it appears to be so for a growing part of the population in secular countries, such as my own country where more than 40 % of the population does not believe in a God or a higher spirit.) So if it was supposed to be a need for god, it fails.

          Now you might object that perhaps not everyone can have this need for control be satisfied. This is true. But it also goes for other needs, such as the need for sex. So such an objection, while valid in a sense, rebut the greater argument. Oh well.

          (Yet another flaw of the argument – not all needs, even those allegedly capable of being satisfied by natural means, can be satisfied for everyone. Of course, we tend to refer to such individuals as suffering from some addiction or other ailment, like sex addiction.)

          What Bob wrote:

          “3. Desire for God isn’t an innate desire. If the desires for food, water, sex and other basics are never fulfilled, the human race dies out. The “hunger” for the supernatural has nothing to do with survival. Lewis doesn’t show that this very different desire for God logically fits in with the fundamental desires necessary for life.”

          Emphasis mine on what I think underlines the point that I consider to be valid.

          The argument typically compares fundamental needs, such as the need for sustenance, with the need for God. What I see this objection from Bob doing is undercutting this comparison, and thus undercutting the justification for why we’d think that every need has something that can satisfy it.

          I do think the way Bob phrased this objection was unfortunate. However, I don’t think you’re justified in equating innate and natural, as you do. Note that Bob elaborates on this in (7), which does seem to argue the same point, and it is clear that he doesn’t equate innate with natural.

          As for whose logic makes sense, I’ve found Lewis’ reasoning, as I understand it, to be somewhat sketchy.

        • Clement Agonistes

          What I think is required to move the discussion forward is one or more of the following.
          (I) A more detailed specification of what this alleged desire actually is. Is it a desire for a leader, as Jim Jones suggests above? Is it a desire for the community and societal support provided by Christianity? Is it a desire for moral certainty? (I don’t think such a detailed specification can be done without revealing fatal flaws in the argument.)

          IF we are using science, we need more than speculation. All speculation gets us to is a hypothesis. We need evidence, right? You are speculating that the desire for God may be an expression of some other gene (leadership, community). Have we even established that genes for such things exist? If it is linked to such a gene, then the desire IS innate – Bob’s point (3) fails.

          (II) Some way to identify how common these desires are in the population.
          (III) An argument for why these desires can’t be satisfied in some other way.
          (IV) A comparison of the alleged desire with desires of a similar nature. For instance, a comparison with other comparably abstract desires.
          What do you think?

          (II) I don’t think this is that difficult. 90% of people believe there is more to reality than the natural. I don’t think a complex definition is necessary.

          (III) Any satisfaction alternative is still an expression of the desire motivating it.

          (IV) I agree. Love, beauty, justice and knowledge were examples Bob mentioned elsewhere in the article. Are they necessary for life? Are they not-innate because they are unnecessary?

          My 2 cents worth . . . . . at a substantial discount.

        • Grimlock

          What I think is required to move the discussion forward is one or more of the following.
          (I) A more detailed specification of what this alleged desire actually is. Is it a desire for a leader, as Jim Jones suggests above? Is it a desire for the community and societal support provided by Christianity? Is it a desire for moral certainty? (I don’t think such a detailed specification can be done without revealing fatal flaws in the argument.)

          IF we are using science, we need more than speculation. All speculation gets us to is a hypothesis. We need evidence, right? You are speculating that the desire for God may be an expression of some other gene (leadership, community). Have we even established that genes for such things exist? If it is linked to such a gene, then the desire IS innate – Bob’s point (3) fails.

          I’ll note that we still don’t have a nuanced specification of the alleged desire for god. It seems to me that the proponent of the argument from desire is simply asserting that we have such a desire, without specifying what this desire actually is a desire for. As I’ve noted in other comments it seems clear that this desire is in fact multiple different desires.

          As for the part about genes, I’ll note that I stated that I think needs are expressions in the brain, which is a general tool, which in turn is the result of a number of genotypes. The idea that a single gene expresses something that complex strikes me as naive.

          As for the alleged failure of Bob’s point (3), you do not account for how he uses the term “innate”, as he elaborates on in (7).

          However, my main point here remains unanswered. Namely that alleged desires for God are multiple distinct desires, and that this ambiguity renders the argument from desire nonsensical. Unless you want to assert that it’s a common desire for there to be a maximally great being, who is a trinity, and who sacrificed himself for our sins. A desire that is separate from cultural contexts.

          (II) Some way to identify how common these desires are in the population.
          (III) An argument for why these desires can’t be satisfied in some other way.
          (IV) A comparison of the alleged desire with desires of a similar nature. For instance, a comparison with other comparably abstract desires.
          What do you think?

          (II) I don’t think this is that difficult. 90% of people believe there is more to reality than the natural. I don’t think a complex definition is necessary.

          (III) Any satisfaction alternative is still an expression of the desire motivating it.

          (IV) I agree. Love, beauty, justice and knowledge were examples Bob mentioned elsewhere in the article. Are they necessary for life? Are they not-innate because they are unnecessary?

          (II) You’re ignoring the related point about the need to distinguish different alleged desires for God. Once this distinction is done, one can investigate how frequent each of these needs are in the population. (One can then also see whether these needs vary in different populations – and if they do indeed differ, this implies that these needs can indeed be satisfied in the natural world.)

          (III) I don’t understand what you mean.

          If a desire that is alleged to be a desire for god, namely one that can’t be satisfied in the natural world, turns out to be a desire that can indeed be satisfied in the natural world… Why, that rebut the argument from desire.

          (IV) With respect to the innate part, see my other remarks about that.

          This comparison can’t be properly done until one has specified what the alleged desires for God actually entail.

        • Clement Agonistes

          IF we are using science, we need more than speculation. All speculation gets us to is a hypothesis. We need evidence, right? You are speculating that the desire for God may be an expression of some other gene (leadership, community). Have we even established that genes for such things exist? If it is linked to such a gene, then the desire IS innate – Bob’s point (3) fails.

          I’ll note that we still don’t have a nuanced specification of the alleged desire for god. It seems to me that the proponent of the argument from desire is simply asserting that we have such a desire, without specifying what this desire actually is a desire for. As I’ve noted in other comments it seems clear that this desire is in fact multiple different desires.
          As for the part about genes, I’ll note that I stated that I think needs are expressions in the brain, which is a general tool, which in turn is the result of a number of genotypes. The idea that a single gene expresses something that complex strikes me as naive.
          As for the alleged failure of Bob’s point (3), you do not account for how he uses the term “innate”, as he elaborates on in (7).

          1) I addressed #7 in my original post, and no one has commented on that part yet. He introduces new concepts in #7 that he excluded in #3. Had he included them, it would have given #3 a different context, and undercut his thesis in #3. IOW, if #7 clarifies #3, then #3 was invalid to begin with. . . . .as I have pointed out. I account for it.

          2) You keep demanding a more detailed definition for “Desire for God”. I have yet to see you make the case that such a thing is relevant to the discussion. Lewis is conceding from Square One that it is exceedingly subjective. We all know what he is talking about, so detail merely changes the subject instead of dealing with it. If Lewis’ logic is bad, there is no need to change the subject.

          3) I agree that thought is an extremely complex process. There are naturalists who will argue that our every thought is pre-determined by DNA. I think our thoughts are something unique and original to us, defining who we are separate from our DNA. . . . . . but then, maybe my DNA made me think that. I don’t think either side as conclusive science. We are speculating no matter what hypothesis we put forward – one gene/2/1 million – we don’t know. At some point, we would have to possess the science to distinguish on expression from potential links. Neuroscience is making spectacular leaps these days. Maybe we’ll know in my lifetime. To say – as fact – that the DFG is linked to some other survival characteristic still means a survival benefit and is speculative, not fact.

          (III) I don’t understand what you mean.
          If a desire that is alleged to be a desire for god, namely one that can’t be satisfied in the natural world, turns out to be a desire that can indeed be satisfied in the natural world… Why, that rebut the argument from desire.

          Your question was whether anything other than God can satisfy the desire. Yes, any of the myriad beliefs in a supernatural, controlling force could do that. Anyone looking for the counterpart for the desire is aware of the desire, or else they wouldn’t be looking. I think Lewis even stated that he thought mythology had its roots in a faint awareness of God. I guess the issue would be just HOW satisfying satisfying needs to be in order to qualify as satisfying. IMO, the person who looks at awesome beauty and has a spiritual experience is realizing a satisfaction of that desire.

        • Grimlock

          Nested blockquotes, please.

          1) I addressed #7 in my original post, and no one has commented on that part yet. He introduces new concepts in #7 that he excluded in #3. Had he included them, it would have given #3 a different context, and undercut his thesis in #3. IOW, if #7 clarifies #3, then #3 was invalid to begin with. . . . .as I have pointed out. I account for it.

          You did indeed make some remarks on #7. Yet as he there clarifies his use of the term “innate”, it clearly means that the way you’ve interpreted it is not the way Bob used it. That’s my point, not the validity of his argument in #7, and as far as I can tell, it is abundantly clear that you misunderstood the way he used it. If you’re neglecting to consider the terminology he uses and defines throughout the entire post, you’re not in a position to make assertion about how he uses terms such as “innate”.

          2) You keep demanding a more detailed definition for “Desire for God”. I have yet to see you make the case that such a thing is relevant to the discussion. Lewis is conceding from Square One that it is exceedingly subjective. We all know what he is talking about, so detail merely changes the subject instead of dealing with it. If Lewis’ logic is bad, there is no need to change the subject.

          As I’ve argued for why I think that the alleged desire for god is in fact multiple distinct desires (e.g. here), your assessment here is simply wrong. Or perhaps you didn’t read it yet.

          3) I agree that thought is an extremely complex process. There are naturalists who will argue that our every thought is pre-determined by DNA. I think our thoughts are something unique and original to us, defining who we are separate from our DNA. . . . . . but then, maybe my DNA made me think that. I don’t think either side as conclusive science. We are speculating no matter what hypothesis we put forward – one gene/2/1 million – we don’t know. At some point, we would have to possess the science to distinguish on expression from potential links. Neuroscience is making spectacular leaps these days. Maybe we’ll know in my lifetime. To say – as fact – that the DFG is linked to some other survival characteristic still means a survival benefit and is speculative, not fact.

          I wonder which naturalists take the position you name there. Probably not someone particularly updated on biology. It sounds more like a strawman than anything else to be honest.

          I have no idea what you mean by the last sentence.

          Your question was whether anything other than God can satisfy the desire. Yes, any of the myriad beliefs in a supernatural, controlling force could do that. Anyone looking for the counterpart for the desire is aware of the desire, or else they wouldn’t be looking. I think Lewis even stated that he thought mythology had its roots in a faint awareness of God. I guess the issue would be just HOW satisfying satisfying needs to be in order to qualify as satisfying. IMO, the person who looks at awesome beauty and has a spiritual experience is realizing a satisfaction of that desire.

          No, that wasn’t quite my question. Rather, I suggested that one way to move this discussion was the following:

          (III) An argument for why these desires can’t be satisfied in some other way.

          Which I elaborated on a bit. Let’s say, as we discussed above, the need for control is what someone interprets as a need for god. (You seem to acknowledge this implicitly above here.) As this need for control disappears, indeed – is satisfied – in the more well to-do nations in the world, it seems clear that this need can be satisfied without any supernatural sheenanigans.

          But that means that this desire can be satisfied by something in this world. So this alleged “desire for god” was no such thing.

          The same, I suspect, can be done for the other needs that people attribute to being a desire for god. This is related to the part of the exchange that you neglected to follow up on (where the inner quote is by me):

          (III) An argument for why these desires can’t be satisfied in some other way.

          (II) I don’t think this is that difficult. 90% of people believe there is more to reality than the natural. I don’t think a complex definition is necessary.

          (II) You’re ignoring the related point about the need to distinguish different alleged desires for God. Once this distinction is done, one can investigate how frequent each of these needs are in the population. (One can then also see whether these needs vary in different populations – and if they do indeed differ, this implies that these needs can indeed be satisfied in the natural world.)

          Basically, once one investigates what the alleged desires for god actually represent, I suspect that it will be clear that these needs – such as the need for control – can be satisfied in purely natural means.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Nested blockquotes, please.

          What does this mean? What am I doing that could be done better?

          1) I addressed #7 in my original post, and no one has
          commented on that part yet. He introduces new concepts in #7 that he
          excluded in #3. Had he included them, it would have given #3 a different
          context, and undercut his thesis in #3. IOW, if #7 clarifies #3, then
          #3 was invalid to begin with. . . . .as I have pointed out. I account
          for it.

          You did indeed make some remarks on #7.
          Yet as he there clarifies his use of the term “innate”, it clearly means
          that the way you’ve interpreted it is not the way Bob used it. That’s
          my point, not the validity of his argument in #7, and as far as I can
          tell, it is abundantly clear that you misunderstood the way he used it.
          If you’re neglecting to consider the terminology he uses and defines
          throughout the entire post, you’re not in a position to make assertion
          about how he uses terms such as “innate”.

          I need clarification here. What you are giving me is an assertion without the supporting evidence. IOW, I am wrong because . . . . you claim I am wrong. Let’s go to the source:

          7. What is “innate”? Proponents of this argument list
          fundamental innate physical needs and drives like food, drink, sex,
          safety, and sleep. They may also throw in higher-level desires for
          beauty, justice, knowledge, friendship, love, and companionship.

          Here’s what Bob said about DFG in #3:

          Lewis doesn’t show that this very different desire for God logically fits in with the fundamental desires necessary for life.

          “Beauty, justice, knowledge, friendship, love, and companionship” are not “necessary for life”. This is inconsistent with his definition in #3. We all know these concepts are real. They exist, but only in the mind. They are unlike food, water, etc. in that respect. We desire things which are tough to define, and the satisfaction for those desires exists also, but may not be tangible or easily defined.

          The evidence, IMO, is crystal clear. A simple claim on your part isn’t sufficient to counter this evidence. You need to present evidence for your claim.

        • Grimlock

          What does this mean? What am I doing that could be done better?

          Put one blockquote inside another blockquote when you’re quoting both yourself and me. Sometimes, when you cite me, you also cite what I responded to, which is fine, but you put both in the same blockquote.

          I need clarification here. What you are giving me is an assertion without the supporting evidence. IOW, I am wrong because . . . . you claim I am wrong. Let’s go to the source:

          You equated innate with natural. Here is how Bob distinguish innate from non-innate:

          7a. The category of innate desires is those things for which there is a clear target of the desire.
          […]
          7b. Everyone must satisfy the needs of hunger and thirst. Not everyone finds satisfaction for a God desire, and not everyone even has such a desire. The apologist may respond that that might also apply to the higher-level desires such as beauty and justice, but this only makes the innate category seem more arbitrary.
          […]
          7c. Another way of seeing the innate/contrived distinction is that the innate desires (for food, sex, and companionship, for example) are those we share with other social animals. Since no animal desires God, why call that desire innate?

          Clearly, these doesn’t exclude other desires from being natural in some sense.

          The evidence, IMO, is crystal clear. A simple claim on your part isn’t sufficient to counter this evidence. You need to present evidence for your claim.

          Fair enough. And you need to follow up on more of the threads of our discussions, such as…

          2) You keep demanding a more detailed definition for “Desire for God”. I have yet to see you make the case that such a thing is relevant to the discussion. Lewis is conceding from Square One that it is exceedingly subjective. We all know what he is talking about, so detail merely changes the subject instead of dealing with it. If Lewis’ logic is bad, there is no need to change the subject.

          As I’ve argued for why I think that the alleged desire for god is in fact multiple distinct desires (e.g. here), your assessment here is simply wrong. Or perhaps you didn’t read it yet.

          Note that my response contained a link to a specific comment.

          3) I agree that thought is an extremely complex process. There are naturalists who will argue that our every thought is pre-determined by DNA. I think our thoughts are something unique and original to us, defining who we are separate from our DNA. . . . . . but then, maybe my DNA made me think that. I don’t think either side as conclusive science. We are speculating no matter what hypothesis we put forward – one gene/2/1 million – we don’t know. At some point, we would have to possess the science to distinguish on expression from potential links. Neuroscience is making spectacular leaps these days. Maybe we’ll know in my lifetime. To say – as fact – that the DFG is linked to some other survival characteristic still means a survival benefit and is speculative, not fact.

          I wonder which naturalists take the position you name there. Probably not someone particularly updated on biology. It sounds more like a strawman than anything else to be honest.

          I have no idea what you mean by the last sentence.

          Your question was whether anything other than God can satisfy the desire. Yes, any of the myriad beliefs in a supernatural, controlling force could do that. Anyone looking for the counterpart for the desire is aware of the desire, or else they wouldn’t be looking. I think Lewis even stated that he thought mythology had its roots in a faint awareness of God. I guess the issue would be just HOW satisfying satisfying needs to be in order to qualify as satisfying. IMO, the person who looks at awesome beauty and has a spiritual experience is realizing a satisfaction of that desire.

          No, that wasn’t quite my question. Rather, I suggested that one way to move this discussion was the following:

          (III) An argument for why these desires can’t be satisfied in some other way.

          Which I elaborated on a bit. Let’s say, as we discussed above, the need for control is what someone interprets as a need for god. (You seem to acknowledge this implicitly above here.) As this need for control disappears, indeed – is satisfied – in the more well to-do nations in the world, it seems clear that this need can be satisfied without any supernatural sheenanigans.

          But that means that this desire can be satisfied by something in this world. So this alleged “desire for god” was no such thing.
          […]
          Basically, once one investigates what the alleged desires for god actually represent, I suspect that it will be clear that these needs – such as the need for control – can be satisfied in purely natural means.

          Do you concede that
          a) the need for a sense of control in the world is what some people consider to be a need for god, and
          b) the need for control appears to be able to be satisfied in the natural world?

          Or else, do you disagree with this?

        • Clement Agonistes

          How about if I put my context in quotes along with your reply?

          I need clarification here. What you are giving me is an assertion without the supporting evidence. IOW, I am wrong because . . . . you claim I am wrong. Let’s go to the source:

          You equated innate with natural. Here is how Bob distinguish innate from non-innate:

          7a. The category of innate desires is those things for which there is a clear target of the desire.
          […]
          7b. Everyone must satisfy the needs of hunger and thirst. Not everyone finds satisfaction for a God desire, and not everyone even has such a desire. The apologist may respond that that might also apply to the higher-level desires such as beauty and justice, but this only makes the innate category seem more arbitrary.
          […]
          7c. Another way of seeing the innate/contrived distinction is that the innate desires (for food, sex, and companionship, for example) are those we share with other social animals. Since no animal desires God, why call that desire innate?

          Clearly, these doesn’t exclude other desires from being natural in some sense.

          1. It doesn’t clarify.

          2. Your argument seems to be that Bob has a definition other than the dictionary definition. I am OK with that to some extent, since people don’t always use words properly. 7a might be defining a new term, “innate desires”, – “things for which there is a clear target.”. Now, maybe he is splitting hairs that people have different beliefs (doctrines) about the nature of God, so the target isn’t “clear”. I don’t think that fits what Lewis is saying. He clearly says God is the target. It is as clear as “food”.

          3 . 7b uses the food and water contrast. We are back to #3 and his assertion that it must be fundamental to life, itself. You told me that is not what he meant. Beauty and justice are not fundamental to life (as I pointed out), but this just makes the desire more arbitrary. Now there’s an assertion in need of clarification. With a wave of his hand, he dismisses what he says is the argument of the other side. They are desires, and they are analogous, but he has declared them arbitrary, and therefore won’t address them. “Arbitrary”, like defining words in ways other than the dictionary?

          4. 7c states that if animals do not have a desire for God, then the desire isn’t innate. Well, that rules out any number of innate characteristics of humans that are not shared. I get reamed out here for arguing that animals don’t have higher functions of humans. yet here, his comment is met with the sound of crickets as heads nod in agreement. Bob makes 2 logical leaps here that beg for support.

          about

        • Grimlock

          Apologies for the late response. I had to go get some coffee.

          Here’s how I see the bottom line:
          A) You interpreted the term “innate” to be intended by Bob to be synonymous with “natural”. When considering how Bob used the term in this article, that’s clearly not justified.

          B) You’re only playing offense, and not defense. My comment to which you responded contains multiple instances of me challenging your position. You neglect to follow up on these. I expect you to do so from now on.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Apologies for the late response. I had to go get some coffee.

          In Colombia?

          Here’s how I see the bottom line:
          A) You interpreted the term “innate” to be intended by Bob to be synonymous with “natural”. When considering how Bob used the term in this article, that’s clearly not justified.

          I quoted the dictionary as saying “natural, inborn”. Please, I invite you to go definition-shopping for a definition that is more friendly toward your argument. Since you were gone, I have also used “inherent”. No matter which definition is chosen, we’ve got to come up with something other than genetics.
          I made 4 enumerated points, addressing the quote you presented. None of them rated mention in this post.

          B) You’re only playing offense, and not defense. My comment to which you responded contains multiple instances of me challenging your position. You neglect to follow up on these. I expect you to do so from now on.

          This is a great point, and I plead guilty to not addressing the rest of your post. I should have. In my defense (probably not what you meant by playing defense), I was pressed for time, spent a lot of time on that post (and still didn’t get a real response) and intended to com back to it later. Things have slowed down now, and I will fix that.

        • Grimlock

          In Colombia?

          I wish. I haven’t been to South America yet.

          I quoted the dictionary as saying “natural, inborn”. Please, I invite you to go definition-shopping for a definition that is more friendly toward your argument. Since you were gone, I have also used “inherent”. No matter which definition is chosen, we’ve got to come up with something other than genetics.
          I made 4 enumerated points, addressing the quote you presented. None of them rated mention in this post.

          I’ll try to outline my position again, because I believe it makes the four points you made in your previous comment redundant in our particular exchange.

          I’m not saying that Bob is using the term innate in a well-defined way in this post. Rather, I’m saying that you’re not justified in thinking he uses it as a synonym of “natural”.

          (After all, while the dictionary might list a meaning of a word, many words have different meanings depending on the usage and context. My favorite being how “open” doesn’t exclude “closed” in some topologies.)

          As such, I’m not particularly concerned with precisely what he means by the term. In fact, I’m inclined to think that he should’ve chosen another term, and defined it, in order to be more precise.

          Does this seem like a reasonable position?

          […]Things have slowed down now, and I will fix that.

          Sounds good. I look forward to it.

        • MR

          If you think a discussion with Clement Dishonistes is going to fair any better than one with Dave, I suggest you check his history. He’s not interested in honest discourse any more than the other

        • Grimlock

          I appreciate your warning. However, I intend to find out for myself – worst case scenario is that I get to think through a subject I haven’t given much thought to before.

        • MR

          And I totally understand that. Just forewarning you. It’s the rest of us that suffer his shitting all over this blog as he leads people on. He seems to be fishing about for feed now that he’s starting to be shunned. I can only hope it doesn’t last much longer. I’ve seen you in action and your contributions deserve better.

        • Clement Agonistes

          As such, I’m not particularly concerned with precisely what he means by the term. In fact, I’m inclined to think that he should’ve chosen another term, and defined it, in order to be more precise.
          Does this seem like a reasonable position?

          Eminently so. I am not anticipating that Bob is going to step in here and help on this score – What term would you recommend?

        • Grimlock

          Eminently so. I am not anticipating that Bob is going to step in here and help on this score – What term would you recommend?

          In the context of this objection of Bob’s?

          3. Desire for God isn’t an innate desire. If the desires for food, water, sex and other basics are never fulfilled, the human race dies out. The “hunger” for the supernatural has nothing to do with survival. Lewis doesn’t show that this very different desire for God logically fits in with the fundamental desires necessary for life.

          I’m not entirely certain. Let me work through it a bit.

          Bob cites Lewis as stating the following:

          Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. . . . If I discover within myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.

          Which I interpret as an argument along these lines:
          1. Every x in the set X has attribute y
          2. x* is in X
          3. x* has attribute y

          Or, translated to this case,
          1. Every mental state that is a desire (is a member of the set of desires) has an object of the desire that exists
          2. The desire for God is a member of the set of all desires
          3. The object of the desire for God (i.e. God) exists

          (I could make this inductive, but that’d just make the phrasing a bit more messy. I’ll simply note that this could be rephrased to allow for exceptions to (1), and leave it at that.)

          In order for (1) to be accepted, we need to justify the premise in some way. What I see Bob’s objection as doing, is to differentiate different types of desires. Desires for sustenance and sex are a type of desire that are very immediate, concrete, vital, and specific. The alleged desire for God is hard to see as being very similar to this.

          To put it in the the way I phrased the argument above, I see it as breaking the relation between the set X and x*: There is a set of mental states that we consider [insert appropriate word here] desires. These desires generally have some existing object(s) of the desire. But the desire for God does not fit into this category, and thus (2) is unjustified. The specific term used isn’t really important to the objection.

          As to what word I’d choose… I might go with a term used in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: Physiological needs.

        • Clement Agonistes

          You state you argument in a very well-organized fashion there. It makes it far easier to follow.

          Bob goes into more detail in #7. He makes a distinction between contrived desires and innate desires. Innate desires would be things that are biologically necessary for the species to continue – food, air, water, sex. They have very well-defined (you called them “specific”) objects of the desires.

          Contrived desires would be things that people desire, but animals don’t – beauty, justice, knowledge, love, god. They have poorly-defined objects of the desires.

          I don’t follow how he arrived at this distinction, nor how it makes contrived desires not-innate, other than given his own non-standard definitions.

          I think in your construct, premises 1 and 2 have to be true in order for 3 to follow logically. 1, as usually tends to be the case, is pretty much a given desires have desirable objects. That leaves 2 as our sticking point – is DFG a real desire, meaning, does it have a desirable object? Well, that’s Lewis’ proof, isn’t it? He proves god’s existence by pointing to the desire. That tends to be kind of circular, so let’s back up for a minute.

          “Thirst” is the name we give for the desire for water. But, thirst can be satisfied by any number of objects besides water. Now, the satisfier for thirst becomes ill-defined. And, is it distilled water, spring water, tap water, filtered water, river water, glacier water, lake water rain water . . . .? One might argue that water in whatever form is simply the most satisfying object since it is the common object within the objects (the x*, if you will). Lewis argues that god, similarly, is the most satisfying for the DFG.

          Are desires for beauty real? Yet tough to pin down? I hope we agree yes to both. I think the wheels start coming off Bob’s argument here. If a person doesn’t believe god is real, then they will not view a DFG as real, either. It becomes subjective.

        • Greg G.

          Thirst is a desire for water. It doesn’t matter how it is consumed as long as it is H2O. I was once in the hospital for a few weeks with an IV drip. When I got out, it took me a while to recognize the sensation as being thirst. So it seems that thirst is a desire we have to learn to associate with water.

          We have a desire for an ideal mate even if we must settle for what we can get because there is no such thing as an ideal mate. So, we know that a desire need not have an existent object.

          We have many things we enjoy when fulfilled yet they are not necessary to be fulfilled. A person can be convinced that an imaginary panacea fulfills these psychologically.

          This will never work with needs like thirst and hunger. Psychologically convince somebody of that and they die. Fulfill their needs for entertainment while offering a imaginary reason for morality and justice, and they will pay you for it.

          There is no desire for gods. It’s a lie that fulfills flexible desires.

        • Clement Agonistes

          Picking up on another point from earlier:

          Your question was whether anything other than God can satisfy the desire. Yes, any of the myriad beliefs in a supernatural, controlling force could do that. Anyone looking for the counterpart for the desire is aware of the desire, or else they wouldn’t be looking. I think Lewis even stated that he thought mythology had its roots in a faint awareness of God. I guess the issue would be just HOW satisfying satisfying needs to be in order to qualify as satisfying. IMO, the person who looks at awesome beauty and has a spiritual experience is realizing a satisfaction of that desire.

          No, that wasn’t quite my question. Rather, I suggested that one way to move this discussion was the following:

          (III) An argument for why these desires can’t be satisfied in some other way.

          Which I elaborated on a bit. Let’s say, as we discussed above, the need for control is what someone interprets as a need for god. (You seem to acknowledge this implicitly above here.) As this need for control disappears, indeed – is satisfied – in the more well to-do nations in the world, it seems clear that this need can be satisfied without any supernatural sheenanigans.

          But that means that this desire can be satisfied by something in this world. So this alleged “desire for god” was no such thing.
          […]
          Basically, once one investigates what the alleged desires for god actually represent, I suspect that it will be clear that these needs – such as the need for control – can be satisfied in purely natural means.
          Do you concede that
          a) the need for a sense of control in the world is what some people consider to be a need for god, and
          b) the need for control appears to be able to be satisfied in the natural world?
          Or else, do you disagree with this?

          This is an excellent point, and I am sorry I didn’t come back to it at the time. When things are going great, and we figuratively have the world by its delicate parts, we don’t feel the need for god. I think this is true on the global level, and on the personal level. So, yes, to some extent the need for control in an out-of-control world is satisfied.

          . . . “to some extent.” Clearly, we are never in total control. It will always be imperfectly satisfied – Loved ones die, our health declines, jobs and relationships are lost. We expend huge amounts of our relationship energy trying to exert control on those around us. Yet, the inconsiderate bastards refuse to recognize my superior wisdom. We fail to control people around us. My point above was that we merely exchange one god for another. Even theists like their gods to be controllable. Our problems will be solved if we just throw the right virgin into the volcano. Science will always explain everything if we only wait long enough. Our need for control is never totally satisfied, and control is only one aspect of the DFG.

          It would be tough, IMO, to come up with an exhaustive list of all the aspects of DFG. In looking over my past posts, I got lazy and referred to “gene” – singular – rather than “genes”. I don’t think there is one “God Gene”. I think it infuses our genetic makeup – what distinguishes us from other animals and plants. There is an intersection of the natural and the supernatural. We see whispers in animals of what is shouted through megaphones in humans.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I’m going back and addressing points from this post that I did not, but should have addressed earlier. You hit on a number of topics, so I’m going to break them up and address them separately to make them more manageable. Addressing them all at once would make for a massive post that I don’t have time for and I hope you don’t have time to read (I hope you have a life). Disqus is also kicking my butt. This runs the risk that I am short-changing larger points that interrelate the smaller points. I welcome your correction if I have done that.

          [My comments in italics]2) You keep demanding a more detailed definition for “Desire for God”. I have yet to see you make the case that such a thing is relevant to the discussion. Lewis is conceding from Square One that it is exceedingly subjective. We all know what he is talking about, so detail merely changes the subject instead of dealing with it. If Lewis’ logic is bad, there is no need to change the subject.

          As I’ve argued for why I think that the alleged desire for god is in fact multiple distinct desires (e.g. here), your assessment here is simply wrong. Or perhaps you didn’t read it yet.

          Note that my response contained a link to a specific comment.

          I clicked on the link, and it took me to Bob’s original article that we have been copying. Was there some specific quote from it that you were pointing to?
          My comment above was that I read Lewis as speaking of DFG in very broad (“subjective”) terms. My point was that introducing specificity is unnecessary and diverting. The context of Bob’s comment(s) is Lewis’ argument. We cannot understand Bob’s argument without understanding Lewis’. Bob edits down Lewis’ quote, fairly IMO, but when we look at the full quote, it mentions multiple distinct desires:
          these earthly blessings, . . . ., never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage.

          Lewis’ theme is that we substitute various things – good things – for God. Elsewhere, he even suggests that all religions spring from this DFG. Whether one worships things or gods, the worship springs from the same source.

          So, the DFG is very broad, non-specific, and encompassing far more than the Christian concept. Demanding specifics misses the point. Bob even criticizes Lewis’ argument here as being Deist – too broad. My “assessment” was about the relevancy of specifics given a very non-specific topic. Your argument is that my assessment is wrong because you have pointed out how many aspects there are to the topic. I agreed that it is complex. I think you are missing the forest for the trees.

        • Grimlock

          Fun fact: Before I write this comment, this post has 666 comments.

          […] Disqus is also kicking my butt. This runs the risk that I am short-changing larger points that interrelate the smaller points. I welcome your correction if I have done that.

          Disqus is getting wacky when the threads get too long. Please let me know if I miss something as well.

          I clicked on the link, and it took me to Bob’s original article that we have been copying. Was there some specific quote from it that you were pointing to?

          The link is to a specific comment (you can tell from the comment # in the hyperlink), but it can take a while to load, especially when the comments are getting long. Well, at least it does for me using Chrome. But I suggest we leave that, and follow up on the rest of your comment instead:

          My comment above was that I read Lewis as speaking of DFG in very broad (“subjective”) terms. My point was that introducing specificity is unnecessary and diverting. The context of Bob’s comment(s) is Lewis’ argument. We cannot understand Bob’s argument without understanding Lewis’. Bob edits down Lewis’ quote, fairly IMO, but when we look at the full quote, it mentions multiple distinct desires:
          “these earthly blessings, . . . ., never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage.”

          Lewis’ theme is that we substitute various things – good things – for God. Elsewhere, he even suggests that all religions spring from this DFG. Whether one worships things or gods, the worship springs from the same source.

          So, the DFG is very broad, non-specific, and encompassing far more than the Christian concept. Demanding specifics misses the point. Bob even criticizes Lewis’ argument here as being Deist – too broad. My “assessment” was about the relevancy of specifics given a very non-specific topic. Your argument is that my assessment is wrong because you have pointed out how many aspects there are to the topic. I agreed that it is complex. I think you are missing the forest for the trees.

          Okay, I’ll try to sketch out something that I think we might agree on. One version of the argument from desire considers the alleged desire to be, as you write, “very broad, non-specific, and encompassing far more than the Christian concept”.

          I’m inclined to think that we both consider this to be a mix of many different desires (to that extent that desires can be cleanly separated from each other). However, we might differ on whether it’s relevant. So here’s my take on why it is relevant:

          (i) The argument from desire leans on some principle that all desires have some property (e.g. that they are desires for something that actually exists). However, I am highly dubious of any such assertion. There are, after all, different types of urges that we call “desires”. Such principles might be true, or probable, for some types of desires, but not others. In order to consider the alleged desire for god, we need to understand what kind of urges we are talking about.

          (ii) We habitually confuse our urges for something else. We might think we want something, while it is in reality an expression of some underlying or suppressed desire. We conflate one desire for another. I’m of the opinion that many such desires that people think is a desire for god, is in fact a desire for something else.

          You mention that Lewis thinks we substitute various other things for god. I find it more plausible (and ontologically parsimonious) to think it’s the other way, that we substitute god for other things.

          How’s this sound to you? Make it any clearer where our disagreement lies?

          As a final comment, I should note that I’m not particularly committed to defending Bob’s arguments. I’ve outlined why I think the argument fails to reach its conclusion in another post somewhere in this delightfully messy Disqus thread.

        • Clement Agonistes

          I think you make some great points here. I think we will want to use the desire for control as a stand-in for any natural desire since we’ve already started discussing it. However, if we go through a list of the attributes of God, it gives us several other human desires that we could use – justice, mercy, love, knowledge, truth, eternal, power.

          Our perspectives are obviously different. Your perspective is that there is no god. Therefore, every desire would have a natural explanation in evolution or environment. I cannot prove otherwise.

          Lewis is making a philosophical argument. I’ll confess that sometimes philosophers leave me scratching my head trying to follow their thought process. They seem to understand their arguments in their own jargon – that I don’t grasp. His argument sounds a little like the “If it can be conceived, then it must be real . . . . . somewhere.” idea. By the same token, it is hard to explain how ubiquitous belief in the supernatural is. It certainly could be due to some perfect storm of genetics. In order for that to be the case, I’m going to end up throwing more onto that bonfire other than god (“soul”, for instance).

        • Susan

          “Beauty, justice, knowledge, friendship, love, and companionship” are not “necessary for life”

          That’s debatable. But as you are just handwaving toward abstract nouns, none of which are defined, and each of which deserves its own treatment, I’m afraid your handwaving (once again) won’t do.

          The evidence, IMO, is crystal clear.

          But you never provide any.

          A simple claim on your part isn’t enough to counter this evidence.

          What evidence?

          Exactly what are you claiming and how do you support it?

          You need to present evidence for your claim.

          Lol.

          Grimlock has presented lots of evidence.

          You have yet to do anything but attack strawmen and shift the burden.

        • Clement Agonistes

          “Beauty, justice, knowledge, friendship, love, and companionship” are not “necessary for life”

          That’s debatable. But as you are just handwaving toward abstract nouns, none of which are defined, and each of which deserves its own treatment, I’m afraid your handwaving (once again) won’t do.

          LOL. You have a talent for self-parody. Great stuff!

        • Susan

          LOL.

          You’re not LOLing me, are you, you great big, fucking hypocrite?

          You have a talent for self-parody.

          No. I’ve just pointed out that all you have is handwaving. Doing something so obvious takes no special talent.

          Great stuff!

          Congratulations on your one-thousandth-and-something (gazillionth?) comment in which you fail to respond with any substance.

        • epeeist

          Congratulations on your one-thousandth-and-something (gazillionth?) comment in which you fail to respond with any substance.

          In a repellent sort of way it is interesting to watch him duck and weave, never answering, always seeking to obscure and fudge the arguments being made against him.

          Here is a person to who truth is unimportant, only to be used when it is in his favour. All he is concerned about is not allowing his dogma to be shown in a bad light and if this means he has to use a Christian version of Taqiyya, then so be it.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I wrote two lengthy replies to his recent comments to me in reference to the Dawkins quote I cited from “The Selfish Gene”…I spent a bit of time going back to the book…I have the 30th anniversary edition, but I see there is a 40th anniversary edition…anyway, I cited a number of places in the book where Clement should be aware of the content of Dawkins position, if he’d read it…for comprehension that is…then I realized he really couldn’t have read it given his apparent lack of understanding, so why bother getting into it with him, life is too short, he’s nothing but a vampire sucking the life out of this forum. The lying cunt cherry picks what he replies to, avoiding the awkward stuff. So I’ll probably only address his mind numbing fuckwittery as and when I choose.

        • epeeist

          So I’ll probably only address his mind numbing fuckwittery as and when I choose.

          Personally I choose not to address his lying fuckwittery at all.

          I don’t choose not to post at No Longer Quivering, they just banned me for “mansplaining” about the Serena Williams fracas. From what I can see this means that a) I am a man and b) I had a contrary opinion to the one in the article.

        • Susan

          Frustrating.

        • epeeist

          Frustrating.

          Yes, especially as I would have supported the idea that there is both sexism and racism in sport and that it needs to be exposed and rooted out.

          However the Serena Williams incident was something different that one also sees in top level sport, a personality who thinks that the rules are for little people and don’t apply to them.It wasn’t a good example to use in favour of eliminating sexism or racism in sport, in some respects it is the exact opposite.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I thought I was the only one with that minority view. Her coach was clearly doing something irregular for a spectator. Whether she seen him doing it or not, is irrelevant. He shouldn’t have been doing it. He should know he shouldn’t be doing it. And he should know the rules of the game that state he should not be doing it…and the penalty for getting caught doing it.

          I got a lot of stick here for holding my position. What is wrong with some people?

        • epeeist

          I thought I was the only one with that minority view.

          Pure anecdata, but the “minority view” seems to be the one take by people who know something about the way sport is run.

          She was being coached, a code violation, first penalty a warning. She engaged in racquet abuse, the penalty for a second code violation is a point deduction. She abused the referee and accused him of dishonesty, a third code violation for which the penalty is a deduction of a game.

          My wife hates fencing a woman called Marie-Chantal Demaille, also a prima donna who equally expects to be treated with deference for numerous successes in the sport.

        • Susan

          I would have supported the idea that there is both sexism and racism in sport and that it needs to be exposed and rooted out.

          And other cases can be made that Serena Williams experienced it in her career.

          But this incident doesn’t seem to be one of the cases.

        • epeeist

          And other cases can be made that Serena Williams experienced it in her career.

          Almost certainly true. I have also read that she has been “body-shamed” over the years in that she doesn’t fit the expectations for a female tennis player.

        • Susan

          I have also read that she has been “body-shamed”.

          I have read of a number of things she and her sister have had to endure over their careers.

          What allowed them to triumph were rules. Because they’re incredibly capable tennis players.

          If the rules were unevenly applied against Serena, then that can be demonstrated by pointing officially to (for instance) white males who did the same thing with this referee and weren’t penalized.

          If that can be shown, then we have something.

          In the meantime, it’s the rules that have allowed Serena to prosper.

          Because under those rules, she has been successful.

          All the insidious racism and sexism that she might have had to endure and still might have to endure are separate issues.

          If someone is going to claim that an official is only motivated by sexism and/or racism, they need to show it.

          Or they’re doing no one any favours.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Wow….a just read the interaction over there….talk of “whataboutery”…squirrels running about all over the feckin’ gaff.

        • epeeist

          But as you are just handwaving toward abstract nouns, none of which are defined, and each of which deserves its own treatment, I’m afraid your handwaving (once again) won’t do.

          And which he won’t hesitate to Humpty-Dumpty in a way that suits his purposes.

        • Raging Bee

          What’s Humpty-Dumptying? I’m guessing it’s messier than sealioning, but hopefully ends sooner.

        • epeeist

          What’s Humpty-Dumptying?

          From Alice Through the Looking Glass:

          When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

        • Raging Bee

          That’s a lotta syllables. Maybe we should abbreviate it…how about Hump-Dumping? Erm, maybe not…

        • Greg G.

          “Hump-Dumping” doesn’t have to mean what it sounds like it means. It can mean anything if you Humpty Dumpty it.

        • Raging Bee

          I thought it was the Mad Hatter who said that.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Jim Jones

          The “desire for god” is actually a desire for a leader to follow. Humans have a strong desire to join a team. Being expelled from a family, tribe or city was a death sentence for most of our existence. Think of any grouping of humans; not only is there a leader, there is almost always a special word for him (her).

          A god is the ultimate leader.

        • Grimlock

          I sort of agree?

          It seems plausible that what some calls a desire for god is in fact an expression of authoritarianism. Though I suspect that “God” is being used as a term for all sorts of desires and needs.

        • Jim Jones

          They can’t define ‘god’ in a sensible way.

          I can.

    • Ignorant Amos

      Then where does it come from? Wouldn’t there have to be a survival benefit?

      You’ve been told…a number of times…now here you are with the “reset button” pressed.

    • Raging Bee

      Wouldn’t there have to be a survival benefit?

      Not necessarily. Are you actually trying to use evo-psych to justify religion?

      • Clement Agonistes

        No. I am trying to get clarification about how desire for the supernatural can be external (not-innate).

        • Ignorant Amos

          Desire for the supernatural might well be innate as a by-product/spandrel of HADD and ToM. HADD and ToM evolved in our species as valuable life preserving traits.

          Evolutionary biology uses the term spandrel for features of an organism arising as byproducts, rather than adaptations, that have no clear benefit for the organism’s fitness and survival. In response to the position that spandrels are just small, unimportant byproducts, Gould and Lewontin argue that “we must not recognize that small means unimportant. Spandrels can be as prominent as primary adaptations”. A main example used by Gould and Lewontin is the human brain. Many secondary processes and actions come in addition to the main functions of the human brain. These secondary processes and thoughts can eventually turn into an adaptation or provide a fitness advantage to humans. Just because something is a secondary trait or byproduct of an adaptation does not mean it has no use.

          Belief in the supernatural may have developed because it had a usefulness.

          One obvious advantage of positing invisible agents is that they can account for what might otherwise be baffling. I could swear I left my keys on the table, but there they are under the sofa. How on Earth did that happen? If I believe in gremlins – invisible beings living in my house that have the desire to cause mischief and the power to do so – then the mystery is immediately solved. Invisible agents provide quick, convenient explanations for events that might otherwise strike us as deeply mysterious and, in so far as these beings can be appeased or persuaded, belief in them can also create the illusion of control, which can be comforting in an otherwise uncertain and dangerous world.

          Scientists working in the cognitive science of religion have offered other explanations, including the hyperactive agency-detecting device (HADD). This tendency explains why a rustle in the bushes in the dark prompts the instinctive thought: ‘There’s someone there!’ We seem to have evolved to be extremely quick to ascribe agency – the capacity for intention and action – even to inanimate objects. In our ancestral environment, this tendency is not particularly costly in terms of survival and reproduction, but a failure to detect agents that are there can be very costly. Fail to detect a sabre-toothed cat, and it’ll likely take you out of the gene pool.

          Desire for particular descriptions of that supernatural, i.e. gods, are external. Along with other supernatural mumbo-jumbo.

          The evolution of a HADD can account for the human tendency to believe in the presence of agents even when none can actually be observed. Hence the human belief in invisible person-like beings, such as spirits or gods. There are also forms of supernatural belief that don’t fit the ‘invisible person-like being’ mould, but merely posit occult forces – eg, feng shui, supernaturally understood – but the HADD doesn’t account for such beliefs.

          The answer isn’t settled, there are a number of hypotheses under consideration. It might be a mix of them. Stephen Law thinks so.

          In fact, I doubt that any single mechanism accounts for the human tendency to hold such supernatural beliefs. Certainly nothing as crude as ‘wishful thinking’ really does the job. What is believed is not always to the liking of the believer; sometimes, as in the case of night visits by demonic beings, it’s absolutely terrifying. In any case, the appeal to wishful thinking just postpones the mystery, as we then require an explanation for why humans are so attracted to believing in invisible beings.

          Whatever the explanations for a desire to believe nonsense, none of them include a god-did-it scenario.

          Whatever the correct explanation for the peculiar human tendency to believe falsely in invisible person-like beings, the fact that we’re so prone to false positive beliefs, particularly when those beliefs are grounded in some combination of testimony and subjective experience, should provide caution to anyone who holds a belief in invisible agency on that basis.

          Belief in supernatural beings is totally natural – and false

          https://aeon.co/ideas/belief-in-supernatural-beings-is-totally-natural-and-false

          You’ve had this told before…you just gloat when ya get a new audience so ya can ask the same question over again…even if worded a wee bit differently. Talk about being the master of the reset button.

        • Greg G.

          It is acquired. Animals have hyper-active agency detection because it is much, much better to presume agency many times when there is none than to miss it when there is the occasional agency that eats people. It is better to assume lightning is from a malevolent deity and seek cover than to stand in an open field during a lightning storm.

          If a culture tries appeasing the invisible forces and someone starts saying there are benefits to the appeasement, a desire can be manufactured in the culture. If there really was a benefit to appeasing the correct deity, all cultures would develop similar religions out of it.

          Some behaviorists trained pigeons to do certain tasks and they received a food reward. Over a weekend, the food dispenser was set to randomly eject food for the birds. When they came in on Monday, the birds were doing all kinds of maneuvers, (spinning around, standing on one leg, etc) then look to see if they got something. The food was dispensed independently of what the birds did but whatever they had done last was impressed on their memory by confirmation bias. Humans are prone to confirmation bias, too. A positive result forms stronger memories than negative, inconsequential results. It is why people think their prayers are answered because they remember the one that was almost what they prayed and forget all the others by saying those just haven’t been answered “yet”.

          But independent religions, as a whole, look like they a a bunch of superstitions based on random results.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Rainmaking rituals are a prime example in humans.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainmaking_(ritual)

          Where prayers or sacrifices to gods and ancestors in the religious cult are not effective in producing rain, rain magic, which is practiced universally in similar rites, is often able to accomplish it. Trained magicians usually perform such rites, but ancestral priests or “persons holding power” also may do so. In rain magic, sprinkling, spitting, or immersion of people or things is often used to call down heavenly moisture. Smoke clouds to attract the rain accomplish the same purpose. There also must be suitable vestments (fresh greens, skins or pelts of water animals), body painting (representing clouds), or adornment with bird down. The colour black in the clothing or on a killed or exposed animal is believed to be especially effective. Animals held responsible for holding the rain or water back (frogs, snakes, or mythological dragons) must be challenged. The sound of rain or thunder is produced with bull-roarers, whistling, noise pots, rattles, and chains. If excessive rain is to be stopped, the injunction to perform or refrain from certain acts (e.g., the prohibition of washing, boiling water, burning objects, making noise, and whistling) must be observed.

  • Raging Bee

    Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those
    desires exists. . . . If I discover within myself a desire which no
    experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is
    that I was made for another world.

    Did CS Lewis never meet a poor person? He sounds totally oblivious to the fact that there are MILLIONS of people who want all manner of things that either don’t exist, don’t exist in sufficient quantities for everyone who wants them, aren’t available in their areas, aren’t affordable to them, or are being forcibly kept from them by more powerful people. This sounds like the “best of all possible worlds” argument, made even sillier than it originally was (which might be considered something of a miracle).

    Can we retroactively give Lewis the Upper-Class Twit of the Year Award for whatever year he said that in?

  • Albionic American

    I don’t understand the appeal of C.S. Lewis’s works. I think of him as Jack Chick with a few more IQ points, an elite education in a useless subject and an inability to draw cartoons. But mentally they belong in the same ballpark.

    • epicurus

      I’m guessing it’s because his books came out in a less critical era, became enshrined in the apologetic canon, and now we are just arguing against ghosts. I think it’s the same with the old “how do you explain the empty tomb” business – an argument for a previous age when most believed the general storyline but just questioned a few supernatural elements.

      • Albionic American

        The tomb of the Persian Emperor Cyrus the Great at Pasargadae, Iran, has stood empty for centuries, but no one believes that it shows that Cyrus rose from the dead.

        • epicurus

          Might be different if a movement started and became influential saying he did.
          There is a good chance an Emperor is probably going to be put in an elaborate tomb, whether the one we now have is actually that exact one is questionable. With an illiterate peasant like Jesus, more likely a common mass grave or pit is a good or better explanation, making empty tomb moot.

        • Raging Bee

          Also, really famous people, especially kings, sometimes have multiple memorials built for them in multiple places, and later generations might mistake them for tombs, and then wonder why the person isn’t buried in them. (Westminster Abbey has several such memorials among the actual tombs — the ground floor is literally littered with them, it’s a messy hodgepodge that, IMHO, really borks the energy I normally feel in such cathedrals.)

          PS: Yes, Jesus may have been at the peasant level (or not, aren’t peasants part of feudal-agrarian societies?), but I’m pretty sure he wasn’t illiterate. The Bible at least says he was very well-read for his age, and argued with wiser guys about religious laws and writings, like the upstart punk he was.

        • Greg G.

          2. Moreover, when I was a child, and about fourteen years of age, I was commended by all for the love I had to learning; on which account the high priests and principal men of the city came then frequently to me together, in order to know my opinion about the accurate understanding of points of the law.

          Oh, wait, that is from Josephus’ autobiography. Luke says Jesus was only 12 (a more “religious” number) when that happened to him and was missing for three days (blatant foreshadowing).

        • Raging Bee

          Are you kidding? Miley is alive and doing concerts all over the place! Oh wait, you’re not talking about that Cyrus? I’ll come in again…

        • Greg G.

          You have an Achy, Breaky Heart.

        • Clement Agonistes

          What made the tomb of Tut so remarkable was that it hadn’t been looted like so many of the others. It makes sense that the tomb of a rich man would be emptied. It doesn’t make sense that the tomb of a beggar would be emptied. You’re trying too hard. epicurus’ argument is better – there never was a tomb in the first place since there was never anyone to bury. It has fewer moving parts.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It doesn’t make sense that the tomb of a beggar would be emptied.

          How many beggars could afford tombs? How would potential looters know a beggar was in a rich man’s tomb?

          You’re trying too hard.

          Nope…given the Christian assertion of an empty tomb…Devil’s Advocate.

          epicurus’ argument is better – there never was a tomb in the first place since there was never anyone to bury. It has fewer moving parts.

          Definitely. But a lot of Christian’s insist on an empty tomb, so what is the most pragmatic and reasonable probable cause. An executed dead man supernaturally rose miraculously and walked off…or what was a common enough theme in antiquity, the body was rogued by grave robbing looters?

    • The elite aspect is an important part, I’m thinking. Lewis was an academic at both Oxford and Cambridge.

      • David Evans

        So was Stephen Hawking. Going to a very good university does not necessarily give you elite attitudes.

        • The elite aspect I was talking about was how he was perceived, not how he acted.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Define elite?

    • Raging Bee

      To be fair, his Narnia books were far better written than any Chick Tract, and actually went a long way toward making Christ’s actual teachings (the bits our parents wanted to teach us at least) relevant and meaningful to kids who are starting to become responsible adults. His apologetics only got this far because they had a talking lion to ride on on.

    • David Evans

      English literature a useless subject. Really?
      I still re-read his The Discarded Image and A Preface To Paradise Lost. They help me understand aspects of the past, which might conceivably be useful.

      • epeeist

        English literature a useless subject.

        I took it to refer to theology rather than English Literature.

        • David Evans

          He had no formal education in theology. In fact he was an atheist from the age of 15 to 32.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Try reading for comprehension.

          AA said…

          I don’t understand the appeal of C.S. Lewis’s works. I think of him as Jack Chick with a few more IQ points, an elite education in a useless subject and an inability to draw cartoons. But mentally they belong in the same ballpark.

          By “works” we take to refer to his theological apologetic’s. Whether he had no formal education or not is irrelevant. Are you saying that his education in his knowledge of religion was not elite?

          He was the son of a C of I minister and lived in a highly religious household. His atheism and return to theism seem to bolster the issue of gaining an elite perspective.

          He had an honorary doctorate in Divinity from St. Andrews, so someone recognized his theological skills as elite. Theology qualifications aren’t really all that anyway.

          He is certainly considered one of the most elite, if not thee most elite, Christian apologist of his time.

          In fact he was an atheist from the age of 15 to 32.

          Yeah…we know.

          There has been some very in-depth discussion here on C.S. Lewis and his theism/atheism…maybe a catch-up is in order before commenting further.

          Michael Faraday had no formal education in science…would I be remiss in stating he still had an elite education in science? I don’t think so.

          But I’m going with your comment as just being a tad pedantic.

        • David Evans

          I think you are not using the word “elite” in the same way as AA. Honorary degrees are given for achievement. J. K. Rowling has honorary degrees. I don’t think AA was using “elite” as a synonym for “high-achieving”, I think he meant to imply that Lewis was out of touch with the common people, which would not be true of him (or of Rowling).

          “Are you saying that his education in his knowledge of religion was not elite?”

          I am saying he was not educated in theology as a member of a select group that is superior in terms of ability or qualities to the rest of a group or society (to borrow a dictionary definition of “elite”). He often made a point of saying that he was speaking as a layman to other laymen, not as a qualified theologian.

          I don’t think I am being pedantic. Knowing that Lewis’s education and his scholarly works were in English literature I naturally took AA’s comment to be about English literature. If he had meant theology he should have been clearer.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Could be…maybe AA will answer. But if that was his usage, it still doesn’t make your comment make anymore sense.

          His “elite” education does not necessarily entail qualifications in theology. His exclusive boys club of 16 years of talking things theology is sufficient for the elite descriptor.

        • Clement Agonistes

          The comment (about Lewis’ degree) was an effort to discredit the source of the argument rather than addressing the substance of the argument itself. The message was not well-received, so the decision was made to attack the messenger.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Wise ta fuck up, will ya? Ya tit.

        • Sample1

          [URL=http://s1146.photobucket.com/user/AlaskanAtheist/media/Our-Discussion_zps6375f4c2.jpg.html][IMG]http://i1146.photobucket.com/albums/o539/AlaskanAtheist/Our-Discussion_zps6375f4c2.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

        • Michael Neville

          Disqus uses HTML, not BB Code. I’d give your link in HTML but Photobucket wants me to disable my ad blocker, which I’m not going to do.

        • Clement Agonistes

          LOL!

        • Bob Jase

          Honestly there is no education in theology, only mental masturbation.

        • epeeist

          The OP did not refer to English literature but to his theological works. It was you who drew the conclusion that he was talking about English literature.

      • Albionic American

        I don’t see the accomplishment of getting degrees in a language you grew up speaking any way. Lewis’s contemporaries in the UK who studied the languages of the peoples in the British Empire as preparation for entering government service at least learned something useful.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’s not what English Lit. is, that’s English Language…and learning a language is more than just knowing how to speak it…just saying.

    • Michael J Edwards

      Your lack of understanding is a reflection on your mental state, not Lewis’s arguments

      • Greg G.

        “Lunatic, Liar, or Lord”. Lewis forgot “Legend”.

      • Lewis’s arguments are compelling to Christians but to no one else. If you want to defend the Argument from Desire or any of his other arguments, go ahead.

        • Michael J Edwards

          “Lewis’s arguments are compelling to Christians but to no one else.”–As your arguments are compelling to atheists and no one else.( both are pretty weak assertions on our part if I left my response in the state as you left yours), so let me give a support for mine:

          I would argue that Lewis’s arguments are the main reason I turned to Christianity, so they appealed to me as a skeptic and not as a Christian . SO just this one example nullifies your statement, unless of course you are going to argue that my experience is false, then support that please..

          Sure, lets take one of them
          Your “Douglas hole” for example as the falsification of desire example…..Who desires a hole in the ground?
          Who ( in a healthy human state) has a burning momentum to find a hole in the ground…and for what natural purpose does finding this hole quench ? is it for hiding, bathing, defecating…etc?

          Desire for food was not a result of first finding food, but a desire to quench the food compulsion , if it were as you said it was, we wouldn’t be here……He would have gone extinct after the first human…….unless your going to introduce luck into the equation

          The very line ” o look a hole…..etc” shows a attitude of discovery, not a quest for fulfillment from desire.

          I believe both of your examples are trying to insert “B” before “A” in the alphabet…..

          Unless im completely misunderstanding you ?

        • “Lewis’s arguments are compelling to Christians but to no one else.”–as your rebuttals are compelling to atheists and no one else.

          I don’t see the symmetry. Almost every atheist here used to be a Christian. The religion never meant much to me, but some were serious evangelicals.

          Let me take it further. My hypothesis is that no atheist, knowledgeable about the arguments pro and con Christianity, ever becomes a Christian for intellectual (not emotional) reasons. More:
          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2012/10/i-used-to-be-an-atheist-just-like-you-2/

          Although I would argue that Lewis’s arguments are the main reason I turned to Christianity, so they appealed to me as a skeptic and not as a Christian . SO just this one example nullifies your statement

          What statement? I’m happy to accept that Lewis’s writings are compelling to some people.

          Your “douglas hole” for example as the falsification of desire example…..Who desires a hole in the gr ound?

          “Douglas hole” is, I’m guessing, a clumsy reference to Douglas Adams’ puddle argument?

          I don’t know or care who desires a hole in the ground. That’s not the point.

        • Michael J Edwards

          “I don’t see the symmetry”- well that I cant help, I think its clear. “The religion never meant much to me, but some were serious evangelicals.”- ok, I get that, but some atheist were serious antit-theist. I dont think the degree of how far one side goes is a argument to “defunk” my statement

          Your article:
          1) Education turned them away from Christianity.—Now the key here is ” you’ve never heard of this” , what research is done here? I can never hear of a box turtle , that doesnt mean one does not exists. Example, lets take John Lennox , Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford and an Emeritus Fellow in Mathematics and Philosophy of Science at Green Templeton College, Oxford University. No its safe to presume he is educated, why hasn’t he left Christianity. You point also pre-assumes that humans who believe in Christianity are not educated ( or to a certain extent, what is that amount of education that is needed?, enough o denounce is just asserted, weak measurement)……….Of course that list is to long to post to nullify that pre assumption.

          ” but well-informed atheists don’t convert to Christianity through reason”—At all ? I dont see research here showing supporting this statement. WHat about me ? How did I come to Christianity? Your assertion seems to include me, so can you tell me the research on me please ?

          “Well-informed atheists, now Christians, wouldn’t make the arguments that apologists make”- They wouldn’t ? 1) What are the arguments are you referring to? 2) now, you do have a strong point on that a conversion does entail personal emotions, but this is part of the humanism we all have. Does that make it wrong? Does it go against the intellectual argument that accompanies the conversion. your postulating they are at odds, but you haven’t shown that, just assumed that.

          “I don’t know or care who desires a hole in the ground. That’s not the point”–Well, the point was weak on your behalf…you talked from CS Lewis desire argument, then inserted a straw-man of discovering a hole, that was to fill a desire that was never there. The adaptation was after the hole was discovered , but not from Desire, from chance, then assigning “uses” from that discovery of chance.

          “What statement?’–the statement Of Desire is one of them….( among others)

          Send me some more of your links….

        • Was John Lennox an atheist like me? Show me. Show me his many articles or books that prove that he had a good handle on the Christian arguments and their weaknesses.

          If you’re simply saying that he’s a well-educated Christian who remains a Christian, yes he is. That addresses my argument not at all. Maybe you’d better reread it.

          You can easily demolish my argument by showing me the Bob-like ex-atheist and his many articles defeating the articles I’ve written here.

          you do have a strong point on that a conversion does entail personal emotions, but this is part of the humanism we all have. Does that make it wrong?

          It means that you acknowledge that people become Christian for non-intellectual reasons. I need intellectual reasons to change. See the problem?

          I’m amazed that the Douglas Adams puddle is so perplexing to you. I can’t think of any way to explain it any better.

          Send me some more of your links….

          Find them yourself. Click on All Posts at the top.

        • Michael J Edwards

          Your comment was that intelligence leads to atheism….Would a person like John Lennox qualify then as intelligent ? Or by observing that he is still a Christian, are you implying that he isn’t intelligent yet ? Just “well read” ( whatever that means) how about “well researched” for being “well read” to draw a logical and supported argument ? You can re-word it all you want I guess.

          “It means that you acknowledge that people become Christian for non-intellectual reasons. I need intellectual reasons to change. See the problem?”— Such as ? People CAN become Christian for non intellectual reasons as well as becoming an atheist for non intellectual reason as well ( accountability, commitment…etc) But, I became one for intellectual reasons…thats what i needed for me to change. So your assertion that intelligent =atheism is false and Intelligence is not exclusive to atheism . Its very narrow minded in fact and prejudicial.

          “‘m amazed that the Douglas Adams puddle is so perplexing to you”–not perplexing at all, just a week argument against desire. The fact you want to call it perplexing and claim I do not understand it, does not give it credibility as a solid argument against Desire. This is just a “wave of the hand” attempt. The example is circular. ” I found a hole,now i have a desire for it, now ill find a purpose for it”. This is not at all the argument from Desire.

          i think maybe you are the one that has the misunderstanding of C.S Lewis’s argument ?

          Did not see the links at top, I will definitely read a few of them………and respond

        • Your comment was that intelligence leads to atheism.

          No, it wasn’t.

          I became [a Christian] for intellectual reasons…thats what i needed to for me to change.

          Good. That’s what I’d need, too. Then do you have intellectual reasons that will convince the atheists here? Share them with us.

          So your assertion that intelligent =atheism is false and Intelligence is not exclusive to atheism .

          Not my assertion.

  • Albionic American

    The bad apologetic arguments never go away, even when the Christians who use them know that they won’t hold up to criticism, because they continue to work on enough unsophisticated people in every generation.

    • Perhaps they’re more effective than you give them credit: they tamp down doubt in Christian minds (sometimes, anyway).

      • Raging Bee

        Or they help some Christians to tamp down doubt in their own minds, while feeling intelligent about doing it.

    • Michael J Edwards

      The bad atheistic arguments never go away, even when the atheist who use them know that they won’t hold up to criticism, because they continue to work on enough unsophisticated people in every generation.

      • Ignorant Amos

        A seen what ya did there…so very clever of you.

        Now let’s just see how you back it up. Show us a bad atheistic argument and explain why? If ya can that is of course and you’re not just spewing shite.

      • epeeist

        The bad atheistic arguments never go away

        So what are the “bad atheistic arguments” to which you refer?

        • MR

          One of my principal “atheistic” argument is, “I don’t believe you, and you wouldn’t believe you either if the arguments you use were used as evidence for a religion you don’t currently believe in.” Followed by, “What evidence would you require for a religion you don’t currently believe in?”

          I get crickets or dissimulation.

        • Comprehensive and succinct.

        • Michael J Edwards

          “”I don’t believe you, and you wouldn’t believe you either if the arguments you use were used as evidence for a religion you don’t currently believe in—Easy, forget religion, Theism isnt about a religion. its believing a theistic explanation is more plausible ( based on the supported arguments explained from both worldviews) than and atheistic explanation…..this doesn’t point to any religion at all…that could be another argument AFTER a theistic explanation is shown to be more probable.

        • MR

          Except that people are rarely trying to convince me of general theism, they’re trying to convince me of their specific religion. I’ve always held that there could be a deistic god, for example, that set the universe in motion but doesn’t interact with it. But what use is it to believe in such a god who doesn’t even care if I believe in him? Shrug. Is there a Christian god? Or some God that wants me to know him? Okay, what evidence? Scripture, miracles, that feeling in your heart? What convinces you?

        • Michael J Edwards

          “Except that people are rarely trying to convince me of general theism, they’re trying to convince me of their specific religion”–yea, I would agree thats what I see more of.

          “But what use is it to believe in such a god who doesn’t even care if I believe in him”–couldnt agree with you more. Although Christianity/Islam teaches that this isnt their God.

          ” deistic god, for example, that set the universe in motion but doesn’t interact with it.”–which i think doesnt make sense, because why are the Laws of gravity, the magnetic, and the nuclear forces so precise and never change? What sustains them to be reliable to use predictable science? We dont know even know what those forces are, we just know the effects, and that they stay constant ..how? Thats was always my question.

          Convinces me: I started with Jesus…if he wasnt real, game over. If his Resurrection can be explained naturally, game over. I started from there..and followed the arguments with the known evidence we have, and deducted what was more plausible in light of all considerations. Then I worked backwards to each argument for and against . Never put all my eggs in one basket and kept little skin in the game to avoid emotion over reason. ( which i found out later was in line with the Christian doctrine)

        • MR

          Why imagine those forces would change or be different or require some outside force to keep them in line? It just adds another level of complexity and makes it even more implausible.

          If you started at Jesus, then that sounds like you already had your answer from the beginning. I’d ask, what evidence convinced you that Jesus was God, but you were already convinced, so it wasn’t evidence that convinced you. You didn’t go from non-belief to belief, you went from belief to belief. What convinced you before that? Imagine for a moment that we had proof that Christianity was invented. What evidence would you need to believe a religion you don’t currently believe?

        • Michael J Edwards

          “Why imagine those forces would change or be different or require some outside force to keep them in line”—Because there is no reasonable answer from within nature to explain it. Especially when you dont even know what it actually is…just its effects. Its fairly known its not a material “thing” so what keeps it consistent and sustainable and functioning with preciseness. If It did change, I would be more inclined to step away from an “outside” source theory.

          “If you started at Jesus, then that sounds like you already had your answer from the beginning”- I would start with Jesus based upon the amount of influence that the Christine faith has risen to. It does not follow that because i started with a question of that specific subject, that I was already “buying into it” and that i was looking for truth afterwards to support my “blind belief” . So starting with a historically documented actual figure of Jesus…I was convinced by evidence that he was real, then I moved from there. Your assuming that I believed first then i look for evidence to support that belief…..Can you prove this about me ? So this also nullify this statement “You didn’t go from non-belief to belief, you went from belief to belief. What convinced you before that?”

          “What convinced you before that?’–What convinced before something convinced me ? What a silly question, This is trying to put the cart before the horse.

          “What evidence would you need to believe a religion you don’t currently believe?”—If Christianity was invented ( that Christ was not who he claimed he is) Why would I trust/believe in it? Your assuming ( as supported by your above statements) that i believe first, then support second. THis is backwards as i have shown.

          ” What evidence would you need to believe a religion you don’t currently believe?”–I see this play on words quite a bit. Again this is all word play based on ignoring the chain of events. your putting B before A in the alphabet by Pre assuming that I believed first.
          So your assumption of “religion not currently believing” in is a false premise. your trying to create a starwman here.

        • Greg G.

          So starting with a historically documented actual figure of Jesus…I was convinced by evidence that he was real, then I moved from there. Your assuming that I believed first then i look for evidence to support that belief…..Can you prove this about me ?

          You assumed you started with evidence. There were many stories written about Jesus but some were so bizarre that they shifted the Overton Window to the point that the canonized gospels appear to be sane. Have you noticed that the early epistles do not support a preacher/teacher from Galilee, nor his teachings? Paul mentions “Jesus” and/or “Christ” about once for every five or six verses but any actual statements about Jesus, past, present, and future, comes from information that appears in the Old Testament, not like he had first century information. It is the same with all of the other early epistles.

          Some scholars who argue that Jesus was historical have researched the sources the author of Mark used and they make very good cases for the use of writings that still exist today. however, when these studies are combined, over 70% of the Gospel of Mark can be accounted for as not really being about Jesus as most of the sources used were not about Jesus. This also shows that there are no independent gospels since John also has the obvious fictions.

          So the gospels are fiction. The epistles are about some idea of a coming Messiah like the Jews had when they provoked a war with Rome assuming the Messiah would come. That leaves second century evidence of Christians who believed the gospels and epistles which does not support a historical Jesus.

        • Grimlock

          Some scholars who argue that Jesus was historical have researched the sources the author of Mark used and they make very good cases for the use of writings that still exist today. however, when these studies are combined, over 70% of the Gospel of Mark can be accounted for as not really being about Jesus as most of the sources used were not about Jesus. This also shows that there are no independent gospels since John also has the obvious fictions.

          Would this be e.g. the parts written to mimic the miracles of Moses and such? (Who was, like, totally historical, obviously.)

        • Greg G.

          Yes, that would be Randel Helms who identified that many of Jesus’ miracles mimic the miracles of Moses, Elijah, and Elisha. Dennis MacDonald points out the similarities of Mark with the Homeric epics. Here are Robert M. Price’s references for Mark from New Testament Narrative as Old Testament Midrash [LINK] by Robert M. Price :

          John Bowman, The Gospel of Mark: The New Christian Jewish Passover Haggadah. Studia Post-Biblica 8. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1965
          J. Duncan M. Derrett, The Making of Mark: The Scriptural Bases of the Earliest Gospel. Volumes 1 and 2. Shipston-on-Stour, Warwickshire: P. Drinkwater, 1985
          Randel Helms, Gospel Fictions. Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1989.
          Dennis R. MacDonald, The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000
          Dale Miller and Patricia Miller. The Gospel of Mark as Midrash on Earlier Jewish and New Testament Literature. Studies in the Bible and Early Christianity 21. Lewiston/Queenston/Lampeter: Edwin Mellen Press
          Wolfgang Roth, Hebrew Gospel: Cracking the Code of Mark. Oak Park: Meyer-Stone Books, 1988.
          William R. Stegner, “The Baptism of Jesus: A Story Modeled on the Binding of Isaac.” In Herschel Shanks (ed.), Abraham & Family: New Insights into the Patriarchal Narratives. Washington, D.C.: Biblical Archaeology Society, 2001.
          Rikki E. Watts, Isaiah’s New Exodus and Mark. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2. Reihe 88. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1997

        • Grimlock

          Very interesting, thanks for the thorough response!

        • Greg G.

          I read a couple of Helm’s books several years ago and read MacDonald a few years later. Then a few years ago, I read them back to back starting with MacDonald. Then whenever Helms referred to oral tradition, I thought, “No, it’s other writings.”

          Helms points out that the mass feedings are based on Elisha’s Feeding of the 100 in 2 Kings 4:42-44.. But MacDonald points out the similarities of the mass feedings are very much like the two feasts attended by Telemauchus, Odysseus’ son in The Odyssey, where he walked to one and sailed to one, just as Jesus does. One of the feasts had nine groups of 500 soldiers, which Mark apparently rounded up once, and rounded down once.

          But that seems to be Mark’s modus operandi, to use a story and blend in some Old Testament references.

          MacDonald points out how Mark uses elements from Homer in either the same order or in reverse order. I think the reverse order is related to the fact that the gospel is written in a chiastic form, as shown by Chiastic Structure of Mark [LINK] by Michael Turton. MacDonald says Mark was written using mimesis but I suspect it was chiastic mimesis, if there is such a thing.

        • Michael J Edwards

          “You assumed you started with evidence”–your assuming I didnt , You need to show/support that i didnt.

          What are these bizarre stories that were transformed into “sane” documents?

          “Have you noticed that the early epistles do not support a preacher/teacher from Galilee, nor his teachings?”—really ? This goes against evry credited historian conclusions. Every epistle from Paul Starts off with an introduction that leads no doubt 1) the subject or the 2) the audience 3) or the source of the reasoning. So your 5 or 6 times that he mentioned Jesus comment…after putting the whole letter INTO CONTEXT, nullifies this..( silly really)

          What scholars ? Even The liberal “Jesus Seminar” would dismiss this comment.

          “So the gospels are fiction”-you havnt shown this at all. This is a false conclusion based on your comments. As well as no Scholastic Historian would back this up

          Even the outspoken skeptic Bart Ehrman argues this point

          https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-general-consensus-of-historians-not-theologians-on-Jesus-history-Is-the-message-of-the-Bible-true

        • Pofarmer

          You’re throwing a lot of big words and big claims around that I don’t think you really understand.

          This goes against evry credited historian conclusions.

          Look. This is just so clearly false. It’s my understanding, that at least among academic British historians, that they assume the Dutch school was correct and Jesus is a myth, either in part or in toto. We can list qualified scholars, including priests and educators, who think that Jesus was a myth.

        • Greg G.

          What are these bizarre stories that were transformed into “sane” documents?

          Well, take the miracles in the gospels. Those are bizarre but not uncommon in ancient literature. But historians discount them. Let’s take the only miracle that the early epistles support, if only vaguely – the resurrection of Jesus. Compare those with the resurrection story of the Gospel of Peter:

          When therefore those soldiers saw it, they awakened the centurion and the elders, for they too were close by keeping guard. And as they declared what things they had seen, again they saw three men come forth from the tomb, and two of them supporting one, and a cross following them. And the heads of the two reached to heaven, but the head of him who was led by them overpassed the heavens. And they heard a voice from the heavens, saying, You have preached to them that sleep. And a response was heard from the cross, Yes.”

          It makes the canonical gospel resurrection stories look relatively sane.

          –really ? This goes against evry credited historian conclusions. Every epistle from Paul Starts off with an introduction that leads no doubt 1) the subject or the 2) the audience 3) or the source of the reasoning. So your 5 or 6 times that he mentioned Jesus comment…after putting the whole letter INTO CONTEXT, nullifies this..( silly really)

          I don’t think you read what I wrote. I did not say anything like “5 or 6 times that he mentioned Jesus comment”. Paul’s writings mention Jesus about once for every 5 or 6 verses. Paul wrotes hundreds of verses, so he mentioned Jesus hundreds of times, by name or title though I did not count where a pronoun or an ambiguous “Lord” was used. But as much as Paul loved to talk about Jesus, he gives very little information about Jesus as a person and all of those claims can be traced to Old Testament writings. I’ll assume the rest of your paragraph is due to your miscomprehension.

          What scholars ? Even The liberal “Jesus Seminar” would dismiss this comment.

          I listed some just a few comments away about 14 hours before you posted. Here is the list I posted:

          John Bowman, The Gospel of Mark: The New Christian Jewish Passover Haggadah. Studia Post-Biblica 8. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1965
          J. Duncan M. Derrett, The Making of Mark: The Scriptural Bases of the Earliest Gospel. Volumes 1 and 2. Shipston-on-Stour, Warwickshire: P. Drinkwater, 1985
          Randel Helms, Gospel Fictions. Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1989.
          Dennis R. MacDonald, The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000
          Dale Miller and Patricia Miller. The Gospel of Mark as Midrash on Earlier Jewish and New Testament Literature. Studies in the Bible and Early Christianity 21. Lewiston/Queenston/Lampeter: Edwin Mellen Press
          Wolfgang Roth, Hebrew Gospel: Cracking the Code of Mark. Oak Park: Meyer-Stone Books, 1988.
          William R. Stegner, “The Baptism of Jesus: A Story Modeled on the Binding of Isaac.” In Herschel Shanks (ed.), Abraham & Family: New Insights into the Patriarchal Narratives. Washington, D.C.: Biblical Archaeology Society, 2001.
          Rikki E. Watts, Isaiah’s New Exodus and Mark. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2. Reihe 88. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1997

          “So the gospels are fiction”-you havnt shown this at all. This is a false conclusion based on your comments. As well as no Scholastic Historian would back this up

          See New Testament Narrative as Old Testament Midrash {LINK] by Robert M. Price. This is a compilation of the work of scholars who are not mythicists. He has just combined them. The authors listed above are those that deal with Mark. There are many others.

          Bart Ehrman wouldn’t even consider this one

          So what? Ehrman’s book, Did Jesus Exist?, was the final straw that convinced me that Jesus never existed. I expected him to show how scholars combine evidence to reach a solid conclusion that Jesus existed. His evidence was the following documents: “Mark, Q, M, L, sayings source, passion narratives, and protoThomas.” We have one of those documents – Mark, of course, but the rest are speculation.

          I will grant that there were sources that fall under M and L as we can identify some of them but they were not about Jesus. Both Matthew and Luke used Antiquities of the Jews. (Many will dispute this by claiming coincidence, which sounds good the first half-dozen times but by the 20th time, it gets old as you have a pattern that needs an explanation.) Matthew has several speeches by Jesus with topics covered by James and there are an inordinate number of unique word and phrase matches between them, almost all of them in the words of Jesus, but James never quotes Jesus even though his arguments would have been stronger if there was a “Jesus said” attached. James only mentioned Jesus twice as a heavenly being. Luke has some of these bits of Matthew from James, so we don’t need Q theory.

          https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-general-consensus-of-historians-not-theologians-on-Jesus-history-Is-the-message-of-the-Bible-true

          Sure, we know about the stated consensus of scholars. Most of the scholars cite the consensus of scholars as if it is evidence for Jesus. But none of them actually base their consensus opinion of the real evidence. From Did Jesus Exist as Part One:

          Odd as it may seem, no scholar of the New Testament has ever thought to put together a sustained argument that Jesus must have lived. To my knowledge, I was the first to try it, and it was a very interesting intellectual exercise.  –Bart Ehrman

        • Michael J Edwards

          “Those are bizarre but not uncommon in ancient literature”-ok, but still lets examine each one? Just because something is mentioned twice doesn’t refute either one of them, each should be considered in a case by case basis.

          “‘It makes the canonical gospel resurrection stories look relatively sane”–ok 1) this is your opinion of what you consider sane , that doesn’t negate or refute anything, its just a statement based on your mental state, not evidence for a supported argument 2) what evidence is drawn from this ? Weather something looks sane or insane to a person draws more questions than supported arguments.

          ” Paul’s writings mention Jesus about once for every 5 or 6 verses. Paul wrotes hundreds of verses, so he mentioned Jesus hundreds of times, by name or title though I did not count where a pronoun or an ambiguous “Lord” was used.’–Paul ( nor any author of the New testament) wrote in verse form at all. they were letters pertaining to the subject at hand as described in the introduction of each letter. Verses were added later as reference points only. ( Very important and big understanding of the skeptic). SO there is no confusion ( scholarly held opinion as well) as to whom Paul is writing to…especially if you follow his lifes works/words. DO you apply this same standard to all writings though ? If your reading a Michael Connley book on Detective harry bosch as the main character, and conclude thru the book ( knowing what the book is about and the characters at the time of reading this book) that if “he” is inserted in a flow of a story on Harry, that a new unknown character is being asserted, or is it just biblical documents? I think your falling into “over skepticism to absurdity” your resting on possibility over reasonable ( as most historians would concur)

          Did a quick review on your list: Is it sake to say that these authors are asserting the “Jesus Myth” argument ? I dont have time to read into all their works…but is it safe to stand on that short observation of them?

          Ehramn : Here’s what Ehrman says in an interview found in the appendix of Misquoting Jesus (p. 252): Notice last sentence.

          Bruce Metzger is one of the great scholars of modern times, and I dedicated the book to him because he was both my inspiration for going into textual criticism and the person who trained me in the field. I have nothing but respect and admiration for him. And even though we may disagree on important religious questions – he is a firmly committed Christian and I am not – we are in complete agreement on a number of very important historical and textual questions. If he and I were put in a room and asked to hammer out a consensus statement on what we think the original text of the New Testament probably looked like, there would be very few points of disagreement – maybe one or two dozen places out of many thousands. The position I argue for in ‘Misquoting Jesus’ does not actually stand at odds with Prof. Metzger’s position that the essential Christian beliefs are not affected by textual variants in the manuscript tradition of the New Testament.

          Your argument for the Apostle writings not being about Jesus/truth/factual is very weak and not accepted in scholarly circles ( on the most part) in fact, this isnt even debated/doubted these days…just explanations/arguments/ theories AFTER the so called resurrection event ( not really debated in historical academia) Not that event or the apostles were talking about “a mystery man” ( which since you are postulating that..who is this mystery man they are referring to ? whats the support for this) ? I mean…If James mentioned “Jesus said” three times your in ? or is it 4, would you then ask for 5 ? This seems pretty weak to me

          I think your over skeptic because you already want it not to be true…………..I would observe your not arguing for truth, but from your will.

          “”But none of them actually base their consensus opinion of the real evidence.”-really ? you have concluded this about all scholars? They enter a field of evidence and research to ignore it ( even though many who are not Christians, admit to the data) then deny it all ?
          This is your assertion/ conclusion ?

        • Greg G.

          -ok, but still lets examine each one? Just because something is mentioned twice doesn’t refute either one of them, each should be considered in a case by case basis.

          Historians dismiss them outright. I have looked at them individually and they all seem to come from the literature of the day, with the literature being about somebody else.

          –ok 1) this is your opinion of what you consider sane , that doesn’t negate or refute anything, its just a statement based on your mental state, not evidence for a supported argument 2) what evidence is drawn from this ? Weather something looks sane or insane to a person draws more questions than supported arguments.

          Does the Gospel of Peter look serious to you? You dismiss the other dying and rising gods. Why exempt yours? There are plenty of supernatural claims in the gospels that should not be taken seriously without extremely good evidence that they occurred. The fact that the stories just happen to mimic miracle stories of the fictional literature of the day should be enough to dismiss them outright. Instead of extremely good evidence for the accounts, we only have evidence that the stories are mundane religious fiction.

          –Paul ( nor any author of the New testament) wrote in verse form at all. they were letters pertaining to the subject at hand as described in the introduction of each letter. Verses were added later as reference points only. ( Very important and big understanding of the skeptic). SO there is no confusion ( scholarly held opinion as well) as to whom Paul is writing to…especially if you follow his lifes works/words. DO you apply this same standard to all writings though ? If your reading a Michael Connley book on Detective harry bosch as the main character, and conclude thru the book ( knowing what the book is about and the characters at the time of reading this book) that if “he” is inserted in a flow of a story on Harry, that a new unknown character is being asserted, or is it just biblical documents? I think your falling into “over skepticism to absurdity” your resting on possibility over reasonable ( as most historians would concur)

          You seem to be going to great lengths to either miss the point or evade the point. The point is simply that Paul loved to talk about Jesus. He mentioned Jesus over three hundred times in the letters accepted to be authentic but he seldom gave any information about him and the little information he gives appears to be derived from Old Testament sources, not from first, second, or third-hand information from a first century person.

          Did a quick review on your list: Is it sake to say that these authors are asserting the “Jesus Myth” argument ? I dont have time to read into all their works…but is it safe to stand on that short observation of them?

          No, it is safe to assume that none of them are asserting Jesus Myth theory. They are scholars who have found associations between Mark’s stories and the literature of the day. I have never seen any of them on a list of those who support Jesus Myth theory and I have seen that Dennis MacDonald does not support it but he is friendly enough with some who do to discuss it.

          So none of their works were intended to support Jesus Myth theory. It is just when they are combined, over 70% of Mark can be accounted for by writings that are still in existence two thousand years later.

          You can click on the link to see a summary of what each author says about the sources of various passages for the gospels and Acts.

          Ehramn : Here’s what Ehrman says in an interview found in the appendix of Misquoting Jesus (p. 252): Notice last sentence.

          I know what Ehrman says about the subject. I know what he thinks about the subject. I know what evidence there is for Jesus. It is slim. I think it is evidence that Jesus was invented as a coming Messiah who existed between the time of David and the time of Isaiah and was supposed to return in the mid-first century. After the war between Rome and the Jews, a Jesus character was re-invented as a first century person.

          Your argument for the Apostle writings not being about Jesus/truth/factual is very weak and not accepted in scholarly circles ( on the most part) in fact, this isnt even debated/doubted these days…just explanations/arguments/ theories AFTER the so called resurrection event ( not really debated in historical academia) Not that event or the apostles were talking about “a mystery man” ( which since you are postulating that..who is this mystery man they are referring to ? whats the support for this) ? I mean…If James mentioned “Jesus said” three times your in ? or is it 4, would you then ask for 5 ? This seems pretty weak to me

          The point is that James mentions Jesus twice. Once to say he is a servant of Jesus and once to ask a rhetorical question to his readers about whether they believe. He says absolutely nothing about Jesus.

          I think your over skeptic because you already want it not to be true…………..I would observe your not arguing for truth, but from your will.

          I do not care whether Jesus was real or not. If I knew he existed, I would still not believe the stories of magic any more than I believe that Aesop received the ability to speak from a goddess. It is not the lack of evidence for Jesus that convinces me that the story is a myth, it is the evidence that the story was contrived from existing literature that convinces me.

          -really ? you have concluded this about all scholars? They enter a field of evidence and research to ignore it ( even though many who are not Christians, admit to the data) then deny it all ?
          This is your assertion/ conclusion ?

          Many scholars in Jesus-related fields, probably the vast majority, have never considered the possibility of Jesus not existing. Ehrman tried to find any scholastic work that establishes that Jesus actually existed and couldn’t find any. I recently re-watched a video from on-line course from Yale on the New Testament by Dale Martin. I went through the whole course a few years ago but decided to re-watch the one on The Historical Jesus. He gave some events he thought were real but many of them are ruined in the LINK I referenced.

        • Michael J Edwards

          Most historians do not dismiss the person of Pauls letters as Jesus…this is just not true.

          With the literature being about somebody else.—who then ? Referring from the Letters that these were written in with a clear reference of “who and about”, begs the question…who is the “mystery man/person then”? What are the references to someone outside the context of Jesus set up by Paul ? .

          “You dismiss the other dying and rising gods. Why exempt yours? –easy, evidence. If Im to consider other gods, what evidence do you have that I should consider ?

          “He mentioned Jesus over three hundred times in the letters accepted to be authentic but he seldom gave any information about him and the little information he gives appears to be derived from Old Testament sources,’—the reference to the old testament is information about him, he concludes by the evidence of what Jesus did do as directly relating to all the prophecy and information foretold in the new testament . So, by taking the both testaments, along with the accuracy of the biblical accounts of witness testimony plus the nonbiblical sources as being one of the most written about historical figures I believe there is plenty of information on Jesus. Im not sure what you think is “lacking” (accepting).

          “They are scholars who have found associations between Mark’s stories and the literature of the day’-so this refutes Marks’s story ? associations in writings is grounds and evidence for dismissal ? Literary styles (associations ) as their basis for dismissing all other evidence or as a precursor for not examining is held in all antiquity ? Or just when it comes to Christianity antiquity? Also, these scholars dismissal’s is in the very small minority. I do not see any of these brought to light in even the open debate forum.

          “, I would still not believe the stories of magic any more than I believe that Aesop received the ability to speak from a goddess”—Your also on presuming a conclusion before any evidence is weight out…you’ve already ruled it out. Also false comparison is magic to miracles. Ive shown these are two different constructs. Simply trying to relabel them doesn’t support your argument. With all the evidence weight out..whats the most logical conclusion? ) I still think that is the accepted method, even in this post modern society)

          “it is the evidence that the story was contrived from existing literature that convinces me/–Ive given the arguments ( as well has have many thru the years) on the “copy cat theory”. But one of the main points in your comment is that Parallels comparing the two(many) prove nothing in light of evidencet, Which of the mystery religions are you referring to ? Most important keys to remember 1) Christianity is the only historically based, Doctrine matters,Public Proclimation,Cylical view of time, but most importantly , Christianity has influenced those mystery religions when examined, not the other way around.

          Bart ehrman :

          Bart Ehrman was mentored by Bruce Metzger of Princeton University who was the greatest manuscript scholar of the last century. In 2005, Ehrman helped Metzger update and revise the classic work on the topic– Metzger’s The Text of the New Testament.
          What do Metzger and Ehrman conclude together in that revised work? Melinda Penner of Stand to Reason writes,

          Ehrman and Metzger state in that book that we can have a high degree of confidence that we can reconstruct the original text of the New Testament, the text that is in the Bibles we use, because of the abundance of textual evidence we have to compare. The variations are largely minor and don’t obscure our ability to construct an accurate text. The 4th edition of this work was published in 2005 – the same year Ehrman published Misquoting Jesus, which relies on the same body of information and offers no new or different evidence to state the opposite conclusion.

          I still think your being overly skeptic Im wondering if you put this much skepticism on all antiquity ?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Bart ehrman :

          You are trying to teach yer granny to suck eggs here.

          Ehrman and Metzger state in that book that we can have a high degree of confidence that we can reconstruct the original text of the New Testament, the text that is in the Bibles we use, because of the abundance of textual evidence we have to compare.
          The variations are largely minor and don’t obscure our ability to construct an accurate text. The 4th edition of this work was published in 2005 – the same year Ehrman published Misquoting Jesus, which relies on the same body of information and offers no new or different evidence to state the opposite conclusion.

          I don’t know who Melinda Penner is, but she is grossly misrepresenting Ehrman’s position.

          I’ll let him speak for himself…

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moHInA9fAsI

        • This is a tangent, but I wrote about Melinda Penner (and her catastrophic accident) in this January post:

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2018/01/2-tragedies-produce-2-different-approaches-prayer/

        • Ignorant Amos

          Wow…”praying like crazy”…because there are times when just plain praying doesn’t cut it.

          Praying like crazy is on the nose, because they are.

        • Michael J Edwards

          Here is a great example of Bart yet turning around again on his views…….which is it Bart? ( that was my example…his inconsistency) He says one thing in scholarly circles , then to the layman, something else ( cat knows how to sell books though)

          I think Barts layman book should have been titled “misquoting Bart”

          Weather you know Melinda Penner or not doesnt take away/falsify her point

        • Ignorant Amos

          Here is a great example of Bart yet turning around again on his views…….which is it Bart? ( that was my example…his inconsistency)

          Ah…right…you were trying to show an expert in the field can’t be trusted, not that Ehrman and Metzger state in that book that we can have a high degree of confidence that we can reconstruct the original text of the New Testament, the text that is in the Bibles we use, because of the abundance of textual evidence we have to compare when that is just not the case.

          Well ya see, what happens in scholarship is that people change their minds on issues as they assess the data and new data comes in. I don’t know if that is what Ehrman has done, because your evidence that he thinks we can get to the original NT text comes from an untrustworthy source, while I’ve presented evidence that he doesn’t…directly from the horses mouth.

          So, you haven’t actually demonstrated an inconsistency yet. I’m sure ya could, but your example doesn’t…yet.

          He says one thing in scholarly circles , then to the layman, something else ( cat knows how to sell books though)

          And he thinks nobody will notice…seriously? Do you think the debate I linked to between two “scholars” was not scholarly? Ehrman thinks White is a fundamental bible inerrantist and he could very well be right.

          I think Barts layman book should have been titled “misquoting Bart”

          When you can support your nonsense with evidence, then we can evaluate what you “think”, so far you haven’t.

          Weather [sic] you know Melinda Penner or not doesnt take away/falsify her point

          Correct…what Bart Ehrman says himself does though. So, she is either misrepresenting what Ehrmans position regarding the book she is citing, she doesn’t understand Ehrmans position on the matter, Ehrman has since changed his position, or she is just plain old lying for Jesus…because that’s what Christians do.

          Now all that having been said.

          If you’d done your due diligence and researched what Ehrman actually thinks, not what some randomer apologetics blogger thinks he thinks, you’d have less egg on your face.

          Here is Ehrman in an interview addressing the very issue at hand…

          TheBestSchools

          One irony we cannot help but notice is that you are a co-author with Metzger on the fourth edition (Oxford, 2005) of his magisterial The Text of the New Testament (earlier editions 1964, 1968, and 1992 list him as solo author). Generations of students in biblical studies have cut their teeth on this book. One upshot of that book is that the texts that make up the canon of the New Testament are remarkably well preserved and that we can reconstruct pretty accurately most of what was originally there. In other words, even if higher criticism raises many disconcerting questions about the New Testament, lower or textual criticism does little promote skepticism of that book. And yet some of your books — notably Misquoting Jesus (HarperOne, 2005) — seem to take a very different tack, arguing that the very text of the New Testament is much in doubt.

          Please explain this seeming inconsistency. Metzger was still alive when Misquoting Jesus appeared in print. Did he read it? What did he think of it?

          Bart Ehrman

          I’ve always thought that it’s odd that people see this as an irony. I’ve never, ever seen it that way at all. I’ve seen it as two sides of the very same coin.

          People who read The Text of the New Testament possibly are lulled into thinking that with all the evidence cited there, we can know with almost complete certainty what the New Testament originally said in every place. But, actually, that is not the thesis of the book at all. The book is about how we go about the incredibly difficult process of knowing what the authors of the NT wrote, given the circumstance that we don’t have their original writings, or copies of those originals, or copies of the copies of those originals, or copies of the copies of the copies of those originals. People reading that book for some reason overlook that this is the very real problem that textual scholars are confronted with. Metzger never overlooked it.

          His book was indeed the classic in the field, and still is. Oxford Press decided that it needed a new edition of it, to be brought up to the present day in terms of its scholarship. They asked Metzger if he would like some help in revising it, and yes, he would like me to do it with him. And so I did. It was a terrific experience. We worked closely on it. I added several new sections. We revised portions together. It was a completely joint project.

          About the same time, I was writing my Misquoting Jesus. That book was less about how specialists reconstruct the NT text (the theme of the Metzger book) than it was about the enormity of the textual problem (as presupposed in the Metzger book). Yes, we have abundant evidence for the text of the NT. But very little of that evidence is early, and much of it is highly problematic. In Misquoting Jesus, I explain the problems and spend a good chunk of time talking about the history of scholarship trying to solve them.

          Metzger did indeed read the book, and he told me that he liked it very much. He simply didn’t have the knee-jerk reaction to it that other readers have had, since he realized that I wasn’t making anything up in it, but simply explaining to a lay audience what the issues and problems are with the text of the NT.

          https://thebestschools.org/special/ehrman-licona-dialogue-reliability-new-testament/bart-ehrman-interview/

          Is that plain enough for ya?

        • Michael J Edwards

          Actually no…..it adds to it….this shows hes more inconsistent .
          All you can do is read both his statements that are in complete contradiction to each other…its that simple….will over mind

        • Ignorant Amos

          Nah…you lied…you cited someone who lied about what Ehrman said, when I’ve demonstrated twice, from the horses mouth, his position is not what you or your source claim it is. Now you are looking foolish about it, but you haven’t got the wit to back off, choosing to double-down.

          Keep digging though…train wrecks rarely get this amusing.

        • Paul says very little about Jesus. I’ve summarized it in the post below (look for the italicized block of text).

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2015/09/how-reliable-is-apostle-paul-when-he-knew-very-little-about-jesus/

        • Michael J Edwards

          Ive read them, and they are are in contradiction to what most historians support ( not to mention when read in the original letter context, its pretty obvious) …This mentality of “well it Could not necessarily be Christ when each letter paul writes clearly gives his intention of the letter and to whom and whom about, is just “over-skepticism” that is rarely applied from atheist to any other historical document. In fact, its just plain silly ( my opinion anyways)

        • Greg G.

          Paul speaks of Jesus hundreds of times but seldom tells us anything about him. Below is everything he tells us.

          Past
          Descended from David > Romans 1:3, Romans 15:12* > 2 Samuel 7:12, Isaiah 11:10*
          Declared Son of God > Romans 1:4 > Psalm 2:7
          Made of woman, > Galatians 4:4 > Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 49:1, Isaiah 49:5
          Made under the law > Galatians 4:4, Galatians 3:10-12* > Deuteronomy 27:26*, Habakkuk 2:4*, Leviticus 18:5*
          Was rich, became poor > 2 Corinthians 8:9 > Zechariah 9:9
          Was meek and gentle > 2 Corinthians 10:1 > Isaiah 53:7
          Did not please himself > Romans 15:3* > Psalm 69:9*
          Became a servant of the circumcised > Romans 15:8 > Isaiah 53:11
          For the Gentiles > Romans 15:9-12* > Psalm 18:49*, 2 Samuel 22:50*, Deuteronomy 32:43*, Psalm 117:1*, Isaiah 11:10*
          Became Wisdom of God > 1 Corinthians 1:30 > Isaiah 11:2

          Was betrayed > 1 Corinthians 11:23 > Psalm 41:9
          Took loaf of bread and wine > 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 > Psalm 41:9, Exodus 24:8, Leviticus 17:11, Isaiah 53:12 (“wine” = “blood of grapes” allusions in Genesis 49:11, Deuteronomy 32:14, Isaiah 49:26, Zechariah 9:15)

          Was crucified > 1 Corinthians 2:2, 2 Corinthians 13:4, Galatians 3:13* > Deuteronomy 21:23*
          Died for sins > 1 Corinthians 15:3, Galatians 2:20 > Isaiah 53:5, Isaiah 53:12
          Was buried > 1 Corinthians 15:4 > Isaiah 53:9
          Was raised > Romans 1:4, Romans 8:34, 1 Corinthians 15:4, 2 Corinthians 4:14, 2 Corinthians 13:4 > Hosea 6:2, Psalm 16:10, Psalm 41:10

          Present
          Sits next to God > Romans 8:34 > Psalm 110:1, Psalm 110:5
          Intercedes > Romans 8:34 > Isaiah 53:12

          Future
          Will come > 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, 1 Corinthians 15:51-54*, Philippians 3:20-21 > Isaiah 26:19-21, Daniel 7:11, Daniel 7:13; Daniel 12:2, Isaiah 25:8*

          (* indicates that New Testament passage contains a direct quote from the Septuagint.)

          The only things Paul seems to know about Jesus comes from centuries old documents.

        • In contradiction how? It’s a simple fact that the authentically pauline epistles contain very little biographical information about Jesus. If there’s more, point it out and give verses.

        • Ignorant Amos

          There were many stories written about Jesus but some were so bizarre that they shifted the Overton Window to the point that the canonized gospels appear to be sane.

          Christians are so oblivious to this issue.

        • MR

          As I said, dissimulation.

          your trying to create a starwman here.

          No, what I’m trying to do is get an unbiased assessment. What if Christianity is in fact wrong or what if you’d never even heard of Christianity? What evidence would you need to believe in another religion? It’s an honest question that Christians always avoid answering. Forget your biases. What is reasonable evidence to accept any religion. Scripture, miracles, that feeling in your heart?

          Because there is no reasonable answer from within nature to explain it.

          Yet, there’s no reason to expect it to be some other way, either. You’re falling for the fallacy that nature must be following some kind of laws. Man invented those “laws” as a way to describe what we see. If nature had been different, the so-called laws we use to describe them would be different. The laws are descriptive not prescriptive.

          Your assuming that I believed first then i look for evidence to support that belief…..Can you prove this about me ?

          When a Christian says, “I started at Jesus…,” I think that’s a reasonable assumption to make. But you tell me. At what age did you become a Christian? Were you a Christian before you were “convinced by the evidence.” If not, what evidence, specifically, convinced you?

          The way you have presented your case so far doesn’t sound like someone who was an atheist and then decided to “start at Jesus.” Atheists don’t talk like that. If that was indeed the case, then what prompted you on that journey?

          This is trying to put the cart before the horse.

          That’s my point. “Starting at Jesus” is putting the cart before the horse because something convinced you to “start at Jesus” in the first place.

          Your assuming ( as supported by your above statements) that i believe first, then support second. THis is backwards as i have shown.

          No, I put the part about Christianity being invented because Christians always go to something like, “You’d have to prove to me that Christianity isn’t true.” I even had one guy say, “It would have to have a Christ-like figure.” They always “put the cart before the horse” as you say and presuppose Christianity. They “start at Jesus.” I’m just trying to figure out what kind of evidence you would need for a different religion. If you’d never even heard of religion, what kind of evidence would you need to believe in someone else’s god? The sincere belief of others? Writings from 2,000 years ago? What is reasonable evidence in order to believe something you don’t believe in now? What level of evidence would you require to believe in ghosts or that aliens live among us or that fairies actually exist? Why is this question always so hard?

        • MR

          As I said, dissimulation and crickets.

        • Michael J Edwards

          1) I started with the theism or atheism/naturalism as the best explanation for reality…
          2) Once I believed that the evidence pointed to theistic as more plausible, then i went on to weigh out the evidence which theistic worldview was more plausible.

          <Maybe I should have made that more clear.

        • Susan

          Once I believed that the evidence pointed to theistic as more plausible

          What evidence? How does it “point to theistic as more plausible?

          i went on to weigh out the evidence which theistic worldview was more plausible

          What evidence? What method did you use to evaluate it?

        • Michael J Edwards

          method-logic and reason
          evidence- arguments listed already above…follow those…I really cant start another thread. to many for me as it is 🙂

        • Susan

          method-logic and reason

          You haven’t shown any yet. I’m not saying that sarcastically. When someone claims to have reached a conclusion through logic and reason, they show their steps. You haven’t. What are they?

          What are you claiming and how do you support it?

          evidence-arguments listed already above

          Arguments aren’t evidence. And as I said above, you haven’t even provided an argument.

          follow those

          I did and now I have reread your commenting history on the subject.

          What have your provided as evidence what argument have your provided?

          You can link to it by right-clicking on the time stamp of a comment in which you think you have done so and copy/pasting it in a reply.

        • MR

          I started with the theism or atheism/naturalism as the best explanation for reality…

          You started at Jesus.

          No, you haven’t made anything clear, and you didn’t answer the questions. As I already noted, dissimulation and crickets.

          At what age did you become a Christian?

          Were you a Christian before you were “convinced by the evidence.” If not, what evidence, specifically, convinced you?

          What prompted you on the journey?

          What kind of evidence would you need to believe in someone else’s god? What is reasonable evidence in order to believe something you don’t believe in now?

          If a Hindu came up to you and said, I can provide whatever evidence you need that my religion is true, what evidence would you ask for?

          Could you be wrong about your beliefs? Would you want to know if you were?

        • Michael J Edwards

          Ok, then ill revise if i did miss that starting point

          1) I started with theism vs atheism as the most plausible explanation of our reality. ( this doesnt point ot any religion or Gods at this point)
          2) after theisim was decided…which theism is best supported.

          ***
          2 things
          1) everyone is biased “everyone biased, you just need to decide what the best biased to be biased from” ( im biased to truth..no matter the path) doesn’t mean you cant put aside that bias to examine. ( tough, yes, but as human beings who do seek truth, can be done)
          2) your crickets……Are we on a clock ? I do have other life activities, so relax. I like arguing, but if your going to get childish about it, Ill loose interest ( no, its not a cop out, because im putting the ball in your court)

        • MR

          The crickets reference isn’t because you’re not answering the questions in a timely fashion, it’s because you’re not answering the questions period, and it goes back to my original comment (which you engaged me on, I was not even speaking to you) on how all I get from Christians are dissimulation and crickets. Exactly what you’ve done here all along. My position has not changed and all you’ve done is prove me right.

          My original comment:

          One of my principal “atheistic” argument is, “I don’t believe you, and you wouldn’t believe you either if the arguments you use were used as evidence for a religion you don’t currently believe in.” Followed by, “What evidence would you require for a religion you don’t currently believe in?”

          I get crickets or dissimulation.

          a) You haven’t even attempted to provide any evidence. b) You haven’t answered that very question, which you knew when you engaged me in the first place [and which I repeatedly asked!]. And now there are a shitload of other questions that you have avoided answering:

          At what age did you become a Christian?

          Were you a Christian before you were “convinced by the evidence.” If not, what evidence, specifically, convinced you?

          What prompted you on the journey?

          What kind of evidence would you need to believe in someone else’s god? What is reasonable evidence in order to believe something you don’t believe in now?

          If a Hindu came up to you and said, I can provide whatever evidence you need that my religion is true, what evidence would you ask for?

          Could you be wrong about your beliefs? Would you want to know if you were?

          You can’t even answer these honest questions.

          All you’ve given are crickets and squirrels, crickets and squirrels from the beginning, but somehow I get the grief. I call squirrel.

          (minor edits)

        • Michael J Edwards

          ” how all I get from Christians are dissimulation and crickets. Exactly what you’ve done here all along. “–I get the same thing from atheist as well….but, doesnt really support or falsify anything

          I did answer your original comment, you not liking the answer doesn’t constitute as a dismissal.I explained how it was full of presumptions on your part, its a silly loaded question bound up in word play.

          all your questions were answered together, but you were more interested in me “Fitting into your box” rather than except the answers. Now, can I release some crickets?

          But here goes….again.

          mid 20’s wondering about life/meaning/purpose ( because I see it and experience it in this world).
          Why there is and not nothing, are we just molecular machines in motion……etc.
          Came to theism over atheism as more plausible explanation of our reality.
          Then which theistic worldview best held the scientific,metaphysical arguments.I felt Christianity did.
          SO then I accepted it
          Could i be wrong on my beliefs? sure, I could have, or researched to wrong conclusions, but its not based on ” i want to believe this” or I have some fear or insecurity that i need emotionally filled out to function. Emotions are nice, but they come and go, facts do not.

          Your Hindu scenario ..Id love to hear how he came to his conclusions. ask some questions, discuss.. that simple really

          the evidence that convinced me question: we all have the same evidence available, so this is a loaded question. so again, the metaphysical arguments, the scientific data, all the sub categories that “tree branch” out from there, i believe the theistic view is more plausible.

          could be wrong though…………………….

        • MR

          doesnt really support or falsify anything

          Which is a tacit admission that you don’t have anything to support your position. You’re the one making the ontological claim, not the atheists.

          I did answer your original comment, you not liking the answer doesn’t constitute as a dismissal. I explained how it was full of presumptions on your part, its a silly loaded question bound up in word play.

          Actually, I wouldn’t say I didn’t like the answer: you answered it exactly as I expected: with crickets and squirrels. The “presumptions” on my part were absolutely accurate. That is my point. You can’t provide evidence that would be convincing if you heard it from someone positing a religion you don’t believe in. Just read what you wrote below. If a Muslim said the same thing, neither you nor I would believe him, either; because there’s nothing in there that constitutes evidence or that would lead one to believe anything:

          Muslim: “mid 20’s wondering about life/meaning/purpose ( because I see it and experience it in this world). Why there is and not nothing, are we just molecular machines in motion……etc. Came to theism over atheism as more plausible explanation of our reality. Then which theistic worldview best held the scientific, metaphysical arguments. I felt Islam did. SO then I accepted it”

          There is nothing there in the way of any actual evidence. There is nothing there except to say that you believed. It’s all about you, not evidence. Neither you nor he in such a statement give anyone any reason to believe in your respective religions. It only says that the person speaking believes something. But that person could be gullible, could have been misled, duped, lying. There’s nothing to assess if they were justified in their belief. Where’s the evidence?

          My statement:

          you wouldn’t believe you either if the arguments you use were used as evidence for a religion you don’t currently believe in.

          And I was right.

          And you’ve still left a plethora of questions on the table. What am I to make of all these dead ducks?


          At what age did you become a Christian?
          Please answer the question.

          Were you a Christian before you were “convinced by the evidence?”
          Please answer the question.

          If not, what evidence, specifically, convinced you?
          Please, for Christ’s sake, answer the question.

          What prompted you on the journey?
          (I’m still waiting for the answer to other questions to assess your answer on this one.)

          What kind of evidence would you need to believe in someone else’s god?
          Please answer the question.

          What is reasonable evidence in order to believe something you don’t believe in now?
          Please answer the question.

          If a Hindu came up to you and said, I can provide whatever evidence you need that my religion is true, what evidence would you ask for?
          Please answer the question!

          Could you be wrong about your beliefs?
          Thank you for answering!

          Would you want to know if you were?
          Please answer the question!

          Your Hindu scenario ..Id love to hear how he came to his conclusions. ask some questions, discuss.. that simple really

          Wow, way to evade the question! It’s an honest question. What is reasonable evidence, because I bet the evidence you would need is pretty close to what I would need, or Bob would need, or the Pope would need. It doesn’t matter how he came to his conclusion, the question is what kind of evidence would you require? He’s willing to give you any kind of evidence you ask. What’s the minimal evidence you would need to believe?

          the evidence that convinced me question: we all have the same evidence available, so this is a loaded question. so again, the metaphysical arguments, the scientific data, all the sub categories that “tree branch” out from there, i believe the theistic view is more plausible.

          Could you be more evasive? No, this is not a loaded question. “Why do you believe imaginary things are real?” is a loaded question. If someone believed in leprechauns, “Why do you believe in leprechauns?” is not a loaded question. “What would it take for you to believe another religion?” is not a loaded question, it’s an honest, reasonable question. The kind of question you wouldn’t even think twice about if it were, say, a court case. “What evidence would you need to prove this man guilty?” Attempting to find out the kind of evidence you deem reasonable to believe any religion is a reasonable question. If you’d never heard of Christianity what kind of evidence would you need to believe? You’re only being coy because you’re trying to protect your current belief! It’s like you know the man is guilty and you’re trying to protect him!

          Here’s the dilemma you’re facing: If you answered the question honestly and asked for, you know, reasonable evidence, you’ll set the bar too high, knowing that you can’t provide that level of reasonable evidence for Christianity. If you set the bar too low, almost any other religion will qualify. Instead of just answering the question honestly, you have to equivocate. Squirrels. Just because it puts you in a dilemma doesn’t mean it’s a loaded question. It’s an honest question that you don’t want to answer.

          As far as evidence for Christianity: Hand waving to…, “you know, the evidence we all have is just a cop out. Give an example of what evidence and why it convinced you. Is that so hard? If you were in a jury room with other jurors and they said, “Okay, you believe this woman is guilty; what specific evidence convinced you?” Would you really just say, “Oh, you know, the evidence we all just heard.” Man, what a cop out! What evidence and why!? Was it the glove? The blood on her shoes? Or was it your gut feeling that you just didn’t like the gal? Specifically, what evidence was convincing to you? And even more specifically, what evidence convinced you that Christianity was the answer?

          And don’t forget the questions you didn’t answer above. Don’t be shy!

          [edits, and a change of gender in the two court case examples to differentiate.)

        • Michael J Edwards

          Which is a tacit admission that you don’t have anything to support your position. You’re the one making the ontological claim, not the atheists. —-I believe (using the WLC Arguments/presentation on the Ontological/Kalm argument) were more plausible than the atheists arguments for falsifying it ( which are just attempts at trying to re define the wording of the premises) So not tacit, but a screaming crescendo on a Bb7#9b5 Charlie Parker lick
          Actually, I wouldn’t say I didn’t like the answer: you answered it exactly as I expected: with crickets and squirrels. The “presumptions” on my part were absolutely accurate. —you havnt shown this.

          That is my point. You can’t provide evidence that would be convincing if you heard it from someone positing a religion you don’t believe in. Just read what you wrote below. If a Muslim said the same thing, neither you nor I would believe him either, because there’s nothing in there that constitutes evidence or that would lead one to believe anything:–example is right here of your bad presumption. You have already shut this persons argument out before hand, how logical is that ? SO you would never know if he had any evidence worth considering or not. So you not believing him is invalid, its based on rejecting…well, nothing. I would have to hear what he says first, then offer an argument ( if I had one based on his evidence)
          Again, this preassumption really shines a illogical light on you, not me.

          Muslim: “mid 20’s wondering about life/meaning/purpose ( because I see it and experience it in this world). Why there is and not nothing, are we just molecular machines in motion……etc. Came to theism over atheism as more plausible explanation of our reality. Then which theistic worldview best held the scientific, metaphysical arguments. I felt Islam did. SO then I accepted it” – except I said Christianity LOL. Your also making the very basic mistake that all religions are the same, and you do this with “swapping” out religions in my statement. Not wise or credible….so many differences and arguments for support that its just a grotesque jester on your part.
          Or can I swap out Muslim with atheism? Because your making a mistake thinking that atheism is 1) the default position and that 2) atheism is a “neutral” worldview.

          There is nothing there in the way of any actual evidence. There is nothing there except to say that you believed — yes, believed due to evidence . If I haven’t, please show me ? Walk my life thru with me .DO you not believe in atheism? Not believing is still believing in not believing. This is a word game ( please do not argue that Atheism is just “ a lack of”, that’s been put to bed along time ago). Id argue it takes a lot more faith/believe in atheism than theism

          .It’s all about you, not evidence—Its all about everyone on what they choose to believe ( or deny) no matter what evidence is presented .Evidence doesn’t say anything, it has to be interpreted the best possible way, but one can still deny it. . This is a silly statement. Its all about you accepting everyday decisions based on all conditions, why are you exempt ?

          Neither you nor he in such a statement give anyone any reason to believe in your respective religions.—why ? because you don’t like it or say so? Or ignore the fact that one can rationally come to a decision based on evidence from arguments in Science and philosophy ? Just because you don’t accept that, doesn’t mean its not true.
          It only says that the person speaking believes something.—like you are doing right now ? Are you exempt from this standard ? based on your theory here, there is no reason to believe anything you say either.

          But that person could be gullible, could have been misled, duped, lying.—yep, all true. Does that mean all people are duped or lied to about theism at all times ? Does this apply to atheistic people as well ? There’s nothing to assess if they were justified in their belief. –apply this to yourself as well then ?

          Where’s the evidence?—depends on which argument is on the table.

          My statement:
          you wouldn’t believe you either if the arguments you use were used as evidence for a religion you don’t currently believe in.
          And I was right.—how so ? You didn’t show it in your above comments. Those are easily self refuted.
          And you’ve still left a plethora of questions on the table. What am I to make of all these dead ducks?

          At what age did you become a Christian? Please answer the question.—I said in my mid-twenties.

          Were you a Christian before you were “convinced by the evidence?” Please answer the question.-nope

          If not, what evidence, specifically, convinced you? Please, for Christ’s sake, answer the question. The argument from Morality-subjective or objective ( the easiest one as well) The origins of information, The fine tuning argument, the cosmological argument. The historical evidence for Christ. The resurrection arguments. The archeological support of Christ and the validity of the bible. Irreducible complexity argument. –weighing out each side, I find it more plausible than not plausible for Christianity.

          What prompted you on the journey? (I’m still waiting for the answer to other questions to assess your answer on this one.) –I covered that, asking questions

          What kind of evidence would you need to believe in someone else’s god? Please answer the question. – What do they have ? Lets see all the evidence. You see this is a loaded question. It asserts a specific answer with a set of expectations already in mind…that’s a bad way to go into anything in life.

          What is reasonable evidence in order to believe something you don’t believe in now? Please answer the question.—again, what is it ? Loaded question..Are you looking for a miracle ? every claim needs to be examined, magic ring, floating nouns…what your trying ot do is misleading and gets the question wrong in the first place. Present and represent basically.. sorry , there is no magic ring from Frodo here

          If a Hindu came up to you and said, I can provide whatever evidence you need that my religion is true, what evidence would you ask for? Please answer the question!-I would ask “ how did you come to your conclusions” and weigh it all out, research it, ask questions…etc…( just like we do in the sciences today…nothing magical here)

          Could you be wrong about your beliefs? Thank you for answering!- Well yea, anything’s possible, but I live by whats reasonable

          Would you want to know if you were? Please answer the question!
          Your Hindu scenario ..Id love to hear how he came to his conclusions. ask some questions, discuss.. that simple really

          Wow, way to evade the question! –again, not evaded. Its just a) you don’t like it or b) its not really logically applicable.
          Your questions are trying to set up traps by trying to put fallacious boundaries on my answers.

          It’s an honest question. What is reasonable evidence, because I bet the evidence you would need is pretty close to what I would need,—need for what ? Your needs are not relevant. Logic and reason are the only needs here, your implying your needs are acceptance. Acceptance can be rejected or accepted no matter what is presented

          It doesn’t matter how he came to his conclusion, the question is what kind of evidence would you require? He’s willing to give you any kind of evidence you ask. What’s the minimal evidence you would need to believe? —again, I would need top look at the evidence presented. This is really a silly question….Think about it , you want me to make a judgment on what evidence I need form this person when I do not know what the evidence could be. Your trying to put B before A in the alphabet
          Could you be more evasive? –yes I could. I could ask your evidence questions

          No, this is not a loaded question. “Why do you believe imaginary things are real?”—your asserting this

          “Why do you believe in leprechauns?” is not a loaded question. – But we are not talking about leprechauns , this also a false comparison . Ask someone who believes in leprechauns.

          “What would it take for you to believe another religion?” is not a loaded question, – It is, read responses above as I explained

          The kind of question you wouldn’t even think twice about if it were, say, a court case. “What evidence would you need to prove this man guilty?”—All the evidence available presented to be examined. Simple

          You’re only being coy because you’re trying to protect your current belief!—shown this false ( based on your theory, the same can be applied to you)
          It’s like you know the man is guilty and you’re trying to protect him!—false comparison, see above
          Here’s the dilemma you’re facing:–none

          If you answered the question honestly and asked for, you know, reasonable evidence, you’ll set the bar too high, knowing that you can’t provide that level of reasonable evidence for Christianity—your dilemma, not mine. Your asserting this on me, with illogical questions that I can see thru.

          . If you set the bar too low, almost any other religion will qualify. Instead of just answering the question honestly, you have to equivocate.—you haven’t shown this

          As far as evidence for Christianity: Hand waving to…, “you know, the evidence we all have is just a cop out. Give an example of what evidence and why it convinced you. Is that so hard? –arguments above, no cop out asserted

          If you were in a jury room with other jurors and they said, “Okay, you believe this woman is guilty; what specific evidence convinced you?” –thank you ! SO know you have finally made a logical and reasonable scenario! The evidence IS PRESENTED, now I can weigh it all out. Simple

          Would you really just say, “Oh, you know, the evidence we all just heard.” Man, what a cop out! What evidence and why!? Was it the glove? The blood on her shoes? Or was it your gut feeling that you just didn’t like the gal?—Now you have given two different examples with two different parameters—equivocating ?

          [edits, and a change of gender in the two court case examples to differentiate.)-and ? Still bad examples.

        • MR

          But that person could be gullible, could have been misled, duped, lying.—yep, all true. Does that mean all people are duped or lied to about theism at all times? Does this apply to atheistic people as well?

          Pretty much everything here can be summed up in what you pointed out. It applies to you, it applies to me. We could all be gullible, misled, duped, lying…. That’s why it’s so important to examine the evidence. How else do I, how else do you, guard against being wrong.

          “Oh, it all convinced me!” Ok, well, it didn’t convince me, so I want to know why it convinced you. What specifically convinced you? How do you support your belief? “All of it.” Okay, okay. I see, you don’t want your belief examined. Well, that doesn’t help me. It doesn’t give me a reason or even confidence to believe you, because I have no way to tell how sound your conclusions are.

          All the parts about loaded questions. No. They are honest questions that can be explored. I realize we can’t name every piece of evidence or even come up with a definitive piece of evidence, but we can certainly distinguish between and come up with what constitutes good evidence, what is questionable evidence and what is bad evidence. You’ve already noted that you could be wrong. Well that could mean that maybe there is no God, and it could mean that maybe there is some other God. I don’t think it’s a loaded question to ask the kind of evidence you would require to believe in a religion you don’t currently believe, because I think it’s importantismo to make sure that the level of evidence is high enough so that we aren’t fooled or fool ourselves. Using “another” religion is just a way to remove the bias of your own.

          Is the sincere belief of someone evidence enough? I believe you have sincere belief, so I should believe you? The 9/11 hijackers had some pretty sincere belief, too, probably more than you, should I therefore believe them on the basis of sincere belief? That is why I am asking these questions.

          What constitutes good evidence? You could easily give concrete examples of the kind of evidence you would need, but you won’t. I’m not the only one to point that out. Yes, I see, I see, you don’t want your beliefs examined. Well, I guess the difference between you and me is that I do. I would have had no hesitation answering those questions. Why should you? I could have asked the atheists (atheists get the “what kind of evidence would you require” from Christians all the time) and they would have answered the questions. I even disagree with some atheists on what they deem good evidence, and then we could have a discussion about why. Not you, though. “Loaded question! Loaded question!” Fine. I can explore the questions, but you can’t. O-kay then. You’ve squirreled me long enough. My original assessment stands.

        • Michael J Edwards

          “Oh, it all convinced me!” Ok, well, it didn’t convince me, so I want to know why it convinced you. What specifically convinced you? How do you support your belief? “All of it.” Okay, okay. I see, you don’t want your belief examined. Well, that doesn’t help me. It doesn’t give me a reason or even confidence to believe you, because I have no way to tell how sound your conclusions are. — Convincing is not my job, This assumes people can be swayed to matter what the evidence is…that’s not people though, The will is stronger.

          All the parts about loaded questions. No. They are honest questions that can be explored. I realize we can’t name every piece of evidence or even come up with a definitive piece of evidence, but we can certainly distinguish between and come up with what constitutes good evidence, what is questionable evidence and what is bad evidence. You’ve already noted that you could be wrong. Well that could mean that maybe there is no God, and it could mean that maybe there is some other God. I don’t think it’s a loaded question to ask the kind of evidence you would require to believe in a religion you don’t currently believe, because I think it’s importantismo to make sure that the level of evidence is high enough so that we aren’t fooled or fool ourselves. Using “another” religion is just a way to remove the bias of your own.——-sure, could be, possibly no God (anything is possible), but I decide by whats the most reasonable conclusion when examining the evidence. All people are bias, you just need to decide what is the best bias to be biased from ..Im biased to reason and truth. Question is are you seeking out truth to put your bias aside to open and follow the evidence where it leads? ( that means no presumptions going in )

          Is the sincere belief of someone evidence enough? I believe you have sincere belief, so I should just believe you? The 9/11 hijackers had some pretty sincere belief, too, probably more than you, should I therefore believe them on the basis of sincere belief? Do you consider this good evidence? That is why I am asking these questions. —Question is , Whats the belief based on ? evidence, reason, logic…or are you asserting a “blind faith” ? I sincerely believe they made a horrible decision based on a blind belief . that count ?

          What constitutes good evidence? You could easily give concrete examples of the kind of evidence you would need, but you won’t. I’m not the only one to point that out. Yes, I see, I see, you don’t want your beliefs examined. Well, I guess the difference between you and me is that I do. I would have had no hesitation answering those questions, why should you? I could have asked the atheists (atheists get the “what kind of evidence would you require” from Christians all the time) and they would have answered the questions. I even disagree with some atheists on what they deem good/sufficient evidence, and then we could have a discussion about why. Not you, though, no. “Loaded question! Loaded question!” Fine, I can explore the questions, but you can’t. O-kay then. You’ve squirreled me long enough. My original assessment stands. —–Ok, lets take your courtroom example . Does a lawyer sit across from the jury and ask “What evidence would persuade you today “ ? Then takes answers form each juror and mounts his case like that? Can you imagine the margin of error that would leave? Also, why would a juror put limitations on evidence to consider ? Silly.
          Or does our court system work better with “ here is all the evidence, now I will present my case “ ? Ive just unloaded your questions…they are not logical nor are they practical.

          Get off squirrels, its creepy 

        • MR

          More squirrels. You’ve got nothing so you resort to squirrels. Don’t blame me, it’s not my fault.

          You seem to think that my bias is atheism. I really don’t care what the truth is. If there’s a God, I’m fine with that. Whatever the truth is is the truth. If I have a bias, if I wanted a bias, that would be it. When I became an atheist, I wasn’t looking at atheist arguments; I wasn’t even interested in becoming an atheist. It wasn’t atheism that convinced me that Christianity was wrong, it was Christianity. In fact, at the time I was looking to strengthen my faith, not lose it.

          If you choose to rely on your bias more than evidence, well that tells me what I need to know about you, doesn’t it? Courtrooms rely on evidence. Bottom line. You run from evidence and hide behind bias. Ok. My original assessment stands and I really don’t know why we keep having this conversation. You’re not going to provide evidence (crickets) and you’re going to keep trying to dissimulate to disguise that fact (squirrels). You give me no reason to believe you, in fact, you’ve given me every reason to distrust your judgement and even your sincerity. You’re not here to convince me, yet you were the one who engaged me, and you continue to convince me that I was right.

        • Michael J Edwards

          “You seem to think that my bias is atheism”-yea , it seems to me from your Opposition and questioning this is a logical conclusion .( could be wrong though)
          ” If I have a bias, if I wanted a bias, that would be it.”–I Think you’d be better of committing to truth as your bias.

          “it was Christianity.”-how so ? What part of Christianity brought you to this conclusion ?

          “If you choose to rely on your bias more than evidence, well that tells me what I need to know about you, doesn’t it? “–It should beg the question of what that Bias is ( because everyone is bias, the question is, whats the bias based on)…as i said truth/logic/reason…Im not going to apologize for that, nor would I back down…It works in Reality

          Evidence- You can keep labeling comments under the animals tables, but that doesn’t falsify my argument. labeling a comment with an animal name …well how do they support falsify anything?
          “You’re not here to convince me, yet you were the one who engaged me–yes, I like joining in the conversation. present what i have, my agenda was not to convince or convert anyone..just food for thought.

        • MR

          Think you’d be better of committing to truth as your bias.

          That’s what I’m saying, Sherlock. You’re not the sharpest cheddar on the cracker, are you? Or have you just gone full blown dishonest now?

          What part of Christianity brought you to this conclusion ?

          All of it. Seriously, though, if I thought you were sincere, we could have that discussion. I quit thinking you were sincere some time ago. I’ve discussed it many times on this blog. You’re welcome to go explore that if you like.

          as i said truth/logic/reason

          That’s not what you’ve shown here. Squirrels and crickets, yes.

          It works in Reality

          Bias? It does work in reality. It’s just not very good at arriving to truth. Evidence is a much better indicator of truth. Reducing belief in God to people’s biases makes God look…, I was going to say impotent, but it really makes him look nonexistent.

          but that doesn’t falsify my argument

          I really haven’t seen an argument from you. Only crickets and squirrels. I stick to my assessment. Any cult member can say the things you say. You give us no reason to believe you. You give us no way to distinguish truth from your bias. A very dangerous thing indeed.

        • Michael J Edwards

          “That’s what I’m saying, Sherlock. You’re not the sharpest cheddar on the cracker, are you? Or have you just gone full blown dishonest now?”—–childish attempts at ad-homs-dismissed

          “All of it. Seriously, though, if I thought you were sincere, we could have that discussion. I quit thinking you were sincere some time ago. I’ve discussed it many times on this blog. You’re welcome to go explore that if you like”—-a dodge, be specific on a exact point OF a Christianity belief, not an argument of attempting a doubt in general as basing a religion/belief on. Thats not an argument.

          “That’s not what you’ve shown here. Squirrels and crickets, yes”-you haven’t shown it isnt, Deductive reasoning is a legitimate form of an argument . Sounds like your pre-dedicated to naturalism/scientism ( could be wrong though) and again, Simply labeling with animals and insects, is not a legitimate argument/defense.

          “It works in Reality
          Bias? It does work in reality —this is so edited out of context, you will need to more responsible if you want to argue legitimately

          ” Evidence is a much better indicator of truth.”—who is arguing this ? Thats was my point as well. I think though you are arguing that all evidence is physical and that metaphysical reasoning does not count ?

          ” Evidence is a much better indicator of truth.”–who is not agreeing with that ? Thats not my argument at all. IS this a straw-man attempt ?

          “I was going to say impotent, but it really makes him look nonexistent.”-how so ? How did you come that conclusion ?

          “I really haven’t seen an argument from you. Only crickets and squirrels. “–Denial and the will is strong. I cant make people see anything , just present my beliefs as to why I think they are more or less plausible. seeing most of the time is accepting, Some people still see the world as flat, despite all the evidence, they just dont “See it”

          “You give us no way to distinguish truth from your bias. A very dangerous thing indeed.”—-Could apply this to you or anyone, but im not asking to believe in my “so called bias” In fact they are not mine at all, I dont own them, I discover them. Im looking to examine the argument. The fact that you dont “get that”, well I think that is where the real danger is.

        • MR

          I guess you missed the part where I find you insincere. You don’t offer arguments or evidence. Only crickets and squirrels. You’ve made my point for me.

        • Michael J Edwards

          Insincere —and ? Stop conversing then
          You ignore arguments, ( just like my last post about deductive reasoning) thats an argument you just dodged…how insincere?
          Crickets and Squirrel–dogs and cats ? ….both statements have nothing to do here with anything.

        • MR

          And why would I want to engage in arguments with you now that you’ve shown your insincerity? Do you imagine I’m going to think you’re going to suddenly stop being disingenuous? Oh, don’t you promise a good time!

          Stop conversing? Oh, do you always order people around like that? My goodness, you’re a breath of fresh air. I’ll converse or not converse as I see fit, thank you.

          My, you do have a way of making a case for Christianity!

        • Emotions are nice, but they come and go, facts do not.

          Facts? What facts? You mean the fact of which Bible verses you cherry pick to create your own personal religion?

        • Michael J Edwards

          Cherry pick my religion –how so ? How did you come to that conclusion and based on what parts did I cherry pick ?

        • I’m simply asking what facts.

        • MR

          He doesn’t share any actual facts, but he’ll be happy to tell you repeatedly how he believes them.

        • Greg G.

          Did you study Guth’s theory? An unstable nothingness is a reasonable starting point. A stable nothingness would require something to keep it stable, like a god thingy, thus it is not nothingness.

          If you start with that simplicity, the only way to go is to more complexity.

          Starting with a god thingy is far more unlikely.

        • MR

          I’ve always found the argument from -isms rather silly. “Naturalism” as if it’s a thing in and of itself. That the universe exists is self evident. To imply that it came into existence because of something else is just to shift the problem to why something else exists. Why is “Supernaturalism” a better explanation? Why is something that cannot be demonstrated a better explanation for why there is something? Knowing that there is something, what sense does it make to even postulate that there ever was “nothing?” Even if you believe in God, then you’re still basically saying that there always was something. Why that something that can’t be seen or demonstrated and not simply the something that I can reach out and touch? Supernaturalism is just a bunch of mental masturbation. Naive people asking to be indulged in their fairy tale.

        • Otto

          >>>”—Because there is no reasonable answer from within nature to explain it.”

          So since you can’t explain something…therefore God did/does it. That is weak.

        • Greg G.

          Zeus and Thor actually existed until there was a reasonable answer from within nature to explain thunder.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Also, folk started to wise up and got bored with such nonsense…like what is happening with YahwehJesus today.

        • Ignorant Amos

          “At what point did you reject the hypothesis that you’re too dumb to understand how good the idea is?” ~Dilbert

          The Divine Argument…or The Argument from Incredulity.

        • Pofarmer

          Dude, resurrections don’t happen. What we have are lots of STORIES of resurrections. Other religions are full of them. All you did was pown yourself.

        • Michael J Edwards

          the mystery religions of comparison have pretty much been all debunked. few quick facts: 1) Non of the other Resurrection gods were an actual historical figure 2) the mystery religion when examined were influenced more by Christianity than the other way around 3) the difference between Christianity and the mystery religions have more differences than similarities 3) The death of Jesus is unique 5) its historically based 6) The mystery Religions are a cyclical view of time 7) the mystery religions had Minimized Doctrine.

          We can elaborate on each of these points if youd like

        • Pofarmer

          Dude. All religions are “debunked”. The main reason Christianity manages to stay is because it promises it’s main benefits in heaven, not in the here an now. Although if it can imagine benefits in the here and now it will use them. Religions are social constructs. All of them. Including your pet one.

          Oh. And Jesus is exactly as historical as Rhett Butler.

        • Greg G.

          1) Non of the other Resurrection gods were an actual historical figure

          None of the resurrection gods were historical.

          2) the mystery religion when examined were influenced more by Christianity than the other way around

          Except for those that preceded Christianity. Justin Martyr recognized this in First Apology, (circa 150 AD), “We are propounding nothing different from what you believe regarding those that you esteem to be sons of Jupiter.”

          3) the difference between Christianity and the mystery religions have more differences than similarities

          Differences are how we tell them apart. It does not mean there was no influence.

          3) The death of Jesus is unique

          The gospel version sounds a lot like the Death of Hector in Homer’s Iliad mixed with Psalm 22 in reverse.

          5) its historically based

          You have been misinformed.

          6) The mystery Religions are a cyclical view of time

          Mark didn’t copy that part.

          7) the mystery religions had Minimized Doctrine.

          How do you know this? There wasn’t a dedicated effort to maintain their doctrines. Many of their doctrines may have been so secret they were not even written down.

        • Ignorant Amos

          FFS…Disqus notifications and a huge back log….ah well…if a thing is worth saying…’n’ all that jazz.

        • Nuh uh! My nutty supernatural beliefs are true, it’s the other guys’ nutty supernatural beliefs that are actually nutty.

          My favorite dying-and-rising precedent is Dionysus. (1) I don’t care whether there was a human Jesus, but we have no good reason to imagine the supernatural Jesus; ditto Dionysus. (2) Dionysus preceded Jesus. (4) “Jesus was unique.” OK, they were all unique. So what? If Jesus were the same as Dionysus, you’d call him Dionysus, not Jesus.

        • Ignorant Amos

          the mystery religions of comparison have pretty much been all debunked.

          Where? Who by?

          few quick facts: 1) Non of the other Resurrection gods were an actual historical figure

          Duhhhhh! That’s the point. They were believed to be historical by their followers.

          2) the mystery religion when examined were influenced more by Christianity than the other way around

          You’ve been imbibing too much of the apologetic Kool-Aid…step away from the font.

          See, the problem you have is that early Christian apologists knew about the pre-Christian mystery religions and their dying and rising gods. Non-Christians were using the fact as a stick to beat the Christian ideas. That’s why early on, Christian apologists came up with the “Satan put them there before Christianity to discredit Christianity” shtick.

          You’ve also got the problem of early church leaders addressing the ridicule from Pagans by asserting that what Christians believe is no more ridiculous or much different than what the mocking Pagans already believed.

          3) the difference between Christianity and the mystery religions have more differences than similarities

          You miss the point…the parallels are not in what is different about the stories, but the similarities.

          Christianity, in its earliest days, shared a good deal in common with the many “mystery religions” which became popular in the Roman Empire. In fact, it’s hard not to place Christianity among the mystery religions (even though Christian apologists refuse to do this).

          The mystery religions all had different features; there was no uniformity among them. However, they had certain points in common. Among them are:

          Ritual meal on a regular basis

          Ritual bath, or baptism, as part of initiation

          A godman who died, or was assumed dead, but was restored

          A goddess in attendance (usually a mother but sometimes a consort)

          Miraculous or remarkable birth and death of the godman

          The godman ultimately ends up in heaven

          While living, the godman is ridiculed (by some, or by many)

          There are more than this, but these suffice to make the point: The mystery religions had a good deal in common with each other, and with Christianity.

          http://www.earlychristianhistory.info/mystrel.html

          3) The death of Jesus is unique

          Two point three’s? Okay…

          Which death? Which dying and rising god’s death is not unique? Again…You miss the point…the parallels are not what is different about the stories, but the similarities.

          5) its historically based

          Whaaaa? No point four? Ah well let’s go straight to five. They all say their religions are historically based ffs. Based on what? How can so many be so wrong, but you get it so right?

          There is no solid evidence that any religion is “historically based”, whatever that even means. When you understand the reason you give no credence to all other religious claims of historically based woo-woo, then you’ll understand why yours is in the same sack. I will go out on a limb here and assert you don’t hold with Mo riding a flying horse to get the word of Allah from an archangel? I’m going to presume that you don’t hold with the nonsense that Joseph Smith hooked up with an angel by the moniker Moroni, who took him to a place to find a couple of glyph etched gold tablets and provided a magic hat and miracle spectacles to aid decipher of said tablets? No? Course not.

          Try taking the Outsider Test for Faith…if you are as sharp as you are trying to make out, you just might start thinking.

          6) The mystery Religions are a cyclical view of time

          Hmmmm!

          7) the mystery religions had Minimized Doctrine.

          They did? How do you know? Where they more minimized than the various early versions of Christianity?

          We can elaborate on each of these points if youd like

          Wouldn’t that be novel…and interesting? Have at it.

        • Pofarmer

          There’s no such thing as an atheistic explanation.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Easy, forget religion, Theism isnt about a religion.

          Another woo-woo merchant making up his own definitions.

          Wise up. Theism isn’t about a religion…it’s about all religions…Christianity included. Your favourite…own it.

          Theism is the religious belief that at least one god exists. Polytheism is the belief in several gods, while monotheism is the belief in just one god. For example, a theistic religion is Christianity. The opposite to a theist is an atheist. An atheist is a person that lacks a belief in a god or gods (this is an important distinction from not believing in a god or gods, as former is simply a response to a theistic claim whilst the latter would require the disproving of a negative.

          …this doesn’t point to any religion at all…that could be another argument AFTER a theistic explanation is shown to be more probable.

          You are conflating deist with theist.

          Which theistic god explanation are you point too?

          How do you demonstrate the existence of this theist god you speak of and what method do you use?

          How is your theistic god any different from the FSM, my universe creating multi-omni Space Ponies…or Susan’s Snowflake Fairies?

        • Michael J Edwards

          “I don’t believe you, and you wouldn’t believe you either if the arguments you use were used as evidence “—–why ? how did you come to this conclusion for everyone ? Because it didn’t convince you, so therefore it cant convince anyone? What explanatory power does this comment provide against what was presented ( because you didn’t give any here)? Did you refute it? Falsify it? provide a more plausible explanation, if so what was it? …Also, this displays a pre assumption that no matter what argument/evidence is given you wont accept it. Your minds already made up ( how scientific of you)

          This whole argument of yours is not based on truth/evidence, but of Will.

          Maybe the crickets were because of how obvious and weak this comment/argument is ??

        • MR

          I’m referring to all arguments I’ve come across to date. When a compelling argument is presented that will be a different case.

          “What evidence would you require for a religion you don’t currently believe in?”

        • Pofarmer

          I see we never got an answer to that.

        • epeeist

          You expected one?

        • Michael J Edwards

          objective/subjective morality, argument of contingency, Consciousness/mind from matter. Cosmological argument.Ontological argument.
          FSM, I just believe in one God less than you. Evil. Multiverse ……….etc

          These are just a few of the bad arguments…THen you got the whole Jesus seminar arguments of the New testament …etc

        • epeeist

          This is just a set of phrases with no details of what the arguments are supposed to be.

          Instead of spewing random sets of words why don’t you actually present what the “bad arguments” are.

        • Bob Jase

          I’m especially interested in his idea of an atheistic ontological argument.

        • epeeist

          Yeah, I smell a set of illicit attempts to switch the burden, special pleading and isolated demands for rigour.

        • Susan

          a set of illicit attempts to switch the burden, special pleading and isolated demands for rigour.

          But we already have Clement for that.

          Their agent must have accidentally double-booked.

        • Grimlock

          I’ve no idea what he is referring to, but here’s one:

          1. It is possible that atheism is true.
          2. From (1), it follows that there exists some possible world A where atheism is true.
          3. But that means that God, defined as a necessary being, doesn’t exist in world A.
          4. But if God, who must be necessary, doesn’t exist in some world, then God doesn’t exist in any world.
          5. Therefore God doesn’t exist in any world.
          6. God doesn’t exist in our world.
          7. Atheism wins!

          I do find this to be a weak argument. The only good thing about it is that it illustrates how weak the equivalent modal ontological argument for theism is.

        • Michael J Edwards

          no, the question was asked what arguments…here’s the list as requested. Then each one can be examined. You response was strictly what arguments.

          Spewing randon sets of words- no, I fulfilled a request by you. They are not random, they are the Subjects of arguments for a worldview that can be elaborated on.

          Now, you may not like it, but thats not a argument for your “spewing” of random set of words comment.

          So sure, where would you like to start ?

        • Ignorant Amos

          You spewed a loada ballix.

          Nowhere did you demonstrate a “bad” atheist argument. Try not to be a mindwanking fuckwit like the typical believer we get around here, there’s a good chap.

        • Grimlock

          You listed one atheistic argument as “cosmological argument”. I assume you had one particular argument in mind, as cosmological arguments is a set of many distinct arguments.

          Would you mind stating this argument, and pointing out how it is bad?

        • epeeist

          I am in Italy at the moment using a device without a keyboard. I will be out supporting the British team at the World Veterans Fencing Championships so my responses will only be intermittent.

          Let’s take the cosmological argument in the popular Kalam format:

          P1: Everything that begins to exist has a cause;
          P2: The universe began to exist;
          C: The universe had a cause

          Let’s start with P1. Let’s ask when the device I am typing this on began to exist. The answer to this would presumably be when it was assembled. However this does not take into account that it consists of many components, some derived from oil products which are millions of years old, or metals which formed in supernovae which may be billions of years old.

          I would go so far as to say that we have never seen anything “begin to exist”, all we have ever seen is a change in the configuration state of the universe.

          Now P1 also makes a universal claim about causality. I present you with a small box containing a single U235 atom. Tell me when it will decay to Th231 and what the cause of the decay is. I also present you with another small box containing 10 U235 atoms. Will they all decay simultaneously or at different times? If the latter case applies then tell me why that should be.

          P2 claims that the universe had a beginning but our current science not only does not say this but cannot say this since our theories break down at the Planck time. All we can say is that the universe was in existence after the Planck time.

          Lastly the conclusion. Even if the first premise was true it only applies to events within the universe, we have no idea whether such causality distributes to the universe.

          So, two premises which are not necessarily true and a conclusion which may commit a fallacy of composition. In other words, a syllogism which is valid but far from sound.

        • Michael J Edwards

          Your P1 comment just pushes the goal post back .. The original cause of oil or metal was still a cause to exist , later applications that use different “functions” of that do not nullify its original cause of existence.

          “I would go so far as to say that we have never seen anything “begin to exist”, all we have ever seen is a change in the configuration state of the universe.”–but most have admitted the Data that time space and material had a beginning. The steady state theory (implied) is pretty much not accepted.

          U235: what is their environment that contain elements that also have goal directed cause ? The interaction between both/all elements can be seen as the individual cause participating in the group cause to perform balance in a caused reality.

          Planck time is a grasp for TOE, But time cannot create anything. Gravity cannot create anything. But most importantly, it doesnt account for information that is needed . This also would constitute something outside of nature as we know it to “light the blue torch paper” of time space and matter. Planck time is interesting, but it is still a time so close to the singularity that it shows inter action of some sort…its also a isolated moment of time, not a continuous movement of time ( in theory) as we know and can only know.

          ” Even if the first premise was true it only applies to events within the universe, we have no idea whether such causality distributes to the universe’–true, we havnt( not able) to visit all parts of the known universe, but the explorations we have done have been taken on faith that the laws are precise and consistent ( because of their cause) . SO I think it more reasonable to conclude that these laws of causality are through the universe rather than not. I cant see two different laws of gravity stabilizing the known universe.

        • Greg G.

          –but most have admitted the Data that time space and material had a beginning.

          The argument is not about a beginning but a cause. The argument doesn’t work unless you can show a cause for something beginning to exist. But it still doesn’t work unless you can show that the universe had a cause. Even showing that that matter and energy had a cause would not mean that space itself had a cause.

          But how can a cause acting on nothing have an effect? The argument fails so many times you should just drop it.

        • Grimlock

          Your P1 comment just pushes the goal post back .. The original cause of oil or metal was still a cause to exist , later applications that use different “functions” of that do not nullify its original cause of existence.

          Question for clarification. Do you agree that we don’t have any observed phenomena that began to exist? (With the exception of the universe, which is another discussion.)

        • Pofarmer

          But time cannot create anything. Gravity cannot create anything.

          Eh, we actually don’t know that. It’s been assumed that gravity is an emergent property of matter, but that may not be so.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The Coco is arguing with a physicist about physics ffs.

          But time cannot create anything.

          Without time, there wouldn’t be anything. So time was necessary for everything to be created. Creation is a temporal event.

          Time creates a past and future. Time is necessary for memory creation.

          Gravity cannot create anything.

          Whaaa? Even a know nothing thicket like me knows that statement is moronic.

          Without gravity, there wouldn’t be anything. So gravity was necessary for everything to be created. Creation is a gravitational event.

          Gravity is what created everything…along with the other 3 fundamental forces. Without it, everything would fly apart.

          Perhaps yerself…or another similarly astute individual here, can correct me if my understanding is way off?

        • Pofarmer

          So, my understanding is that time is an emergent phenomena. Without matter, there is no time. So even arguing about “time” and whether something is “eternal” or not before the Big Bang is essentially meaningless. It’s also my understanding that Gravity has always been considered an emergent property of matter, but, theories in Quantum gravity may indicate that Gravity is actually a more fundamental force. I know that’s not much, and I would love to learn more about it.

        • Greg G.

          Time is to keep everything from happening at once.

          You may now turn the brightness dial back up.

        • Pofarmer

          Once again, I hope someone can correct me. But there’s a theory called, I believe, “Block Time” where everything already HAS happened all at once. We’re just experiencing this little chunk of it.

        • Greg G.

          So we are experiencing a huge instantaneous event in slow-motion?

          I can conceive of a multi-dimensional space-time continuum that we experience a slice at a time, kind of like a movie being shown one frame at a time.

        • epeeist

          But there’s a theory called, I believe, “Block Time”

          This follows from the idea of space-time, but there is an alternative called the growing block universe.

        • epeeist

          The Coco is arguing with a physicist about physics ffs.

          By the time of his second post it became apparent that he really had no idea when it came to defending the KCA, physics or otherwise.

          So having come, raised a canard about “bad atheists arguments”, has he disappeared without debunking any of the counter-arguments to his theological apologetics about the existence of (his) god?

        • Greg G.

          He has been posting a flurry every few days.

        • Greg G.

          Gravity cannot create anything.

          Black holes?

        • Otto

          Planets? Fusion in stars? The tide?

        • Fusion makes pretty much all the elements heavier than helium, and novas (with the help of gravity) are the only way to make the elements heavier than iron.

        • Ignorant Amos

          And there are a hell of a lot more black holes than the godly in the universe…gravity wins.

        • Michael J Edwards

          collapse of properties already in existence…no new information was formed..( but I think you know this)

        • Greg G.

          How do astronomers detect black holes? It is by deciphering information about a region of space that is different than other regions of space.

          When theists argue about information, they equivocate the definitions of Kolmogorov and Shannon. Under the Shannon definition, any deviation is a loss of information. They see the first lifeforms as pristine so any mutation is a loss of information, which is correct under the Shannon definition but it is actually an addition of genetic information.

          The absorption by ions of certain frequencies of light from a star is considered a loss of information because the signal is distorted. But the distortion can tell the composition of the elements of the star. By comparing the shift of the frequencies, the relative velocity of the star to the observer can be determined. If the light passes through a hydrogen cloud, the distance of the cloud can be inferred, too.

          A loss of information under one definition is a gain in information under another definition of information. A back hole is a loss of a specific type of information but it creates other information.

        • epeeist

          OK, I am back from Italy with access to a real keyboard. Not sure whether you are still about but the one thing I am certain of is that I need to be more simple and direct with my responses to you.

          Your P1 comment just pushes the goal post back

          I deliberately split my response to the first premise of the Kalam argument into two, the first part dealing with the idea of “coming into existence” and the second part to do with causality. I’ll continue in that mode.

          Let’s take a simpler example. I am a fencing coach, the epee that I coach with has four parts, a blade, a guard, a handle and a nut to hold the whole thing together. Let us ask, when did this “begin to exist”? As I said, the only that seems sensible is when it was assembled from existing components which in turn were made from things that already existed within the universe. Now, if you want to come up with an alternative description of what “begin to exist” means then be my guest. (Incidentally, if my blade breaks then does the assemblage still count as an epee?, would realists and nominalists say the same thing).

          Now P2 also has “begin to exist”, but it is used in a different way. It definitely does not mean “assembled from already existing parts of the universe”.

          Thus the first problem with both P1 and P2 is that it is unclear what “begins to exist” means and that it is used differently in each premise.

          U235: what is their environment that contain elements that also have goal directed cause ?

          You completely missed the point of my two boxes, so no analogies let’s do some physics. The state equation for U235 to Th231 decay can be written as

          √p |U> + √p’ |Th+α>

          where p and p’ are the appropriate probabilities for each state. There will of course be a potential barrier between the two states. You will note that nowhere in the state equation are times or causes mentioned. So how does the system move from the pure U235 state to the pure Th231 state? Quite simply an α-particle quantum-tunnels out of the nucleus, this is purely stochastic in nature, hence we are unable to specify when the decay will occur. Additionally there is no cause for the decay.

          We can therefore conclude that P1 is not necessarily true.

          Planck time is a grasp for TOE

          You know you really ought not to bluff, it is blatantly obvious that you are doing so.

          It is the case that the theory that describes Big Bang cosmology is unable to describe what happens until after the Planck time. Hence it is currently not possible to say that the universe had a beginning, mentioning a TOE and producing a paragraph which is essentially gibberish does nothing to change that fact.

          Until we produce a theory of quantum gravity we cannot say that universe had a beginning, hence P2 is not indubitable.

          true, we havnt( not able) to visit all parts of the known universe

          You mistake what I was saying, to put it as simply as possible, even if it were correct that all events within the universe require a cause it does not necessarily follow that the production of a universe requires a cause.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I am in Italy at the moment using a device without a keyboard.

          I had the same issue this past fortnight. I was in Spain and hadn’t the patience for commenting via my Iphone…so had to make do with reading dross when in a free WiFi zone in total frustration. Can’t help myself Some fuckwittery read this past two weeks to be sure.

          Back home this morning, so normal service will be resumed.

        • Greg G.

          Nothing like world travel to make one appreciate Home Sweet Home.

        • Pofarmer

          So you have a good argument for objective morality?

        • Michael J Edwards

          I believe that a) objective morality is more plausible than subjective morality and b) also, i believe there are better. more plausible arguments that support it than falsify it.

        • Pofarmer

          That’s not an argument.

        • MR

          Right? When I said I get crickets or dissimulation, this is precisely what I was talking about.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Plausible?

          So ante up then and quit burbling ya burst sofa.

        • Yes, argue that objective morality exists (and that the morality we see couldn’t be explained as not objective).

        • MR

          squirrels and crickets

        • Michael J Edwards

          If objective morality doesn’t exit, then anything is permissible, because it would just be personal opinion. Yet we see thru history that things like torturing babies for fun is objectively wrong ( as an example) . Arguments like Society constructs morality i believe fail and “we learn from our mistakes” arguments fail ..because they both import a judgment standard of right and wrong.
          Thats my intro anyway 🙂

        • If objective morality doesn’t exit, then anything is permissible, because it would just be personal opinion.

          Translation: “If hypothesis A were true, then bad thing B would be true, but that would suck, so therefore hypothesis A is not true.”

          In the first place, we’re trying to find the truth. The consequences of that truth don’t help us judge whether it’s correct or not.

          In the second, if you’re saying that anything is ultimately permissible, yeah, I guess it is. What ultimate thingy is going to stop it or prevent it or scold us or give us demerits or what? But, of course, lots of things are not permissible. Shoot a gun in a bank, wait for the cops to arrive, and see if there are consequences.

          If you mean “absolutely permissible,” then you need to show that such a thing exists.

          Yet we see thru history that things like torturing babies for fun is objectively wrong ( as an example) .

          (Why is it always that example?)

          I think it’s wrong, and you agree. We ask around, and we find almost universal agreement. Great! That means we can form a society and have “no baby torture” as a rule. But why is that objectively true? So far all we’ve agreed is that it’s universal (hardly surprising that we’d have universal agreement on some moral issues since we’re all the same species). That’s certainly not what I mean by “objectively true.” (I’ve been using Wm. Craig’s definition of objective morality: “moral values that are valid and binding whether anybody believes in them or not.” Tell me if your definition differs.)

        • Michael J Edwards

          “Translation: “If hypothesis A were true, then bad thing B would be true, but that would suck, so therefore hypothesis A is not true.”- incorrect translation…there would be no such thing to be categorized as Bad or good thing to be B…wouldn’t exist. =all permissible and equal under subjectivity, to call A good And B bad, you are importing a objective certainty….as were the opposite could also exist. All equal, all permissibly, all opinion.

          “In the first place, we’re trying to find the truth”- Is this objectively true ?
          “The consequences of that truth don’t help us judge whether it’s correct or not.”—slight of hand here. lets stay on the act first that generates the consequence. Like your Douglas hole example on desire, your trying to put B before A in the alphabet

          “: ultimately permissible, yeah, I guess it is. What ultimate thingy is going to stop it or prevent it or scold us or give us demerits or what? But, of course, lots of things are not permissible. Shoot a gun in a bank, wait for the cops to arrive, and see if there are consequences–Consequences to an action (that you are importing here)carry with it a judgment, wheres the judgment in subjectivity? Is this objectively wrong ? Consequence =a result or effect of an action or condition. Does result=consequence of judgment. Bank example proves my point. the consequence is a punishment action, This reinforces an objective reactionary response.

          “absolutely permissible,”–ahhh but it doesnt, in reality it cant, because people do ( no matter what your belief is) are drawn to objectivity relations. Thanks

          ” Great! That means we can form a society and have “no baby torture” as a rule. “–doesnt explain why though. a epistemology and ontological difference

          “hardly surprising that we’d have universal agreement on some moral issues since we’re all the same species”–Is/ought fallacy

          “(Why is it always that example?”- because its a good example ? For the very fact you had to ask shows that

        • there would be no such thing to be categorized as Bad or good thing to be B…wouldn’t exist. =all permissible and equal under subjectivity, to call A good And B bad, you are importing a objective certainty….as were the opposite could also exist. All equal, all permissibly, all opinion.

          No, not all permissible. You’re mischaracterizing my position.

          But tell me about objective certainty. This is something you can have? Tell me more.

          “In the first place, we’re trying to find the truth”- Is this objectively true ?

          I’m trying to find the truth. If you doubt that, you can ask me.

          “The consequences of that tru th don’t help us judge whether it’s correct or not.”—slight of hand here.

          Which means nothing to me. Are the good or bad consequences of something useable in finding out whether it’s true or not?

          Is this objectively wrong ?

          I’m impatiently waiting for you to either demonstrate that objective morality exists and is reliably accessible by humans or drop the claim.

          Bank example proves my point. t he consequence is a punishment action, This reinforces an objective reactionary response.

          In my society, waving a gun in a bank gets you arrested. Where’s the objective morality?

          “absolutely permissible,”–ahhh but it doesnt, in reality it cant, because people do ( no matter what your belief is) are drawn to objectivity relations. Thanks

          More gibberish. If you’re making a point, make it clearer.

          ” Great! That means we can form a society and have “no baby torture” as a rule. “–doesnt explain why though.

          We’re the same species, and evolution has given us the same moral programming. But why is “why” relevant?

          “hardly surprising that we’d have universal agreement on some moral issues since we’re all the same species”–Is/ought fallacy

          Which fails unless there is objective morality. Sounds like you’ve got an action item.

        • Michael J Edwards

          “No, not all permissible. You’re mischaracterizing my position.” –first things first–how so ?
          “I’m trying to find the truth. If you doubt that, you can ask me.”-ok, word games aside, are you trying to find truth, and how would you define truth subjectively or objectively.

          “Are the good or bad consequences of something useable in finding out whether it’s true or not?”–begs the question.your importing good and bad here…this carries judgment ..based on ?

          “I’m impatiently waiting for you to either demonstrate that objective morality”–I cant help your with your tolerance/patient issue, nor does it run my clock. Objective morally is more plausible then subjective morally dues to the obvious outcomes as stated above and functionality on any level as a human race/society . You can look at history for societal evidence in subjectivity ran societies…(Soviet Union/Germany) . again, by definition, subjectivity can boil down to opinion. so “good and bad” are non existent. there just “red and blue” or roses and violets’ pick your favorite color or flower.

          “In my society, waving a gun in a bank gets you arrested. Where’s the objective morality”—how did one come to the conclusion that was wrong ? importing again a judgment here. Every law legislates morality..one behavior is wrong, while another is right. whats it based on

          “More gibberish. If you’re making a point, make it clearer”-wave of the hand, dismissed.

          ” Sounds like you’ve got an action item.”-elaborate on this comment, im unclear.

          “But why is “why” relevant”–why is not asking why more relevant ? The very fact we can , our human quality and capacity to willing learn. ( unless you think learning is wasted time)
          IF why ask why—then why to continue to discuss this ? why keep asking why i or anybody ask why ? Why your blogs ? Pretty self refuting statement

        • “No, not all permissible. You’re mischaracterizing my position.” –first things first–how so ?

          Because I never say that all is permissible.

          “I’m impatiently waiting for you to either demonstrate that objective morality”–I cant help your with your tolerance/patient issue, nor does it run my clock. Objective morally is more plausible then subjective morally dues to the obvious outcomes as stated above and functionality on any level as a human race/society .

          Take the assumption, “There is no objective morality.” Now show that that’s impossible by looking at how that would work within society and showing how society just doesn’t run that way.

          When I make that assumption, there are no contradictions. It explains things nicely. Nothing left unexplained.

          by definition, subjectivity can boil down to opinion. so “good and bad” are non existent.

          I have no idea how that follows. Explain more fully. Also, look up “good” and “bad” in the dictionary and show me how they can’t be subjective.

          “In my society, waving a gun in a bank gets you arrested. Where’s the objective morality”—how did one come to the conclusion that was wrong ?

          My morals come from my moral programming + society’s rules. You think you get yours from somewhere else?

          “More gibberish. If you’re making a point, make it clearer”-wave of the hand, dismissed.

          Much clearer. Many thanks!

        • Michael J Edwards

          “Because I never say that all is permissible.”-logically follows subjective reasoning. I believe arguments for society sets the standard or its a “by-product” of evolution just aren’t more plausible ( Thomas Nagle’s book “Mind and Cosmos” gives a really good argument against evolution as the source) . Even Sam Harris and Michael schremmer have come to the conclusion that objective reality is more plausible, Hitchens, dawkins, Krauss, they have said one could make a case for a God through the morality argument. Louise Anthony in her debate WLC said “Any argument made from moral skepticism will be based upon premises which are less obvious then the existence of objective moral values themselves” Bottom line, its very obvious.

          ” Now show that that’s impossible by looking at how that would work within society and showing how society just doesn’t run that way.”-Germany 1940’s gave us a taste. The fact that laws exist and enforced are a result of the Moral code we all have . History shows us with laws in place that its tough enough, ultimate autonomy would probably swing the other way ? I dont think thats more plausible a belief ..in fact its a silly assumption…would you want that society to live in ?

          “I have no idea how that follows”–really ? you cant follow that based on the human condition, history and social research ? I think your overreaching a bit, this is just unreasonable denial based on your will…..I find it hard to believe you make decisions or function with this mentality. philosophical arguments do need to be used in reality to guide us, not side step us.

          “My morals come from my moral programming —who programmed you ? if its you, then its the same for everyone ? Or can we program ourselves to say “waving a gun is ok in your bank? and since the standard is the same, either one is just a subjective decion/thought…can not be right or wrong….If you think rape is ok in your programming, and rape is not ok in my programming…then we re equal… no judging can take place, because judging imports an outside standard of our selves

          + society’s rules.”–whose society ? Hitlers or mother Teresa’s ? they are both equal in subjectivity correct? In your subjectivity worldview we had no business to conduct the Nuremberg trials correct ? that was their society .

          “You think you get yours from somewhere else?”= yes.

          “Much clearer. Many thanks!”-thats what i do Bob. This replay supports the “wave of the hand dismissal” so i should Thank you !

        • Even Sam Harris and Michael schremmer have come to the conclusion that objective reality is more plausible, Hitchens, dawkins, Krauss, they have said one could make a case for a God through the morality argument.

          I guess you should be arguing with them then. Telling me that Michael “schremmer” thinks something isn’t binding on me. I’m happy to disagree where necessary.

          Louise Anthony in her debate WLC said “Any argument made from moral skepticism will be based upon premises which are less obvious then the existence of objective moral values themselves” Bottom line, its very obvious.

          That’s your argument? WLC says that objective morality is obvious?

          Fail. You think objective morality exists? Then make a case. If you can’t, withdraw your claim.

          ” Now show that that’s impossible by looking at how that would work within society and showing how society just doesn’t run that way.”-Germany 1940’s gave us a taste.

          No, 1940s Germany was simply a society that had rules that you disagree with. Me, too, but that’s not objective morality.

          You should first start with a definition.

          “My morals come from my moral programming —who programmed you ?

          Evolution.

          if its you, then its the same for everyone ?

          Of course not. Everyone’s programming is slightly different, and their world experience can be radically different.

          since the standard is the same, either one is just a subjective decion/thought…can not be right or wrong

          Can’t be objectively wrong. Does objective morality exist?? You keep avoiding giving evidence for your incredible claim.

          ….If you think rape is ok in your programming, and rape is not ok in my programming…then we re equal… no judging can take place, because judging imports an outside standard of our selves

          Moron. You and I make moral evaluations. They’re not objective, but there’s no evidence for such a thing.

          You didn’t look up right, wrong, morality, and so on in the dictionary, did you? Do so, and show me that objective anything is necessary.

          In your subjectivity worldview we had no business to conduct the Nuremberg trials correct ? that was their society .

          And guess who won? The Allies are going to win and not use their morality for judging the defeated??

        • Michael J Edwards

          I guess you should be arguing with them then. Telling me that Michael “schremmer” thinks something isn’t binding on me. I’m happy to disagree where necessary. —Well that would be silly to argue with them on something I agree with Bob. Its not binding on me either, the point was that objective morality is more excepted on either side than subjectivity. Carries a bit of weight to reexamine I would suggest is all
          That’s your argument? WLC says that objective morality is obvious? —yea, I think its pretty obvious ( its just the argument is really about ones will/pride) That an all arguments against it are less plausible ,
          Fail. You think objective morality exists? Then make a case. If you can’t, withdraw your claim.- I have through deductive reasoning with history, following the explanations on each side to logical conclusions. Add some studies of social behavior—so yea again, its pretty obvious as I stated above
          No, 1940s Germany was simply a society that had rules that you disagree with. Me, too,–again the argument is why we disagree, not that we disagree. Germany was an example of a society that believed THEY were the superior race, their morality was based on them(subjectivity) not outside them(objectivity). But your disagreeing term….is that hiding a judgment ? I do more than disagree, I think its morality wrong. But if society sets the standard, were we wrong to hold the Nuremburg trials ?
          “My morals come from my moral programming —who programmed you ?
          Evolution.—how so ? matter to non matter? Natural slection slects, not creates. You should pick up Thomas Nagels book “Mind and Cosmos”—a lot smarter than I on explaining this improbability
          if its you, then its the same for everyone ?
          Of course not. Everyone’s programming is slightly different, and their world experience can be radically different. Well then accountability is out the window correct? born a child molester, my programming, not morally wrong correct Bob ? Again, begs the question of how Evolution programs. ( neurology arguments fail, mostly by neurologist) moral laws are prescriptive , biological process are descriptive. Show me a how a mutating genetic code can tell me how I OUGHT to think? Biology describes what survives, not what ought to survive
          Since the standard is the same, either one is just a subjective decision/thought…can not be right or wrong
          …..If you think rape is ok in your programming, and rape is not ok in my programming…then we re equal… no judging can take place, because judging imports an outside standard of our selves
          Moron—wow Bob, really, ad –homs ?( attempts anyway).
          You and I make moral evaluations –based on what standard is the question Bob. Evaluations are judgments, there set against something to draw conclusions, your subjective worldview cant be evaluations by definition of your worldview…opinions that only draw air to you and make no difference or value to anyone else.
          You didn’t look up right, wrong, morality, and so on in the dictionary, did you? Do so, and show me that objective anything is necessary. –you lock your doors at night Bob?
          In your subjectivity worldview we had no business to conduct the Nuremberg trials correct ? that was their society .
          And guess who won? The Allies are going to win and not use their morality for judging the defeated??—doesn’t answer the question Bob, your dodging . your importing Judging here Bob, What’s the judging based on ? That they won the war ? So whoever wins the war that’s the morality standard?

          You have an issue discerning between epistemological and ontological arguments and is/ought fallacies.

        • You should quote or otherwise indicate what you’re replying to.

          the point was that objective morality is more excepted on either side than subjectivity.

          Who cares? You’re claiming objective morality, so you need to defend the claim. If you’ve already made a strong case, you can point me to that comment.

          I do more than disagree, I think its morality wrong.

          So do I, just not objectively wrong. You need to be more precise in your wording.

          But if society sets the standard, were we wrong to hold the Nuremburg trials ?

          Society sets the standard for itself. Another society will set another standard for itself. I’ll set my standard, you’ll set yours, and so on.

          We would’ve been wrong if we’d pretended that there was some objective standard above all others for Nuremberg. Fact is, the Allies won, so they imposed their law.

          Well then accountability is out the window correct? born a child molester, my programming, not morally wrong correct Bob ?

          Incorrect, Michael. When I judge, I use my morals. Your mileage may vary.

          …..If you think rape is ok in your programming, and rape is not ok in my programming…then we re equal… no judging can take place, because judging imports an outside standard of our selves

          Wrong. I judge using my morality. You don’t do the same?

          Moron—wow Bob, really, ad –homs ?( attempts anyway).

          Yup. If you’d successfully defended your claim of objective morality in your first comment about it, it wouldn’t have come to this. Your tap dancing away from the issues make it clear that you can’t. Too bad you can’t admit it.

          You and I make moral evaluations –based on what standard is the question Bob.

          What standard would I possibly use but my own? You don’t do it that way? If you don’t want to use your own standard, I recommend you use mine.

          You didn’t look up right, wrong, morality, and so on in the dictionary, did you? Do so, and show me that objective anything is necessary. –you lock your doors at night Bob?

          So you’re conceding that you have nothing. Gotcha.

          In your subjectivity worldview we had no business to conduct the Nuremberg trials correct ?

          Incorrect.

          So whoever wins the war that’s the morality standard?

          What standard would you recommend instead of the ones who won?

        • MR

          Society sets the standard for itself. Another society will set another standard for itself. I’ll set my standard, you’ll set yours, and so on.

          There was a great scene in “Man in the High Castle” that touched on that. Alternate reality in which America has lost to Germany in World War II and is now influenced by a shifted set of morals. A husband and wife are reminiscing over old photos which include a photo of his brother in a wheelchair. The brother had had some crippling disease or another. The wife, reflecting on the past, says something to the effect of, “We’re so blessed that people nowadays don’t have to suffer like that.” It’s a chilling scene because you almost miss it, and it’s really not hard to imagine a subtle shift in people’s thinking like that. I mean, just look how Donald Trump has shifted what’s morally acceptable in the fine, upstanding Christian folk of today.

        • It’s the Overton Window. What was inconceivable in polite company, Trump is making everyday discourse.

        • Ignorant Amos

          “Man in the High Castle”

          Excellent show. Though well criticized. I remember that bit.

          A husband and wife are reminiscing over old photos which include a photo of his brother in a wheelchair. The brother had had some crippling disease or another. The wife, reflecting on the past, says something to the effect of, “We’re so blessed that people nowadays don’t have to suffer like that.”

          The husband is SS officer Obergruppenführer John Smith, the head buck cat of the area of New York for the Nazi’s. What is poignant about that scene is that Smith hadn’t long found out that his son had been diagnosed with a category A disease that meant he was marked for extermination, but with Smith being so high up and the doc being a family friend, the lad was to be spared getting sent to the camp and the ovens. The doc gives Smith a syringe containing poison so he can “humanely” off his son in the comfort of his own home. So when Smith and the missus are reminiscing over the picture, it is with Smith being in the knowledge that he is supposed to put his son to death, while the missus is oblivious to his plight. Would she still think it such a blessing if she knew her son was to be exterminated? No spoilers here, but ya don’t need to be a genius to work out the answer. All that making the scene that bit more deeper imo.

        • Michael J Edwards

          You should quote or otherwise indicate what you’re replying to. –its pretty clearly defined Bob, let it go

          Who cares? –people looking at the weight and validity from both sides would care, if you don’t care step aside Bob.

          You’re claiming objective morality, so you need to defend the claim. If you’ve already made a strong case, you can point me to that comment.
          I do more than disagree,—its deductive reasoning is the evidence, Now I know you’re a naturalist, so all evidence has to be physical evidence, but that worldview cant even explain science, because it is a worldview that cant support itself by its own definition

          I think its morality wrong. –To quote you “who cares” because its just an opinion in your worldview, so stop imposing your morals on me, because that would be Objectively wrong ( around the circle we go)

          Society sets the standard for itself. Another society will set another standard for itself. I’ll set my standard, you’ll set yours, and so on.—Doesn’t answer the question Bob, Killing all those jews …that’s was just their society ruling, Its just “tough” ? So if this society said raping 3 year olds is ok, its our society ( no matter your opinion, doesn’t count in society ruling if you were a) in a democracy that swung in favor of your opposite subjective (opinion) view, or b) not a democracy ruling and out of your hands ) youd be fine with it because that was the society decision?

          We would’ve been wrong if we’d pretended that there was some objective standard –how so ? elaborate on this ? Incorrect, Michael. When I judge, I use my morals. Your mileage may vary.—right so one isn’t better than the other Bob ( in your worldview). To rape and not to rape=equal.
          No matter how many miles I put on this.

          …..If you think rape is ok in your programming, and rape is not ok in my programming…then we re equal… no judging can take place, because judging imports an outside standard of our selves
          Wrong. I judge using my morality. You don’t do the same? ––not my morality Bob, that would be subjective. You are misusing the word judging. That’s passing a judgment . Your missing ( or ignoring) that judging would not be existent in subjectivity worldview, its opinion. Your stealing from theism to argue against it

          Moron—wow Bob, really, ad –homs ?( attempts anyway).
          Yup. If you’d successfully defended your claim of objective morality in your first comment about it, it wouldn’t have come to this.— how does that clinically show im classified as a moron ? its still your opinion only, unless you have the medical research on me? Just because you’ve committed to naturalism , doesn’t mean that’s all there is. That’s silly and non progressive thinking. you tied an insult, you shot from emotion, its obvious.

          Your tap dancing away from the issues make it clear that you can’t. Too bad you can’t admit it.—I can admit your pre assumed “box” you live in that doesn’t except deductive reasoning. Am I being objectively dishonest here Bob ? if its only subjective then “who cares”

          You and I make moral evaluations –based on what standard is the question Bob.
          What standard would I possibly use but my own? You don’t do it that way? If you don’t want to use your own standard, I recommend you use mine.—No, I believe there is a objective standards outside myself ( through observation and deductive reasoning, which you do not accept, but can logically show irrationality). Try yours ? Like Hitler tried his, Stalin, …think it through.

          You didn’t look up right, wrong, morality, and so on in the dictionary, did you? Do so, and show me that objective anything is necessary. –you lock your doors at night Bob?
          So you’re conceding that you have nothing. Gotcha.—uh ?

          In your subjectivity worldview we had no business to conduct the Nuremberg trials correct ?
          Incorrect.—then your stepping outside of your own worldview ?

          What standard would you recommend instead of the ones who won—Your spiraling off here Bob, the Point isn’t who won, it doesn’t matter who won. That’s the point. Also, we got into the war because of Moral reasons. To fight against moral reasons. So it comes back to the original dilemma, what best serves this reality as a reason to declare war, objectivity or subjectivity

          Now, doing some research on you Bob, your 25 reasons to deny Christianity was jaw dropping at not only the logical fallacies, but your ignorance of the Christian theism argument. I was then satisfying with these articles that also caught these.

          Here is one in a three part series
          http://www.marketfaith.org/2018/10/response-to-atheist-bob-seidensticker-part-1/

          Applying these to your comments above support and show the validity of these analysis

        • You should quote or otherwise indicate what you’re replying to. –its pretty clearly defined Bob, let it go

          It’s not, but you do raise a good point—your stuff is so confusing that a little more won’t make much difference.

          I do more than disagree,—its deductive reasoning is the evidence, Now I know you’re a naturalist, so all evidence has to be physical evidence, but that worldview cant even explain science, because it is a worldview that cant support itself by its own definition

          So then you have no defense for your claim of objective morality. Got it.

          You didn’t look up right, wrong , morality, and so on in the dictionary, did you? Do so, and show me that objective anything is necessary. –you lock your doors at night Bob?

          It’s just a dictionary. Why does it scare you so much?

        • MR

          And still not a shred of evidence for objective morality.

        • Greg G.

          Just because you don’t like something, doesn’t make it objectively immoral. If I don’t like it either, then it is our shared opinion, but it is still not objectively immoral. Even if the only surviving people in the world believe something because evolution exterminated those with an opposing belief, doesn’t make it objectively moral. It might only mean that it was objectively advantageous for survival to believe such a thing, like believing it was OK to kill and eat Homo neanderthals.

          A universe with nothing but stars and lifeless planets would have no objective morality. The existence of one lifeform does not bring morality. When there are lifeforms that interact, a morality might develop between them, especially when the lifeforms interact to benefit one another.

          But the morality would depend on their vulnerabilities. If they were immortal, then killing would be irrelevant because they couldn’t be killed, so that is not an objective morality but a morality subject to whether the entity can be killed. If the lifeforms were intelligent enough that they could not be deceived, lying would not be immoral, so lying would not be objectively immoral. If their needs could be met by absorbing energy and food directly from their environment, stealing would not be an issue, and so it can only be subject to that where creatures were vulnerable for that.

          Our human morality is subject to our vulnerabilities, not to objective morals. We are willing to allow others to have their things if they don’t take ours. But some are willing to take your things by force in order to provide for themselves and their families. We call immoral but they consider it immoral to let their families do without.

          If there was an objective morality, you have no way of perceiving it. All you can do is pretend your opinion of what an imaginary being’s opinion of objective morality is right.

        • Grimlock

          You mention that there is a bad atheistic ontological argument, perhaps you could point out the flaws of the one I outlined below in this comment: https://disqus.com/home/discussion/crossexamined/8_reasons_to_reject_c_s_lewiss_argument_from_desire_75/#comment-4139620247

        • Greg G.

          How is the multiverse an atheistic argument? If the existence of a multiverse was shown, religious nuts of all kinds would just say their god thingy created all that and that their ancestors just never comprehended how great their god thingy was.

          The Xtian god thingy began as the Judaic god thingy that created the flat circular earth with four corners and the heavens above it until the Greeks figured out the world was spherical. But the Xtian earth was the center of the universe until it was found that the earth wasn’t even the center of the solar system. Then it was discovered that the Cosmos was multigalactic and the religious nuts never dropped a beat in accepting that except for those that are still stuck in the 6000 year old earth rut.

        • Michael J Edwards

          “If the existence of a multiverse was shown, religious nuts of all kinds would just say their god thingy created all that and that their ancestors just never comprehended how great their god thingy was.”–Exactly, so thats why its a bad argument. But this is one that is used. Just because you see how bad it is…doesnt mean its not used.

          “The Xtian god thingy began as the Judaic god thingy that created the flat circular earth with four corners and the heavens above it until the Greeks figured out the world was spherical.’–The bible teaches the world is flat Fopaw? really ? where ?

          “Then it was discovered that the Cosmos was multigalactic and the religious nuts never dropped a beat in accepting that except for those that are still stuck in the 6000 year old earth rut.”–well this is just beyond fact into silliness…how did you come to this conclusion ?

          Young earth/old earth arguments are irrelevant to the existent of a God.

          P.S Dont forget to spell God “gawd ” in your “god thingy” comments…get all the cliche ATTEMPTS at insulting in. 🙂

          Which I find interesting that you need to insult while trying to hide extravagant use of communication. ( yea, you are, dont try the “clarification” excuse either..its apparent in your “god thingy”)

          So know I will draw the conclusion based on the progress ( if it is that) of this conversation…that you are were already convinced before any evidence, because you result to ATTEMPTING to insult theism rather than ( or at least along with) the subject.

          You tipped your hand here.

        • Greg G.

          –Exactly, so thats why its a bad argument. But this is one that is used. Just because you see how bad it is…doesnt mean its not used.

          But it is not an argument for atheism. It is an argument against one claim of theism.

          –The bible teaches the world is flat Fopaw?

          It is amazing how many Xtians will claim Isaiah 40:22 supports a spherical earth without realizing the difference between circles and spheres. From https://www.biblestudytools.com/topical-verses/bible-verses-about-flat-earth/

          1 Chronicles 16:30
          30 Tremble before him, all the earth! The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.

          1 Samuel 2:8
          8 He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor. “For the foundations of the earth are the LORD’s; on them he has set the world.

          Isaiah 11:12
          12 He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth.

          Isaiah 40:22
          22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.

          Job 26:7
          7 He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing.

          Job 26:10
          10 He marks out the horizon on the face of the waters for a boundary between light and darkness.

          Job 28:24
          24 for he views the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens.

          Job 37:3
          3 He unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heaven and sends it to the ends of the earth.

          Job 37:18
          18 can you join him in spreading out the skies, hard as a mirror of cast bronze?

          Matthew 4:8
          8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.

          Proverbs 8:27
          27 I was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,

          Psalm 75:3
          3 When the earth and all its people quake, it is I who hold its pillars firm.

          Psalm 93:1
          1 The LORD reigns, he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed in majesty and armed with strength; indeed, the world is established, firm and secure.

          Psalm 104:5
          5 He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.

          Revelation 7:1
          1 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree.

          –well this is just beyond fact into silliness…how did you come to this conclusion ?

          Some accept the conclusions of science and some don’t. There are some, perhaps like you, who do not accept the multiverse, simply because you think it is an atheistic argument, rather than following from the implications of the observations of the universe. About a century ago, it was thought that our galaxy was the universe. It was why Einstein included the cosmological constant as a way to account for it not collapsing. (A constant is the result of integration in calculus but he later set it to zero and called it his greatest blunder. Now observations show that the expansion of the universe is accelerating so the constant is not zero but it needs it sign changed.)

          Young earth/old earth arguments are irrelevant to the existent of a God.

          Agreed but just because an atheist uses an argument does not mean it is an argument for atheism. You seem to be on the verge of construing everything an atheist says to be an argument for atheism.

          P.S Dont forget to spell God “gawd ” in your “god thingy” comments…get all the cliche ATTEMPTS at insulting in. 🙂

          Which I find interesting that you need to insult while trying to hide extravagant use of communication. ( yea, you are, dont try the “clarification” excuse either..its apparent in your “god thingy”)

          So know I will draw the conclusion based on the progress ( if it is that) of this conversation…that you are were already convinced before any evidence, because you result to ATTEMPTING to insult theism rather than ( or at least along with) the subject.

          You tipped your hand here.

          Tipped my hand? Is that how you determined I was an atheist? I tend to only use “god thingy” or such terminology when the other person becomes bombastic or disingenuous. That is the style you have presented.

          Are you going to run away if I say “god thingy”?

        • Isaiah makes clear it knows the circle/sphere distinction when it uses one word to mean circumference (40:22) and another to mean ball (22:18).

        • Greg G.

          Thanks. I was thinking there was such a verse in Isaiah but I was too short on time to search for it. The others were found on one page.

        • Michael J Edwards
        • Greg G.

          Christians cannot agree on what the Bible teaches. They cannot agree on what a particular verse means in many instances. If you know the earth is not flat, you interpret them to say something besides that, even though the person who put the words to paper “knew” the world was flat, there was a heaven above, and pillars below.

          If they knew the earth was spherical, they would not have expressed the firmament as being above but would have said it enveloped the earth.

          Sometimes we say the sun rises but we also say the earth rotates. The Bible goes on for 800,000 words without mentioning that. That would have been something to espouse in Psalm 53 instead of duplicating Psalm 14. Perhaps that is what Psalm 53 was about but some priest who thought the earth was flat rejected it and copied Psalm 14 in its place.

        • Michael J Edwards
        • That’s helpful, thanks. I always go first to the site that has as the first line in its About page, “The scientific aspects of creation are important, but are secondary in importance to the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as Sovereign, Creator, Redeemer and Judge.” That sounds plenty science-y.

          Unfortunately, this does nothing to change the fact that Isaiah uses “perimeter” or “disk/circle” to describe the earth rather than the available word “ball.”

          Oops.

        • Michael J Edwards

          Well, This is simply observational language being used, in no way are these scientific claims . I mean when the news forecaster talks about sunset and sunrise…do you believe he actually thinks sun rises and sets behind the earth? Of course not. This is a silly and obvious grasp of straws. All other literature uses observational language as well….do you hold it to to the same standard? If you are trying to muddy the waters between observational language and specific truth claims ( out of context as well I might add) then this is either a) very ignorant or 2) straw-man(esqe) attempts to justify a pre assumption mentality.

          Got 4 minutes to clear this up ? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grVwNYaKCRc

          “who do not accept the multiverse, simply because you think it is an atheistic argument, rather than following from the implications of the observations of the universe.’–I do not agree with it because there is no evidence for it, and by theory we could never have evidence for us…in the atheistic argument, this is used as ” dodge” by using a “Could be”… to much blind faith for me.

          ” You seem to be on the verge of construing everything an atheist says to be an argument for atheism.”-when they give those subjects as a defense or argument for atheism, then yes I do…thats logical. Your assuming to know the situation from which i am pulling these subjects from as not in a conversation.

          “Tipped my hand? Is that how you determined I was an atheist? “– No, I wouldn’t insult an atheist with this..I would base it on the fact that you are trying to insult or downgrade someone else’s belief , so I would consider (with comfortably) your more of a “anti-theist” at this point

          “Are you going to run away if I say “god thingy”?’–why would I ? remember I said “attempts” . But, why ask? Is that your intention? Why is attempting at attacking someone so important in the conversation to you instead of just attacking the subject ?
          I would conclude that the reason is (most always) of trying to disrespect the theist, is because it usually never is a intellectual/evidence argument, But a ” my will” argument.

        • I do not agree with it because there is no evidence for it

          The multiverse is a prediction of a theory that is well supported by evidence, cosmic inflation.

        • Michael J Edwards

          cosmic inflation is your evidence for a multiverse ?
          Has alot more opposition against it then for it…and it also just moves the goal posts back anyway. The multiverse “generator” would still need an explination

        • Greg G.

          Has alot more opposition against it then for it…and it also just moves the goal posts back anyway. The multiverse “generator” would still need an explination

          Alan Guth proposed how a universe can come from nothing to have space, time, energy, and matter with the net sum of zero nearly forty years ago. That is a long time for a theory to not be overturned these days.
          ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Guth#Inflationary_theory )

        • Greg G.

          The recipe for bubbles is water, a little soap, air, and agitation. With those conditions, it is easier to make a lot of bubbles than just a single bubble. It’s nearly impossible to make just one or two bubbles. The existence of one universe implies that the conditions for universes to come into existence is met. Single universe theory needs an explanation for why other universes cannot come into existence. An omnipotent god theory doesn’t work as it would be able to make a multiverse as easily as a universe.

          There are more stars in the galaxies of this universe than there are grains of sand on this planet. There are more atoms in each grain of sand than there are stars in the universe.

          Bible believers were wrong when they thought the sun and moon were just lights in the sky. They were wrong when they thought the earth was the center of the “solar” system. It was wrong to thing this galaxy was the whole universe. Why would you want to insist that the multiverse theory is wrong? What do you have to gain from it?

        • Sorry–who is moving the goalposts?

          You said that the multiverse has no evidence for it, and I showed you that it does. This is the point where you say, “OK, thanks. I didn’t know that.” Or is learning something new not how you do things?

        • Greg G.

          Sure, you can interpret the verses differently when you know the shape of the earth but the people who wrote it didn’t know where the sun went at night. The language did not become idiomatic until it was known that the earth is not flat.

          I do not agree with it because there is no evidence for it, and by theory we could never have evidence for us…in the atheistic argument, this is used as ” dodge” by using a “Could be”… to much blind faith for me.

          That is a blind faith claim. You don’t know what evidence will be uncovered. Who expected the red shift dilation of the light from distant galaxies? They didn’t know there was other galaxies until they noticed the red shift of the absorption lines of elements. Nobody expected dark matter until evidence was discovered.

          The existence of one universe implies that universes can come into being. A universe with a mechanism that prevents other universes from forming is more complex than one that cannot prevent other universes from forming, so Occam’s Razor favors the multiverse hypothesis.

          Your assuming to know the situation from which i am pulling these subjects from as not in a conversation.

          You complain that I noted your reading comprehension problem. I prefaced the statement with “You seem to be on the verge of construing…” How do you then jump to me assuming I know where they come from.

          No, I wouldn’t insult an atheist with this..I would base it on the fact that you are trying to insult or downgrade someone else’s belief , so I would consider (with comfortably) your more of a “anti-theist” at this point

          If you were believing that space aliens had invaded, would you not consider it a kindness if someone tried to talk you down? I was a theist. I have found that not being a theist is a better state of mind. I’m doing you a favor.

          remember I said “attempts” .

          You said:

          Dont forget to spell God “gawd ” in your “god thingy” comments…get all the cliche ATTEMPTS at insulting in. 🙂

          Were you insulted? If not, why not let them go like water off a duck’s back? You entered with bombastic language. You don’t get to blame anybody when you get it back. OK?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Sure, you can interpret the verses differently when you know the shape of the earth but the people who wrote it didn’t know where the sun went at night. The language did not become idiomatic until it was known that the earth is not flat.

          The text describe a Flat Earth concept, because in the 6th century and earlier, when the text was being cobbled together, the people writing the texts believed the Earth was flat. The concept of a globe shaped Earth didn’t become acceptable until centuries later.

          The Hebrew Bible imagined a three-part world, with the heavens (shamayim) above, earth (eres) in the middle, and the underworld (sheol) below. After the 4th century BCE this was gradually replaced by a Greek scientific cosmology of a spherical earth surrounded by multiple concentric heavens.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spherical_Earth#History

          What’s more likely, the plain reading of the text describing a flat disc shaped world as was the understanding of the authors at the time, or a metaphorical reading and more modern interpretation of the texts which contradicts the held understanding of the worlds shape in 600 BCE?

          Methinks that MJE is just to ready to believe lying apologists like WLC and prefers to be obtuse and stupid.

        • Michael J Edwards

          “You don’t know what evidence will be uncovered.”–we can only know our universe. but galaxies are in our universe, this universe, which is all we can know…are you suggesting that our knowledge of nature can step outside our nature?

          “The existence of one universe implies that universes can come into being”–Sure .
          “A universe with a mechanism that prevents other universes from forming is more complex than one that cannot prevent other universes from forming”–who is claiming this ? How did you come to the conclusion that this universe has mechanism to stop other universes ?

          ” “You seem to be on the verge of construing…”-out of context, this partial fragment doesnt show my point.

          “If you were believing that space aliens had invaded”–IF ? now we are into IF”S ? This assume that i would not change my mind it lite of facts and truth. Silliness.

          ” I have found that not being a theist is a better state of mind”-does that dictate truth then ? “Ignorance is bliss” could be applied to a situation as such, correct ? what do you mean by state of mind thou ? What if your state of mind is “faulty” or “unhealthy” ?

          “Were you insulted? If not, why not let them go like water off a duck’s back’–not at all, My point was you felt needed to insult…make it emotional rather than intellectual

          “You entered with bombastic language”–how so ? Such as ?
          “blame anybody when you get it back. OK?”–I dont participate in double standards…so again, how so ?

        • Ignorant Amos

          The bible teaches the world is flat Fopaw? really ? where ?

          Whaaa? I take it you are one of the multitude of Christians who haven’t actually read your holy burble?

          What do “Real Christians” ™ think and why? Let’s see….

          As a Christian, the flat earth begins and ends with Scripture. While the evidence continues to mount, and has, for the flat earth, I must begin by saying, “the Scriptures told you so.”

          Just like so many people have been deceived regarding evolution, the big bang, and heliocentrism, so to have many been duped into believing that we are on a spinning ball. The ramifications of these lies have wide sweeping effects upon every sphere of life and society. I would like to begin with the most controversial verse in Isaiah.

          http://www.philipstallings.com/2015/06/the-biblical-flat-earth-teaching-from.html

          https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-yitQnf4yMqg/V09Imvp9rLI/AAAAAAAABJI/SmQ-tAWsUn4Tf20J46EO_TQl1d7p7R9ZACLcB/s1600/12345503_1530166443965413_192483906855360177_n1.jpg

        • Michael J Edwards

          As this is not really an argument or considered with any scholastic authenticity . ( I dont believe Hitchens, or Dawkins would even give this old claim the time of day) …only maybe someone reading a book called the Holy Burble ?

          So with little effort needed, here ya go

          https://www.reasonablefaith.org/question-answer/P160/does-the-bible-teach-a-flat-earth

        • Ignorant Amos

          Whaaa? You assert that the bible doesn’t say the world is flat.

          The bible teaches the world is flat Fopaw? really ? where ?

          I linked to a Christian who thinks it does…not an atheist…a Christian. He is one among many.

          I can link to Flat Earth Christians arguing with Creationist Christians citing scripture.

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

          Then there are those lying Christians that believe in a geocentric solar system, arguing with Flat Earther’s…the fuckin’ irony.

          https://www.theprinciplemovie.com/flat-earth-not-answer-response-philip-stallings-part-iii/

          A number of us here have personnel experience engaging with Rick DeLano, who is an ultra conservative Roman Catholic kook.

          As this is not really an argument…

          You’re right, it’s an observation on your ignorance on what Christians believed, and some Christians still believe, based on the scripture they are reading. Don’t shoot the messenger if you are unaware of this position.

          …or considered with any scholastic authenticity .

          Except that there are/were those Christian “scholars” that hold the flat earth view from a literal reading of scripture.

          The only identifiable ‘flat-earthers’ are Lactantius (265-345 AD), Cosmas Indicopleustes (540 AD), Severian of Gabala (380 AD), and possibly Theodore of Mopsuestia (350 – 430 AD), and possibly Diodore of Tarsus (394 AD). Of these Lactantius and Cosmas are the prime proponents of the flat earth theory.

          Lucius Caecilius Firmianus Lactantius was instrumental in Constantine’s conversion to, and instruction in, Christianity. Making him one of the, if not thee, most important Christians of the time. One could say that without him, Christianity would never had the backing of the state which perpetuated Christianity to the top of the tree.

          ( I dont believe Hitchens, or Dawkins would even give this old claim the time of day)

          I could give zero fucks about what Hitchens and Dawkins believe on the subject of a Flat Earth. I’m pointing out that it was a belief held by some Christians in the past, based on their interpretation scripture, when they were kept in the dark and knew no better i.e. the Dark Ages. A belief still held by some Christians today…with no rational excuse anymore. I only need one example to support my claim…I have many.

          …only maybe someone reading a book called the Holy Burble ?

          Will it make a difference if I call it the the Holy Bible? The Christian fuckwits are reading the book and interpreting it the way it has been historically been interpreted. The ancient Israelite’s, ya know, the ones that wrote the OT, had a completely different view of cosmology. Trying to reinterpret their scriptures based on later, or today’s science, is disingenuous, and futile. But it’s what ya all gotta do to try and excuse the Bronze Age ignorance, given it is supposed to be an omniscient god inspired book.

          The ancient Israelites envisaged a universe made up of a flat disc-shaped earth floating on water, heaven above, underworld below. Humans inhabited earth during life and the underworld after death, and the underworld was morally neutral; only in Hellenistic times (after c.330 BCE) did Jews begin to adopt the Greek idea that it would be a place of punishment for misdeeds, and that the righteous would enjoy an afterlife in heaven. In this period too the older three-level cosmology in large measure gave way to the Greek concept of a spherical earth suspended in space at the center of a number of concentric heavens.

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

          In the Old Testament period, the earth was most commonly thought of as a flat disc floating on water. The concept was apparently quite similar to that depicted in a Babylonian world-map from about 600 BCE: a single circular continent bounded by a circular sea, and beyond the sea a number of equally spaced triangles called nagu, “distant regions”, apparently islands although possibly mountains. The Old Testament likewise locates islands alongside the earth; (Psalm 97:1) these are the “ends of the earth” according to Isaiah 41:5, the extreme edge of Job’s circular horizon (Job 26:10) where the vault of heaven is supported on mountains. Other OT passages suggest that the sky rests on pillars (Psalm 75:3, 1 Samuel 2:8, Job 9:6), on foundations (Psalms 18:7 and 82:5), or on “supports” (Psalm 104:5), while the Book of Job imagines the cosmos as a vast tent, with the earth as its floor and the sky as the tent itself; from the edges of the sky God hangs the earth over “nothing”, meaning the vast Ocean, securely supported by being tied to the sky (Job 26:7). If the technical means by which Yahweh keeps the earth from sinking into the chaos-waters are unclear, it is nevertheless clear that he does so by virtue of his personal power.

          The idea that the earth was a sphere was developed by the Greeks in the 6th century BCE, and by the 3rd century BCE this was generally accepted by educated Romans and Greeks and even by some Jews. The author of Revelation, however, assumed a flat earth in 7:1.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_cosmology#Earth

          That is the reason apologetics was invented. Trying to square a circle. Because when the science closes another gap, the infallibility of the silly book has to be protected. Ergo, the interpretation needs amending. Some Christian folk just remain honest to some parts of the scripture. While some cherry pick other silliness to adhere to. Stupid, but honest.

          So with little effort needed, here ya go…

          You seem to have a hard-on for that lying Gish Galloping cunt William Lane Craig…what gives his interpretation of scripture any more veracity than the biblical scholars of the past? Oh that’s right, science has shown the old ones to be wrong, so ya need a liar to support the modern bullshit.

          From your WLC link of flanneling waffle…

          I suspect what’s going on here is internet infidels masquerading as Christians in a misguided attempt to make the Bible look silly.

          The bible does a fine job of looking silly all by itself, but this statement is pure fuckwittery and that lying piece of shite knows it.

          I suggest you listen to or read my Defenders lectures (Series 2, Section 9) on Creation and Evolution, parts 9-12. There I discuss ancient creation stories such as ancient Egyptian creation myths and ask whether ancient peoples understood these literally. I think it’s evident that they did not.

          Seriously? The Egyptian’s believed all sorts of woo-woo. All creation myths are woo-woo, but if the believers in those myths didn’t believe them, what did they believe?

          These accounts are often metaphorical or symbolic, and ancient people would have been quite surprised if one of these modern literalists were to confront them with the claim,…

          How ta fuck does he know what is metaphorical and what isn’t?

          ”So you believe that the world literally ____________ (fill in the blank) ?”.

          ”So you believe that the world literally was created in 6 days?” Yeah people did…millions still do.

          ”So you believe that the world literally was populated by 2 first humans?” Yeah people did…millions still do.

          ”So you believe that the world literally was the centre of the known universe, which was the solar?” Yeah people did…plenty still do.

          ”So you believe that Mo literally rode a flying horse ?” Yeah people did…millions still do.

          ”So you believe that the people literally come back from the dead>?” Yeah people did…millions still do.

          ”So you believe that the aliens literally visit the Earth and abduct folk?” Yeah people did…millions still do.

          What is so odd about people believing the world is flat at a time when folk didn’t know where the Sun went at night?

          To all intents and purposes of those ancient times, the world looked flat.

          In order to appreciate this point just take a look at the artistic illustrations in Johnny V. Miller and John M. Soden, In the Beginning… We Misunderstood: Interpreting Genesis 1 in Its Original Context (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Publications, 2012) of what a literalistic understanding of such myths would involve. I doubt that any ancient Israelite believed, for example, that if he traveled far enough north he would eventually come to some gigantic pillar supporting the dome of the sky.

          What Lame Craig doubts is irrelevant. What he can demonstrate is what is important. We all know that ancient people believed stuff that sensible people today have no truck with…which includes gods of all stripes. Craig’s incredulity is just that…or he is a liar…I lean towards the later, because it is in evidence.

          The burden of proof, then, lies upon these literalists to justify their assumption that such ancient literature was intended by its original authors and readers to be understood literally.

          Nah…it isn’t. He needs to wise to fuck up. He want’s an alternative interpretation, his onus probandi.

          Craig doesn’t pull the same bullshit when it comes to the Resurrection myth, Miracle Birth myth, or the other woo-woo believes he arbitrarily accepts as historically accurate…or even believed historically accurate. So pah!

        • Greg G.

          Kent Hovind sounded almost smart when he was referring to the evidence that the planet was not flat but he couldn’t wait to hang up when the guy started talking about the Hebrew wording because the Hebrew has nothing to do with the KJV.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Indeed, kooks arguing with kooks about scripture.

          This isn’t my first dance in the park on this subject. Back in the Strange Notions days…before all the atheists got banhammered enmasse, the subject was brouched. It was 5 years ago….Susan might remember, she did her usual of holding the feckers feet to the fire.

          Anyway, to say even mainstream Christians don’t make the Flat Earth claim is ballix.

          This is the website of Flat Earth Trads. We are a group of Traditional Catholics who accept the earth to be flat. We follow the apostolic line of Bishop Richard Williamson. We hope this website will help you in your research into the reality of our world. Check out also our web forum and Youtube channel. May God bless you!

          http://flatearthtrads.com/

          Thomas Aquinas?

          http://flatearthtrads.com/

        • Grimlock

          You should probably be aware that Craig probably isn’t the most convincing person you could quote around here.

          Anyhow. Here’s a quick comment from professor James McGrath (Christian, well known critic of mythicism) on the subject: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/2017/03/ancient-hebrew-cosmology-2.html

        • Michael J Edwards

          “You should probably be aware that Craig probably isn’t the most convincing person you could quote around here”-what would convincing you do to refute a claim ? thats a decision on your part to accept it or not whatever the evidence points to

        • Greg G.

          thats a decision on your part to accept it or not whatever the evidence points to

          It is an irrational decision to reject what the evidence points to.

        • Grimlock

          I’ll just note how you ignore the specialist who acknowledges that parts of the Old Testament reflects a view of a flat earth.

          Now, you ask what would make me consider that claim refuted. Well, the link you posted to is a good example of what wouldn’t do much to refute it, and illustrates why I can’t take Craig seriously. He starts off with this absurd assertion:

          I suspect what’s going on here is internet infidels masquerading as Christians in a misguided attempt to make the Bible look silly.

          So next time? Quote someone who doesn’t start of their response with a conspiracy theory.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The Church Fathers were almost unanimous in their opinion that the earth was flat. Here we provide the citations to back that up.

          http://flatearthtrads.com/

          WLC trying to blame online infidels is as barmy as the apologetic that Satan placed the dinosaur fossils to undermine scriptural Young Earth Creationism….wise ta fuck up.

        • Greg G.

          Here is a sample of the reasoning ability of one of the world’s leading apologists. At http://www.reasonablefaith.org/does-god-exist-1 , William Lane Craig says,

          “Alvin Plantinga, one of the world’s leading philosophers, has laid out two dozen or so arguments for God’s existence. Together these constitute a powerful cumulative case for the existence of God.”

          If there was one successful argument for God’s existence, Craig would cite that one. It seems to me that the cumulative weight of the failures of the two dozen or so best arguments for the existence of God is a powerful case for the non-existence of God.

        • Apologists seem to imagine these individual arguments like a parallel series of ropes, each contributing to the strength of the overall argument.

          They don’t realize that each of their ropes is broken and adds nothing.

        • Michael J Edwards

          “Atheists seem to imagine these individual arguments/rebuttals are like a parallel series of ropes, each contributing to the strength of the overall argument.

          They don’t realize that each of their ropes is broken and adds nothing.”

        • Michael Neville

          So do you want to discuss why it’s highly unlikely your favorite pet god exists? We can do that, starting with the Problem of Evil and the related Problem of Suffering. Just say the word.

        • epeeist

          Yeah, I started with the cosmological argument. He broke off once he realised he had no counter arguments. Good luck with these two arguments.

        • Grimlock

          That doesn’t actually work.

          Say, can you respond to a specific undercutter using your own words, and not linking to someone else’s words? Here’s a nice one for the Kalam:
          1. The Kalam requires the A-theory of time to be true.
          2. Most philosophers and cosmologists rejects the A-theory of time.
          3. A layperson is therefore not justified in believing that the A-theory is true.
          4. A layperson is therefore not justified in believing that the Kalam succeeds.

          A response, in your own words?

          Oh, and note that I provided an undercutter, and not a rebuttal.

        • Grimlock

          Or that if one of their ropes are broken, they don’t succeed. In general, the arguments ain’t parallel, after all.

          I like Stephen Law’s post on the subject: http://stephenlaw.blogspot.com/2017/05/a-cumulative-case-for-existence-of-god.html?m=1

        • A helpful analysis, thanks.

        • Greg G.

          I think they are trying to fill the chasm with broken ropes and bullshit.

        • Pofarmer

          definitely bullshit.

        • Michael J Edwards

          Craig cites many has his many publications, website, blogs and many debates he as participated in have shown. We are just discussing ONE of many.

          “It seems to me that the cumulative weight of the failures of the two dozen or so best arguments for the existence of God is a powerful case for the non-existence of God.”–How so ? Begging the question

        • How so ?

          Because a popular apologist has given his best arguments and they fail? Or is this a trick question?

        • Michael J Edwards

          I do not see how fail..or at least you ( Bob) haven’t shown how Craig’s fail..neither has Greg G. Of course, i could just apply your theory that the only people you claim Craig’s arguments fail are atheists ?
          So no, not a trick question.

        • You’re conflating different issues. I just explained to you the thinking behind Greg’s comment: if a highly regarded apologist gives us his best two dozen arguments and they’re not only unconvincing but refutations are easily findable, then that reflects poorly on the project to show God’s existence.

          If you want to move on to the specific arguments, we can do that. Share with us the best argument or arguments for God that we should find compelling.

        • Michael J Edwards

          “d they’re not only unconvincing but refutations are easily findable, then that reflects poorly on the project to show God’s existence.”- such as ?

          “f you want to move on to the specific arguments, we can do that.”–ok, “if a highly regarded apologist gives us his best two dozen arguments and they’re not only unconvincing but refutations are easily findable’—you made the statement, you support it, you pick..its not my job to refute y our claim, yours to support it

        • Greg G.

          William Lane Craig tacitly admits that the two dozen or so arguments fail to prove there is a God Thingy by appealing to the combined weight of them. If no argument carries the weight alone, it is a failed argument. If an argument has true premises and no fallacies, then the conclusion is true. Either Plantinga’s arguments have fallacies or their premises are not known to be true. Arguments that almost prove God except for one fallacy or one that is not true is a failure.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I don’t think MJE is the sharpest tool in the box.

          His writing style doesn’t lend itself to a high literacy…or English might not be his first language.

          That was me making an ad homenim attack for your information, MJE.

        • Greg G.

          That is my assessment of his writing style, too.

          I have put in several insults and ad homs in my replies but I delete most of them before posting. But he only complains about the ones I leave in but never praises me for deleting the others. It’s like he has no contact with an omniscience at all.

        • Click on All Posts at the top. Or search a keyword in the search bar. I have 1000+ posts here. I’ve done my work; you can do some, too. You want to find my response to an issue? Search.

        • Michael Neville

          We have discussed Craig and Plantinga here many times. If you search the blog you’ll find posts where their apologetics are dissected. “More Sloppy Thinking from William Lane Craig” [LINK] is just one example.

          In a recent post, I explored William Lane Craig’s unhealthy relationship with facts and evidence. Given his two doctorates and his frequent debates, you’d think that he’d be the champion of reason. Not so.

          It is the self-authenticating witness of the Holy Spirit that gives us the fundamental knowledge of Christianity’s truth. Therefore, the only role left for argument and evidence to play is a subsidiary role. (Reasonable Faith, Third Edition, 47)

          If Craig thinks the voice in his head “gives us the fundamental knowledge of Christianity’s truth” then that’s a very slim reed for Christianity to lean on. What’s the difference between the “witness of the Holy Spirit” and Craig’s opinion?

          I made a comment on that thread:

          WLC knows that his ghost is the only real ghost and all others are fake because the ghost told him so. That’s what self-authenticating means. If a Muslim or Hindu says the same thing about their ghosts then WLC knows they’re lying because his ghost is the only real one.

          Now my head hurts.

          Sorry, not impressed by someone who considers his personal revelation to be evidence of anything.

        • Greg G.

          WLC’s claim that the weight of the arguments implies a god proves that none of them actually do show there is a god. If one or more did, he would cite those instead of including the ones that don’t.

        • MR

          It’s pretty amazing how esoteric the arguments get for a being who supposedly loves me and wants me to know him. “For God so loved the world he couldn’t be bothered to come up with a decent argument.”

          One day the goal posts were here, suddenly they’re over there.

        • “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain goalpost, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
          – Lark62

        • Ignorant Amos

          Your citation of Craig’s in defence of your “no reference to a Flat Earth in the bible” nonsense, was an epic fail.

          Next?

        • Greg G.
        • Michael J Edwards

          How so ? How so ? 🙂 Are you asking me how so..well, he presents the 12 arguments as being not cases for, but cases against . I want to know exactly 1) pick one of the 12 and b) how it supports “against”.
          P.S. I have found have been reading your blogs…I like them.

        • I’ve written about many of Plantinga’s arguments in this blog. You can search for them. Or, you can make a case for one of them.

          If you want a thorough rebuttal for each one, I haven’t done that. But Richard Carrier has:
          https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/13681

        • Greg G.

          Craig cites many has his many publications, website, blogs and many debates he as participated in have shown.

          Which is why I referred to him as “one of the world’s leading apologists.”

          “It seems to me that the cumulative weight of the failures of the two dozen or so best arguments for the existence of God is a powerful case for the non-existence of God.”–How so ? Begging the question

          It was in the sentence before that: “If there was one successful argument for God’s existence, Craig would cite that one.” If there was one successful argument for the existence of a god thingy, there would be no discussion. The weight of two dozen best argument failures leads to the contrary. The weight is also supplemented by the thousands of other failed arguments for the supernatural.

          The reason there can never be a proof for a god is that gods tend to be defined as untestable. When people have a testable god, it gets disproved so gods must be protected from empirical scrutiny by defining them that way.

        • Phil

          “P.S Dont forget to spell God “gawd ” in your “god thingy” comments…get all the cliche ATTEMPTS at insulting in” So this mythical entity is insulted? How do you know? How do you know you are not being insulting by denying it has a sense of humour. How else do you explain Job?

        • this mythical entity is insulted?

          God is as tough as Superman, but you can bring him, sobbing, to his knees with a snarky insult.

        • (I forgot that I have a video of that.)

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFX04tOPv8s

        • Michael J Edwards

          Fictional cartoon as an argument…mmmmmm

        • Show us how it’s done. Give us a good argument for God.

        • MR

          Oh, he’s got good arguments. He’s got great arguments. You wouldn’t believe the arguments he’s got. You want arguments? Oh, he’s got ’em. Arguments, arguments, arguments. You’ve never seen arguments like he has. Seriously. And one day he’ll get around to actually making those arguments. Maybe.

        • Michael J Edwards

          Id rather start at point A. Theism or atheist as the more plausible explanation of our reality. Which I believe weve started.

        • Go on. Give us an argument.

        • MR

          Id rather start at point A.

          Although he started, as he stated elsewhere, with Jesus.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’m guessing he’s come to realize that the evidence wasn’t all that great.

          He never cites any evidence, so guessing is all ya’ve got.

          I started with Jesus…if he wasnt real, game over.

          He may not have been real, but even if he was real, he wasn’t the guy in the stories.

          If his Resurrection can be explained naturally, game over.

          If the story of his Resurrection can be explained naturally, because that’s all it is, a story, and not even the only story, which it can be explained naturally, then what happens to MJE’s game?

          He claims that…

          I started from there..and followed the arguments with the known evidence we have….

          …which is blatantly untrue.

        • Greg G.

          The cartoon is an example of a superhero with his feelings hurt.

          How do you know that the god thingy is not more upset by believers who accuse him of torturing people forever?

        • Greg G.

          At least we are not accusing God of drowning all but eight people and a few animals. Believers insist he actually did that.

        • Greg G.

          The FSM is not an argument for atheism. It is a reductio ad absurdum against arguments for theism. Any argument for a god thingy is an argument for the FSM, which shows the argument does not work for any particular god thingy.

        • Michael J Edwards

          I agree its not an argument . Of course this pre assume that God qualifies for reductio ad absurdum classification , but I bleieve ita weak argument that fails. So this whole comment ‘thingy’ is reductio ad absurdum.

        • Greg G.

          The FSM is a “god thingy”. Any argument for a generic deity works as well for the FSM as for any other god thingy. It makes it absurd to associate one’s preferred god thingy with the generic deity.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Which god?

          Whether you believe it a weak argument that fails or not, is irrelevant…when you can refute it with anything of substance, then you’ll pique our interest.

          [FSM] Proponents argue that, since the existence of the invisible and undetectable Flying Spaghetti Monster—similar to other proposed supernatural beings—cannot be falsified, it demonstrates that the burden of proof rests on those who affirm the existence of such beings. Richard Dawkins explains, “The onus is on somebody who says, I want to believe in God, Flying Spaghetti Monster, fairies, or whatever it is. It is not up to us to disprove it.” Furthermore, according to Lance Gharavi, an editor of The Journal of Religion and Theater, the Flying Spaghetti Monster is “ultimately…an argument about the arbitrariness of holding any one view of creation”, since any one view is equally as plausible as the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

          Personally….I prefer Space Ponies did it, but since there exists the same evidence for them, the FSM, and YawehJesus…and every other unevidenced supernatural proposition…I’ll defer to science to provide the explanation.

        • Greg G.

          Personally….I prefer Space Ponies did it

          Heretic!

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’s me nailed that is….next thing I’ll know is that you are in the Susan camp and a Snowflake Fairyist…and ya have the cheek ta call me a heretic.

        • Michael J Edwards

          Free pony rides for everyone !

        • Michael J Edwards

          Which specific theistic explanation belief would be more appropriate form of the question. To infer which God pre supposes that many exists , which is odd from an atheist . Since most ( which address the questions of reality that is) are truth exclusive, this question is silly.

          “.I prefer Space Ponies did it, but since there exists the same evidence for them, the FSM, and YawehJesus”–You havnt shown that all….In fact Ive never seen this argument in academia at all….Just youtube edits and the layman that already has his mind set before…

        • Greg G.

          What evidence for your god thingy is not evidence for the god thingy of someone else or the FSM? The FSM is the reductio ad absurdum for god thingy arguments. Perhaps scholars realize that attacking it only undercuts their own arguments. Even calling it absurd points back at their own god thingy arguments.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Which specific theistic explanation belief would be more appropriate form of the question.

          Whateva…obfuscating with pedantic semantics all ya got?

          To infer which God pre supposes that many exists , which is odd from an atheist .

          Demonstrating your moronic thought processes.

          Let me try a wee analogy to help ya out.

          I can hypothetically infer that of all the superheroes that are to be found in pages of comic books, one will have attributes that seem to be more superior than another. Does that presuppose any of their actual existence? Not at all. Wise up soft boy.

          Since most ( which address the questions of reality that is) are truth exclusive, this question is silly.

          When you demonstrate the veracity of any of them with convincing evidence and not the nonsense you’ve been spewing so far, then the question could be classed as silly, but not yet.

          What is it you are specifically claiming that exists, and what method do you use to verify and support your assertion?

          “.I prefer Space Ponies did it, but since there exists the same evidence for them, the FSM, and YawehJesus”–You havnt shown that all….

          The onus probandi is on the person making the positive ontological claim, so since I’m equating the existence of all three is on an equal footing, I’ve no burden to carry.

          In fact Ive never seen this argument in academia at all….

          What? That the evidence for the existence of all supernatural entities are on an equal footing is the same? Not my fault you are ignorant.

          Philosopher John W. Loftus wrote a whole book on the subject called The Outsider Test for Faith”. He was a student of William Lame Craig, and a former Christian preacher, before realising the whole lot was bunkum.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVoFIdeH2ME

          But Hemant Mehta gives ya the basics here…

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kr6xeLjuDmI

          Just youtube edits and the layman that already has his mind set before…

          Yeah…that’s just your unsupported conjecture and ignorance. For some reason, Christians go onto atheist blogs and demonstrate such fuckwittery all the time. The majority of atheists started out as religious believers. They had their minds set before as that of being a member of the Faithful. So your statement here is demonstrably false. As can be refuted with the example of John W. Loftus, but there are a plethora of more examples of deeply religious folk using critical thinking and logic to realise religion is a lot of mumbo-jumbo-woo-woo. I can provide them if you don’t believe me?

        • Greg G.

          I am not sure what you mean by “ontological argument”. Theists, particularly Xtian theists, have employed ontological arguments since Anselm in the 11th century. They keep tinkering with it but they haven’t reached anything convincing.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S5_(modal_logic)#Axiom_S5

          S5 (modal logic)
          In logic and philosophy, S5 is one of five systems of modal logic proposed by Clarence Irving Lewis and Cooper Harold Langford in their 1932 book Symbolic Logic. It is a normal modal logic, and one of the oldest systems of modal logic of any kind. Is the most basic modal logic, is formed with propositional calculus formulas and tautologies, and inference apparatus with substitution and modus ponens, but extending the syntax with the modal operator necessarily {displaystyle Box } Box and its dual possibly {displaystyle Diamond } Diamond .

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontological_argument#Alvin_Plantinga

          The conclusion relies on a form of modal axiom S5, which states that if something is possibly true, then its possibility is necessary (it is possibly true in all worlds). Plantinga’s version of S5 suggests that “To say that p is possibly necessarily true is to say that, with regard to one world, it is true at all worlds; but in that case it is true at all worlds, and so it is simply necessary.”[38] A version of his argument is as follows:[5]

          1. A being has maximal excellence in a given possible world W if and only if it is omnipotent, omniscient and wholly good in W; and
          2. A being has maximal greatness if it has maximal excellence in every possible world.
          3. It is possible that there is a being that has maximal greatness. (Premise)
          4. Therefore, possibly, it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly good being exists.
          5. Therefore, (by axiom S5) it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being exists.
          6. Therefore, an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being exists.

          Another Christian apologist, William Lane Craig, characterizes Plantinga’s argument in a slightly different way:

          1. It is possible that a maximally great being exists.
          2. If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.
          3. If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
          4. If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.
          5. If a maximally great being exists in the actual world, then a maximally great being exists.
          6. Therefore, a maximally great being exists.

          Plantinga (#3) and Craig (#1) equivocate with the word “possible”. Prior to the 20th century, one could say “it is possible to travel through space faster than the speed of sound.” Nobody knew that it was possible, but they couldn’t say it was impossible. But they could also say “it is possible to travel through space faster than the speed of light” for the same reason but it was never actually possible to do that.

          Plantinga and Craig use the word “possible” from a state of ignorance about the possibility. Then they jump to using “possible” as if it is actually possible. From not knowing if it was impossible, they jump to “necessarily” as if it was actually possible. That argument fails just the same as concluding it is speed of light travel is actually possible based on claims that could be made in the 19th century.

          The Problem of the Existence of Suffering defeats their conclusions. Suffering is either necessary or unnecessary. If it is unnecessary, it is gratuitous and cannot exist if a maximally great thingy exists. If suffering is necessary, then the suffering must achieve something that is logically possible to do, which means an omnipotence can do it, with or without suffering, to meet the weakest definition of omnipotence.

          If an omnipotent thingy exists, then all suffering is unnecessary. If unnecessary suffering exists, then there is no being that is both omnipotent and omnibenevolent (or perfectly good).

          If an omnibenevolent, maximally great omnipotence cannot exist in this world, then it cannot exist in all possible worlds. If it cannot exist in all possible worlds, it cannot be maximally great so it cannot exist in any possible world.

          So we can conclude that Plantinga’s and Craig’s initial premises are false because it is impossible for a maximally great being to exist.

        • Michael J Edwards

          Well, the history lesson before the argument is not necessary or impressive.

          now to the argument: It roots from ” equivocating the word “possible”
          Ill let Craig address this:
          https://www.reasonablefaith.org/question-answer/P20/misunderstanding-the-ontological-argument

        • Ignorant Amos

          Oh fer feck sake, not that balloon head lying bastard Lame Craig…wise ya fuck up.

        • Michael J Edwards

          great argument

        • Ignorant Amos

          Nope….the rebuttal to Craig’s argument has been soundly made in numerous places elsewhere. Which you conveniently ignore. I’m just pointing out that you are relying on the assertions of a demonstrable liar for YahwehJesus.

          Not the wisest avenue to take.

        • Michael J Edwards

          Well, I believe craigs argument still stands more plausible over the video you shared, so Im not ignoring it, im disagreeing with it.

          “I’m just pointing out that you are relying on the assertions of a demonstrable liar for YahwehJesus.
          “Not the wisest avenue to take.”—and these comments just show your low tolerance for people who disagree with you, I thought atheist were supposed to be the tolerate ones ?

          “of a demonstrable liar for YahwehJesus.”–you also have not shown how he is a liar in that video…again, [personally attacking the person and not the argument…shows emotion, not intellect.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Well, I believe craigs argument still stands more plausible over the video you shared, so Im not ignoring it, im disagreeing with it.

          When you don’t acknowledge a comment, it is a sign that you are ignoring it, or have no answer in reply, or you agree to its substance, but haven’t the balls to admit it.

          I have no problem with you disagreeing with the rebuttal I provided, the question is on what grounds?

          “I’m just pointing out that you are relying on the assertions of a demonstrable liar for YahwehJesus.
          “Not the wisest avenue to take.”—and these comments just show your low tolerance for people who disagree with you, I thought atheist were supposed to be the tolerate ones ?

          If I can demonstrate that Craig is on record lying…and misrepresenting experts in his arguments…will you retract that comment and apologise?

          “of a demonstrable liar for YahwehJesus.”–you also have not shown how he is a liar in that video…

          Where did I claim he lied in that video? I haven’t watched it…so I can’t tell. My issue is that he has been outed as a bare faced liar for Jesus, so how can anything he says be trusted?

          …again, [personally attacking the person and not the argument…shows emotion, not intellect.

          When a person is known to be a liar when making their arguments, I’m justified in asserting that the arguments they are making are suspect. Case in point, the citation you linked to by Craig reference the Flat Earth issue. It is false. It was demonstrated as being false. When Craig starts blaming “internet infidels” for the Flat Earth phenomena, he is lying.

          Go away and learn what the ad hominem fallacy actually is, before accusing others of doing it.

          When a statement is challenged by making an ad hominem attack on its author, it is important to draw a distinction between whether the statement in question was an argument or a statement of fact (testimony). In the latter case the issues of the credibility of the person making the statement may be crucial.

          Doug Walton, Canadian academic and author, has argued that ad hominem reasoning is not always fallacious, and that in some instances, questions of personal conduct, character, motives, etc., are legitimate and relevant to the issue, as when it directly involves hypocrisy, or actions contradicting the subject’s words.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The Ontological Argument has been demolished…suck it up.

          The ontological argument attempts to prove that a “maximally great” entity — which always turns out to be the God of the arguer’s religion — must, by definition, exist.

          All known attempts to make the ontological argument have been plagued by numerous show-stopping logical errors.

          It is also important to remember that ontological arguments are only being attempted in the first place due to the complete absence of evidence for the existence of God in the natural world, as a desperate last-ditch effort to keep the God hypothesis relevant.

          Naturally, this is a fallacy in itself, because even if “God” could be shown to exist deductively, that would by necessity pose all the other problems which have already been identified in the face of the faithful always having assumed God’s existence anyways.

          https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Ontological_argument

        • Ignorant Amos

          The history lesson is because you are apparently unaware that the argument you think is impressive, is a loada ballix and has been soundly refuted a very long time ago. What else ya got?

        • Greg G.

          Well, the history lesson before the argument is not necessary or impressive.

          It seems you need much more than a history lesson. Your reading comprehension is failing you.

          now to the argument: It roots from ” equivocating the word “possible”
          Ill let Craig address this:
          https://www.reasonablefaith.org/question-answer/P20/misunderstanding-the-ontological-argument

          That doesn’t address my argument at all. I accept the “(2)-(5) are true whether or not (1) is true.” I point out that jumping from (1) to (2) is an equivocation of the word “possible”. Craig did not address that. I then use (2)-(5) in reverse to prove that (1) is false.

        • Michael J Edwards

          ” Your reading comprehension is failing you.’-you haven’t shown that, you may have been “unclear”, I may have misunderstood only you( not the argument), Or…………….. you just dont like my reply.

          Ill try again:
          WLC:
          Make sure you are careful when you start using “possible world” semantics. There is a difference between a possible world and a feasible world. So when you say “it may yet be the case that there is no such possible world” I think what you mean is that there is no such feasible world. The possible world is certainly there as long as it is logically possible. Whether or not possible worlds are “real” is a different matter entirely and is no implied by the normal use of possible world semantics.

          Example:
          Consider the situation where Peter denied Jesus three times. It is logically possible that God create the actual world (W) and a possible world where everything else is identical, except Peter affirmed Christ rather than denying him. Let’s call that world W’. Then we ask ourselves if W’ is a feasible world for God to create. It seems not, because given the circumstances we already “know” what Peter would choose given those circumstances (because he in fact chose). That means God could not have actualized a world where everything else is identical, yet Peter affirm rather than deny Christ. We say that world is not feasible for God to actualize, even though it is a possible world

          I think this flows logically and reasonably to support the Ontological argument for God’s existence as Plausible

        • Ignorant Amos
        • Greg G.

          I explained that Craig makes that mistake after he warns against it. I gave the example of a 19th century person saying, “It is possible that man could fly faster then the speed of light through space.” That statement could be made because the knowledge that it was actually impossible to do was not available until the 20th century, The statement did not say it was actually possible, only at that point, human knowledge had to allow the possibility that it was actually possible but it really was never possible. The statement was true in one sense of the word “possible” but not in the sense of “possible” meaning “actually possible.” But