Silver-Bullet Arguments Against Christianity

Silver-Bullet Arguments Against Christianity July 30, 2019

Do you remember the series of posts titled, “25 Reasons We Don’t Live in a World with a God”? I had been challenged by a Christian to characterize the evidence he would need to provide to show that God existed. After the typical unfruitful conversation, I realized that I had underestimated what I would need.

For starters, I would need a crowdsourced revelation of God. This is orders of magnitude more than any religious apologist can provide, but it’s still not enough. Non-God explanations for this apparent revelation are still more plausible—for example, that aliens are tricking us. (Imagine taking our technology just 200 years into the past to overawe the populace, rather like Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Now imagine aliens a thousand years more advanced than us. Or a million years.)

I realized that I couldn’t accept that God exists given certain facts in our world. Our world looks like a world without the supernatural, and I’d need the apologist to first change those fundamental facts about our world. That is, show me that I don’t live in the world I’m living in. Only then I could consider his arguments.

For example, some Christians want the government to help support their religion with Creationism in science class or prayers before the city council meeting. If God existed, Christians wouldn’t do this, because God and his demands/needs would be obvious.

For example, there are natural disasters. If God existed, the actions of his world wouldn’t be so destructive.

For example, the Bible story keeps rebooting. If God existed, the Bible would be unambiguous, noncontradictory, and simple.

Thirteen posts later, I realized a couple of things. First, that getting to 25 reasons wasn’t that hard. I have notes for dozens more. And second, I realized that the category I was exploring was a little confusing.

Reboot

I want to relabel these arguments “silver-bullet arguments.”* Silver bullets were thought to have magical powers and be able to kill supernatural creatures like werewolves that were invulnerable to other weapons. The idea is that a single one of these arguments should be enough to defeat Christianity’s supernatural claims.

End of story, game over, mic drop.

How this works in practice

The way debates often work is that the Christian apologist offers a Christian argument they find compelling. Then the atheist points out flaws in that argument, and the Christian responds as best they can (often confusing a rebuttal with an effective rebuttal) and then offers another. The Christian is typically trying to make a cumulative case. They don’t claim that any of their arguments by itself will be enough. Rather, they hope that each provokes a “Hmm, I hadn’t thought of that” reaction that will eventually create enough evidence to tip the scale in their favor.

The atheist’s position is different. We do have single arguments that should shut down the debate, lots of them. The Christian might want to return to their game plan of gradually adding weight to their side of the balance (in their mind, anyway), but by cooperating, the atheist lets them off the hook. The atheist is entitled to continue hammering on just the one argument, which can’t be left standing if the Christian is to claim any reasonable victory.

It’s these silver-bullet arguments that I want to highlight. I think recasting these arguments this way will have several benefits.

  • “Silver-bullet arguments” is easier to understand that the God World argument.
  • There will be just one argument per post, with the argument name in the title (instead of “Part 14,” for example), which will make it more obvious to readers what the post is about.
  • The Dark Lord to whom I pledge allegiance (I speak of Google, of course) will more clearly understand what each post is about if each sticks to just one argument.

What’s not a silver-bullet argument

Lots of topics that I like to talk about won’t be silver-bullet arguments: a rebuttal to a Christian apologetic argument, commentary on social or civil issues (same-sex marriage, abortion, church/state separation), stupid things Christian leaders say, how the brain works (or doesn’t), and so on.

Silver-bullet arguments must be (1) pro-atheism arguments that (2) are broad enough that Christianity as it is understood by most Christians can’t coexist with it.

Christian response

I’m certain that pretty much zero Christians will agree that any of these are indeed silver-bullet arguments, but I can’t be constrained by them. I think I’m much closer to being an objective observer than they are. I’ll do my best to be fair as I invite Christians to point out errors in the arguments or loopholes in which the Christian god could still exist. Of course, I encourage the same of atheist readers.

Are there silver-bullet Christian arguments as well? Bring those up as well.

I apologize for the long introduction, but with that in place, we can continue our list of arguments.

On to part 26.

As was said of the Puritans,
they love religious liberty so much
that they want to keep it all to themselves.
Freedom From Religion Foundation

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Appendix: Silver-bullet arguments so far

  1. Because we’ve seen what Christian society looks like
  2. Because religious beliefs reflect culture
  3. Because God needs praise and worship
  4. Because there’s a map of world religions
  5. Because nothing distinguishes those who follow god from everyone else
  6. Because televangelists make clear that prayer doesn’t work
  7. Because Christians want help from the government
  8. Because of unnecessary physical pain
  9. Because God gets credit for good things, but he’s never blamed for bad things
  10. Because the universe doesn’t look like it exists with mankind in mind
  11. Because God is absent from where we’d expect him
  12. Because physics rules out the soul or the afterlife
  13. Because “Christianity answers life’s Big Questions!” is irrelevant
  14. Because not even Christians take their religion seriously
  15. Because there’s a book called The Big Book of Bible Difficulties
  16. Because Christianity can’t be derived from first principles
  17. Because theism has no method to decide truth
  18. Because there are natural disasters
  19. Because the “best” Christian arguments are deist arguments
  20. Because the Bible story keeps rebooting
  21. Because doctrinal statements exist
  22. Because prayer doesn’t work
  23. Because of Shermer’s Law
  24. Because Christianity evolves
  25. Because God is hidden

Image from Mitya Ivanov, CC license

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  • larry parker

    Every time we learn something new about the way the world/universe works, the answer is never god(s).

    • rationalobservations?

      As the magnificent and vast, rapidly expanding sum total of all human knowledge fills most of the picture of the past material evolution of the 13,820,000,000 year old universe and all it contains, the gods of the gaps have nowhere to hide any longer except in the personal ignorance of a declining number of gullible obdurate religionists.

    • Jim Jones

      According to Scooby-Doo.

      • al kimeea

        someone in town has their vehicle painted to look like the Mystery Mobile

  • epicurus

    Because Jesus was a failed apocalyptic prophet. Because the end coming soon doesn’t translate into thousands of years in anyone’s language.

    • NS Alito

      My favorite theological gimmick is the wandering jew, a near-immortal man who was present when Jesus said he’d come back before all of them were dead, and had been traveling around for centuries.

      • epicurus

        Yeah, lame. And isn’t/wouldn’t be tolerated if another religion tried to explain away failed prophecy with tricks like that

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Hey! We didn’t say anthing about The Wanderer being *lame*…(well, after a couple millennia, I guess…)

          😉

        • epicurus

          Thanks to science he could get a knee or hip replacement.

      • The weird things that come from starting with the presupposition, Christianity is true …

        • TheNuszAbides

          How many embellishments and retcons does it take to become the Maximally Greatestest Story Ever Ever Ever Told?

  • Raging Bee

    I had been challenged by a Christian to characterize the evidence he would need to provide to show that God existed.

    I always end that burden-shifting rubbish by saying “Whatever you have, if anything.”

    Bluff: called.

    • Kit Hadley-Day

      i don’t know what could convince me, however, if it exists, their omniscient deity does, so it can figure it out and then use all that omnipotence to make it happen.

    • Jim Jones

      If some of the people who abuse children started to glow with St Elmo’s fire. This would be a signal for the rest of us to start our phones recording video and in 60 seconds or less they would be struck by lightning.

      It would only take a few . . .

    • Ignorant Amos

      My stock answer is…

      I don’t know, but an omniscient god would, an omnipotent god could, and an omnibenevolent god should.

  • NS Alito

    The way debates often work is that the Christian apologist offers a Christian argument they find compelling. Then the atheist points out flaws in that argument, and the Christian responds as best they can (often confusing a rebuttal with an effective rebuttal) and then offers another. The Christian is typically trying to make a cumulative case.

    There’s another level, not quite fractal, for those trying to make the case for a literal Bible. Chasing down any problem with Noah’s ark, for instance, always ends up with a miraculous patch to make it work.

    • epeeist

      Chasing down any problem with Noah’s ark, for instance, always ends up with a miraculous patch to make it work.

      Adding an ad hoc auxiliary seems to be such a regular occurrence there ought to be a special name for it. The thing that always amuses me is when you can get people to introduce multiple auxiliaries that contradict each other…

    • I always wondered why the ark/Flood shenanigans in the first place.

      God’s mad at everyone and God wants to start over with Noah and family? The poof the bad guys out of existence. Magic makes it easy.

      • NS Alito

        Even as allegory, the message of the Floode story is that God could make a mistake and kill almost everyone (and animals) to clean it up.

        • Kodie

          But not know how the future turns out, and just kill everything and start over, maybe even on another planet. There are plenty. Allegedly, he could give any planet whatever conditions needed for life. Can you imagine all the planets that failed before earth, and why there is no life on them now? Totally lazy saving gross humans on a boat when he could make new blank ones out of dirt.

          ETA: And we know there’s amnesia, how come he didn’t amnesia people if he wanted to reuse them? Or just amnesia everyone?

        • MR

          …when he could make new blank ones out of dirt.

          Insightful point.

        • Kodie

          I thought it was kinda obvious, but anyway, I’ve been busy with long days this summer and only keeping up with very old threads, went ahead and picked a spot to pick back up to try to catch up again.

  • Michael Murray

    A silver bullet is good. But personally I’d follow up with a stake to the heart and a clove or two of garlic. You can’t be too careful with the supernatural.

  • Michael Murray

    I had been challenged by a Christian to characterize the evidence he would need to provide to show that God existed.

    I always thought something like the following would worry me: Imagine there are a group of people calling themselves Christians who can cure any illness by a blessing. You don’t have to believe all their theology you just rock up and they cure your illness. What would I conclude: aliens ? time travellers ? world is a simulation and the programmer is taking the piss ? or what the Christians claim is true ?

    I think it is a useful reply to the “nothing could convince you … ” line. Not that I’m expecting to be troubled any time soon by this actual scenario.

    • Sophotroph

      I just ask them to define “God” first, so I can know concretely what they mean by their words.

      So far, no Christian has even gotten past that point.

      • Michael Murray

        But you could, in principal, have evidence without a theory to explain it. But then you would have to be the kind of Christian who is more inclined to mysticism and the feeling that there is “something”. Hard to get from there to being the kind of Christian who has a great big book of rules that you have to obey.

        • Pofarmer

          This sounds like what Christians are talking about with “God is immaterial and does miracles.” You wouldn’t necessarily need to be able to examine the source, if the events discussed actually, ya know, happened.

        • NS Alito

          “God is immaterial and does miracles.”

          It’s the “sparkling air” effect on the original Star Trek.

      • eric

        I’m with M. Murray, I don’t think a full definition is really necessary if you’ve got working phenomena. The number of people who can define and explain quantum mechanics is much smaller than the number of people who accept it based on the evidence. Should we ever get some solid, reproducible, consistent, etc.. evidence of God or a god, I don’t see why a complete understanding of it should be any more necessary for your average person for their acceptance than a complete understanding of QM.

        This gets back to the ‘what would it take…’ question. Yes we want to set a high bar. No we don’t want to set the bar much much higher than we would for any other remarkable claim, because that’s biased.

        • Given some marvelous “miracle,” we’d still be stuck with God vs. aliens.

        • Susan

          we don’t want to set the bar much higher than we would for any remarkable claim

          If the claim is that an omnisicient and/or omnipotent and/or omnibenevolent being exists, where can we set the bar?

          The problem is not that our bar is too high. The problem is they have no basis on which to make any, or all of, those claims.

        • TheNuszAbides

          “the problem” is almost always multi-layered in that [not having a sound/valid basis on which to make those claims] isn’t a thing many of them can/will actually consider rationally.

        • Susan

          [not having a sound/valid basis on which to make those claims] isn’t a thing many of them can/will actually consider rationally.

          Zackly.

          Amen, Brother Nusz.

          That’s why we keep showing up.

          SIWOTI.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias have a lot to answer for, methinks.

          Take the Resurrection nonsense for example.

          This has just arrived and am struggling to put it down to get stuff done…

          “Resurrection: Faith or Fact?” co-authored by two professors, Carl Strecher (atheist) and Craig Blomberg (Christer apologist) with contributions from Richard Carrier (atheist) and Peter S. Williams (Christer apologist). The contrast on how the atheists v the Christers approach the same data is astonishing.

          Carrier writes a bit about the book here…

          https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/15182

      • se habla espol

        To avoid their evasions, I usually define what I mean by ‘define’: a usable definition, which is one that draws a bright (or at least reliably discernable by all and sundry) line between ‘god’ and ‘not-god’.

        • TheNuszAbides

          For extra contortions, add the sorta-in-between option “Satan pretending to be God.”

        • se habla espol

          How ’bout “God pretending to be Satan?”

    • What would I conclude

      Since intelligent life forms on planets (at least one) exist and technology exists and medicine exists, the God claim is still the loser. We have zero examples of supernatural anything.

  • Jim Jones

    1. Name one person who met Jesus, spoke to him, saw him or heard him who wrote about the event, has a name and is documented outside of the bible (or any other gospels).

    2. If a member of a religion other than Christianity prays and their prayer is granted, who granted their prayer?

    3. How do you know all other gods except Yahweh are false?

    4. How do you counter Eric, the god eating magic penguin?

    5. Is it fair that Jesus died on the cross so that Adolf Hitler could go to heaven and Anne Frank would go to hell? Is it just that Jesus rose from the dead so that Jeffrey Dahmer could go to heaven and Carl Sagan would go to hell?

    6. Why didn’t Paul write a gospel?

    7. Why didn’t Jesus write anything at all?

    8. Why do so few Christians emulate the example of Fred Rogers?

    9. How do you determine if what someone is telling you comes from genuine religious experience or if they are simply delusional? How do you prevent your personal biases from affecting your judgement of this?

    10. What is an example of religion being wrong about something, anything, and religion (and not science) finding this out? What is the proof that religion is correct now?

    11. If the Latter Day Saints are wrong, what is the proof? Why are Joseph Smith’s visions and revelations false but the anonymous ones of the bible are not? And what about Scientology?

    12. What happens when different people pray to different gods for something only one of them can get?

    13. Why didn’t Philo of Alexandria write about Jesus or Christianity?

    14. Why does ‘god’ seem like an abusive partner?

    15. What if there is no heaven?

    16. What if there is no hell?

    17. Why does the concept of heaven and hell match exactly what we expect from conmen, pimps and blackmailers?

    18. Would you still be a Christian if you were born in a predominantly Muslim country to Muslim parents, and were brought up Muslim?

    19. If you don’t take the whole bible literally, how do you decide which parts are to be taken literally? How do you decide which rules must be followed and which not? If some parts are not literal how do you know the ‘god’ part is literal?

    20. If god talked to me I would believe it existed (presumably). But god doesn’t talk to me, other people do. What is fair about sending people to hell because they do not believe other people? Many other people have lied to me in the past. None have performed miracles, except via science.

    21. If Christianity wasn’t true, what would be different about it?

    22. When you ask Christians about slavery in the bible they say, ‘It was a different time!’ Asked about homosexuality in the bible they say ‘It’s still evil!’ Why is this?

    23. If it’s a very good thing for someone to leave their sect or religion and join yours, why don’t they have the right to leave yours for something else – or for nothing?

    24 Why do Christians argue about science? They always lose

    – Finally, why do Yahweh’s actions, words, needs and desires differ so little from those of any North Korean dictator?

    • Just 24? Is that all ya got??

      (Kidding. Awesome list!)

      • Jim Jones

        So far. A few are borrowed. I just like to use them on door knockers etc.

    • Cozmo the Magician

      Sigh.. &#8203censorbot &#8203wanted &#8203eat &#8203this &#8203one. &#8203 &#8203Ill &#8203bet &#8203the &#8203word &#8203is &#8203COKE

      Why &#8203was &#8203New &#8203Coke &#8203allowed &#8203to &#8203go &#8203to &#8203market &#8203and &#8203then &#8203dropped &#8203like &#8203a &#8203date &#8203you &#8203discover &#8203has &#8203bugs &#8203crawling &#8203in &#8203her &#8203undies.

      edit: OMFSM. word was .. wait for it folks.. and put down your drink…
      the word is &#8203UNDIES.

    • Cozmo the Magician

      test.. coke

    • Michael Neville

      No. 5 and No. 20 only apply to certain flavors of Christianity. For example Catholics claim that all good people go to heaven regardless of beliefs. However “good” is a nebulous term. I suspect the bishops would declare that anyone who supports abortion, even if they’re Catholic, are automatically ungood.

      No. 24 only applies to creationists. Most moderate and progressive Christians, and a fair number of conservative ones, have no problem with evolution, abiogenesis and the Big Boom (B-A-N-G is an official Patheos Naughty Word™).

      • Ignorant Amos

        For example Catholics claim that all good people go to heaven regardless of beliefs.

        A don’t think so when we dig in.

        However “good” is a nebulous term.

        Indeed. Being not Catholic Christian is to be heretical. Heresy is a sin. To be a sinner is to be ungood. Ergo all none Catholic Christians are not going to Heaven.

        http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07256b.htm

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

        From the Catholic perspective. Dahmer isn’t getting into Heaven by default and Hitler isn’t because he didn’t repent in confession and perform an act of penance before jossing it.

        From the Protestant perspective, if they asked God for forgiveness directly, they’re in.

    • Rudy R

      I would like a thoughtful and honest answer from a Christian for question 21. The question is akin to what would be different in a non-god created universe.

    • Ignorant Amos

      6. Why didn’t Paul write a gospel?

      He kinda did…but it’s spread out all over the shop, and most of it is in direct contradiction to the later Jesus gospel of others.

      First Corinthians 15:

      15 Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters,[a] of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it. 2 It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you—unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place.[b]

      3 I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said.4 He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. 5 He was seen by Peter[c] and then by the Twelve. 6 After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers[d]at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died.7 Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him. 9 For I am the least of all the apostles. In fact, I’m not even worthy to be called an apostle after the way I persecuted God’s church.

      10 But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me—and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace. 11 So it makes no difference whether I preach or they preach, for we all preach the same message you have already believed. ~1 Cor. 15:1-10

      Of course most of

    • Greg G.

      7. Why didn’t Jesus write anything at all?

      John 8:6, 8 says Jesus was writing on the ground with his finger. Nobody thought it was worth reading and recording, however.

      • Jim Jones

        No snow either (yellow snow joke).

      • I believe it was a proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem, but that may come from a noncanonical gospel.

      • Ignorant Amos

        That was made up after th…ohhhps…wait a wee mo…a seen what ya did there.

  • rationalobservations?

    “Christian responds as best they can (often confusing a rebuttal with an effective rebuttal) and then offers another.”
    Really, Bob?

    I have only ever received DENIAL that religionists imagine is some form of rebuttal when it never actually rebuts or refutes that which confounds them.

    Keep up the good work.

    • NS Alito

      Oh, so you don’t consider “Is not” a rebuttal?

      • Oh, so you don’t consider “Is not!!!!” a rebuttal?

        FTFY

      • rationalobservations?

        Blanket and unsupported DENIAL is not “rebuttal”.
        Rebuttal requires a logical and evidence supported counter argument.

        rebuttal
        /rɪˈbʌtl/
        Learn to pronounce
        noun
        an instance of rebutting evidence or an accusation.
        synonyms: refutation, counter-argument, countering, invalidation, negation, contradiction;

        • NS Alito

          I was getting my snark on.

  • Anri

    I had been challenged by a Christian to characterize the evidence he would need to provide to show that God existed.

    Well, for me a good start would be actual miracles: that is to say, verifiable, repeatable, obvious things that fly directly in the fact of our understanding of the way the world works, but that also do not invalidate the general principles – isolated phenomena that would require a new system of thought if they were widespread, but that don’t seem to bother the rest of the way the universe works.

    Here’s an example: Suppose we found a non-coding section of DNA, the same location for all people that, when the code was translated into a series of spoken sounds via a process described in an ancient holy book, was immediately recognized by that person (who’s DNA we were reading) and that person alone as their “true name”. This occurred regardless of language, or naming conventions of their culture, or age, or anything else.
    This would tie in several things that would be very difficult to explain as being scientifically controllable – both DNA replication and neuron growth are, in detail, chaotic processes and thus not amenable to the kind of fine control required to produce such an effect, especially to make it universal and 100% accurate. The fact that a pre-iron-age book would contain the key linking human behavior to unforeseen technology would largely eliminate the possibility that it was a purely human construction, yet the fact that it was human-specific suggests deep concern with human affairs, making hyperadvanced aliens much less plausible. It would strongly suggest both abilities beyond what is even theoretically possible plus an age-long abiding interest in humanity.

    This wouldn’t be proof, mind you – but it certainty would be way weightier evidence for some sort of god (specifically, the one who was described in the translating book…) than any I’ve seen so far.

    Whew! Sorry this post got long.

    • Lex Lata

      Ah, but if God reveals himself to us miraculously, then we’re essentially compelled to believe, and don’t do so of our own free will, which is apparently a dealbreaker for apologists.

      Never mind that the Bible describes hundreds–thousands? millions?–of Hebrews, Christians, and others experiencing miracles first-hand. In the Gospels and Acts, miracles persuade any number of people to become Christians. Why didn’t these folks lose their free will, rendering their belief invalid, as we’re told would be the case today?

      Further back, prophets like Moses and Elijah even had miracle contests against the priests and sorcerers of the Egyptians, Philistines, etc., specifically to demonstrate Yahweh’s might and superiority. Talk about putting the Lord God to the test.

      • All I can say is that I praise God for being in this century so I can use faith. Imagine being a disciple and actually seeing Jesus do magic. I pity those poor souls.

      • eric

        It’s a decaying function. Better get your Jesus-on-toast image now, by 2030 he won’t even be able to do that.

        • David Peebles

          Thanks for remind me: I’ve been meaning to manufacture a branding iron with an image of Jesus for toast. Probably branch out to images of the Virgin, too. I think Ebay is the perfect outlet. Or Walmart. Hope to be rich very soon. If I can get my shit together.

      • Anri

        Well, if there’s one thing consistent about bible stories, it’s inconsistency.

    • eric

      AIUI, Monsanto is already putting the equivalent of “copyright by Monsanto” in non-coding portions of the DNA for their GMOs. Control is plenty fine and evolution is slow enough that the code should last hundreds if not thousands of generations before significantly changing. So your DNA trick is a nice start, but most of your specifications could already be accomplished on an individual basis by a sufficiently motivated (and sufficiently immoral, if we’re talking about changing human DNA) human trickster with some moderately expensive late 20th century tech.

      • Anri

        Sure, but note that what I’m talking about isn’t just different for every generation, it’s literally different for every individual, and different in a very exact and meaningful way.
        It’s much close to a section of otherwise inactive DNA recording a time/date stamp and GPS coordinates at conception. But even more than that, it has a very specific, 100% accurate interaction with sections of the brain it doesn’t influence.

        I don’t know of any DNA manipulation technique that would allow for every individual, even identical siblings, to be born with a unique and exactingly meaningfully different section of non-coding DNA. Of course, that might just be ignorance on my part.

    • NS Alito

      Should monoclonal twins have separate VINs in that example?

      • The VINs are written on their souls.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          But when was the extra soul installed?

        • And when one twin is reabsorbed, where does the VIN go? And if there was no VIN to begin with because omni-everything God knew that zygote would eventually be reabsorbed, why did he make it in the first place?

        • Kodie

          I don’t really think that’s a hard question. It’s not – one twin is always the evil one.

    • KenderJ

      However, if scientists were to find this non-coding strand of DNA, how would we know it was god and not the Chariots Of The Gods aliens who supposedly manipulated the DNA of apes to make humans as servants before they took off in their spaceships? For that matter, how would we know that it wasn’t something the Gua’uld didn’t add to our DNA to make it easier for them to live in our bodies?

      • Anri

        Again, it might very well have been.
        But for these sequences to be passed on, while not altering a phenotype, and mutating in very exact ways with literally every birth, there would have to be genetic meddling at every conception.
        I’m not really familiar with either of the alien races you mention, but would either be inconspicuous enough to meddle with the DNA of every human fetus without detection?
        As well as savvy enough about Earth culture to give rise to a religion popular enough to survive from ancient times to the modern day to place the decoding-code in the book? Would they be likely to understand and then create such a clue for mankind?

        If so, than sure, I suppose the true-name thing might be some sort of fantastically coincidental side effect of the process… seems pretty cosmically unlikely to have happened accidentally, though.

    • Pofarmer

      If something is repeatable, then it’s not really a miracle, is it?

      • Anri

        I’m not certain what you’re saying here.
        What about something being a miracle would prevent god from repeating it?

        I don’t mean replicable, if that’s what you’re asking.
        “Reoccurring” is actually probably a lot closer to what I meant. Sorry ’bout that.

      • TheNuszAbides

        “miracle”: yet another Special Term practically never used with a coherent definition in mind, especially when used by those who actually believe it’s A Thing.

        … But it obviously doesn’t mean “magic”! That’s a completely different thing that doesn’t exist or is extremely naughty, depending on how poorly-defined …

        • Pofarmer

          I’ve told this before. My wife thinks the survival of our youngest son, born with Hurlers syndrome, is a “Miracle.’ The miracle is that he was born in a time when they were treating the condition with Bone Marrow Transplants, or he’d be dead.

  • eric

    The only one I can think of that comes close to ‘silver bullet’ status is also probably the simplest: believing in unevidenced entities is empirically unsupported and unsupportable. God is – currently – an unevidenced entity.

    ***

    I don’t think I’d be as stringent as you when it comes to evidence. I think that reproducible evidence, consistent with “that guy’s God”, provided over sufficient time and examples would (for me) and should (for everyone else) lead to accepting the most obvious hypothesis, that he is God, and not just some alien fooling us. As the doctors say, when you hear hoofbeats, think horses not zebras. This doesn’t particularly worry me as a nonbeliever, however, as I estimate the odds of God showing up and providing said consistent, reproducible evidence over time to be as close to zero as makes no difference. But if I’m wrong and He does, then we should be open to provisionally accepting the simplest hypothesis that explains and is consistent with the evidence provided.

    If however, that’s not enough, then you just ask the candidate themselves to design a test that humans will agree can distinguish between alien and God. If they can’t design it, they’re not omniscient and therefore alien. If they can but they then fail it, obviously alien. If they can and they pass it, humans will agree it’s a God.

    • What testable predictions do you think God makes, and why do you think they are most parsimoniously explained this way?

      • eric

        I don’t think there’s any evidence for God or a god.

        However it’s pretty easy to imagine what evidence of a god might look like. For example, if believers in that God and only believers in that God could perform miracles (reproducible, confirmable, testable, etc…).

        • Pofarmer

          Hell. Even if believers in a specific God, or even a certain version of believers in that God had statistically different outcomes. If Catholics with St. Michael’s crosses had fewer automobile accidents, or survived at a higher rate, for instance.

        • Well, I don’t know how you’d ever figure out that they were performing miracles. Some kind of trickery would seem to be more likely answer, unless you have a falsifiable model. It may be evidence for a god, but it would be very weak evidence at best. Skepticism would still be called for, and we shouldn’t be convinced by this kind of “evidence.”

          At best what you would have is something unexplained, and you need to find a way to properly explain it!

        • eric

          It’s falsifiable in that you look for trickery. If you find it, the hypothesis has been falsified.

          Absolutely, skepticism is called for. Absolutely, we would keep looking for other explanations. I’m not saying everyone should jump the atheist ship the moment Benny Hinn pulls chicken guts out of some rube. I’m talking about a science-fictiony or fantastical future, in which we have thousands or millions of examples. Where we’ve put the miracle performers in strict test conditions, and they’ve consistently succeeded. Where the correlation between some narrow sectarian flavor of theism and the ability to perform miracles is statistically rock solid. Where science has watched the miracles occur under the microscope, countless of times, and has not found a mechanism. Think Harry Potter, Christian-style, where the miracle workers are flying around for all to see, indisputably doing remarkable, miraculous things in perfect consistency with their theological doctrine (and which are contradicted by other theological claims, as well as atheism).

          And yes, even in that case, we can’t rule out tricks or aliens or what have you. Induction is like that; you can never rule out the possibility of your explanation being wrong, of some other explanation being right. However the possibility of being wrong has never stopped us from developing tentative, provisional conclusions and explanations before – saying an hypothesis is at least well-confirmed, even if it can never be proven. And I think in such a fantasy future world, it would be possible to reach a point where theism is that. Is “at least well-confirmed,” even as we recognize that our induction of a God could always be wrong.

          Is it really that hard to imagine that, in a world where (for example) Catholic priests and only Catholic priests can lay on hands and regrow limbs, the most parsimonious explanation is There May Be Something To This Catholicism Thing, rather than Secret Aliens Are Fooling Us With Their Supertech For Unknown Reasons?

        • … saying an hypothesis is at least well-confirmed, even if it can never be

          But there’s the rub. How would you ever confirm supernatural causation? Why is a supernatural explanation better than some extremely ad hoc natural explanation?

          Is it really that hard to imagine that, in a world where (for example)Catholic priests and only Catholic priests can lay on hands and regrow limbs, the most parsimonious explanation is There May Be Something To This Catholicism Thing, rather than Secret Aliens Are Fooling Us With Their Supertech For Unknown Reasons?

          And again, all you really have is some unexplained phenomenon.How is an appeal to magic ever a justifiable answer? It’s not like we can model God, and actually understand what’s going on. At best, it would seem, that you have some appeal to ignorance working for you.

        • eric

          How would you ever confirm supernatural causation?

          The same way you confirm natural causation. You test what the theory predicts against what you observe. In this case, the theory is a theology, that’s all.The stronger the ability of some theology to make unexpected yet accurate predictions that the competing theologies and natural explanations don’t make, the stronger the support.

          Why is a supernatural explanation better than some extremely ad hoc natural explanation?

          Again, the way you tell whether some supernatural explanation is better
          than an ad hoc natural one is the same as the way you tell whether one
          natural explanation is better than another; you test them. Find an experimental set up where they predict different outcomes. Run the experiment. See what you get. Repeat ad nauseum.

          An ad hoc explanation (natural or otherwise) can probably postdict the past observed miraculous events just fine. And it might even predict similar events in the future (Bob flew today, so I predict Bob will be able to fly tomorrow). But it’s likely going to be much poorer at predicting novel events that more comprehensive theories can make. (i.e. if some theology says “Bob flew today, so according to my theological calculations there will be an eclipse over Bob’s house tomorrow”, an ad hoc explanation is not likely to match it).

          It’s not like we can model God, and actually understand what’s going on.

          Theologies are “models of God.” They (supposedly) provide some model for how God interacts with his/her creation. A deistic clockmaker theology predicts God isn’t going to interfere. A theistic Christian theology that states “god answers the prayers of the faithful with miracles” predicts God is going to answer the prayers of the faithful with miracles.

          I think you might be stuck on the issue that real-world theologies are extremely mushy, don’t try and make confirmable predictions, and don’t actually provide good explanations for what we observe. I agree with all that. But if the question is could some sci-fi scenario in which future miracles occurred lend support for some theology, then I think the answer is yes. There is no reason why a theology can’t make specific, confirmable predictions. The reason we don’t have such theologies today is, obviously, because the ones that made specific, confirmable predictions failed. It’s not the case that theologies can’t provide detailed explanations about how the world works and what’s going to happen when, it’s the case that current ones choose not to, because they’re lousy at getting anything right. But, just as some book explaining how to do Harry Potter magic could be tested against how magic works, in the fantastical scenario in which magic starts happening, so too some book explaining the rules by which miracles can be produced could be tested against how miracles work, in the fantastical scenario in which miracles start occurring. If the Potter book accurately gets a flight spell right, and a fireball right, and a shapeshifting spell right, then you have a provisional, tentative support for thinking it’ll get other magic right too. And if Catholic theology accurately tells you this person can regrow limbs but that person can’t, and that turns out to actually be the case, then you have provisional, tentative support for the “Catholic theology” theory getting other stuff right too.

        • The same way you confirm natural causation.

          Which is a rather disingenuous answer, because we really cannot confirm supernatural causation. We’re barred from the supernatural, assuming it even exists. As an example, if I wanted to know if smoking causes lung cancer, I would organize a study with two groups of people (smokers and non-smokers), make the study large enough to be able to control for external variables (because lung cancer has more than one potential cause), and look at the results after, say, 25 years. If lung cancer is being caused by smoking, we should expect to see higher lung cancer rates in the smoking group, compared to those who do not smoke, and aren’t around smokers.

          How would you go about showing that a god, that you cannot manipulate, is able to cause anything? The best that you can do is show that we have a better natural explanation, but otherwise your conclusion is coming from ignorance (IE we don’t know what it is, so let’s just call it “God”.)

          Theologies are “models of God.”

          Maybe. Any theology that makes accurate predictions is purely by chance, and not because they’ve actually found a reliable way to model the supernatural.

          A theistic Christian theology that states “god answers the prayers of the faithful with miracles” predicts God is going to answer the prayers of the faithful with miracles.

          Even if we did find that it appeared that prayers were answers, what you have is an interesting, an unexplained, phenomenon. If you’re going to explain it by “God does it.” you actually have to do the hard work and show that you can demonstrate this causal link. You can’t do that with the supernatural.

          It’s hard enough to show natural causation, when we have the ability to manipulate nature. Trying to establish supernatural causation, when you have no access to the supernatural, isn’t going to work out well for you!

          But, just as some book explaining how to do Harry Potter magic could be tested against how magic works, in the fantastical scenario in which magic starts happening, so too some book explaining the rules by which miracles can be produced could be tested against how miracles work, in the fantastical scenario in which miracles start occurring

          And again, you’d have an interesting scenario, and something that could be further studied to try and understand the natural mechanisms behind it.

        • Right. And advanced life forms from another planet with advanced technology is far more plausible than the supernatural.

        • MR

          Yeah, I’m with you on this. My bar wouldn’t be so high that it’s impossible to cross.

          What I find amusing is trying to get a Christian to define what they think would be reasonable evidence. It’s fun watching their brain fry with cognitive dissonance as they realize the evidence they would require is not the evidence they actually did require. You’re gonna need a whole lot of squirrel traps in the fun that ensues.

          Semi-on-topic: I’ve told this story before but, when I was a kid I woke up one night in the middle of the night and had to go to the bathroom. I was in a closed room, no open windows, no air conditioning, when all of a sudden the towel in front of me started to sway. Now, for an 8-year-old or however old I was, pretty much the only explanation for that was…, ghosts. That made quite an impression on me.

          The next day there was a story about a huge earthquake that had happened hundreds of miles away in another country, but that had been felt as far away as my town. Earthquakes were not something I had experience with, but even at a young age I was able to put two and two together. That made a deeper impression on me.

          Leaving Christianity was kind of like that moment. You know those things I used to believe in…? There’s a more logical explanation.

          Still, if some of the things you described were to actually happen. I’d give the possibility of a god some thought.

        • And there again, you must go back in time and change our world.

          Believers in Yahweh (only) doing miracles isn’t true in our world.

        • eric

          Agree with the second. I’m not trying to retcon the past. I’m saying if we were to be confronted with such miracles in the future.

          You can’t imagine any future – any at all, even theoretically, in which evidence supported the notion of a God? Really? Jesus flies down on a cloud casting Patheos bloggers into a lake of fire, angels with trumpets floating through the air, and you’re going to say “yup, I knew it, aliens“? Might as well posit lizardmen hatching a secret plot against you at that point.

        • David Peebles

          “Imagine” is the operative word here, I think. I”ll put my money on “aint happening.” Wasn’t it Arthur C. Clark (or Asimov?) who said that any advanced technology will appear as magic to a non-or pre-technological society?

        • Ignorant Amos
    • NS Alito

      As the doctors say, when you hear hoofbeats, think horses not zebras.

      Everything coming from the pulpit are more likely coconut shells.

      • epicurus

        Carried by an African swallow.

        • TheNuszAbides

          But they’re non-migratory … Need to assign other minions to distribute to the Outer Flocks.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The swallow may fly south with the sun or the house martin or the plover may seek warmer climes in winter, yet these are not strangers to our land?

          Of course…In order to maintain air-speed velocity, a swallow needs to beat its wings forty-three times every second. So therein lies yer problem, even if one could grip a coconut by the husk.

        • TheNuszAbides

          It’s not a question of where it grips it – it’s a simple question of weight ratios!

        • Ignorant Amos

          Auntie had a night of Python on the box here last night for the 50th anniversary. Two documentaries and the first Monty Pythons Flying Circus episode ever aired.

          So that was a bit of a petwhac moment, given this conversation earlier in the day.

    • lead to accepting the most obvious hypothesis, that he is God, and not just some alien fooling us. As the doctors say, when you hear hoofbeats, think horses not zebras.

      But in our example, God is the zebra, right? We understand aliens in space ships with advanced technology since we’re on the path to become those ourselves. But we see zero evidence of the supernatural.

      • eric

        Depends on the amount of evidence consistent with that sectarian theology. As I said to Herald, I’m not saying anyone should change beliefs quickly, or without good evidence. We’d need a lot of it. Well-studied. Reproducible. Thousands of cases. Years of research. But I do think that at some point, with sufficient miracles, ‘hey, this theology looks like it has some truth to it’ becomes the horse and ‘aliens came all the way to Earth to pretend Catholics can work miracles’ becomes the zebra.

        We do see zero evidence of the supernatural. But in a future imaginary world containing plenty of evidence of the (divine type of) supernatural, the ‘theist hypothesis’ becomes a lot more reasonable to entertain.

        • Quinsha

          Indeed, Germ Theory, Theory of Evolution, Theory of Gravity, etc, after all, were not made into scientific theories with a single positive hypothesis. It took hundreds, thousands even, of testing hypotheses first.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          “should change beliefs quickly” maybe you fail to grasp the concept of atheism. It is NOT a belief. It is a LACK of belief. I don’t “Believe there is no god”. I simply have no feeking reezon to believe there is such a thing. I don’t “Believe there is not a super hot undressed woman waiting in bed for me” there is simply no reason to believe there is. Now, IF a super hot undressed woman suddenly said (while lying in my bed) “HONEY , get over here NOW!” (comment ends for no apparent reason)

          HA HA.. kidding. Really, I don’t BELIEVE she does not exist. There just is NO EVIDENCE she does (outside my own vivid imagination fed by certain websites who will not be mentioned…)

        • eric

          Agreed, you have no feeking reason to believe in such a thing. I’m saying that some amount of (reproduced, confirmed etc.) miracles would qualify as feeking reasons to believe such a thing. Herald is arguing, conversely, that no amount of miracles, no matter how correlated they were with some theological claims, would ever qualify as feeking reasons to believe such a thing.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          ” I’m saying that some amount of (reproduced, confirmed etc.) miracles would qualify”

          Nope. Nope. And more nope. I make MONEY performing ‘miracles’. Does not make me GOD. Does not even make me (as Carlin once said) ‘The East Coast Marketing Director for God’. Does not even make me an office temp in the mail room for God.

          I’ll give you a PERFECT example. I used to perform a mentalism act. ESP, mind reading that sort of stuff. I would BEFORE AND AFTER tell my audience ‘This is an Act, please enjoy, but REMEMEMBER this is an ACT’.

          and yet. After every performance I would have people come up to me and ask for ‘private readings’. I would be BEGGED to help them contact a lost loved one. I was told I should SHARE MY PROPHETIC GIFT with the world. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Did not take me long to toss that act in the waste basket.

          Evidence? People will see the face of Jesus in a dog’s behind and call it PROOF of the divine.

          Oh and consider this… The creator of ‘Sherlock Holmes’ a great thinker actually was POSITIVE that Harry Houdini had magic POWAS.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Derren Brown reports that he gets castigated by gullible folk for bursting their bubbles and demonstrating the lack of veracity in the abilities of faith healers and psychics and showing them up as charlatans and snake oil peddlars.

        • MR

          It just comes across as petty intransigence. When atheists use it, I think it serves the Christian more than the atheist. What they hear is, “Even if God existed, I would never believe it.” I mean, we can certainly recognize how stupid the Christian equivalent is, “No amount of evidence would ever make me abandon my belief in God.” I’ve actually had Christians say that. Ask instead what kind of evidence they would need to believe in something they don’t currently believe in. You won’t get an answer, of course, just the acrid smell of burning cognitive dissonance.

        • KenderJ

          On the other hand, if the aliens have researched us at all, they may realize that if they come as themselves, we are likely to freak out and try to kill them. However, if they present themselves as god and “…pretend Catholics can work miracles” they are more likely to be worshiped and have some help in accomplishing whatever it is they came here to do.

      • Cozmo the Magician

        God is IMPOSSIBLE to prove since it would exist outside our universe. The very idea of ‘proving’ god is just plain silly. What color is 5? Where does yellow end. Why is rabbit? The words can be strung together in an almost meaningful way but you STILL end up with a syntax error.

        BTW, Forth tastes better than Fortran if you order your dessert with a Lisp. Just don’t order a stack off the BASIC menu it will drive you Logo. (no idea why I type this… probably because I have my sub-brain multi-tasking on a pathing algorithm for a maze game I’m working on… Maybe instead of a stack, I should be using a list.. nvm…)

        • Ah, Forth…. I was at a company where we used Forth as a hardware debugging language. Loved it.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          Ever read the ‘Wizardy’ series by Rick Cook? re-reading it this week.

          I had GR-Forth (or was it Gray-Forth) for my Apple ][ years back. Had a built in 3-d graphics library. I never could figure out how to make it work. Had an idea for a 3-d game and just turned my brain to mush trying to learn that system. But was FUN to play with*.

          I did learn the many uses of a stack though. Also learned that LIFO and RPN is NOT always the easiest way to express something. Just means simpler and compact code (:

          More OT: I’m going to try and recreating a game I started writing back around 1990sumtin. A cat&mouse maze game. Thinking of using GODOT unless I find a better design engine. Any thoughts? (BTW, game will be 2d, not 3d.. humans dont seem to like 3d mazes as much as 2d. Diaoblo 3 is fine for twisty little mazes of passages all alike, WoW… not so much}

          Even MORE OT: I actually learned APL back as a pre-teen. Yeah, I put the EEK in geek. I was a nerd before the Revenge movie. But I DID get laid long before my peers… OOps.. WAAAY OT.

        • I never had the chance to do APL. I’m jealous.

          Mazes are cool. I haven’t programmed in many, many years, but I’ve thought that a low-tech 3D pipes maze (you’re flying around in a crazy Habitrail of pipes) would be a fun programming challenge. Maybe once I’ve put Christianity in its place, I’ll have the free time.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          The maze itself (atm) is only 2-d.. I was thinking about having multiple layers… But OMFSM.. A HABITRAIL like design would really show us who is smarter… US or the rodents (:

          Back on more OT: Since my mom was NOT a ‘traditional’ parent. I would take the bus to a college campus and walked into the computer room that had a BUNCH of actual honest to murphy APL keyboards. NERDGASM*. I was in HEAVEN. Honestly cant remember off the top of my head HOW I got the book, but I wound up with the APL ‘manual’.

          Rotating a FIVE dimensional array with just a couple of keystrokes. I WAS GOD. Take that you silly people that did not even understand how important ZERO was. O_o

          I WILL NOT. FIND. APL TODAY.. NOT .. I mean ~.. Umm oh shit im being taken over by a maff bazed interpiter.. there guues mee spellins.. i canz commits anymore.. MUST CODE!

          10 MEM=RND(1)
          15 IF MEM.5 THEN STOP
          30 GOTO 10

          I’m ok..

        • Hmm. Programming plus religion … maybe a programming cult? People already get possessive about which language is best.

          Two great tastes that taste great together? Maybe you can be the Jim Jones of a new programming cult!

          It’s a stretch goal, I realize, but ya gotta reach for the stars.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          made you THINK. Thank you.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          I already have a programming religion… I write spaghetti code O_o

        • TheNuszAbides
        • Ignorant Amos

          A bit like the believers in the miracle of Flight 828 and “The Church of the Returned” in the “Manifest” series.

          https://i1.wp.com/manifest828.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/114.2.jpg?resize=863%2C485&ssl=1

  • I had been challenged by a Christian to characterize the evidence he would need to provide to show that God existed.

    All I want is a reliable methodology that would let me investigate God. Show me some phenomena, and use this methodology to show that God is the cause. If we had anything even remotely close to this I would (at least tentatively) accept that conclusion, and in proportion to the strength of the evidence. Unfortunately, we have no such methodology, and I don’t see us creating one anytime soon.

    Even if they manage to show me that God exists, I wouldn’t necessarily become a Christian. To convert me to Christianity they would also need to show me that:
    1. Jesus is God
    2. There is an afterlife
    3. This afterlife is affected by what I believe about Jesus

    Needless to say, I don’t think there’s much chance of me ever becoming a Christian.

    • Have you seen Frank Turek’s stunt in this vein? He likes to say to his atheist antagonist, “If I could prove to you that God existed, would you believe?” (By this, he means, “would you become a Christian?”)

      When the atheist says no (presumably meaning, “No, I wouldn’t worship the immoral monster you call ‘God'”), Turek crows that the atheist has admitted that no evidence would convince him.

      • eric

        I’m skeptical Turek’s actually had many atheist antagonists, except the ones in his head.
        Nevertheless, the story shows how little he really cares about defending his belief. He’ll settle for winning a rhetorical point via miscommunication? Uh? I’d never want that for myself. Agree with me, disagree with me, I want my ‘antagonists’ to understand the real point I’m trying to make.

        • Yep. If I have an argument that’s flawed, I want to discard it, even if it’d be effective in an argument or debate.

        • Grimlock

          Apologetics in general does seem more aimed at reinforcing the belief of believers rather than creating new believers.

      • MR

        “If I could prove to you…,” is the opening line of magicians and hucksters.

        A better approach would be to simply prove God exists, but then that’s just me.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          I’m a magician and never used that line. Nor have I heard any other magician use it. Please offer a citation/example. And I’m rather offended that you lump magicians and hucksters in the same category. see how THIS makes you feel
          “Saying bad things about magicians is what &#8203Nazis and the &#8203KKK do”

        • MR

          Ouch.

          You can’t swing a dead cat without offending somebody these days.

          Please offer a citation/example.

          David Copperfield, December 1997. Prove. Me. Wrong.

          Just kidding. Amended.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          That is not an example or citation. That is just a name and a date. Actually, not even a date. Since you only specify a month.

          “You are an idiot” said Bob .. last week.
          Or let me use a more popular version … “This one time…. at Band Camp…”

        • MR

          I was there for Crissake! There were over 500 other witnesses!

        • Cozmo the Magician

          hope you washed your hands after. (;

        • I believe you and MR are on the same page now.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          im not even sure we are in the same library O_o

        • OK, but you did see that he corrected his original comment, right? Link:
          https://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2019/07/silver-bullet-arguments-against-christianity/#comment-4560902655

          (Apologies if everyone’s moved on and I’ve missed it.)

        • MR

          Oh, I just took that entire exchange as gentle-ribbing on both our sides, every word tongue-in-cheek. I certainly hope you weren’t seriously offended, Coz, and my apologies if any part of the rest of my exchange was taken in any way other than playful nonsense.

        • Yep, just a misunderstanding on my part.

          Carry on.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          Yeah, I saw.. I was being snarky (:

        • “The problem with quotes on the internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity.”
          — Abraham Lincoln

        • David Peebles

          Don’t the words, “If I could prove to you . . .” imply that that one can’t, in fact, produce such proof?

        • MR

          Well, that’s kind of the point. It’s the kind of phrasing one uses when one is trying to ‌bullshit someone.

      • Have you seen Frank Turek’s stunt in this vein?

        I used to spent quite a bit of time on his Cross Examined FB group. Sadly it’s now become an echo chamber for like minded people. If you express skepticism you get blocked. It’s his channel, he can do with it as he wishes, but cutting off your critics makes it seem like you have something you need to be protected from. Needless to say, yes, I’ve seen him pull this stunt before.

        He likes to say to his atheist antagonist, “If I could prove to you that God existed, would you believe?” (By this, he means, “would you become a Christian?”)

        I believe his exact wording is something along the lines of :”if I could show you that Christianity is true, would you become a Christian?” It’s a ugly stunt, because it conflates accepting that Christianity is true with worshiping Yahweh. The former is one thing, but the latter is something completely different. I don’t know if any being deserves the kind of worship that Christian’s think that Yahweh does. It’s a loaded question.

        When the atheist says no (presumably meaning, “No, I wouldn’t worship the immoral monster you call ‘God'”), Turek crows that the atheist has admitted that no evidence would convince him.

        That’s because Turek is more interested in scoring cheap points in front of his friendly crowd, rather than getting at truth. Honest apologists are a rare breed, and you certainly don’t seem to become a popular apologist by being intellectually honest.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          If I could show you an Acme Gunpowder Powered Repeating Catapult, would you worship Coyote?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Nope…I’m a confirmed RoadRunner-ist.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          Meep Meep.

          (p.s. Mel was such an amazing guy watched a bio about him the other day)

        • I looked into attending his CIA (Cross examined Instructor Academy). The application is like the application for a Christian college. Weird–they’re manning up to face atheists, but they need a safe Christian space to practice in.

        • Kodie

          Look, if the abuser Yahweh were real, there’s little to be done about it. Christians act as though this is the world we live in, god can do whatever he wants, and we have to believe he exists or else. That’s only where the abuse starts, but it’s not like there’s a shelter or an assertiveness course you could take to deal with it. I’ll be maybe the first atheist that would say, if you can prove it exists, I’ll go ahead and do whatever I have to do to stay on the good side.

          It’s just that that isn’t the issue. The issue is overwhelming evidence that this is just another myth, and the consequences aren’t real.

    • Cozmo the Magician

      Even IF there was absolute proof I would WILLINGLY go to the fire & charcoal factory to fight against this preek.

      • Kodie

        I would have to think about it a great deal.

  • While I agree with everything above, and every criticism that might be leveled at organised religion, that is still not nearly enough to consign the last two thousand years of Chistology [and more] to history’s own dustbin of oblivion. To accomplish that end, the ‘silver’ bullet capable of accomplishing such an outcome is located elsewhere. But it will require a rethink of the G-d question by free thinkers of every persuasion. Ironically, what will bring organized religion to its knees is what both athiest and religious can agree upon. That G-d cannot be proved. But that is exactly what has happened. And this absolute ‘proof for faith’ is on the web for anyone to TEST for themselves. And it comes with the offer of unambiguous, direct evidence necessary to both justify an act to faith and to show that God exists.
    More at http://www.energon.org.uk

    • Grimlock

      Could you perhaps summarize this very alleged evidence that shows that God exists?

      • “This new teaching is predicated upon the ‘Promise’ [the Word] made by God, for a precise, predefined, predictable and repeatable experience of transcendent power, in which the reality of God responds directly to an act of ‘perfect faith’ with a direct, individual intervention into the natural world, ‘raising’ up within a man a newly Enlightened heart infused with a new Holy spirit, realigning his moral compass by correcting human nature with a change in natural law, strengthened will, and altering biology, consciousness and human ethical perception beyond all natural evolutionary boundaries.”

        • Grimlock

          Right. Sounds like bullshit. I’ll pass, but thanks for the summary.

        • se habla espol

          “This new teaching is predicated on” the circular argument that presupposes the existence of some god(s) who are claimed to have emitted a promise of some sort. The predicates involved here include precisely the conclusion they desire to reach, that gods exist. Apologetics has shown that making this presupposition guarantees the ability to demonstrate the presupposition.

        • Predictable and repeatable? Do the experiments in public and collect the accolades.

        • As an individual, moral instruction contained within a marriage covenant, it is hardly intended for public view, only individual confirmation. I just thought those who are the most critical of religion should have a shot at taking it down. Scrutiny is in the TESTING.

        • So we can reliably and repeatedly find evidence for God, but it has to be done solo? You can’t just have a big public event, show that God exists, and convert millions to the one true religion?

        • se habla espol

          Our wedding was done in public, with witnesses as required by law. It needed no ‘moral instruction’, since we were already moral people.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          you really have a thing with that word ‘testing’. You keep using that word.. I don’t think you understand what it means.

        • Kodie

          Weak shit. Individuals fool themselves all the time, very easily. Then these individuals such as yourself, seem to think you’ve had a transcendent contact from a deity, and try to share it with others. “God” relies on this ineffectual method?

        • Cozmo the Magician

          Just took a look at this person’s comment history. On one had has posts DENOUNCING religion, on the other hand says we all gonna be sorry for not being nicer to god. On the gripping hand , most of the comments are pure world salad.

        • MR
        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Subjective nonsense is the ‘best’ you’ve got, then?

        • TEST it and find out for your self.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          If you *can’t* show somebody else, it may be real subjectively to you, but it’s worthless as evidence in the objective universe.

          Oh, and BTW, *how many* times would I have to ‘TEST’ your idi otic assertions before you’d accept my disbelief? Because I only need to try once and see that you’re full of hooey before dismissing you posthaste.

        • se habla espol

          Reformulate your claim to be understandable and meaningful, and to provide a means for objective, empirical, repeatable testing. For example, your claim includes the hypothesis “‘perfect faith’ causes <effects>”. Even assuming arguendo that you somehow define what that means, there is no way for an independent observer to determine whether it has been achieved: indeed, there’s no way, short of circularity, for even the tester to make such a determination.
          As @hairyeyedwordbombthrower:disqus points out, subjective nonsense.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          Ya know, I actually HAVE tested. I specifically said to both GOD and SATAN that I would hand over my valuable and IMMORTAL soul to the first one to make a million dollars appear next to my desk. Neither one showed.

          I even tried a simpler test. I said I would give my IMMORTAL SOUL to which ever one got me laid last week. No dice.

          OTOH, I asked the FSM to show me the idiot comments of an internet troll and up you popped. Thank you for reaffirming my faith in the FSM.

        • Michael Neville

          Ramen.

        • You first. Test out Scientology for us. Take a year and live life as a Scientologist. Come back and tell us how reliable its truth claims are.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You don’t know that the majority here were once God believing Christians until we wised up?

          Why don’t you try giving the fuckwittery up instead? Plenty have, and never looked back.

          Ex-pastor Ryan Bell is a classic example.

          Ryan J. Bell (born September 26, 1971) is an American former Seventh-day Adventist pastor who became an atheist after spending a “year without God” as an experiment. He has publicly spoken about his experiences before, during, and after this year, and he wrote about it in his blog “Year Without God” (later hosted by Patheos). He is a regular contributor at The Huffington Post and, in August 2015, launched a new blog and podcast “Life After God.” He currently serves as the National Organizing Manager for the Secular Student Alliance and as the Humanist Chaplain at the University of Southern California.

        • Kodie

          That’s a parlor trick, the bible is full of them, and the contingent of Christianity is full of fools who have fooled themselves with such parlor tricks. Is god smart at all?

        • Michael Neville

          Using God as evidence for God is the logical fallacy called petitio principii, presuppositionalism, circular reasoning or begging the question.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          mobius strip ‘logic’. (tab a) the bible is true because the bible says (tab b). Give half twist and connect the two tabs.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          And if you eat the proper mushrooms then you too will have an amazing experience unlike any other. But guess what? It is STILL ALL IN YOUR MIND.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Incoherent meaningless word salad doesn’t cut it around here.

        • Otto

          You provided a summary of your assertion not the evidence.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’s a loada incoherent verbal diarrhea.

        • Rudy R

          Another fine example of a Choprism.

        • Kodie

          It sounds like “the secret”. Make a collage of your goals and pin them to your bulletin board.

    • Cozmo the Magician

      “to both justify an act to faith and to show that God exists.” ooops.. You made a YUUUGE mistake. You forgot to spell it ‘G-d’ that time. You just made baby jesus cry and his daddyself is now REAL MAD at you. Better get on your knees and start praying forgiveness or you might be smited by the big smiter.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Shilling to drive traffic to your insipid website is SO tawdry, don’tyouthink?

      • Ignorant Amos

        And against the rules iirc? Certainly not netiquette.

      • MR

        =D

    • Raging Bee

      That comment reads like it needs to end with “…and it comes at the amazingly low low price of only $99.99!”

  • Grimlock

    Allow me to play God’s advocate here for a bit. You’re setting a pretty high bar here, by the following statements:

    The idea is that a single one of these arguments should be enough to defeat Christianity’s supernatural claims.

    Silver bullet arguments must be (1) pro-atheism arguments that (2) are broad enough that Christianity as it is understood by most Christians can’t coexist with it.

    (I like the term, by the way.)

    So, picking some semi-random previous posts…

    1. Because we’ve seen what a Christian society looks like

    The essence of your argument here seems to be that Christianity has no inherent and significant benefits to either societies or individuals here on Earth. Granting that, I’m not sure how it follows from this that Christianity’s supernatural claims, as understood by most Christians, are false, or even in tension with this.

    It seems to me that you’d need some sort of statistics that demonstrates that Christians generally hold that Christian societies are superior in some inherent way, and that this ties into key beliefs for most Christians. I don’t rule this out as a possibility, but so far, I don’t think this has been demonstrated.

    19. Because the “best” Christian arguments are deist arguments

    Here, your argument seems to be since the most popular, and often considered to be “strongest”, arguments referenced by Christians are deistic arguments, and not Christianity-specific, that’s a problem for Christians.

    But do most Christians hold that their belief is, in fact, justified by such arguments? Or do they hold that their faith is more commonly understood as the substance of things hoped for, evidence of things unseen? If so, the lack of compelling arguments that’s specific Christian arguments would not cause an issue for most Christians.

    Another point might be this: Just because there are more compelling arguments for A than for B does not mean that there are not sufficiently compelling arguments for B. Further, it might be the case that belief in a deistic God is considered a necessary but not sufficient ground for belief in God, and so, in discussions with atheists, deistic arguments are the starting point.

    As such, I don’t think this argument rises to the standard of a Silver Bullet argument.

    • Yeah, the last part seems very problematic to me. I don’t think anyone fails to grasp that just arguing there’s a creator isn’t enough. They go on to argue that it’s the Biblical God too, citing things like alleged fulfilled prophecies and the Resurrection. Starting with some arguments that also could stop at deism though seems logical.

    • eric

      But do most Christians hold that their belief is, in fact, justified by such arguments? Or do they hold that their is more commonly understood as? If so, the lack of compelling arguments that’s specific Christian arguments would not cause an issue for most Christians.

      I see it as a matter of intellectual honesty. If you bring an ‘argument for God’s existence’ to the philosophical table, I’m going to assume you take it seriously. If you don’t take it seriously and the argument’s failures, problems, or limitations don’t actually matter to your belief, don’t bring it to the table. Don’t waste my conversational time on things even you think are irrelevant to the question.

      Put another way, deism doesn’t bother me. Theism doesn’t bother me. Someone who claims deism on Monday with me but theism on Sunday with their fellow congregationalists, bothers me. (To them, I say…) Grow a spine.

      • If they trot out deist arguments and put them forward as compelling, they themselves should be deists. A god can’t be a celestial clockmaker who winds up the clock and walks away (deism) while also being the Christian god who delights in participating in every aspect of humans’ lives (Christianity).

        • Grimlock

          As noted to Eric above, it might be a bit misleading to refer to the arguments as arguments for deism. Rather, they are arguments for a generic Philosphical God, who might be either a deistic God or a theistic God. As such, I find it to be a legitimate first step is trying to establish the existence of a theistic God.

          Or put another way, if you establish the plausibility/probability of a Philosophical God through, for instance, cosmological or teleological arguments, that doesn’t mean you’re committed to deism.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Deistic ‘god(s)’ is/are watchmakers, in the vernacular.

          THeistic ‘god(s)’ are incurable meddlers, also vernacular.

        • eric

          Qualitatively, yes. Quantitatively, no. What I mean is, establishing the plausibility of [set of all Gods] does not get you closer to Yahweh, given that there are an infinite number of members in that set. 🙂

        • Grimlock

          Are you saying that
          P(C) = P(C | G)
          Where
          C = The Christian God exists
          G = Some Philosophical God exists.
          or some such?

        • Yes, I see that progression–let’s get you to deism first, and then we’ll show how to identify who the god is–but this has a hard time as a route to Christianity.

          The deist arguments are conundrums. “Golly, I don’t know how morality could be like it is without some sort of god to define it” (ditto for moral argument, design argument, fine tuning argument, etc.). But if Yahweh existed (as defined today by Christians as an omni-max deity eager for a personal relationship), a conundrum wouldn’t be your introduction to him.

      • Grimlock

        I’m talking here about the general Christian, not the (subset) of Christians who engage in apologetics.

        It is potentially misleading to refer to the arguments in question (e.g. cosmological, ontological, teleological) to be arguments for deism. Rather, they are arguments for some type of Philosophical God, of which (some versions of) deism and theism are subsets.

        • eric

          “The general Christian” likely professes the Nicene Creed on most Sundays. So, that’s the theology they should be espousing and defending.

        • Grimlock

          Perhaps. But in this case, I’m interested in what they actually hold to, rather than what they ought to do.

        • ozarkmichael

          Grimlock, I suppose one could utilize philosophical Deism arguments to create space for Theism. . While it is true that a general Deism claim creates a step towards any Theism, the specific claims of a particular Theism is not buttressed by the Philosophical possibility of God. As Gilovich says, “Can I believe it?” is the operating threshold.

          I am not discounting their efforts, nor would I eschew such a discussion, but it is below the point.

          Much like an atheist who proclaims “Simple No and That’s It”, a Theist has a lot more going on than just a Philosophical God. In both cases we discount our specific self, our own complexity, our own choice, our continued choosing, and our human nature generally.

          “Can I believe it?” Sure. But in this case the common people have it right, just as you said. We are not primarily philosophical beings, our first thoughts are not philosophically oriented, and we need not pretend to be. Pretense has a danger(for Theist and Atheist alike) because denial brings with it the possibility of contradiction.

        • Grimlock

          Grimlock, I suppose one could utilize philosophical Deism arguments to create space for Theism. . While it is true that a general Deism claim creates a step towards any Theism, the specific claims of a particular Theism is not buttressed by the Philosophical possibility of God. As Gilovich says, “Can I believe it?” is the operating threshold.

          Just to be sure I understood your correct, are you saying that a specific claim of some theism is not, in general, made more plausible by establishing a Philosophical God? Or are you saying that establishing a Philosophical God does not contribute to differentiating between two different specific theistic claims?

          Put another way, are you saying that either of these are true?
          P(S) = P(S | G)
          or
          if P(S1) / P(S2) = k then P(S1 | G)/P(S2 | G) = k?
          Where
          Sx = some specific theistic claim
          G = Philosophical God
          k = a constant

          I am not discounting their efforts, nor would I eschew such a discussion, but it is below the point.

          Out of curiosity, do you hold that some philosophical God’s existence can be made plausible/probable through philosophical arguments?

        • ozarkmichael

          I will start with the choice you give me:

          Just to be sure I understood your correct, are you saying that a specific claim of some theism is not, in general, made more plausible by establishing a Philosophical God? Or are you saying that establishing a Philosophical God does not contribute to differentiating between two different specific theistic claims?

          Intuitively I agree with the first option, because although it is supposed to be a stepping stone, it doesn’t work that way for 99.9% of the people. But intellectually I would prefer and pick the latter because it is obviously a fact. As for the letters and the logic it represents, you will have to walk me through it. I don’t know the symbols logic even though I was taught it at one time.

          Foremost I am agreeing with eric that arguing below the point is insufficient and a little dishonest. Establishing a philosophical point is nice, but there is human reality which we ought to contend with, and the philosophical point can even prevent us from being honest with others or honest with ourselves. That worries me a little.

          The philosophical points of a Theist turned philosopher (and Atheist turned philosopher) are worth discussing, but the tail is wagging the dog. or better, the monkey is supposedly driving the elephant… but it is the elephant which chooses where to go and the monkey is there to justify it. The bottom line of human reality is miles away from the philosophical point, and it seems likely to me that the philosophical point is a distraction, or a happy hobby, or a sort of service that the clever monkey offers. It might thrill or encourage the tribe, but the Philosophical point isn’t really necessary(humanly speaking) or sufficient for the actual belief/disbelief of the people.

          Maybe the clever monkeys feel that these arguments create a space for themselves and their fellow believers (or nonbelievers) in a hostile(or perceived to be hostile) environment. That is a loving thing to do, but it can gloss over the reality of how things actually are. eric is right to feel a little cheated, as I am right to feel a little cheated about that “Simple No” business. In both cases the Philosophical point can be “dropped” if its not going well, only to be waved like a flag later. Here is the strangest part: the home crowd applauds the monkey just the same.

          I am not accusing you of any of this, Grimlock. You really have been kind and given me room to express myself. I like you just fine. I miss you very much in the other chat we were having.

          Does the monkey on top really drive the elephant as it crashes through the bushes, or is it just a clever monkey whose purpose is to justify where the elephant is already trampling?

        • Grimlock

          Intuitively I agree with the first option, because although it is supposed to be a stepping stone, it doesn’t work that way for 99.9% of the people. But intellectually I would prefer and pick the latter because it is obviously a fact. As for the letters and the logic it represents, you will have to walk me through it. I don’t know the symbols logic even though I was taught it at one time.

          Basically, P(A) is the Probability that A is true, where A is some proposition. So if A = You flip a fair coin, and you get tail, then the probability that A is true (i.e. you get tail) is 0.5, so P(A) = 0.5.

          Setting P(A | B) means the probability that A is true given that B is true, where both A and B are some propositions. It’s a conditional probability.

          Right, so. The first option,
          a specific claim of some theism is not, in general, made more plausible by establishing a Philosophical God?
          or
          P(S) = P(S | G)

          The equation is stating that the probability of a specific theistic claim is equal to the probability of the specific theistic claim given that a Philosophical God exists.

          I like adding the equation, because it allows for a straightforward analysis of the statement. The equation can only be true if the probability of S is the same regardless of whether God exists or not. (Including if the probability is zero.) In general, many theistic claims will be impossible on ~G (i.e. Philosophical God does not exist), and possible on G.

          A grossly simplified example might illustrate this. Let’s suppose the world could be set up in 10 different ways. In 5 of those, some Philosophical God exists (G), and in the other 5, it does not. In 3 of the worlds where G is true, God became incarnate (S). God did not become incarnate in any of the worlds where G is false.

          Here, assuming a uniform distribution, the probability of S being true is 3/10, i.e. P(S) = 3/10 = 0.3.

          However, if G is true, then there are only 5 scenarios to choose from, in which S is true in 3 of these. So P(S | G) = 3/5 = 0.6.

          This means that at least some theistic claims are made more probable if theism is established. The exceptions would be the claims that are equally plausible on G and ~G.

          In other words, the claim
          a specific claim of some theism is not, in general, made more plausible by establishing a Philosophical God?
          appears to be false.

          The second claim,
          establishing a Philosophical God does not contribute to differentiating between two different specific theistic claims
          or
          if P(S1) / P(S2) = k then P(S1 | G)/P(S2 | G) = k

          The equation here is saying that when comparing the probability of claim 1 to claim 2, their relative probability does not change if one establishes the existence of a Philosophical God.

          If one works through the math, this turns out to be true for claims that are impossible on ~G. I.e., for theistic claims that requires there to be a God. (If one allows for there to be “theistic” claims that can be true if God does not exist, it gets a bit messier, and it’s not necessarily true.)

          In other words, the claim,
          establishing a Philosophical God does not contribute to differentiating between two different specific theistic claims
          appears to be true, given some not entirely unreasonable constraints.

          Foremost I am agreeing with eric that arguing below the point is insufficient and a little dishonest. Establishing a philosophical point is nice, but there is human reality which we ought to contend with, and the philosophical point can even prevent us from being honest with others or honest with ourselves. That worries me a little.

          The philosophical points of a Theist turned philosopher (and Atheist turned philosopher) are worth discussing, but the tail is wagging the dog. or better, the monkey is supposedly driving the elephant… but it is the elephant which chooses where to go and the monkey is there to justify it. The bottom line of human reality is miles away from the philosophical point, and it seems likely to me that the philosophical point is a distraction, or a happy hobby, or a sort of service that the clever monkey offers. It might thrill or encourage the tribe, but the Philosophical point isn’t really necessary(humanly speaking) or sufficient for the actual belief/disbelief of the people.

          Maybe the clever monkeys feel that these arguments create a space for themselves and their fellow believers (or nonbelievers) in a hostile(or perceived to be hostile) environment. That is a loving thing to do, but it can gloss over the reality of how things actually are. eric is right to feel a little cheated, as I am right to feel a little cheated about that “Simple No” business. In both cases the Philosophical point can be “dropped” if its not going well, only to be waved like a flag later. Here is the strangest part: the home crowd applauds the monkey just the same.

          I am not accusing you of any of this, Grimlock. You really have been kind and given me room to express myself. I like you just fine. I miss you very much in the other chat we were having.

          Does the monkey on top really drive the elephant as it crashes through the bushes, or is it just a clever monkey whose purpose is to justify where the elephant is already trampling?

          If I’ve understood you correctly, I think we agree on this. Humans’ beliefs are not generally the result of dwelling on the philosophical issues, but rather the result of social factors, coincidences, and the erratic ways of the human mind. To a large extent, the philosophical arguments serve simply to rationalize existing beliefs, though there are some studies that indicate that studying philosophy (and philosophy of religion more specifically) influences one’s religious beliefs. Which is not surprising, as what we study is a social factor.

          I appreciate you letting me know that you’re not accusing me. I didn’t get that impression, but it is still appreciated. To be honest, I find it highly unlikely that even genuinely compelling philosophical arguments could sway my actual beliefs (or lack thereof) to any great extent. It does entertain me at times to read about the subject, though, so the term happy hobby does seem fairly appropriate in my case.

        • ozarkmichael

          Now that we have both established our acknowledgement of our human tendency to deceive ourselves, as we go forward we can carry that consciously, and it mitigates the danger to ourselves and others. What I would do next is to review the symbol logic, and then I would like to examine the other side of the human equation, because I genuinely love human nature and human beings. There is a lot of good, much of it unnoticed and unappreciated.

          Its like we are pitching a tent. We mutually put one spike fairly, squarely in the side that admits we are deceptive, self deceptive. (There must be some good reason for that) but sometime I would like to place a marker just as deep on the other side of human nature.

          But I cant do either of those things right now. I think the axe is going to fall. I appreciate your words on the other thread, but easy does it for your own sake.

          If the axe does fall, I wont come back in some other form, you will have to track me down elsewhere if you want to chat.

        • Greg G.

          But I cant do either of those things right now. I think the axe is going to fall. I appreciate your words on the other thread, but easy does it for your own sake.

          If the axe does fall, I wont come back in some other form, you will have to track me down elsewhere if you want to chat.

          Grimlock put in a good word for you.

        • Susan

          Grimlock put in a good word for you.

          I think Grimlock missed most of ozarkmichael’s commenting history.

          And once again, when asked to make a point om finds a way to avoid doing so. By claiming that he is about to be banned. An honest interlocutor would attempt to support their point anyway, until they were banned.

          The irony is that if he attempted to support a point, no one would call for him to be banned.

          (Anyway, just because I say I wish he were banned, doesn’t mean Bob is going to do it. What I really wish is that ozarkmichael would take responsibility for a single claim he makes and honestly participate in discussion.)

        • MR

          Sometimes you just gotta cut the cord, Susan.

        • Susan

          you just gotta cut the cord

          I know. I pretty much have. I’m starting to abandon all these discussions.

          Disquspatheos has made it almost impossible to follow them in any substantial way, comments are held in purgatory forever and a day for using words like “muslim” or “undies” and very thoughtful people like Grimlock have no idea what ozarkmichael’s history is here.

          I’ve given up on trying to have an honest discussion wih christian representatives. Alll they do is accuse of hate/hostility and expect to be respected for participating.

          I think what draws me back is a mammalian response to dishonesty.

          It’s deep.

          But, yeah. I’m done.

          Life is too full, rich and short to bother this much with eyesores.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Fuck them, what about yer pals?

        • Susan

          what about yer pals?

          True.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s pretty bad when you hit “view discussion” or are viewing part of a thread where you know there were your replies, and they are cut out. There’s no way to know, at this point, which parts of a thread you are even seeing, even if you were involved in them.

        • Greg G.

          1. Utility. 2. Performance. Pick one.

          Disqus delivers both in a small comment thread but each additional comment comes with a cost to performance.

          The “Show more replies” links allowed you to see other parts of the subthread but Disqus removed that option, apparently due to popular demand.

          IANAProgrammer, but perhaps if Disqus had its own app, it might be able to run its functions in compiled code faster, instead of browser script routines. I think there would be less of a cost for each comment but there would still be a cumulative effect.

        • Pofarmer

          It seems like most of the problems came as Patheos started pushing more advertising.

        • Greg G.

          Those fancy ads are also a load on the browser.

        • TheNuszAbides

          a mammalian response to dishonesty

          Flawlessly classified! The elder statesmammal to the SIWOTI impulse, perhaps.

        • David Cromie

          ‘SIWOTI’ – ???

        • Greg G.
        • Grimlock

          I can so relate to that one, it’s a wee bit scary.

        • Greg G.

          My wife often asks who I am talking to. I say, “I don’t really know but it’s an interesting conversation.”

        • Ignorant Amos

          My partner will look over and ask “who are ya fighting with now?” or “who’s getting it now?”…she knows from the increased animation and facial movements, the difference from it being cordial or humour.

        • David Cromie

          Thank you very much, Greg.

        • TheNuszAbides

          The initialism of the closing line in this xkcd classic:

          https://www.xkcd.com/386/

        • ozarkmichael

          Yes, he did. I appreciate what he did. Thats why I wrote the post that you quoted.

          It is kind of you to highlight that. I have not forgotten that once you gave me a little space to speak. Long ago I explained to you the team concept. I hope you are aware that I was(and almost always am) speaking about human nature. I will briefly upbraid you but then the concepts that follow (like the post about human teams) is an exploration about how the process works for all of us. The problem arises when we deny that process. That denial, ah! That is what I take down(or try to). Most of what I say is about all of us, but the digs are always an attempt to take down the denial. It seems to me that the gang takes even the nicest thing that I say… as if I am taking them down.

          You have said that you aren’t reading my long posts. Here is one sentence from my conversation with Grimlock that I hope you would take the time to understand: Much like an atheist who proclaims “Simple No and That’s It”, a Theist has a lot more going on than just a Philosophical God. In both cases we discount our specific self, our own complexity, our own choice, our continued choosing, and our human nature generally.

          For some reason Grimlock understands. He might not completely agree but he grasps the idea. And I hope he will find me to explain himself further, because he comes at it a different way which I don’t understand and probably wont completely agree with.

          As for Grimlock’s word that he put in for me, will it do much good? For how long?

          It might be a lost cause, since I will say what I think even though I have ‘been told’ to conform with something far below the point(‘below the point’ means a denial that discounts your specific self, your complexity, your choice, your human nature). And on top of that I will interact with everyone as an equal, insisting that we play by the same rules. Most damning of all, I will gleefully mock a contradiction. Oh, and I am only a human, which means that sooner or later I will go too far.

          So its going to happen. It really isn’t a big deal. I can comment elsewhere.

          If we were in reversed roles, I hope I would be brave enough to put in a good word for Grimlock

        • O woe is me! They always come for the truthtellers first. My sad, sad lament is to speak while I can, knowing that, like water flowing downhill, Power will always lash out against my inconvenient truth …

          And blah, blah, blah.

          Do you have anything interesting to say? If so, just say it. Respond to the post (if you don’t like this one, there are many more to respond to). The whining isn’t helping.

        • ozarkmichael

          Besides making up fake quotes(as if said anything like that), can you be specific about anything I said in the post above that whines about anything?

        • Did you not hear it the first few times? No problem–I’ve got nothing better to do: I encourage you to write something substantial. This isn’t substantial. Or interesting. Or relevant to what this blog is about.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Much like an atheist who proclaims “Simple No and That’s It”, a Theist has a lot more going on than just a Philosophical God. In both cases we discount our specific self, our own complexity, our own choice, our continued choosing, and our human nature generally.

          Balderdash!

          And it’s a sad reflection on your comprehension that you think that’s the case.

          This blog alone has articles and comments in the tens of thousand that demonstrate you are talking out yer arse.

        • ozarkmichael

          Thank you for agreeing with me. There is a lot more going with Atheism.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Like I said, comprehension doesn’t appear big in your repertoire.

        • David Cromie

          Metaphysical mind-wankery is not going to solve any quandary involving supposed supernatural entities. Only down-to-earth irrefutable, falsifiable, evidence would achieve that.

        • ozarkmichael

          Metaphysical mind-wankery is not going to solve any quandary about about atheism, either.

        • David Cromie

          There is nothing ‘metaphysical’ about atheism, merely a lack of belief in any supernatural entities, because of the absence of proof.

        • ozarkmichael

          Atheism can be defined philosophically (ie Platonically) as a type of perfection/purity
          When an atheist claims to embody that Platonic definition… that, David Cromie, is metaphysical mind-wankery.

        • epeeist

          theism can be defined philosophically (ie Platonically) as a type of perfection/purity

          We established a long while back that your knowledge of Plato was non-existent.

          So, that ozarkmichael is yet another example of your crass dishonesty.

        • ozarkmichael

          3 upvotes for another obvious atheist error. Its almost a daily occurrence.

          All one has to do is check my two line post to see that you INTENTIONALLY changed “Atheism” to “theism”. Three Team Atheism cheerleaders INTENTIONALLY upvoted an obvious lie, so rest assured none of them will call you out.

          All justified of course by atheistic doctrine. No retractions or corrections expected. No apologies looked for by me. No complaint on my part, I am happy to be here. Just pointing out the lie, and the Team acceptance of a lie which is so evident. All to obscure the point I was making. That’s crass. And you will later claim that I never made any points. That’s dishonest. So that epeeist is yet another example of your crass dishonesty.

          Your accusation about my knowledge of Plato rings more hollow than ever. Be careful. A person who does know might realize that it is you who doesnt understand. But no matter, its 3 upvotes for a lie, 3 upvotes for burying the point, and 3 upvotes for ignorance of philosophy.

          Team Atheism wins again!

          I calmly look forward to a new false accusation tomorrow.

        • epeeist

          All one has to do is check my two line post to see that you INTENTIONALLY changed “Atheism” to “theism”

          Intentionally? Sorry, INTENTIONALLY?

          Your evidence that I did this intentionally and didn’t just make a bad copy-paste is?

          All justified of course by atheistic doctrine.

          So what doctrine is that, and how is it entailed by the simple lack of belief in the existence of gods? Is it part of that doctrine you have been asked for and never provided?

          Your accusation about my knowledge of Plato rings more hollow than ever.

          And yet I am still waiting for you to tell me in which of Plato’s dialogues he actually defines atheism. How many posts and how many months ago did I ask you for this and how many posts have you made since and not provided an answer.

          Team Atheism wins again!

          And how many posts and how many months ago has it been since I and others asked you to justify the claim that we are a team and how many posts have you made since without providing any justification?

          I hope that @disqus_3SNAg69whY:disqus has more success getting you to substantiate your claims, but somehow I have my doubts.

        • ozarkmichael

          First and most easily proven, three Team Atheist players upvoted your ‘typo’. Do you think they couldn’t be bothered to read what they are upvoting? Or do you think they are that stupid? I dont.

          A far better explanation is that they are intentionally and and happily upvoting everything you write, no matter how false… because of the Group function. How can you demand proof of Group function while simultaneously garnering upvotes for your “mistakes”? How long have you benefitted from this simple evidence that there is a team? How long have you buried what I am saying with false accusations? Go Team Atheism!

          Second issue, is your insistence that “Platonic” refers to a direct quote from a dialogues written by Socrates. Over and over you demand literal chapter and verse from me. I explained it gently, I made a little joke, I said maybe you are just prejudiced against me, but you keep coming back to it. You puff yourself up like you understand this so well. You garner Team Atheist upvotes for being the resident expert on Socrates again and again. It is your unique attack on me, it is your contribution to Team Atheism.

          Now I accept your challenge. This will be easy for you, since I am only a Christian while you are the local expert on Socrates with many upvotes to prove it. You have the support of Team Atheism, while I am alone. So lets chat. Lets argue this out.

          Question: Does the word “Platonic” refer only to a direct quote from one of Socrates dialogues?

          You might want to think before your answer. There are people who know the answer if you dont. You might want to look it up. Its not hard. After all the accusations, over and over… finally you can do a teensie bit of homework. Learn something.

          You ought to apologize to me for the ludicrous accusation which you have made over and over again, propelled not by knowledge but merely by Team Atheism’s upvotes of ignorance. I don’t expect you to apologize, I am fine without it, but I would respect you more if you did.

        • epeeist

          First and most easily proven, three Team Atheist players upvoted your ‘typo’.

          So how does that work? What gave them the clue that I had INTENTIONALLY changed “Atheism” to “theism”? Is this what passes for “critical thinking” in your world?

          because of the Group function.

          The “group” or “team” that you keep trotting out and never justifying you mean?

          Second issue, is your insistence that “Platonic” refers to a direct quote from a dialogues written by Socrates.

          I have asked you time and time again for where you get your definition of “Platonic atheism” from, you obfuscate, hand wave and dissemble, but you never answer the question.

          Question: Does the word “Platonic” refer only to a direct quote from one of Socrates dialogues?

          Directly no, it is in reference to Plato’s discussion on love in The Symposium.

          There are people who know the answer if you dont.

          Of these people wouldn’t include you, since your knowledge of Plato (and philosophy more generally) is non-existent.

        • ozarkmichael

          After months of your chest thumping, please read this and blush when you come to definition #3

          https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/platonic

          No retractions needed. No apology needed. I am happy to teach you, but are you willing to learn?

        • 3 upvotes for another obvious atheist error. Its almost a daily occurrence. . . .
          I calmly look forward to a new false accusation tomorrow.

          Yep, we’re all mindless droids. Thanks for pointing that out.

          If you’re done, you can leave. I can help you find the door if necessary. Or do you have anything actually interesting to offer?

        • ozarkmichael

          I do have something of interest. Right now I want to teach epeeist that the word “platonic” refers not only to chapter and verse of Plato’s writings. I let it go for a few months but that was my mistake.

          He needs to learn. Just a bit knowledge, you recall, that little thing which intellectuals care about. Or does it turn the world upside down when a Christian teaches an atheist? is that the problem?

          BTW, I never said the things you accuse me of saying. And really, the threats to ban me… you ought to at least admit that you are doing that.

        • Everyone knows that I’m threatening to ban you. I just did it. No, nothing hidden here.

          Let’s change it from a threat to a promise.

        • ozarkmichael

          hmm. I managed to teach epeeist something before the ban went into effect. Does that count as a score against atheism? That’s a shame if it does. Your call, of course.

        • ozarkmichael

          Time may be short so I am going to work this through instead of wait for your reply to my post. The only error I have made about “platonic” was when I took Team Atheism’s demand that I capitalize it as “Platonic”. I shouldn’t have given in.

          There are three meanings of platonic. see below. The bottom one is “3) nominal, theoretical.”

          My use of the word has been explained gently many many times. Also it was used in a context where my meaning was completely clear.

          I was looking forward to your attempt to justify your repetitive demand for chapter and verse from Plato’s writings.

          IMHO, if you weren’t getting upvotes from Team Atheism, you wouldn’t have felt encouraged to keep making the same mistake over and over again. Is Group-think going to propel you forever in this error… or shall you finally stop and think? Let me know if you stopped to think. Respond soon if you can.

          https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/platonic

        • Greg G.

          Atheism is the proportioning belief to the strength of the evidence and the recognition of the complete lack of evidence for god thingies.

        • ozarkmichael

          I will listen to your definitions of atheism, but you need to know that I also listen to everything else you say. Self definition is always high and mighty, but its ‘everything else’ which tells the truth and truly defines you.

          One example: just today you upvoted a lie. You also upvoted an obstruction of meaning. You also upvoted an ignorance of philosophy. Dont forget that I am learning what atheism is becoming… by what you do. That is the Atheism which is forming. Atheism is becoming a thing.

          Here is what I have learned: Atheism functions by doctrine while pretending there is no doctrine. Atheism utilizes the Team function while maintaining a self delusion that there is no Team function.

          BTW, I cant imagine how such a mindset would bother to evaluate “the proportioning belief to the strength of the evidence”. You have all denied that you make complex evaluations and I have to agree. I believe your “Simple No” is how you function. Nothing wrong with that. Stick to it. The only requirement is… dont deceive yourself.

          I don’t mind if you to provide more glowing definitions of Atheism, and I will cheerfully consider them. Just remember that I am considering everything else you say too.

        • Greg G.

          You also upvoted an obstruction of meaning.

          I think you are referring to a post from epeeist where you accused him of intentionally altering the quote. It looks like a careless copy&paste. Sometimes when one moves the mouse after highlighting, the end or beginning becomes unhighlighted and goes unnoticed as one must be careful to right-click on the highlight. If he had done it intentionally, he would have capitalized the “T” and probably added “FTFY” below the quote.

          You seem to be in a clucking mood today. Did you dream you were a chicken last night?

        • ozarkmichael

          You upvoted three errors
          1)”typo” and if you spotted it… you upvoted it anyway. Why? If you didn’t spot the typo then you weren’t reading(pretty likely since you informed me that you don’t read what I write) and that means you took one side without looking at the other side of the argument. What makes you do that? Team Atheism.
          2)his post also contained his favorite accusation about “platonic”, which is just so ignorant. you upvoted that ignorance. I don’t believe you are that ignorant. You did that because its Team Atheism to the rescue.
          3)his accusation served to bury the meaning of what I actually said. You upvoted for the obstruction of meaning. That’s what Team Atheism does.

          That’s three wrongs you upvoted in one tiny post. So three cheers for Team Atheism!

          Only group-think could steer you to be so thoroughly wrong. Without that excuse, another explanation falls upon you which I don’t want to believe about you.

          Yeah I am in a clucking mood. So that criticism is true. The only criticism Team Atheism can manage is about my form. Even when I am right, I am still only a human being.

        • Kodie

          Yeah, but you’re a moron. So?

        • ozarkmichael

          Maybe. What I said is still true.
          I appreciate that you are talking with me, since I am something less than a moron and more like a ghost now

        • ildi

          You have all denied that you make complex evaluations…

          Liar, liar pants on fire, you’ve been corrected on this too many times for it to be a simple misunderstanding at this point.
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/58367a5fd44f0e0fb026288e1c4045172ba156119ea20ea749104165249a3e2e.jpg

        • ozarkmichael

          Kind of you to talk to a ghost.
          Cruel of you to make yet another accusation instead of dealing with my answer to your last one

        • ozarkmichael

          ADDENDUM for ildi: When you demanded “complex evaluation” I allowed it, but then I showed that it conclusively demolishes “simple No”. Then I was jumped by your boss, who booted/banned me from this site for pointing out that his platonic “Simple No and That’s It” was demolished because I had been had already been “warned” not to bring that up. Twice.

          So in the end, “Simple No” won. No complex evaluation for you!

          If you want another go at establishing a complex evaluation, argue with Bob and the rest of Team Atheism.

        • David Cromie

          You may define ‘atheism’ in any way you wish just to make an invalid point.

          A lack of irrefutable, falsifiable, evidence for any supposed supernatural entity is in no sense ‘metaphysical mind-wankery’, but acting as if there are such entities, and then ascribing all manner of accidents to them, certainly is.

        • ozarkmichael

          I don’t define atheism at all. I listen to atheists. If athiests describe atheism as a type of perfection/purity, I am sorry to disappoint you, you but that is metaphysical mind-wankery.

        • Kodie

          Man, you’re so full of your own shit.

        • ozarkmichael

          You are more than just a “Nope”. That’s the bottom line.
          Whether you like it not, I am right.

        • Grimlock

          Let me know if any of the logic is a bit unclear. I worked out most of the details in my head while cycling yesterday, so I might’ve messed up some of it.

          Have you read any of the psychology behind religious beliefs? Helen De Cruz has a fair few very interesting publications related to how philosophers interacts with the religious beliefs of philosophers. (I haven’t read it all yet, but one day I’ll take the time to do so.)

          I think it’ll take quite a bit for you to get banned. The level for that is fairly high around here.

    • Ignorant Amos

      It seems to me that you’d need some sort of statistics that demonstrates that Christians generally hold that Christian societies are superior in some inherent way, and that this ties into key beliefs for most Christians.

      There has been more than enough articles and comments online that demonstrate that non Christian societies are far superior than those that are not. A lot of that belief is predicated on so-called Christian values and morality cherry-picked from their book.

      It was all that long ago that you were in a conflab with a Christer here and were pointing to the Scandinavian part of the world as being more secular, yet far better on just about every metric going than the US model, while supposed to be secular, isn’t.

      I don’t rule this out as a possibility, but so far, I don’t think this has been demonstrated.

      The term “Christian” is to broad to be meaningful here.

      The theory is simple: If people become less religious, then society will decay. Crime will skyrocket, violence will rise, and once-civilized life will degenerate into immorality and depravity. It’s an old, widespread notion. And it’s demonstrably false.

      https://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-1101-zuckerman-violence-secularism-20151101-story.html

      The latest raft of religious fuckwits in the US to come out against the recent mass shootings is an example of self-righteous Christers blaming everything under the Sun that flies in the face of their particular flavour of Christianity on the issue, while claiming the decline in godliness is the reason the whole place is going to pot.

      In the most recent Pew survey report, it says…

      In every country surveyed, church-attending Christians are much more likely than non-practicing Christians to favor government support for religious values.

      They obviously believe those values are superior to secular values.

      Like a say, it depends on the Christians at the centre of the discussion. There are certainly those in society that yearn for the days of the Dark Age theocracies with more pious living arrangements for all, and cite the scriptures to support the nonsense.

      • Greg G.

        I recall that a decade or two ago, there was a study that said regular church goers had a lower mortality rate than the population at large. At least one Christian was touting that in whatever forum I was participating in at the time.

        But the study was a cheat as the classification inherently eliminated everybody who was too sick, too old, or dying from one group but kept them to the other group.

        • David Cromie

          Lying for JC includes, of necessity, fudging the results of surveys that do not produce the ‘right’ answers.

      • Grimlock

        There has been more than enough articles and comments online that demonstrate that non Christian societies are far superior than those that are not. A lot of that belief is predicated on so-called Christian values and morality cherry-picked from their book.

        It was all that long ago that you were in a conflab with a Christer here and were pointing to the Scandinavian part of the world as being more secular, yet far better on just about every metric going than the US model, while supposed to be secular, isn’t.

        Sensible points, but it does appear to miss with respect to my objection to Bob’s argument.

        As for the Scandinavia stuff, do you mean the discussion with Andy? Because that was primarily about social democracies, and not so much secularism.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Sensible points, but it does appear to miss with respect to my objection to Bob’s argument.

          Perhaps, that’ll be because am probably not getting what the objection is here. Which won’t surprise ya.

          Bob’s point…

          1. Because we’ve seen what a Christian society looks like

          To which I understood to mean that at times when Christianity was running things, those societies were not the big all that. Fast forward to modern times comparing the most religious parts of the world to the least religious parts and the societies with most active religious.

          There is no doubt that as the RCC has lost influence on Irish society, people’s lives have been improving for the better.

          Granting that, I’m not sure how it follows from this that Christianity’s supernatural claims, as understood by most Christians, are false, or even in tension with this.

          Christianities litany of supernatural claims are central to how they run a society. If those parts are ditched, we have the bits left to secular run societies.

          As for the Scandinavia stuff, do you mean the discussion with Andy? Because that was primarily about social democracies, and not so much secularism.

          My take on it is that it began when the comparison was made that the more secular countries in Western Europe were living the better quality of life. The arguing in the details came after. Someone, Pofarmer, Greg,??? Took the comparison to the states within the US itself. The more religious, you’d think would be the better places to live. But that doesn’t appear to be the case.

          It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve made the comparison meself. Where religion, including Christianity, loses grip, things get better socially. It’s the supernatural woo-woo that drives those in charge of those societies deemed Christian that is at the heart of the problem. Abortion and LGBTQ+ rights are tramped all over, but as the religious lose grip, folks lives get better. N.Ireland is the only place in the British Isles that is crapping on those rights, that’s because those in charge are backward thinking Christians using Christian woo-woo to support there position.

          But like a say, a might be getting the wrong end of the stick on this point.

        • Took the comparison to the states within the US itself. The more religious, you’d think would be the better places to live. But that doesn’t appear to be the case.

          yes, I think this correlation holds up well.

          It seems inconceivable that those people living in the worst-performing US states would not see this problematic correlation (high religiosity means low education, health, etc. conditions). But I wonder if their thinking is as simple as, “We’re one of the most religious states! There ya go–what more evidence do you need that our society is doing great??”

        • Grimlock

          The gist of my objection is that there is not a clear line from issues with Christian societies to the supernatural beliefs of most Christians being false.

          I’m not disputing the negative correlation between religiosity and societal well-being. (Though I suspect that the causal direction is more from societal well-being to lower religiosity than the other way.)

          My take on it is that it began when the comparison was made that the more secular countries in Western Europe were living the better quality of life.

          I had a look. Looks like it started from something like that, yeah.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The gist of my objection is that there is not a clear line from issues with Christian societies to the supernatural beliefs of most Christians being false.

          If the supernatural beliefs of most Christians weren’t false, then the negative issues of Christian societies wouldn’t be an issue.

          The supernatural belief that prayers get answered has a direct impact on the individuals in Christian societies. Sick people usually go see a medical professional and not a Christian cleric for good reason. The former works.

          The Christian Appalachian and other snake handling churches are detrimental to those societies, even if only marginally. And that’s all based on supernatural Christian beliefs of highly dubious origins. Those eejits are even breaking the law in most parts, that has to not good.

          Like I said, the anti-abortion laws where I live are hurting society and they are grounded in Christian supernatural woo-woo.

          Catholic Christians and Protestant Christians have been tearing my society apart for centuries and it all boils down to differences in the supernatural beliefs of each.

          A dare say I can think of other examples.

  • Thanks4AllTheFish

    If God was omnipotent, wouldn’t It be able to eliminate skepticism?

    • Grimlock

      Able to? Yes. Interested in? Not necessarily.

      This sounds like what’s been formalized in the various arguments from divine hiddenness.

    • Wisdom, Justice, Love

      I can remove skepticism. Go ahead and think/believe I can’t post comments on the internet. I just erased your skepticism.
      God could EASILY remove skepticism of his existence with some logical proof of his knowledge of all things. Maybe start by not calling a whale a fish.

      • Thanks4AllTheFish

        I’m skeptical that would work.

        • Wisdom, Justice, Love

          Now that you’ve mentioned it. I think you’re right. You’ve convinced me and/or called my bluff? /s

  • Cozmo the Magician

    he said he would be back before his groupies &#8203died. Still waiting.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Hence the (racist) myth of ‘The Wandering Jew’….

      • Cozmo the Magician

        hmm.. &#8203since &#8203he &#8203was &#8203’cursed &#8203to &#8203walk &#8203the &#8203earth’ &#8203does &#8203that &#8203mean &#8203he &#8203never &#8203ever &#8203would &#8203have &#8203to &#8203deal &#8203with &#8203the &#8203horrors &#8203of &#8203public &#8203transportation? &#8203 &#8203I &#8203would &#8203take &#8203that &#8203as &#8203a &#8203plus.

    • Wisdom, Justice, Love

      Living forever would become boring. You’d have done everything, twice.
      That’s what gets me about the perfection of Heaven. Who wants to go bowling knowing they will roll a strike every time? There’s no challenge. Boring.

      • Cozmo the Magician

        Heaven for the weather… Hell for the company (:

        • Wisdom, Justice, Love

          Sounds like a lot of travel miles. Depends on flight schedule; how many non-stops, layovers, etc.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          well.. you can find SOOOO many angels dancing on a pin. Just hitch a ride.

        • Wisdom, Justice, Love

          Well now that’s just reckless. Do they even have insurance? No thank you.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          I once tried to fly from NYS to Oregon… I will NOT tell you how I landed in SC.. Was fun, I could smoke a cig.

    • he said he would be back before his groupies ​died. Still waiting.

      Ah, yes, but his music lives on.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        Like ‘christian rock’…not making xtianity better, just making rock worse.

        • Wayne Duncan

          Just curious. Was HairyPalmedPooFlinger already taken on Disqus?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Says the ‘guy’ (assumption) who claims ‘his’ *opponents* are the juvenile name-po o flingers…

          Why don’t you just admit that you’re a tr oll, then go autoer oticize yourself?

        • Wayne Duncan

          Awww. Did widdle HairyPalmPooFlinger get all butt hurt?
          Here you go, troll. And good riddance. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/00eb8f232d45b9f8136ff1b3d906ebc924c01239e7cea176b45d804747661d26.jpg

        • The other guy is the troll, but you’re the one with the Trump ass cream?

        • Wayne Duncan

          He was acting all butt hurt. Just trying to help.

        • Ignorant Amos

          There’s irony. You were the one that appeared to get “butt-hurt” at the comment “Like ‘christian rock’…not making xtianity better, just making rock worse” ya halfwit. You can’t afford to be letting any of that arse cream outta yer hands, you need as much as ya can get.

        • 😀

      • Cozmo the Magician

        Oddly, more people have seen ELVIS lately than Jesus.

    • Ignorant Amos

      There can be only one!

  • Douglas Bailey

    How about that Jesus didn’t “die for our sins”, since he isn’t dead, nor could he have if he was a god.
    Not to mention that if a perfect, omnipotent god, created man in his image, how/why could he make flawed creations? Can’t have it both ways.

    • Cozmo the Magician

      Mentioned elsewhere , since god made adam out of dirt, why didnt god just punish the dirt.

    • Cozmo the Magician

      Yeah, such a thing he gave up…a short weekend out of an INFINITE amount of time. I donated to charity last week, I left a penny in a jar by the cash register while on my way to cash my $847,562 weekly pay check.

      • Kuno

        But it was the Easter weekend!

        • Greg G.

          It was the first Easter that he didn’t know where all the eggs were hidden.

        • MR

          There you are. We’ve been worried sick! Welcome home.

      • Wisdom, Justice, Love

        Right. Like a Weekend Savior Fantasy Camp.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          “this.. one..time… at.. band camp”

    • Wisdom, Justice, Love

      So much of this:
      If I walk into a restaurant and pay for every meal that day, there is no requirement from those people. They may show gratitude, but they may not. If the restaurant owner demanded other diners give a good review on Yelp in order to apply my payment for their meal, that’s called extortion.

      If God is perfect, how did Lucifer become so flawed? Humans “fall from grace” can be attributed to Lucifer/Satan/The Devil’s influence. Who influenced Lucifer/Satan/The Devil?

      • Michael Neville

        Satan and Yahweh are bestest buddies. Read the first chapter of Job for evidence.

        • Wisdom, Justice, Love

          Yeah. They’re hangin’ at some Annual Celestial Council Cookout and Variety Show where they cast lots make bets on Job’s devotion.

          I think they’re one and the same, in the mythology. Someone get Clark Kent and Superman in the same room at the same time with Multiple human eyewitnesses and we can settle this once and for all.
          For an Omnipresent being, he sure seems to not be around when Adam & Eve are being corrupted.

  • Cozmo the Magician

    OT: &#8203but &#8203i &#8203feel &#8203need &#8203constant &#8203posting &#8203. &#8203 &#8203Since &#8203even &#8203the &#8203word &#8203&#8203UNDIES &#8203will &#8203send &#8203you &#8203post &#8203to &#8203mod &#8203purgatory

    How &#8203to &#8203sink &#8203the &#8203CensorShip:

    A)Open &#8203Notepad
    B)type &#8203comment &#8203with &#8203ANY &#8203FUCKING &#8203WORDS &#8203YOU &#8203WANT
    C) &#8203Click &#8203Edit->replace &#8203all
    D) &#8203replace &#8203all &#8203’space’ &#8203with &#8203’SpaceAmpersand#8203′
    E) &#8203Edit->Select &#8203all, &#8203Copy &#8203
    F) &#8203Paste &#8203into &#8203comment &#8203and &#8203NUKE &#8203THE &#8203ASSININE &#8203NANNYBOT

    • Grimlock

      What’s the Ampersand#8203 do?

      • Cozmo the Magician

        I’m gussing you used the code and as you can see it is an INVISIBLE character. This you are appending something to every word which messes with the simple mind of the censorbot.

        • Grimlock

          You guessed correctly.

          Ah, so it’s like the &zwnj (plus semi colon) thing? Cool!

        • Greg G.

          You can use “&amp;” to represent the ampersand without the rest of it turning to code.

      • Michael Neville

        &8203; is called “zero-width joiner”, essentially it’s a character that doesn’t take up any space, rendering it invisible.

        I leave as an exercise for the student as to how I could show an HTML character without it becoming HTML.

        • Grimlock

          Test: &82&8203;03;

          ETA: That didn’t go sensationally well.

  • Quinsha

    The problem is, even if a Christian proves that their god exists, that STILL doesn’t mean that I want to worship it.

    • Cozmo the Magician

      Yes. &#8203Yes. &#8203And &#8203more &#8203YES. &#8203 &#8203I’ve &#8203said &#8203over &#8203and &#8203over &#8203that &#8203if &#8203i &#8203REALLY &#8203believed &#8203I &#8203would &#8203be &#8203in &#8203Satan’s &#8203camp &#8203one &#8203hundred &#8203percent. &#8203 &#8203I &#8203would &#8203happily &#8203cart &#8203brimstone &#8203to &#8203the &#8203forges. &#8203 &#8203I &#8203would &#8203come &#8203up &#8203with &#8203MORE &#8203AND &#8203MORE &#8203creative &#8203ways &#8203to &#8203blaspheme. &#8203 &#8203I &#8203would &#8203desecrate &#8203every &#8203symbol &#8203of &#8203god &#8203I &#8203could &#8203peeee &#8203on. &#8203I &#8203would &#8203have &#8203kinky &#8203sex &#8203every &#8203day &#8203(I &#8203wish).

      • Wisdom, Justice, Love

        Every day not having to kiss the a$$ of a moody homicidal insecure maniac dictator, or be around his suck-up sycophant puppets, is Paradise.

        • Cozmo the Magician

          And that is EXACTLY what the Bible says that ‘good’ people have to look forward to. AN ETERNITY OF KISSING BEHIND.

          I’m on Lucifer’s side. I would rather watch a never ending loop of Hee-Haw as punishment than the ‘reward’.

        • Wisdom, Justice, Love

          I wouldn’t say I’m on anyone’s side. Particularly as they have a Jekyll/Hyde thing going on.

          Any stories of God, Satan/Lucifer/Devil, and humans all in the same place at the same time, and can distinctly identify one another?

          But I know how I feel about extortionists and suck-ups. And the all-knowing God knows what I think. So why play games. I’m not interested in pretending and being a phony for personal gain. I could dress nice and sings songs every week, rattle off empty platitudes in public, no problem there. But why? For who?

        • Cozmo the Magician

          Can I have some home made dressing on that word salad?

        • sweeks

          Speaking of ass-kissing, this looks like a good time to review https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDp7pkEcJVQ
          🙂

        • Cozmo the Magician

          Upvotess.

    • Ignorant Amos

      Or should.

    • Kodie

      But the Christian says you’re too arrogant to kneel, you are a rebel. I don’t bother with this argument. Yes, the god portrayed is abusive, and his followers are obviously afflicted with a syndrome of fooling and rationalizing themselves into their position as every act of god in their favor is obviously a miracle, and every act of god that’s destructive, they try to ignore it or blame the victims for deserving it. They pretend we are on a course toward death that they have to save us from, but really, they are the abused child who advises us to be good for their and our sake, to lay low, because you never know when daddy’s gonna get the belt or who he’s going after.

      No, I don’t want to worship that god, but in a situation where god always wins, whatever. That’s not an argument against god. That’s an argument that the fictional character they lick on is an abusive asshole, while their argument is dad’s love and morality are absolute, and we are just whiny because he doesn’t give us candy when we whine for candy.

      My argument is, how is that not a superstition? Trying to do things or not do things so things happen or don’t happen, that does not have any apparent causation is a superstition. Carry a lucky penny, don’t step on a crack in the sidewalk, that kind of shit.

  • Taneli Huuskonen

    Yes, you should write “silver-bullet argument” with a hyphen, according to the rules presented here: https://www.grammarly.com/blog/hyphen/

  • Cozmo the Magician

    OK, this post has been up a short while.. 110 comments.. cant WAIT to see what kind of trolls infest it.

  • Tim Ellison

    Thanks Bob. I enjoy your posts and as a Christian I agree with most of your critiques. Christianity needs to change and you offer lots of good thoughts toward that end.

    • Cozmo the Magician

      Umm, if Christianity needs to change that implies it is WRONG to begin with. How can it be the all perfect revelation of the ONE TRUE GOD if it has built in FAULTS.

      And yet suckers consumers will happily pay a dollar more for the NEW & IMPROVED version of the BEST PRODUCT EVER.

      • Grimlock

        He might simply be referring to the implementation of Christianity.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Which one?

        • Grimlock

          Perhaps all of the current ones.

        • Ignorant Amos

          But it’s a moving target. Christianity adds on average just over 2 new flavours a day.

      • Tim Ellison

        It’s like science. Newton was right at the time but we don’t then throw all science out because Einstein replaces Newton. It’s a growing and changing phenomenon.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s nothing like science.

          But at least you are admitting Christianity was wrong. Hardly the work of a perfect entity, best to get rid and ditch it.

        • epeeist
        • Pofarmer

          To be fair. Einstein doesn’t replace Newton, except in certain circumstances at very high velocities and very large or small masses. Newton is just fine to get us to the moon and Mars, for instance, but we use Einstein to do the calculations that make our GPS work.

          As to Christianity “growing and changing” that seems to be a bug, not a feature.

    • Great to hear. Thanks for the feedback.

  • Cozmo the Magician

    Oh and EPIC FAIL. Every SINGLE TIME he tries to correct his OWN mistakes he makes things even worse. (really, inbreeding i.e. noahs family .. is a GOOD thing? even bronze age goat herders probably knew better)

  • JBSchmidt

    Another ‘Here’s why I think Christians are Stupid’ rant on the internet. How unique.

    The basis of your naturalism falls prey to silver bullet attacks as well.

    • Do tell.

      • eric

        Yes, exactly. “I have an argument against you!” followed by silence is, shall we say, not exactly the most convincing rebuttal in the world.

        • Raging Bee

          He’s playing hard-to-get and waiting for us to beg for his argument.

        • Michael Neville

          I responded to his sneer at naturalism some five hours ago (as I write this) but here are no further comments from him.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That’s what ya get when ya engage with a knuckle dragging arsehole.

      • epeeist

        Do tell.

        Ah, you haven’t come across J.B. before. While he is perfectly happy to criticise (straw versions of) science and naturalism, as soon as you ask him to substantiate his position then he becomes the epitome of Brave Sir Robin.

    • Michael Neville

      First define “naturalism”. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy [LINK] says:

      The term “naturalism” has no very precise meaning in contemporary philosophy. Its current usage derives from debates in America in the first half of the last century…“[N]aturalism” is not a particularly informative term as applied to contemporary philosophers… It would be fruitless to try
      to adjudicate some official way of understanding the term. Different contemporary philosophers interpret “naturalism” differently. This disagreement about usage is no accident. For better or worse, “naturalism” is widely viewed as a positive term in philosophical circles—few active philosophers nowadays are happy to announce themselves as “non-naturalists” [Emphasis added]

      It would appear that naturalism is a fluid term and it’s widely accepted among philosophers. Looks like you’ve got a lot of work if you’re going to show the flaws in naturalism.

      • JustAnotherAtheist2

        Yes, “naturalism” is poorly defined because “natural” has no distinguishing characteristics when applied to reality as a whole. Nor do any supposed contrasting terms, which only amount to being other than the same undefined “natural”.

        Ultimately, “naturalism” is just a naked attempt to shirk the burden of proof. No more, no less.

    • Fire away.

      • JBSchmidt

        Life from non-life. Remember, no “cumulative case”.

        • Michael Neville

          Your ignorance and incredulity aren’t arguments against abiogenesis, they’re just evidence that you’re ignorant and incredulous.

          Try again, this time with a real example of how naturalism fails.

        • “Science has unanswered questions; therefore, God.”

          I get a smile every time. It’s like they’re trying to amuse me.

        • But, again, Bob, what we CURRENTLY KNOW about science leads to theistic conclusions. You are committing a Straw Man Fallacy by putting words in the mouths of Christians. I doubt that any Christian has ever argued for God based upon what we do not know, rather than what we DO know. Why don’t you stop mocking arguments which Christians do not actually make, and respond to their ACTUAL ARGUMENTS?!

          I have tried to get you to respond to my points several times before. Please do not delete them, or refuse to respond because they are too long, as you have done several times in the past:

          Symbolic representation, such as the complex set of instructions symbolically communicated by DNA, requires a conscious and intelligent agent. Such is the case because the meaning which symbols convey is entirely arbitrary, and cannot be a property of the symbols themselves. For example, the letters C-A-T serve as a symbolic representation of a furry animal that purrs and meows only because the intelligent agents who created the English language arbitrarily assigned this meaning to this set of symbols. There is no physical or chemical relationship between these symbols and what they serve to represent, only a mental relationship.

          This is further illustrated by the fact that a set of symbols can have entirely different meanings in different languages. Physicist and information scientist Hubert Yockey eloquently explains this crucial point in the primary text on the application of algorithmic information theory to the origin of life, titled Information Theory, Evolution, and The Origin of Life:

          The messages conveyed by sequences of symbols sent through a communication system generally have meaning (otherwise, why are we sending them?). It often is overlooked that the meaning of a sequence of letters, if any, is arbitrary. It is determined by the natural language and is not a property of the letters or their arrangement. For example, the English word “hell” means “bright” in German, “fern” means “far,” “gift” means “poison,” “bald” means “soon,” “boot” means “boat,” and “singe” means “sing.” In French “pain” means “bread,” “ballot” means a “bundle,” “coin” means a “corner or a wedge,” “chair” means “flesh,” “cent” means “hundred,” “son” means “his,” “tire” means a “pull,” and “ton” means “your.”

          In French, the English word “main” means “hand,” “sale” means “dirty.” French-speaking visitors to English-speaking countries will be astonished at department stores having a “sale” and especially if it is the “main sale.” This confusion of meaning goes as far as sentences. For example, “0 singe fort” has no meaning in English, although each is an English word, yet in German it means “0 sing on,” and in French it means “0 strong monkey.”

          At this point, one can almost hear atheists shouting, “Suggesting that DNA is a language is only a metaphor, or a figure of speech! It is not literally true!” But, an entire school of thought in biology called biosemiotics considers language to be a primary lens through which living things must be understood, as Perry Marshall points out in his book Evolution 2.0. Marshall elaborates on the scientific reasons why DNA is a language in the most literal, not metaphorical, sense:

          Rutgers University professor Sungchul Ji’s excellent paper The Linguistics of DNA: Words, Sentences, Grammar, Phonetics, and Semantics starts off, “Biologic systems and processes cannot be fully accounted for in terms of the principles and laws of physics and chemistry alone, but they require in addition the principles of semiotics— the science of symbols and signs, including linguistics.”

          Ji identifies 13 characteristics of human language. DNA shares 10 of them. Cells edit DNA. They also communicate with each other and literally speak a language he called “cellese,” described as “a self-organizing system of molecules, some of which encode, act as signs for, or trigger, gene-directed cell processes.”

          This comparison between cell language and human language is not a loosey-goosey analogy; it’s formal and literal. Human language and cell language both employ multilayered symbols. Dr. Ji explains this similarity in his paper: “Bacterial chemical conversations also include assignment of contextual meaning to words and sentences (semantic) and conduction of dialogue (pragmatic)— the fundamental aspects of linguistic communication.” This is true of genetic material. Signals between cells do this as well.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I have tried to get you to respond to my points several times before. Please do not delete them, or refuse to respond because they are too long, as you have done several times in the past:

          Liar.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Nope.

          YOUR KIND, and you in particular, are trying, *exactly* as Bob said, to claim “You don’t know, therefore ‘god(s)'”

          You’re just more long-winded about it.

          I mean, there’s not even any underlying consistent evidence / theory by which you COULD be correct.

        • eric

          Symbolic representation, such as the complex set of instructions
          symbolically communicated by DNA, requires a conscious and intelligent
          agent. Such is the case because the meaning which symbols convey is
          entirely arbitrary…

          But it’s not arbitrary. DNA codons aren’t just random letters on a page, they are chemicals. Those chemicals interact in specific ways with their environment. A conscious and intelligent agent is not required because the “meaning they convey” is in reality a chemical reaction that they cause, and those chemical reactions are going to happen regardless of whether any intelligence directs them, plans them, or not. So, for example, no intelligence was needed to “decide” that the codon TTG would produce the amino acid leucine, and the “decision” that TTG would make leucine and not something else was manifestly not arbitrary, because that’s what the laws of physics dictate that that arrangement of atoms in that environment will react to form.

          Look, the letter/code/symbol analogy to DNA is really useful most of the time. But you’re taking it too literally and too far. These are organic molecules. They react to the chemical environment around them according to the rules of physics and chemistry. They didn’t need any intelligence to “tell” them what reactions to do, and it certainly isn’t arbitrary what reactions they do. They just do it, according to the laws of physics.

        • MR

          But you’re taking it too literally and too far.

          They mistake the metaphor for reality. DNA is not an actual language.

        • You are committing a Straw Man Fallacy by putting words in the mouths of Christians. I doubt that any Christian has ever argued for God based upon what we do not know, rather than what we DO know.

          I have many, many times read apologetics that distill down to “science has unanswered questions; therefore, God.” You’re saying that they don’t phrase it that way? That’s true, but that’s what they mean.

          I can’t imagine you don’t know what I’m talking about. Think of all the apologetics that demand to know where life came from or what came before the Big Bang.

          No, no straw man.

          I have tried to get you to respond to my points several times before. Please do not delete them, or refuse to respond because they are too long, as you have done several times in the past:

          I haven’t deleted any comment of yours. (1) Stop being paranoid, and (2) don’t pretend that your stuff is new or incendiary.

          As for being too long, again, you don’t get to assign homework.

          Symbolic representation, such as the complex set of instructions symbolically communicated by DNA, requires a conscious and intelligent agent.

          Minds require a physical brain. You’re saying God has a physical brain?

        • Ignorant Amos

          I doubt that any Christian has ever argued for God based upon what we do not know,…

          It’s called the god-of-the-gaps argument. A can’t believe ya haven’t heard of it.

          “God of the gaps” is a theological perspective in which gaps in scientific knowledge are taken to be evidence or proof of God’s existence. The “gaps” usage was made by Christian theologians not to discredit theism but rather to point out the fallacy of relying on teleological arguments for God’s existence.

          …rather than what we DO know.

          So what DO we know and what method are we to use in order to test it?

        • Rudy R

          OK, let’s assume DNA was created by an intelligent mind. You would still need evidence for a god, because you can’t discount an intelligent alien.

        • epeeist

          For the moment let’s assume that the theory of evolution is false.

          What is your alternative given that it has to have at least the same explanatory power and empirical fit as the current theory. What predictions does your alternative make, how have these predictions been tested and what results did the test return?

        • Greg G.

          I doubt that any Christian has ever argued for God based upon what we do not know,

          Bob was responding to Michael Neville who was responding to JBSchmidt who was using such an argument when he said “Life from non-life.” Creationist arguments rely on lots of arguments based on what we do not know. Many religions were based on what was not known about the planets, the sun, and what causes weather. Christianity comes from attempts to appease a war god.

        • Sample1

          Life from non-life is a demonstrable reality today, just a matter of perspective. The molecules and atoms that compose living organisms are not alive by current definitions. That’s amazing enough, isn’t it?

          Believers, so many are incapable or in denial of seeing the awesome-sauce of nature right before their own eyes.

          Mike, I was never a zygote.

        • Sample1

          . I doubt that any Christian has ever argued for God based upon what we do not know…

          Sweep your doubts aside, they are unwarranted. Apophatic theology is a specific maneuver which does precisely what you once doubted.

          I’m correct that it was something you once doubted because now you know more. You will amend your position, right?

          Mike

        • Kodie

          Tell me how to get to Jesus from here.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Life had to come from non-life.

          Even your silly book tells you that.

          7 Then the Lord God formed a man[c] from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

        • JBSchmidt

          So then you agree it was a supernatural event.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Nope. No such thing as a supernatural event, just made up stories that adults in this day and age should see them for what they are.

          I agree that it is a made up story in a silly book about a supernatural event, but there are millions of those about, and millions of gullible halfwits about that believe they are true.

        • JBSchmidt

          “millions of gullible halfwits about that believe they are true.”

          I say the same thing about people who blindly accept the stories that secular science crafts for the beginning of life.

          I assume you don’t actually have an answer to my silver bullet question. Give me non-cumulative evidence for non-life producing life.

        • Pofarmer

          Nobody knows 100% how life starts. But it’s 100 times more simple than understanding how an omnipotent, immaterial being could start or exist.

        • epeeist

          I say the same thing about people who blindly accept the stories that secular science crafts for the beginning of life.

          Let’s assume for the moment that these “stories” about the beginning of life are false.

          So what’s your explanation, what evidence have you got for it, what testable predictions does it make and what are the results of these tests?

        • JBSchmidt

          1) Life requires information. There are no examples of information forming without an intelligent source providing that information.
          2)Let’s pretend some supernatural event occurred during the primordial ooze of early earth, without assistance from in intelligent being, and created information. Then there is a problem of building the initial code. The information is step 1 now needs to compile that info into code. When we build code, say for computers, if we make an error, we have the ability to recreate the original code from memory and alter the error. In the random interaction of early information, each error in a line of code requires the complete rebuilding from scratch with no memory of previous advancement. Thus the same error could be repeated countless times and it could throw an error in step 2 or 50 and still have the same problem. It might throw an error on step 2 after reaching 50. How far would computers have advanced if that was how DOS was programmed?
          3) Let’s assume your lying eyes be damned and you believe information can create itself. Further, you are willing to accept that the simplest self replicating code came into existence after countless restarts from zero. The problem of time comes into play. It would take another supernatural event without an intelligent entity to get life to where it is today.

          My life experience says that information is only created and added to a system. We have no systems where information creates itself. Additionally, when building anything we use our past experiences or failures to progress. A random system would be incapable of progress because it can never remember its success or failures. Thus, I believe that the only reasonable explanation to the formation of life is an intelligent designer. To accept an abiogensis is more about denying a creator then it is about doing good science.

        • There are no examples of information forming without an intelligent source providing that information.

          And, as you’ve ignored before, there are no examples of minds (the intelligent source) not residing in physical brains.

          The information is step 1 now needs to compile that info into code.

          Information is collected, and then it’s put into code? No, that’s how people work. That’s not how evolution would work.

          When we build code, say for computers, if we make an error, we have the ability to recreate the original code from memory and alter the error.

          There is no “error” in evolution. A lifeform is what it is, and it will do well or poorly against its peers.

          Why are we arguing about evolution? Go change the scientific consensus.

          3) Let’s assume your lying eyes be damned and you believe information can create itself.

          There’s a transcription error, and TG becomes TGG.

          Bingo: new information.

          It would take another supernatural event without an intelligent entity to get life to where it is today.

          Cuz . . . why?

          My life experience says that information is only created and added to a system.

          Words cannot express how insignificant your life experience is compared to the consensus of a scientific field of which you are not a member.

          I thought Christians were supposed to be humble. I guess not. You got it all figured out, and those biology geeks got it all wrong … right?

        • JBSchmidt

          “There’s a transcription error, and TG becomes TGG. Bingo: new information.”

          If a protein requires XY amino acid structure and instead it is XYY which causes it to fold incorrectly or not at all, you do not have new information. You have an error. When talking about early biological structures, simple coding errors caused failure of the entire structure. I think the consensus would agree with that.

          The rest of your comment is off topic or insults. Do you have anything substantial to prove me wrong?

        • epeeist

          you do not have new information.

          If the transcription error that Bob mentions occurs then you increase the Kolmogorov complexity, hence an increase in information.

          When talking about early biological structures, simple coding errors caused failure of the entire structure.

          It does? Got evidence?

        • Greg G.

          If a protein requires XY amino acid structure and instead it is XYY which causes it to fold incorrectly or not at all, you do not have new information. You have an error. When talking about early biological structures, simple coding errors caused failure of the entire structure. I think the consensus would agree with that.

          Not every mutation is catastrophic. Some changes have subtle effects. That adds information to the gene pool. It occurs in one instance and does not affect the siblings and cousins of the individual with the mutation.

          For example, if a mutation that increases the fur density occurs in a mammal that lives in a temperate region, it would be able to survive cooler weather so its offspring would be adapted for moving toward the polar region. If the mutation happens nearer the equator, it might be detrimental to the creature and its offspring. But a mutation that caused less dense fur might allow it to expand its range toward the equator but not toward the polar region.

          The creationist information argument is disinformation. You should ask yourself why the arguments you are presented are so poor. Wouldn’t you expect a creationist to present good arguments? You would expect that but they don’t present good arguments because they do not have any.

        • Remember when God promised Moses that he would provide him the proper words when arguing against Pharaoh? I wonder why God doesn’t do that with Creationists today? Or maybe Creationism is so stupid that not even God can polish that turd.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Do you have anything substantial to prove me wrong?

          There’s a whole body of science out there that proves you wrong. You incredulity on this issue is noted. Now, have you anything substantial to say that demonstrates that god-did-it is the answer? Silly nonsense yarns/lies from ancient books written by ill informed holy rollers that didn’t know where the Sun went at night doesn’t count.

        • Why don’t you let the experts figure this out? You suck at it.

          If a protein requires XY amino acid structure

          You’re starting with a goal. That’s not how it works.

          If you flipped a coin and got HTHTTTHTHT, that wouldn’t be surprising. But if you said, “Wouldn’t it be cool if I got HTHTTTHTHT?” and then flipped 10 times and got that very thing you’d predicted, that would be quite surprising (roughly 1:1000 chance).

          That’s the difference between predicting something beforehand and then getting it vs. just getting it.

          The rest of your comment is off topic or insults.

          Nope. The rest of my comment is challenges you can’t answer. I’m still waiting for you to square your, “Well, golly, information gotta come from a mind!! :-)” with the fact that minds come from physical brains.

          Do you have anything substantial to prove me wrong?

          I’m sure not. Your beliefs are unfalsifiable. Nothing I could say would convince you otherwise. Congratulations—I’m sure baby Jesus is pleased that you’re so closed-minded.

          And the fact remains that the people who actually understand this stuff (read: not you or me) say that evolution is the best explanation we got. Have a little humility and let the nice scientists get on with finding our reality, OK?

        • JBSchmidt

          “Why don’t you let the experts figure this out? You suck at it.”

          I’ll remember that you decide to impart your take on Christian doctrine.

          “That’s the difference between predicting something beforehand and then getting it vs. just getting it.”

          Show me you can ‘just get it’ then. I am showing the implausibility of assembling the simplest requirements for life. Oddly enough you are accusing me of doing exactly what science is doing to produce the stories you believe to be true.

          “Your beliefs are unfalsifiable.”

          As are yours. Do some research into why secular scientists have problems with both Darwin and RNA World Hypothesis.

          “say that evolution is the best explanation we got.”

          Again untrue. You know very little of your belief. There is an every increasing group of SECULAR scientist seeing that complete failure of Darwinian Evolution.

          “Have a little humility and let the nice scientists get on with finding our reality, OK?”

          I choose to not base my doctrine on blind faith. But thanks for the suggestion.

        • Greg G.

          I am showing the implausibility of assembling the simplest requirements for life. Oddly enough you are accusing me of doing exactly what science is doing to produce the stories you believe to be true.

          You are showing your incredulity not the implausibility. DNA was discovered less than 70 years ago. Your religion didn’t get that far in 20 centuries.

          As are yours. Do some research into why secular scientists have problems with both Darwin and RNA World Hypothesis.

          Darwin was working from information gathered from relatively few people but his basic principles still stand. A hypothesis is not even a theory. Science doesn’t claim to have figured everything out. If they did have it all figured out, they would stop researching.

          Again untrue. You know very little of your belief. There is an every increasing group of SECULAR scientist seeing that complete failure of Darwinian Evolution.

          That is just creationist wishful thinking. You must be thinking of the list creationists collected of about 700 “scientists” who did not accept the theory of evolution. An astounding number of them were dentists, not scientists. In response, someone started Project Steve, a list of scientists who are actually in the field but only those whose names could be shortened to “Steve”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Steve

          Next, you will be telling us that Evolution will be overturned in ten to fifteen years. I heard that in 1975 but Evolution was still the best explanation for the variations of life in 1990. A creationist to me the same thing in 1995 but when I confronted him about his claim in 2010, he denied ever saying it. Creationists were saying that “gradualism” in geology would be overturned in geology back in the 1820s, when Charles Darwin was a teenager, but they still keep making the claim. But then, Christians have been claiming Jesus was coming any second now for nearly two thousand years.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You are showing your incredulity not the implausibility.

          At this point it is pure unadulterated stupidity and lies.

        • Greg G.

          AKA “PRATTs”.

        • “Why don’t you let the experts figure this out? You suck at it.”
          I’ll remember that you decide to impart your take on Christian doctrine.

          Why would that be difficult for me? I’m happy to accept the consensus of theologians’ views on their own doctrine.

          “Your beliefs are unfalsifiable.”
          As are yours.

          Wrong again. When the scientific consensus changes, what do you think Bob “I always accept the scientific consensus” Seidensticker is going to do?

          Do some research into why secular scientists have problems with both Darwin and RNA World Hypothesis.

          Who cares? When the consensus changes, I’ll change. How much more honest to the facts can I be?

          Maybe you should hang out somewhere besides the ICR or Disco Institute.

          “say that evolution is the best explanation we got.”
          Again untrue. You know very little of your belief. There is an every increasing group of SECULAR scientist seeing that complete failure of Darwinian Evolution.

          And yet the consensus remains that evolution is the best explanation we got. Oops–you’re wrong again.

          Tip: this “the sky is falling on the Neo-Darwinian Project” has been the Creationists’ line for 30 years. Ain’t happened yet. I’m almost thinking that it won’t happen at all.

          You illustrate the problem with your position. I think all the rest of us can see it, but you can’t. Let me help you out: that’s twice now that you’ve said that secular scientists are increasingly thinking X. And if I pushed back, I’m sure you’ve got a handful of quotes that make that argument.

          But that’s what you say when you’ve lost the argument. When you’ve won the argument, you instead say that the consensus of biologists say that evolution is a complete failure and you cite consensus scientific sources that say that. You got nothin’ until that point.

          I choose to not base my doctrine on blind faith.

          Oh, no. Of course you don’t. Sure, sure—I believe you.

        • JBSchmidt

          “Maybe you should hang out somewhere besides the ICR or Disco Institute.”

          I have yet to post or mention those entities. I have always used secular scientists/studies when making statements. Your ‘consensus’ exists only in your head.

          “And yet the consensus remains that evolution is the best explanation we got.”

          This is simply not true. Step outside your zone of confirmation bias. I promise you won’t wake up in the morning looking wanting to get baptized.

          “When you’ve won the argument, you instead say that the consensus of biologists say that evolution is a complete failure”

          I know I have won the argument because you have nothing more than the word consensus. A word that is meaningless in science.

        • I have always used secular scientists/studies when making statements. Your ‘consensus’ exists only in your head.

          Huh? I’ve clearly stated that I go where the consensus goes. And now you’re saying that I don’t understand the consensus??

          There’s your argument! How have you missed this?? If I don’t understand the biologists’ consensus on evolution, then show it to me so I can adapt my opinion to conform to the consensus.

          The only explanation that I can come up with for your not doing this earlier is that you’re lying about my being wrong about the consensus. But that’s not possible, is it?

          This is simply not true. Step outside your zone of confirmation bias.

          Show me non-Creationist sources that say this.

          I know I have won the argument because you have nothing more than the word consensus. A word that is meaningless in science.

          I’m not talking to scientists; I’m talking to laypeople. What are we going to point to as our best approximation to the truth than the scientific consensus?

        • JBSchmidt

          http://www.thethirdwayofevolution.com

          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3495036/

          In previous comment sections I have pointed to different secular sources also supporting my point. I have yet to see anything from you accept the word ‘consensus’. You are what you accuse Christians of being. Locked in your ideology and not using the brain God blessed you with to do any investigating yourself.

          Going back you to your blog, you said, “The atheist’s position is different. We do have single arguments that should shut down the debate, lots of them.” Which I show is incorrect. You also accused Christians of making a “a cumulative case”. Which I have also shown that you must. Finally, by using secular science, I can show that there are ‘silver bullet’ arguments on par with the ones you suggest about Christianity.

          Neither the idea that life came about by naturalistic terms nor that God exists can be expressed with single ideas. The decision on which to put your faith must come down to weighing the evidence for both.

        • That’s seriously your point? That you’re questioning whether evolution actually is the consensus of biologists?

          By curious coincidence, I responded to this question in an appendix two posts ago. I have a long list (from both scientific and Creationist) sources that agree that evolution is the consensus.
          https://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2019/08/top-10-most-common-atheist-arguments-do-they-fail-4-of-4-2/

        • JBSchmidt

          Great. Lets ignore the more recent articles and websites that I posted which clearly point to the increasing positions not in line with the previous consensus so you can hold to your dogma.

        • You’ve got more recent public statements? Great! You’re right—some of mine are old.

          Please find more recent statements about evolution–about how it is or isn’t the consensus or accepted view–from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, NewScientist magazine, Scientific American magazine, and any other mainstream science publication or association.

          Thanks! I really appreciate it.

        • JBSchmidt

          Would it matter. You’ll just keep moving the goal posts.

        • So then you have nothing. You’re agreeing with me that evolution is the scientific consensus. Your taunts were just flatulence.

          All you have are a handful of quotes of the “Evolution is on its last legs! Evolution is gasping its last! Evolution is a failed theory, and every biologist knows it!” sort. (I like to imagine a stern Jonathan Edwards shaking his fist as he says this. Who do you imagine saying it?)

          Of course, these kinds of quotes were said 30 years ago and were just as flawed back then.

          No, it’s you who’s moving the goalposts. As soon as I publicly rub your face in this error, you’ll be skipping off to make up some new bullshit. You don’t follow the evidence, you sift it to support your predetermined conclusion.

          Doesn’t this get old for you?

        • JBSchmidt

          “All you have are a handful of quotes of the”

          Aside from the fact I never used those quotes. Maybe that is the taunt you were projecting on me.

          “No, it’s you ”

          Good solid 4th grade response. But I am rubber, so there.

          “you’ll be skipping off to make up some new bullshit.”

          Except I have been fully consistent to the same points over various blogs. But ok, if it helps to construct your own reality.

          “You don’t follow the evidence, you sift it to support your predetermined conclusion.”

          Right, I am not using the sift you want me to use. Otherwise I would come to your predetermined conclusions.

        • “All you have are a handful of quotes of the”
          Aside from the fact I never used those quotes.

          I was referring to your charge, “Lets ignore the more recent articles and websites that I posted which clearly point to . . .”

          Except I have been fully consistent to the same points over various blogs.

          Consistent? Cool—then follow up with your claim that you have “more recent articles and websites.” Let me remind you. Here’s what I asked for:

          Please find more recent statements about evolution–about how it is or isn’t the consensus or accepted view–from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, NewScientist magazine, Scientific American magazine, and any other mainstream science publication or association.

          Thanks. Much appreciated.

          Right, I am not using the sift you want me to use. Otherwise I would come to your predetermined conclusions.

          Nope. I go with the consensus. When the consensus changes, guess what also changes.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Aside from the fact I never used those quotes. Maybe that is the taunt you were projecting on me.

          There’s that fecked up reading for comprehension again. Let me help…without your dishonest quote-mining for full effect.

          “All you have are a handful of quotes of the “Evolution is on its last legs! Evolution is gasping its last! Evolution is a failed theory, and every biologist knows it!” sort. (I like to imagine a stern Jonathan Edwards shaking his fist as he says this. Who do you imagine saying it?)

          So, “quotes of the…sort”…get it? Your more recent nonsense is the same tired old less recent nonsense of the sort seen in the past…as per those quotes. This really shouldn’t be this hard for ya.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Would it matter.

          Of course it matters, if only to bolster how dishonest you are being…and to give us all more to laugh at if nothing else.

          You’ll just keep moving the goal posts.

          No goalposts being moved. If you’d have been less dishonest a week ago, this could all have been avoided and the waste of space you are coulda been ignored.

          We’ve all been waiting on you providing us with the fireworks of an epiphany moment based on some new data that you’d discovered…all we got was a damp squib.

          Liar for Jesus, pious fraud, and weasel word comments is all ya had in the end…bummer.

        • David Cromie

          Said he, in an attempt to move the goal post as he ducks the challenge.

        • Greg G.

          Humans are learning more about genetics and evolution all the time. That does not mean there is doubt about it. One of the articles you cited is not even about evolution. You don’t know enough about the subject to begin to criticize it.

        • Greg G.

          Did you notice that your first link says:

          It has come to our attention that THE THIRD WAY web site is wrongly being referenced by proponents of Intelligent Design and creationist ideas as support for their arguments. We intend to make it clear that the website and scientists listed on the web site do not support or subscribe to any proposals that resort to inscrutable divine forces or supernatural intervention, whether they are called Creationism, Intelligent Design, or anything else. [emphasis added]

          Yes, there are real scientists studying epigenetics. it isn’t going to overturn the fact that life evolves. The epigenetic process would be an evolved system.

          The second link is about abiogenesis, not evolution.

          Did somebody tell you that these links said something different or did you misunderstand them by yourself?

        • JBSchmidt

          “it isn’t going to overturn the fact that life evolves”

          I never made that claim. In fact, I liked that page specifically because it comes out so hard against ID.

          “The second link is about abiogenesis, not evolution.”

          Had you read my comments? I have been talking about RNA world hypothesis.

          “Did somebody tell you that these links said something different or did you misunderstand them by yourself?”

          These links said exactly as I claimed. I never said they would prove ID, nor that they were specifically about evolution vs abiogenesis (which, can you have one with out the other?). My point is this idea of consensus as some magical answer to everything.

        • My point is this idea of consensus as some magical answer to everything.

          Huh? “Magical answer to everything”? Specifically, what do you think Greg or I are claiming about evolution?

        • Ignorant Amos

          In fact, I liked that page specifically because it comes out so hard against ID.

          Why would ya do that when your clearly a proponent of ID?

          These links said exactly as I claimed.

          Liar. No, they didn’t.

          I never said they would prove ID, nor that they were specifically about evolution vs abiogenesis …

          They don’t prove ID, but you are misusing them to that aim anyway. Something that has been noted happens with them quite regularly. They are specifically about evolution and abiogenesis.

          (which, can you have one with out the other?).

          Depends on how they are defined…but I’d say yes.

          My point is this idea of consensus as some magical answer to everything.

          Only because you are too stupid to understand the concept.

          https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/5553

          Don’t get the argumentum ad populum confused with the “scientific consensus” and ya won’t look so stupid.

          The theory of evolution through natural selection is also supported by an overwhelming scientific consensus; it is one of the most reliable and empirically tested theories in science. Opponents of evolution claim that there is significant dissent on evolution within the scientific community. The wedge strategy, a plan to promote intelligent design, depended greatly on seeding and building on public perceptions of absence of consensus on evolution.

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

        • Ah, the old “Evolution is wrestling with exciting new evidence and ideas; therefore, God” argument.

        • Greg G.

          Here’s some filthy spam: http://disq.us/p/23k6kgo

        • I believe I got that one. Thanks.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The second link is about abiogenesis, not evolution.

          And while the author who wrote the paper at the second link suggests that the RNA model is not without its problems, and other models are still valid though more problematic, he also says that none are of the problems in the RNA model are insurmountable, and in his opinion, it is still the best hypothesis on the table.

          I have argued that the RNA world hypothesis, while certainly imperfect, is the best model we currently have for the early evolution of life. While the hypothesis does not exclude a number of possibilities for what – if anything – preceded RNA, unfortunately the evolution of coded protein synthesis has drawn a veil over the previous history of proteins. The situation is different in the case of non-coding RNAs such as ribosomal RNA and tRNA, as these were able to replicate prior to the evolution of ribosomal protein synthesis.

          I have to wonder did JBS read the paper, or just the title?

          The RNA world hypothesis: the worst theory of the early evolution of life (except for all the others)

          But just not properly.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I have yet to post or mention those entities.

          Yet? Given that you are using the very same tactics that those two institutions of wingnuttery use, it is a fair enough inference to draw that you got your ideas at one, both, or a place very much like one of them. I don’t see you having the gumption to have developed the same tactics independently on yer own.

          I have always used secular scientists/studies when making statements.

          Liar! Where?

          Your ‘consensus’ exists only in your head.

          Not really. You need to understand the “consensus” that Bob is talking about…to date that seems to be alluding your limited functioning.

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

          What’s all that isn’t in your head is another matter.

          Stop reading bullshit like this… https://evolutionnews.org/2015/05/scientific_cons/ … even though it even admits that the “scientific consensus” supports what’s in Bob’s head.

          Regarding the most recent research…

          Evolutionary theory

          Evolutionary theory is the area that focuses on further development and refinement of the modern synthesis of evolution and genetics. Notable topics include the appropriate level of selection, the relative importance of natural selection and other mechanisms, and the rate of evolution at genotypic and phenotypic levels.

          https://www.nature.com/subjects/evolutionary-theory

          …scientists aren’t ditching Darwinian evolutionary mechanisms anytime soon.

          I know I have won the argument because you have nothing more than the word consensus.

          Demonstrating the *Dunning-Kruger effect in its fullness…aka being too stupid to know just how stupid you are.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7G_zSos8w_I&app=desktop

          The *Dunning-Kruger effect is a type of cognitive bias in which people believe that they are smarter and more capable than they really are. Essentially, low ability people do not possess the skills needed to recognize their own incompetence.

          A word that is meaningless in science.

          You saying it, doesn’t make it a fact. It is just more evidence that you are a stupid idiot that hasn’t a clue. Your incredulity is duly noted.

          Look, before embarrassing yerself further, why don’t you try and learn something, like the difference in meanings of words when used in different contexts?

          https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2016/06/24/what-does-scientific-consensus-mean/#71e8a8596bae

          Or ya can ignore that link and carry on being the knuckle-dragging eejit ya are, your lose.

        • epeeist

          There is an every increasing group of SECULAR scientist seeing that complete failure of Darwinian Evolution.

          I have asked you for a list of these scientists before, you avoided providing it. I’d ask again but I am pretty sure that you would avoid providing it again just as you avoid providing anything in support of your position.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Another knuckle-dragging cretin lying for Jesus.

        • Ignorant Amos

          There is an every increasing group of SECULAR scientist seeing that complete failure of Darwinian Evolution.

          There ya go handing out the chores, again.

          Your claim, demonstrate it or shove it.

          Just out of curiosity, are these mystery secular scientists joining the some god-did-it camp of fuckwits?

        • David Cromie

          “If a protein requires XY amino acid structure and instead it is XYY which causes it to fold incorrectly or not at all, you do not have new information”. That we can have an XYY structure instead of an XY structure was new information, at some point in time, in the context of the particular protein, and if this does cause failure of the entire structure, then that too was new information. No supposed supernatural entities involved at any stage, just science.

        • MR

          Ah, the crackpot “Information Theory” put forth by the aptly-named, non-scientist, Werner Gitt.

          Gitt wrote the book In the Beginning was Information (1997), in which he proposes that no information can exist without a code, and that information has to have a mental origin—which he claims comes from God. Gitt’s arguments consist of a lot of arm waving, contradictory statements, assertions without proof, and circular reasoning. Scientists have explained in detail where he goes wrong.*

          One of my pet peeve, using pseudo-science to fight actual science. If these discredited theories actually held up, they would have convinced actual scientists. It’s disingenuous, it’s dishonest and it shows just how desperate and bankrupt Christian apologetics are.

        • epeeist

          the aptly-named, non-scientist, Werner Gitt.

          Yep, not a scientist but an engineer. Salem Hypothesis anyone?

        • MR

          Z’actly.

          I work with an engineer who raised with me the possibility of the pyramids being built by aliens. That was my first run in with it.

        • epeeist

          1) Life requires information.

          Really? Got evidence? ‘Cos if you haven’t this looks like a bare assertion.

          There are no examples of information forming without an intelligent source providing that information.

          So where do the patterns in sand come from, such as the one below in the Namib desert?

          2)Let’s pretend some supernatural event occurred

          Let’s not, unless you can provide some evidence of what the “supernatural” is and that it exists.

          3) Let’s assume your lying eyes be damned and you believe information can create itself.

          See the picture of the Namib desert again.

          My life experience says that information is only created and added to a system.

          I asked you to provide an explanation for how you think life formed, what testable predictions your explanation makes and what the results of those tests were.

          Instead you have, once again, simply criticised a straw version of abiogenesis. You have provided no explanation, no testable predictions and consequentially no test results.

          As for your “life experience”, this is completely irrelevant in terms of what the state of the earth was some 3.5 billion years ago, its simply another argument from personal incredulity.

          Thus, I believe that the only reasonable explanation to the formation of life is an intelligent designer.

          I really don’t care what you believe. As I keep saying, any hypothesis stands on its own merits, not on the supposed problems of other hypotheses.

          If you are positing an “intelligent designer” then give us some evidence for its existence and tell us what properties it has.

          http://www.farandawayphotographicarts.com/gallery/albums/Africa/Namibia_Sand_Dunes_and_ripples_Sossusvlei_Namib_desert.sized.jpg

        • MR

          I guess he thinks God gets up every morning before first light to rake the world’s sand dunes.

        • So where do the patterns in sand come from, such as the one below in the Namib desert?

          The Big Bang came from a Big Banger, just like sand ripples come from a Cosmic Rippler. And river meanders.

          And don’t get me started on the Mima mounds.

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

          https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/56/Mima_Mounds_Panorama_%28Olympia%2CWA%29_.jpg/1114px-Mima_Mounds_Panorama_%28Olympia%2CWA%29_.jpg

        • Greg G.

          Above, you said:

          “millions of gullible halfwits about that believe they are true.”

          I say the same thing about people who blindly accept the stories that secular science crafts for the beginning of life.

          Then you trot out how little you understand.

          1) Life requires information. There are no examples of information forming without an intelligent source providing that information.

          Just because you are blind to information without an intelligent source does not mean it is not there.

          Atoms and molecules absorb certain frequencies of light. A prism can separate the frequencies of light so that one can identify the dimmer frequencies that were absorbed. The combinations of missing frequencies are like fingerprints that identify any atoms or molecules in the star or a gas cloud in between the star and the Earth.

          The Doppler Effect makes a car traveling toward you have a higher pitch than one traveling away from you. It works for light, too, so the “fingerprints” of the constituent atoms and molecules of the star or a gas cloud in between provides information about the relative velocity of the star or gas cloud.

          All of that information is available in the light from a star with no intelligent source.

          2)Let’s pretend some supernatural event occurred during the primordial ooze of early earth, without assistance from in intelligent being, and created information. Then there is a problem of building the initial code.

          No, there isn’t. There is water throughout the universe. There are hydrocarbons throughout the universe. There are planets around lots of stars. If a star has several planets, it is likely that one of them will be at a distance that water will exist in liquid form. Every grain of sand and granule of clay on every beach, every ocean floor, every river bed, at the bottom of every pond and every drop of water has thousands of places where chemistry happens every millisecond for millions of years.

          It is disinformation that comes from anti-intelligent sources like creationists.

        • Rudy R

          Thus, I believe that the only reasonable explanation to the formation of life is an intelligent designer.

          What/who is this intelligent designer and what is your evidence?

        • David Cromie

          “Life requires information. There are no examples of information forming without an intelligent source providing that information”. ???

        • Ignorant Amos

          I say the same thing about people who blindly accept the stories that secular science crafts for the beginning of life.

          Quite right too…who are these people you talk of?

          I assume you don’t actually have an answer to my silver bullet question. Give me non-cumulative evidence for non-life producing life.

          You assume wrong of course. The answer is, “I don’t know”, but that doesn’t allow you to claim a god did it. And certainly not your particular flavour of incoherent nonsense god.

          I’ve got reasonable expectation based on prior probability that if and when the evidence that supports a theory on how life came about, it won’t be a god did it. For everything we didn’t know the explanation for throughout human history that an explanation was discovered, god did it has a score of a big fat zero, zilch, nil, nadda, not gods. Science has come up trumps every time. Science wins.

        • MR

          I guess because they blindly believe things, they assume everyone else must blindly believe things.

        • JBSchmidt

          “but that doesn’t allow you to claim a god did it”

          Ok, but it doesn’t allow you to claim an intelligent being didn’t

          “god did it has a score of a big fat zero, zilch, nil, nadda, not gods”

          Fair, but if intelligent design turns out to be the only option, then that intelligent being created the ability for man to use his brains via the scientific process to explain the events he sees.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ok, but it doesn’t allow you to claim an intelligent being didn’t

          That’s what “I don’t know” entails.

          Fair, but if intelligent design turns out to be the only option, then that intelligent being created the ability for man to use his brains via the scientific process to explain the events he sees.

          And in doing so, give reason to call its existence into question by the more intelligent of the species?

          FFS, do you train to be so asinine with just the one head?

          Like I said, a supernatural entity has struck out as an explanation for anything that has eventually been explained by human endeavour.

          You can keep your seat at the “special” table.

        • Greg G.

          FFS, do you train to be so asinine with just the one head?

          Perhaps he is a candidate for the Knights Who Say “Ni”.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The Dime Bar seems to think that by admitting we don’t know by what mechanism life on Earth got started, abiogenesis, all hypothesis are then equal.

          In saying god-did-it, he may as well say Space Ponies or Susan’s Snowflake Fairies did it…all three have the same explanatory power.

          He needs to learn that scientists have proposed a number of models and none of them include a supernatural hypothesis.

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

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miller%E2%80%93Urey_experiment

        • Greg G.

          Don’t forget the fairies in MNb’s garden.

        • You can keep your seat at the “special” table.

          That’s why we keep the phone books around, so he can sit on them.

        • I say the same thing about people who blindly accept the stories that secular science crafts for the beginning of life.

          Who blindly accepts it? And what’s the story for the beginning of life? If you’re saying that science puts forward an unevidenced but complete theory that explains abiogenesis, I haven’t heard it. Do tell.

          Give me non-cumulative evidence for non-life producing life.

          Science doesn’t have a theory of abiogenesis, but then you knew that. I wonder what your actual point is? “Science has unanswered questions; therefore, God,” I’m guessing.

        • Sample1

          You’re insinuating that you have a 100% understanding of exactly what constitutes life. Do you?

          I’m guessing no, which places you in the same boat rowing with us naturalists. But if you do, lay it on us.

          What exactly is life, JBSchmidt (leaving aside the Harrison tune)?

          Mike, excommunicated

        • David Cromie

          Define ‘secular science’.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That what is not supernatural magic woo-woo.

        • Kodie

          Well, your god made a bunch of other alive things without breathing life into them, and then built a dude out of dirt to name all of them.

          In reality, life is chemistry, and took a long time to get to where we are now.

  • I’m not sure I see how any of these are actual “silver bullet arguments”:

    Appendix: Silver bullet arguments so far

    Because we’ve seen what Christian society looks like
    Original sin and the fall explain the failure of Christians to fulfill Christ’s promise.

    Because religious beliefs reflect culture
    God put its message in a form that its audiences would understand, and so necessarily reflects their culture.

    Because God needs praise and worship
    Is this even a critical flaw? In any case, “God” doesn’t need it – we do, as it helps us in our faith. Or something.

    Because there’s a map of world religions
    Because god’s message was disseminated first through Jews, and later Gentiles, the geographic distribution of belief is reasonable. Other faiths are explainable by reference to the human need to understand god in the absence of its direct revelation.

    Because nothing distinguishes those who follow god from everyone else
    Again, sin and the fall.

    Because televangelists make clear that prayer doesn’t work
    Televangelists just aren’t believing hard enough…

    Because Christians want help from the government
    Leaving aside the ideological nonsense we’re likely to hear in response, I’d point out that Paul makes it explicit that god works through the government.

    Because of unnecessary physical pain
    A result of free will, not of God.

    Because God gets credit for good things, but he’s never blamed for bad things
    Free will, again. And we all know why natural disasters only strike those who deserve it, right? I am of course being satirical.

    Because the universe doesn’t look like it exists with mankind in mind
    Nowhere in scripture does it say man is alone among god’s projects.

    Because God is absent from where we’d expect him
    Transmaterialism means God is present everywhere, just not necessarily in a form you’d like.

    Because physics rules out the soul or the afterlife
    How does physics address the immaterial?

    Because “Christianity answers life’s Big Questions!” is irrelevant
    This isn’t even an objection to Christianity per se, just a complaint about Christian rhetoric. In any case, it does but non-believers just refuse to accept the answers.

    Because not even Christians take their religion seriously
    Sin and the fall, again.

    Because there’s a book called The Big Book of Bible Difficulties
    There’s also a Big Book of the Big Book of Bible Difficulties Difficulties.

    Because Christianity can’t be derived from first principles
    First principles are axiomatic, per Aristotle’s Problem of the First Principles, hence one can adopt whichever axioms are needed to derive it.

    Because theism has no method to decide truth
    We don’t need to derive truth when god reveals it to us.

    Because there are natural disasters
    See above regarding credit for bad things.

    Because the “best” Christian arguments are deist arguments
    “Best” according to whom? This is entirely subjective.

    Because the Bible story keeps rebooting
    God makes its testaments with man according to man’s needs at the time. Or something.

    Because doctrinal statements exist
    Because revelation exists…

    Because prayer doesn’t work
    Again, not believing hard enough. Why I myself know ten or eleven people whose prayers were answered just last Sunday.

    Because of Shermer’s Law
    Shermer’s [ Last ] Law suggests an epistemic difficulty, not an ontological problem.

    Because Christianity evolves
    Again, God provides according to the needs of man

    Because God is hidden
    Jesus himself recognized the difficulty future Christians would have in maintaining the faith without having him physically around, but this only deepens relationship to our faith and our god.

    All of these are good arguments, I think, but none are slam dunks. Silver bullet arguments should take Christian doctrine at its word and demonstrate that this “Word” cannot be true. Theodicy and the Epicurean Paradox get really quite close, but Christians will simply blame man for man’s misery and deny that animals count. So theodicy alone is probably not enough. Theodicy together with the deterministic nature of god’s “omni” characteristics – such as omniscience – denies man free will and thus any responsibility for god having created it that way.

    Omnipotence alone is self-contradictory, per the Paradox of the Stone, and is a silver bullet. When theists pare back omnipotence into semipotence, as Aquinas tried to do, it creates new contradictions, as verses explicitly contradict this, and a semipotent god cannot be a necessary being, and the universe cannot be contingent on it, and hence it cannot be god by definition.

    The “omni” characteristics in total are in contradiction to each other in many ways. Any proposition containing internal contradictions cannot be true.

    Here’s a silver bullet for the presumed moral standard of god: it called on German Christians to become National Socialists and carry out the worst war crimes in human history, or if not that they would lose their salvation. Romans 13.

    A silver bullet for god’s authority is the simple fact that we judge god, god does not judge us. Or if it does, it’s only because we agree to it. This is necessitated by the fact that our knowledge of god, and its righteousness, is learned of through the words of other men – words we ourselves must interpret and judge worthy of our faith or not. This is true regardless of whether or not god exists.

    Euthyphro and the problem of piety / morality.

    Anyway, that’s my $.02. Arguments designed to appeal to the intuition of believers will struggle to overcome their militant ignorance, and as these arguments require cooperation from theists, I think it’s a hard sell. Demonstrating ( that’s “demons” trating for the Judge Jeanine fans ) the impossibility of scriptural claims will hardly be greeted by agreement, either, but as a matter of logic and fact it no longer requires their cooperation, which makes it all the more effective as they have no real choice in the matter. Typically they’ll simply repeat their baseless assertions as if on autopilot, at which point they will be demonstrating our point for us.

    • Let me give a quick reply to the first couple. I’m guessing you’re coming at this as a religion skeptic?

      1. Because we’ve seen what Christian society looks like
      Original sin and the fall explain the failure of Christians to fulfill Christ’s promise.

      Christianity in charge is no better than any other worldview. Its citizens are no happier and no more prosperous than you’d expect.

      The Bible makes clear that there should be something measurably special in Christians: “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them.” (1 John 5:18 )

      2. Because religious beliefs reflect culture
      God put its message in a form that its audiences would understand, and so necessarily reflects their culture.

      Muslim culture is just a variant of Christian culture? Pakistan, which is pretty much 100% Muslim, is actually full of Christians?

      The Bible can be made to say just about anything. Add in ideas that are based on Christian traditions, and it’s even more flexible. That Christians can find a rebuttal doesn’t surprise me, but playing the “The Bible is Ambiguous and/or Contradictory” card doesn’t strengthen the Christian position.

      If your overarching point is that Christianity is made of clay and can be reshaped as necessary to respond to almost any challenge, I agree.

      The “omni” characteristics in total are in contradiction to each other in many ways.

      I’ve written some about this, but I’m always on the lookout for more ideas. Can you point me to anything in particular?

      Arguments designed to appeal to the intuition of believers will struggle to overcome their militant ignorance, and as these arguments require cooperation from theists, I think it’s a hard sell.

      Yes, as I said in the post, I’m sure this will convince zero Christians. But if they don’t want to play, we skeptics can discuss these arguments. I think we’re more objective, anyway.

      • Thanks for the thoughtful response, Bob.

        If your overarching point is that Christianity is made of clay and can be reshaped as necessary to respond to almost any challenge, I agree.

        That’s exactly my point – with emphasis on the almost. There are key and irreplaceable characteristics scripture declares god to have which, when denied it, deprives this god of its most important aspects. The Judeo-Christian god without omnipotence simply cannot be the all powerful creator god they want it to be.

        Contradictions inherent in the omni-characteristics include:
        * omnipotence and omnibenevolence in light of actual cruelty in the world
        * omniscience and omnipotence, demanding on one hand that god must know everything and on the other that it must have the ability to be ignorant
        * omniscience contradicts free will
        * omnipotence contradicts free will
        * omnipotence destroys any moral accountability we’re supposed to have
        * omnibenevolence contradicts omnipotence, or omnipotence contradicts omnibenevolence as per the Euthyphro dilemma

        Some of these are silver bullets, but not all of them. Any of them are a significant challenge to contemporary Christian views of god, however.

        But if they don’t want to play, we skeptics can discuss these arguments. I think we’re more objective, anyway.

        I agree completely.

      • Ignorant Amos

        … playing the “The Bible is Ambiguous and/or Contradictory” card doesn’t strengthen the Christian position.

        I’ve read a number of accounts by once-upon-a-time hard core evangelicals turned atheist because when they actually examined the bible and realised just how ambiguous and contradictory the silly nonsense is, they realised no god like entity could’ve been responsible for such a clusterfuck and they abandoned their faith.

        I got 3 months free borrowing on Kindle and the first book I borrowed was Jonah David Conner’s “All That’s Wrong With The Bible: Contradictions, Absurdities, And More”. It is only 12 pages long and relates a number of the more obvious faux pas in the nonsense. I read it in two nights and thought it such a good resource that I bought a hard copy for reference.

        These guys aren’t cafeteria Christians, they have been spoon fed Christianity since they were tots and now their scripture inside out. They’ve lived, ate, breathed, seen the movie, got the Tee-shirt, full on bible bashers who have taken a step back and seen the the inherent problems with the nonsense.

        Bart Ehrman, Hector Avalos, John Loftus, Dan Barker, Ken Daniels, and most recently Connor, to name but a few. So there is hope for just about anybody in my opinion.

        • no god like entity could’ve been responsible for such a clusterfuck and they abandoned their faith.

          It doesn’t say much for God’s marvelous gift of the human brain that Christians can cobble together the irrational story they have, look upon their Creation, and declare it good. It is indeed a clusterfuck.

        • As the rare form of Christian offspring known as MK/PK, I second and third and Nth this comment.

        • Ignorant Amos

          A had to Google MK/PK…Missionaries Kid/Pastor’s Kid?

          Good fer you!

    • eric

      Because physics rules out the soul or the afterlife
      How does physics address the immaterial?

      Physics says it is impossible for A (here, the soul) to observe or otherwise connect to B (the body) without interacting with and altering B. We observe B. There is no unexplained interaction or alteration. Therefore, there is no A observing it or connecting to it. That conclusion is of course provisional, tentative, and subject to revision should new evidence arise which causes us to revise our understanding of how things work. But for now, “there is no A” is the most well supported conclusion out there – no alternative belief is as well supported. There’s no soul sending signals to the brain or even merely recording thoughts for posterity, because physics tells us both of those actions would leave observable traces we already have the capability to see. And we don’t see it.

      An afterlife populated by souls that have no interaction with bodies is not ruled out. But it’s on the same evidentiary level as fairyland. And is probably irrelevant to Christianity, since “no interaction” means those souls couldn’t have our memories or have been part of us while we were alive.

      Having said all that, I probably wouldn’t call “physics rules out the soul” a silver bullet argument, for two reasons. One, it relies on some technical understanding and thus may not be convincing to lay people. Two, “revise our understanding of how things work” is always a possibility – in fact, IMO a highly probable future event. It would be quite remarkable if it didn’t happen at some point.

      • Great comment, and I largely agree. I think you’re right that science offers no insight into the existence of “souls” or anything else which is immaterial, and I think you’re right to point out that regardless of whether an immaterial cause exists, any physical object must receive a physical cause for its effect to manifest. This is a huge problem for anyone promoting the idea that the immaterial can be scientifically observed. But it’s also a problem for those of us who wish to think critically about the possibility of an immaterial realm of existence, whatever that might mean, and for the same reasons. Without some way to model and test causal impulses across the boundary between the immaterial and the material, no knowledge can be had about the immaterial.

        Fortunately we have little need of the immaterial to explain the functioning of the material world.

        • epeeist

          I think you’re right that science offers no insight into the existence of “souls” or anything else which is immaterial

          One could take a Bayesian view of this, each and every time we come up with a new explanation for something then this is always natural, this is particularly apparent where the old explanation has been superseded by a natural explanation. This must lead to an increasingly large posterior priority that the “non-natural” does not exist, or at least plays no part in our world, though as eric notes the conclusion is not certain.

          any physical object must receive a physical cause for its effect to manifest

          This one goes right back to Adelard of Bath, that one should seek natural causes for natural events.

          Fortunately we have little need of the immaterial to explain the functioning of the material world.

          We have no need, unless and until somebody can demonstrate the existence of the immaterial and show how it interacts with the material. Substance dualists have had problems with this since at least the time of Descartes.

        • One could take a Bayesian view of this, each and every time we come up with a new explanation for something then this is always natural, this is particularly apparent where the old explanation has been superseded by a natural explanation.

          But that view would amount to little more than confirmation bias, since science is unable to account for anything immaterial, hence every finding would have naturalistic explanations baked in, and immaterial explanations “baked out”, if you will.

          This one goes right back to Adelard of Bath, that one should seek natural causes for natural events.

          That’s true – and to Protagoras as well, in his “man is the measure of all things.”

        • epeeist

          But that view would amount to little more than confirmation bias

          I would disagree. Let’s take an example, namely “theistic evolution” where Yahweh/Jesus supposedly guides the process. Each time “atheistic evolution” (in which Catholics are not allowed to believe) is tested and its conclusions confirmed then it disconfirms the alternative hypothesis of theistic evolution.

          Of course it doesn’t disconfirm a god that does not guide evolution, but what is the difference between a god that doesn’t intervene and a god that does not exist?

        • One of the most subversive realizations I had when I was a religionist was that Christianity is fundamentally indistinguishable from delusion. I think that led as directly to my deconversion as anything.

          Great comment, epeeist.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          science is unable to account for anything immaterial

          Why? Given sufficient evidence, there is no reason why an immaterial entity couldn’t be demonstrated, at least indirectly. The only reason why this wouldn’t be so is that “immaterial” by definition cannot be evidenced… in which case the problem is with the hypothesis rather than a limitation of science.

        • In what way could something which cannot be observed, is by definition unavailable to empirical experience, be scientific? It is often argued that while the immaterial cannot be directly, it could be indirectly observed, through its influence on material objects. I don’t think this is very likely to be true, since all we’d have evidence of is unexplained physical phenomena. The presumption of naturalism still applies, as does its advantage in terms of probability and Occam’s Razor.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          If the immaterial hypothesis is most parsimonious and offers the most predictive power, then that’s the one that would gain acceptance.

          Granted, I don’t know how that would happen over a competing physical phenomenon, but there’s nothing intrinsic to science to prefer material over immaterial, it just works out that way because that’s what the evidence indicates.

          I’d also challenge your equating of “naturalism” and “physical phenomena”. If the immaterial is ever demonstrated, then our understanding of how reality “naturally” behaves will expand to accommodate this new information. That “naturalism” currently houses only physical phenomena is not due to philosophical limitation, it’s because only material entities have been demonstrated so far.

        • If the immaterial hypothesis is most parsimonious and offers the most predictive power, then that’s the one that would gain acceptance.

          Well you’re quite right of course, but there’s a reason it isn’t and a reason why materialism is intrinsically preferable to immaterialism. The latter is true for the reasons I’ve suggested; given our inability to empirically study the immaterial, all that is actually left to science is materialism. While that does not entail the non-existence of the immaterial, it does make material explanations not just preferable, but the only possible means of gaining empirical knowledge.

          And this goes to why the immaterial can never be as parsimonious as materialism. We have direct sense experience of material nature, and our knowledge given us by science is derived from this as a first principle. Without this, without the material, an entirely new foundation of knowledge, if even possible, would have to be defined. What’s more, having established these new first principles, the mechanics of this new realm of existence would have to be as fully developed as they are of nature. If not, then the number of assumptions inherent in the immaterial explanation grows in proportion to the relative lack of understanding we have of that realm. And as the number of assumptions grows, the potential for error grows along with it, and thus the explanatory power of that argument falls, leaving more complex, less precise, and more prone to error than naturalism – the very kind of theory Occam sought to identify with his Razor.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          a reason why materialism is intrinsically preferable to immaterialism.

          Yes and no. Yes, it is hard to even imagine how an immaterial hypothesis could be more parsimonious than a material one. But no, this is not due to anything intrinsic about either. Instead, it’s a function of cumulative experience. Had we been experiencing interactions with immaterial stuff all this time, the scientific method would investigate them without issue.

          This may seem like a trivial distinction, but it isn’t. What you are describing could be construed as a fundamental limitation of the scientific method, what I am describing is an apparent actuality of reality. Or, stated differently, the difference between a presupposition and a conclusion. They may appear similar when applied to the next venture, but they are substantially different concepts.

          This is fun, thanks for the discussion.

        • And you!

          I take your point. I am primarily trying to emphasize the difference in explanatory power between the two. Parsimony presupposes equivalent explanatory power, but since any theory involving immateriality must explain immaterial reality to a similar standard as we have of material reality, it will by definition remain less probable as a consequence of an increased number of unknowns, and hence less explanatory power.

          You’re right that this is a problem with experience, that is, the immaterial reality might as good or even a better explanation than the material one. Until the theory is developed to that standard, however, it remains less probable merely as a mathematical distinction.

          However, it must be said that even if we grant equivalent explanatory power, the theory of immateriality has an entirely new system of physics on offer, making it by definition much more complex for an equivalent level of explanatory power. This means that even given equivalence otherwise, the theory involvIng immaterial reality is less parsimonious.

          That is not to say it is wrong, however. As I was recently reminded of a comment by, I think, H.L. Mencken, for every problem there is a theory which is simple, elegant, and wrong!

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          I take yours as well.

        • I appreciate that, actually – and I’m aware of how difficult it can be to communicate to our fellow non-believers that they often operate on rather sweeping assumptions. I myself have been waging a Quixotic battle against the hordes of Flew’s “negative atheists”. We can at least check our own biases through self-criticism, even if we don’t always convince our audiences.

          Thanks again for the engaging discussion.

        • Rudy R

          …since science is unable to account for anything immaterial, …

          By account, you mean what? Supernatural? Mathematics? For the former, we don’t know if it exists or even possible. For the latter, it’s patterns we use to formulate conjectures.

        • I mean science, which is dependent on sense experience for its foundation in empiricism and knowledge, cannot produce evidence of that which is not available to human senses.

        • Rudy R

          What exactly is not available to human senses?

        • I Came To Bring The Paine

          This is false.

        • In what way?

        • epeeist

          science…cannot produce evidence of that which is not available to human senses

          Untrue since at least the time that Galileo turned a gypsy toy into a working telescope.

        • In what way is the vista offered by a telescope not available to, say, vision?

        • epeeist

          The question arises, if one inserts an instrument between the human senses and the phenomena is one indirectly observing the phenomena or a facet of the instrument. In the case of the telescope, how much are we assuming when it comes the correctness of our theories of optics?

          This is taken to the extreme with, for example, the recent image of the black hole which is essentially an algorithmic construct.

          Now personally I have no problems with this, but there are those instrumentalists and anti-realists who would deny that such observations are ontic.

        • As I mentioned in my response to @disqus_a9H6kflDom:disqus, optics is rooted in direct sense experience, and thus empiricism. Theoretical components are always validated against empirical data, as with any model. Mathematics alone tells us about mathematics, but in conjunction with empirical tools gives us direction in our experimental designs.

        • epeeist

          As I mentioned in my response to Greg G., optics is rooted in direct sense experience, and thus empiricism.

          One of the major discoveries that Galileo made was of the moons of Jupiter. These are not visible to the naked eye and hence one cannot have direct sensory experience of them.

          One of the arguments made against his discovery was that it was possible that the “moons” were simply artefacts of the the telescope. Now ludicrous as you may find this, there is a certain point to it. Observations using a telescope are dependent on a theory of optics, and scientific theories are not certain, they are both tentative and provisional.

          I feel I am being somewhat unfair to you here in that what I am putting forward is a reasonably well accepted position in the philosophy of science. A combox isn’t the best place to detail this, can I suggest you have a search for the Duhem-Quine thesis and under-determination of theories

        • Well, I appreciate the concern, but my position is not that direct sensory experience is necessary – as I think I was fairly clear on in my previous posts. And while I can appreciate the problems of under- and over-determination in science, neither of these has much to do with the empirical basis of scientific knowledge. Are you in fact arguing that science is not empirical?

          You seem to be arguing just this when you suggest that observations “using a telescope are dependent on a theory of optics”. But as I just stated in my previous responses, optical theory is validated against sense data – just as any scientific model must be. It isn’t the theory which facilitates the advance of knowledge on scientific principles, but the validation of the theory through test and, as a consequence, by observation.

          That not every theory can be discretely validated due to determination problems does not mitigate the fact that it is on these successful tests that our ability to gain knowledge rests. That fact simply limits the range of phenomena about which we can acquire knowledge, or in which we can be confident enough to consider such knowledge as “fact”. In science, of course, all knowledge is tentative and provisional.

        • Greg G.

          We can detect ultra-violet light and infra-red light, which are so-named because we cannot detect them through vision. Using that extra-human ability to detect those wavelengths and the absorption bands in them, we can determine the composition of elements, the conventional mass, relative velocity, and rotational velocities of distant galaxies.

          But the amount of mass and the rotational velocities of galaxies do not agree mathematically. The curvature of light around galaxies is also greater than is expected. This is the evidence for dark matter that does not interact with light but does seem to interact with space itself.

          Even if we cannot detect something directly, if it interacts with our universe, we could still detect the interaction.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Even if we cannot detect something directly, if it interacts with our universe, we could still detect the interaction.

          Isn’t that what they do in particle accelerators and neutrino detectors?

        • As with @disqus_HOKynBthUD:disqus’s comment, the issue is not whether the physical senses can directly observe its subject. But as with Interferometry, for example, the means of indirect observation derive mechanically from direct sense experience. In the case of telescopic lensing, its empirical roots reach as far back in time as ancient Egypt.

          Mathematical representations on the other do not, of themselves, represent knowledge about anything other than mathematical representations. Like any model, they must be empirically validated to provide empirical knowledge.

        • Ficino

          Again on the Thomist angle: can you decisively refute arguments such as those of Dennis Bonnette or Edward Feser, who claim that the existence of a spiritual soul can be deduced with certainty from metaphysical principles?

          E.g. here:

          https://strangenotions.com/how-we-know-the-human-soul-is-immortal/

          They keep rejecting anything based on scientific findings as revealing a category mistake and as showing that the objector is in thrall to ‘scientism.’ It may be that we just need to repeat naturalism as a better metaphysics, but I’d like to hear any rebuttal of the soul doctrine that CAN’T easily be dismissed as ‘scientism.’

          Maybe the arguments for a spiritual soul can’t be decisively refuted, but can they be stripped of their probative force? Do those arguments just turn out to be like arguments for the undetectable genie that makes my car engine run?

          ETA: a premise in the Thomistic arguments for the soul is the thesis that operations of intellect are not performed by a bodily organ, though bodily organs are necessary when the soul is in the body. This thesis involves the claim that the objects of the active intellect’s operations are “intelligibles” not “sensibles,” i.e. they are concepts etc not bodies. The universal concept transcends all bodily conditions acc to Thomists.

        • …a premise in the Thomistic arguments for the soul is the thesis that operations of intellect are not performed by a bodily organ, though bodily organs are necessary when the soul is in the body. This thesis involves the claim that the objects of the active intellect’s operations are “intelligibles” not “sensibles,” i.e. they are concepts etc not bodies.

          This remains the single most relied on “argument” to avoid the probability of monism ( in whatever form ). It is a move which transparently employs the god of the gaps to authoritatively conflate an assertion with a conclusion. In other words, it’s no argument at all. Given scientific uncertainty over the nature of mind and thought, there is no reason to think materialist explanations for it are inadequate, to say nothing of impossible. And if not impossible, then the immateriality of mind is unnecessary.

          In this way, rejecting materialist explanations of mind as “scientism” is equivalent to condemning naturalism as “scientism”, and as the presumption of naturalism underlies and animates science, science itself becomes “scientism”. Thus their condemnation of materialist conceptions of mind as “scientism” is circular, since it restates its premise as its conclusion.

        • Sample1

          Scientism is a smuggled in ad hom, essentially. As the story goes, when all one has are ad homs, well that’s usually all one has. Argument lost.

          Mike

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          I’ve yet to see “scientism” be anything but a strawman. It’s a nonsense term manufactured for the purpose of projecting one person’s faults onto others.

        • Sample1

          Agreed. Usually used ridiculously as a straw man fallacy, I can, nevertheless, be sympathetic with those who use it as a definition to describe those times when an ought is claimed to be derivable from an is.

          I value Sam Harris in many ways but don’t fully grasp how he demonstrates his thesis that science can join the morality games. His ideas always seem to be close to getting there but then I lose the way somehow. Still, the philosophers who do claim to be able to derive absolute oughts fail in that regard also.

          This guy (from Slate Star Codex) says many things about scientism that seem agreeable to me. https://slatestarcodex.com/2013/07/25/i-myself-am-a-scientismist/

          Enjoy,

          Mike

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          I find Harris’ argument useful in that it shows a clear scientific basis for the things at the edge of the moral spectrum. Once you slide in, it’s get muddy and disjointed, but that’s ok because apologists only ever offer extreme examples like murder and rape…. which are the very things Harris’ thesis explains.

        • Sample1

          Took me a bit to understand your point but now I see it. Fair enough, good point.

          Mike

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Thanks, I edited it for clarity.

      • JustAnotherAtheist2

        Lawrence Krauss had a great response to this: neutrinos. Neutrinos have a 50/50 shot at passing through a light year of lead without interacting with it. Yet we’ve somehow figured out how to detect these little buggers. Yet souls remain ever elusive.

        So, this means either a soul exists and interacts less than a neutrino or it doesn’t exist. Either way, the claims about souls simply aren’t tenable.

    • skl

      … the deterministic nature of god’s
      “omni” characteristics – such as omniscience – denies man free will
      and thus any responsibility for god having created it that way.

      I don’t understand this. Perhaps you mean man cannot have
      free will if the god knows in advance what man will do/choose. I think the two things
      could coexist.

      Omnipotence alone is self-contradictory,
      per the Paradox of the Stone, and is a silver bullet.

      I don’t think so. That’s like saying that because the god
      cannot make false true and true false the god cannot be omnipotent. It’s like
      saying that because the god cannot be what it’s not, it cannot be omnipotent.

      Here’s a silver bullet for the presumed
      moral standard of god: it called on German Christians to become National
      Socialists and carry out the worst war crimes in human history, or if not that
      they would lose their salvation. Romans 13.

      I don’t see this either. You’re basically saying that if the
      government, say, outlawed Christianity and condemned Jesus Christ as a fiction
      or devil, the Christians citizens are supposed to say aye aye and follow. I don’t
      buy it.

      • I don’t think so. That’s like saying that because the god cannot make false true and true false the god cannot be omnipotent.

        Creating stones is logically possible. Lifting stones is logically possible. Creating a pile of stones so heavy that they cannot be lifted is logically possible. So what part of this do you think is a problem? The paradox arises because of self referencing problems that arise from a lazy definition of omnipotence.

        If somebody tells me that their god is omnipotent, they need to tell me exactly what omnipotence means. Those who are lazy get their idea axoimatically ignored.

      • Raging Bee

        Perhaps you mean man cannot have free will if the god knows in advance what man will do/choose. I think the two things could coexist.

        Not really. If God already knows what everyone is going to do, all the way to the Second Coming at least, that can only because either it’s already happened and we just haven’t got to that segment of track yet, or God [in his omniscience can predict all of our choices like we can predict a slug’s actions]. Also, there’s these things called prophecies, which are God telling some people what will happen in the future, because it’s what God wills, and there’s no changing or stopping God’s plan. So yeah, free will is pretty clearly ruled out, and no amount of silly-69assed Calvinist hand-waving can bring it back.

      • Perhaps you mean man cannot have free will if the god knows in advance what man will do/choose. I think the two things could coexist.

        If god knows the future before it happens, then the future is determined and we can have no influence on it or our own role in it – no free will. If we have free will and can change future outcomes, then god cannot be omniscient.

        It’s like saying that because the god cannot be what it’s not, it cannot be omnipotent.

        That’s exactly what omnipotence demands. To be free of any constraint, to have absolute mastery over any and everything necessarily entails having the ability to be both A and not A simultaneously. A god which is subject to logic, for instance, is by definition not omnipotent.

        You’re basically saying that if the government, say, outlawed Christianity and condemned Jesus Christ as a fiction or devil, the Christians citizens are supposed to say aye aye and follow. I don’t buy it.

        You’re quite right if you mean that Paul’s teaching in Romans 13 subjects Christians to double jeopardy, that it puts them in potentially impossible situations. I’ve argued that many times. If on the other hand you “don’t buy” that Romans 13 actually says this, you can read it for yourself. I really don’t know which you intend.

        • skl

          If god knows the future before it happens, then the future is determined and we can have no influence on it or our own role in it – no free will.

          I don’t think so. They say their god created time, is outside of time. Given those characteristics, omniscience and free will could coexist. It would be kind of like you watching a replay of a movie or sports game you had already seen. You know how the free will decisions turned out.

          Me: It’s like saying that because the god cannot be what it’s not, it cannot be omnipotent.

          You: That’s exactly what omnipotence demands. To be free of any constraint…

          In other words, to be omnipotent includes being able to be non-omnipotent. That doesn’t make sense to me. It also violates, I think, the law of noncontradiction, as you seem to imply (“having the ability to be both A and not A simultaneously”).

          A god which is subject to logic, for instance, is by definition not omnipotent.

          But the god would not be subject to that which it created, and they say this god created all things (including logic).

          You’re quite right if you mean that Paul’s teaching in Romans 13 subjects Christians to double jeopardy, that it puts them in potentially impossible situations.

          What I described is not an impossible situation. It’s solved with common sense (and Christianity).

        • Ignorant Amos

          Do ya even know what omniscience means ya Muppet?

        • I don’t think so. They say their god created time, is outside of time. Given those characteristics, omniscience and free will could coexist. It would be kind of like you watching a replay of a movie or sports game you had already seen. You know how the free will decisions turned out.

          The implication of your point is that at some point the “movie” unspooled on a timeline which was not yet completed, and its ending was not known to god, and hence not determined by it. But this contradicts the very idea you try to defend here. If true, god is no longer omniscient.

          In other words, to be omnipotent includes being able to be non-omnipotent. That doesn’t make sense to me. It also violates, I think, the law of noncontradiction, as you seem to imply (“having the ability to be both A and not A simultaneously”).

          You’re arguing against my claim that omnipotence is contradictory by agreeing that it is contradictory, recognizing that this doesn’t make sense, and then objecting to my conclusion that ominpotence is contradictory and doesn’t make sense.

        • skl

          The implication of your point is that at some point the “movie” unspooled on a timeline which was not yet completed, and its ending was not known to god, and hence not determined by it.

          No, the implication is that the “movie” was already completed, its ending already known, in the mind of the god. But yes, the outcome was not determined by it.

          You’re arguing against my claim that omnipotence is contradictory…

          I guess we just have different ideas of what potence can mean. I’ll say no more on the subject. Well, maybe if you show me where “omnipotence” is used in the bible.

        • No, the implication is that the “movie” was already completed, its ending already known, in the mind of the god. But yes, the outcome was not determined by it.

          In that case you’ve simply stopped making any sense. Either the movie played out in such a way that its ending was not determined, in which case god could not have known what it would be, or god knew what it would be and it was determined.

          I guess we just have different ideas of what potence can mean. I’ll say no more on the subject. Well, maybe if you show me where “omnipotence” is used in the bible.

          Having had the point put to you, you now change the subject. I see no reason to pursue the conversation – whichever conversation you’re engaging in at the moment.

        • skl

          Either the movie played out in such a way that its ending was not determined, in which case god could not have known what it would be, or god knew what it would be and it was determined.

          Either that NFL game which you are re-watching played out in such a way that its ending was not determined and the quarterback had a choice to throw to that receiver who dropped the pass, or you knew what it would be and it was determined and the quarterback had no choice but to throw to that receiver who dropped the pass.

          I think the former.

          I see no reason to pursue the conversation…

          I agree.

          Goodbye.

        • Ignorant Amos

          In that case you’ve simply stopped making any sense.

          Let me introduce you to skl.

        • MR

          =D

        • Ignorant Amos

          Well, maybe if you show me where “omnipotence” is used in the bible.

          Omnipotence isn’t one of God’s claimed attributes? Or is it the lack of the actual word you take issue with?

          Matthew 19:26
          And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

          Job 42:1-2
          Then Job answered the LORD and said, “I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.

          Luke 1:37
          “For nothing will be impossible with God.”

          Jeremiah 32:27
          “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?”

        • You’re very thoughtful. skl is new at this Christian thing, after all.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          If god knows the future before it happens, then the future is determined and we can have no influence on it or our own role in it – no free will. If we have free will and can change future outcomes, then god cannot be omniscient.

          They actually can be married. Give the B-theory of time, it is possible that all time has equal standing and our sense of its passage is illusory. This could mean that all choices were freely made at the origin of spacetime and it’s now playing out deterministically.

          Assuming the above, a being that becomes omniscient afterward could know everything with absolute certainty without limiting the initial choices made. The downside for all and his ilk is that this constrains god into mere voyeur. So long as he only watches, his knowledge can be reconciled. The minute he dips a toe into the water knowing exactly how it will ripple out, then we no longer can be said to have free will.

          Like all apologetics, the solution only serves to subvert other claims… which theists will completely ignore when they move on to their next argument.

        • …it is possible that all time has equal standing and our sense of its passage is illusory. This could mean that all choices were freely made at the origin of spacetime and it’s now playing out deterministically.

          If the passage of time is illusory, then there can be no conceptual “origin” in which to place choice prior to determination. Indeed, absent the passage of time, causal relationships break down and consequence is no longer contingent on behavior, nor is the act contingent on the thought.

          Even if true, your example would leave god without omniscience in that original moment of choice.

          In any case, it seems to me that B-theory compatibilism leads to logical contradiction, in which one is forced to contend that choice doesn’t affect outcome. Consider the words of William Lane Craig:

          God’s foreknowledge is thus analogous to the B-theory of time. It is eternal and changeless and in that sense “frozen,” but that does not render the human choices foreknown by God inevitable. For although we cannot (by definition!) change the future, nevertheless we can act in such a way that if we were to act in that way God’s foreknowledge would have been different.~ Reasonable Faith

          Here Craig argues that while B-theory time is determined, which is to say that it and all the phenomena contained within it have been ordered in a specific, unchangeable way. Nevertheless, if we “act in such a way that if we were to act in that way god’s foreknowledge would have been different.”

          This is straightforwardly a series of contradictions masquerading as critical thinking. If the future is ( A ) already determined, and ( B ) “God” has all knowledge of the future, and ( C ) one acts in a way that defies A, then future D manifests and “God’s” foreknowledge now was all along of D, not A. But C clearly violates A, denying determinism entirely as well as denying omniscience, since omniscience must include foreknowledge of the change from A to D.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Even if true, your example would leave god without omniscience in that original moment of choice.

          I know, I just said that.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          BTW, if you really want to poke holes in free will vs. omniscience, go after god’s free will. That simply cannot be reconciled with his omniscience no matter how hard apologists try to twist logic.

        • Indeed! Not only that, but scripture makes various claims about god being unable to go against its own nature. But if omnipotent, it must be able to determine its own nature and, if not, the question remains: what defined god for god?

          And down the swirly dark place it goes.

    • Fatesrider

      Obviously, you didn’t actually read those articles. You’re refuting the titles with what are known as rationalizations, which don’t remain consistent among themselves. What you presented is a logical fallacy – absent of reason, but presented as if reasoned out.

      The issue with religions is that the religious are asserting that things exist which have no proof of their existence. They are making the claims that there are gods and devils, then demanding that others prove them wrong. One can not prove the non-existence of something. That’s a logical impossibility. One can only use the body of evidence that exists and examine that for proof of existence. Within all of known things that are proven, there is no repeatable, scientifically measured trace of the existence of any supernatural being of any kind, gods, devils or ghosts/spirits, etc.

      The dogma is that one must have faith for them to exist, which means they are by definition a figment of one’s imagination, since there is no evidence to prove they exist beyond the apocryphal, which is not considered relevant from an objective scientific perspective (since apocryphal evidence is ENTIRELY subjective). Believing that one’s figment of imagination is REAL has a clinical term: Delusion.

      You’re doing exactly what the author of the article said Christians do. They argue as if their arguments are reasoned or sound, against sound and reasoned arguments, creating another logical fallacy, that of false equivalency in approach. Unreasoned arguments are not equivalent to reasoned arguments. Science is saying one thing and has proof to back up their claims. They say that there is no evidence at all which supports the notion that gods and devils exist. You are saying many things that do nothing to refute what science has said. The circular reasoning involved is yet another logical fallacy – You must have faith to believe, and then you’ll believe. It’s a chicken and egg fallacy.

      The use of any fallacy in an argument undermines and invalidates the argument. If you don’t address the main issue – that science is saying there’s no proof gods exist – then it’s your responsibility, as the one asserting that something exists for which no scientific proof of its existence has ever been provided, to prove it in a reasoned, logical and critical way that complies with science. That is to say facts in evidence. And because there are no facts in evidence that support the idea that there are gods and devils, you have a very, very long row to hoe there.

      Nothing you wrote was consistent with providing facts in evidence to support your claim. But the nice thing about science is that it can discover things that might. If you find that proof, and it can’t be explained by more reasonable and rational possibilities, then fine. But until then, it’s on you to prove the claims you assert. It’s not on science, or us, to shoot those down.

      One can’t immediately dispel delusional thinking with reason, logic and critical thinking. Arguing is pointless. The victim of delusion must first want to give up their delusions before reason can once again begin to assert itself in them. In that endeavor, science has a lot to offer, should someone want to take it up on that.

      • JustAnotherAtheist2

        I think you’re being unfair to TJ. He seems fully aware of how flaccid theistic responses are, he’s just pointing out that rationalizations can be offered, which makes the “silver bullet” description a bit hyperbolic.

        • Fatesrider

          I get that and I apologize if I offended anyone. Silver bullets don’t work against the delusional, simply because they will choose to not accept facts, and will not remove themselves from their rationalizations. Physiologically, they can’t. They’ve thought themselves into a physiologically hardwired state where accepting anything other than their predetermined conclusions is psychologically impossible. Unless their environment stops catering to their delusions, they won’t break the cycle, even if they want to.

          That’s part of the tribal nature of man. We can’t easily shrug off millions of years of evolution like that.

          The post only mentioned the rationalizations they’d use, and I did my best to not make it an ad hominem attack. If I failed in that (and in retrospect, I can see how what I posted sounded unfair), again, I apologize.

        • No worries mate, you were just arguing your point as if I had offered those responses in earnest. Had I done so, you’d be quite right to criticize them that way.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Silver bullets don’t work against the delusional, simply because they will choose to not accept facts, and will not remove themselves from their rationalizations.

          But this is demonstrably false. As noted here… https://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2019/07/silver-bullet-arguments-against-christianity/#comment-4561870252

          It may be one straw that breaks the camels back, or an accumulation of “silver bullets”.

          There seems to be a few of the “silver bullets” in this article on the reasons folk lose their faith.

          Some may lose faith because they disagree with religious teachings on current issues, or because the doctrine lacks strong evidence, doesn’t make sense to them anymore, or because it simply does not add up. Others may become disillusioned following personal trauma; unanswered prayers; the existence of natural disasters, diseases and evil; the conflicts caused by religions; or the questionable morality of religious leaders and religious people.

          https://eu.rgj.com/story/life/2019/01/17/faith-forum-rajan-zed-why-do-people-lose-their-faith/2609641002/

        • Otto

          Silver bullets don’t work against the delusional, simply because they will choose to not accept facts, and will not remove themselves from their rationalizations.

          I am proof they do work to some degree…and there are many more like me.

        • MR

          Ditto

      • You’re refuting the titles with what are known as rationalizations, which don’t remain consistent among themselves. What you presented is a logical fallacy – absent of reason, but presented as if reasoned out.

        Yes, that’s true. But I am not presenting my opinion, but examples of the kinds of rationalizations Christians are quick to adopt. No argument which can be so quickly rationalized away can be considered a “silver bullet”.

        One can not prove the non-existence of something. That’s a logical impossibility.

        It pains me to admit this, but your statement here, which is so frequently parroted by atheists and non-believers, amounts to literal dogma. It is an unquestionable statement of authority which must be obeyed. Like most dogma, it is also manifestly untrue.

        There are many ways to prove non-existence, both rationally ( by pointing logical contradictions in the proposition of existence ) and empirically ( by demonstrating that something which must be in a specific place in a specific form at a specific time is not there ). There are exhaustive proofs ( by demonstrating that among all the possible contingencies the claimed existence does not obtain ) and mechanical proofs ( by demonstrating knowledge of the means by which some phenomena works in contradistinction to the positive claim ).

        • by demonstrating that something which must be in a specific place in a specific form at a specific time is not there

          The easy way to show that X is not in location L is to show that it is in a different location that we all agree is not L. For example, “Bob is not in NY City” might be tough to prove if you were sweeping the city. But prove that “Bob is in London,” and you’ve accomplished your goal.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Subsequently proving that Bob hasn’t been cloned (in the soft-sci-fi sense, not the actual procedure that’s been done with sheep etc.) and doesn’t have multiple avatars is where the real fun starts. Fortunately, apologists aren’t typically conversant with that caliber of imagination.

    • Doug Steley

      I would love to hear your reply to this please

      26; because if the Christian god is real then he has watched every child that has ever been raped tortured abused sodomised and murdered and he has done nothing at all to assist or protect them.

      If a human did that they would be criminals
      But god does this every day and tells us that he loves us and will send us to hell if we don;t love him and worship him

      If god is real then I am too moral a person to worship something like that

      • Quite right. What’s more, as an omnipotent creator, god would own all the responsibility for the child’s abuse. Indeed, it not only can be said, but must be said, that such a god designed, implemented, and intended the cruelty all along.

        Yes, the god of scripture is an immoral monster.

    • Ficino

      When theists pare back omnipotence into semipotence, as Aquinas tried to do, it creates new contradictions, as verses explicitly contradict this, and a semipotent god cannot be a necessary being, and the universe cannot be contingent on it, and hence it cannot be god by definition

      Can you say more about why you conclude that Aquinas tried to pare omnipotence back into semipotence? I like this, but off the top of my head, I can’t imagine any Thomist agreeing that such was the saint’s intention. Aquinas tries to have God’s omnipotence AND creature’s liberum arbitrium, but he doesn’t try to get there by proposing that God’s power is under any limitation except whatever limitation follows from God’s nature/perfection (e.g. God can’t will His own non-existence).

      Hoping to hear more, F

      • Good question.

        Here’s what Aquinas had to say:

        All confess that God is omnipotent; but it seems difficult to explain in what His omnipotence precisely consists: for there may be doubt as to the precise meaning of the word ‘all’ when we say that God can do all things. If, however, we consider the matter aright, since power is said in reference to possible things, this phrase, “God can do all things,” is rightly understood to mean that God can do all things that are possible; and for this reason He is said to be omnipotent. ~ Summa Theologiae

        Aquinas strips the word “omni” or, more precisely the Greek Παντο, of its essential meaning by limiting it to the set of things which are logically reasonable. In fact Aquinas literally invokes predicate logic to make his point. So while he continues to use the term “omnipotence”, he clearly is no longer referring to power over logic and, potentially, nature itself.

        So the question arises, if this “God” created the universe, then it shaped and fashioned the rules by which it operates – as Anselm argued, it was metaphysically necessary and all existence was entailed by it. Such a god must have determined the laws of logic and all the rules which govern existence and, having determined it, cannot be said to be limited by them. Any fact of existence not accounted for by its metaphysical necessity means it is not, in fact, necessary at all. Some other force is responsible for that fact, and hence “God” must both submit itself to that force and lose its status as creator.

        Aquinas is driven to such consequential error by the fact that omnipotence is, as you point [ out ], an incoherent and contradictory concept in principle. There is no practical application to resolve this, so Aquinas abandons it entirely. It’s worth pointing out that Aquinas’s view here remains in opposition to the Catholic Catechism, and that other philosophers ( notably Descartes ) would come to accept that “God” is not limited by reason, and can embody contradiction in actual fact. Of course, this too was and is opposed by the Church, leaving it somewhat exposed on the matter.

    • Kodie

      Christianity’s only defense against any silver-bullet argument is that it explains why people would not believe it and what “we” think of them (us) for denying it. It doesn’t explain why there are so many Christianities that don’t call each other Christians unless it’s convenient. It actually likes to have a lot to say about atheists though, like any cult who wants to scare its members into believing and following their order of things, however they interpret it, without recognizing it as another myth, another cult, or that they are humans making things up about god to bend to their personal culture or vision of society. It’s hard to plant this silver bullet into Christianity because they are so immersed in a bath of utter bullshit. Nevertheless…

  • skl

    Christianity is based, and always has been based, on belief in
    the occurrence of supernatural things, things that are impossible relative to
    our common experience and understanding, things that violate our logic.

    Twenty five bullets, silver or otherwise, intended to put
    holes in Christianity’s supernatural, impossible, illogical foundations will
    just pass harmlessly through them instead.

    • will just pass harmlessly through them instead.

      It may depend on who’s reading the arguments.

      • Ignorant Amos

        It may depend on who’s reading the arguments.

        Exactly.

        Here we have skl talking more shite as usual.

        It is demonstrable that these arguments have caused folk to lose faith.

        Number 8. Because of unnecessary physical pain, was the icing on the cake for Bart Ehrman’s loss of faith. He wrote a whole book about it ffs.

        God’s Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question–why We Suffer

        Just as with “Misquoting Jesus” where Ehrman revealed how the corruption of scripture by scribes caused him to reject his once-conservative Christian beliefs, in “God’s Problem” Ehrman will discuss for the first time his personal anguish when he discovered the Bible’s incoherent explanations for suffering and how that caused him to lose his faith altogether.In a fresh departure from Ehrman’s recent focus on the New Testament, he expands his research to include much of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) in “God’s Problem” and reveal the core responses to suffering proposed by the different biblical writers. The prophets: suffering is a punishment for sin; Job (two different answers): suffering is a test, for which you’ll later be rewarded for passing; and that suffering is beyond comprehension, since we’re just peons and God, after all, is GOD); “Ecclesiastes”: it’s just the nature of things, so suck it up; and, all apocalyptic texts (“Daniel”, plus the Apostle Paul’s letters and the book of “Revelation” in the New Testament): God will eventually make right all that is wrong.

    • Raging Bee

      Exactly: believers have bent and tweaked and reworded their beliefs over generations to ensure that they can never be disproven (at least in their own minds). The flip side of that being, they can never be proven either. Oops.

  • Wisdom, Justice, Love

    Often I take a different approach than disproving the believe. I want to know the logic in what is claimed.
    Here’s a few I contemplate.

    Amateur Stand-up Philosopher time.

    Adam & Eve edition

    1. A play on words Eve is Eve-filled, or Eve-fill, Evil. A way to attribute bad things with women, who in the narrative of Monotheism can either be Pure (Mary Mother of Jesus) or most likely source of Pain and suffering. Misogyny is built into monotheism. And that word, Evil, has had its meaning morphed.
    There’s a TV show that’s been on for over 40 years. It usually starts off “_BLANK_ from New York, It’s Saturday Night!”. Actually the name of the show is Saturday Night _BLANK_.
    Fill in the blank. Then spell it backwards. As in not living.

    2a. Did God need a bone from the male of all species to create a female, or was it just Adam & Eve? If he didn’t use one for all species, why would it be needed in the case of Adam & Eve. And did he create all males and Adam, saw Adam was lonely, then create all females? Or did he create male and female of other species, except humans, saw Adam was lonely then create Eve?

    2b. More importantly, if God used a rib from Adam to make Eve, don’t they share DNA? Wouldn’t they be closer to siblings than to a post-dating married couple? Why would the only two people on Earth need a designation of husband and wife? What distinction does it make and to whom?

    3. The punishment for defying God (eating forbidden fruit) is “original sin”/death for all humans. The punishment for attacking God (mutiny in Heaven) is being cast out (Ha ha, you don’t get to kiss God’s butt or fear his wrath for eternity anymore), but you still get to live forever and roam Earth at your leisure.
    Analogy: A teacher has two students in class. Student A cheated on a test. Student B made false accusations against the teacher and tried to have the teacher fired. Student A is expelled from the school and any relatives are suspended. Student B is sent to another class with a different teacher.

    And what’s with airline food?

    • Jim Jones

      > Did God need a bone from the male of all species to create a female, or was it just Adam & Eve?

      This is an etiological myth. The ‘rib’ is actually a baculum.

      Tee hee.

      • Until fairly recently, I’ve read, some Christians thought that men had one fewer ribs than women. (You’d think they could’ve just counted.) But it turns out that human men do have one fewer baculae (penis bones) than most other mammals!

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          So *all* humans are ‘imbaculate’ conceptions?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Didn’t Aristotle believe women had fewer teeth than men? Seems a simple count coulda sorted that out.

          Aristotle had other rum views of women.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aristotle%27s_views_on_women

        • Grimlock

          The teeth thing appears to be factually correct, but also somewhat misleading. Here’s an interesting article on Scientia Salon that describes a few erroneous views on Aristotle: https://scientiasalon.wordpress.com/2014/10/03/rescuing-aristotle/amp/

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’m not getting it. What difference does it make? Aristotle was wrong and there must be a simple reason.

          ”Males have more teeth than females in the case of men, sheep, goats, and swine; in the case of other animals observations have not yet been made.”

          It is obvious that Aristotle’s claim about the number of teeth in men was not based on observation. Or at least not rigorous observation anyway. Because it is wrong. And it isn’t a hard mistake to make. The only explanation I can think of to rescue him is that he counted the teeth of a woman with an incomplete set and went no further.

          Much of Aristotle’s writings on animals uses first hand observation, but he could not possibly make personal observations of every animal on which he wrote and so had to rely on observations that were made by others whom he trusted. Any scientist working today does exactly the same, but has the luxury of multiple sources at his disposal, which Aristotle did not have.

          That’s fair enough regarding every animal, but it becomes a nonsense when it comes to observing the teeth of men and women. There was no shortage of examples close to hand.

          Bertrand Russell was married three times but does not disclose whether or not he counted his wives’ teeth in order to ascertain that Aristotle was wrong. I imagine that, like Aristotle, his belief about this is formed by trusting an observation that has already been made, the difference being that his information, mid-twentieth century, is better than that available in the 4th century BCE.

          WTF? This is ballix. So here the author is admitting Aristotle didn’t check for himself, but relied on existing ropey data when making his assertion, seriously?

          What then was the reason Aristotle was so wrong? He didn’t check…i.e. observe for himself?

          The author of that article seems to have Russell pegged all wrong according to others.

          Unfortunately, as pointed out by 20th-century philosopher Bertrand Russell, Aristotle was a good observer but a poor experimenter, allowing his preconceived notions to influence his observations. He believed, erroneously, that the motion aftereffect was a form of visual inertia, a tendency to continue seeing things move in the same direction because of the inertia of some physical movement stimulated in the brain. He assumed, therefore, that the grass would seem to move downward as well—as if to continue to mimic the movement of the waterfall! If only he had spent a few minutes observing and comparing the apparent movements of the waterfall and the grass, he would not have made the mistake—but experiments were not his forte. (He also proclaimed that women have fewer teeth than men, never having bothered to count Mrs. Aristotle’s teeth.)

          https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/aristotles-error/

          Still, regardless, Aristotle was wrong about the number of teeth in men and women for whatever reason.

        • eric

          The only explanation I can think of to rescue him is that he counted the
          teeth of a woman with an incomplete set and went no further.

          IIRC, the reason my philosophy professor gave was that they didn’t really value empiricism as much as we do. So if you introspected…or came up with a good argument from first principles…or you referenced some source of authority, and whichever of these methods you used disagreed with some initial empirical observation, well, take the answer introspection or deduction or authority gave you, because empiricism is peasant stuff, not to be trusted.

        • Interesting. I guess the ancient philosophers didn’t know everything.

          [Aristotle] in his Rhetoric stated that society could not be happy unless women were happy too.

          Where I come from in the US, there’s a saying: “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”

        • Ignorant Amos

          Indeed.

          If Aristotle saw women as subject to men, but as higher than slaves, and lacking authority; he believed the husband should exert political rule over the wife, were they really gonna be happy too?

        • Ficino

          There’s a medieval aquamanile (brass vessel for water to clean eucharistic vessels after mass) in the Met Museum, showing Phyllis riding on Aristotle’s back, the philosopher on all fours. There is ancient anecdotal background for this penchant of Ari’s. What other services the Stagyrite provided his women, I blush to imagine.

          https://images.app.goo.gl/cbMaQpuJYAay6TVE7

        • epeeist

          I guess the ancient philosophers didn’t know everything.

          Aristotle was wrong about most things (though his logic and ethics stand the test of time). But there again, find me someone who a) opened up as many fields of enquiry as he did and b) whose ideas will never be proven wrong.

        • … and was the tutor of Alexander the Great.

        • epeeist

          … and was the tutor of Alexander the Great.

          Indeed.

          You seem to be taking a Whig view of things. You really have to look at Aristotle within his own time, compare his ideas with those of his contemporaries.

        • I know of the Whigs and the Tories as parties, but I don’t know what a Whig view would be.

          As for giving Aristotle his due, I totally agree. A brilliant thinker and insanely influential. That he was arguably too influential (IIRC, his ideas were rediscovered in the West from Constantinople during the Middle Ages, and they were held as gospel, which retarded new thinking) wasn’t his fault.

          Please correct that characterization as necessary.

        • epeeist

          I know of the Whigs and the Tories as parties, but I don’t know what a Whig view would be.

          It is a view of history that sees historical figures and events as part of a progression to today’s society. As a result these figures and events are discussed in terms of our current society rather than it was at time.

          That he was arguably too influential

          As I have responded to Pofarmer, his conclusions were over-reverenced. Instead of people following his empiricism (he was an empiricist, he failed to make the next step; namely testing the results of his empiricism) they engaged in discussion and interpretation of his writings as though they were true (sound familiar?).

          IIRC, his ideas were rediscovered in the West from Constantinople during the Middle Ages

          Rather Persia and Arabia than Constantinople.

        • Pofarmer

          The problem isn’t that Aristotle was wrong. The problem is that there are certain groups who fail to recognize it and use him as a prop.

        • epeeist

          The problem is that there are certain groups who fail to recognize it and use him as a prop.

          Agreed, though I would probably phrase it as an over-reverence for his conclusions.

        • Pofarmer

          Well, they did base never changing dogma on it. I think that if the Aquinas hadn’t based transubstantiation on Accidents and Substances Thomism would be completely dead. But they can’t let it go.

        • epeeist

          How many neo-Thomists are there? Something @Ficino might know, my understanding is that is pretty small notwithstanding the fanboys at Strange Notions.

        • Pofarmer

          There’s Dennis Bonnette and Edward Feser. Feser even admits he torpedoed his career by adopting Thomism. There are undoubtedly a few more at Catholic Universities and schools.

          Thing is, Thomism is a dead end. It makes no testable predictions. It hasn’t made any discoveries relating to modern life. It’s a descriptive, non-emperical system. It can’t know when it’s wrong because it relies on “metaphysics”.

        • Ficino

          Wow, do you recall where Feser admitted that? I had gotten the impression that Feser has positioned himself more to be a public spokesman for Thomistic apologetics than to do original work in academia.

          Yes, there are Thomists in Catholic institutions. Then there are Catholics who are quite conservative in secular institutions, like Robert P. George, but are not died in the wool Thomists. George is a “new natural law” guy.

          Pofarmer, obviously you know that in reply to yours about Thomism’s failure to make testable predictions, the Thomist combox warriors will be roaring “Scientism! Gnu! The POINT is that it’s metaphysics and not science!!”

        • epeeist

          The POINT is that it’s metaphysics and not science!!”

          At which one would point to Peter Van Imwagen who states, in his Metaphysics, “In metaphysics there is no information and there are no facts to be learned besides information and facts about what certain people think, or once thought, concerning various metaphysical questions.”

          Given this one would say, why should we accept your metaphysics as true?

        • Ficino

          Yes, I’ve read that and other parts of Inwagen’s book. Good stuff. As I’ve said before, I attended a panel on which he and another guy were critiquing Wm. Lane Craig on God’s aseity. Van Inwagen made a lot of sense.

          From what I’ve read in Garrigou-Lagrange and Maritain et al., I would think the Thomist would fall back on the claim that there are certain first principles, like the principle of identity and the PNC and the PSR (both ontological and epistemological), that are self-evidently true. I think their challenge is to shoehorn all their Act Potency and formal and final causality stuff into the shoe of the self-evident. But that’s only my sense so far.

        • Ignorant Amos

          You made a comment about Aristotle and Phyllis that is showing as inactive for some reason.

          So I’ll post the reply here.

          There’s a medieval aquamanile (brass vessel for water to clean eucharistic vessels after mass) in the Met Museum, showing Phyllis riding on Aristotle’s back, the philosopher on all fours. There is ancient anecdotal background for this penchant of Ari’s. What other services the Stagyrite provided his women, I blush to imagine.

          Seems to be a yarn of medieval origin.

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

        • Pofarmer

          Pretty sure it was the comments section of his blog. I quoted it once on estranged Notions. He was asked why he wasn’t at a major University and he basically said being a Thomist ruled it out.

          Ah, yes. The old scientism canard. It seems they would be more reticent about supporting claims that either are by design unfalsifiable or simply ignore being supplanted by better methods.

        • Ficino

          They are quick to ditch Aristotle when their arguments need to ditch him. Bonnette has been diverging from both Aristotle and Aquinas over abortion and some of the premises he needs for his anti-abortion stance, which as far as I can see fail to understand or at least, follow Aristotle on existing potentially.

        • Ficino

          Yes, and Aristotle asked around about some things while getting others wrong. For example, he reported correctly that women have noctural emissions. On Generation of Animals 739a20-35b: Aristotle said the moisture that is produced along with pleasure for females [in the sex act] does not contribute toward pregnancy. He says women also have nocturnal emissions, but that’s not a proof that female emission contributes to pregnancy.

        • MadScientist1023

          This is the society that gave us Galen, the man who never dissected a cadaver but still wrote all about human anatomy anyway. His work was held as gospel until a 16th century dwarf finally noticed that most of what Galen said about human anatomy was wrong.

        • firebubbles310

          Yeah. Nursing students in my A&P classes tried that. When my professor asked how to tell a male and female skeleton apart, and it wasn’t the first time.

        • (I assume A&P = anatomy and physiology.)

          I believe you’re saying that it was the students, not the professor, who proposed that? I’d hate for it to be the other way around.

        • firebubbles310

          Yeah. Sorry. My brain is dead today. It was the professor’s way of trapping those who held to that because when there was one in class they would happily raise their hand and spout it out. Scared me how many apparently fought with him. They are going to nursing school. They will care for people and make decisions that can kill the patient. Wish there was a god that interferes, we need it with those idiots walking about…

        • Weird. You’d think the prof could assign that person the homework of checking a male and female (asking permission, one hopes) to count ribs and report back to the class the next day.

          Didn’t I hear that in Aristotle’s school, they argued over how many teeth a horse has rather than simply walking down to the paddock and counting? It’s like that.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Didn’t I hear that in Aristotle’s school, they argued over how many teeth a horse has rather than simply walking down to the paddock and counting? It’s like that.

          Not quite. The number of teeth a horse has is quite fluid depending on age and sex. So potential for discussion.

          The number of ribs a human being has is static from birth. Its the same at any age or sex.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Waoh!

      • David Cromie

        If the supposed Eve were cloned from a rib taken from the supposed Adam’s side, then we would have had Adam and Steve, the world’s first gay couple (where Cain and Abel came from is another story).

  • This is a family blog. C’mon–leave the rudeness behind.

    /s

    • Cozmo the Magician

      I was starting to think it was the southern baptists that control the censorbot. Now i think it is the mormons. Because now you can’t even poke fun at their ‘magic ^ndies’

      • Yeah, the list was pretty nutty. The most embarrassing addition was words like Muslim, Mohammed, and Islam. Again, the goal was to flag comments that might have been hateful or tangential to civil debate, but they being on the list suggested anti-Muslim censorship.

        (Just to be clear, that wasn’t the goal of Patheos.)

        • TheNuszAbides

          Nipping controversy in the bud by making the mods work extra-hard! … Or driving more bloggers to turn off comments entirely.

  • sweeks

    This one works for me:
    1) Modern science (genetics, evolutionary theory, etc. for which there is overwhelming evidence) indicates that humans have evolves over millions of years from populations of ancestral life forms: there never were a literal “Adam and Eve”.
    2) There was, therefore, no “original sin”
    3) Consequently, there was never a need for a “savior”. The basis of christianity is rejected.

  • Doug Steley

    26; because if the Christian god is real then he has watched every child that has ever been raped tortured abused sodomised and murdered and he has done nothing at all to assist or protect them.

    If a human did that they would be criminals
    But god does this every day and tells us that he loves us and will send us to hell if we don;t love him and worship him

    If god is real then I am too moral a person to worship something like that

    • Susan

      god does this every day and tells us that he loves us and will send us to hell if we don;t love him and worship him

      It also invented natural selection out of metaphysical nothingness, so it has not only been observing it and doing nothing about it for hundreds of millions of years, but it created it when it could have created anything it wanted to.

      Letting human children be raped, tortured, abused, sodomized and murdered is just par for that particular course.

      No chance of me loving and worshipping that.

      Or forgiving it, if it existed.

      But there’s exactly zero reason to think that it does exist.

      So, that lets it off the hook a little.

  • Mike De Fleuriot

    If God exist outside the natural realm, any time he crosses that realm barrier, he automatically become measurable. And that means that he is detectable by science, especially if he does the types of things that Christians claim him to do. So far he has not been detected, so either the claims are false or there is a must simpler reason for the results of these claims.

    There is a reason a child’s temperature goes down. We can determine what that reason is, and it always has been not god. Similar for every other event we have experienced in the universe. And if we can not explain it, then most certainly the theist can not explain how the god did whatever that event was.

  • Maltnothops

    “The Christian is typically trying to make a cumulative case.“

    That’s the generous interpretation. IMO, they move on to another idea because they realize they are losing the argument. They are chickening out and running away.

  • Lark62

    Evolution can only drive change when there is a difference in reproductive success.

    Pain is useful – it drives living things to withdraw and heal and avoid the cause in the future. But there is no benefit to experiencing pain when being eaten alive.

    However, evolution could not eliminate “pain while dying” because reproduction is obviously done. Any organism with a mutation that did not feel pain while dying would have the same reproductive success as those that feel pain while dying.

    A deity as described by humans could intervene. It could remove the pain of being eaten alive throughout the animal kingdom. But no deity ever has.

    In fact, there is no trait in any plant or animal that cannot be explained by natural selection. There is no trait in any plant or animal, like “being eaten alive doesn’t hurt,” that can only be explained by intervention of a deity.

    • epeeist

      However, evolution could not eliminate “pain while dying” because reproduction is obviously done.

      Yes it could if the variation was introduced at conception. Whether it would increase fitness to the environment or be of limited cost is another matter.

  • abb3w

    The idea is that a single one of these arguments should be enough to defeat Christianity’s supernatural claims.

    I see a yellow flag at “should”, there; and another at “defeat”.

    Are you making a moral claim, or are you making an empirical claim about probability under some ideal conditions, or are you making an empirical claim about probability when the claim is being presented by a Christian randomly selected from some population (say, living American humans who self-identify as Christian) who has been encountered in public and has decided to advocate Christianity?

    And by what measure of “defeat”? Does it suffice if the argument allows an atheist to remain unconvinced? Does defeat require that presentation of the silver bullet will cause the arguing Christian to abandon efforts at persuasion? Does defeat require convincing the Christian to abandon Christianity?

    • David Cromie

      Since there exist so many thousands of versions of religion, and each one differing from the others on belief/theology/dogma, etc., how does the ‘true’ believer show that his/her belief system/world view is the ‘one true’ version?

      • abb3w

        Since there exist so many thousands of versions of religion, and each one differing from the others on belief/theology/dogma, etc., how does the ‘true’ believer show that his/her belief system/world view is the ‘one true’ version?

        Theoretically? Some Evangelical Christians would claim it’s only done by divine intervention of the Holy Spirit. “Rational” argument by atheists (or even some sorts of Christian apologist) may involve either trying to present premises that they expect to be mutually acceptable and seek to infer the conclusions they want to persuade acceptance of; or, alternately, evaluating the premises that a theist claims to accept and attempting to derive a contradiction.

        In practice? A quick poke at Google scholar suggests your question (how do believers attempt to persuade) may be an under-researched topic.

        • David Cromie

          It matters not how many representatives of the various brands of religion come together to thrash out a theology that all could assent to, or if the hoped for magic evangelising mechanism of non believers is approved, if the evidence for whichever preferred supposed ‘god’ they plump for is as elusive as it ever was.

        • abb3w

          It matters not how many representatives of the various brands of religion come together to thrash out a theology that all could assent to,

          …especially as you were asking about a hypothetical particular True Believer.
          (Perhaps they might try the inter-sect evangelization as a warm up.)

          I suspect you’ve misunderstood what I mean by “mutually acceptable”; in this case, rather than things accepted by multiple potential evangelists, I’m referring to things that a particular evangelist believes and which they think that the target of their evangelizing will also accept, like “water is wet” or “(P OR Q) is logically equivalent to (Q OR P)” or “everything in the universe has a cause”.

          or if the hoped for magic evangelising mechanism of non believers is approved, if the evidence for whichever preferred supposed ‘god’ they plump for is as elusive as it ever was

          Unless, of course, the magic mechanism allows persuasion without need for actual evidence.

        • David Cromie

          “…the magic mechanism allows persuasion without need for actual evidence” is the key to all religious beliefs, whatever the version or sect, involving the supernatural. It is doubtful that all religiot leaders would be able to find a consensus in the first place, or, having found such a position, that most, let alone all, denominational religiots would converge on, or accept, it.

  • Ignorant Amos

    Has anyone here followed Louis Theroux’s documentary series on the Westbro Baptist fuckwittery over the last 13 years…https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episodes/b05qzmgd/louis-theroux

    It’s yer duty.

  • David Cromie

    “Silver-bullet arguments must be (1) pro-atheism arguments that (2) are broad enough that Christianity as it is understood by most Christians can’t coexist with it”. Agree. So my contribution would be:

    1. Please furnish me with the irrefutable, falsifiable, evidence that your favourite supposed ‘god’ actually exists.

    2. Since there are so many versions/sects of christianity, theologians are just a bunch of religiot bald men fighting over a comb.

    • Greg G.

      theologians are just a bunch of religiot bald men fighting over a comb.

      !!!!

    • Since there are so many versions/sects of christianity, theologians are just a bunch of religiot bald men fighting over a comb.

      Brilliant! Reminds me of “Religion is like looking in a dark room for a black cat in which there is no cat after someone says, ‘I see it!'”

      • Ficino

        I’d rather just have the cat.

  • 3vil5triker .

    Reality is intersectional. Things don’t happen in a vacuum, that’s why knowledge is a chain reaction. One of the biggest problems for Christianity is that for claims as big as they are, the consequences are surprisingly small.

    Oh, you say there are demons that go around possessing people and we’ve known about them for millennia? Well, I guess that settles the question of extraterrestrial life! This knowledge should revolutionize the fields of physics and biology! How do we prepare against enemies employing demonic assets in the battlefield? Why isn’t DOOM a documentary instead of a video game? For that matter, how come we never hear about exorcists being called in to deal with an angelic possession? I mean they are presumably the same type of entity with the same skill set, right?

    I could go on, but the point is that this is something huge, with far-reaching repercussions on just about every aspect of our lives, yet apparently, the only thing demons are good for is for keeping exorcists employed.

    Lets take another example. In the Netflix series “Altered Carbon”, humanity has a pseudo-immortality. This overhauls the legal system considerably, because now victims of a crime can testify from beyond the grave. How come we don’t have any of that? Why aren’t dead people called in to testify in all manner of cases? Why don’t legal firms have an afterlife division?

    One of the hallmarks of bullshit is that its claims have no discernible effects on reality and that they don’t advance our knowledge in any fashion. It exists in a vacuum, and the only thing its good for is for helping grifters push their grift.

    • That’s an interesting angle.

    • Greg G.

      Why aren’t dead people called in to testify in all manner of cases?

      That would eliminate the motive for killing someone to shut them up.

      • 3vil5triker .

        That would eliminate the motive for killing someone to shut them up.

        Actually that’s one of the major plot points of the series. After all, if you have people testifying from beyond the grave, the next logical step is for other people to start devising ways to circumvent the system.

        But none of these are things that will actually happen here, in a world where we’ve supposedly known about the afterlife for thousands of years.

  • Ellabulldog

    There really is no reason to debate a Christian. Or a Muslim, Hindu, Jew, Mormon, Scientologist or a Voodoo practitioner.

    They think it is a debate. it is usually simply calling out someone’s lies.

    Most just have an endless supply. Called apologetics.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    Interesting article.But the fact is no one needs to present any arguments against Christianity. All we need to do is ask the Christians to provide evidence to their claims. Until they are able to do that, their entire belief system can be dismissed as nonsense.

    • Which is itself a silver-bullet argument.

      • C_Alan_Nault

        No, asking someone to prove what they are claiming isn’t arguing. If you told me you owned a yellow Lamborghini & I asked you to prove it, I am not arguing with you.

        If I said you don’t own a yellow Lamborghini I would be arguing.

  • ozarkmichael

    LOL. Your post was funny with the card and all.

    from Bob Seidensticker:

    “Everyone knows that I’m threatening to ban you. I just did it. No, nothing hidden here.
    Let’s change it from a threat to a promise.”

    There are other posts not as direct, and most of them not on this thread. I have “been told” , I have “been warned”.

    OTOH I can still post here. Maybe he’s only being ironic, but the threat hovers, and has been hovering awhile. Most recently Bob expressed that my fate hinged on whether anyone here saw a use for me. One person did.

    Here is today’s post which I quote above:

    https://disq.us/url?impression=7d9ca198-bc72-11e9-958a-00259085287c&thread=7562472391&forum=2306652&url=https%3A%2F%2Fdisqus.com%2Fhome%2Fdiscussion%2Fcrossexamined%2Fsilver_bullet_arguments_against_christianity%2F%3Futm_source%3Dreply%26utm_medium%3Demail%26utm_content%3Dcomment_date%23comment-4574688039%3Ah2scUPs5QF7Gp03CImroYnFmp40&variant=active&experiment=digests&behavior=click&post=4574688039&type=notification.post.registered&event=email

  • David Cromie

    The computer is very much like the human brain (synapses and neurons, driven by electrical impulses); garbage in -> garbage out.

    Thus religious indoctrination in -> incoherent superstitious BS out.