25 Stupid Arguments Christians Should Avoid (Part 10)

25 Stupid Arguments Christians Should Avoid (Part 10) August 9, 2019

Who’s ready for more facepalming? It’s time for more stupid arguments Christians should avoid. For the first post in this series, go to Part 1.

Stupid Argument #32: Providing good evidence is hard!

Look—it’s not like we have photo, video, or audio recordings of the major events recorded in the gospels. You’ve got to make reasonable demands.

I agree that providing credible, high-quality evidence from the first century is hard, but so what? Are you saying that because it’s hard, I should drop my demand for good evidence?

Think of how that would sound if coming from another source. Suppose a Muslim argued that Mohammed’s Night Journey to heaven was historically true, but they didn’t have security cameras in Jerusalem then so we must accept Muslim tradition and holy books.

Or: doing a thorough search of Loch Ness is difficult, so we must accept the anecdotal evidence of Nessie’s existence.

Or: we can’t go back in time to see Xenu’s empire, so we must accept the Scientology mythology.

It doesn’t work that way. We demand evidence to back up the claims. If you make a remarkable claim, you must provide substantial evidence to back it up. The burden of proof is on the person claiming the supernatural, and if that burden isn’t met, we are obliged to reject the claim.

Stupid Argument #33: Hypothetical God Fallacy

“Just because something might seem pointless to us doesn’t mean God can’t have a morally justified reason for it. . . . The mere fact that I can’t figure out why God allows some of the things to happen that he does . . . is not warrant for the conclusion that he’s got no such reasons.”

(This quote is from a Christian argument that I analyze here.)

I don’t declare that God doesn’t exist or that, if he does, he couldn’t have good reasons for the nonsense in the world. But who starts by wondering about God’s actions rather than first demonstrating that God exists? Who, I mean, but someone with an agenda?

Starting with a presumption of God has it backwards. An honest seeker of the truth will follow the evidence, and that’s the power of the Problem of Evil, which this Christian apologist is trying to refute. The Problem of Evil looks at the problems in the world and considers the properties claimed for the Christian god—all-loving, omniscient, omnipotent. Does this look like a world with such a god?

The Christian response, “Ah, yes, but let’s imagine that God exists. Now how do things look??” is completely backwards. (More here.)

Stupid Argument #34: But I can’t reject Christianity now—I’ve invested so much!

If I rejected Christianity now, I’d be admitting that I’d backed the wrong horse for all these years. And what would that do to my reputation in my community?

This is the sunk-cost fallacy, which snares many financial investors. Suppose you invested in a stock that now is worth half what you paid for it. Consider two options. If an objective evaluation says that the stock should now rise substantially in value, you would be smart to hold the stock and maybe even invest more.

But what do you do if that optimistic evaluation is not justified? Instead of cutting their losses, some people buy more. They might rationalize that by buying more at this lower price, they’ve lowered their average purchase price. This is true but irrelevant; an investment should be considered on its own. If you wouldn’t invest if you didn’t own the stock, you shouldn’t double down when you do. Colloquially, we say that this is “throwing good money after bad.”

We see this in many other situations. Lyndon Johnson committed additional troops to the war in Vietnam after it was clear that it was unwinnable. The Concorde supersonic jet lost money, but the British and French governments continued to back it because they had already invested so much.

There are religious believers who don’t want to make an ego-less evaluation of the truth of their beliefs. They sacrifice intellectual integrity to soothe their sense of self-worth. For example, the Millerites sold everything to make themselves right with Jesus, who was to return to earth on October 22, 1844. After this prediction failed, many realized that they’d made a foolish mistake and walked away. But others in the group doubled down, ignoring this dramatic evidence that their beliefs were wrong and rationalized ways that they could still be right. Today’s Seventh-day Adventist Church is one outgrowth of the Great Disappointment of 1844.

A good illustration of how hard we’ll try to justify or recoup our sunk costs is the dollar auction. It’s a game in which both the auction winner and the second-place player must pay their final bids.

Two or more players are bidding to win a dollar. Let’s suppose that player #1 opens the bidding with 5¢. That sounds smart—if that bidder wins, their profit is 95¢. Now player #2 ups the bid to 10¢—that also seems to be a good move since a win at this stage will give a 90¢ profit. But here’s the problem: if player #1 lets it go at this point, he’s out 5¢, since as the second-place player, he’d be obliged to pay his final bid. So #1 bids 15¢.

And so it goes, with each one topping the other by 5¢, until player #2 bids $1. Game over? Not quite, since #1 would still have to pay his last bid of 95¢. Better to bid $1.05 and be down by only 5¢ than admit defeat and be down 95¢.

The game encourages irrational decisions, and the rational choice may be to avoid playing the game. This contains parallels with religion, where the smart decision for the doubting Christian may be to cut their losses and just get out.

To be continued.

Those who will not reason, are bigots,
those who cannot, are fools,
and those who dare not, are slaves.
― Lord Byron

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(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 7/15/15.)

Image from thrp, CC license

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  • NS Alito

    I agree that providing credible, high-quality evidence from the first century is hard, but so what? Are you saying that because it’s hard, I should drop my demand for good evidence?

    Back in the last century cameras used photographic film. You chose the type of film appropriate for the application. There was super-high-resolution film (called “spy film”) for good detail under reasonable light conditions. The joke was that there was a film at the other end of the spectrum—grainy at best—that was sold at places like Loch Ness and rest areas in Bigfoot country.

  • NS Alito

    Look—it’s not like we have photo, video, or audio recordings of the major events recorded in the gospels. You’ve got to make reasonable demands.

    Maybe believers shouldn’t put weight on hearsay. Besides which, some of the events described in Jesus’ time (zombies coming out of graves, eclipses), should have been recorded in contemporary secular records, but weren’t. Why not?

    • Illithid

      I’ve asked this question numerous times. I’ve never heard an answer to this that was anywhere near as plausible as “they didn’t happen “.

  • JBSchmidt

    The underlying assumption in all of this is that Christians are incapable of reasoning through their beliefs. Since you, the non-theist, has reached a more enlightened conclusion by rejecting the evidence, the Christians are obviously wrong.

    33) The Bible narrative and the extra-Biblical evidence provides good evidence for many of the events listed. In addition, the life and work of the 1st century Christians speaks to what they saw. You have chosen to reject those and put your faith in other beliefs lacking evidence (I know, you have a consensus to put your faith in).

    34) Of course, you started as blank slate with no preconceived ideas of how anything worked. Further, as you process life and new experience, you evaluate each from a blank slate as well. Not like those Christian with their god handicap.

    35) Do you have an example of this being used?

    • Greg G.

      The underlying assumption in all of this is that Christians are incapable of reasoning through their beliefs.

      That is not an assumption. It has been a standing request for a few decades for many of us. Even Francis Collins, a brilliant scientist, said he was inspired to believe because he saw a frozen waterfall with three streams entwined.

      You have been posting here for months, maybe years, and have never shown you were capable of reasoning through anything.

      • JBSchmidt

        “said he was inspired to believe because he saw a frozen waterfall with three streams entwined.”

        Why is that so wrong? I you willing to bet that a religious individual never became an atheist because of a specific event of nature or emotional appeal?

        • NS Alito

          I you willing to bet that a religious individual never became an atheist because of a specific event of nature or emotional appeal?

          As someone who was once quite devout, deconversion was a laborious process that entailed (1) not being able to find outside support for my beliefs, and (2) learning of the cognitive pitfalls of the human mind, and how all the other theists whom I respected could have fallen victim to the mistake.

        • Greg G.

          Why is that so wrong?

          What else in life is it prudent to assent to believing something stronger than the evidence supports? If you have a really good feeling that your one lottery ticket is going to win, is it wise to put a down payment on a yacht?

          A big icicle is an absurd reason to believe. It’s nothing more than an flimsy excuse.

          There are no bad reasons to drop religious faith or superstitious beliefs.

          You say that God is not like a genie. You know that because prayers seldom work like the Bible says they should. Why kid yourself?

        • JBSchmidt

          The ‘big icicle’ was not the only reason, but the object that made everything click.

          “There are no bad reasons to drop religious faith”

          Accept I would then deny the God that created me.

          “You know that because prayers seldom work like the Bible says they should.”

          I have established you don’t understand what you are saying when you repeat that.

        • Greg G.

          Accept I would then deny the God that created me.

          Pretty sure you mean “Except”. No you wouldn’t. You would just not believe the myths of the exploiters of goat herders who themselves didn’t know where the sun went at night.

          I have established you don’t understand what you are saying when you repeat that.

          Prayers are answered in proportion to the likelyhood that they would occur anyway.

        • Rudy R

          It’s not wrong. Just not always based on sound reasoning and logic, frozen waterfall being one of them. I would actually get satisfaction converting an atheist back to a theist by pointing out the error in their reasoning that contributed to them converting to atheism in the first place.

    • Michael Neville

      #33 The Bible is not 1st Century.

      There are too many discrepancies in the Bible to accept it as reliable. For instance, let’s just consider Jesus’s birth. Matthew and Luke have different genealogies for Jesus and can’t even agree on Joseph’s father’s name. According to Matthew Jesus was born during the reign of Herod the Great, who died in 4 BCE. According to Luke Jesus was born during the census of Quirinius, Governor of Syria, in 6-7 CE, some ten years after Herod died. Matthew says that Herod had all the male children two years and younger living in the environs of Bethlehem killed. This is a pure invention on Matthew’s part. Herod was guilty of many monstrous crimes, including the murder of several members of his own family. However, ancient historians such as Josephus, who delighted in listing Herod’s crimes, do not mention what would have been Herod’s greatest crime by far. It simply didn’t happen.

      #34 Presuppositionalism is the fallacy known as petitio principii, assuming the consequent, or begging the question. First you have to show that gods exist before you can assign attributes to them.

      #35 You have a legitimate response to this argument, one that I cannot answer. I do know of clergy who became atheists who remained in their clergy positions but that was because they saw no other source of income. The Clergy Project [LINK] has several testimonies from clergy in this position. But I admit that’s not the argument Bob was talking about.

      EDITED to fix the link

      • JBSchmidt

        33) So if any part of a belief doesn’t match, the entire thing is invalid? Science has made many false claims and yet many on this page put faith in its consensus.

        34) Christians have. If you choose to reject that it is not presuppositionalism.

        35) I could see the clergy thing being valid.

        • NS Alito

          33) So if any part of a belief doesn’t match, the entire thing is invalid?

          It definitely blows the socks off the idea that the Bible is inerrant.

          Science has made many false claims and yet many on this page put faith in its consensus.

          Science is an interative process. Science education entails first learning how easy it is to fall in love with your own mistaken ideas, and then with learning a technique to minimize the errors found in classic historic hypotheses.

          At some point enough confirmatory evidence from multiple disciplines gives one confidence in individual scientific conclusions, especially after a large amount of practical use is made from theory. When the Periodic Table of the Elements was first posited, for instance, it was wise to seek confirmation. Once underlying mechanisms are understood (such as population dynamics, DNA sequencing cladistics, real-time observation, in the case of biological evolution), confidence grows in the validity of the proposed and tested explanation.

          The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool.
           —Richard Feynman

        • Zeta

          It is sad that in this day and age you need to explain the scientific method to seemingly well-educated but ignorant and delusional commenters.

        • epeeist

          seemingly well-educated but deliberately ignorant and delusional commenters.

          FIFY

        • NS Alito

          Most grade-school science coverage of “the scientific method” involved doing an experiment and recording the result. I think this is where the Creationists get the idea that the only way to “test” a hypothesis is with some sort of hands-on experiment, rather than, say, analyzing methodically collected data.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Or meta-analysis of existing studies.

        • I know of a Fundy who claims to be a retired philosophy teacher at an University. It’s sadder people intelligent enough to end in such position given what philosophy is but who go delusionally Fundy never question something with so many plot holes, nor that despite admitting being ignorant of science they keep pressing on the same PRATTs of evolution being a lie, even NWO theories, etc.

        • Greg G.

          So if any part of a belief doesn’t match, the entire thing is invalid?

          Not necessarily, but your belief system is inconsistent and its foundations are unsupported. Why are those foundations unsupported? Because nobody has supported them.

        • Science has made many false claims and yet many on this page put faith in its consensus.

          Science changes and self-corrects, and those who put faith on it know well said fact. Much unlike religion, where except changes caused by mistranslation, copists inserting their worldview in the texts changing them, etc. things have not changed a comma in centuries, with what it entails given the claims of some of “God’s word never changing”

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          “So if any part of a belief doesn’t match, the entire thing is invalid? Science has made many false claims and yet many on this page put faith in its consensus.”

          That’s how science works and people don’t create religions to worship science – they don’t have faith in science, they acquire knowledge and knowledge is malleable by design. Belief and faith are words used when there is little or no knowledge, facts or evidence to support their suppositions. Further, when the science is shown to be wrong, and this occurs more often than you might think, that knowledge is now amended and the new paradigm is accepted. Dogma suffers from a lack of this capability and in actuality seems to embrace its reductive stasis.

      • ThaneOfDrones

        According to Luke Jesus was born during the census of Quirinius, Governor of Syria,

        The word census appears zero times in the Bible (KJV). Luke makes mention of a worldwide tax levied by Caesar Augustus (Luke 2):

        [1] And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
        [2] (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
        [3] And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

        a) The following verses tell how Joseph & family travelled to Bethlehem to be taxed, not to be counted.

        b) We could assume that carrying out a census was a step towards implementing this tax, but that’s supposition, not the Holy Word of Gawd.
        c) Carrying out a tax by having everyone travel to where their ancestors of 400 years ago lived is Teh Stupid.

    • ephemerol

      If there were evidence, or if they were reasoned through positions, they wouldn’t be beliefs, now would they?

      As Greg G. points out, it’s not too late. Any time you want to step up to the plate and do what others for nearly two millennia haven’t managed to do, we’ll be more than happy to have a look at it.

      Go ahead. I’ll wait…

      32) A) For which of the “events listed” is there evidence? Mohammed’s Night Journey? The Loch Ness monster? Xenu’s empire? Others I didn’t notice being listed?
      B) Since when does rejecting a claim for lack of basis constitute a faith or a belief?
      C) If someone rejects claims of extraterrestial visitation, why can’t that be done solely upon the poverty of evidence? Why do you say it can it only be done because of the previous acceptance of other claims? And what would those claims be?

      Go ahead. I’ll wait…

      33) Many of us were raised in christianity, with all the benefits of doubts and biases in favor conferred by this “god handicap” to which you refer. And still we noticed that the bible is not a good book and christianity writes checks Jesus won’t cash.

      34) I never used this when I was a christian, but the horrible way that I saw others treated when they left was plenty of disincentive and made me think many more times than just twice about if, when, and how, any such exit should be made. In retrospect, I realize that to characterize something like a person, or perhaps their behavior, as being “christian” is not complementary…

      • JBSchmidt

        “Any time you want to step up to the plate”
        Is there really anything I could provide?

        32) A) I was thinking the events withing the Bible, not the events Bob listed. I have edited that.
        B) I was referring to his on going faith in the consensus of science.
        C) If you reject the idea of alien visitation, then you must believe that they either don’t exist or are incapable of getting here. You can reject something because of lack of evidence; however, you still have a belief. If I reject that my friend was in a car accident because I don’t see evidence for it, then I either believe he is lying or maybe still drunk. I believe something.

        33) I can’t speak to your experience. However, the work of missionaries does convert adults to be Christians and many well educated people see the truth in the Bible.

        34) Again, I am sorry your experience was tainted by bad Christians.

        • NS Alito

          C) If you reject the idea of alien visitation, then you must believe that they either don’t exist or are incapable of getting here.

          Personally, I reject accounts of alien visitation based on the fact that they’re much more plausibly self-delusion.

          I have no trouble believing (in decreasing probability), (1) that life exists elsewhere in the galaxy, and plausibly within our solar system, (2) that sentient life (like crows or squirrels) exists within our galaxy, (3) that advanced tech life (can build radios) exists, (4) that planet-escaping life exists, (5) that intelligence surviving to star-hopping tech exists.

          Our “high-tech” phase has lasted less than a century, and it’s very plausible we will end our civilization within a few more centuries. I think it is very very improbable that an advanced technology star-hopping civilization has existed in our galactic neighborhood and visited our planet within that statistically nano-scopic window. I think it is very very probable that the same perceptions that had people testifying about being visited by incubuses and succubuses in the past have people mistakenly perceiving aliens in the present.

        • ephemerol

          Iѕ thеrе rеаlly аnythіng I соuld prоᴠіdе?

          Surе thеrе’ѕ plеnty yоu соuld prоᴠіdе.

          Well, maybe not you per se, but someone like you who knew what evidence was and wasn’t so discombobulated that he was incapable of not talking out of both sides of his mouth.

          Thеrе’ѕ а dіᴠеrѕе tаxоnоmy оf lіfе thаt thе “соnѕеnѕuѕ оf ѕсіеnсе” hаѕ еѕtаblіѕhеd tо еxіѕt, ᴠіа а ᴠаѕt аmоunt оf оbѕеrᴠаtіоnѕ thаt іnсludеѕ thіngѕ lіkе bасtеrіа, gіаnt ѕquіd, plаtypі, аnd gоrіllаѕ. On thе оthеr hаnd, thеrе’ѕ thе “fіеld” оf сryptоzооlоgy thаt іnсludеѕ оnly ѕpесulаtіᴠе lіfе fоrmѕ lіkе thе Lосh Nеѕѕ mоnѕtеr, Bіgfооt, ѕpасе аlіеnѕ, аnd gоdѕ.

          Eасh оf my еxаmplеѕ оf lіfе сurrеntly ассеptеd by thе “соnѕеnѕuѕ оf ѕсіеnсе” wаѕ nоt аlwаyѕ. Eасh wаѕ еѕtаblіѕhеd tо bе nоt juѕt lеgеndаry оr nоt juѕt а hоаx оnly wіthіn rеlаtіᴠеly rесеnt mеmоry, аnd thеіr lіtеrаl еxіѕtеnсе wаѕ еѕtаblіѕhеd by оbѕеrᴠаtіоnаl еᴠіdеnсе. Lеgеndѕ аnd ѕpесіmеnѕ thаt nо оnе wіll pеrmіt tо bе еxаmіnеd аrе hеаrѕаy, аnd hеаrѕаy іѕ nоt еᴠіdеnсе. Hеаrѕаy саn gеt thеm іntо thе сryptіd саtеgоry, but іt hаѕ nо pоwеr tо mоᴠе thеm іntо thе еѕtаblіѕhеd саtеgоry. I wоuld bе pеrfесtly wіllіng tо ассеpt thе trаnѕіtіоn оf аny оf thе сryptіd саtеgоry іntо thе еѕtаblіѕhеd саtеgоry оn thе ѕаmе bаѕіѕ аѕ thе аlrеаdy сіtеd еxаmplеѕ whісh hаᴠе аlrеаdy mаdе thаt trаnѕіtіоn. If yоu соuld prоᴠіdе ѕuсh а bаѕіѕ fоr аny оf thеѕе сryptіdѕ, I’m ѕurе yоu wоuld gаіn ѕubѕtаntіаl сrеdіt аѕ thе putаtіᴠе dіѕсоᴠеrеr оf іt.

          It’ѕ yоur Nоbеl Prіzе wе’rе tаlkіng аbоut hеrе. You’ll be right up there with van Leeuwenhoek.

          B) I wаѕ rеfеrrіng tо hіѕ оn gоіng fаіth іn thе соnѕеnѕuѕ оf ѕсіеnсе…Sсіеnсе hаѕ mаdе mаny fаlѕе сlаіmѕ…оthеr bеlіеfѕ [ѕсіеnсе] lасkіng еᴠіdеnсе…

          Oh, thаt’ѕ rіght, hmm.

          Q1) Whісh “fаlѕе сlаіmѕ” dо yоu аѕѕеrt ѕсіеnсе hаѕ mаdе? And hоw іѕ іt thаt yоu hаᴠе соmе tо knоw thаt thеy аrе fаlѕе?

          Q2) Whісh “bеlіеfѕ” оf ѕсіеnсе dо yоu аѕѕеrt “lасk еᴠіdеnсе”? And hоw dо yоu knоw thеy lасk еᴠіdеnсе?

          Whаt аrе yоu tаlkіng аbоut here? Pіltdоwn Mаn?

          Dо yоu rеjесt thе “соnѕеnѕuѕ оf ѕсіеnсе”? And dо yоu rеjесt thе еᴠіdеntіаry bаѕіѕ upоn whісh thе “соnѕеnѕuѕ оf ѕсіеnсе” іѕ buіlt? Because yоu аppеаr tо bе dеmоnіzіng thе оbѕеrᴠаtіоnаl еᴠіdеnсе, іn prіnсіplе, аѕ bеіng mеrеly “fаіth”… ѕаіd аѕ thоugh fаіth, іn prіnсіplе, іѕ а bаd thіng … ѕаіd аѕ thоugh yоu tаkе оbѕеrᴠаtіоnѕ, іn prіnсіplе, tо bе fundаmеntаlly unrеlіаblе…

          Q3) Sо, dо yоu еᴠеn ассеpt thе еxіѕtеnсе оf оthеr аnіmаlѕ? If ѕо … why?

          Jоhn 20:29 Jеѕuѕ ѕаіd tо hіm, “Thоmаѕ, bесаuѕе yоu hаᴠе ѕееn Mе, yоu hаᴠе bеlіеᴠеd. Blеѕѕеd аrе thоѕе whо hаᴠе nоt ѕееn аnd yеt hаᴠе bеlіеᴠеd.”

          Oh, but wаіt, yоu ассеpt аt lеаѕt оnе ѕpесіmеn frоm thе сryptіd саtеgоry … оn thе bаѕіѕ оf … wаіt … оn thе bаѕіѕ оf … whаt?mеrеly “fаіth” аgаіn? … but thіѕ tіmе ѕаіd аѕ thоugh fаіth, іn prіnсіplе, іѕ а GOOD thіng? … аnd ѕаіd аѕ thоugh nо оbѕеrᴠаtіоns оf а thіng—maybe juѕt hеаrѕаy—THAT іѕ whаt, іn prіnсіplе, іѕ rеlіаblе? Huh? Say what? Nothing is more substantial than something?

          Thе Bіblе nаrrаtіᴠе аnd thе еxtrа-Bіblісаl еᴠіdеnсе prоᴠіdеѕ gооd еᴠіdеnсе fоr mаny оf thе еᴠеntѕ…thе nоn-thеіѕt, hаѕ rеасhеd а mоrе еnlіghtеnеd соnсluѕіоn by rеjесtіng thе еᴠіdеnсе…

          Oh, but wаіt, nоw yоu’rе tаlkіng аѕ thоugh еᴠіdеnсе, іn prіnсіplе, іѕ rеlіаblе after all?

          First, the bible cannot be used to justify the bible’s claims. That’s viciously circular.
          Second, thе bіblе іѕ hеаrѕаy. Hеаrѕаy, іn prіnсіplе, іѕ nоt good еᴠіdеnсе because it is not evidence at all! Nоt іn ѕсіеnсе. Nоt іn соurt.

          Q4) Mаkе up yоur mіnd. Do you feel еᴠіdеnсе, іn prіnсіplе, is rеlіаblе оr unrеlіаblе? Iѕ fаіth, іn prіnсіplе, а gооd thіng оr а bаd thіng?

          Yоu саnnоt hаᴠе іt bоth wаyѕ. Pісk а prіnсіplе аnd ѕtісk tо іt. If thе оnly wаy yоu саn mаkе аn аrgumеnt іѕ by tаlkіng оut оf bоth ѕіdеѕ оf yоur mоuth, thеn thаt аlоnе іѕ fully ѕuffісіеnt саuѕе tо dіѕquаlіfy yоu frоm ѕеrіоuѕ dіѕсоurѕе аnd rеjесt yоu.

          Q5) Whаt “еᴠеntѕ” аrе yоu tаlkіng аbоut ѕpесіfісаlly?

          Q6) Whаt еxtrаbіblісаl еᴠіdеnсе fоr ѕаіd еᴠеntѕ аrе yоu tаlkіng аbоut ѕpесіfісаlly? I саn’t thіnk оf аny.

          Q7) Whаt еᴠіdеnсе hаᴠе nоn-thеіѕtѕ rеjесtеd ѕpесіfісаlly? I саn’t thіnk оf аny.

          If yоu wаnt tо mоᴠе thе сryptіd сlаѕѕ оf lіfе fоrmѕ knоwn аѕ gоdѕ оut оf thе сryptіd саtеgоry, fіrѕt yоu’ll hаᴠе tо dесіdе оut оf whісh ѕіdе оf yоur mоuth yоu wаnt tо tаlk. Thеn, іf yоu’rе саpаblе оf dоіng thаt, yоu’ll hаᴠе tо prоᴠіdе ѕubѕtаntіаl еᴠіdеnсе, nоt hеаrѕаy.

          If іt саn bе dоnе fоr bасtеrіа, gіаnt ѕquіd, plаtypі, аnd gоrіllаѕ, then іf gоdѕ еxіѕt, I’m соnfіdеnt thе ѕаmе саn bе dоnе fоr thеm.

          This is your mission, should you choose to accept it.

          On yоur mаrk. Gеt ѕеt. GO!

          I’ll wаіt rіght hеrе, аlоng wіth yоur Nоbеl Prіzе.

        • ThaneOfDrones

          If you reject the idea of alien visitation, then you must believe that
          they either don’t exist or are incapable of getting here.

          False dichotomy. Can you even logic? Perhaps they exist, and have capability, but lack motivation or desire to visit us. Or perhaps they have some taboo or ‘prime directive’ preventing them. There are plenty of explanations beyond the ones you falsely demand we choose from.

        • ephemerol

          I think JB’s drive-by is over. His clip of baseless and clichéd accusations is empty for the time being, and he has no ammo to defend his “position.” He’s never had any of that ammo, so the whole point of the drive-by is not to occupy an actual position in the first place. Meanwhile, the second half of every drive-by is the unacknowledged rout/failure/retreat.

        • Greg G.

          I think there is a big Reset Button in Croydon so he has some urgent business to attend there. He will be back with the same tired arguments and no answers to the questions he gets.

        • ephemerol

          He’s no more likely to bring any more ammo to defend his “position” then either.

        • epeeist

          Meanwhile, the second half of every drive-by is the unacknowledged rout/failure/retreat.

          Failure? He has temporarily retired in satisfaction at his victory.

        • ephemerol

          If in a battle I ran up to the enemy, shot, missed, and then ran away, I wouldn’t be thinking myself victorious. But maybe that’s just me?

        • epeeist

          If in a battle I ran up to the enemy, shot, missed, and then ran away,

          Well you might think he has missed, and I might think he has missed but being evilutionists we are in no position to judge. No doubt in JB’s mind his salvoes were devastating.

        • When you throw the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch, you don’t question whether it’s going to be effective.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ashgP4YMdJw

        • ephemerol

          Convincing oneself they were devastating is part of how one keeps the failure from being acknowledged…especially in the quiet moments when one might be tempted to reflect…

        • Susan

          Is there really anything I could provide?

          What are you claiming and how do you support it?

          I’m pretty sure this is not the first time I’ve asked you this question.

          Even if it is, why not answer it?

        • ephemerol

          He’s claiming his god isn’t a cryptid.

          He “supports” this with the same sort of “good evidence” supplied by those who try to convince us that Bigfoot, Yeti, and the Loch Ness monster really exist too.

          Then he says us non-theists only THINK his god is a cryptid because we stubbornly refuse to accept all of his “good evidence,” juscuz we’re biased by our “faith” in the “consensus of science” for which, of course, there isn’t any evidence at all!

          So, I guess he rejects the consensus of science, which recognizes myriad other forms of life, and so eats three square meals of dirt every day?

    • eric

      34) Do you have an example of this being used?

      From Mirriam-Webster:

      “Definition of apologetics

      1 : systematic argumentative discourse (see discourse entry 1 sense 2a) in defense (as of a doctrine)

      2: a branch of theology devoted to the defense of the divine origin and authority of Christianity”

      #2 is exactly what Bob is talking about, because it presumes Christianity to be true and then reasons backwards from that presumption to ask how it could be true.

    • The underlying assumption in all of this is that Christians are incapable of reasoning through their beliefs.

      Not really. The brain’s imperfections are something we’re all stuck with.

      32) The Bible narrative and the extra-Biblical evidence provides good evidence for many of the events.

      What other religions or superstitions are also swept up with this generous approach?

      In addition, the life and work of the 1st century Christians speaks to what they saw.

      Sounds like they believe for the same reason you believe—you are both part of a religion, of which the supernatural events were experienced by none of you.

      You have chosen to reject those and put your faith in other beliefs lacking evidence

      Historians scrub supernatural tales from historical accounts. It’s a reliable route to a good approximation of the truth. No faith needed.

      • JBSchmidt

        “What other religions or superstitions are also swept up with this generous approach?”

        Evidence that supports the stories is generous?

        “Sounds like they believe for the same reason you believe—you are both part of a religion”

        Accept they were first hand witnesses or had numerous first hand witness to verify the events.

        “Historians scrub supernatural tales from historical accounts.”

        Accept when they craft evolutionary tales. Which is then told to you as consensus and you accept on faith.

        • Greg G.

          Accept they were first hand witnesses or had numerous first hand witness to verify the events.

          Do you mean “Accept” or “Except”? What first hand witnesses are you talking about. A fictional story about some event with many witnesses has exactly as many witnesses as a fictional story that says there were no witnesses.

        • Illithid

          Dealing only with your last two sentences:
          Biologists explain evolution, not historians.
          There is abundant physical evidence for evolution, references for which I’ll be happy to supply. It’s true that accepting this evidence requires trusting a consensus of experts in the field, but they check each other’s work, and their data and methods are open for anyone to critique. If you wanted, you could replicate it yourself. The theory makes testable predictions, which have repeatedly been verified by independent researchers. There’s no more faith involved than my “faith” that Australia exists.

        • Michael Murray

          There’s no more faith involved than my “faith” that Australia exists.

          Hang on. … … … Yep I just checked outside. It’s still there. It might have gone now I’m back inside I guess but let’s not get all metaphysical.

        • Illithid

          How could you see that it was there when it’s the middle of the night?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          But what about the drop bears?

          😉

        • Michael Murray

          Drop bears are a matter of faith. As is the theological question of whether they drop up or down.

        • Michael Neville

          Australia still exists. It’s Noo Zealund that’s mythical, full of orcs and elves and kiwis and other fictitious inhabitants. Here’s a photograph of Reginald Maldagug, Christchurch Regional Director for Pak’n Save Grocery Chain:

          https://i.imgur.com/NXtDGx9.jpg

        • Evolutionary “tales” have far more support than tales written millennia ago by cattle herders, who were already in those times considered backwards people. If you cannot understand research papers, which can be read for free, and especially how science works unlike religion it’s not our fault.

          Accept also the sources for all those claims are the same. Nobody outside the Bible saw the zombie apocalypse or the Sun going black.

          I will pray Eldath, Goddess of peace, for you.

        • ephemerol

          If you’re capable of not talking out of both sides of your mouth and committing to principles … and a class of things is “evidence,” and is capable of supporting a story, then any other element of that class is also equally evidence, and is also equally capable of supporting a story. You can’t be generous for just one, but then turn around and be stingy when it comes to another. That’s special pleading. You do that and you’re disqualified. Are you capable of not disqualifying yourself?
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/84fadf68fcb587fb091e0fe33bdf8ea668e21377e18854ddfdd8853a62021c0f.jpg

        • Scooter
        • epeeist

          Seems that the theory is still a problem for real thinkers.

          You are linking to a far right blog quoting a computer scientist who says that the theory is wrong and you think this is authoritative.

          It would be funny if it wasn’t so pathetic.

        • Jim Dailey

          From the Gerlenter column – published by a Claremont Colleges journal – hardly a “right-wing blog” :

          The religion is all on the other side. Meyer and other proponents of I.D. are the dispassionate intellectuals making orderly scientific arguments. Some I.D.-haters have shown themselves willing to use any argument—fair or not, true or not, ad hominem or not—to keep this dangerous idea locked in a box forever. They remind us of the extent to which Darwinism is no longer just a scientific theory but the basis of a worldview, and an emergency replacement religion for the many troubled souls who need one.”

        • epeeist

          From the Gerlenter column – published by a Claremont Colleges journal – hardly a “right-wing blog”

          Media Bias/Fact Check rates The College Fix (the site that Scooter referenced) as between “Right” and “Extreme Right”.

          As it is Gerlenter is not a biologist but, as I noted, a computer scientist. I will ask again, why should I take his views as authoritative?

          Meyer and other proponents of I.D. are the dispassionate intellectuals making orderly scientific arguments.

          So, for the moment let us assume that the theory of evolution is false. What do you propose replacing it by given that this will have to have at least the same explanatory power. What testable predictions does your replacement make and what are the results of critical testing?

        • The motto of The College Fix is “Your daily dose of right-minded news and commentary” (emphasis in original).

          I think that’s a clue.

        • Jim Dailey

          Nobody, not me, not Mayer, says evolution is false. He points out several facts that fly in the face of the post-Darwinist narrative that blow huge holes in the theory that evolution is the result of then purely exogenous forces that we currently understand.

        • (1) So evolution isn’t false, but it has huge holes in it. I’m confused. What good do you think it is, then?

          (2) And, as has been pointed out to you before, destroying evolution does precisely nothing to argue that any theory you’ve got is worth anything. It’s not like there’s evolution and “God dun it!” and you win if only you can attack evolution.

        • Jim Dailey

          1) Post-Darwinism probably explains some part of evolution. That is, certainly some evolution is probably due to the exogenous forces we currently understand.
          2) You do realize that you just echoed your own #32 and #34, if you substitute in post-Darwinism for Christianity?

        • (1) “Post-Darwinism”? Can we just use the words that the adults use? Since I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean, let’s use the word “evolution.”

          (2) No. Explain it to me.

        • Michael Neville

          The only people who talk about “Darwinism” are creationists. Since you keep using the term you’re just showing me that, like all other creationists, you’re an ignorant, anti-science fool who prefers mythology to the real world.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          I can see why you block your comment history. Judging from what you’ve written here, it’s understandable that you wouldn’t want to embarrass yourself further.

          I’m still looking forward to two things from you.

          1) A better explanation than evolution that passes the rigorous scientific methodology,and

          2) A critically cognizant rationale why anyone would prefer to base their world view on ancient, rote, supernatural dogma over knowledgeable, consensus-based, and testable conclusions that have proven, real-world results over time?

        • Jim Dailey

          I see why you post comments under an alias.

          1. We will find a “better explanation” when leftist agendas are finally abandoned outside the gates of universities.

          2. Since Gregor Mendel was a Catholic monk, and since you are just another internet loudmouth, I know who I’m going with.

        • Lex Lata

          1. Although it has become a political issue because of the implications for certain theists (especially biblical literalists), the theory of natural selection itself is not leftist. It’s the best (albeit corrigible) explanation we have for the data observed by biologists, paleontologists, epidemiologists, geneticists, comparative anatomists, etc., regardless of personal politics. In fact, its inclusion in public school science curricula in the mid-20th century was motivated in large part by Eisenhower Administration concerns that American students needed a better science education to compete with their Soviet peers. Not exactly a leftist initiative.

          The modern ID movement, in contrast, was intentionally and explicitly conceived as part of a conservative political strategy to get around First Amendment jurisprudence preventing the teaching of biblical creationism as science in public schools. Google “cdesign proponentsists,” “Wedge Document,” or “Kitzmiller v. Dover” for more, if you’re curious.

          2. Do you think the God of Abraham is directly responsible for whatever happened when the first microscopic bits of non-life became the first microscopic bits of life from which all life forms would eventually evolve?

        • MR

          In fact, its inclusion in public school science curricula in the mid-20th century was motivated in large part by Eisenhower Administration concerns that American students needed a better science education to compete with their Soviet peers

          Thanks for that extra bit of background, Lex.

        • Jim Dailey

          1) You can accept the quote from Gerlenter or reject it. When a guy like Gerlenter is willing to put the assertions in writing, ignore them at your own peril.
          2). As to abiogenesis, I find the idea that a bunch of chemicals bumped into each other in the primordial stew and formed life to be absolutely ludicrous. Did God intervene? I really have no idea. However, since this blog is putatively written for skeptics, I find the angry defenses of this post-Darwinian dogma to be laughable.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Lol! Thanks for the laugh and for finally making clear that you’re just pulling our legs. I almost made a earnest reply, but you’ve spared me the trouble.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          Scientists are on the cusp of creating life from basic chemicals thereby answering some of the mysteries of the universe. I find that to be very exciting news because I have a thirst for knowledge and know that with every new discovery, comes another mystery to solve. Theists appear to be satisfied with goddidit as if that settles all the questions. I find that stance to be totally incurious, purposefully obtuse and sadly pathetic.

        • Lex Lata

          1. I can also just acknowledge that one computer scientist has contrary thoughts about what thousands of biologists, paleontologists, epidemiologists, geneticists, comparative anatomists, etc. do for a living. I eat perils for breakfast.

          2. You have no idea how life began? Good on ya. Neither do I. Peace at last.

          Cheers!

        • Jim Dailey

          Likewise.

          Although I would like to hear more about “perils for breakfast”.

        • 1. Who cares what he said? I’ll see you your non-biologist and raise you the consensus of the entire field of biology.

          2. Ah, right. The instincts of a non-scientist are always worth following when they conflict with the scientific consensus.

          I find the angry defenses of this post-Darwinian dogma to be laughable.

          Again, I have no idea what “Darwinian” is supposed to mean. The anger probably comes at an outsider to a scientific field critiquing its consensus. Unfortunately, taken to a societal level, that can have consequences.

        • Michael Neville

          Why should we pay the slightest attention to what a non-biologist says?

          Your ignorance and incredulity aren’t arguments against abiogenesis. They’re just evidence that you’re ignorant and incredulous. Next time you decide to argue against abiogenesis bring a better argument than “I don’t think so”.

        • 1. That does make it easier! Just assume your position and then ridicule anyone who doesn’t hold it. As for me and my house, we will follow the evidence.

          2. Mendel? But are you a Catholic? If not, what does your church say about Catholics? I ask because many evangelical churches say that “Catholics” aren’t really Christian. I don’t know where you fall on this issue.

          But back to your point, are you saying that Mendel rejected evolution? If not, when I don’t know what “I know who I’m going with” (obviously meaning Mendel) if Mendel supports evolution.

        • Jim Dailey

          1). You are kidding? Someone other than a new atheist would use this tactic? No way!
          2.). Yes, I am Catholic. I am pretty sure I am Christian too.

          I went with Mendel since he was Catholic and contributed significantly to a science that is at least tangentially related to evolution. I did not feel like looking up a famous Catholic paleontologist.

        • Greg G.

          Mendel’s conclusion has been confirmed but it looks like he fudged the data he published.

        • 2. If you’re “going with” Mendel, I want to know Mendel’s position with respect to evolution.

          And why do you reject evolution when the Catholic Church (more or less) doesn’t?

          I did not feel like looking up a famous Catholic paleontologist.

          You’re referring to Mendel? I’m pretty sure he wasn’t a paleontologist.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          Catholics are Christians when you need their huge numbers to show how many Christians there are in the world, thereby proving Christianity is the “right” religion.

          Catholics are not Christians the rest of the time, because what kind of True Christian™ prays to saints and Mary, and not to Jesus or God himself?

        • When you compare the 1.3 billion Roman Catholics against any Protestant denomination, you can see why they often want to boost their numbers.

        • Susan

          We will find a “better explanation” when leftist agendas are finally abandoned outside the gates of universities.

          So, you’ve got nothing, then?

        • Pofarmer

          Astonishing.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          I post under an alias because I’m an atheist living deep in the Bible Belt and it is in my and my family’s best interest to keep a low profile among these loving Christians. I mentioned your comment history being blocked because it seems somewhat disingenuous and deceitful to make comments that you’re afraid that others will scrutinize.

          So you have no better methodology other than making a ludicrous contention that those “leftist agendas” are somehow perverting the educational process. I was really hoping for something better. Perhaps, the problem isn’t about evolution but about a regressive dogma in stasis.

          I wouldn’t know Gregor Mendel if he sat on my face. I may be a loudmouth, but at least I don’t still cling desperately to ancient superstition while utilizing modern technological science to argue for the former.

        • Jim Dailey

          Maybe if you weren’t an obnoxious creep you would have better relations with your neighbors.

          I block my history because most people do.

          I added the leftist agenda since academia is now rotten with them, and the eminent scientist who I quoted is pretty near the peak of academia.

          So you have never heard of Gregor Mendel. Shocker there,

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          “Maybe if you weren’t an obnoxious creep you would have better relations with your neighbors.”

          Whoa, don’t foist your projections onto me. I get along fine with my neighbors just as long as I keep my mouth shut about religion. When in Rome…

          “I block my history because most people do.”

          Says you. I stand behind what I write even when I may change my mind. I have no problem with anyone holding me accountable to what I have written. Apparently, some folks do.

          “I added the leftist agenda since academia is now rotten with them,…”

          And you would know this how? Because someone teaches something that may disagree with what you want to be told, doesn’t automatically make it leftist or incorrect. Knowledge oftentimes causes discomfort. Adults deal with it and generally are richer for the experience. I prefer to keep an open mind instead of merely generalizing and labeling to feebly attempt to discredit that of which I may not understand. I’m guessing you don’t?

          “…and the eminent scientist who (sic) I quoted is pretty near the peak of academia.”

          Oh, I don’t doubt you believe that. Unfortunately for you and other creationists, Bible study ain’t science.

          “So you have never heard of Gregor Mendel. Shocker there,”

          Not really. Oddly enough, there’s probably a lot of monk/scientists I haven’t heard of.

        • Susan

          there’s probably a lot of monk/scientists I haven’t heard of.

          I have heard of Mengel.

          That Jim Dailey refers to him because he was a monk is an insult to Mengel.

          I wonder if he knows this bit about Mengel’s life:

          He became a friar in part because it enabled him to obtain an education without having to pay for it himself.[8] As the son of a struggling farmer, the monastic life, in his words, spared him the “perpetual anxiety about a means of livelihood.”[9] He was given the name Gregor (Řehoř in Czech)[1] when he joined the Augustinian friars.[10]

          The politics of religion. Not to say that Mengel wasn’t committed to catholic doctrine. Just can’t help but notice that the way to get an education was to join the church because they had power and money.

          Regardless, Mengel’s contributions can be considered for their scientific value. I don’t see a connection between them and Yahwehjesus.

          That’s to be expected. Jim Dailey has consistently showed up here from time to time to waggle his bum and then to run away, when confronted.

          He’s established himself to be a shameless liar (and a coward) since the beginning.

        • I thought Mendel was posthumously recognized as a pioneer in genetics. If he published, I don’t think his achievements were recognized during his lifetime, and genetics was built from other researchers’ work.

          That’s not to diminish his work and intelligence, just to point out that genetics didn’t actually gain much from Mendel’s work.

          Or at least that’s how I remember it.

        • Michael Neville

          Mendel did publish but in an obscure Bohemian journal in 1865. In 1900 his work had been essentially duplicated by Dutch botanist Hugo de Vries and German botanist Carl Correns, working independently. They both searched the literature and discovered Mendel’s paper. Showing the utmost integrity, de Vries and Correns acknowledged Mendel’s priority. De Vries admitted that he didn’t understand his results until he read Mendel’s paper.

        • Ignorant Amos

          JD wouldn’t be championing Mendel’s work if he was commenting prior to Vatican II.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          Jim Dailey; I don’t think he liked me.

          Mengel sounds like someone with cognitive skills. I’m glad he got to flex them. Thanks for the info.

        • Greg G.

          Mendel as the Father of Genetics :: DNA from the Beginning
          http://www.dnaftb.org/1/bio.html

          Classic Mendelian Genetics (Patterns of Inheritance)
          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK132145/

        • Susan

          the Father of Genetics

          Note that Jim claims a monk for himself.

          But fails to acknowledge that much of Mendel’s work was burned by other monks.

        • BertB

          I have been posting articles and comments here for five years or more, and I have never felt a need to block my history.
          I am happy to have everyone read everything I have ever written or commented on.
          Why aren’t you?

        • epeeist

          I block my history because most people do.

          They do? Evidence please.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          The only people I’ve seen block their history are trolls, and mostly the Christian ones, at that. But that’s admittedly anecdotal as a moderator on a couple of atheist blogs.

        • epeeist

          I took it as something he had just made up on the fly when challenged.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Had to be.

          Bandwagon Fallacy.

          https://emotionalfallacies.weebly.com/uploads/2/2/6/7/22673126/1549235.png?342

          Because it is so pathetic an answer, it’s like something a child would say when being chastised by a parent for scrumping an orchard or mitching off school.

          “But Maw, everybody else was doing it”

          To which a slap across the head was dished out along with the rhetorical question, “If everyone else was sticking their head in a fire, would ya do that too?”

        • Pofarmer

          I had blocked my history briefly because I commented on a local story with my discuss profile and didn’t want someone following back to my atheist postings. (I’m kind of in fundagelical land). I’ve since un blocked it. Kodie had to lock her profile because of a stalker.

        • Greg G.

          I have seen someone block their history because of a stalker.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Aye, but that’s an exemption. And only blocked because of the stalker.

          Am sure there are others who block for other reasons too.

          But, “I block my history because most people do.”, is a pathetic reason to block, and that most people block their history at all, is the lie.

        • Ignorant Amos

          A notice that to be the case with Christers that block their commenting history too.

          Ya can bet they are out-and-out liars, like Jimbob Dailey here.

          They don’t want contradictions and lies from their past being tracked down and used to bite them back on the bum.

          Dailey has demonstrated here what he’s like.

          A comment containing…

          2) A critically cognizant rationale why anyone would prefer to base their world view on ancient, rote, supernatural dogma over knowledgeable, consensus-based, and testable conclusions that have proven, real-world results over time?

          In reply to JD’s…

          2) You do realize that you just echoed your own #32 and #34, if you substitute in post-Darwinism for Christianity?

          Was met by a complete non sequitur from JD in…

          2. Since Gregor Mendel was a Catholic monk, and since you are just another internet loudmouth, I know who I’m going with.

          Later on Jimbob Dopey Dailey said…

          The Mendel thing was an answer to some dope who said anyone who believed in God automatically dismisses science (or some such).

          Which you can see is a pure unadulterated lie from a dishonest Roman Catholic Christer (no surprise there then), even if we allow it as a “some such” paraphrase.

          “Lying for Jesus” and “Pious Fraud” Est.1st century CE.

        • Ignorant Amos

          *crickets*

        • Ignorant Amos

          I block my history because most people do.

          More lying ballix. Baby Jesus is gurning his lamps out.

        • MR

          I laughed out loud at his claim. And then they want to be taken seriously!

        • BertB

          I don’t block my history, I don’t use a nym to hide my identity, I post articles here on Patheos using my real name and my Email address.
          I am not ashamed of anything I write here. I have nothing to hide. Apparently you do.

        • Otto

          Yeah…leftest agendas are the only thing propping up evolution and holding your superstition in check.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Thank god for lefist agendas then!

        • epeeist

          1. We will find a “better explanation” when leftist agendas are finally abandoned outside the gates of universities.

          Yes, things were so much better in the days of Deutsche Physik weren’t they.

        • Jim Dailey

          Yay! Godwins Law!

          Especially ironic since I am supporting the assertions of a Jewish intellectual!

          Nice going epeeist!

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yay! Godwins Law!

          Another thing you are as thick as pig shite about.

        • epeeist

          Especially ironic since I am supporting the assertions of a Jewish intellectual!

          No you weren’t. You were trying to intimate that science in academe is corrupt because of a “leftist agenda”.

          As it is I don’t see that anyone here has a problem with Mendel, after all his ideas were incorporated into the theory of evolution in its first inter-theoretic reduction. I noted that in my response to you from the other day.

          Oh, and with regard to that post. I note that you haven’t provided any evidential backing or details of any critical testing of “intelligent design”.

        • Jim Dailey

          I guess you don’t know much about Gerlenter.

          The Mendel thing was an answer to some dope who said anyone who believed in God automatically dismisses science (or some such). The dope goes on to say he wouldn’t know Mendel “if he sat in my face”.

          I think the exploration of ID will not prove the existence of God, but may yield another heretofore undiscovered force that can account for the Cambrian explosion and perhaps for abiogenesis.
          I noted in another comment that “consensus science” put penicillin on the shelf for two decades because sulfa drugs were the “best” explanation at the time for how to control bacterial infection. The rabid defenses of Post-Darwinism as the be-all and end-all of evolution – while it is full of such glaring holes – looks too much like the same nonsense to me.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The dishonesty is hanging right outta ya.

        • epeeist

          I guess you don’t know much about Gerlenter.

          I see no reason to regard Gerlenter as authoritative, he has no background in the subject under discussion, he has no relevant qualifications and has done no work in the subject. I can see where you get your contempt for academe from though.

          The Mendel thing was an answer to some dope who said anyone who believed in God automatically dismisses science (or some such).

          An actual link would be good.

          The dope goes on to say he wouldn’t know Mendel “if he sat in my face”.

          Without looking him up would you know Charles Townes if he “sat on your face”? And yet the technology developed on his work is ubiquitous. We are all ignorant of a huge amount of human knowledge, what is to be decried is deliberate ignorance.

          I think the exploration of ID will not prove the existence of God, but may yield another heretofore undiscovered force that can account for the Cambrian explosion and perhaps for abiogenesis.

          So your “intelligent designer” is just a synonym not just for a god but your particular god. As for evidential backing, empirical fit, testable predictions or survival of critical testing, you don’t appear to have any, or at least you haven’t mentioned any. So why should I take your suppositions as anything more than that?

          I noted in another comment that “consensus science” put penicillin on the shelf for two decades because sulfa drugs were the “best” explanation at the time

          Two things on this, as information and capabilities improve the consensus may change, science is ampliative and theories are simply the current best explanation.

          Secondly, why should I take your claim? You provide nothing that would substantiate it. It seems to be a throw-away comment that pays no heed to the fact that sulphonamides were available in the 1930s and could be produced simply and at low cost, while penicillin was only produced in good yields in the 1940’s.

          The rabid defenses of Post-Darwinism as the be-all and end-all of evolution – while it is full of such glaring holes – looks too much like the same nonsense to me.

          And of course using the supposed change in consensus in one instance to intimate the consensus in another field is wrong is simply hasty generalisation. In fact it is worse than that in that ignores the consensus in many other areas of science. In my own field there is broad consensus in relativity, quantum mechanics and statistical physics though there is recognition of what theories in these fields cannot (yet) explain.

          But as I have said before, let’s imagine that the modern synthesis is shown to be false. What will replace it is a theory which will have at least the same explanatory power and empirical fit as the current theory and will account for the anomalies that it cannot explain. Given the complete lack of those within the “intelligent design” community to demonstrate any of these (or any other of the attributes of a scientific theory as described in Fr. Ernan McMullan’s The Virtues of a Good Theory) then ID hardly fits the bill.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The Mendel thing was an answer to some dope who said anyone who believed in God automatically dismisses science (or some such).

          An actual link would be good.

          No chance of that happening, because it is a bare faced lie.

          But I know that’s why ya said it.

        • Greg G.

          Jim Dailey was responding to Thanks4AllTheFish who did use the “sat on my face” line but I do not see where T4ATF said anything like “anyone who believed in God automatically dismisses science” in that post nor the previous post.

          https://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2019/08/25-stupid-arguments-christians-should-avoid-part-10-2/#comment-4576094446

        • Pofarmer

          We know from experience here though, that there is always a point at which believers either half to discredit or ignore science.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Jim Dailey was responding to Thanks4AllTheFish who did use the “sat on my face” line but I do not see where T4ATF said anything like “anyone who believed in God automatically dismisses science” in that post nor the previous post.

          Aye, a was following the convo, it’s the emphasised bit that drew my ire here. Because I don’t remember T4ATF saying anything like Dopey Dailey has asserted, nor do I think it is something T4ATF would be irresponsible enough to state. Ergo, Jimbob Dopey Dailey is fibbing again.

        • epeeist

          It’s not like there’s evolution and “God dun it!” and you win if only you can attack evolution.

          Personally I think I am done entertaining those who attempt such false dichotomies. Let them put up the evidence for their own position. The fact that there is nothing in favour of “intelligent design” is their problem.

        • epeeist

          Nobody, not me, not Mayer, says evolution is false.

          So he, and you, are just sceptics. You aren’t really proponents of an alternative to the theory of evolution…

          He points out several facts that fly in the face of the post-Darwinist narrative

          If you mean the modern synthesis of Darwin’s original theory, genetics and molecular biology why don’t you says so instead of the term “post-Darwinist”. It couldn’t be because you want to use a loaded term would it?

          Let’s take another tack, if you, like Meyer, are proposing an “intelligent designer” then let’s have some evidence for the existence of such a designer, let’s have a list of its properties. Does positing such an entity provide better explanatory power and empirical fit than the modern synthesis? What testable predictions does the hypothesis make and what are the results of critical testing?

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Hmmmm…. I wonder why no one has bothered to answer your questions?

        • Michael Neville

          The link is to a site with the subheading: “Your daily dose of right minded news and commentary from across the nation” (emphasis in original). Also Gerlenter’s column was published by the Claremont Institute (emphasis mine), a conservative organization with no affiliation to Claremont College.

          I thought Catholics had no problem with evolution. Pope Frankie and his ex-Holiness Benny Ratzi both declared that evolution was acceptable for Catholics. Or are you just sleazing to the beat of a different, fundamentalist Protestant, drummer?

          EDITED to correct minor typo.

        • ThaneOfDrones

          The Holy Roman Catholic Church also has no problem with Creationism. I.e. they have not outlawed evolution, but they have not mandated it either. The individual donor member is allowed to come to their own conclusions about that.

        • Meyer? You mean not-a-biologist Stephen Meyer? Gerlenter isn’t a biologist, either.

          I’ll read that article at some point (busy right now), but I’d be an idiot to drop the scientific consensus because of not-biologists’ opinions.

          If evolution were still a puzzle, the God hypothesis would still be untenable.

        • BertB

          Meyer is a founder and senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, the outfit that invented the whole Intelligent Design idea. I.D. has been repeatedly debunked by scientific organizations. In the famous Dover vs. Kitzmiller trial the plaintiffs successfully argued that I.D. is a form of creationism, and that teaching it in public schools violated the Establishment Clause. The judge, a Bush appointee, was excoriated by the Religious Right for his decision.

        • I live in Seattle, and I’ve visited the Disco Institute for some of their events. I believe I’ve attended a Stephen Meyer book launch event.

        • BertB

          Why? :>)

        • I hang out with YECs sometimes, and they invite me. Yeah, it’s weird.

        • Jim Dailey

          Meyer is no YEC person. You are really being bizarre.

        • Never said he was.

        • BertB

          No, Meyer is an ID proponent, a theory hypothesis speculation (I am still being generous) that has been thoroughly debunked and repudiated as I described in my previous comment above.

        • Michael Neville

          If you’re unaware of it, ID is creationism repackaged. ID was invented by a lawyer named Phillip Johnson to get around the Constitutional prohibition of teaching religious mythology in science classes. The Discovery Institute even admits that the “Intelligent Designer” is the fundamentalist Christians’ god with the serial number filed off.

        • epeeist

          The Discovery Institute

          An organisation that is full of cdesign proponentsists.

        • ThaneOfDrones

          And I.D., despite being such tremendous scientists (in the mind of Jime Dailey & such) has been completely unable to come to a conclusion about the age of the earth or the age of the universe. Politically, it might make sense as a “big tent” strategy, but it shows the scientific emptiness of I.D.

        • epeeist

          And I.D., despite being such tremendous scientists (in the mind of Jime Dailey & such) has been completely unable to come to a conclusion about the age of the earth or the age of the universe.

          And to some extent I think that this is where we go wrong. Rather than chasing the Gish Gallop that the likes of Jim Dailey and J.B.Schmidt produce we should be challenging them to produce the evidence in favour of their position.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          That they never get around to answering those challenges is just a coincidence, I’m sure.

        • MR

          we should be challenging them to produce the evidence in favour of their position.

          (weeps at your feet and kisses them)

          O, prophet, if only they would hearken unto thy word.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          “Rather than chasing the Gish Gallop that the likes of Jim Dailey and J.B.Schmidt produce we should be challenging them to produce the evidence in favour of their position.”

          I tried, but apparently the ID bio-lab is being refurbished.

        • Michael Neville

          Jones obviously takes his role as a judge seriously. In a speech he said that his duty was to the Constitution and not to special interest groups. In a November 2006 talk given at Bennington College, Jones rejected the “activist judge” criticisms and explained the judiciary role and how judges decide cases:

          If you look at public polls in the United States, at any given time a significant percentage of Americans believe that it is acceptable to teach creationism in public high schools. And that gives rise to an assumption on the part of the public that judges should ‘get with the program’ and make decisions according to the popular will.

          There’s a problem with that. … The framers of the Constitution, in their almost infinite wisdom, designed the legislative and executive branches under Articles I and II to be directly responsive to the public will. They designed the judiciary, under Article III, to be responsive not to the public will–in effect to be a bulwark against public will at any given time–but to be responsible to the Constitution and the laws of the United States. That distinction, just like the role of precedent, tends to be lost in the analysis of judges’ decisions, including my decision.

        • BertB

          Wouldn’t it be great if the SCOTUS were as apolitical as Jones?

        • epeeist

          It was pointed out at the trial that if one accepted Behe’s definition of science then this would be broad enough to include astrology.

        • MR

          This is a problem that forever dogs the apologist, innit? To find a definition or evidence that legitimizes their own argument but that doesn’t open up the field to every other crack pot belief/conspiracy theory/myth/religion/cult…. Call them on it and set your squirrel traps ’cause the games r’about to begin.

        • BertB

          His “irreducible complexity” argument was exploded in cross examination, where he was forced to admit that intermediate forms of the eye and bacterial flagella showed how they developed through natural selection.

        • epeeist

          He was forced to admit quite a lot of stuff, including the fact that he didn’t know of and hadn’t read any relevant papers on the subject.

        • Jim Dailey

          So I guess since your not-a-theologian, your views on Christianity should be summarily dismissed?

        • Where do I reject the theologians’ consensus?

        • Jim Dailey

          That’s actually pretty cute.

        • Was it? I can’t imagine it’s left us on the same page.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          How do theologians study whether a man can or did return from the dead?

        • Michael Neville

          Theology is the study of what other people guessed about a non-existent critter.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          Next time you need a heart surgeon, ask a plumber for a recommendation.

        • BertB

          Wow, “I.D. haters.” Talk about dispassionate intellectual discussion (NOT!)
          Here, for your entertainment and (possibly) enlightenment, is a statement about I.D. from a bunch of guys who happen to be real scientists.
          https://www.ucsusa.org/scientific_integrity/what_you_can_do/why-intelligent-design-is-not.html

        • A critique of evolution by scientists? I’m sure Jim’s eager to read it and adjust his thinking as necessary.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Not to be a Johnny-One-Note, but this drives me crazy.

          The scientific method is limited to using evidence from the natural world to explain phenomena.

          “Supernatural” is not the opposite of “natural” and there is no such thing as an “unnatural” world, so that word is not necessary or even helpful here. It’s more appropriate to say…

          The scientific method is limited to using empirical evidence to explain phenomena.

          It’s not a science’s fault that gods don’t leave empirical evidence. Nor would science be limited to the “natural” world if gods suddenly started leaving empirical evidence.

        • Rudy R

          Yeah, cuz it’s just a theory, right?

        • Sounds like the argument that convinced Antony Flew to become a deist.

          I read “his” book. It was sad seeing Creationist words being put into the mouth of a defenseless old man.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          “Seems that the theory is still a problem for real thinkers.”

          A [real thinker] computer science professor would certainly be the first person I would go to for validation of evolution or abiogenesis.

          Do I need this? /s

        • ThaneOfDrones

          I remember when the Discovery Institute had their petition of “scientists doubting Darwin”. Lots of computer scientists and dentists on the list.

        • And engineers, I believe.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          Don’t forget engineers (they think they are scientists btw).

          I would like to think that most people use some due amount of diligence when they are in need of a heart or brain surgeon for themselves or a loved one or when they seek a professional to roof their house or fix their car. This is why it always seems puzzling to me when they are so eager to accept the contentions of people who don’t have anything but a layman’s opinion about a field as complex and diverse as evolution just because they are professionals in some unrelated field?

          What rational person does that?

        • ThaneOfDrones

          An important question in the process is: “is there any actual expertise to be had in the field?” If you are going to question various fields of biology, or geology, the answer is undoubtedly “yes”. Theology is not in the same position.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          And conflating the scientific facts of evolution with some sort of theological need to be inerrant is purely bizarre in our modern technological era.

        • I’m awaiting that glorious day when theologians the world over will come together in harmony and love and simply agree on the number of gods.

        • BertB

          Well. Hmmmm. I am an 82-year-old broken down old retired engineer. I don’t think of myself as a scientist, but I know more about my areas of expertise (or did when I was working) that an astronomer or an evolutionary biologist. More importantly, I respect the Scientific Method, and understand about the importance of evidence-based reasoning. I think I am more qualified to judge the content of a scientific paper on the process of natural selection, for instance, that a person who is untrained in scientific fields. But I certainly would not claim to be an expert. And finally, I respect scientific consensus…which creationists generally do not…if it conflicts with their faith-based ideas.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          Ditto – (almost) everything you said.

          I too am an engineer. I designed computer networks using the Novell architecture. I would never claim to be an expert on evolution (or even Novell) but like you, I know how to evaluate evidence – and the Bible ain’t evidence.

        • BertB

          I am an EE, but spent most of my career in systems and software design…particularly real-time control using the first generation of microprocessors. Primitive stuff compared to today. I am a dinosaur, but still interested in the progress of technology, even though it is far beyond my ken.
          But…to your comment. (almost)…where do we disagree?

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          I’m only 72.

        • BertB

          Just a kid. :>)

        • Ignorant Amos

          Am a baby…57 on Saturday.

        • BertB

          A bit of a coincidence…My daughter’s 58th birthday is TODAY!

        • BertB

          This is frustrating. The comment that i just posted disappeared. I’ll try again.
          My daughter’s 58th birthday is TODAY.

        • BertB

          Comment disappeared again. I am going to post the same comment ten times. Let’s see if all ten disappear.
          My daughter’s 58th birthday is today.

        • BertB

          Number 2. Comment disappeared again. I am going to post the same comment ten times. Let’s see if all ten disappear.
          My daughter’s 58th birthday is today.

        • BertB

          Number 3. Comment disappeared again. I am going to post the same comment ten times. Let’s see if all ten disappear.
          My daughter’s 58th birthday is today.

        • BertB

          Number 4. Comment disappeared again. I am going to post the same comment ten times. Let’s see if all ten disappear.
          My daughter’s 58th birthday is today.

        • Greg G.

          Those comments are in your profile and with “View in discussion”. If you are refreshing on the post you are replying to, it doesn’t give you the downstream unless the thread is small.

        • BertB

          Number 5. Comment disappeared again. I am going to post the same comment ten times. Let’s see if all ten disappear.
          My daughter’s 58th birthday is today.

        • BertB

          Number 6. Comment disappeared again. I am going to post the same comment ten times. Let’s see if all ten disappear.
          My daughter’s 58th birthday is today.

        • BertB

          Number 7. Comment disappeared again. I am going to post the same comment ten times. Let’s see if all ten disappear.
          My daughter’s 58th birthday is today.

        • BertB

          Number 8. Comment disappeared again. I am going to post the same comment ten times. Let’s see if all ten disappear.
          My daughter’s 58th birthday is today.

        • BertB

          Number 9. Comment disappeared again. I am going to post the same comment ten times. Let’s see if all ten disappear.
          My daughter’s 58th birthday is today.

        • BertB

          Number 10. Comment disappeared again. I am going to post the same comment ten times. Let’s see if all ten disappear.
          My daughter’s 58th birthday is today.

        • BertB

          test

        • Ignorant Amos

          I could calculate the position, number, and amount of explosive charges required to drop a particular bridge type into the gap. I’m not sure how many brain surgeons would be able to do the same.

          Then again, a don’t think there are too many that could liveline tap a high voltage overhead line or carry out an underground cable joint on an bomb damaged Airfield Ground Lighting System.

          Striping and assembling a Self Loading Rifle while blindfolded, is another useless skill I’ve acquired which once had an important purpose.

          Not that those skills could not be attained by a brain surgeon given the training, whereas being a brain surgeon is completely beyond my remit. But it is what it is, I wouldn’t dream of commenting on brain surgery.

        • Otto

          Project Steve

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

          And Dentists for Intelligent design… Could one of them maybe explain the design benefit of wisdom teeth please?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Accept they were first hand witnesses or had numerous first hand witness to verify the events.

          Nah…none of that.

          On the other hand, Joseph Smith and his immediate followers were indeed that. Why aren’t you a Mormon?

    • Lex Lata

      With regard to 32, let’s look at a specific example of a biblical miracle claim. Do you believe the account of Joshua’s prayer stopping the sun in the sky for about a full day at Gibeon?

      • Rudy R

        This is not a winning retort. Christians believe god is capable of anything. If they believe a person can survive in a whale’s stomach for 3 days or an animal can talk, stopping the sun is no biggie.

        • Lex Lata

          It’s not meant to be a winning retort, but rather a question meant to spark a discussion with JBSchmidt about the epistemology of ancient miracle claims.

        • epeeist

          a question meant to spark a discussion with JBSchmidt

          He is quite forthcoming when he is criticising (straw) versions of evolution and abiogenesis but ask him to provide actual evidence for his position and he becomes extremely coy. I wish you luck in getting him to say anything in support of his position.

        • Ignorant Amos

          “Do you believe Mo rode a flying horse to get the words of Allah from and archangel?”

          Might be better. Then, if not, why not?

    • Rudy R

      The underlying assumption in all of this is that Christians are incapable of reasoning through their beliefs.

      It’s a reasonable assumption given most Christians don’t know the Gospels were written by unknown authors and were not first-hand witnesses and be surprised that Paul never met Jesus. They would also be surprised to know that Biblical scholars do not know who wrote the Pentateuch. Christians use reason and logic, just not to their religious beliefs. They did not as children use reason and logic to come to their belief in god, so most adults won’t reason themselves out of belief.

    • Len

      32) The Bible narrative and the extra-Biblical evidence provides good evidence for many of the events.

      That may be true. But it’s certainly not true for any of the supernatural bits.

      • JustAnotherAtheist2

        Exactly. The great irony is that apologists often complain atheists don’t treat the Bible equally with other historic writing. Actually guys, we do. That’s why we disregard the unbelievable stuff in both of them.

    • Greg G.

      The Bible narrative and the extra-Biblical evidence provides good evidence for many of the events. In addition, the life and work of the 1st century Christians speaks to what they saw.

      I take some of those things as further evidence that the New Testament is fiction based on some extra-Biblical writings. For example, in Acts 5:34-39, Gamaliel stands up to defend the early Christian apostles that if their schemes were not of God, they would come to an end and he cited some rogue villains, but the best examples he could come up with were Judas the Galilean who lived about 30 years earlier and Theudas who was probably still a child and wouldn’t meet his end until 15 years in the future or so. This proves that the story is not true and it shows that the author of Acts was taking his story lines from the writings of Josephus. Theudas is mentioned in Antiquities of the Jews 20.5.1 §97-99 and Judas the Galilean is mentioned in the next paragraph, Antiquities of the Jews 20.5.2 §100-104.

    • Ignorant Amos

      32) The Bible narrative and the extra-Biblical evidence provides good evidence for many of the events. In addition, the life and work of the 1st century Christians speaks to what they saw. You have chosen to reject those and put your faith in other beliefs lacking evidence (I know, you have a consensus to put your faith in).

      By that twisted logic, you should be rebadging to Mormonism.

      33) Of course, you started as blank slate with no preconceived ideas of how anything worked. Further, as you process life and new experience, you evaluate each from a blank slate as well. Not like those Christian with their god handicap.

      Ahem, ya do know that many atheists come from deeply religious upbringing, right?

      34) Do you have an example of this being used?

      Can’t you read?

      For example, the Millerites sold everything to make themselves right with Jesus, who was to return to earth on October 22, 1844. After this prediction failed, many realized that they’d made a foolish mistake and walked away. But others in the group doubled down, ignoring this dramatic evidence that their beliefs were wrong and rationalized ways that they could still be right. Today’s Seventh-day Adventist Church is one outgrowth of the Great Disappointment of 1844.

      Or you could go to the Clergy Project for examples of clerics making the transition, but are struggling because of the huge investment they placed in their particular beliefs.

  • eric

    While I think the sunk cost fallacy is indeed happening, I don’t think it’s typically conscious, and I’ve never heard a Christian ever articulate it as a reason for belief. But #32 is spot on, and #33 is also spot on but more a repudiation of ‘apologetics’ as an entire method than it is a commentary about god’s existence.

    • TheNuszAbides

      Agreed on sunk cost; the closest I think they get to consciously articulating it would be “crossed” with appeal to tradition/family legacy.

  • NS Alito

    But who starts by wondering about God’s actions rather than first demonstrating that God exists? Who, I mean, but someone with an agenda?

    Skepdoc Harriet Hall has coined the term Tooth Fairy science to refer to “research” on a purported scientific phenomenon before they have been shown to have actually occurred.

    Once you’ve accepted the Tooth Fairy as central to your life and have built an elaborate cognitive structure around it, it’s difficult perhaps to the point of madness to question its existence.

    • JustAnotherAtheist2

      On a semi-related note, my local library recently ran a seminar on “the science of the paranormal”.

      • NS Alito

        I haz a sad.

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Yeah, I was sure to inform my kids that the presenters may use real tools and do stuff with technical sending names, but calling it “science” was, umm…. generous.

        • epicurus

          In my city a planetarium complex was renamed world of science and enlarged with various scientific displays and activity areas. Then they host a magic of Harry Potter exhibit. Some people pointed out the irony.

        • ThaneOfDrones

          I give you:
          Akron Fossils & Science Center

          Here’s a review from TripAdvisor:

          “Creationist museum, not a science center!”

          Also, their web site is badly broken, but I did manage to find this in their “About” section:

          Located inside the Akron Fossils & Science Center is the Creation Education Museum, a set of exhibits that explore the relationship between science and the Bible.

        • epicurus

          Good grief

        • Ignorant Amos

          Oh, they walk amongst us…some are in the halls of government too.

          New visitors’ centre opens at Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
          World-first innovation includes creation explanation

          “The National Trust said it wanted to ‘reflect and respect’ the fact that some people contest the views of mainstream science.

          “The trust said that the exhibit gives recognition to the fact that, for creationists, the debate about the age of the Earth is still ongoing.”

          The National Trust was forced to climb down…a bit…after being lambasted for such fuckwittery.

          The charity launched a review of the audio exhibit earlier this year after it prompted a “mixed response” from the public, attracting criticisms from scientists Professor Brian Cox and Professor Richard Dawkins.

          The exhibit in the £18.5m centre, revealing how people’s explanation of how the World Heritage Site had formed had changed over the centuries, was criticised for yielding to pressure from fundamentalists.

          Creationists believe the Causeway was formed 6,000 years ago, but the scientific consensus is that it was formed 60m years ago and the trust says it has always supported the scientific view of its formation.

          A new audio of around 20 seconds now replaces that segment, saying: “All the scientific evidence points to a volcanic origin for the columns of the Giant’s Causeway, around 60m years ago. However, not everyone agrees with the scientific view.

          “There are some people who believe — often for religious reasons — that the earth was formed more recently — thousands of years ago rather than billions.”

          https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/creationism-takes-a-back-seat-in-story-of-giants-causeway-visitor-centre-28870421.html

        • Michael Neville

          So Jim Daily isn’t the only ignorant person who rejects reality for religious mythology. But we knew that already.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Certainly not, and he certainly has a lot in common with the fellow Protestant Christian fuckwits…

          The Caleb Foundation, created in 1998, is one of the leading creationist pressure groups in Northern Ireland. It also lobbies on a range of social policy issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage from an evangelical Protestant perspective, and has been particularly influential with Democratic Unionist Party ministers in the Northern Ireland Executive. The Foundation describes its mission as “promoting the fundamentals of the historic evangelical Protestant faith”.

          If ya have the stomach for it… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caleb_Foundation

        • BertB

          I don’t think my stomach could handle it. Nauseating.

        • Ignorant Amos
        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Interesting watch.

        • Michael Neville

          The last comment in the video was similar to the last line of The Who’s “Won’t Be Fooled Again”: “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

        • BertB

          Disgusting that they would support, or even give voice to such garbage.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s par for the course in this part of the world ffs.

        • epicurus

          If they are going to give religious explanations, they should have to give all of them, even the ones from long dead religions. a huge plaque listing Zeus, Vishnu, etc. I can’t see Christians accepting that, because they don’t really want a level playing field. they want preferential treatment.

        • Ignorant Amos

          If they are going to give religious explanations, they should have to give all of them, even the ones from long dead religions. a huge plaque listing Zeus, Vishnu, etc.

          Not here…no separation of Church and State here am afraid.

          There is no strict separation of church and state in the United Kingdom. Accordingly, most public officials may display the most common identifiers of a major religion in the course of their duties – for example, rosary beads. Chaplains are provided in the armed forces (see Royal Army Chaplains’ Department, RAF Chaplains Branch) and in prisons.

          I can’t see Christians accepting that, because they don’t really want a level playing field. they want preferential treatment.

          They’ve got it already.

          While the United Kingdom’s official religion is Protestant Christianity, the Church of England remains the state church of its largest constituent country, England. The Monarch of the United Kingdom is the Supreme Governor of the Church, and accordingly, only a Protestant may inherit the British throne. This was enshrined into law by 1701 Act of Settlement.

          Although in reality, things for the most part, are better than most places, because when it gets down to the nitty gritty, very few really care much.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Hm, “often” for religious reasons? I suppose “only” technically includes “often” … or will the hypothetical exceptional crank(s) get a shot at presenting their scripture-free case (hopefully not with others’ tax money)?

        • Ignorant Amos
        • epeeist

          I give you:
          Akron Fossils & Science Center

          We have a creationist zoo in Bristol here in the UK, here is a review, I won’t link to their website.

  • Lex Lata

    With regard to 34, I’d agree that there’s a logical fallacy in a statement along the lines of, “God exists because, if he didn’t, then all the time and effort I’ve put into my religious beliefs and practices were for naught.” That’s pure motivated reasoning, not sound epistemology.

    Having said that, though, I am very sympathetic to the rough (and not even conscious) ongoing cost-benefit reckoning that keeps so many people believing. Letting go of my faith came with minimal downsides, but I have family members, including several preachers, who would be giving up much more than than just the personal comfort that comes with belief. The impact to friendships, careers, family relationships, charity work, social interactions, and other major elements of the human condition would be seismic in many cases. (And in some places and times, unbelief has resulted in loss of property, liberty, skin, and even life.) So while continued belief based on perceived past (and ongoing) costs might not be logically sound, strictly speaking, I wouldn’t say it’s irrational, from someone’s whole-of-life perspective.

    • NS Alito

      I’d like to see some considered research on leaving religious vocations. Perhaps someone in The Clergy Project will anonymize some case studies into problems that tend to come up.

    • BertB

      It is certainly a tough choice for many people to disclose their lack of faith. But if their own logical conclusions lead them to that point, then they have lost their faith whether they disclose it or not. Then, the choice is either to be honest about it with friends and family, or to fake it. I suspect that a lot of people are faking it. The alternative is too unpleasant. I am not criticizing the fakers. They are paying a private emotional price. I feel sorry for them.
      I have read some harrowing accounts by individuals who decided to “come out” as nonbelievers. The loss of faith seemed to be less of a problem than the disruption of personal relationships.

      • RichardSRussell

        I’m reminded of a cartoon I saw many years ago in Mad magazine. It showed the last meeting of the last Communist cell in America, when it was revealed that everybody present was an undercover agent for either the FBI, CIA, local police, federal marshal service, state’s attorney office, or Interpol.

        • Michael Neville

          Gus Hall, who was Chairman of the Communist Party USA for nearly 40 years, used to joke that he could always tell who was a police or FBI informant because they were the ones who kept current on their party dues. Later it was revealed that J. Edgar Hoover required his informants to pay dues, so a major financial supporter of the party was the FBI.

        • Michael Murray

          This is similar to the science fiction story where people travel back in time to see Jesus sentencing, crucifixion. But they are told it is really important not to alter history so they have to yell for Barabbas when Pilate offers to free someone. One of them looks around at the crowd all screaming for Barabbas and realises they are all from the future.

        • epeeist

          I’m reminded of a cartoon I saw many years ago in Mad magazine.

          This is essentially the plot of Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday.

    • My experience is similar–my departure was pain-free, but I’ve heard stories of the difficult extrication process in other situations. “Sure, you can leave, but your family stays behind” is very powerful.

    • sandy

      Lex, I totally agree with your assessment on #34. As a further example, my financial manager is a Sunday school teacher and his wife is a Minister in their church. He has accumulated over half of his clients from his church. His church is a very major revenue stream for him. He’s 6’8, a good man and one they believe they certainly can trust with their life savings. After all, he’s a christian. I trust him because he’s good at what he does. There is no way, regardless of what “evidence or lack of” I throw his way, he will never relinquish his faith. He has too many $ at stake and his reputation. For him, cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias are his friends.

  • Joseph Patterson

    The problem with #33 is worse than you lay it out here.Though I like the calling it the hypothetical god fallacy. If God can have good reasons of taking actions that appear to us as evil then God can lie to us about anything because he may have a good reason for doing so. Or God can make up a story like the life of Jesus, and it not be true, because he has a very good reason for tricking people into believing it for some unknown reason. It makes God unbelievable. It’s not a good answer to the problem of evil.

    • BertB

      It makes God “perfect” by definition, because anything he does or doesn’t do, even if it appears evil or ignorant or malicious or worse can be justified by simply asserting that “we mere mortals cannot understand the infinite mind of God.” It’s a get-out-of-jail-free card that keeps renewing itself. It is so transparently self-serving as an escape door for religious apologists that it should be ridiculed. But they get away with it.

    • JustAnotherAtheist2

      I like to follow up an attempt to make god inscrutable by asking the following:

      How do we tell the difference between a benevolent god who has sufficient reasons to cause/allow apparent harm and a malevolent god who has sufficient reasons to cause/allow apparent good?

      • Ignorant Amos

        Similar to Stephen Law’s “Evil God Challenge”.

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

        • JustAnotherAtheist2

          Very cool. IIRC, it was Noel Plum’s channel where I first encountered the response that both good and evil gods could have sufficient reasons. It was particularly eye opening for me and the question has actually promoted interesting conversations with believers.

    • [The ultimate certainty in the believer’s mind is] the guarantee that [God] will honor that ticket to heaven he supposedly issued you. Here’s a troublesome thought. Suppose you get to the Day of Judgment and God cancels the ticket. No explanation. No appeal. You’re just screwed. Won’t you have to allow that God must have reasons for it that you, a mere mortal, are not privy to? Who are you, like Job, to call God to account?

      — Robert M. Price

      • JustAnotherAtheist2

        Great response.

      • As I often said before elsewhere, I’d prefer to gamble eternity on something much better than what’s written down in a book that can be interpreted in many ways. Not to mention claim sheets are very likely hard to get in the afterlife.

      • ephemerol

        The bible makes certain promises to christians in the here-and-now, not just in the here-after. Especially the promise to send “the holy spirit” to transform his followers. I could look around my own life, and I could look around at the lives of others, especially the leadership, who kept getting busted in extramarital affairs and whatnot, longtime members in good standing who I found out had been pedophiles for years, and could see that none of this transformation was happening in my own church. And as a church group, or if in christendom as a whole, if that demographic is only the same in terms of “sins” or even crimes, as the rest of the population of non-christians, then this promise is not being fulfilled. And this would be something central to what god is supposed to be doing. There can’t be a good reason why a decent god would not want to be doing this anyway, whether he promised to or not. But the bible says he did promise.

        Or maybe it was just me, so I’m “blinded” because god’s not interested in me. Or maybe true christians are only a small subset of christendom, so I can’t pick out the true demographic where transformation is happening. Or whatever scenario. It all boils down to either this god accepts me as a member of his flock, or for whatever reason, he doesn’t.

        If he does accept me, but he doesn’t keep his promises in the here-and-now, why should I expect him to keep his promises in the here-after, so then what value is there in being a christian? Or if he doesn’t accept me, does it matter whether I think I’m a christian or not? Either way, I couldn’t see the value in belonging to a club whose earthly value to me was exhausted a long time ago, and clearly had no value beyond that.

        • I can hear them now responding with the “a few bad apples” argument.

          If he does accept me, but he doesn’t keep his promises in the here-and-now, why should I expect him to keep his promises in the here-after, so then what value is there in being a christian?

          If there’s no good evidence to support the claims you can test, why imagine that there’s any good reason to accept the claims you can’t??

        • ephemerol

          It says ask/seek/knock, and you’ll get a favorable response. After a few decades with no response, that was enough for me. What was he waiting for?

          It also says no man can come to Jebus unless the father gives you the nod. There’s also that bit about children being sanctified by their parents. So you don’t just decide to become a christian, just like you don’t just decide to become a student at Harvard. Heaven has an Admissions Department. And if your parents are alumni, that gives you a leg up.

          But who says my parents got the nod, just because they thought they did? None of my grandparents were particularly religious, so neither of my parents had that going for them. And if they didn’t, that would mean I didn’t either. What’s the chance their applications just went into St. Peter’s circular file? At least with college, you know whether your parents are alums or not.

          Maybe he was just waiting for me to take the hint that my application to be a christian had been rejected? Just because I think I’m a christian, does that mean I am one? What if Jebus doesn’t agree?

          I always wondered how it was that christians figure everyone could just come to Jebus willy-nilly when the bibble says they can’t. Just because I think I’m a christian, shouldn’t it matter if Jebus’ doesn’t think so? But if he doesn’t, then that’s less money in the collection plate, so he always agrees…

          Christians don’t like to think about these things. And if they do wind up thinking about them, like I did, they like talking about them even less. And if nobody questions your theology, does that automatically make it right?

          So much easier for them if I’m just a “bad apple.”

  • rationalobservations?

    For religionists reading this who still believe in legends without evidence:

    There remains nothing tangible to believe in.
    Every word attributed to “Paul” was written by anonymous scribes at least 7 centuries after the time in which it is alleged that “Paul” lived but of which no historical trace has ever been discovered. There are over 800 separate individual texts attributed to “Paul” in existence. None of them date to fabrication earlier than the 8th century and no to are identical.
    The oldest extant texts merely attributed to “Josephus” are similarly dated as being written by anonymous scribes several centuries after his death and since the 18th century it has been widely known by scholars that the clumsy interpolations relating to “Jesus” were forged.
    I have researched for myself the fact that no evidence exists in support of the existence (and centuries later forged legends) of “Jesus”.
    The oldest, 4th century founded christian institution agrees:

    “Our documentary sources of knowledge about the origins of Christianity and its earliest development are chiefly the New Testament Scriptures, the authenticity of which we must, to a great extent, take for granted.”
    (Catholic Encyclopedia, Farley ed., vol. iii, p. 712)

    The Church makes extraordinary admissions about its New Testament. For example, when discussing the origin of those writings,

    “the most distinguished body of academic opinion ever assembled” (Catholic Encyclopedias, Preface) admits that the Gospels “do not go back to the first century of the Christian era”

    (Catholic Encyclopedia, Farley ed., vol. vi, p. 137, pp. 655-6).

    This statement conflicts with priesthood assertions that the earliest Gospels were progressively written during the decades following the death of the Gospel Jesus Christ.

    In a remarkable aside, the Church further admits that,

    “the earliest of the extant manuscripts [of the New Testament], it is true, do not date back beyond the middle of the fourth century AD”

    (Catholic Encyclopedia, op. cit., pp. 656-7).

    As a failed excuse for the utter, total and complete absence of historical evidence of the existence of “Jesus” that poor and insignificant people generally do not leave evidence of their existence. However we are asked to believe that “Jesus” was far from insignificant and had a following of thousands who would assemble too hear him speak on mounts (or beside mounts – depending on the version you read) and who “rode in triumph” into the nations capital city cheered by huge crowds who strewed palm leaves upon the road to make his journey more comfortable – apart from all the magic tricks and raising folk from the dead in front of crowds of people. Such notorious and newsworthy events could hardly go without a single official, chronicler or historian noticing or hearing about them – yet not one single mention of the word “Jesus” in any letter, document, record, inscription or graffiti exists from within the whole 1st century and the first prototype bible (very different from today’s) was not written until the late 4th century.

    It is not just Emperors and Kings who are commemorated by historical evidence. The only “messiah” for whom evidence exists did not preach to thousands (stood on a hill, or beside a hill depending on which legend you follow) or ride in triumph into the capital city of the nation hailed and praised by thousands who strew his path with palm leaves. Simon “christ” left multiple tangible evidence of his existence and was briefly hailed as “the messiah” in Rabbinical circles. Why don’t you follow a “real” historically noted “messiah”?

    If you think poor people don’t leave historical evidence – Here is a coin commemorating Simon “christ” showing him under the messianic star outside the temple.
    https://www.livius.org/site/assets/files/18723/bar_kochba_coin1.jpg
    https://pics.me.me/in-the-entire-first-christian-century-jesus-is-not-mentioned-17397524.png